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9 days in the Desert on a Horse with a Name

Hello Dear Reader(s)

Tim at sunset Outside of Sound Garden

Well, if you want to be technical, it wasn’t a horse in the sense that it had fur and four legs and ate and drank water. I am of course referring to my RV and in my family you name all your vehicles. The RV’s name is Miracle named after a Horse from a Mel Brook’s Movie.

I have visited this desert location several times before but never for such a long stay. This was a test for me with dealing with my Insulin and no refrigeration and I learned a lot. The Location: Black Rock Desert outside of Gerlach, NV

We camped with Everywhen, which consists of a group of people who have gathered together on Black Rock for many Fourth of July Weekends (locally called Juplaya). Juplaya brings lots of people to Black Rock Desert to camp. You will find many people in individual or small groupings all over the vast Ancient Lake Bed. This has been a local tradition for a very long time. Even with the growth of the site due to an annual worldwide festival that has made it known to people outside of Nevada, the desert offers plenty of space to do things like wind sail or drive various vehicles around really fast and not fear hitting anyone. That being said you still have to watch for other people and LIGHT UP YOURSELF AND YOUR CAMP so that at night drivers and see you!

In previous years, my Three days at Juplaya consisted of me camping with my small group by ourselves. Occasionally people would ride by and wave. Some even stopped; but mostly they just passed by with a friendly smile and a wave. The harsh desert tends to make people friendly and helpful out there. This time, I started to camp with a small group of people that grew as the week went on.

The background on how I got to know the people of Everywhen:

Somehow, Somewhere on my social media in one of my group sites or perhaps even from a post from some friends I saw talk of people wanting to hold organized events on Black Rock Desert in the summer of 2021. I thought yes! We need more events held out there outside of the one large annual festival and all the small group gathering’s like the Rocket Club, Windsailers, Parasailers, pilots an other small around town groups that hold monthly weekend campouts in the warmer weather. So I did a google search on them and came up with the website: http://www.EverywhenProject.org. I looked at the site and found interest. There was a volunteer form and I thought. Yeah, I’d like to be a part. So I submitted the request. On Feb. 4th I got an email to set up and interview for Feb. 22. We chatted via Google Meet and decided my fit would be in the kitchen and in helping with promotions. (Since I’ve done that before for my actual career)

I was then added to the work program and started to help to create some logos for various departments. We have a general chat to kind of talk about non-work related things which helped me to get to know people’s personalities a little better. (one can only tell so much when talking about things like “what can we do to raise awareness that we exist?”)

At time went on the waiting on permits and location for the event went away and once we found our “home” we geared up. Weekly meetings started to happen and things started to pick up. Volunteers started to make connections.

Since this idea started at Juplaya, Some of the group took a pause to plan the annual campout. (As anyone who camps out anywhere for a holiday does. I mean, when do you start to plan Thanksgiving dinner? Where are out of town family staying? Who is cooking the Turkey? You get the idea here) I arrived on playa the morning of Friday, June 25th and pulled off the desert Sunday Morning, July 4th and had one of the best times of my life.

Everywhen Temple at Sunset

The first Friday:

We had packed the Thursday before and grabbed the suitcase filled with clothes and daily medicines and toiletries as one does. We did a last minute walk through and determined we didn’t forget anything (Spoiler: we did)

Driving to the desert we ran into a construction area where we had to wait 15 minutes for a pilot car. The flagger was super nice and came and talked with us. She was fascinated with Miracle: a 1978 Minnie Winnie. She told us that the night crew on the road construction got swarmed by scorpion spiders (“apple Sized”) and we all grossed out at that idea. It was an amazing talk with her and we left to follow the pilot car feeling uplifted that there existed friendly construction crew workers.

We followed the GPS coordinates and found a camper. I stopped and met Dustin and pulled Miracle nearby to set up our camp. We worked pretty fast to get up our three room tent and put everything inside so we could move around inside the RV. We even set up a shade Pop-up on the other side of the RV. The one with the chalkboard. Later on that day others in the group started to arrive.

We helped others set up when they needed help when they arrived and got to know one another better outside of the computer screen. The best part was the first hugs!

The First Saturday:

A communal shade structure was built as well as the Soiree (tables where big meals would be shared). Kevin put up an art piece and a plaza had formed. It was hot. over 100 degrees, but we all survived. As I was unsure of how I could help I ran around and misted hot people with water to offer a tad of relief from the harsh sun. We had planned to have a fire, but it never happened. It was hot, we didn’t have that much firewood as (remember that spoiler) most of us had forgot it and we were all pretty tired from all the building.

Since it was over 100 degrees during the day, I do not recall the days of everything but during the early week things were built. A kitchen, a temple, a lantern post, a bar, Kevin installed his art piece, we gushed over the lights and mirrors and the things we discovered it could do like show ghostly faces! Al brought his Art car and we were amazed at what it was built with! At some point during the early week we went into Gerlach to have dinner at Bruno’s (and take a break from the heat) we all sucked down the cold water like it was liquid gold. On the second time we met up with a local patron of the arts who gave us an amazing sign after having dinner with us.

After all the building we celebrated early in the morning with Bloody Mary’s. A couple of people left to run a planned errand. Our bloody Mary gathering and continued for 3 or 4 rounds. No one recalls when they left for the errand and when they came back we were all passed out in our respective sleeping areas. We went through 2 and 1/4 big bottles of Grey Goose. We had some winds and I was concerned about our pop-up so we had taken it down. I am glad we did.

Tuesday:

We My husband came with A restock of ice and more supplies for the bar. More and more people were arriving and setting up and our little arc of campers was forming. I drove out in the car and found our friend who builds Temples for the annual festival that is held out in the same desert. We invited him over to our area and realized that our spread out gathering was visible from where he was camping. One of our campers had to leave which made everyone very sad, but commitments were made and had to be kept.

Wednesday:

My husband left and as he left a storm decided to take hold. Rain and wind throwing mud around. I was in the RV closing the windows and I got a text from him to come over something was happening as it was whiteout conditions. I rushed over to the communal area and noticed one of our campers (with some help) holding on to dear life. Tim and I rushed over and helped. The rain hit my back and felt like someone was shooting ice out of a paintball gun at me! The wind was intense and the cold rain was a little painful. We secured The area and decided to do an assessment in the morning. Later on I was told that my husband hit a whirlwind and spun the car 180 degrees. The storm brought some excitement and appreciation of each other for helping.

Here is a video: https://youtu.be/dbVcSHnn5xA

Thursday:

The poor shade structure. We had to rebuild. Several Bamboo pieces were shredded. As the rebuilding started to happen, a film crew came and interrupted. They were very interested in the building process. The delay made the finishing of the building happen in the heat of the day. It got done and secured better than before. Another storm happened that night. We were all dancing at one of our outer camps when we decided we needed to refill some drinks and the camp did not have a bar. At main camp… planning on getting our needed things to return to the music, another storm hit. This time Rain. A lot of rain! So much rain that it formed a lake and flip flops became 12 pound flip flops. I decided to ditch the shoes and go barefoot as it was easier to walk. The mud seeping through my toes reminded me of my childhood and walking into the wet clay garden barefoot (as to not lose your shoes…. that is another blog) and coming out of it with a mud shoe enclosing your foot. We sheltered in the kitchen/bar (since the bar died in the previous storm) and drank some sake. We marveled at the amount of mud on our feet and tried to remove it. The playa dried quick after the rain with the wind still blowing.

The next two days more people showed up. “The Weekend Warriors” so to speak. Friday night provided a lot of art cars (cars decked out with lights and/or propane effects with sound systems installed) driving around the camp. More people stopped by asking where other camps like “spanky’s” or “Techno Gecko” were and asked about what the Everywhen was. Many people came to our firepit and our temple and awed over Kevin’s art piece (which truly is amazing) Saturday Morning I was delighted to take part in “Frank with a K”‘s (at sound garden) waffles. I do believe that man has a culinary degree and when I told him that he got the biggest smile and thanked me for liking his waffles so much. Saturday Night we had a potluck and another wind storm. The storm delayed the fire and the potluck. When it did happen amazing foods were shared. Food I did not expect like Lobster stuffed salmon and even fresh Pizza! Two guys came over to the fire and asked if they could cook upon it. I enutiasitcally said yes. It is an honor when someone cooks upon your fire. They made veggie kabobs and shared some of the best tasting mushrooms roasted to perfection with me. Perhaps it was the fact that I was only eating dehydrated food like Stove top stuffing and instant mash potatoes at that point.

My friend Uncle Buck came buy with a oar wrapped in lights and tied to a bird cage on one end. It was a balancing game and we had a blast trying to beat each other’s record! The mood was joyous and many people were gathering and talking and getting to know each other. Talk about the storms that we had been through were shared, about other fond times spent in that desert and of course about Everywhen’s upcoming event in October in the Mohave Desert. Friendships were made and old ones were strengthened. The magic of human connection was powerful those two nights.

More Movies: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14uCReULZ33szxO-mXnUOHNmxVdGALm4e/view?usp=sharing and https://drive.google.com/file/d/14yUaJ51iTeHHU-a1I8ZqLlLlmf4LqS_C/view?usp=sharing

On Sunday Morning right after sunrise I got up and prepared to break down camp. I wanted to leave before the heat of the day started. I awoke to a wind storm. Tim and I managed to take down the tent and pack the car. Our lovely host for the week was also up and was taking pictures of the dust storm. As a person with a sense of humor I took my google clad self over to where he was shooting holding the broom I has intended on using to sweep out my tent (a feat that was not happening that day). My idea was “look! I made a dust storm by sweeping!’ He laughed and snapped a few photos! Hugs were exchanged and Graditutes of friendship given. Hopefulness filled both Tim and I that we could be at the October event.

Packed Beaches at Pyramid Lake, July 4th, 2021

We took our dehydrated selves to Bruno’s for Breakfast. I drove the RV off playa for a little bit as Tim was dead tired and struggling to keep his eyes open. I had put the lights on for visibility in the dust storm and had to get a jump from the waitress at Bruno’s because I forgot to turn them off. She has worked there for years and is such a helpful person! I gave her a generous tip for taking care of us all week and for the jump. We briefly stopped at the gas station to wash the windshield and then in Empire for some cold beverages for the drive home. I drove until after the construction zone (which was suspended for the weekend) until I could not drive anymore. Tim had napped so He took over. We stopped at the Nixon store to get some energy drinks and found them (along with some surprised Tribal members wanting to buy fireworks) closed. We drove past the packed beaches of Pyramid lake toward home. We stopped at the first gas station we found. (Golden Eagle 7-11) After getting the energy drinks We were stopped by a couple asking to buy stones. Evidently my “Jadestone welcomes you” and “Find me at Everywhen and the Electric Universe October 2021 http://www.everywhenproject.org” sign made her think I was selling stones. I explained to her that “jadestone” is my name and I am an artist. We got home dusty and exhausted and both collapsed on the couch. When we awoke and took showers. Tim said. “I miss them already. I wish we had a teleporter so we could go back!” Those are strong words from Tim as he has HUGE Social anxiety and generally doesn’t like people. I agreed and we talked about our new friendships and looked forward to seeing them again.

We are hoping to make it to the Mohave in October. My biggest hurdle is when I get re-hired back to my job and getting time off. Also, funding to rent and RV with a generator as I found out that Ice only lasts 2 and a half days before it heats up and dry ice can last 3 days before the coolant is gone. My blood sugars were well controlled with very little hypo or hyperglycemic events and I proved to myself that Diabetes really cannot hold me back… Mostly.

This 9 days has reignited a fire in me. The fire to gather and connect with people. The fire to create art. The fire to test myself and my abilities. I remembered that I can contribute and that people do like me.

Now, if you excuse me, I must go wash out another application of coconut oil in my hair to try to resurrect some kind of softness.

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Belonging and the need to inspire

Hello Dear Reader(s)

I have become involved in another non-profit, as I do when I find one that seems to fit. This one supports the arts and provides a weeklong camping excursion for these artists to show off their stuff.

I like it and the people who formed it are super and open to listening to new ideas and brainstorming sessions. This is what I provide most I think. The throwing out of ideas, connection of people and hopefully some inspiration to others with more helpful skills that are needed.

Even though I have step siblings I never really got to know them and only saw them on forced trips with my birth father. These trips lead to counseling sessions because of hallucinating nightmares before and after the trips. I never recalled any abuse or mistreatment, but my subconscious had an apparent issue. I did feel like the odd man out, the one who didn’t belong. I was raised as an only child and learned to be self-sufficient. My dog and I would go out and play in the woods behind our house, dig for moles or I would gather and carve sticks into jewelry or figurines. Art was a big part of my childhood and when I couldn’t go outside I would draw or make whole scenes out of discard foil from various food items.

I felt alone most of my childhood. I had a cousin I was really close to, but he was kind of a know-it-all in those days. And I didn’t get to see him everyday.

After graduation from High school (Where I still really didn’t fit in) I went to art school and felt a little bit of my first kind of belonging. I learned that people remembered me when I returned home after I got my degree and moved back to my home state. After I left that state for good and moved out West the need to inspire people and be a part of something bigger than myself grew greater. I was tired of being a nobody. Perhaps that was the coma and almost dying; but I want to be remembered after I am gone. I want people who barely knew me to be sad that I passed away. Is that crazy? selfish? I don’t know. Perhaps is the wish of all creative people. To achieve some kind of immortality through their deeds and works.

In the Everywhen Project, we “Tell Tall Tales” in the fact of why we are a part of it. I wrote mine and it has seemed to be inspiring to others who have reached out to me to tell me exactly that. That pleases me greatly. My roommate that I care for tells people I saved his life. I think he exaggerates. I find his art inspiring. The concrete work of the bridges and plazas and buildings that he has build in his career, his paintings, even the art that he has burned. They awe me. All I have that people can see far and wide is a restaurant sign. (Which of course will go away when the restaurant closes) I have no lasting art that inspires people, so I must do it with my deeds.

Through my charity work or volunteer time, in sitting with someone and talking to them for a hour or two to help them realize the solution to their problem or just to understand or learn a new skill. Even through the introduction of people to other people. I do my best.
I took a job at a Plant Nursery for the beginning of the season to help them through their Mother’s Day Rush. When I was informed that I was not being kept on through the summer, many co-workers seemed surprised. They told me they would miss me. One told me that I inspired her because I was super bubbly and friendly and full of energy.

Hearing things like this fills me with joy.

In closing of this I will leave you with what I wrote for my Everywhen Tall Tale and encourage you to visit them at http://www.everywhenproject.org. My Amazon Smile charity is now supporting them as well. This is how much I believe in them and their mission.

Enjoy.

A Cog in the Machine. You can read the original Post here: https://www.everywhenproject.org/…/a-cog-in-the-machine…

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A salute to my first Muse

Hello dear Reader(s),

I know, it has been a while. I am trying to rejoin the world post covid now that I am a fully vaccinated individual (still with an auto-immune disease, mind you) and Blogging has not made the list of trying to work, waiting to hear about my pre-pandemic job re-start date in June. Hey, it’s called limbo and I am doing what I can to make it through without too much stress.

Back on subject.

I heard from the friend I’ve known almost all my life that still lives in our hometown the other day. Our favorite High School Teacher passed away “suddenly and unexpectedly.” That is all I know. His name: Rex F. Tower and he was my art teacher. He taught at Shepherd Public Schools from 1968 to 1998. I graduated in 1995 and was completely unsure of what I wanted to do post-high school. My mother was pushing me to become a veterinarian or a medical professional like the rest of our family. I knew I did not want to do that. Dealing with sick things and lots of math! Yuck!

Mr. Tower showed me that I had another interest: Art. I discovered I had a natural talent for layout and design. He encouraged me to find ways to make money with my art and helped inspire me to apply to the Art Institutes International schools. The closest one was Chicago but after seeing the featured art in their portfolio I was not impressed. New versions of the Venus Di Milo and an American Flag made out of bubble gum? Ummmm… how about no.

I then found The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which won my heart. Especially when they told me about the 90% after graduation placed in career field statistic that they had. And it was true.

The job I am rejoining uses those skills taught at AIP and intentionally Mr. Tower in his high school art class.

He once told me that you can not think without drawing. We had Friday Free draws where we could stay in class and draw whatever we chose or we could wander the town of Shepherd to draw something in the neighborhood. I used to take advantage of that on nice days. This one time in class, I was not very creative and my mind was wondering. Mr. Tower came over and saw that I had a blank piece of paper. He asked what I was doing and I told him ‘Thinking of something to draw.” that is when he told me I could not think without putting pencil to paper. He said my hand will take over and start drawing something if I just made the pencil contact the paper. I thought he was crazy, but of course I did that and as he walked away I started to draw. I have remembered that advice and still use it when I feel stumped. I grab my mouse and start playing with filters or start scribbling and sure enough, something sparks and I can create again.

Like a lot of students I graduated and went on with my life. Never really connecting with my past teachers. There is a part of me that regrets that a bit. Mr. Tower was one of my favorite teachers and really inspired me to be myself. Granted, I had to move out of state to do that.

I have connected with so many artists in my time in Nevada, (One of the reasons I love living here) and I am thankful that Mr. Tower awoke that love of art in my heart. I live around kindred spirits now, but It took a long while for me to learn who I was. Mr. Tower was the first one to crack that door of self discovery in me.

So to those who know Rex F. Tower, (Especially his former students) I know you understand what I am trying to say here. For those of you who did not know this man, He was one of a kind person who had a way of teaching that inspired you. Approachable, kind and caring. Thank you and Rest easy now. I know you have a special place awaiting you in the afterlife.

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The year that has seemed like 10

Hello Dear Reader(s),

March is a busy month for me. Lots of historic things in my life happen in March. My Birth for one, My diagnosis via DKA of Type 1 Diabetes (Sometime around this time in 2004. I just remember that I missed St. Patrick’s Day that year because I was in a COMA!). I normally get job offers around this time of year. It is like all the energy of things starting to grow share that energy with me.

With that being kept in mind I have that energy coming again. I am seeing windows of opportunity starting to open. Nothing really big mind you. Not like move to another place and take possession of this farm that I want you to run and I will sign over the house and land to you and pay you $5,000 a week and keep buying all the supplies needed to run the farm.

No, nothing that big. But some things that will help me work towards my big goal that I’ve been working on for a few years might happen.

Sorry for the Vagueness, but I don’t want to declare it unless it happens, which I feel it will.

I do have a few decisions to make and options to weigh. What path should I take? How will it affect my goal that I am working towards and how will affect my happiness (which is pretty much in the toilet right now)

Also, Last year at this time I was told by my super cool boss at my super cool job that due to the Shutdown, He had to eliminate my position. Crap! It was cool to see the lights off at the casinos in Reno and the empty streets on the traffic cameras downtown. It was also kind of eerie. Who knew that last year we would have political unrest, Riots, Mask debates, people acting out when asked to follow government mandates, Incredible division of people by race and political parties and outright hatred displayed for our fellow Americans.

And it is still here. And it makes people who believe in true equality afraid to speak or even talk to friends. It makes you want to crawl inside yourself because you cannot see any hope, not even of having a reasonable discussion with any other human being without being called names or threaten with violence.

Will it end. Will we all get our own windows of opportunity and Carpe Diem? I hope so. I am tired of being afraid of my fellow Americans.

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I did a thing

Photo by Georgia Maciel on Pexels.com

Hello Dear Reader(s)

I actually started another blog, but not to worry… I will never abandon this one. I still need someplace to write about random stuff that pops into this odd brain of mine.

This other site is strictly about food.

Yes, we Americans are obsessed with food. What are we supposed to eat? How much? How can I lose weight and not starve myself. (Spoiler: You can’t)

I am not getting into fad diet or weight loss scams though. I am just sharing the knowledge I have of growing, harvesting, Preserving and preparing food. This is a skill we all used to be taught from our parents. Even schools had cooking classes that you were required to take. (They called it Home economics back in my day)

So here it is: ihaveaknowledgeoffood.wordpress.com

Go visit it. Right now It just has the intro. Be patient and I will be adding lots of yummy things to it soon.

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An introduction

Photo taken by Hannah O’Brien

I saw that a friend of mine on social media posted an introduction on her wall. I thought this was a good idea and I am doing my own.

Hi I’m Laura. (Sometimes I go by Jadestone when I am representing my art)

I’m not new here but I do have a lot of new and old friends that may not know a lot about me. I’m starting off the new year with a new introduction!

The best thing that ever happened to me was…

Well, here is a detour. I have not had just one great thing happen to me. There is not a “Best” but a series of things that I am proud of. Here is my list: (In no particular order)

  • Going to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and graduating with an Associates in Specialized Technology with a focus on Visual Communications
  • Meeting and marrying my husband of 23 years
  • Moving to Nevada from Michigan by myself with 40 lbs of luggage, no job and only a promise of an apartment by Train.
  • Finding a job in Nevada after one week
  • Finding a job in my career in Nevada after two weeks
  • Surviving a Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis via DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidtosis aka Diabetic Coma)
  • Hosting and planning an art auction to benefit charity
  • Becoming a board member of a charity
  • Planning and hosting fundraising events for a big art project
  • Finding and becoming a caretaker for my roommate
  • Working for the Registrar of Voters and learning the voting process in Washoe County
  • Working on recovering from a lifetime of Diet Culture and the harm it has done for me
  • Raising my son to be a successful adult
  • Meeting Hannah and being worthy of her friendship
  • Being team captain for JDRF walks to cure diabetes
  • Being an exceptional worker to carry several letters of recommendation from past co-workers and bosses.

My favorite mentors are my Grandpaw and my Aunt Ruth. My favorite place I have ever been is Hartwick Pines State Park in Michigan.

I love to give. Emotionally or by volunteering. It is my personal belief that giving money is too easy and impersonal. You give more of your soul and heart by listing, hugging, helping someone carry something heavy, taking them to a food bank or giving them a meal when they are hungry. Sharing stories of being in a similar situation and how you got through it, letting them know they are not alone.

My word for 2021 is a phrase “Keep calm and carry on.” Keep improving my opportunities for the job that pays all my bills and allows me to buy some property and a house of my own to escape the racket and greed of renting. To escape poverty, I need to not spend over half my income in rent that is greater than a mortgage and house payment. To seek out some housing security and not be at the whims of a landlord.

I am open minded and totally non-judgmental of your lifestyle. I believe in TRUE Equality between humans of all kinds. I believe in the sharing of knowledge freely. You never know when that knowledge might just save a life. (Especially when it comes to the signs of diabetes or a low blood sugar and what to do) I believe in the rule of three. What you do comes back to you threefold.

We need to love more. We need to accept more, even when people don’t look like you, don’t believe in your God(s), Don’t subscribe to your ideas of what is good sex, Don’t have your skills, but possess different skills, Did not grow up with your ideals and family structures, Do not have your education level or attend your school, Eat different food than you, Come from a different country than you, own more/less stuff than you, have more/less friends than you, are on a different journey of health than yours.

There is a name for it: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. We all need it.

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Is it safe yet? Have the monsters of 2020 gone?

The moment many have waited for is here: 2020 is OVER! Well, kinda.

Here in Nevada, we are still in Tier 1 of covid vaccinations. Essentially Healthcare and first responders. Parties are only allowed to have two households. Fireworks were cancelled. We are told to stay home.

I usually always go out for New Year’s Eve, somewhere. Not this year. Enjoy these pictures of the past (in no specific order)

The one NYE I will NEVER forget is 4 years ago. My roommate’s best friend was dying of Cancer in the hospital. We got there in the morning and stayed late. I left him there in the afternoon so my husband and I could catch the last show of my friend’s band (before they called it quits) We left early as I got a message from my roommate. I picked him up and while I was on the phone with him I distinctly heard a woman talking to him. I saw him on the phone walking alone towards me, yet still heard the woman talking to him in the background. We found out that his friend had died between the time he was asked to leave and the time I picked him up.

Seeing the fireworks that year, I thought. “Wow! you really know how to exit the world in style, on the back of a rocket!”

So, while we continue to grieve our social lives let’s do the list:

2021 promises:

A vaccine: the hero we’ve been holding out for to beat the Evil Virus.

Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed? Late at night I toss and turn and I dream of what I need: I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night.

New leadership and hopefully better human relations

The return of social activities like concerts, dance parties, Festivals and the backyard BBQs.

Opportunity for growth and better employment opportunities.

This all means one thing: HOPE

So many people died in 2020. Many people have lost everything. No work and no government help has caused a record number of people to not have a home. Some of my friends are living in their cars/RVs. I see so many RVs in my neighborhood and so many tents along the river by the train tracks, in the mediums of the highway on and off ramps, in the back areas alongside the highway. More than normal. I wonder how many of these people don’t have kids and lost their partner because of COVID. How many of these people have no family to take them in and (as we all know) just couldn’t afford to keep a roof over their head because they are a single or reduced hours income.

I survived 2020. I am glad you did as well. I pray for us as a nation, as a world. I pray we treat each other well. You never know what people are going through. Please be kind, even when they are not. Don’t let 2020 turn you into a monster.

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Sugar Free (sort of) thumbprint cookies.

This is a test. I am actually doing this for a class on Youtube, but if you like this, I’ve been playing with the idea of making a food blog. Just a place where I can post recipes, food preservation tips and other food making related stuff. Make sure to share your ideas with me in the comments.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (okay, you know me I put in a whole Tsp!)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 13 tbsp soften butter (about a stick and a bit over a half)
  • 1/2 C Stevia
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sugar free jam or jelly of your choice.

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 325. Prep your cookie sheets with Parchment paper. (I didn’t have so I used foil and spray oil.)
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together Flour, Cinnamon, and baking powder.
  • In a LARGE mixing bowl, beat Soften Butter with Stevia (or your favorite sugar alternative) until fluffy. (3-5 minutes approx.)
  • When your “sugar” and butter are fluffy, add the dry ingredients slowly and in small batches to allow for thorough mixing. (Add food color if you like here)
  • add egg and vanilla at the end. (might have to add a few sprits of water if too dry)
  • Make small balls by rolling them in your clean hands. Space out to allow for some expansion. Use a wine cork (can dip in butter if gets too sticky) to make an indent in each cookie.
  • Bake cookies for 5 minutes
  • Take out. (Might have to use the wine cork again to press down the indent. Fill the indent with the jelly/jam.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes more.
  • Cookies should be slightly brown on bottom. Place on cooling mat/rack/newspaper

You can calculate nutritional content by visiting this site. https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

For these special diets subsitute with the according flours.

Gluten free diet = Your Gluten Free Flour brand

Keto = Your favorite Keto flour Brand (I am told that some Keto flour will need a binder like more eggs)

Lower carb = Your favorite low carb flour brand

Video here:

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2020 is the Grinch

Well, It is two days before Christmas. Christmas Eve, eve or Festivus if you prefer; and it seems like the Grinch has succeeded in stealing Christmas.

We have not been allowed to have holiday parties either at work or home or friends. No big Christmas dinners, or gatherings with lots of children opening gifts from Santa. No dances, caroling or Christmas concerts. No performances of the Nutcracker, Gingerbread house making competitions or winter wonderland tree displays.

With the Covid surge making it deadly (yes, deadly. Maybe not to you, but to autoimmune compromised people like me.) to get together and celebrate and people not having income to purchase things to give (also due to Covid taking our jobs or reducing our hours) it does seem bleak and makes you not want to celebrate.

But like Dr. Seuss’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (and many other books) the holiday is not about the parties and the gifts, but about humanity and love. We all grew up with this story and I love Jim Carry’s live action version of it portraying the Grinch as someone who hates Christmas because he was bullied. He wants to strike out against it and destroy it.
We all feel that way when someone hurts us. Many of us want to strike out and destroy. Some people twist words in their mind (because they don’t know how to listen without emotion) to justify their hate at something. And we have had A LOT of HATE being spread around recently. (In politics, in our perceived loss of freedoms and many other things) It has seeped into every bit of our lives.

Even a simple thing like wearing a mask will bring out people who hate you. I remember Hannah when her husband had cancer (and they both wore masks out in public to protect his weaken immune system) how many people made fun of them about wearing masks. They teased and spread hate until she got mad enough to yell back at them. This mask is to protect my husband who has cancer from YOU!

Sound familiar. My husband works in a gas station and his boss told me that a customer SPIT ON HER because she asked him to put on his mask, per the governor’s mandate.

It’s all Hate, Hate, Hate.

We need to stop. We need to let our hearts grow two sizes to big. We need to spread love to everyone! Not just the people who agreeing with our ideals. If we don’t treat everyone with kindness and not judge them for what they are doing, then we are no better then all those hate spreading groups out there.

We can agree to disagree and not partake in their actions. We can warn them that having a party is not safe according to medical science or that wearing a mask just over their mouth is not very effective, but we must not call them names or hate on them and anyone around them. That is not how we Heal our nation as our president elect is trying to do. We also have to do our part.

Yes, 2020 has not been kind to most of us. Yes, staying home SUCKS! Yes, losing jobs and loved ones is devastating. And Yes, it is getting EXHAUSTING not having a party, and not going out to eat with friends, and not singing and going to concerts, and not going out dancing. But we HAVE to keep doing our part to stay safe and spread love. We are social creatures and we need to connect to one another. So let’s do that!

We have technology!

Low tech options are letter writing and sending cards.

Delivering a homecooked meal to a neighbor’s door step

Picking up the phone and having a conversation

Higher tech options are:

Social media messenger services

Text messages

Blogging

Sending videos or video chatting

There are plenty of other options, but this is just a few to get you started. Let’s all be like Cindy Lou Who and reach out to people who are different. Let’s spread some love and put aside our differences. Let’s embrace Radical Inclusion for real and welcome everyone and recognize that they might be suffering in different ways than we are.

There was a sign hanging in a hospital I saw once it said “BE KIND TO PEOPLE – YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT THEY ARE GOING THROUGH.”

I realize this takes some empathy and some people just aren’t capable of thinking of anyone except themselves, but most people, I believe can stop and think of others.

So like all those Whos in Whoville on Christmas day with no presents and no decorations. Let’s all reach out to each other and realize that we are all alive and alike in a lot of ways and together we can achieve greatness. (even if together means not physically right now)

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We are almost there!

14 days, just fourteen days until 2020 is over! It cannot come soon enough for many people, myself included. Although I tend to place more importance on the Lunar calendar than the Gregorian calendar, I am excited to get rid of the 2020 behind the date I write.

At this time, I personally know four people who have COVID. They are all at home, not hospitalized and I haven’t seen any of them for at least two weeks. I believe I am safe from contamination. Isn’t that horrible? That we have to think like the ancients with Leprosy! “Have I been exposed? Have I come in contact with any contaminated surfaces?”

This is a scary way to live. Some of my friends fear social repercussions of getting this highly contagious virus. And THAT is what people need to focus on. HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS VIRUS. We don’t socially mock or shun those people have gotten the Flu or Pink Eye. Both contagious diseases. Obviously not as contagious or possibly life threating as COVID; but we don’t SOCIALLY SHUN the VICTIMS of disease!!

Yes, the infected person needs to stay home and isolate! (as they should if they have pink eye or any other contagious disease) But I am not going to refuse to see you because you caught covid (after your quarantine, of course) I am not going to blame you for the rest of your life because you caught the most contagious disease running around. I might caution you not to be as socially active in person if you were, but I think if you got sick, you have learned this lesson by how horrible I hear Covid makes you feel.

I am going to treat you just like I do people who have heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lupus, Chron’s, Asthma, or any other condition that you might need modifications to your lifestyle. Having COVID does not change who you are as a person, does it?

I WILL call you out if you don’t self-isolate. If you don’t wear a mask. If you didn’t contact the people you were in contact with for the previous two weeks when you found out that you tested positive. That is wrong. Endangering others is wrong. You don’t know which one of your friends have autoimmune conditions or other things they fight everyday that could put them in that statistic of not surviving Covid.

Okay, lecture over.

Mom is done. I think I made my point clear.

Now, back to 14 days.
For me, 2020 brought me 3 jobs in my field.

From Jan to Feb I worked for a great company, that put all their eggs in one basket and that basket didn’t renew the contract, forcing the business to close.

From Feb to March I found what seemed to be the perfect job. A mix of Graphic Design, Office Assistant and hand’s on art production. That evil virus forced the owner of the company to eliminate my position and do what I did himself.

I collected unemployment waiting, unsure of what to do. The only places hiring were essential workers, which (I still feel) is too great a risk for me with my Autoimmune disorder.

In Sept. my unemployment ran out. I was scared and frustrated and put up a post asking if jobs I was qualified to do and that were safe were even available anymore.

I found a part-time job (My current one) being an assistant with some graphic design work. It’s not many hours, but I am hoping for growth as I like this job.

My side job of bartending when away as I used to bartend at conventions and concerts. None have happened since March.

I have seen so much hate and bigotry and racism from people I thought I knew.

I have become closer to my cat

I tended my garden and lost most of it to a spider mite infestation that I just couldn’t conquer.

I learned how to macrame.

I became a ROVER pet sitter.

I painted inside and outside of my RV.

I have not heard from a lot of my friends at all. People I would gleefully talk to at parties and picnics. I hope they are alright.

2021 bring hope and I feel I’d like to list them out. Focus on the positive. So here goes.

  • I hope I can get a vaccine
  • I hope I can find a job that pays me the amount of a full-time position in my career field
  • I hope I can buy a house and at least a couple acres of land
  • I hope I can go to concerts again
  • I hope I can feel safe enough to go to a bar and dance
  • I hope I will be invited to campouts and BBQs and parties
  • I hope I can become involved in charity events
  • I hope I can go to Local events like the Balloon Races, Street fairs, and art displays
  • I hope I can go to a movie theater without anxiety.
  • I hope I can take a vacation out of state
  • I hope I can go back to my Ecstatic Dance and Meditation classes
  • I hope we can end all the blatant hate in this country.

What do you hope for?

https://howmanydaystill.com/its/the-end-of-2036