Gratitude in the Upheavals

It’s happening, it’s all happening.

The move. Number 54 or so but who can keep count? Ain’t for nuthin’ I’m called the Moving Queen!

August: Arrrrrrghhhhhhh!

It was brutal. No relation to summer heat.

For various reasons, including a dearth of housing for both single living, i.e., studios, or room shares. Had nothing come through by this Sunday, Aug. 21, I had (emergency) Plan C, D & E gestating in my mind. All of which included putting everything into storage.

WHICH, I discovered, is a great business to get into in Prescott! Huge demand! Insufficient supply! If anyone needs a start-up idea, self-storage is it! You won’t hurt for customers.

Turns out, I’m going the storage route. But I jump ahead.

God Bless George!

I was one of two candidates he really liked for his rental room in his home. Another phone call, more questions, more answers and he opted to go with me! “You need it more, I think,” he commented. The other lady’s living at home with her folks.

He’s right. Without the room, I was looking at homelessness (again) or a modified version thereof. It’s kind of George to recognize, acknowledge and act on that observation.

And an observation it was; I’d said nothing on the matter upon meeting him and the room.

I’m so grateful:

  • that someone had my back in some way or fashion. Am accustomed to that and it is … comforting.
  • I’m so grateful that he’s opening his home in this time of need.
  • I’m so grateful to be provided:
  • a room in a safe, clean and nice home during this transition.
  • a room that’s affordable, offers a space for my own bed, clothes, shoes, other simple basics …
  • a room with a shower and a kitchen where I can feed myself, boil water for my beloved morning coffee. A room with quietude, privacy and Internet!

All the basics in this transition are covered.

On a personal note, it’s because I have been homeless — really, there are 25 articles at least waiting to be written, yearning to be heard! — and lived that hardship that I appreciate: shelter. a shower. water boiled on a stove instead of a little single propane burner with its flame flickering in the wind.

Everything else not essential in a room-share situation … goes into storage.

Speaking of Storage

I’m so lucky I found a self-storage space! Like I said, demand here is high and units scarce.

My unit comes with a blemish. There’s a leak. The owner can’t determine exactly where, only that rainwater sometimes runs down the back wall and puddles {here}.

Hence whatever I store there will be boxes, not valuable furniture,  put on a pallet and protected well with a tarp. A doable workaround in exchange for space for my things and a slight storage discount due to the leak. Yes!

Oh Ye of Little Faith

I admit, my f-word isn’t four letters, it’s five! Developing faith. It’s a lifelong lesson, mission, a significant player in my story.

As I dismantle my current home, move stuff out, declutter where I can and simplify — a process I undertake routinely, not just for relocations — I pause to reflect on the madness of the past few months.

And madness it was! This move was unplanned, unexpected, a tumultous whoosh of a wind moving me up and out after an argument with the landlord …

I’ve much to contemplate after the move

I’ve much to be grateful for. A room in a house with a gentleman who I sense is kind, direct, honest, fair and good. I like that!

Changes are ahead. They lie in wait. This room-share is temporary, like the new PT job I’m soon to begin. (Another post!)

Everything happened … so fast! Intensely. It’ll take a while to make sense of it all. In this moment, with tons of work still ahead for this move, I’m grateful:

to be safe after the whirlwind

to have shelter waiting … water, a bed, the means to prepare food

a second job (income) waiting in early September

Things I needed, fundamentally, came to be. In the 11th hour perhaps but arrive they did! Things worked out, despite the terrors and trains wrecks in my head. Which I’m learning to not do.

To every being up there and around me, protective guides, spirits, invisible presences and forces working in my favor (rather than against me): props to each of you for guiding, assisting, directing and helping in this time of tumult and turmoil. Bless you. The Light be of and with you.


Snowballs from the oven. Has the world gone mad?!

Yes it has. Yet let us bake nonetheless!

Baking. Gets no more basic than Betty Crocker sometimes. 

After disappointment with a cookie recipe — unfortunately Christmas cookies for my son — at one site, I returned to ol’ Betts for another batch. Earmarked for the food-demo gals and guys at Costco. 

So sorry my son got the bleh batch with the bleh recipe! Won’t happen again.

Mexican wedding cakes. Russian tea cakes. Snowballs. Call them what you will, they’re a well-liked popular cookie, except among folks who can’t eat or don’t like nuts. And so seasonal! We here in cental Arizona did not get the white Christmas promised us repeatedly by the forecasters. 

Wouldn’t it be something to be continuously wrong or bad at your job and STILL get paid?!

Snowballs. Really, they’re shortbread in a ball. Rich buttery shortbread with sugar, vanilla and finely-chopped nuts.

Some folks use walnuts or almonds. I stick with pecans. They’re traditional. Plus have a meatier and richer flavor than walnuts and (certainly) almonds, thereby nicely complementing the buttery shortbread.

Here’s the recipe and Russian tea cakes from ol’ gal Betty:


1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped nuts

1/4 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar


Heat oven to 400ºF. (Note: seemed too hot to me so I went with 350)

Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.

Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

Now the best and completely calories-free part: Pics!

The raw dough with pecans very finely chopped. That’s key IMHO. Enables through mixing and a nutty flavor in every bite.


snowballs dough at the start

Size matters. Snowballs rolled into the size of golfballs are the preference of some. I prefer those slightly bigger than, say, a walnut shell. These cookies do not spread so what you roll is what you’ll get.  

Also, the thick bigger balls increase the chance of burning on the bottom (since, as I said, they don’t spread). Even when rolled small, I need to keep an eye out since my oven bakes hot; hence I rotate the cookie sheets at the halfway mark.

raw snowballs heading into oven

Oops! I forgot to photograph the balls fresh outta the oven! Oh well. Here they come in their snowy finest.

This is a good place to mention why I didn’t like the first recipe for the batch that unfortunately was mailed to my son. It did not call for a SECOND rolling in powdered sugar.

It was the critical flaw.

The secret to a successful snowball is this: 

(1) Roll them the first time in powdered sugar while still warm, about 5 minutes out of the oven. This ensures a coating that will stick. If you wait until they’ve cooled, you’ve, we’ll, screwed up!

(2) Roll them in powdered sugar a second time anytime after they’re fully cooled. This second roll creates a fluffy snow that sticks.

a white christmas after all!

Now, like I said, these were for the Costco demo gals and guys. I know some “well.” In my town, they’re always so nice and friendly and their smiles lift my spirit so these are a merry token of my appreciation and gratitude. 

Hence into each baggie went two snowballs and two kisses made of chocolate. How they got delivered is a secret between me and Santa ;-).


snowballs and kisses in a bag

 The batch readied for delivery by a (not-too-secret) secret Santa. Since one of the Costco demo gals can’t eat gluten (genuinely, separate from the gluten-free trend of the times), she gets extra kisses and a cinnamon votive candle.  🙂 

a buncha snowballs in bags


There’s no paper & ribbon for this gift

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” croons Frank Sinatra, possibly, over the cafe’s sound system.

I’ve no idea what Christmas, a mere week away, will look like this year!

I may be at the radio station working that afternoon if it’s needed — and I’m happy to do so.

If not, I may be lending a volunteering hand at the big free community meal at a church. Like 500+-people big! I don’t attend that or any church. I’m spiritual and not at all religious. I very much like the idea of serving others Christmas Day.

Or I may go as a guest to mingle with the community.

Or I may go to a movie.

Or visit a favorite saloon on Whiskey Row.

Or spend time on the road with my Subbie, weather permitting.

Or stay home and paint or play with clay or write and drink mulled wine, a seasonal favorite, and listen to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas on Pandora.

Whatever I end up doing, it won’t involve family; whether buddies will be involved remains to be seen.

I’m not worried. I’ve survived much worse Christmases. Christmases alone with no friend or casual acquaintance or connection in sight. In geographical places that were very dark, lonely and depressing (the Pacific Northwest categorically the worst, of course).

Have also spent plenty of Christmases at jobs I detest or loathe or at the very least want out of, please God, get me outta here!

It’s because I’ve survived so many rotten and unconventional Christmases over some 20 years that I’ve cultivated more than a thick survivor’s skin.

I’ve developed gratitude.

Gratitude for being where I am today. In a state (Arizona) and town that I love and that resonates, mutually.

Even if I’m with complete strangers — as I may well be this Christmas — I like this community. It’s quirky yet solid and highly conservative with a sub-population of oddballs, artists, creative sorts and mainstream misfits.

Don’t misunderstand. It ain’t Berkeley or San Francisco or New York or even Austin — all places overtaken (hence ruined) by the libs/socialists. Not. At. All. It’s conservative but quirky, my town — in a nutshell.

Moving along …

It’s BECAUSE I’ve been in such dark places many times and years over that I sit here with such gratitude for where I am today. And with zero concern or worry about what I may or may not do on the so-called biggest holiday in America.

Reckon some folks might trade places with me for a day. Because the sad truth about Christmas in America is: It lost its meaning long ago.

For most, it’s all about presents — gross commercialism — and rushing around and beaucoup stress and even more credit-card debt and time with relatives they don’t want to see, obligations they wish they didn’t have to fulfill, controlled chaos and … did I miss anything?

Oh, and screaming whining crying ungrateful brats. I don’t mean exclusively the tots.

I don’t see it happening but on Christmas, I could sit in my new-ish (4 months) lovely space staring out the window and be centered and calm in gratitude. For all that I have and how much better my life has become — and continues to become.

The simplest things are the most meaningful, to me.

I’ll probably have one gift to open, perhaps a few cards. It’ll be a gift and cards from people who mean a lot to me, individuals I truly care about and love.

I’d trade that for, say, a slew of sweaters I don’t need or wouldn’t wear from people who feel obligated to give me gifts any day.

But that’s just me, un-American freak that I am; freak because I’ve no interest whatsoever in the BuyBuyBuy SpendSpendSpend version of the American Christmas. So sad.

Whether I be at work (gratefully at a job I love) or a community feast, a saloon or at home alone singing along to Mannheim Steamroller — only after several glasses of mulled wine! — this is sure:

I shall be in my heart in gratitude.

And that is a gift, of and to the self, that could never be put on a credit card or wrapped with paper.

Kisses for everyone!

It’s not what ya think.

‘Tis the season of bountiful harvest and abundance.

So it’s fitting that my mind overfloweth! With thoughts of gratitude, creativity and how to express them in my (newish) home and to those around me.

Take jalapeño poppers.

Not the most traditional fare on Thanksgiving, admittedly. But then, neither was my Thanksgiving.

Worked a half-day at a job I love. Gratitude! Returned home to a much-improved domestic situation — more gratitude! — to resume creating my fabric window treatments.

Then in the evening bopped down to the saloon for the regular Thursday music and our gang of four, five including myself.

Only turkey in my sight Thursday was a drumstick leftover from a potluck four days prior. I picked at it at work. Fed little pieces to Caesar the cat at the radio station. That was the extent of my traditional holiday fare.

Jalapeño poppers are a blast to make. Plus they’re light. And super-tasty with beer. I reckoned they were the perfect fare for folks with tummies heavy with Thanksgiving feast.

I’ve a poppers post pending plus pix. So wait for it.

Meanwhile, these thoughts of gratitude and creativity overfloweth.

On the long list is my job at the radio station (currently 11 hours a week with hints of more, possibly 8 — yes! — in the wind), my coworkers and of course Caesar the station cat.

So today kisses are on the agenda.

Candy cane kisses from Hersheys.

Y’all have seen ’em. In bowls at workplaces, offices, parties, atop cookies and cakes.

Hershey's holiday kisses

Hershey’s holiday kisses

Those red-and-white peppermint droplets dressed for the season in their finest foil.

Butter. The sole glitch.

A half-cup reads the recipe on the bag. So one cube, softened.

So late last night after work I set the butter on a dish near a window that gets good morning sun. So it’d be all nice ‘n’ soft by the time I got up around noon.

Hard as a rock!

Might as well’ve just stored it in the fridge! Tells ya everything ya need to know about the climate.

Not wanting to turn on the oven (don’t have a microwave) or melt the butter but just soften it, I did the McGyver thang.

Set the unwrapped butter cube in a bowl.

Set the bowl atop the heater floor vent.

Set a box on top of the bowl to trap the heat.

Turned the furnace up just a smidge.

And of course the force of air sent the box sailing!

So I grabbed the first heavy object I could think of to weight the box down.

My McGyver oven

My McGyver oven

Open sesame!

soft-y, no melt-y!

soft-y, no melt-y!

See!? Like opening a Christmas gift but knowing what’s inside.

Softened butter. Courtesy of the furnace and thank you, furnace! Bet you don’t read about a McGyver oven every day!

Off to bake kisses of gratitude. Toodles for now.

Talking turkey? Nah. Talking gratitude.

There’s much I’m thankful for today.

The dozen gray quail just racing across the road, their short skinny little legs galloping like high-voltage electric wires.

The music by Lhasa de Sela wafting from the stereo speakers.

The second cup of morning coffee, reheated, I confess. Coffee brewed with a tea kettle atop a stove often takes me back to the many cups brewed with a single propane burner in a forest, a desert, a campsite during a road trip or homelessness.

I’m grateful for the town I live in, the state I live in (Arizona) and my Subaru of 13 years who made it possible. Makes all my traveling and movement, as integral to my nature as oxygen, possible.

I’m grateful for the buds I’ll meet up with later tonight for music at the saloon. Our weekly Thursday thang. I’m grateful the saloon’s open on Thanksgiving! Then again, pubs and eateries do brisk business on the holiday!

I’m grateful for the sun pushing its way through the semi-stormy clouds.

There was a day — about every day collectively for five years — when the sun was rarely seen. When its appearance for 10 minutes, before it was swallowed by Gray, Cold Wet Gray, was celebrated! When my bones were constantly damp and cold, when you layered-up and wore coats even in the summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Today I’m working a half day. My boss asked me a few days ago whether I’d mind coming in to run the board from noon to 4 p.m. I don’t mind! Not a whit!

Matter of fact, I’m grateful I get to work at a job I love and enjoy! “Even on Thanksgiving.”

Part of the gratitude is admittedly rooted in many Thanksgivings spent at jobs I detested. Loathed. Would rather not be doing. Jobs where I’d rather be anywhere else but then had no where else to be and no one to spend it with anyways. Save strangers in a bar.

Because I’m quite detail-oriented and meticulous, I tend to lose sight of the forest for the trees. When I zoom the camera back for a wide shot, it’s abundantly clear how far I’ve come, how much my life has improved, incrementally, gradually.

The journey’s been like pushing a boulder forward, true. I’m stubborn (and not unlike my dad — hi dad!) I’d like to learn how to make it less of an arduous exhausting push, more of a glide. 🙂

After work, I’m coming home to resume crafting curtain panels for the new windows (recently installed by the landlord) that I love — and a huge improvement they are! The window treatments are the final big beautification/repair project in the new place — well, 3-months new.

There’s also writing and assorted other projects on my plate — that btw is turkey-free. When I accepted the extra shift at the radio station, I gave up attending a Thanksgiving potluck. I’ll miss seeing people I wish to see; however, it’s a trade I was willing to make. The answer’s always yes! when the station’s involved, when opportunities for extra shifts is floated my way.

I’m grateful that the frequency of the fill-in shifts has increased. I dream of more becoming steadily mine; a coworker looks poised to release one so I may be on the brink of more, yey!

Odd though it may sound, I’m grateful for the job at Fry’s market that I want to release and replace with better. There’ve been issues brewing that suggest we may part ways soon.

I don’t want to leave on bad terms, whatever happens. Time’ll tell after the holiday how it’ll shake down.

I’m grateful for so much, I could go on — and on! Last but certainly not least, I’m truly grateful that I moved from my former digs beneath S. & Y., aka the Clack & Clomp Couple.

While I was thrown a curveball and cringed when told they weren’t renewing my lease, I really did want to move to get away from the entire situation, primarily the upstairs neighbors.

The search for new digs was a grand chore (summer season, influx of returning students, increased rents, etc.). In the end, it all worked out. It really did. I’m so much happier — calmer — domestically now than before. It’s a far better setup for me than the last one — though I do miss living in the heart of downtown.

Well, I could go on like I said. Fortunately for any reader, work beckons! Which segues to gratefulness, again. For my readers. Be they 1 or 100, I’m truly grateful when anyone reads my words! That is a gift to me.

May blessings abound wherever ye be on this American Thanksgiving.

Why must love & loss be intertwined?

The hummingbirds and their wars at the feeder.

The grandfatherly tree with its many massive trunks, limbs and verdant foliage.

The birds who come visit beneath its canopy to partake from the feeder I hung and seeds tossed across the ground.

The view. Overlooking the historic downtown courthouse square and infamous Whiskey Row. The view toward the west/northwest toward Thumb Butte and the high desert mountains shouldering Prescott.

The bells from the courthouse that peal “across the land” on the hour and half-hour.

The disharmonious raucous from the cicadas tucked in trees abundant.

Cooper. The 10-year-old collie-Aussie shepherd (?) mix in the neighbor’s yard. Poor Cooper. Cooped up and lonely all day in his yard. I’ve stories about Cooper I’ve never written, experiences and interactions both funny and sad. (I don’t write as I should. Honestly, I don’t think anyone’s interested.)

Picaro, the feisty orange tabby with the barely-there attention span befitting his immaturity and young soul. He officially lives a couple blocks away but loves hanging ’round this area with the library and passersby. Picaro, in Spanish literature, is a roguish character whose travels and adventures are a source for social satire.

These are the things that I love and hold dear … the things I treasure in my current space at {unpublished address}.

Almost always, it’s not the place I’ll miss when I leave an abode. Or the people, primarily roommates, occasionally fellow tenants.

It’s the animals.

The cat who comes visit. The dog nearby.

And the birds. Especially the birds. Mustn’t forget the birds!

I’m a freak in that I loooove to feed the birds!

I write “freak” because I go outta my way to find a way to feed the birds in every living space (be it a room or studio apartment).

None of these spaces is my own. None of these spaces is a home. Some have lasted a little as a week or few. One lasted three years — which turned out to be two years too many! On average, I probably stay put 4-6 months before a move becomes forced and/or required for whatever reason.

Most of these spaces have little in common aside from gross instability, shit happening that forces a move and animals.

Yet I reach, not intentionally, to “make it a home” in my love for animals. Am quick to admit that I like them M-U-C-H more than people. However, I don’t have a pet. For obvious reasons. A fucked-up domestic life does not lend itself to a pet companion.

Sooooo … the animals. The birds and the dogs and the cats around me. They’re not mine. Some are “borrowed” … like Cooper the Cooped Up Furry Canine and Picaro the Rogue Feline.

And the birds — the big and small wild birds and the hummers — they stop by not to see me of course but partake of their plentiful food lovingly and joyfully provided by moi.

I look at the hummingbird feeder right here on my patio — soon to no longer be mine — and the joy in my heart swells every time a hummer flits by … and/or pauses to imbibe (of homemade nectar).

My heart does a dance as one hummer gives aerial aggressive pursuit of another in the territorial protection of the food source. Sure, to the human perspective, it may look silly. Why, the numerous feeder holes and abundant nectar can nourish a crowd of 10!

But nature is nature, animals are animals and it is not our job to impose the human perspective upon greater forces and creatures outside ourselves.

What seems like “silly hummingbird wars” to our limited viewpoint in fact is a dance of life that we mortals can never fully understand.

We must listen. We must learn. We must and can only appreciate and rejoice in the wisdom of the animal kingdom that we as humans have lost or destroyed amongst ourselves.

Such as my contemplations this Sunday. Haven’t many Sundays left here. My exit date is Aug. 31. Still haven’t found a new space. Not gonna go there today.

Today’s about joy and appreciation. Gratitude for that which has been good and IS good in my current space.

The view.
The tree.
Copper and Picaro.
The birds.

These are the things that I love here.

These are the things that stir deep grief and loss upon my impending departure.

All of a sudden, I know not what else to say.

Except moving here … leaving here … it’s a process … and a process of the heart that’s rare. Meaning I’m rarely fondly attached to a space. More often than not, I celebrate a departure!

This place is different. I wish it didn’t have to be. The moving at this time and for these reasons. But it does.

I shall miss the view and the tree and Cooper and Picaro and the birds so much, I could cry.

As the (calendar) page turns: contemplations

A candle burns in every window — three.

The studio’s sparkling clean. Spaces are cleared of outdated papers and tidy. Everything’s put back in its place.

My 18 books (I can’t allow myself the luxury of books, I move too much!) are now unpacked and set alongside the printer on their temporary (box) table.

Dishes are washed and put away. The trash is ready to be taken out. I’m really big about emptying the residence of trash before New Year’s! Superstitious almost!

Along those same lines, I’ve deleted old emails from the computer.

Small colored Christmas lights illuminate one wall, the one I most often face with the stereo and vision board there.

To bid farewell to 2014 and welcome in the new, I burned frankincense and myrrh. Not before wrapping plastic bags around the two smoke detectors! These ceilings are rather low and the detectors quite sensitive!

Even a blackened piece of toast would set it off the kitchen’s detector, a mere few steps away from the stove! Rather than climb up to yank the thing off every time a pan smoked a little too much, I sealed it inside a tightly-wound plastic bag. Illegal I know but no more beeping! {The bedroom detector meanwhile I leave uncovered just in case …}

Anyways, it’s early still. Only 6.30 in the evening. A few hours before I hoof the several blocks to Whiskey Row. The snow’s stopped, not the cold! It’s like 25 degrees now headed to a low of 19. I’ll need that drink in me to keep me warm!

I have a dream. A passion. Things I dearly and deeply desire in 2015. I daresay that at the top of the list with a few others is more hours at the radio station!

There, I said it! Wrote it!

I loooove where I work. It’s a long story (and not an entirely happy one) how I got there. Now that I’m there some five months and growing, I yearn for more — indeed would love more! I desire many more hours than the 11 per week I currently have. I’m very very grateful for those hours.

It’s about joy, really.

I’m joyful when I’m there during my two shifts. I’ll take as many hours as they’ll give me and need me for! I’ll take learning many more skills, new duties and responsibilities! I’ll embrace them!

My vision board done at the Dec. 22 new moon stars a number of life areas, including, yes, this passion. It reads – quote – Many more hours in radio!  In letters of various colors and sizes cut from magazines.

With around six hours left in 2014 (here in the Mountain Time zone), I wanted to put that out there. And that I’m not looking back and bemoaning the ill fortunes  {and there have been some} or fucked-up residences {oh have there been those!} of 2014.

As I do look back in these closing hours, I do so with gratitude more than anything. I’m so very grateful for so much. Arizona. Prescott. Especially Prescott! The community. The friends I’ve made. The connections I’ve experienced.

The incredible cheerfulness and goodwill and generosity that define this town.  The two healers (M. & S.) assisting me with serious health issues. The YMCA and its FABULOUS pool!

Every person who has touched me while I’m out and about, including strangers. Especially strangers! The many random acts of kindness that I’ve received and that I’ve given. I totally believe — correction, KNOW — that small acts of kindness multiply and multiply and spread the joy and the light.

I’m grateful to no longer have roommates and after three moves in seven months to land in a little space of my own that I love (noisy upstairs neighbors notwithstanding) with a fantastic view of the sky and treetops and buildings in the town I just love love love! And for an affordable rent! How fortunate and blessed am I!

I just know that for me 2015 will bring more good … more upswing … more blessings and things for which I’m so grateful and more joy!

I’ll be asked by the universe / Spirit / life cycle to make smart decisions. To be on my toes and alert to opportunities and to grab them when they flow my way! Not all opportunities are good. Not all opportunities are to be taken. I’ll continue to rely heavily if not exclusively on my intuition and inner knowingness as things arise. I know I’m being asked to do so and will do so and welcome doing so!

Such as my closing sentiments.

A candle burns in every window – three.

The studio is spotless and cleansed with frankincense and myrrh.

The space is ready for 2015. And I’m ready! Ready for being in and spreading:









B is for buddies, bed, beer & blessings

It’s done. I’m in. Well, one foot anyhow.

The studio behind the library on the hill is mine as of 3:30 p.m. yesterday. I wasted no time in beginning the move-in, going straight from their office to the new abode to drop off a small load already in the car (!), then a quick shot to meet my brewery buddy to move the bed.

Bedtime, Bill!

You can tell your friends by who helps you move. As planned, I called Bill, another pub buddy who’d offered to help move the bed, to let him know we’re ready to roll.

Ring ring ring ring ring. No answer. Voice mail. Shit.

So much for help from Bill. He not only bailed on helping as he’d repeatedly promised but he never called back with an explanation or apology. He’s not a bad guy but he’s clearly not to be trusted to keep his word or show up.

Spirit Shows Up

However, Spirit provides. Not only did Justin show up with his truck as promised, he unexpectedly brought along his brother, saying: “Thought we could use another strong young back!”

YES! Thank you, Lord!

The brothers got that heavy dense foam mattress loaded and moved into the new place with nary a blink of an eye!

That’s a load off ! — my only and heaviest piece of furniture cleared out. The rest I can handle myself, carefully and mindful of shoulder-neck-back injuries.

And yes, I absolutely believe that Spirit / God / Universe provided the help required in the form of Justin’s brother when Bill bailed. Thank you thank you thank you helpers above!

Bring on the Beer!

A busy moving day required celebration and chill time. Gotta keep those muscles loaded with the carbs! And what better than dark beer and a loaded baked potato over at the brewery!?

Fueled up, I was ready for one more load up to the new place before calling it a night.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Bugs)

I discovered a few things in the new place through the course of the day.
Beginning with yuck. Like whoever did the cleaning did a less-than-bang-up job.

Now, I don’t expect the identical meticulous attention to details that I give. That’s why upon moving in I always clean a place that’s been allegedly cleaned. Because it never is. I ALWAYS find somethings. So even before I unpack, I get in there on hands and knees and work to the bone scrubbing into every nook, cranny and crevice. Then I keep it that way.

But it’d be nice if they could’ve at least checked the window sills! Lying inside metal tracks is a veritable graveyard of insects! And the dead fly that’s resting, well, dead center on the sill, gross! And totally obvious.

The painted surfaces of drawers and cupboards need attention. I’ll find more as I dig into a deep cleaning.

There’s no drip pan for one stove burner. And the extra oversized one they left resting on the counter, useless. Again, sloppy work. Like cleaning was a hurried or an afterthought.

And the screen on the bedroom window doesn’t fit. Too small. Obviously not the right style. Obviously a on-the-go purchase from a hardware store.

I discovered this when I opened the window to air out the place and returned to a screen half hanging out the window, pushed out by the breezes. That won’t do.

I’ve got cleaning work cut out for me and they their repairs and fixes, definitely.

There were pleasant finds too. Like a good-sized pantry behind the furnace. For a studio, the kitchen storage space is impressive.

And behind the bedroom door lay another happy discovery — cupboards! Which eradicates the need for a dresser or other McGyver makeshift means — read: boxes — of storing my clothes!

Remember, I’ve been without furniture, not even a bed, for 3+ years. Boxes have been my friend! I’m extraordinarily practical and inventive with ’em too. Definitely a think-outside-the-box girl! Or inside-the-box as the situation warrants. 🙂

So I’m looking forward to getting the place clean and at least some belongings outta boxes and into proper cupboards!

All Told …

Well, perhaps not ALL 😉 … but certainly the headline news. I’ve got my new space, the studio behind the library on the hill — officially completing Move #52, give or take.

For the coming five days, I’ll be bouncing between two residences, cleaning there, sleeping here, packing up and lifing boxes here, putting ’em down there a short 1/2 mile away.

In closing, it’s an exciting time, finishing up 2014 with a significant change and fresh start. I just know things’ll only continue improving and that good stuff’s in store in 2015.

I’m blessed and grateful for the good that’s been bestowed upon me in the (short) eight months I’ve lived in this town. A fine time it is too to make this move, on the cusp of Thanksgiving. And lest I don’t forget, thanks and praises to all above who helped this happen! I am grateful.

a new lease on (apartment) life begins today

Well, it’s here. The day: lease-signing. The place: the studio behind the library on the hill.

On the one hand, the time and wait between the first viewing the place, what, a couple weeks ago and today’s signing have moved quickly.

On the other hand, the time between when I was informed by the landlord around Halloween that my current lease wouldn’t be renewed and the search for a new place thus undertaken seems long and weighty. Looking for a new place to live is always hard work, especially in a town renewed for housing challenges and rents generally far outside my budget.

So I did well. I walked the walk. I kept my eye on the ball. I was clear about what I wanted and didn’t want. I was realistic about my budget and key needs at this time. I was willing to make certain compromises but not concede to a slum place or place of desperate. And swear to God, I REALLY DID NOT want to return to roommates!!! Been battered and bruised much too much to want any of that crap continued in my life.

I like living alone. Flying solo. It’s healthy and necessary for me. Even though my current apartment complex is toxic and oppressive and best to leave behind in the category of Learning Experiences Not to be Repeated, I wasn’t deterred in efforts to continue solo living.

In a few hours, I’ll sit down with the property management lady and go over a lease approximately 10 pages long.

As mentioned in a prior post, the lease spells out in no uncertain terms the rules, conditions and terms of occupancy. Every i’s dotted and t crossed, that’s for certain! I’ve read it from cover to cover; there’s certainly no harm in going over it item by item in the office today, in no small part because the $ penalty for a violation is steep. These folks don’t mess around! Going in with eyes open is the way to go.

Once keys are in my hand, it’s move’s on! This evening, two buddies from the pubs have kindly volunteered a pickup truck and muscles to move a queen-sized dense memory foam mattress. A bed that weighs some 100+ pounds!

The bed (no box springs or frame) is my sole item that I can’t move on my own. It requires 2-3 people to move, it’s just that danged dead-weighty!
I’m sooooo soooo grateful for their offers to help. People normally don’t do that for me!

It’s location location location. Finally, after a lifetime of nomadic travel and homelessness, I’ve found the right town and community and state! They resonate with me and I them. I feel so blessed and grateful to live in a place I love and that loves me back! (I’ve lived in places of unrequited love and know of what I write.)

Once the bed’s out tonight, the rest becomes an arduous solo task of incremental moves with my car over the next five days or so. It’ll be work. It’s not the hard labor I fear (wtf, I grew up hard-laboring as a slave!), it’s the tremendous strain and risk to my injured shoulder, neck & back. We’ll see how it goes. I intend to go gingerly and gently into that good move.

All told and all still to do, today marks the beginning of the next chapter.

I’m so grateful to have found a place that I can afford that’s still within walking distance of historic downtown AND behind the library — jackpot!

I’m grateful that I can continue living alone. I was grateful for it in August when I returned to solo living after years of roommates (and traumas) and I’m grateful for it now.

I’m grateful that the place is clean and maintained and managed by not-slumlords.

I’m grateful for the offers of help from two buddies to move the bed. I need the help. I could’ve found a couple dudes with a truck on craigslist, sure.

But there’s something special, personal and comforting about someone you know offering to assist. This is new for me. Offers of help. And learning to accept help. HUGE lifetime lesson and theme. I truly seek and want to grow in that capacity and put the cruelty of EXTREME and death-defying self-reliance & independence that were shoved down my throat behind me. I’m excited and grateful to be changing and growing.

I’m grateful that I HAVE a bed to move! Truly. My bed’s a mere few months old. For three years, I had no bed so having one to move is a big deal! Even though it is friggin’ heavy. 🙂

I’m grateful to have secured a place before winter’s onset. And I’m grateful to have secured a place in this season of Thanksgiving (officially Thursday). I’ve much to be thankful for and I am.

Now, let the let the lease be signed, the keys exchanged, the truck’s engine turn and the moving begin!

On the radio, roommates (none!) and random writings

A week in human time is equivalent to a month in mine!

So much has happened since my last post a week ago, my move into a studio — NO ROOMMATES! — two weeks ago. Where does the time go?! The million dollar question that not even an astrophysicist could answer.

So’s not to extend the time lapse, the news in rough chronological order starting with the most recent:

* At today’s regular staff meeting at the radio station, where I work one 5-hour shift a week running the board and giving station IDs, my boss asked whether I can also work Sunday’s shift since R. will be away.

Yes! The answer’s always yes at the station! No matter what it is or the time!

Additionally, he tells me that a couple of the regular news folks will be taking time off down the road and he’d like to get me trained on editing their news stories down from their usual 3-minute lengths to bites of 30-45 seconds — a minute max. The usual person just hasn’t the time.

The answer again is yes! My boss knows of my background in editing and writing and so in that sense am a “natural candidate.”

So this weekend is practice. I’ll be given a stack of 3-minute news stories and my mission should I choose to accept it – I Do! — will be to edit each down to a half minute.

It’s one skill to edit stories to a designated length in print and another to edit them into designated air time. You don’t know how much you say in 15 seconds or 2 minutes or 20 minutes — especially those who talk just to hear themselves talk — until you’re taping and timing it to the 10ths of a broadcast second!

I’m excited! Excited for the opportunity to contribute more to the station. Excited for an assignment involving writing and editing, my fortes. Excited for the opportunity to develop new skills. Excited for the added work. Excited plain ‘n’ simple!

* After more than two years locked in their boxes … after more than two years of being hauled thousands of miles from place to place and room to room and storage space to storage space … my music system finally’s got a chance to come out and play!

I’m a music lover since childhood and have a yummy system. The Sony CD player is fine (as in average), the Denon receiver excellent and the B&W speakers are outstanding, to die for. (Quite a story getting those; I’ve have a turntable and slew of albums — I’m a vinyl lover — currently inaccessible since they’re stored in another state.)

For various reasons, I’ve had to keep my lovely music system boxed up through the years. Colorado back in 2012 was the last time it was out. Now that I’m in a space of my own, I gets to bring ‘er out!

And I did last night. It’d been beckoning me. Plus I was growing a skoosh weary of staring at a bunch boxes, nicely organized and stacked though they be. 🙂

Once I got everything set up — on a most attractive sturdy bananas box from Costco serving as the table — I was up ’til 3 in the morn listening to music. LOUDLY. Headphones, ya know. Replenishing my soul stricken by a drought of music (tunes from a radio / iPad / iPhone notwithstanding, ain’t the same).

* I got a bed! An event deserving of its own blog entry; wanted to mention ‘cuz it’s worth mentioning.

* I didn’t get the PT job cleaning the sleep lab. I was looking forward to it and all rarin’ to go. That is to say, it was offered, then they rescinded several hours before I was to start.

Their explanation, after I pursued it, sounds plausible so I can’t fault them for bailing at the last minute if indeed it’s explanation’s true. If not, a lie would piss me off more than losing that job in the final hour.

So now I “wait” for them to call with the next commercial cleaning opportunity. Not like a teenager waitin’ for some guy or girl to ring. I keep moving forward, looking for work, submitting applications and resumes and so on. So damn fucking well do I know the drill that my ears bleed just hearing them repeated in print!

* The best things about living alone again:

1. No. Roommates! No roommates no roommates no roommates!! Shouted from the rooftop!

N-O R-O-O-M-M-A-T-E-S!

2. Keeping the space as I like and need it. Meticulously clean. When I moved in, and before I unpacked anything, I scrubbed every square inch of the linoleum floors — AND baseboards, behind the fridge & stove, inside and on top of cabinets, behind drawers that required removing, shower, tub, etc. etc. etc. It’s who I am, it’s what I do.

Then there’s organizing. Like I’ve oft said, I would’ve invented the phrase: Everything has a place and everything in its place had someone not beaten me to it.

No taking THOSE German genes outta this gal!

Deeeeep cleaning requires hard work, a love of detail (or at least a passing tolerance for those detail-disinclinced), patience and most of all good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Once it’s done though, keeping it clean (and organized) is a piece of cake. That’s where most people fail.

Not I!

Only difference between how a place looks during and after my residency and how it looked when I moved in is it’s 500+% cleaner thanks to my meticulous nature and dedicated maintenance of a high standard of cleanliness (and organization).

Yeah, landlords have thanked me through the years for leaving a place in such tip-top shape. Whoever cleans after I vacate is bored to tears. Everything’s been cleaned to high order! Ovens, fridges — inside, top of, behind and behind — baseboards, windows, sills, any surface that I can safely reach and those I can’t are subject to my cleaning craft.

3. Best thing about living alone. No roommates! Or did I mention that? 😉

4. Also — and no minor matter, this — getting to make noise and not have someone hauling off on me. I mean, noise as in making tea in the kitchen, not re-shingling a roof. I couldn’t breathe in the last place without Judy bashing me with her rageful hammer or oppressive dictates. She’s the rule, not the exception, so yeah, being alone again is healthful healthful healthful!

So today’s good. Been dealing with a lot of heavy baggage too; today’s neither the time nor place.

In closing, I’m grateful for all the good in my life and the good that Prescott specifically has brought and continues to bring me.

I’m grateful for the opportunities and good things developing at the radio station and living alone again, absolutely! I’m grateful for Arizona — conservative Wild-West state that she is — and the many many kindnesses, ready smiles, helping hands and overall friendliness in my community.

I give in kind. As one who has traveled near and far and high and low, I can say with genuine and well-earned authority that being nice and/or kind to others does NOT {in neon lights} return like. So this community works for me in ways that others haven’t / didn’t / don’t.

Places ARE different. People ARE different, despite the cliche that we’re basically alike around the world and want the same things. No. No. And no. No.

That’s a wrap for this Monday. Toodles from Prescott in the mighty fine (& conservative) state of Arizona.