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.


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.

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:









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!