Switching Gears

I’ve decided that flexibility will be the key to success. I spent a couple of hours with my son, figuring out all that we could, should and would do each day. We now have a Brier Patch Academy daily plan that includes not only reading and writing and arithmetic, but chores and exercise. We tried it out on Friday, but almost immediately realized we needed to swap things around in order because we were going out for lunch. No problem. We still managed to get through quite a bit. Next week we’ll start over, with our adjusted schedule and see how that goes. If it doesn’t work, we’ll change it. See? Flexible!

One of the things I’ve added to our schedule is writing time. Some in the morning, some in the afternoon. I’ve set myself a goal of completing the draft of one chapter a week and I’ve outlined the book into about 12 chapters. I am determined NOT to edit until the first draft is complete. This is ALWAYS where I bog down and fail. I keep editing and re-editing the same chapters until I’m sick of it and the writing is technically correct but I’ve sucked all the life out of it.

Another addition to our schedule is gardening. I realized after my husband got his job offer this week, that I’ve been avoiding my garden because I was afraid I would lose it. Last year at this time I had beautifully double dug beds and early plantings protected with row cover and plastic. This year, nada. So today I’m going to get out and start cleaning up the flower beds around the house. We lost a ton of soil and mulch in a big wind storm in February so it’s time to dig up the chicken run and use all that lovely compost to build up the beds again. I’ve got two truckloads of tree bark to replace all the decorative mulch that was blown away.

I can’t whine about it too much. After all, I live in the high desert Sierra mountains. A little wind, a little drought, temperature that ranges 50 degrees in one day – that’s the price we pay for living in the most beautiful place in the world.

Gotta go. There’s chicken poop to be scooped.



Borrowed with respect from Morris.com

I’m not a big sports nut, but you know how the home plate umpire yells “SAFE” when the runner slides onto the base just as the ball lands in the catcher’s mitt? That’s how I feel right this minute.

My husband got a job.

Just writing that brings up such an amazing mix of emotions. Relief. Joy. Pride. Gratitude. Did I mention relief? We can keep our wonderful house. I get to be the stay at home mom and home school my son. I get a chance to write my novel. I can cook and clean and entertain and get involved in the community.

My head is spinning with possibilities. I might need to lie down. Or dance naked down the street. Okay, maybe not naked, but perhaps exuberantly dressed.

Gotta go. I need to draft out a project plan for my new life.

Enjoying the View

Gratitude is a muscle that must be exercised. Since the layoff, I’ve been focusing on my blessings more than my challenges, which makes a lovely change. Today I am feeling grateful for the view from my office window.

My desk has an amazing view of the snow capped peaks of the Sierras, trees, blue sky and sunshine. There are two huge trees on my side of the house that provide shade (once we get some leaves) and some pretty amazing bird activity. Once we had a pair of mating, then nesting falcons – totally cool. There is a battered old sofa that must be 40 years old, possibly more, that makes a perfect spot for a cup of tea and a good read. My friend Meredith sent me a Route Master blanket that keeps my knees warm and makes me dream of double decker buses in London. Book cases line the walls, filled with books I’ve read and enjoyed and one or two that I’ve not read. Someday I may get around to those, too. I have a stereo that has both a CD and a cassette player so I can entertain myself with 80’s mix tapes and my collection of audio books or try something more modern.

In this room I write, sort papers, do taxes, hunt for jobs, play solitaire and rest. I spent several days going through junk and weeding out books and papers that I don’t want or need anymore. It feels more peaceful than it did when it was full of stuff. I’ve probably spent more time in there in the last month than I have in the last year. It’s my space. A room of my own.

How lucky I am.

Missing in Action

Where does the time go? it is April 2015 and my last post was over a year ago. Funny how long ago and yet five minutes that feels. As most of you know, I got laid off last month. The thing that has been most interesting is how happy it made me. I’ve been so stressed out and miserable for the last year. I kept telling myself that it would get better, that new management always means some chaos. Instead, it got worse and then, out of the blue, a layoff.

Reduction in Force. RIF. I keep having flashes of myself on a surf board for some reason, but I think that’s a rip tide. So here I am, riding my own RIF tide. I’ve applied for a lot of jobs in my field of expertise. I can’t say I’m very excited about getting most of them, but they would pay the bills.

I’ve also applied for some writing gigs. Part time, random time, any time sorts of things that probably won’t pay the bills. But they make me happy just to think of doing them.

So what if we took on a boarder and cut our expenses? Cashed out my retirement and paid off bills? What if we lived off unemployment for a while and I just…write?

What if’s are the dreams that we dare to speak out loud.

What My Left Hand Said To Me

I’m reading (or maybe re-reading, it seems awfully familiar) Martha Beck’s book the Four Day Win. I’m at the part where she has you try writing questions with your dominant hand and answers with your other hand. First I felt really stupid. Then bored because as far as I could tell, my left hand was writing the same things my right hand would have written. I kept at it for a bit, maybe 10 minutes out of the recommended 15 and then something weird happened.

I wrote:

Stop Trying


You Are

Then I started to cry very, very quietly.

Afterwards I felt sleepy and oddly peaceful. 

I may have to talk to my left hand some more. Apparently there is something to this wacky technique after all.


C-3 Time (Constant Course Corrections)

I had a really good run from October to end of February. Exercising, eating right and feeling a lot less stressed. As soon as the Kaia BRIK was over, I thought, hey, I can keep right on making progress. I was dreaming of another five pounds and another pant size down.

The reality is that for 10 days I did pretty much nothing but sit around and eat. Watching tv and playing the incredibly addictive solitaire game on my iphone. I worked. A lot. Too much, maybe. But I have a new project and that always sucks me in until I feel like I have a handle on it. Early morning meetings with Mumbai and late meetings with Shanghai. Finally I put the workouts in my calendar and blocked out the time before and after, too. Still possible to get invitations, but won’t feel as guilty about declining them.

Made it to a workout on Tuesday. This morning I started cleaning my bedroom which was reflective of my mental state, so not pretty. Piles of clothes and accessories all over the floor and I actually can’t remember the last time I took out the garbage which is now reaching ridiculous proportions. I will also be able to pack up a box of really huge clothes that I was wearing in October last year. Yay!

So, time to roll up my sleeves and dig into my life a bit and give it some of the same attention as my job. Tended my little seedling garden in my sunroom and now I’m having coffee with my husband. Beautiful view of the mountains and mostly sunny blue sky. My son is sleeping upstairs and our dog is lying at our feet. 

Life is good.

Hot Bed for Potatoes

during2It may be sunny and warm during the day, but it is still February in the High Sierra desert and planting anything outside is probably insane. Not that this will stop me. I did some research this weekend on creating hot beds. A hot bed is two thirds fresh or hot compost (horse manure is what I used) and one third bedding soil. By putting the hot compost on the bottom, it generates (hopefully) enough heat during the night to counteract the night time cold.

My son and his friend did an amazing job digging a 20 foot long trench along the edge of our front lawn. One of my other goals is to reduce useless lawn and turn it into edible landscaping. This is the first step!

Then we got some 2x8x8 Douglas Fir and built two frames. We placed these on the ground and then dug down so that the hole is a total of 16 inches deep. We leveled them (sort of) and then went next door and got two big wheelbarrows full of fresh horse manure from my neighbor. We put that in the bottom of the hole and packed it down somewhat (not too tightly) to help the anaerobic process that actually generates the heat. Then we put back the top soil back in. Then I added 2 inches of super organic raised bed planting soil from my local nursery. It is black and rich and has perlite which helps to hold in the moisture – very necessary here in Nevada.

The first bed looks amazing. I’m going to let it sit for a few days to heat up, covered with black plastic to get things going.

Sometime this week we’ll finish digging the second bed and filling it. I’d like to make five beds altogether, staggering the plantings by about two weeks to give a fairly continuous supply of potatoes.

I found some organic seed potatoes at two local nurseries and I got four different kinds. I also saved out a few from last years crop (nearly ate them all they were so good!)

I’ll start checking the temperature every morning to see how the beds compare to the ambient temperature.

Once we plant, I’ll cover them with burlap and row cover and clear plastic. That should provide enough light and air but keep them warm. And if not, it was great exercise and the beds will be ready for spring re-planting.

Here are some great pictures of my son helping with the beds and the before, during and after pictures.


Introducing Nevada Woman

I decided that I am not really focused on losing weight anymore. What I am focused on is living a healthy life. That includes so many things other than diet and exercise, so I considered renaming the blog then decided that the whole POINT of the blog was to get to this life, so this is just me, continuing on with the success of that effort.

I am not thin and I may not ever be thin.

But I can do the things I want to do and I have a great life, so that’s what I’m going to write about. My family, my friends, my dogs, my house, my garden, my chickens and even my work.

Because those are the things that matter.


There Are Mountains Here

There are mountains here
Hidden in the fog
We gather slowly in the cold, reluctant to leave our warm cars
Heads are covered in fleece
Bodies hidden under layers
Hands bundled in gloves
Arms start pumping
Feet start stampingThere are mountains here
Lost in the mist
A last look at the time and we are off
Some race ahead, breaking trail through the snow and ice
Some jog behind, steady soldiers headed towards a goal
I take my first step
And the next and then the next
I think about the two miles to the turnaround point
And the two miles back

There are mountains here
Invisible in the dawn
My head is down
I watch my feet; afraid of falling
I look up to see my friends rounding the bend
They disappear into the fog
I am alone

There are mountains here
Snow covered giants rising above the morning fog
I see the fairy lace of ice on branches
Feel the glow of the pre-dawn sun through the fog
The river flows, the Valley’s life blood, pushing through the ice
My feet begin to move faster
My arms are pumping
My head is up, savoring the beauty

There are mountains here
And so am I