Tag Archives: dreams coming true

Embracing Dreams

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We have made it to New Mexico, we have done almost everything we wanted to do to prepare to live the creative life that we’ve imagined, and just as we are coming to the completion of all our big projects, we are out of money.  Not bad timing.

But oh, what we have done in a year, and that is because Sarita and I create a dream, and then we plunge into making it come true.  When we told a former principal at our school what our plan was, she said we should just take a leave of absence (not quit) from our Bay Area school, in case things didn’t work out as we hoped.  But that is not our way.  We follow the path, and if things don’t work out, we go a different direction.  But we don’t ever really go back.

The advantage of having a cancer that reappears, is that there is no time to waste.  So once we figure out what we want, we just go for it, and watch it become reality.  We now have a beautiful barn, a big lot that is empty and waiting to be internally fenced, a new house/studio filled with all kinds of fiber, material, yarn, mementos and favorite furniture, and the prospect of four baby alpacas coming in early June.  We’ve worked hard, we’ve hired wonderful workers who’ve worked hard, we’ve tried to be patient through the weather and the time frames of others, and we’ve done it!  I can hardly believe it.

It’s not as though we were waiting to live until it’s all done.  We’ve been living, and it’s been busy and sometimes a little crazy, and a lot of fun.  But soon we get to have a different kind of fun — with our new babies, and all the creations that we make in our new studio, and hopefully, with visits from our family and friends.  And of course, there are always more projects to add in any time, like building a chicken coop, etc.

Now I’m faced with my cancer creeping back, and all I want is to have a good amount of time in this new life we’ve worked so hard for.  It might be too much to ask for, and when fear begins to envelope me, I feel as though I should just quit everything, and succumb to it, because it’s so hard to fight.  Then I tell myself, I am not dead, and even if I never get to wear the things I’m sewing or knitting, even if I never paint another wood mandala, even if I never write another song, I am enjoying the process of sewing and knitting, the process of playing folk and country music with my friends, performing informally for various places in the area, and coloring in my mandala coloring books, one of my most peaceful activities.   I still feel healthy (or at least, healthier than I’ve felt for the last five years), and I don’t want to rush back into the regimen of drugs and chemo.  A multiple myeloma webinar I heard last night, said that once I have to go back to drugs, I will never be off them until the disease is over. And I know that means until I am dead.  So now I have about 2 1/2 more months without chemo (maybe more if I’m lucky) and I need to take complete advantage of that time.

Hanging the clothes out to dry, picking up glass from the alpaca lot (which has endless broken glass, nails, etc. from its former life as a vacant lot), baking honey buttermilk bread,  snuggling with the dogs, knitting while watching “Outlander”, learning a song with my group that I used to sing to my daughter when I brought her home from the hospital — these are the things that bring me joy on a daily/weekly basis.  I’ve also made the decision that I don’t want to travel at all, outside of a trip to my parents’ house in Michigan.  Traveling is too stressful, and I basically don’t want to be anyplace else.  Even traveling and exploring this area might not happen.   I don’t regret any of my travels, but I mostly did them because I thought I should, and because other people wanted me to.  Sarita and I are stay-at-homes, and I’ve decided to just embrace that completely.  Feels good. Actually, feels like a relief.

When I thought I was dying before, I had this urge to give stuff away.  I did give away a lot, some I regretted later, but only a little.  I am having that urge now, but I am going to resist, because I’ve just “decorated” both homes so carefully, I want to enjoy everything until the very last moment. Putting the pictures up was the last decorating act, and they are incredibly satisfying.  The art work of my family members and friends, the pictures of my kids, grandchild, and niece and nephew, the picture of Sarita and a brother, and me and my sister, framed together in a sweet gold frame — I love looking at these every day.

So mostly, it’s about enjoying every single hour (not about what I accomplish), and it’s about staving off fear, because I know that is detrimental to my health.  And it’s about lots and lots of talking with Sarita.  We can spend a few days and nights talking about the things we fear, and the decisions we need to make when one of us dies, and how to live on the small amount of money we make, and then when those days are over, we both have a sense of calm and peace, at least until the next issue comes along.  But I have no doubt we can work out anything.  We have only been together 8 years, but several of those have been quite challenging ones. Luckily, we both have a belief about being together in a next life, so it doesn’t really matter how many years we are able to have in this one.  We found each other, and that’s what counts.  Whenever death takes me, I can say I have known what happiness is, risk, intensity, pain,  and love.  I have lived.

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Getting a New Roof

dirt from attic

Yes, we truly are getting a new roof.  Last night we slept with a roof on only half of the house, and it’s the monsoon season!  Luckily, there was no rain, and at some point, I had to give up worrying about that and finally go to sleep. Today they started working around 7 a.m. I’m sure the neighbors aren’t thrilled, but that’s the way it goes around here.  Sometimes things just happen.

At some time after five, the rooster starts crowing up the street and that seems to wake the dogs up.  We let them out, feed the larger one, then usually go back to bed with everyone.  Today though, we made them stay in bed till 6, then life with noise in the driveway and on the roof began.  I’m hoping and praying that they finish today.  Kallie and I are both wrecks with the loud noises and the work.  I coped by making a gluten free cake at 7 a.m. that my niece gave me the recipe for.  Kallie coped by pacing, and eventually Sarita put the thunder shirt on her, which seems to help.

Taking off the old roof showed hidden problems.  Wood around part of the chimney where there should be asbestos or at least metal.  Smoky black on the underside of the tin from some unknown time in the past when there was a lot of smoke up in the attic.  Dirt piled high on the ceilings, apparently used for insulation in the old days (see picture).  It took an unexpected 6 hours to get that out of there.  Wow, they used to make strong ceilings.

The crew works hard, laughs a lot, seems to enjoy themselves, even though they had to get up so early on a weekend, and do such backbreaking work.  We are all lucky today, because more people showed up than did yesterday. We are lucky because we have a great handyman who cares about us and is willing to do what it takes to make sure we’re okay.  We are lucky to be living this dream of ours.

Since moving here, we have been going like firecrackers, trying to get everything done while we have money and while the weather is okay, so that we can relax a little in the winter and do our craft projects.  That means we’ve been a bit crazy, because the transition period that began last March when we decided to move here permanently and cut our ties with California, is still going on.  Transitions are about my least favorite thing.  But we have both noticed, you only know how tough you can be when you have to deal with tough things, things that are not always pleasant.  And apparently, through our lives, we have shown toughness, so I should be able to cope with the roof being fixed, and the many other things that are now in the works but not completed.

We have managed to buy ourselves a great truck, 4 wheel drive, camper top, over a hundred thousand miles, but everything’s in good working order, and a Tacoma to boot.  The worst part about it is the bumper sticker which has to go, as it is extremely Republican.  We have ordered ourselves a tiny little hot tub, doesn’t use much water or power, but will allow us to sit out under the amazing stars in our back yard, and more importantly, will give Sarita a chance to continue her baths (in a town with little water) — one of the important ways she relaxes. Of course we have to have a slab poured to put it on, and the electric work done to accommodate it.  We have also ordered a very small manufactured house to be put on our lots next door, the ones where we’re going to have 3 sheep.  It will provide a room for guests, and give us a studio for art and sewing, both are desperately needed, as we have such a tiny adobe, and no room for anyone to visit and stay.  Of course we have to have the structure that’s over there demolished first, and we have to have it bulldozed to make it level and turn under all the glass and other trash we haven’t been able to get rid of because it’s so prolific.  We’ve been meeting with all the utility people, and have to figure that all out, and a foundation has to be dug, and so on and so forth.   And then we have to build the sheep pen (and a chicken coop), and paint our garage, front porch and mud porch so they can make it through the winter.

This is only a tiny fraction of what we have to do, but it will keep us busy at least until the snow comes.  Sarita is probably going to work in October, one or two days a week, so that will influence the time line.  But meanwhile we are going to do what we can to be ready by Christmas for her daughter to visit, and for our chance to do the creative things we moved here to do.  We’ve spent a lot of time working in the yard, trying to grow a few flowers at the end of the season here, planting some greens, preparing some dirt for next year’s garden, where we hope to have corn and tomatoes, and start planting some fruit trees.  We’re learning to save our gray water from the sink, and to collect rainwater in the cistern to water things, so we can conserve the town’s well water, which seems so scarce.

We have a garage full of furniture that will go in the new house when it’s done, and several things that we’ve been looking for and can’t find for this house must be buried in there as well.  We feel fortunate to have a space to store it all though, and we are thrilled that we won’t have to buy anything for the house when it’s done.  So far we’ve stuck to our budget, and everything we buy we are planning to have until death do us part.

It’s just this transition stuff.  It’s already autumn, a time of year we’ve never been here and are thrilled about, and there are things happening in the area almost every weekend all the way through to December. Things I’ve been wanting to participate in ever since we first came.  I can’t believe summer is over however, and feel like it wasn’t really even here, since it was all taken up with packing, moving, and unpacking.  On the other hand, we still pinch ourselves about the fact that we’re living the dream we started 8 years ago when we met, still in other relationships that were not really working, writing in journals back and forth to each other about what we wanted.  We actually have much of it, and are working on getting the rest!  I may be 61, and my happy relationship didn’t start until my 50’s, but at least it started, and it’s still going on.  Dreaming is a good thing.  I’d never have believed how rich I could feel, rich in so many things other than money, but even in that.  I’ve shown some qualities that I never thought I had, good money management, good foresight, good overall view of things, good planning.  Nobody who ever knew me would have imagined that I could be good at these things.  Plus, I’m a nester from way back, and am having the chance to do that big time.

So when I hear the noise and feel the worries about the roof getting finished, etc. I just need to take that cake out of the oven and remember how incredibly lucky I am.  I’ve been through some versions of hell, and this certainly isn’t it.  I wish for everyone, the transition to such a good life.