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About Me

I have always been an odd bird, and believe me I take that as a compliment. I am so interested in the next thing that I have a difficult time sticking to things. (I intend this blog to be as eclectic as I am, so that should keep me going.) This short attention span is very well suited for some things. I do very well with theatre, just about the time I start getting bored with the show, the run is over. Same thing with school. I love learning, and spending about a semester doing something is a good length of time for me.
Luckily I have a lot of interests. I am a historian, but when people ask what period I focus on, I cannot say. I go through phases. In first grade I was practically obsessed with ancient Egypt, by middle school it was Civil War. When I was young I did melodrama, as a result I focused on the Victorian Era, now I am in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) so I lean towards medieval.
I am very interested in new technologies, cutting edge research, and neuroscience, but also ancient cultures and technology. I will write about the failings of society and my thoughts on improvement, but also things that I love about the world and wouldn’t change for anything. Sometimes I may do nothing more than post a review of an old movie, but I will also post my books chapter by chapter.
I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say, I would like to create a lively discourse with readers and other writers.
Take Pride in Your Insanity!

Just a Day (or two) in the Life

Lest you think I am exaggerating about my way too hectic life, let me tell you about the past couple days.

Halloween: I’m still trying to finish costumes. Big got up and got dressed a little quicker than he has been lately.

(Which is not very ‘quick’. It’s really hard to convince yourself to get up early enough to catch the bus an hour and a half before the sun comes up.) They said no full face masks, so I decided to work on that later.

I also had to get Little up to go to the bus stop since Grandma was out of town.

I had just enough time to finish Little’s Robin mask before we had to go into town.

We got to the school just in time to watch the costume parade. There were several Batman’s, but Big was the only Adam West Batman.

Then Little and I had to take off, just in time to make it to my dentist appointment. Yes, I am crazy enough to see a dentist on Halloween.

After that we had time to get lunch, but Little was not hungry. And adamantly against buckling his seat belt.

(My kids have been having a prolonged battle with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. This means that when they had boils on their hands and I had to keep them home, they were not behaving sick at all, but now we are dealing with appetite loss, crabby behavior, tired, coughing…)

He was willing to put it on to go to the thrift store, so yay! But after that stop, OMG I have never had such a seat belt battle before in my life. For starters, both of us are red heads. We are Very stubborn. He is dealing with all the aforementioned things, and it was just about naptime. He is getting big enough that physically putting him in against his will is not really a viable option, he knows what parts never to bend, and he knows how to wiggle out the other arm, etc. I ended up having to loosen the straps, get him in and tighten it down. And he still wiggled out, so I got him back in and tightened it more. Then he feel asleep before I even got out of the parking space.

I then stopped to get lunch, obviously I had to go to a drive thru. I hate fast food. I know I’m not alone, but I just don’t enjoy it.

After lunch I had to go to pick up Big from school. This also included picking up Winnie-The-Pooh.

A small battle over Little’s seat belt ensued. Then I had to rush to the train station to pick up my mom and grandmother. We have a small car and had to fit three adults (one wearing a walking boot), two kids in car seats, a suitcase, two pumpkins, a walker, and the stuff from the thrift store. Luckily I am very good at Tetris.

Then we rushed home to join the costume parade. We were just late enough that the traffic through town was stopped for the parade. Since we were stopped anyway, the kids and I (yes, from the middle of the backseat between two car seats) jumped out and walked to catch up with the parade. (I grabbed my Alfred coat, but that was all of my costume I grabbed, and couldn’t get Big’s cape or mask either.)

After that the day calmed down. When mom got to the costume contest I went back to the car to get the missing costume pieces, and got back just in time for the family contest. Afterwards we went to dinner at The Holler. Awesome, as always! After dinner we tried to decide whether or not to go to Cerrillos for Trick-or-Treating. Big was super excited and was annoyed when I said he needed a coat. I had just overheard someone saying that it was 16 degrees (Fahrenheit) when they got up. Yes, he needs a coat to go out. Little decided it was too cold before the coat argument even started. We only got around one block before Big decided to go back to the car, skipping over any houses on the way. (Granted this is a rural community, the blocks are big, with only a couple houses on each side.)

Day of the Dead:

Got up crazy early to get big on the bus. I don’t think I got back to bed that day, but we had to get to the gallery and get ready to move furniture. Yay. At two we were expecting a group of people to take a fridge to the ballpark. So we had to empty it, and then started working on clearing off a desk so we can move it.

So right around two: Big got home on the bus, the fridge movers came, the propane guy came to move a giant propane tank, we got a phone call about merchants association dues.

So mom goes to show the propane guy the tank, my grandma writes the check and waits for the guy, I get the kids settled and go realize that the door frame is too small for the fridge. We consider taking down the drywall covering the door that it was probably brought in through. But that goes through the rental unit, and would need to go out through a gate that’s probably also too small, or out the back door and past the propane tank. So we determined to just force it through the too small door. The fridge door came off with a little challenge. The kitchen door came off pretty easily. It’s still too big. So the door jam came off. That didn’t solve it. We had to remove screws because the head of the screw was too thick. That helped, but still did not solve it.

I ended up climbing over the refrigerator into the kitchen, including one of those ‘why women live longer’ in reverse. I stepped onto the dolly that was under the fridge I was trying to get over. I looked around all the places that my mom wearing the walking boot couldn’t get to. Nothing was stopping it, but I could see where it was wedged so I used my shoulder as a battering ram. Finally got it through.

Meanwhile the kids want snacks, so mom made corn dogs and passed them over the top of the fridge. The propane guy determined that he couldn’t move the tank, it was too far, so we need to get people and carry it. He capped off the gas line it was connected to. And the merchants association guy came to get the check.

Ok so we got the fridge to the truck, and roped in more help from the bar across the street. We had the dolly rolling up a ramp of two beams. I pulled it to the point where I had to get on the bed or get squished. I got up, I pulled to the point where the ramp pieces would flip up under the weight of the fridge. One flipped and the other didn’t. The fridge nearly slid off the side of the dolly, except that my arm was in the way. I don’t know what happened at that point, but it seemed that everyone thought they were done, but I had most of the weight on my arm. I had to call out to get them to get the fridge moving again. Everything turned out ok, but my arm has a rather significant bruise.

Ok, so then I went to get the kids because we were going to the Maize Maze in Albuquerque. Only Little took a nap. We went in, got a map, and stepped in to the maze. I decided to let the kids choose turns at random.

We succeeded in getting lost to the point where the map did not bear any resemblance to the maze. Since we got there kinda late, it was getting dark. Unsurprisingly the kids got cold and antsy after awhile. I decided to go back to the entrance just to get out and maintain the fun. After I made that choice we got out pretty quick…out the exit no less!

But the kids didn’t want to hang out, they wanted to go home. Which is fine since it was bedtime. But on the way to the car, Big threw up. Little had done that a few days before, I chalked it up to the cough from the Hand Foot and Mouth.

On the way home Big woke up screaming that his stomach hurt, the seat belt was too tight and that he couldn’t take it. I was really close to home, just had to go over the mountain. But I pulled over and took the seat belt off. He has had some stomach aches for the last several days. I wasn’t sure if it was just how he was sitting and squirming, but his stomach looked distended. I knew that could be a really bad sign and that I didn’t have a cell phone signal. So I had to buckle him back in (looser of course) and get home ASAP. I got home, brought him in, thankfully my mom was sitting right in the front room so I asked her to look at his belly while I got a sleeping Little out of the car. She agreed that Big looked distended, so we called 911. The first responders were helpful, but couldn’t tell us anything. The medical guys were able to tell us that it probably was not life threatening his vitals all looked good, but that he should probably go to the hospital just to be safe. My mom told them the story of my grandfather’s older brother who died of appendicitis before my grandfather was born. The doctor had said that everything was fine and was wrong.

So I drove Big into town while my mom stayed with Little. (So proud of Little: with all the chaos and being woken up getting out of the car, Little put himself to bed.) There is a new hospital in town, thankfully. The old one had a monopoly, so they never cared that everyone called them St. Victim’s. The new hospital is amazingly nice. I have had to accompany three people to the ER/Urgent Care since they opened about a year ago and I have never had a wait. Not that we got in before anyone, but that they just never have people waiting. They get you in right away. It is amazing.

So they got him triaged and into a room. The nurse who took the vitals seemed to think it was a stomach bug that has apparently been going around. But when the doctor came in and looked at the big belly, he was immediately concerned. He left immediately to order X-Rays. After that adventure with a very tired, shockingly co-operative child clearly in pain, they gave him an IV and waited for the results.

Big learned that there is no kids TV on at night. A strange concept to a child with access only to Netflix, VHS and DVDs

Turned out it was just a stomach bug, But it was a scary situation I never want to be in again.

If it’s Not One Thing, it’s Ten Thousand Others

Is it just me, or is it just a thing that right when you think calm in life is right around the corner life comes up and smacks you upside the head?

Cuz that prettymuch sums up my life. And it can never wait until you are actually done. The snack always comes when you are close enough to completion that you are looking forward to the after party. You are starting to consider what the next thing you need to tackle is on your to-do list that is as long as your phone can handle a list to be, and a few extras that you keep forgetting every time you try to write them down.

So this time… my mom was working on the the finishing touches for the catalog of my grandfather’s paintings and other art works. I was working on fixing the glass at the front of the gallery. (More on that when I get it done.) Suffice to say say I was only one day away, the next project was lined up, and that one had a deadline.

Big had a fever overnight for a few nights, but was fine during the day. I was gonna send him to school and pull him out for his dentist appointment, but something told me not to send him in at all. His fever had made him a little more restless the night before, so I let him stay. We went to the dentist, everything went fine, and was so fast that that we had time to get to reading time at the library, so we did. I let the kids play for awhile after as usual. When we got into the car, Little was protesting the seatbelt, and I happened to see Big’s hands.

Sorry it’s such a bad picture, but he had little blisters all over his hands and feet. I figured it was chicken pox. He has had the shot, but sometimes kids can still get it, but it’s not as bad. I decided to postpone any other errands, and head home. I did have to stop at the school to pick up his folder. I called the school to see if someone could bring it out so he didn’t have to go inside. But the they couldn’t. I’m glad I stopped by. The secretary had told the nurse, and she was able to look at him. I was told that it looked like hand foot and mouth disease. I had never heard of that, but was very glad to have the information. I called the library and let them know so they could clean the toys he was playing with.

Long story short, that’s what the doctor said it was when we went in the next day. Since then we have been scrambling trying to get the kids to limit the things they touch around the house.

And my grandmother is 84. My two kids an and I had been sitting on her bed the day before the sores appeared. My kids have not been in the gallery since. We cannot have her get sick.

This has been an extra challenge because that next project I mentioned earlier was cleaning out the yard at the gallery. The yard had gotten out of control due to long term health problems taking precedence for several years. The urgent things were being dealt with, but anything that could be put off was.

So my mother and I brought the kids down and had them play in a clean area while we gathered scrap metal and garbage. This weekend was the one time when our community had set aside to collect these things and had provided dumpsters and scheduled someone to collect the scrap metal. So even though the kids are going through this thing, we had to deal with the yard this weekend. Yesterday we spent most of the day organising. We did take one load down which included a broken washing machine we had just replaced and a big water heater.

Getting the washing machine into the truck involved a hand truck (that needed the tires refilled), ramps, blocking a side road with a truck that is a challenge to drive as it was purchased with the power steering removed, chocks under the wheels since the road goes up a mountain, and a good dose of “I can’t see where I’m going as I back up this bear of a truck down the mountain.

Getting the water heater into the truck involved getting help from a passing family friend who soon felt superfluous when he realised that the women could do it by themselves. My mom let him feel helpful by going away and doing something else whilehe and I lifted the thing into the bed of the truck.

Getting the things off the truck was a whole lot more fun. Out of four trips we eventually took to drop stuff off, three of them involved me shoving giant appliances off the back of the truck with a very satisfying crash.

This has been a crazy, unpredictable week, but luckily, even though my kids are sick, they don’t seem to feel it. They are behaving like normal healthy kids, they just happen to have blisters on their hands and feet. I can complain about the crazy all day long, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that my family is doing well. Having a little fun throwing things of trucks is just bonus!

From Berries to Museums

So “weekends” are a bit of a strange concept when you run a family business, but it gives you a lot more flexibility.These days my grandmother stays to run the family gallery, she doesn’t really want to go out much, and since she lives on the premises, it works well. My mom and I try to make sure that one or the other of us is there with her every day.Yesterday was my “weekend”, so I got to take care of stuff around the house, yay! Ok so that includes laundry, and dishes, and cleaning, but yesterday that also included a few more fun things.Like canning prickly pear cactus berries

This is after we had already processed two bowls of berries. Our cactuses were plentiful this year. So you would think that we would have a whole lot of stuff to can from that right? Nope. Two bowls made 4 cans and one bonus syrup can.

And yes, those aren’t even all that full.So what’s the deal? They aren’t made of so much water that there is little to preserve, like watermelon, no. These poor prickly little devils are mostly seeds. Rock hard little tiny seeds fill most of the berry. Outside of the seeds is a layer barely a quarter of an inch thick of the tasty juicy, pinky purple fruit that is worth the battle with the prickles on the outside.To give you some idea what I’m talking about, here are the ones we dehydrated.

Each one of those pieces is the result of a single berry.I’ll get more into the prepping process when we do the rest, but suffice to say that prepping the two bowls we already did took two people the better part of a day.Oh and as you may have observed in the pictures, these berries have a very distinctive color. They can be used as a dye. We completely forgot we were going to squeeze out the compost to retrieve some, and I put it outside to await burial. It unfortunately dried out before I remembered.So after all that fun canning in the kitchen, I took care of the boring stuff. (A lot o dishes from that project, bleh!)But when Big got home from school, I took the kiddlets for a treat.

The Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Crest. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but I’ll try to give you some idea of why I took the chillens there.

The first thing you notice is either the goofy lion or the bottle walls.

This is my kids pretending to be scared. Not so convincing my dears.

Inside you find elaborate hand carved displays representing several scenes, most notably the old west, and a magnificent circus. As you walk along, you find that there are many buttons to press which each trigger some of the characters to move. They are nothing fancy, but they are most charming. There is a Navajo silversmith who begins to hammer, a Mary Poppins rising with her umbrella, and a bar maid serving her customers. One of the most fun things is that each button can trigger several unrelated actions, and as if the intricately overcrowded displays weren’t enough of a treasure hunt, you get to search for the little movements triggered by the buttons.

These displays have always been my strongest memories of Tinkertown, but I think the kids had more fun with the old machines scattered around. There is a fortune teller, several tests of strength, and my favorite, the automatic one man band, all in working order ready to trade your quarters for a bit of fun.

Outside there were some recent additions, this was the big hit with my chillens.

I also did not remember the art car, but it may have been there before. Round out the trip with a visit to a miniature horse and off we go!

Back to Madrid

I have been very busy lately, but I guess everyone can say that. The past year has held a lot of changes in my life, and I am trying to find a new routine. I am hoping that I will be able to post routinely here again. In high school I used to diary for hours every day. I know I can’t do that anymore, but I would like to keep some sort of record of my life again.

So why public? I hope this that by sharing my life, others may find that they are not alone in what they feel, and that people may start to see that others, even those who seem very different, are actually all very dim similar. There are certainly some things I will keep private, but I have always been a very open person, and I always imagined that that people would eventually read my diary, a la Anne Frank. I stopped writing in college because I was writing so many other things. Now I spend too much time playing games on my phone, I mean, who doesn’t these days? I’m gonna try to replace that habit with a few more productive ones.

So a short biography to get you started:

I grew up in a small town in New Mexico called Madrid. This artist community very much helped to shape who I am. I will probably write many more posts singing its praises, so I won’t do much of that here. Suffice to say that I split my time between helping run the oldest and largest gallery on the Turquoise Trail, The Johnsons of Madrid, and living with my dad on the land. Tiny homes have been a thing here long before the phrase was coined, but no one really thinks of it as odd.

I went to school in the closest city, Santa Fe, the oldest city in the United States. The normal drive is half an hour, but on the bus, it could take an hour in elementary school, since it wasn’t all the way into town, and closer to an hour and half to two hours in high school. (I rarely had homework, I usually had buswork.) The only exception was two years when I went to school in Albuquerque, because of my mom’s teaching career and relationship changes.

One of these years we lived at Kirtland air force base. The other year we lived in a converted school bus while we built a house in Madrid. (This will certainly end up with its own post at some point.) When I was eleven my dad moved to Dallas, TX. After that I spent a lot of summers and holidays in the big city helping as a finish carpenter in the most high end neighborhoods in the metroplex.

In school I was constantly overcommitting myself. (I still have a tendency to do this.) In elementary I was a girl scout for many years, I sang in choir, competed in Battle of the Books (BOB), I took, at varying times, classes in ballet, flamenco, and belly dancing, and I spent summers acting in (or just watching) melodrama at the local Madrid theatre (note to self- post on that too).

In middle school I joined the drill team, Battle of the Books again, MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement), and did several theatre projects including working with the Santa Fe Opera.

In high school I was in some way involved with every theatre project from the second semester of freshman year to my senior year when I chose to step back (offering assistance) to let the theatre director figure out that he needed to train people, or let students mentor each other, rather than just let people who already know take care of things. I continued with a city drill team, melodrama, and chaperoned the middle school’s BOB team, worked with other theatre groups in the city, and spent my weekends, when I wasn’t doing theatre, going to the under 21 club (the best club in town at the time btw).

For college I moved to Las Cruces. I did not get to be part of every show because I worked graveyard shift at various hotels. I earned two degrees, theatre and history, with honors. In also did work study in the costume shop (so awesome!!!!), and really got more involved in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). During this time I also got married, and moved an hour away from school so my husband was near the air force base where he worked.

After graduating I kept working at hotels for awhile, but eventually switched to substitute teaching. Soon my first son was born. When my husband got out of the air force, we moved to the Pacific Northwest. I went back to working at hotels, which is where I started this blog.

We had two cars totalled within six months, then soon we started the house buying process, which took another six months, which timed our closing right before our second son was born. And a few weeks later I got a new job at a sewing store. Eventually I started streaming on Twitch a few nights a week.

That brings us to one year ago. That year will be a post unto itself, although some of the most important bits I am not at liberty to share.

I know this quick overview may be a bit dull, but I think it helps to give some context. Thanks! I hope you will hang with me on this adventure!

Chapter 18 (WIP) – False Expectations

Jessica’s alarm clock woke her up, pulling her back into all her fears that she had just cried out. If her schedule worked as planned, she would never need an alarm clock. Go to sleep in the morning, wake up naturally, do stuff in the afternoon, and then go to work when it was time.

But in reality, she had a hard time staying up all night, despite the fact that this was her normal schedule. When she got home she couldn’t sleep, and yet didn’t have the energy to get up and do anything. So she mostly meandered around the house starting a project, and then getting distracted by another until the sun went down. Then she fell asleep, but couldn’t rest for more than an hour or two if she was lucky. The alarm clock was an absolute necessity, and Jessica had deliberately chosen the loudest, most obnoxious one she could find.

Jessica got herself ready in the dark because she didn’t want to face the lights yet. Once she was dressed, she went out and was immediately surprised to find that the sun was up. She stood in the doorway for several moments trying to figure out why she was up at this hour. Finally it dawned on her that she needed to go ID the guy at the police station. She sighed before walking out and locking the door behind her.

When she arrived at the station, Jessica was greeted by a secretary with large dark circles around his eyes, and the same expression on his face that Jessica had when she hadn’t managed to get any sleep. She told him what she was there to do, and he slowly moved to use the intercom to let the detective know. The detective seemed agitated as he said “Well send her back! And step on it!”

The exhausted secretary started his sentence quickly “He will see you now.” but soon his pace slowed down again as he directed her to the room.

When Jessica walked in, it was clear that they had been waiting for her. They didn’t say anything, but everyone was just a little to stuck to their chairs, feet up, several empty soda cans on the floor, that type of thing.

Detective Haskell stood up and greeted her with a confident handshake. “I think we got ‘im, by george I think we got ‘im. Come ‘ere, come ‘ere, take a look.” With that they flipped the light on in the next room.

All Jessica could see was Rodney staring straight into her eyes. It was no doubt the man from her dream. The man she had just trusted with so much information about herself. And now he was staring at her through what was supposed to be a mirror on his side with a big number 4 on a card in front of him. She had a hard time pulling her eyes away to see the other men. But she was able to tell that none of them was the nervous kid with the gun.

When Jessica was able to pull herself away for long enough to make any observations at all, it seemed clear that the police had just cleared out a homeless encampment and brought all the guys in here. “None of them, he isn’t here. He was more put together, he looked more like a college or…” she paused, “or even a high school student. Not a bad kid from the looks of it, the good kid who just can’t make things work anymore I guess.”

Jessica was still very well aware that the Rodney twin was still staring straight at her when Detective Haskell asked her to take another look, and walked with her as she looked at each of the men in their worn out clothes. He slowed way down as he passed number four. “Are you positive that you have never seen any of these men before? I just want to make sure that you absolutely certain.” They continued walking and looking. And number four’s eyes followed her.

Jessica turned to the detective, and gathering her wits a bit looked him straight in the eye and said, “No. none of these men is the guy you are looking for.”

The detective just said “Very well.” before opening the door to let her leave. The heavy door closed slowly, and Jessica could hear the detective say, “Number 4. Book ‘im.” before it clanged shut.

Table of Contents

Children of Curiosity

In case you missed it, I am really adamant that all people should be able to have the chance to improve themselves. So I am building a new kind of school.

Education is the key to changing direction in life. I want to make sure that anyone can do it.

This school, called Children of Curiosity, is open to everyone, all ages, all backgrounds. Right now I am starting with in-person classes in Madrid, NM where I live. Eventually we will also offer online classes.

Our classes are all pay-what-you-want. I want to make sure that everyone has equal access to a high-quality education.

Classes are not divided by age, but rather by interest and competency. That means that if a high school kid missed the day in 5th grade when they introduced the concept of variables in algebra, and has been lost ever since, that kid can take the bit they missed, and then progress at their own pace.

Classes are broken down in smaller chunks than in traditional schools. That way if you have to miss an important day it sets you back maybe a week, instead of a whole semester.

We have a focus on making learning fun. Because learning IS fun. traditional schools have driven the curiosity out of education, and the engagement has gone with it.

We are all children of curiosity, and embracing that and using it is the best way to learn and become productive members of society.

Thank you for your support in any way that you can!

Long Time – Again

Wow! Life. Yeah…um, well…

So, a lot has changed recently. I am back in New Mexico. I am now working in my family’s gallery, The Johnsons of Madrid. I am also still working to build Children of Curiosity. I have started to do reading times at the Ortiz Mountain Community Library, which is also housed in the gallery.

When I first started this blog I was working front desk at hotels, so I spent a lot of time bored, waiting for customers to need something, so I had a lot of writing time. Then I started working at a sewing and vacuum store, and had no time at all. Now I’m not really sure…there is always something that needs to get done, but I still can squeak out a little down time here and there (ok, usually after the kids have gone to bed.) I really want to get back to streaming on Twitch, but I am having a real challenge finding a three hour uninterrupted time block that would be reliable.

But I can write in smaller chunks. And I can write whenever, doesn’t have to be on a schedule. So I think I can do this. I am making a commitment to myself to post something on one website I operate (4 of them) once a week, rotating through them. So that means about one post a month. For now. Once we get caught up with the life explosions around here, maybe we can get more.

Thank you for sticking with me. I think where I am in life is for the long haul now. It’s just a matter of getting past the urgent and into the routine.