She’d never been one for meditation. She wanted to, of course, so many benefits, she just couldn’t get herself to sit still for so long. Nor to let her thoughts “go,” whatever that meant. Go where? They were her thoughts, oughtn’t they to stay with her? At any rate, meditation, a solid no.

Weeks spent indoors with no foreseeable end in sight changed all that.

She went out to the little patch of concrete that was her “yard,” put her earbuds in, clicked the meditation app on her phone and twenty minutes later…

Yeah, no, still can’t meditate. Valiant effort though.

The next day she tried again.

Huh uh.


And again.

And yet again.

After a week of spending twenty minutes a day on her little patch of concrete, ear buds causing her ears to thrum slightly with the odd stretch they inflicted, she realized she was actually enjoying herself. She may not be a Buddhist monk or even a man with a sexy British accent who was once a monk, but she was meditating, even if for only a few of those twenty minutes.

And she loved it.

She found herself throughout her otherwise unremarkable day thinking to the twenty minutes spent outside on her patch of concrete. She found herself flicking through her binge watching options on the television and then realizing she’d just drifted off in her mind to quiet, to silence, to peace.

It wasn’t like sleeping, although the first time it happened she thought she’d fallen asleep. It wasn’t like reading a book or listening to music or any of the other things she’d done in the past to wind down, or let her subconscious cruise. It was both more relaxing and more gratifying. She found herself returning throughout the day to that feeling of ease.

She expanded her meditation session to thirty minutes.

After another week she expanded again to two sessions of thirty minutes, one in the morning and one in the evening.

It was really lovely, waking up in the morning, boiling water for her coffee, pouring the water into the French Press, and then meditating while it steeped.

It was really lovely, last thing in the evening, brushing teeth and getting fully prepared for bed, then meditating before turning off the lights.

She found herself less anxious with each passing day. Less unclear of what she wanted from her life. Less troubled.

She was slowly gaining insight into herself and she found those moments of anger she used to have, the ones that would flare up disproportionately to the situation and constantly, disappearing. She’d still feel a twinge every now and then, but always with that twinge came the realization that she was choosing her emotions, her reactions. Nothing was outside of her control when it came to herself.

The freedom of all this control was electrifying. She reveled in the power of her own self.

She also noticed how much more empathy she had for others. No longer clucking or tapping her foot with impatience in the grocery store line when someone wrote a check they very well could have been writing the entire time they were being rung up. No longer rolling her eyes and sighing when someone couldn’t find their wallet at the ATM even though they’d been waiting in line behind someone else and could have been getting their wallet ready then.

She realized everyone was on their own path. That everyone was doing the absolute best they could, and maybe their best didn’t look like her best, and so she didn’t immediately recognize it as such. She became more forgiving, more accepting, more loving.

It was the closest she’d ever been to acceptance. Not just of others, but of herself. She felt connected to others and to herself in a way she’d never felt before. Amazed at what an hour a day of silence, relaxation, lack of judgement could do for her entire life, and wondering why she hadn’t ever been able to get herself to meditate before. Wishing she’d started earlier, and also recognizing that she simply may not have been ready before.

She was grateful she was ready now.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

The Move

The Move

She’d always been a planner. Never could do anything without spending hours upon hours researching first. So the decision to up and move without seeing where she was moving to (except in pictures online) was a bit extreme. There was something equal parts thrilling and anxiety inducing about it. Would she like the house? Would it be big enough? Too big? Would it feel like everything had a place that fit it perfectly? Would she fit perfectly?

The idea was to create something self-sustaining. A farm, but not exactly a farm. How much farming can one person do? No, this would be a not-a-farm, a hobby farm, a way to prove to herself that she could survive the zombie apocalypse she felt sure would never come but that it was interesting to imagine.

She already knew some basic gardening and how to care for chickens. She’d read extensively on how to care for goats but had yet to care for one. She’d also read up on pigs and while she was anxious to try her hand the idea of pigs also scared her a bit…a holdover from watching Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels perhaps?

At any rate, she had packed up her belongings, selling a few things she couldn’t bear to pack and unpack for the hundredth time and that were much more a part of her old life than the new life she was heading to. Everything fit perfectly in her little hardbody pickup truck. It was a bit of a Tetris game to get it all in there in such a way that it would travel without moving, but she’d done it, and she’d done it on her own.

She’d debated about the best time to leave more as a reflection of the best time to arrive than anything else and had decided that if she left after lunch on Saturday she’d arrive by lunch on Sunday with a short rest stop break Saturday night for a nap. With all that in mind she headed out Saturday after a lunch of tuna salad that she barely tasted, her stomach all aflutter with the adventure before her. She took one last pee break, locked the door on her old life, dropped the key in the mailbox, and made her way toward the future.

The drive was less than idyllic. Mostly cities and the craziness of the Interstate for hours on end. In fact it wasn’t until her first stop for fuel that she realized she’d left the cities behind and was now in desolate country. Nothing but dirt in every direction with the occasional off-ramp offering fast food and fueling stations. When she realized the cities were all behind her she began to relax. And sometime into the eighth hour of her drive she heard a loud pop and the tension between her shoulders disappeared.

She alternately filled the time with music and silence. The silences just as loud in her head as the music had been in the cab. Her head was awash with possibilities, questions, ideas, and the things she tried to ignore: her fears. She told herself she wasn’t scared, that there was nothing to fear, failure would simply mean another change of direction. But she was scared. She was afraid of something she couldn’t name.

She drove as long as she could and finally near eleven that night she was too tired to continue. She pulled into the next rest stop she found, checking for other vehicles as she drove in and parked. The stop seemed empty with the exception of one big rig, lights off, the driver likely sleeping just as she hoped to now. She jumped out and used the restroom, brushing her teeth quickly in the cold, and rushing back to the warm cab of her truck.

She considered leaving the truck running to keep the cab warm, but decided against it. She pulled her Carhartt jacket off and draped it over herself. It would be good to sleep as long as possible, the cold would wake her up in a few hours and she could continue her journey. A perfect little ninja nap.

She slept hard at first, then fitfully, the sounds of the highway and the occasional semi truck pulling in and out of the rest stop keeping her from any sort of restorative sleep. When the cold finally became too much to ignore she opened her eyes and checked the time. 4am. She’d slept less than she thought. But she felt good enough to continue.

Once again she checked her surroundings before jumping out and using the restroom to pee and brush her teeth. She also splashed some cold water on her face. Before rushing back to the truck she checked the vending machines hoping for one that offered coffee. Sadly the only options were soda and candy. She decided to look for coffee on her route and jumped back in the truck, ready to get where she was going.

She turned on some music and cracked her knuckles, a habit she hated and still couldn’t seem to break, and headed on her way. She sang along to the songs she knew, and hummed along to the ones she didn’t. She found a coffee place, drive thru no less, and was happily zipping along when she realized she was being pulled over, and that she had to pee.


She considered pulling off at the next off ramp instead of pulling over on the highway, but couldn’t see an off ramp up ahead and didn’t want to risk angering the cop. She pulled over as far as she could, rolled down her window, and turned off the engine. She sighed and watched in the side mirror as the cop rummaged around in the cop car before exiting.

She put on a tentative smile and answered the cops question with, “I didn’t notice. Was I over the speed limit?”

Twenty minutes later she was not only so desperate to pee that she considered jumping out and peeing right there in front of the cop, but she also had a hefty little ticket in her hands. She decided not to risk further ire and started up the truck, continuing on her way and hoping the cop would pass her so she could pull back over and relieve herself or that she’d see a restroom in less than two minutes.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

Quarantine Garage Sale

Quarantine Garage Sale

For the last four years we’ve been downsizing. We pay attention to the things we use and don’t use and once a week or so we pull things out we haven’t used in forever, double check that we really don’t think we’re ever going to use it, and then set in the pile of stuff to take to the thrift store each week (our thrift store has a drive thru donation line and it’s epic!).

With the ‘rona in force our thrift store is closed. We no longer have access to a place that will take all the stuff we don’t use and don’t want. But we’ve continued to downsize. If anything, we’ve been downsizing even more because what else are we going to do safe at home with two kids and a dog?

So now with nowhere to take it, we have this ever amassing pile o stuff and it’s getting a bit unwieldy. So I had the idea of a Quarantine Garage Sale. I’m posting the things online and whoever wants them can come to my driveway on an appointed date/time and back their car up, pop the trunk/hatch/whatever and I’ll load up their goods, pick up the cash, and they can be on their way.

It’s a great way to practice social distancing while still getting stuff done and giving people something to do. I actually had one person comment that they thought it was kind of sad that the online garage sale was the highlight of their day. Ha! I actually find that fabulous; it brings me joy that someone is smiling cause of something so simple.

What are you doing to keep yourself entertained and moving forward with your goals?



The stay home orders were loosely defined. Technically one shouldn’t leave one’s home except for emergencies and necessities. She considered her sanity a necessity. And she figured she’d kill her kids if they didn’t get out and burn some energy. That made the leaving a necessity and an emergency.

She packed a lunch, mostly snacks because no one had the kind of food required to make entire meals anymore. She remembered growing up with actual meals, meals prepared mostly by restaurants and occasionally by her mother, there’d be salad and a plate with three kinds of foods and a dessert. There was nothing like that now, ever.

Now her kids ate what she grew up calling “plate of small things,” which is basically a little bit of lots of different things until your plate has enough on it to call it a meal. Foraged fruit here, foraged mushrooms there (and these were extremely rare because she was so afraid of picking something poisonous accidentally), bits from a found can here…tragic meals really.

At any rate, she packed a lunch of snacks, grabbed canteens, and told the kids to get moving: it was time for an adventure. They all piled into the car and she triple checked the fuel levels. Three quarters of a tank. It would be enough to get them there and back but it would be there last trip anywhere; she’d try to make it count.

The kids sat up front with her, there was no backseat, and she buckled them in. She made sure she had some tools, just in case, and that all the dials on the car were turned off before starting the motor. The old car started up like it had been driven daily when in actuality it had been sitting for at least three months, maybe longer. She tried to remember her last trip to town and couldn’t be sure.

They cruised down through the empty streets, and finally onto the highway. They headed east towards the mountains. This time of year would be good for picking the last of the berries, finding the first falling acorns, and hopefully finding a few mushrooms. If they were extremely lucky they’d find some apples, even if they were still small and sour.

The kids were quiet as she drove. A blessing, and one of the reasons she would miss being able to drive with them. As the road steepened and curved their little heads began bobbing and soon they were asleep. She let out a sigh of relief. She loved them desperately and also needed a few minutes to herself to think.

She would have to come up with a better plan. They couldn’t keep hiding out in that house. No one around was both a blessing and a curse. Just the other day she’d had to tell the kids they were playing a silent game of hide-and-seek when really it was a potentially fatal one with a group of men who sounded like the guys she went to boot camp with. She didn’t want to run into guys like that without a Sergeant around.

Maybe the mountains? She knew them pretty well. There were lots of places where she and the kids could live. She’d be able to find food and water and the only real predators would be mountain lions and other people. With winter on the way that didn’t sound like such a great idea. There’s no way they’d be able to keep warm with clothes and quilts. They’d have to have fire. Too risky.

She gripped the steering wheel too tightly and felt the ache in her fingers and wrists. She relaxed her grip and stroked the wheel up and down for a moment. Think. Think, think, think, think, think. Right on the other side of the mountains was a desert. The desert would be perfect for the winter. In fact, it would be a little hot now still, but not too terribly bad. Better than where they were now, assuming she could find water.

There was lots of water in the desert. You just had to know what to look for. And she knew. Boy did she ever know. The danger would be in all the obvious places. The oases were out. Anyone could look across a desert see a mountain of green and know there was water. No. She’d have to go to the places that were less obvious.

A hot springs.

Hot springs would be perfect. Not usually a lot of greenery but definitely water. And while the water wouldn’t taste good, it would be full of all kinds of calcium and bicarbonate and would be really good for their mineral deprived bodies. She thought about the desert they were heading towards. There was a huge hot springs on the south side, but everyone would know about that. She needed something subtle. Something difficult to get to maybe.

And then she remembered the story her great grandma used to tell her. The story she’d always insisted was true but sounded so far fetched no one ever believed her. The story of their great great grandfather who had lived out in the desert for twenty years. She tried to remember the whole story, but could only get pieces, fragments more ephemeral than the oasis they bespoke.

“What was the rhyme?” she asked herself, humming a little trying to find the tempo.

“More east than south,
You’ll find the mouth,
Beware the bite…”

“Damn.” She couldn’t remember. Wasn’t even sure about the “beware the bite” part, that sounded right but out of place.

“‘More east than south,’ at any rate,” she mumbled as she continued up through the mountains.

Fall was beautiful in the mountains, even this early in the season. She drove higher before finding berry bushes that appeared to have been untouched. She pulled over carefully, looking all around and leaving the engine running for moment after putting the car in park.

Continuing to look around but seeing no one, she decided to turn the engine off and wake the kids. With the engine off there was no need to wake anyone, the kids woke themselves and began clambering to get their belts off and their buckets out of the back. Berry picking was a special treat and they were eager. Before she could issue any warnings or rules they’d shot out the passenger door and headed to the bushes.

Giving one last look around she left the keys in the ignition, grabbed her bucket from the back, and headed towards the bushes, too. The easy berries were all picked clean. There were no shoe or footprints around, so it was all wildlife that had gotten to the berries. Still, there were quite a few in the highest spots and the deepest spots of the bushes.

Amid cries of “ouch” and “ack” the three filled their buckets as best they could.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

No Title

I debated not writing today. There are many reasons including: I’d like to journal tonight, I’m near the end of The Science of Well-Being course and I’m loving it and I know it will be down tomorrow for maintenance, my littlest is going to be crying for boob any minute now, and my oldest is roaming the house like a tiger because it’s past his bed time but he thinks we don’t see him if he stalks about…I blame his new favorite book A Tiger Like Me by Michael Engler.

At any rate, there’s a lot going on here tonight and it makes me restless. Plus, too, all this home-bound stuff with kids gets a little out of control. Plus, I desperately want to continue with our downsizing which I can’t do because the thrift stores aren’t open so I can’t take a load of stuff down each week after cleaning out a section of the house. For some reason being thwarted in my efforts to clear clutter is especially exasperating right now, and I suspect it’s because I’m being forced to live in said clutter, see it every day, and do nothing about it.

Lastly, I didn’t much want to write tonight because it is April Fools Day and I figure no one is out reading blogs tonight. Everyone is out trying to find out what kind of heartless person is out there pulling pranks when we’re all in the midst of the worst April Fools Joke ever.

So there you go. The story of my life in a nutshell. And now, since this wasn’t an hour and I was doing it more for posterity than anything else, I shall bid you adieu and go write in my journal.

Oh, and as always, I am not paid by Powells nor do I receive any kickbacks if you visit their site and/or buy the book mentioned above. I am not an affiliate and I get nothing. If you do buy the book though, and it’s amazing, please let me know how your littles like it.