meanwhile at the free store

i have two rooms now, well, two & a half…. one for household items & shoes (so many shoes!)
& one for clothes & toys. i figure put the toys in with the clothes so moms can look for clothes while kids make a mess with the toys.

speaking of messes…i almost closed up the shop…turned the bus around…i was so frustrated with how people don’t pick up after themselves. i mean, nothing major, but with enough people not putting things away…. i already have four kids to pick up after….

but i am trying to keep the faith. the free store doors remain
open
(two doors now!)

ps. if i have to deal with another bag of single socks, i might just freak the fuck out…so pair up your socks, people. no singletons or i will hunt you down.

free store sheep fingers

i’m a little behind on my free store updates.
it is still going strong. the ebb & flow is a bit off however, more coming in than going out.
so!
i’m working on expanding it into the next room over. the building i am in is an old church that was reclaimed as an art & community space. the next room over was an abandoned workshop. i have been clearing it out & trying to clean it up & hopefully not inhaling too much lead paint dust….
one wall was crumbling paint, so i painted over it, but that didn’t seem to be enough, so i took the opportunity to make some life sized sheep fingers. i don’t know about you, but something about sheep fingers just makes me so happy.
soon this room will be finished & set up & the free store at the commons will be much easier to navigate…& my ocd can calm down a bit.

circles

the free store i started is a month old now. it is packed full of goodies. so many awesome people donating.

i have only noticed one problem.
all the accolades i have been receiving have triggered my impostor syndrome & sent me into some serious dark & downward spirals.
weird, right?
like when people tell me i’m doing a good thing, i feel like i am somehow fooling them.
when one woman said, “way to pay it forward,” i flinched. of course, for me it is not about karma. it is about giving the people what they need; keeping crap out of landfills; putting one over on the man….
but am i a good person for doing it?
i don’t feel like a good person…
then i start to wonder…if my art took off, would i suffer in a similar way? spin out to a dark & devastated place where i fear everyone will realize i am actually a fuck up in sheep’s clothing?

however, i can’t help hoping all the spinning i have been doing will leave me standing still

free storing it

so far so good with the free store…though more is coming in than going out. which is awesome that people are so generous–& hopefully it will find it’s own ebb & flow eventually.

i have discovered that i really enjoy sneak peeks into the lives of strangers via donations…must be the fiction writer in me. i also enjoy making sense of chaos. so it’s all good.
though my folding skills leave something to be desired.

maybe i’ll get a trend going here on free stores for sustainability & community.
start your free store today!

free store project

what am i doing with myself since i quit my job, i’m sure you are wondering.
well…other than trying to recover from clogged sinuses that are surely indicative of a clogged soul…
i have opened a free store!
cool, right? very abbie hoffman of me….

this is my journaling about the process in case anyone is curious or wants to try this at home.

here in viroqua, wisconsin, there is a building that is a common space, an art space. it is aptly called “the commons,” and is steered by some good hometown anarchists. i fell in love with this space when i first visited viroqua and was eager to get involved with it’s current evolution.
so!
i asked the board if i could start a “free store” in one of the rooms. i was met with some pretty awesome enthusiasm.
the enthusiasm did not stop with attaining the room. as soon as i started advertising for donations, i was met with overwhelming generousity.

today is the first day the free store is open to the public.
i am hopeful, but i am also keeping an eye out for snags.

i will try to keep y’all updated on my latest quixotic adventure…xxoo.

i just realized this is totally a 180 from of my “nothing for free” post…but, you know, i did fire that therapist for being frivolous with my mental health…plus, like many men i know, he really didn’t listen to what i was saying.

church of the lawnscape

i know now
why we’re so fucked up
as a society…
it’s that we don’t get the therapeutic
meditative
cardio
workout
of mowing our lawns with a reel mower
& scythe
dude…
i’m serious here
as a hand dish washing
line hanging out laundry
reel mowing
she-ra
i am here to tell you
listen as i preach it
an easy life
is no life at all
work it, people
work it….

as the main representative of the church of the reel mower & sole member/candidate of the thunderdome political party….
i do need to start recruiting.

seriously, y’all. i just want someone to praise me…worship me…speak my name with such devotion….

i don’t know if y’all can see it, but i am mowing a little every day around the house to create some yard so the minions don’t have to go in the weeds if they don’t want to.
i am completely ocd about it. i get out there with that fucking mower & i cannot stop. then, when i finally do, every muscle in my body says, “goodnight.”
it’s clearing my head as i clear some lawn.
i really do think we as a society have lost our priorities. someday i will get that church going–get that political party started….
in the meantime, i am feeling fine.

also! i finished the seascapes i was commissioned to do.

in other news, i have been thinking a lot about direction. i feel that my self-portrait series is wrapping itself up. even though i was told to pay no attention to the critique that questioned my writing abilities
(thank you for your support, xxoo), i have been thinking about it. i want a strong narrative to go with my self-portrait series. so i think i am going to go back through all those journals and try to create that narrative. i don’t know if it will end up being more verse than prose or more prose than verse…or a mix of the two.
but it is time to embrace an ending to it…& also a beginning.

woe is me

living inside
your own head
you forget
about
the world outside
a world that works against
single low-income moms
a world
that won’t take a risk
on you
no matter
how good your heart
might be
a world that is set up
to grandstand your options
telling you to
follow your dreams
but in the end
leaves you
very few choices
the more kids
you have
the fewer
choices
they say it takes a village
they don’t tell you
that the village
will quickly tack up
a “no vacancy” sign
when they see
you
coming.

how’s the house hunt going?
well, pretty fucking hard since i can’t even get out to look for a place…& then when i look at the average application for a rental & they want a job & income & job history…
all i feel is despair.
i have savings. i have enough to pay a year’s rent. i have sparkly clean credit. i have child support payments. i have government aid. i spend less money–with four kids–than the average u.s. citizen without dependents does. i am frugal as fuck. but i have to get face to face with a real person–the right person–to convince them that this is enough…& being seemingly physically trapped here at hotel california…how the fuck do i make that happen?
i was going to try to run out to iowa today to look for rentals & someone to convince that i am a good tenant. the minions come home tomorrow….
despair says, “why even bother?”
but i can’t just run over to iowa with four kids in tow. iggy hates road trips (he got that from his dad–not me,) & i don’t want to budget in a stay at a motel (though they do love motel tv.)
so three weeks until the next time i am able to run to iowa sans minions…meanwhile, the lawn grows free now as the lawn mower died on me. so i should get that fixed. i don’t even know how to go about that. i so so so hate being all alone out here.
yes, i’m a feminist, but fuck me if i want to do everything myself. i want someone here who knows how to do all the stuff i suck at. i want someone in my life who appreciates what i can do & who i worship for their ability to fix a mower…or clean a toilet…or just hold me & tell me it’s all going to work out when it feels like the world is spinning out of control.
sigh.

if you want to contribute to my “income”…. here are sneak peaks of some of the posts you would be able to see as a patron of mine….

the main image is of a character of mine that hopefully will one day have a story….

don’t laugh

so
a spirit guide
came to visit
in the form
of a sloth
[don’t laugh]
a sloth
who climbed
up
to give me
a hug
climbed me like a tree
for a hug
& i hugged him
[don’t laugh]
feeling his warmth
& feeling okay
just before
he sunk his
long sharp teeth
into my neck
telling me
“shit happens”
a sweet hug
& a mortal
wound…
that about sums
it
all
up.

i have been playing around with doing past life regression ever since i had the vision of myself being a murdered celtic queen. i downloaded a past life regression meditation & the first time i listened to it, i saw myself as a young boy in georgia of the russian empire around the beginning of the 1900s. desolate & lost & alone. jumping forward, i saw myself as a young intellectual in a city. a revolutionary. executed during the russian revolution.
after the regression, i was guided to meet with a spirit guide. the above free verse describes that encounter….
huh.
i have done the regression once since then. i ended up as the celtic girl/woman again. & i had a completely different spirt guide that time. not nearly so gruesome & creepy.
maybe i will do a page about that as well.

& yesterday i conjured a bald eagle! i have started taking walks several times a week to combat my “middle age” bulge. so me & the minions were walking yesterday when misha asked me what a bald eagle looks like. i described one, but she suggested we could look them up on my laptop when we got home.
i replied, “maybe we will see one on our walk!” we live near a small river & not terribly far from a bigger river & occasionally do see bald eagles. however, it has only been a handful of times in the past couple years.
nevertheless, just five minutes later, a bald eagle flew over us.

pretty fucking cool.

& today is iggy’s birthday.¬† he is eleven. i never cease to be amazed by my kids in our “buy-nothing-new” & low-impact lifestyle. misha & poppy wrapped up a bunch of their own toys, cash, & candy¬† to give to iggy. (using the tissue paper that our bamboo toilet paper comes wrapped in.) iggy was thrilled with everything he got.
sometimes i feel like i am doing something right….

IMG_2519

tumbling down

i have lived my life
like falling down
a flight
of stairs
except
of course
i was totally pushed
or
at least
tripped
before i fell into my own life
half-assed
&
so totally
not
paying attention
hitting each step
as i fell
(i’m picturing one of those
circular, iron
staircases
you know
one with lots & lots & lots
of unyielding steps)
now i am
sprawled
at the bottom
of my own
life
…fuck it
time to get up
i guess.

so i was living in madison, wisconsin, attending UW madison, studying art & writing. i was pretty happy…except dusty didn’t like to work & did like to have girlfriends on the side.
i was having trouble affording rent in madison…and was losing myself to my fucked up relationship with dusty.
i told dusty he could choose between his girlfriend & me, the mother of his children & his supposed soul mate.
i told him i would leave madison if he did not choose me.
he did not choose me.
so as 2015 ended & 2016 began, i packed up the minions & moved 2 hours north to rent from a friend in manitowoc, wisconsin. there i started to get involved with the grocery co-op they were starting as well as getting involved in the local farm to school program & the local community garden. i felt like i was finally finding the community i wanted to be in.
six months in, after learning that my parent’s place was available to me, my “friend” kicked me out of her house. i still don’t know why. but dusty (who since i had left him all of a sudden decided to choose me) was on board with moving to illinois and had me convinced that the end of times was coming with the 2016 election. did i want to homestead–or was it a reaction to an unstable economy & society? a paranoia that dusty fed every chance he got….
did i want to move to rural illinois…or did dusty? he came with me and lived here for six months before i kicked him out.

now i’m here alone with a yard full of animals that cost more than they benefit…with a house that is too much for me to care for…with no support system or community in sight….

and i’m pissed off.
i thought i was doing what i wanted to do, but looking back, i think i did what i had to do as well as what other people wanted me to do.
and i’m pissed off.

i know that i can live like this if i have to (butchering my own meat & raising livestock.) and i do want to continue with living sustainably and continue growing my own food, but i was doing that when i lived in town & had access to a community. i don’t have to isolate myself to bumfuck illinois to do that.

crap.
dusty always was good at covertly isolating me. now i’m locked in some fucking tower waiting for him to rescue me?
fuck that bullshit.
i’m building a ladder.

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