Category Archives: House sitting adventures

A few things.

Hey folks. 

I know it’s been a while.


Last time I posted was in Autumn.

And I happened to be in a ‘Verizon zone’ and was able to post from my phone.


An Autumnal moment in the cathedral. I admit to rarely taking the time to walk around the farm to visit everybody. 

‘Everybody’ being all the babies, all the seeds I happened to have the good fortune to touch and plant some time before.

All the plant-beings in the cathedral I planted.

I write that to remind myself, because I find that I forget. And start to doubt my doing any things of benefit.


Although it’s raining as I poke at my little phonefacekeyboard, this photo was taken after the first big snowfall on November 22nd.

We got more snow during that snowfall than the entire last Winter.


I’ve housesat for various kitties…


Some who love their kale…


Some who like their space…


Some who look very sweet, but are like the The Oatmeal’s whiskey cat.

I’m very grateful for the cozy homes, for the use of laundry, for the connections over the years.


And as I watch the miles tick on, I’m ever grateful I was able to purchase a car back in 2001 that is still running.

Many miles gone by, many years… learning to drive standard in hilly Ithaca was humbling, and driving out to California cemented the training.

It’s been over 10 1/2 years since returning to Ithaca.



There’ve been many jobs.

After one of my employers was suddenly let go after a downsizing, I was laid off this past summer soon after moving.


It really knocked me out of orbit. Seeding (and cats. and family. and friends.) was one of the few things that helped keep me (sorta) steady.

(That’s me, btw. It was taken by one of the on-farm interns & he shared the photo with me.)

And that’s Sebastian, the ginger tabby with the tiny meow and a huge purr.


I applied to a LOT of jobs. 

Some of which I was qualified for, some not.

Eventually I picked up part-time work with a friend who grows sprouts.


These usually live outside in a greenhouse, but there was below-freezing temperatures, so inside they came, where they got ‘a little leggy’.

Still just as tasty, though.


It seems to be a good fit. 

It’s mostly behind the scenes, and all three of us get along, and it’s pretty mellow while all the work gets done.

The above photo is along my most favorite (and to my mind, most beautiful) road in the county back in October.


I’ve been trying to ‘get behind myself’, and so despite all the inner-critical-voices/chorus, I had cards printed up of some of my artwork…


I worked with a woman-owned printing company in town, purchased 100% post-consumer content recycled envelopes…


Found some nice glassine sleeves (which were probably meant for candy…) to protect each card & envelope pairing…


And with some freely offered new (recycled content!) food containers & paper, made up some packages to sell at the credit union’s holiday craft fair.

I didn’t take a photo of the table with all the cards, unfortunately.

But to my surprise & delight, with an email and two Facebook postings about the event, a whole bunch of friends came out to support my work.

I was really blown away by all the visits & support.

I’ve never really had faith in the artwork that comes through me.

But I started to question: what if I just trusted it… let it be what it is…


It’s far too easy to compare myself to classmates who have work at The Whitney, or The MOMA. Or places like that.

The art that comes through me simply isn’t like that.


I’ll admit, I still think of leaving. Of moving somewhere else. Try to find a place where the rent isn’t so high. Or where I don’t have to run into people who aren’t really friends anymore because I said something or did something that upset them.


I’ve thought of moving to go back to school… maybe for biology… or phytotemediation… but that takes a lot of math & chemistry. Which I basically suck at.

And the truth is, i love seeds.


Maybe that knee-jerk reaction will always be to move, to run.

Aversion is so my go-to habit.

I’m so grateful for the friends who are still my friends despite my (very) imperfect ways.


I wish I was perfect, but I’m not.

I’m trying to befriend myself, with all of my imperfections.

This year I’m going to try to drop the whole trying-to-be-perfect thing. It wasn’t such a conscious thing, and I’m not succeeding at it anyhow, and the attempts at it seems to just create more tension inside.

A sort of letting-go practice. Or allowing. Or awareness, I suppose.


To quote my Yaya, “who needs it?”

Anyhow.

I know I’m leaving out a lot, but engh. It’s okay.


This is one of the cards that didn’t make the cut. But it’ll become mail to someone.

Wishing you gentleness and steadiness, a sturdy ballast for all to come.

Thanks for reading, for your encouragement, and for whatever acts of creativity you can get behind yourself for.

(Or with. Goodness I was never good at grammar…)


Wishing you all well.

May the planets smile kindly on you all through 2017.


Good morning from Caroline.


Good morning from Caroline.


Good morning from Caroline.


Good morning from Caroline.


Good morning from Cayuga Lake.


Good morning from Cayuga Lake.


Cats & lessons & moving & hiding.


This is Luna.

She’s one of the animals I look after sometimes. An ancient kitty, she loves to sit on my lap & be brushed, and is quite fond of taking over the pillow by the middle of the night.


This is Sophie. It was quite warm the week I stayed with her & her sister, Izzy. 


Warm & humid.

Before this stretch with Sophie & Izzy, I had the good fortune to be with Nemo for a while in July.

This was taken before the recent rains…


On very hot days, she’d hop into a ceramic dish for a nap.

Before this, I was at another house, with two kitties. (No photos that time…)

Basically I was not living in my apartment for the entire month of July.

But I was there a lot, packing. Everything. I just moved.

Thanks to my friends, who helped out in so many ways, to support this past move.

Schlepping boxes, sanding patches, dropping off stuff at resale stores, bringing blueberries & pop, bringing good cheer, texting, offering emotional support over the phone & in person… I really could feel the net of people… & their support.


These follows are older than me, but when together, are like 9 year olds. Another friend (I didn’t catch a photo of her) held the reigns & called the shots to keep things going.

They were a huge help on a very hot day driving boxes from my apartment of 2 & 1/2 years to the next landing place.


Packing selfie.

Basically if I was there on my own, I’d listen to music or a podcast & pack & pack & pack after work before heading back to whichever place I was housesitting at.


Thank the gods for all these friends & all these cats in my life.

Because the day I got there, the day I would officially “move in”, there was a distinct sinking feeling in my heart & my gut.


It was the very same feeling when I crossed the California state line back in 2002.

Something akin to: o no. What did I do?

A sort of “wrong” feeling. Like I had made a mistake.


I get this feeling when I’m driving somewhere & I know I’m lost, that I’m going the wrong way.

It’s the same feeling. 

Driving, though, I can just turn around, get off at an exit, go a different route.

Moving, and renting, & having signed a lease, a binding agreement, the stakes are higher, the consequence greater, especially since I sunk my savings into making it happen. (Rent is expensive in these parts…)


I’m haunted by my decision.

Reflecting on how I only saw what I was looking for, & overlooking the aspects of the place which were, um, funky.


I really thought it was a place I could settle into for a while.

But it turned out the landlord forgot to mention one piece of information which would have changed my decision to apply for this apartment.

Mice. 


She says she mentioned it. I said, um, no you didn’t.

“You could get a cat. That’s what the former tenant did.”

And yes, sure, I love cats. 

But I’m not in the position where I can be with (my own) cat at this point of my life.


Clearly a misunderstanding occurred, to the point where she offered to let me out of the lease.

Now, aside from not having the money to rent a different place (including a security deposit), to simply to FIND a place in this town that was both affordable AND in less than a month and with no back-up alternate place to go (not to mention all of my belongings) was, well, it just seemed impossible.

And, quite frankly, I didn’t have the energy or the will to even try. Just moving that last week of July following the entire month of packing every day & cleaning both places while working just wore me out.


I haven’t blogged about it, because I’ve been feeling pretty bad about myself & my decision, & my life at the moment.

Yes, it’s a privilege to move with all of my belongings. Yes, I am currently employed. Yes, I am rich in community.

And

It still feels bad. I feel bad. Ashamed. Stupid. And then it globs into all the choices I’ve made in my past from places of fear & I just send myself into a sort of spiral.


So I’ve been kind of hiding out in shame & embarrassment that extends beyond this one decision & situation.

Even though had I been given all the information I would have made a different choice.


Luna’s like: “stop being so hard on yourself”

The landlord isn’t going to do anything about the mice.

I’m in a year lease.

I’m buying a *%#^ton of steel wool to shove into any cracks & holes, and screwing welded wire over the really wide gaps.

And I’m telling myself that I’m living in a cabin. For a year.

(Thank you, Amy-la, for that.)


And at the recommendation of my wise sister, & then a friend, I’m going to look at what I appreciate about this place, AND what really doesn’t work for me, and apply that to my decision regarding any future places.

So.

I appreciate that I can heat with wood. I enjoy stacking wood. 

The woodstove was one of the four things I saw and said ‘yes’ to.

Wood stove, separate structure (that is, no one above or below or attached to the side), quiet, & a place to garden.

All really great things.


But just focusing on those four things is like stepping into a relationship with someone just because they have a mouth & a hand to hold & a, well you get the idea.

I tend to overlook the whole picture.

*sigh*

Living and learning here.


On a brighter note, despite the severe drought we’ve been experiencing, the hickory trees are quite abundant in nuts this year.


Mockernut & Bitternut hickory droppings from a very tall canopy & signs of critter munching.

O the critters.

Wishing you all well on this night.

Wishing you gentleness & ease.


Good morning from Cayuga Lake.


Good morning from Northside.