Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
A hui hou, Mokihana and Pete
Friday, November 28, 2008
"One our flock, Mokihana, has an article written about her amazing digs in Coming
Unmoored, a blog dedicated to the small home movement, responsible financial
stewardship, and living greener. Mokihana, originally from Hawaii, now lives
in Washington state and is building a “vardo” or tiny, safe home on a trailer
bed so she can move when necessary to protect her health..."
How do you feel about a tiny home community? Have you any experience with Intentional Community?
Then, the name, phone number and address of the neighbors adjacent to the Canary's property must be included to make this application effective. For me the process of going up to neighbors to introduce myself, inform them of my needs and ask for their understanding and their personal information was the most difficult part. That step of self-responsibility is probably my biggest challenge. Part of living with MCS is the confusion that comes when I'm moving through the physical symptoms of an exposure: brain fog, fear, weakness. With time and support I have learned to comfort myself through these symptoms. This compassion is one of the miracles of life. It works, but it cannot be rushed. Fortunately, I had given myself enough time to get through the symptoms -- yes, like threading the eye of a needle with older eyes, and there on the other side was my courage and the support of a partner who would do almost anything for me. Except he would not do those neighbor visits without my involvment. Pete and I did one neighbor together. It was a significant accomplishment! I asked Pete if he would go to the neighbors who use the laundry dryer sheets without me. That would be a risk not worth taking. He did.
Today, November 28th the application is completed, stamped and being delivered PRIORITY MAIL, so it will get to Olympia, Washington in time for the December 1st deadline. Our neighbors were amiable and understanding, and another lesson in finding the courage to do the things that must be done has been learned. In a perfect world perhaps a registry of pesticide sensitive individuals would be unnecessary because pesticides would be no more, and the acknowledgment that every sentient being is sensitive to pesticides would rule. There is that vision and to that end, we of the Canary-MCS Tribe must keep finding our voice, and do what it takes to fill out the documentation that will give form to that vision.
What do you think about this? Ever have a similar experience?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We shopped for our Thanksgiving feast yesterday. Uwajimaya is our favorite place to get a hit of shopping that’s almost like being back home. This landmark store is part of the wonderful neighborhood that is China Town and the International District of downtown Seattle. Food – fresh, packaged, cooked/fried/roasted/baked/broiled is on offer in this warehouse size establishment. The sounds, voices and faces make this shopping fun. I always travel with my mask when I shop never knowing what smells might trigger a sensitivity. Some stores are just a ‘no-go’ fortunately Uwajimaya is not one of them. It’s not far from the Kitchenette, and just enough of a jaunt to get us out of house. At least once a month we break the routine of Co-op shopping and find the foods that warm the soul: long rice, Chinese long beans, fresh mochi with black beans, kabocha tempura and of course, poi.
We went looking for kalo, taro root. The big root vegetable is the original Hawaiian soul food, the embodiment of ancestral beginnings and the food from which comes pa`i `ai … poi. Pete loves to steam chunks of peeled kalo like potatoes and would eat it at least once a week if not more. When we got there the kalo was LARGE but already starting to mold not a good way for the precious root to be eaten. Around the corner bags of TARO BRAND Poi filled the shelves. I shouted, “There’s poi!” “That would be fun.” Pete was glad to here it. If the poi is fresh, I simply open the plastic bag, pour a scant maybe quarter cup of filtered water to the poi, squeeze the poi a little and turn the mixture inside out into a waiting bowl. We eat the poi thick rather than runny. Freshly cleaned, bright rock fish caught my eye. I chose two fillets. Cut into thick chunks, steamed with chopped Chinese parsley, sliced white onions and a sprinkle of wakame (dried sea weed) and grated ginger, and the simple and delicious dish is ready. Organic broccoli, carrots and cauliflower also steamed and our feast is complete. I did buy a can of organic pumpkin pie filling from the Co-op thinking I might experiment with something that could bake in our toaster oven … the concoction hasn’t come to me yet. So, we’ll see.
We send you a hearty blessing and give thanks to you, our visitors who may be celebrating a Thanksgiving meal today, or celebrating simply because it’s another day to give thanks.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I like to measure this time of year with the coming of the winter solstice. Knowing that sunny days will be growing longer once again, gives me hope that the transition from Hawaii to the NW be will one of joy and warm days. Our present life in the kitchenette is good practice for our future life in the Vardo. We do all of the cooking outside on the hotplate and toaster oven. Our access to the bathroom includes a brisk walk outside. In Hawaii we had a wooden furo, like a hot tub, for outside soaking and we will either build one or find a tub and get creative filling it with hot water. Moving back in the spring did help to acclimate by the time winter arrived, however one of the most used pronouncements everyday has been “It’s cold out there”, more of an acknowledgement than being judgmental about it.
For all the doubts and fears I had about adjusting to a colder climate again, having some warm sunny days has renewed my faith in sharing a portion of my indoor life with the outside life, a necessary part of Vardo living.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
3. vi. To rise, go up, raise, become erect.
4. vi. To smell. Also ʻea.
The picture above is a reminder to me when I lapse into selective recall about life without a home being only about suffering. I look at that picture above and know we were on O`ahu for many reasons. Pete took this picture at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki, at my son's uniki (graduation) from Lomi Lomi classes. In his hand he carries our family pohaku ku`i poi (poi pounder), a gift, a passing of a legacy from mother to son to believe nurturing is important. EA, EA.
Monday, November 24, 2008
These two photos move through the 'next layer' of roofing and insulating the VARDOFORTWO.
The second photo from the top: INSULATION. We chose to use recycled denim batting. The denim is dusty to work with. Pete ended up using a respirator to install it. Although it is far less damaging to work with than fiberglass batting it is denim and denim is processed using chemicals and pesticides are used to grow cotton that is not organic. I have been treated and cleared for the denim insulation by my NAET practitioner. The insulation rests on a layer of DENNY FOIL to keep the denim particles contained, and another layer of TUTUFF covers it.
It is one of those choices that came with lots of back and forth movement --we chose foam insulation very early on in the building, but found that was too toxic for us. The off-gassing potential was always there, but we thought we had no better option. When I did the "put a piece of it into a glass jar, close it off for a day, and carefully take a sniff the result was undeniable: NOT THIS!"
I searched again, and found an eco-friendly and safe for me option in WOOL BATTING. This is a great option. Wool is an incredible insulator, tolerable by many of the MCS tribe and if your source can reasonably ship it too you it would be worth exploring. The shipping experience for us turned very negative and costly in more ways than money, and we let the wool option go.
We got a wonderful email this morning from Carol one of the dozen or so folks who was part of Jay Shafer's first Tiny Home Workshops. She'd just learned about VARDOFORTWO, and spent a little time visiting the blog. The joy she gets from seeing the curved roof of our tiny home in the making connects me to those days at Ocean Song, the retreat center where we dared to believe and conceive of something wonderful. We were in the company of others who came with a spark of something bigger than themselves; inspiration, curiosity, adventure...
That picture above is one of the only photos I took during the months of living in the Subaru. From the warmth of the kitchenette I peek through that window, smile at the peace sticker our friend Nancy designed, and see the reflection of the tall tree--the one in the Kailua library parking lot? Maybe, we can't really remember. What does come to me without thinking is not so much the details of that part of the journey. What does come to me is the sense of knowing how far along we have come.
Creating and sharing VARDOFORTWO was a watery vision when we set up the Subaru for sleeping each night, and yet it was the beginning of something that has taken on shape, form and focus. Thanks for visiting and being part of this journey. There is more to come and we intent to make today a great day.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
In essence, the hook (the thing that caught my attention and my heart) of difference between using the word, and the vibration of appreciation vs. gratitude came when I heard "Appreciation and love are exactly the same...when you use the word Gratitude you are often looking at a struggle you have over-come...still messing with that vibration (of struggle) a little bit." Building VARDOFORTWO is a dream I value, a rocket fueled with AHI, the fire of transformation. My choice to make lists of appreciation rather than gratitude is inspired by my desire to keep VARDOFORTWO pointed down stream ... in the flow, with the flow. It takes practice for me to appreciate rather than be grateful, 'the struggle' habit is an old one and it shows up often as I live through toxic exposures. It's okay, here I am at the keyboard and VARDOFORTWO, with me and Pete in it are pointing down stream. I'm in the vacinity of hope and can sniff the things for which I am appreciative. Go to Abraham-Esther Hicks for a dose of humor and their take on APPRECIATION.
For now, I have some dream money to spend and a list of things for which I am appreciative.
WEEK FOUR: Dream Coming True
This week I have: $800 to spend on a box full of phone cards that I give away
- to friends here in the Pacific Northwest who can't afford to call me because I have an (808) phone number
- annonymously at the Salvadorean bakery to folks who need to call home
- at the homeless shelter just because
The 10 THINGS FOR WHICH I AM APPRECIATIVE
1. I appreciate smiles from people I don't know.
2. I appreciate libraries.
3. I appreciate the smell of hot apple cider.
4. I appreciate soaking in the tub.
5. I appreciate generous listening.
6. I appreciate the sound of the shore rocks tumbling in the tide.
7. I appreciate the feel of my comfy robe.
8. I appreciate clean, warm sheets.
9. I appreciate a comforting doll.
10. I appreciate Pete.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Today I would like to add to the 100 Things Challenge. My list of everything in my possession, most of which I am willing to share, goes something like this:
1 Wedding Ring
2 Composition books
1 Folding TV tray
1 Nylon Food Cooler Carrying Bag
1 Chinese Checker Game
1 Deck of Playing Cards
3 Coolers and Ice Packs
2 Yoga Mats
4 Yoga Blocks
2 Yoga Belts
1 Small Box of Mementos; letters, pictures and treasures
2 End Tables
1 String Christmas tree Lights
1 Slant Board
1 Clothes Iron
2 Pair Shoes
1 Pair Slippers
4 Pair Jeans
1 Pair Gloves
2 Sets Long Underwear
4 Pair Socks
1 Pair Glasses
1 Check Book
1 Cell Phone and Charger
1 Food Dehydrator
1 Nylon Bag for making Milk
8 Planting Trays
1 Gallon Glass Jar of Sunflower Seeds
1 Gallon Glass Jar of Wheat Grass Seeds
1 Gallon Glass Jar of Buckwheat Seeds
1 Dozen Quart Jars
1 Box of Hand Tools Old and New
6 Power Tools; Drills and Saws
So far it totals close to 100 favorites, necessities, plenty of what I take for granted, this being the first time I counted most everything. As Mokihana mentioned, a lot of our stuff has found new homes over the years and considering that together we have at least 200 things we are on our way to knowing what will be close to us in the Vardo and what will either tag along with us or find a new home. Thanks for the visit.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The decision to use white oak came with knowing we would need to neutralize the tannins (the natural resinous smell) of the wood. Both sides of the siding need to be milk painted to do this neutralizing. (See post "Learn by doing")
Building VARDOFORTWO as an MCS safe home involves attention to detail and conscious choices every step along the way. The cost of a simplified and safe home means it takes more time and a willingness on both our sides to be respectful as we learn what works, and what doesn't. We are building a sustainable lifestyle in a teeny home to be. In so many ways this is contrary to the old American Dream. VARDOFORTWO is probably smaller than a lot of walk-in closets. We aren't building big, we are dreaming big and dreaming innovation.
Take our poll (see it on the left side-bar). Metal Flashing Detail: each of the vardo walls and the two wheel wells are trimmed and fitted with metal to keep the vardo sealed from weather and outside environmental smells. The flashing also secures the framing to the trailer.
The back wall siding is up, and the first of two coats of milk paint is in the works.
At the left edge you can see the TuTuff moisture barrier that enfolds the entire frame. The underside of the siding I'm painting is already 'pre-painted' to neutralize the tannins.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Here's the beginning of my LIST OF 100 THINGS:
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I have never heard of them, so I checked them out. It seems wool dryer balls are a product that can be purchased, but these may be chemically laden as well. A bit more exploration led me here to HOW TO MAKE DO, a site for making home-made felted wool dryer balls, and other things, too. The directions for the wool dryer balls are clear, and include pictures each step of the way.
We have a great little yarn shop that's on the way to our favorite Co-op and beach walking trail. I'll be heading there (to the yarn shop, Co-op and beach) today! We'll go through the process of making these wool yarn balls and give you an up-date after we make and use our first batch of WOOL YARN BALLS. If you decide to make these wool dryer balls or have made and used them give us a shout.
Thanks Christina, for the tip. For those of the MCS tribe who handle wool this could be an excellent new tool, and what a wonderful choice for any one wishing to decrease the toxic load period! I mua
Monday, November 17, 2008
"'Ole Ku Kahi, 'Ole Ku Lua, 'Ole Pau(Twenty-first to twenty-third nights)
First, second and last `Ole nights. This is a time that is not recommended for planting or fishing. It is windy and tides will run high. Farmers use this time for weeding. `Ole pau and 'Ole kukahi are the kapu periods of the akua Kanaloa and Kaloa and offering are made with pule(prayer)." -from the website Hunt N Fish Maui .
I have just taken the tour of the website Hunt N Fish Maui. And wish to acknowledge the the creator of Hunt N Fish Maui, Wes Carbonell and his family. Mahalo nui loa! I surfed the internet seeking information, a way to understand and explain to myself the traditional wisdom Hawaii and the HAWAIIAN MOON CALENDAR. You see although I am a makua o`o (elder in training) and in some eyes, a kupuna (elder) because of my age and experiences I have much to re-discover and learn about traditional wisdom. The regular attention to the phases of the moon and her affect on all else, is wisdom I learn now because I was not taught, or perhaps was not open to learning in times past. The information, stories and pictures found on Wes Carbonell's website are living examples of a family who has remained connected to traditional wisdom in real-time/real-life. I see the children in this ohana and see the wisdom pass from one to the other.
Today is the first of three `ole days. We introduced the `ole days as a time to rest, restore and weed the things we have begun here on VARDOFORTWO. This is one of the ways I commit to practicing what I learn. It's so tempting to keeping going full steam ahead, all the time, with no pause. Auwe, the fisherfolk and makaainana (people of the land) knew better. Okay...Before starting new projects on the blog or on the vardo there is plenty to clean-up, review and make right before i mua (going forward). We will be working behind the scenes, to remain pono (in harmony) with our intention to build a place of hope, innovation and appreciation.
A hui hou, see you in three days, Mokihana and Pete
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
bolt the cross members in the roof; also the string and tie approach to checking angles and cinching uprights as Pete put the roof together.
The builder guys: Pete and Max (our window maker) with JOTS who must be in heaven there in his arms.
The roof framing is pau. If you look closely you'll see the hurricane clips that secure the roof to the upright framing. The first glimpse of our front porch starts to show up.
There she is all framed up.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Yesterday's post triggered the post traumatic stress symptoms of reliving a life-threatening experience. The body-mind and spirit cannot distinguish between past threat and present. I suspected as I wrote yesterday that might happen, and it did. Thankfully I recognized the feelings of grief that come from these traumas, and called in my support team. My therapist is available to me by phone, our appointments for the past several months take place via cellphone. They are LIFESAVING. Without this kind and nurturing connection the grief of re-visited trauma would lie in wait and trip me up a good one when I am already vulnerable. There was no scheduled appointment yesterday, I just called. She was there, and had a minute. My conversation with "K" defused the sadness and switched on the light of care that is essential. "So, you are taking very good care of yourself today," is one thing "K" shared with me. I sat looking out at the roaring sea at Alkai Beach and let her assurances pat me on the back and empty some of the grief that is inevitable with MCS. **
Dr. David Buscher has the face of a character out of one of those endearing tales where neat and tidy hair never enters the page (if you're reading), or screen (if your're watching). I was surprised when I first set eyes on him, and chuckled inside when I saw him today. We haven't seen each other for more than a year. "Mokihana," he said rounding the corner of his office beyond, "I wondered whether you'd left Hawaii." Dr. B is the man who 'officially' diagnosed me with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, said the illness would change my life. Today we caught up, in a brief yet essential session. My purpose for this appointment was to get the signature of a physician licensed in Washington to complete The Pesticides Registry document. I was an hour late and yet we were both in that office at 12:30. As I talked he scribbled on his blank sheet of paper, nodding and giving me that facial language that is inimitably Dr. B. I felt assured again that as much as possible I was caring for myself and playing this game with all the cards I held. "Thanks for stopping by today," he said after I get his signature and he updated my chart.
It's important to know I can take care of myself, and even more important for a Scorpio Sun/Capricorn Moon woman like myself, to know when to call in the reserves.
Malama pono ... take care of yourself.
**I have attached a link to CIIN (Chemical Injury Information Network's website. This resource was where I first found my therapist's ad for counseling that addresses the issues of grief and MCS. This non-profit group is an advocacy and education enterprise, staffed by people with MCS for people with MCS. You'll need to join/become a member, but a member simply means making a very reasonable yearly donation.
Scientists have documented Kolea's cross-Pacific migration to be a history of ions. Island story remembers Kolea as a member of family.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Here is the link to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (sorry, I forgot to put it here earlier)http://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/Pesticides/SensitivityRegistry.htm
- The deadline for completing and filing this application is DECEMBER 1st, 2008.
- Your application must include the signature of physcian licensed in the State of Washington.
- The names, addresses and phone numbers of your adjacent neighbors will need to be part of the application.
I am in the process of completing this application, even though our "principal place of residence" may, and in reality will change. Our mobile hermitage the VARDOFORTWO stretches the context of the "principal place of residence" coda, and yet I'm here to tell you this law is a step in the positive direction. And I am so thankful to know I can take the steps to be informed before any pesticides are applied.One of the major reasons for our life as fugitives from a chemically dangerous world is PESTICIDE USE AND MISUSE. One of the last places we attempted to rent on O`ahu was a beautiful two-bedroom cottage in Ka`aawa, on the North Shore. This is difficult to write. It brings up post traumatic memories of the event that led to us fleeing the rental. But, it is one of those memories that fuels my motivation to share and learn from experience.
Three days after moving into the Ka`awa cottage, we woke to see the city road maintenance truck driving up the small rural road that fronts the neighborhood. The wind was blowing at a steady gust, a young man stood on the rear bumper of a spray truck. Without forewarning, the pristine warmth of an early morning sunrise was dumped with Roundup as the tank of liquid was sprayed along the roadside within a foot of our driveway. Survival mode activity kicked in: I sealed all the windows, put on my carbon filter mask. My mind raced through the emergency check-list in my head for the things I knew I must take with me. I had thirty minutes before the Roundup would seep into the louvered windows and make me sick. Further details of this Ka`aawa episodes aren't important, and I admit to write and recall more will make me sick.
We began a life living in the car parked in driveways, front lawns and beach parks after this experience, so completing an application such as this is a major change in the right direction. There was very little response to all my phone calls and letters written to the mayor of Honolulu, council people and legislators. The laws and rights to safety as they relate to the community with Environmental Illnesses and Multiple Chemical Sensitivites are scant. Disability Laws still fall short of including MCS as a consistent and bonifided 'condition' for services and recognition. Making changes to the System while dealing with the physical trauma of a pesticide exposure is difficult at best.
There are organizations and blog sites that identify and track the laws, studies and changes to the way chemicals are manufactured, marketed and applied. I've listed a few links that have served us in the past and links I have recently discovered:
Beyond Pesticides http://www.beyondpesticides.com/
MCS America http://www.mcs-america.org/
The Canary Report http://www.thecanaryreport.com/
Chemical Injury Information Networkhttp://www.ciin.org/
What is important today is if you're a Washington State resident and are sensitive to pesticides, this registry process is a major tool to have in your corner. It doesn't exist in all states in America and it should be. For now I'm getting on the registry and when VARDOFORTWO moves, I'll let the State of Washington Department of Pesticide Management know where I am.
Many thanks to my friends in the MCS support group here in Seattle for sharing this pesticide registry information with me. You serve such a vital function, and I appreciate all of you very much.
Be well, Mokihana
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
- If you look closely you'll see the beautiful arch in the roof.
- Notice the WHITE 'walls' behind Pete? This is the vapor barrier, we use a product called TUTUFF.
- Diagonal steel braces(see them against the vapor barrier?) are nailed in to provide insurance against wind sheer when we move VARDOFORTWO, and also gives the home stability when we are 'parked.'
- The vardo is a one room home, no walls will separate the bed(room) from the rest of the space. Like many traditional designs our vardo will have a raised platform at the back of the house, where our Soaring Heart Natural Bed (eco wool and organic cotton futon) will be. The futon will remain open (not folded during the day). A safe sleep on a comforting bed is A PRIMARY NEED. We're building around that need.
- The kitchen and bathroom will be either: outside or shared with the family/friends who share their stationary home and facilities.
- The process of sharing space, learning how to communicate and collaborate, and the simplified style of being together in the VARDOFORTWO is a story in the making. We have two friends who are working with us to be that family who share their land and their lives. These are special people you'll get to know as VARDOFORTWO grows.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
We're heading out for a morning in West Seattle to walk, buy a jug of our favorite apple cider and get our fresh salmon fix from the cool guys at the West Seattle Farmer's Market. This market maybe one of those that ends in November? Anyway, some fresh air (which does come with the generous rains) and movement will do me good. My man the tall one gets a workout climbing up and down those ladders, it's me who needs to get out to move.
Easy start to Sunday. Glad for that. How are you starting your Sunday?
A hui hou, Mokihana
Saturday, November 8, 2008
This site is an excellent source of practical advice/direction/connections for those living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Environmental Illness. The Masked Avenger has a sense of humor. Her recent post about "The Rotational Diet" is funny, while offering an option for dealing with the food sensitivities that often are at the base of one's ability to regularly detoxify the body from the environment which cannot be controlled; ie. someone else's choices.
She doesn't post often, but her archives are rich. Read her list of posts and click where you find an issue of importance or interest. Her resources and research are very useful, too. I highly recommend this blog, and obviously Google does too, since her site comes up first when you search "multiple chemical sensitivities blog."