Saturday, February 28, 2009

'OLE DAYS ... Sunday through Wednesday

The next 'ole cycle of the Hawaiian Moon Calendar starts Sunday, March 1st and lasts through Wednesday. We'll see you after these refresh days. Take a look at some of the newer Life Savers and Safety Net Sites AND the "Hawaiian Moon Calendar ...secrets for sustainable living" link over to the right for some interesting things going on:

  • Liberty over at Moving Beyond MCS shares a hopeful journey of noticing and attending to the improvements in her life with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.

  • Susie Collins at The Canary Report is in the process of making changes and wider services, so although she is one of our long-time valuable links there may be new views on The Canary Report during the next four days ... you never know.

'Ole days give us a chance to pause a bit, slow down and let life gentle up a little. Happy March.

Cheers. Mokihana

Friday, February 27, 2009

DREAM COMING TRUE WEEK 17: Short and Sweet

Dear Readers,

Every week I make a point of nurturing our dream of building and living in VARDOFORTWO. Today I keep it short and sweet with my intention to notice and declare in positive language the things and people I appreciate.

This 17th Week I appreciate these 10 things:

1. I appreciate sunny mornings.

2. I appreciate the sound of geese as they fly past my window.

3. I appreciate the smell of cinnamon.

4. I appreciate a heart-felt story.

5. I appreciate Swami Beyondananda.

6. I appreciate my friends.

7. I appreciate innovation.

8. I appreciate naps.

9. I appreciate hot soup on a cold night.

10. I appreciate Pete.

Hear a gal singing about her favorite things. If you like Julie Andrews, you'll love this~~

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Have a great day, a wonderful hour, a peace hand-full of minutes~~

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prayers for a Sister ... you are loved and supported

I have just opened an email from a dear friend here in Seattle, she was writing to ask all of us in the Seattle Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Support Group to send a note of support. Another of the chemically wounded is "living on the fringe of society to night" ... her family has left her because they don't believe the woman's experiences are real. Many of us with MCS have or do live on the fringe of society. That's one of the most painful realities of this illness -- many people, including those closest to us may not get it.

It's late here, almost 10 PM, and at this point, the day and night have filled us up ... and over. I hear Pete in the kitchen washing up the dishes. I know he will be stretched out beside me in a little while. Dear Creator, Angels and Fairies, Guardians of the Wounded cradle this dear woman in a time of such despair. I know the angst of isolation and know how bottomless the pain can be. I add my prayer and send it into the collective wave of goodness and love her way.

Me ke aloha dear friend. You are loved and you are not alone.

Dear Readers if you can relate and wish to ... simply add your thoughts, send her your love and if you wish add a comment of support to this woman in need living alone in Seattle. We are all connected, and we've been there. Ever thankful for the small and large gifts. Good night, Mokihana

BUILDING THE VARDO: The cost of simplicity

Clip art credit:
"People are often confused as to why a 100 square foot costs more than $150 per square foot. The mindset in America is to look at the cost per square foot. Increasing the size of a room by 50 square feet costs almost nothing. Basically, all you’re paying for is the roof and flooring, and maybe a little extra wiring and plumbing. One of the easiest ways to make a house cost less per square foot is to make it bigger."
-from the Q&A Section of Tumbleweed Houses' Blog.

More and more people are looking at "smaller is better" as a option for their lives. Tiny may push the edges of okay-ness for most folks, and yet the attention that the tiny home revolution receives must say something about the re-think of the American dream. Pete and I began building our VardoForTwo because 1) 'normal houses' made us sick, 2) rent and a mortgage made no senses 3) we saw an option that just might work and it was called a 'vardo.' We are moving ever closer tothe completion of our 8x12 foot home with a porch. Today Pete is talking with yet another (that would make five) roofers to help put a roof on VardoForTwo. Gods willing we will have a deal that works for everyone by the end of the day:))

The excerpt from Jay Shafer's Tumbleweed Houses blog is an important point to make for any of our readers exploring or just curious about the real life dream and activity of a tiny home builder. Building small WITH quality does not mean it will be cheap. We have put our money, time and Pete's labor into the best quality material we can afford and live with without an ill-effect reaction. This home of our is mostly cash and carry. We buy what we can pay for.

After yet another detailed discussion about roofing the vardo today, I just felt the need to get something out to our readers that might help you walk through the process. The cost of simplicity is: a lot of true work! It will not come cheap, but then why would you expect that. Here are a few vital points to consider before and during the process of building a tiny, MCSensible home:

1. Be patient. If you are building it yourself, be patient with yourselves. If you are having your home built, even a builder who 'specializes' in MCSensible home-building will not know your particular brand of sensitivities.

2. Have reliable back-up.
  • This means, who are your health-care supporters? Will they and can they support you through the testing material phases of building your home?
  • Escape Hatch: do you have somewhere or someone who will give you safety if you need to leave the building site?
  • It also means who will be your 'go-fer' shopping and pricing all the materials you think you'd like to use. Again, if someone is building your home for you, the ultimate bottom-liner will be you the owner-builder-MCSer. Build in the time and energy it takes to go through this, then add another 15%-25% of time, at least.
3. Know how much you will spend on your home. In our case, this amount of money is money we already have. There were no loans/mortgages. There were two gifts that amounted to $2,500 which paid for our four customized windows and part of the custom front door.

  • Living with MCS has meant we have no regular income sources.
  • We have a set amount of money from past investments that pay for every bit of our daily expenses and building costs. We aimed at a figure for spending that would leave us a very frugal allowance to live on for one year after VARDOFORTWO was completed.
  • Add 20% to the original budget you aim at ... it just works that way.
4. Material and Set-up. For each phase of our building Pete has beavered away at finding the best suppliers and providers of service. That is such an incredibly valuable job. It's value in dollars saved would probably add another 15% to the over-all cost of the tiny home.

  • We are not using the most readily available or least expensive/potentially harmful materials. So finding these materials and testing them takes a lot of time. It's one thing to build as many do, with exterior plywood for siding and flooring. It's quite another to innovate and research other alternatives.
  • Set-up: this phrase refers to the heating, air purification and electrical cooking/lighting that will make VARDOFORTWO comfy and cozy. We live a higher quality life with no gas appliances or heat, an electric radiant heater has been our choice, an Austin Jr. Air Purifier cleans the air for us now and we'll include it in the vardo. Electrical outlets for those appliances plus one lamp and a string of small 'Christmas lights' will light up our home. One outlet will be used for the laptop so we can keep this blog alive.
There are many other details involved in building any home, and a tiny home is no different ... perhaps it involved more detail there's no room for 'junk drawers.' If you're a lurker whose interested to the point of getting serious about building ... spring's a great time to take the first steps. Questions? Comments?

Cheers! Mokihana

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

BUILDING THE VARDO: What does it take?

"My life with MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES is being transformed with APPRECIATION, HOPE, INNOVATION. Welcome to Vardo For Two (Vardo: a traveling Gypsy wagon)... the space we are creating both on this blog and in real-time/real-life. Follow our journey from utter despair as fugitives from a chemically threatening world, to a place where BIG DREAMS (of a tiny home) grow GIGANTIC hope!"

We began building our tiny home on a trailer 9 months ago. Pete and I arrived in Seattle in May, 2009 shop-worn and dazed from life in the open market so to speak, living in our Subaru we camped in driveways, beach parking lots and front lawns. Something very special happens when all the former definitions of your self, your security, your entitlements change. If you live to tell the story that special something is REBIRTH. Our journey is that, a piecing or peacing together of many 1) thoughts and beliefs, 2) emotions and feelings and 3) intuitive knowing. Like nurturing a human being, VardoForTwo, has been growing within and in public for 9 months. Today's post "BUILDING THE VARDO: What does it take?" gives me a chance to re-trace the bread crumbs as once two wee ones did in a fairy tale long long ago.

What does it take?


  • While we lived without a house with walls on O`ahu, we did have incredibly beautiful Island experiences
  1. Lived for weeks, every night at one of my favorite, treasured beaches. Slept to the sound of ocean waves crashing on the tide pool lava; watched the moon rise and sun rise from the horizons of the water; felt the salt-air on our skin; breathed deep the clean ocean air.
  2. Got to know our cousins who shared their lawn as a camp spot. 'Ohana in Hawaiian means family, the months of being 'without house' tested the meaning of 'ohana. We learned humility, gratitude, and recognized everyone has a different definition of 'enoughness.'
  3. We swam in warm Waimanalo Beach water almost every morning; took cold showers and learned to like them. We made friends with the beach park caretaker and the neighbors who live across the street. They shared without being asked, and asked nothing of us.
  4. Received lomi lomi (Hawaiian body work) from CKB my son, on Sundays in the park near Paki Hale in Waikiki.

  • The months of living in Scout the Subaru pared us to our basic nature. Without STUFF the foundation of SPIRIT began all present. Without too many words here ... the power and knowingness of KE AKUA (creator of all) consistently gave us hope.
  1. When we could not stay in rented houses because of pesticide use, after anger there was a reserve of energy that fueled me to ask for what was needed: "Fair treatment, just compensation, strength to write letters to city officials, education re. MCS."
  2. Health and Spiritual support made the daily experiences with MCS tolerable. I found people who believed my symptoms were real, cared for me with their skill and their vulnerability. I learned to have faith.
  3. We learned how close we could become as a couple. Life together changed us. We learned to respect one another. We expected less and got more if that makes sense.
  4. When no real and affordable options for safe housing revealed itself after 7 months, we sought answers else where. We asked. Pete's old friend Joel answered, we took a chance and packed up once again, and moved to Seattle.

  • Building a tiny chemically sensible home on a trailer is a process of INNOVATION. Every thing about building VARDOFORTWO is innovation. With his building experiences of 50 + years, Pete is challenged to innovate every day. His earth-bound Ox energy (Pete was born in the "Year of the Ox") sustains him when a once tried-and-true method or material simply "don't bake." There were no blueprints for this life nor for this vardo. Oh yes there were many, many drawings and detailed mock-ups. Here are a few of the things it takes to be an innovator:
  1. Be open to being right.
  2. Be willing to be wrong.
  3. Talk to each other, ask for clarification.
  4. Talk to God, ask for clarification.
  5. Laugh a lot.
  6. Find things to laugh about every day.
  7. Seek information.
  8. Make your own decisions.
  9. Get good nights of sleep.
  10. Take breaks.
  11. Make friends with nature. Birds love our company.
  12. Pray unceasingly.
  13. Be still.
  14. Invite success.
  15. Eat good food.
  16. Make love.
  17. Be patient even when you're not.
  18. Make friends with yourself.
  19. Open to other answers.
  20. Be kind.
We are thankful to all of our readers and visitors. It is important to be reassured, innovation can be a lonely journey. Transformation is a personal experience and yet it has a rippling effect. It is our wish that we have an effect that inspires you to good things.

Have some fun today. Cheers! Mokihana

Monday, February 23, 2009

NO madness

I was losing my sense of humor, and went searching for it ...

I went to the beach, it was raining and I was not prepared.
I went to the bakery, and ate a danish.
I went the internet and found all sorts of advice.
I went to The Canary Report's new social community network and found Linda's new blog with a post from one of my old-time funny guys Swami Beyondananda. It was JUST the thing I needed on this lack of humor Monday.

This is my favorite from Linda's post "SWAMI'S 10 GUIDELINES TO ENLIGHTENMENT", and something I think I'll clip part of that guideline to VARDOFORTWO so I'll see it everyday.
If we want world peace, we must let go of our attachments and truly live like nomads. That's where I no mad at you and you no mad at me. That way there will surely be nomadness on the planet. Peace begins with each of us. A little peace here, a little peace there. Pretty soon all the peaces will fit together to make one big peace everywhere.

Thanks Linda!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Microfinance Success Stories

I've begun beating my drum to the tune of Savings Circles as a way to build a community that can and would wish to support me and Pete as we hitch VARDOFORTWO to a truck and begin Tiny Home life with friends. From the lack of comments so far, I wonder whether the concept of small and intimate financial support systems rings any bells for our readers? I hope in time, the readers who began sharing this Vardo building journey with us will see the possibilities of micro-finance in American/North American/Countries not (yet) defined as part of the identified poor.

While we are waiting for the spark to catch you, I have been out scanning the blosphere for people and stories that might be feeding on the same Stew of Solutions that I enjoy. Today Pete was doing his surf on the net and said, "Take a look at this ..." This turned out to be a story on Fire Dog Lake about a microfinance success story in Ghana. This is just what I was searching for. Beyond my usual travels on the blog trail, Pete led me to a place where I could beat my drum with like-thinkers. Here is the link to that story: and the comments that are growing there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

BUILDING THE VARDO: "Tile and Stainless Steel"

These are the rolls of stainless steel sheets we'll be using for inside walls. "Now that's INERT!" Ha, Ha. Thanks for that Leslie, sister MCS tiny homer.
These are the 13 inch terra cotta tiles that will be our floor. The spacers are there for me to decide whether 1/4 inch grout lines or 1/8 inch grout lines will be the choice. Yup, lots of teeny, tiny details in building a home.

VARDOFORTWO folk must be resourceful and open-minded. That line from Judge Harry from the old Night Court sitcom comes back...something like, "Yes, I want to be open-minded, but I don't want to have my brains spilling out." (Punch lines, I'm challenged to remember them, LOL).

Warmer weather and our first Friday night on the town mini-date in a neighborhood diner, Circa in West Seattle, last night have brightened our spirits. "Okay, we're doing this, in the groove...progress. " And before we hitch 'em up and move from the city I had an itching to experience it FOR THE FUN OF IT. We did have a wonderful tea and torte date with minimal anxiety and maximum joy for a full sixty minutes!!


We're on to paint mixing and floor work.

Have some fun today.

Cheers! Mokihana


Sunshine and Springtime coming brings good news. We have news from the Vardo Building World beyond VARDOFORTWO and thought vardo lovers might be interested.

  • Jim Toplin, master builder of beautiful wooden things built mostly with hand tools is doing two workshops on building Gypsy Wagons ... the classes are small so they will lively fill quick. Here's the link to the post. . Thanks, Leslie.
  • Check Leslie Lawrence's website for progress on her lovely tiny homes. She had an adventure to share that was totally understandable for any Tiny Homer hitching to a trailer. Read her recent post about Fly'n Colors.

Friday, February 20, 2009

DREAM COMING TRUE WEEK 16: Appreciation List

It's a sunny Seattle day, and I appreciate it! I've already been to the beach for some fresh air and a bit of a walk, returning a chunk of beach rust I brought home yesterday. I found a small and nearly invisible sea critter ALIVE on the rust ... aiyah someone was living on that. It was too late to drive back to the beach last night. Yikes, the karma. First thing this morning, while it was still very foggy I told Pete I'd be taking the rust and the critter back.

Dreams come true only if you dream them by appreciating 10 things right here on this post. I've already written a long post on my favorite dream of a SAVING CIRCLE today, and now for the 16th week running I make this blog page my witness to the magnificent and the minute delights for which I am appreciative.


1. I appreciate water, fresh clean water, salty water, brackish water, rain water.

2. I appreciate weather.

3. I appreciate hot steaming cooked rice.

4. I appreciate a lapse in memory, mine or yours.

5. I appreciate whistling.

6. I appreciate bowls of almost any kind and size.

7. I appreciate welcomes.

8. I appreciate joy.

9. I appreciate unexpected gifts.

10. I appreciate Pete.

What's on your appreciation list?
Hope you have some fun today. Cheers! Mokihana

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What is a Savings Circle PART II

I was inspired to explore the intimate functions of a Saving Circle sometime late in 2008. The life Pete and I are creating seems to beckon to a method of humanizing our relationship with Value, and in the process reinvent our relationship with money. After more than 15 weeks of regular DREAM COMING TRUE Posts here on VardoForTwo, the shift from spending Dream Money to Saving Circle is to me, a natural progression. A tiny home lifestyle could be better served within a community that knows, trusts and values me, Pete, and all we touch.

Here's what I found in my mailbox a couple weeks ago. The following quotes are from the letter I received from Michelle Mungall of the Circle of Habondia Lending Society, in the West Kooteney Region of British Columbia, CA.

Dear friend,

We are writing you to introduce the Circle of Habondia Lending Soceity, to share our vision and to encourage you to invest in the women of your community. Through the sharing of resoures, we envision a society whee abundance is a way of life ...

From the Circle's Organizing Principles

Habondia, the real abundance, is the power
To say yes and to say no, to open
And to close, to take or to leave
And not to be taken by force or law
Or fear or poverty or hunger or need.

I have a long and varied history as an organizer and leader of future visions. As a young woman, I worked with a band of other young women and designed the first Early Childhood Education Programs where the teacher taught from the child's home. Those programs began Head Start's Home Base proto-type, still alive and well today, thirty some years later.

Something in me loves to spark new possibilities, or meld two existing separate pieces into something yet to be. That's how I feel about inciting the belief that Saving Circles are a hands on real solution to my community's sense of value, worth and resources. Pete and I are nearing our initial goal: Build and live in VARDOFORTWO. Each step of the way ... whether moving forward with a successful materials choice and completed wall or a step backward because my sensitive self could not be with a material, we have shared the journey. Blogging offers a level of transparency uncommon in past histories. Storytelling has reached new heights!

The next step: build a community we can support, and a community that will support us. In a few weeks we will hitch the VARDOFORTWO up to a rented flat bed trailer and make our maiden voyage to the foothills of the Olympics. Two friends with eight acres of Earth are willing to let us park VARDOFORTWO, and the four of us will begin growing a community. A whole chapter opens up to us with that next step.

Gathering and sharing the idea and practical steps involved in forming a Saving Circle is one of the things I will be nurturing this year.
"Informal savings clubs have a long history all around the world...But we have had to wait for the Village Savings and Loan Association movement to show how the same basic principles can be used by, and be useful to, poor and very poor people who, because of illiterarcy or isolation or discrimination, never before had a chance to test out the ideas..." -Stuart Rutherford, author of The Poor and Their Money
Definitions of "financial wealth" and "poverty" in countries like America are changing. Our personal story as a pair of old dears who live within a global society where environmental illness must be 'proven' rather than rectified at its source, has been enough to reinvent wealth and poverty for us. The poll we posted last week showed some interest in Saving Circles. I hope you will email us or leave a comment if your interest includes being part of forming a Saving Circle. We live in Washington state, and would welcome hearing from our neighbors interested in this form of Simplicity and Reconnection. We find ourselves at this stage of life more like the village "poor isolated or discriminated against" and yet, that does not turn us into victims of society. We are very conscious of the systems which challenge us. Equally though, we know what our strengths are and what resourceful souls we are. Our journeys (separately and together) define these strengths and our values. This blog is all about transformation. There is room for transformation in the way we support, save and value our resources.

I'll close this week's post with this excerpt from the book Village Savings & Loan Associations Chapter 1 "How the methodology works".

" The basic principle of the VSL system is that members of a self-selected group voluntarily form a VSLA and save money, in the form of shares...
The primary purpose of a VSLA is to provide simple savings and loan facilities in a community that does not have access to formal financial services. Loans can also provide a form of self-insurance to members, supplemented by a social fund that provides small but important grants and interest-free loans to membes in distress...
All transactions should be carried out at meetings in front of all the members of the association, to ensure transparency and accountability. To ensurce that transactions do not take place outside the regular meetings, a lockable cash-box is used, both to prevent unauthorized cash movement and to avoid the risk that records might be tampered with."
Here a link to another view of GROUPS in collaboration, 'Giving Circles.' There are ideas for forming a 'Giving Circle that might incite you to start one of your own, or transform these basic steps into a Savings and Giving Circle in your community.

Timing is divine and the time is now. Cheers, Mokihana

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Easy Breezie Barley Bread & Holy Water

I first learned of Masaru Emoto when I saw the movie "What the bleep do we know." Pete and I were living in Iao Valley on Maui. The movie contained thoughts and ideas that resonated ... made sense to us. I was beginning to feel the effects of chemical sensitities -- lung damage from burning cane smoke and mold ... ever the seeker, I listened to Emoto's thoughts about the way WATER will COLLECT and BECOME the emotions, thoughts, words, music it hears.

Years later ... today in our VARDOFORTWO life, we collect filtered water from our R.O. filter system in glass jugs that used to be filled with our favorite cider. Around the glass jug I hang single loving words to turn that filtered water into our own 'holy' water.
Words we 'tell' the water: MAHALO (Appreciation, Thank you!)
We drink Appreciation, Love and More and Joy, and add it to all our recipes. That might be the secret ingredient ;))

Here is a link to a review of Masaru Emoto's work from Akemi Gaines. It's interesting, and inspired me to finally start talking to our water.

Here's a picture of the EASY BREEZIE BARLEY BREAD just coming out of the toaster oven. Pricked in circles and cut in wedges. Ono!


Tiny Homers (that's like, not the Homer Simpson variety for sure) don't have much space for appliances and in our case, we have chosen to leave the cookin' outside.
All venture long Pete and I have cooked outside. Thankful we are to have the wide porch above to protect us from the elements. In all kinds of weather--snowstorm, sprinkling rain, slushy thick rain we have been able to boil kettle after kettle of hot water, bake and broil meals, cook rice and make crock pot meals.

Here are the BASIC APPLIANCES for Tiny Home Cookin'


I found this one for $5 at a thrift store last summer. We use it day and night, bake simple quick breads, pieces of salmon, whole potatoes, squash, and oven fried potatoes in this honey. If you find one I'd say look over the heating unit inside (both up on the top of the oven and down below the cooking rack) to see if the element is in tact, not burned out or charred over. It should have a decent if not easily baking soda cleaned baking dish. We use aluminum foil in the pan anyway for most cooking to save on smoke accidents mostly.

Here's my favorite recipe for easy breezie
(it's not gluten free for our friends who are gluten intolerant sorry.)
Barley is a grain, but not a wheat, closer to rice and one of the 'low brow' foods of the back country folks with more texture and a heartier taste. Maybe that's why I like it so much.


2 cups of organic barley flour
1/2 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
a handful of dried fruit (organic raisins or dried dates are my favs)
a sprinkling of cinnamon (more of less according to your liking)

Put all of these into a bowl and stir them up with a fork. Loosen the dried fruit so they're coated with the flour and not all clumped up. I don't have a sifter, don't need on.

3/4-7/8 c of filtered water
enough organic olive oil to fill nearly to the top of a 1 c measuring cup

Make a well in the middle of the barley flour mixture, and pour the water-oil mixture into the well.
Wet the dry ingredients, don't over-mix that just toughens your bread.
If you need to, sprinkle the dough with a little barley flour to work the dough out of the bowl.

Oil your baking sheet lightly. Pat the dough into the middle and work it into the thickness you prefer. This bread is very forgiving and can be as thick as a proper scone (2 inches) or as thin as shortbread (1/2 inch).

I like to prick the top of the bread in patterns both because it's pretty and it helps to bake the bread (shortbread always called for a prick ... like in "Patty Cake, patty cake baker's man ....")

Pop it in the oven for above 15 minutes. Serve it hot with butter, ghea, oil oil, jam, honey or just plain.

Although most rice cookers have aluminum rice pots (and those aren't the best metals for health, I know) we use the rice cooker to cook rice, and steam veggies on top of the nearly cooked rice. This appliance is least essential I think. With our Broil King Cast Iron Cook Top, we could cook a great pot of home-steamed rice without the hazards of over the top Hot Plate cooking. More about that later.

These are an old fashion answer to an any season lifestyle. As long as I have a good chunk of energy in a day, I can prep and fill this crock pot with vegetables, herbs and a pair of turkey wings or a small lamb shank, add water to cover with a scant sprinkle of Hawaiian salt and 6 hours later we have a delicious hot meal.
Like the toaster oven we found this crockpot at a thrift stove. It cost us $7.50. It has a glass lid and a removable crockery liner, important for cleanup and storing left-overs for the next day.


This is the appliance that has kicked up our Tiny Home Cookin' in magnificent fashion. Any one whose cooked on an electric hot plate knows the frustration of its unpredictable nature. It's hard to regulate and maintain temperature with a hot plate. THAT PROBLEMS DISAPPEARS with this Broil King cast iron double burner beauty. This is a GOOD STOVE in miniature. I've attached the link to Compact Appliances. Com if you're interested in checking into these cook tops. After buying at least four hot plates in less than four years, there is a better solution. It costs more but the price is worth the quality of the cooking, and it is easy on the electricity as well. The cast iron elements maintain their temperature, and once hot they will either draw very little electricity or not draw at all.
Go here for a look at these Professional Cast Iron Cook Tops: Compact Appliances

What makes these two old dears such happy campers?
GOOD TINY HOME COOKIN', that's what.

Friday, February 13, 2009


These weekly Dream Coming True posts have been a good exercise in consistency. This week I've decided to expand the Dream Coming True with a series of articles called "What is a Saving Circle?" The first one is already posted ... check it out. So, rather than growing my DREAM MONEY, I'm choosing to grow the dream of acting as if there are people interested and willing to learn about REAL Resource Building.

So, I begin DREAM COMING TRUE WEEK 15 with: Part I of "What is a Saving Circle?" posted on VARDOFORTWO. Rather than dream money, I start with an investment of education ... something of value to me. This is the only part of the process that changes.

The 10 things I appreciate this week are:

1. I appreciate chocolate bars without soy lecithin.

2. I appreciate DQ chocolate dipped cones. (the secret is out!)

3. I appreciate knowing "I don't know is a good answer."

4. I appreciate delightful surprises.

5. I appreciate shore birds flying.

6. I appreciate goofy friends.

7. I appreciate sweet hearts.

8. I appreciate the taste of black cherry jam.

9. I appreciate new solutions.

10. I appreciate Pete.

Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow dear readers, tomorrow is Valentine's Day and the first of the three days of `Ole Days. We will rest from posts until Tuesday of next week, the 17th of February.

Have some fun today.
Cheers! Mokihana

What is a Savings Circle PART I ? Expanding The Dream Come True

There's a new poll here on VARDOFORTWO, the first one of the year. The question we're asking is: 'WOULD YOU JOIN A SAVINGS CIRCLE?" As I begin writing this post, two of us ... that is me and one other person have voted. There is an interest, I'm glad to know that. What I'd like to do over the next few weeks, as part of my DREAM COMING TRUE projects and weekly posts, is to answer the question, "What is a Savings Circle?"

Pete and I have personal interests and curiosity about the practical application of Savings Circles, Lending Groups and Community Based Alternatives to the large banking and financial structures. We have owned a home together, lived briefly with a small mortgage, and when the challenges of living in a home that could not be safe from chemical intrusion led to selling that home we have been on the move in a parallel universe to the 'large banking and financial structures.'

As my friend Akemi Gaines would probably say, "in plain English" we have experienced living by our wits, managing the challenges of finding safe housing and resources to raise the level of our well-being without regular 'employment' or monetary in-flow. The sale of the homestead on O`ahu has financed our journey to building VARDOFORTWO. 99% of the expenses for traveling, eating, paying rent, well-ness expenses and materials to build VARDOFORTWO comes from the sale of that homestead. We are a cash and carry couple, with minimal debt, no mortgage and a soon to be tiny home that will be simple to maintain and become part of the solution for re-building the definitions for COMMUNITY.

The attraction of SAVINGS CIRCLES started when I first learned about KIVA. A friend gifted me with a small amount of money that I could invest in supporting a village entrepreneur in a developing nation ... a nation outside the North American Continent. I explored KIVA and was fascinated by the intent and application of one-to-one micro finance. Soon after that initial experience with KIVA, the effects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities spun us like wooden tops off a length of string ... there was no homebase. We became one of the tribe of the streets ... the tale of Sam and Sally is a storyteller's version of our truth. Like thousands of others who live with and cope with the challenges of loss (in any and all forms) we have struggled, survived and then there is something else. There is hope and that hope grows. Why? Because when I realized that this life is about transformation answers come from every where.

The success and model of small, personal groups and circles of people throughout the world -- mainly women to begin with, led me to reaching out to grassroots models closer to me. As we have gained physical, emotional and spiritual strength over the months, here in Seattle, I sense the need to attract a resource and financial process that would be in sync with our growing awareness of 'enoughness.' Like the village of Bangladesh where The Grameen (Village) Bank
created micro-credit programs giving women access to credit, I recognize how important it is to see that we ... more and more of us ... need to create a system of resource-growth and loaning that is REAL...responsible to all, equally available to the group, anthropomorphic (answerable to all that is) and loving to its member. Sound too simple; or maybe too idealistic? Can you get your head around the idea? What ever you think or feel about it ... I hope something tingles in you as you read this. Let us know in the comments.

Like I said in the beginning of this post, this is a start to answering "What is a Savings Circle?" It will take time to educate and that time is an important investment. I have gathered information to educate myself and Pete. Those resources are included with this post. Check them out yourself, if you're interested in learning more, the examples of savings circles and loaning societies exist. I am not sure exactly what will come of my exploration, however I know it is a path worth pursuing. VARDOFORTWO is an alternative reality for most, and yet it is a reality for a few. That is a good omen. We have set a soft target of Spring Equinox as the time when VARDFORTWO hitches to the perfect truck and moves us to our first encampment. That's just a little over a month from today.

A few willing and hard-working souls with a clear vision for starting small and building strong is a good foundation for community. Those of us who have or are living with the challenging yet incredibly empowering daily experiences of transformation could use a circle of support ... why not have one of those circles be a SAVINGS CIRCLE? Here are the resources I am using to envision a savings circle. The following excerpt comes from the preface of the the book Village Savings & Loan Associations A Practical Guide by Hugh Allen and Mark Staehle. We are the village it seems to me, and that is a good thing to know.

"...Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), based in the community, are complemantary to MFIs(microfinance instituions), tending to serve the very poor whose income is less reliable and who may not be full time business people. Their principal need is for services that help to (i) manage their household cash flow and (ii) that provide useful lump sums for life-cycle events--which may or may not include income generation. These people tend to be economically vulnerable and to live in rural areas that are served only intermittently by local markets, at the periphery of the national economy..."


Circle of Habondia Lending Society "Investing in Women & Community" is based in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia, Canada

Village Savings & Loan Associations A Practical Guide a book available through and

Asian American Women Giving Circle is a New York City based group with a mission of pooling and giving resources to Asian women who are serving the community, and would other wise be unsupported in their efforts.


GRAMEEN Bank in Bangledesh

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

BUILDING THE VARDO: "Liveliness always needs the potential of becoming..."

Yesterday we did small and satisfying gatherings. We went looking for floor tile and hardware for the front door, and found both. The tiles will be like stepping on well-worn terra-cotta, pinky-red worn yet not slippery. The door knob! It's a glass knob with a pineapple on its face. You know how tickled I am to have that small delight waiting for me when I come home? Oh so very tickled! A simple bolt to hold top to bottom half of the Dutch door is ordered as well.

The quote included in the title of this post comes from our favorite zen book of architecture, THE TAO OF ARCHITECTURE. (The book is available through, link on the title if you're interested.) Today the sun is bright in the sky, the pale blue is almost transparent. Snow still covers the lawn, melting slowly just to remind us of the in between-ness of today. The day is our example that "liveliness always needs the potential of becoming."

The book THE TAO OF ARCHITECTURE sits in the living room table next to the wheatgrass. When I went through the front door of the apartment this morning I saw it lying there, face down. It called my name, I reached for it and this paragraph read itself to me:

"Liveliness always needs the potential of becoming. It seems that one way to curb flooding in space is by holding an environment together by an intangible line suggested by tangible mass ... in perpendicular relation with the direction of flowing ... an effect between being and non-being of flowing...This effect is equivalent to a "retard" in music..."

Pete: "Where are we with this? What I like is the curve of the roof. From the front to the back it's in unison with the curvature of the Earth."
Mokihana: "Good question. It's a perfect time for us to consider how to curb flooding in space ... by holding an environment together.... We're starting to move from the outside into VARDOFORTWO. The tiny home is one open 8x10 space. What I imagine is hanging partial fabric 'walls' from the arches in the ceiling. Like in The Kitchenette ... we can create a pause with a fabric wall between THE DOOR and SPACE for the computer ~ Another pause falls in front of the bed.

The paragraph in THE TAO OF ARCHITECTURE ends with this beautiful image comforting us as we play with the possibilities, "A rather confined environment hence becomes a visual volume of melting softness."

Monday, February 9, 2009

BUILDING THE VARDO: It's still winter

We woke to a reminder that it's still winter. And, from many places on the Earth, a complete Lunar Eclipse will be visible in the night sky as well. So, here we are in Seattle, being with All the Is taking a few more steps to getting the inside of VARDFORTWO finished and liveable.

Here's what we've been doing:

The walls

  • I've ordered a second bunch of organic cotton samples, this time from Near the Sea a great web-store in New Mexico.
  • Pete is out and about buying a single sheet of stainless steel
Our combined thinking (not over-thinking, thank you) and intuition about the walls goes something like this:
  1. Insulate (using staples)with the denim batting we already have. Using the materials we have already purchased makes a lot of sense, and blesses the use of our resources we do have without spending what we don't have. Does that make sense? With prayers to the angels and guardians we attract wise direction ... a magnificent solution!!
  2. Cover the denim with Denny Foil (use staples and if I sense the need, cover the staple holes with tiny strips of Denny tape) to seal out any smell ~
  3. Install (using screws) panels of stainless steel as walls. The need for more paint or the possibility that the oak and paint smells could lead to reactions is avoided. Stainless is very easy to clean.
  4. Here's where the draping of organic cotton panels could be the beautiful and warming touch over our stainless steel walls. The swatches from Near the Sea cost only 50 cents a piece and they mail through US Post, which is very responsible.
This post is as much a visual affirmation of belief that a magnificent solution is in the making. This journey is about transforming and BE-coming two dears living in our beloved VARDOFORTWO.
This post written while it is still winter is like my weekly Dream Coming True posts in that when I commit to writing the real process of thinking-intuition and action the 'dream' gathers collective love!!!

The sun is brilliant as I finish.

Cheers, have some fun today.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

INSPIRATION from Pasadena Urban Pioneers

I've used this clip photo from an old folder saved long ago, used many times, and always find one more reason to use it ... again!

There are folks who just DO IT ~ step by step these people know the way to keep connected to the earth is to know where their food is coming from, and become the people who grow it.

Thanks Susie Collins over at The Canary Report for this story and video that has enlivened our journey. Since we VARDOFORTWO folks are unable to do YOU TUBE, I've linked to Susie's post about the PATH TO FREEDOM folks in Pasadena, California. So many ways to be inspired to be pono (in harmony).

Here's the link:

Friday, February 6, 2009

DREAM COMING TRUE WEEK 14: The Power of Believing

Welina ... Welcome. The sun is hiding behind the sweatshirt today, the vardo is wrapped up again, and breakfast is cooking. Barley and grated apple biscuits and a hard-cooked egg. Something to inspire me to get this dream on the screen and into the hands of the community of believers.

I love how our weekly Dream Coming True posts are planting the seed of believing dreams come true. Last week two of our friends and VARDOFORTWO readers were inspired to spend part of this amassing DREAM MONEY on community collaborations that make a difference in their lives. Thanks Susie and Ruth for joining in on the collective energy of believing.

With each new week Pete and I grow the original dream of building a home of transformation, VARDOFORTWO is the physical reality, our journey no less real ... we share the process with you. The coming Spring offers Pete and me the next step of connecting with others to create "a village." Our exact direction and the friends who will love and support us are in the hands of the Great Gypsy Caravaneer ... Like building our tiny home the steps are small, yet steady. So this morning, we bless the budding SPRING and embrace it with appreciation.

Here we go with Week 14's DREAM COMING TRUE Post:

This week I have $819,200 of DREAM MONEY (To clarify: DREAM MONEY is a symbol of the abundance we wish to attract. The abundance is in the making, in the believing this money or an equivalent value is available to us. We do not have this money or its equivalent in our pockets, yet.) to spend ... oooolahlah the dream grows! I choose to spend and save this dream money in this way:

I tithe 10%: $81,920 on interest free loans to people I know who are investing in collective and gentle-on-the-earth creative homesteading. Remaining dream money: $737,280

I invest 25% of the $737,280: $188,640 in establishing the VARDOFORTWO Gypysy Homestead with an existing Intentional Community. Linking us with others ... people, land and resources. Serving as a model for eco-living and organic gardening, spiritual connection and collective/creative resource sharing.

I offer the remaining dream money: $588,640 to our readers to describe and envision spending on projects and collective living/education/organic farming/resource sharing ventures in their global environment.

How would you spend all or a portion of this remaining dream money?

This week the 10 things I appreciate are:

1. I appreciate the loving and supportive friends I have in this world.

2. I appreciate smells that delight me.

3. I appreciate a changed and positive attitude.

4. I appreciate honey bees.

5. I appreciate the taste of warm biscuits.

6. I appreciate a well-written letter.

7. I appreciate trade winds.

8. I appreciate the sound of chanting.

9. I appreciate effortless movement.

10. I appreciate Pete.

Have some fun today. Cheers, Mokihana

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moving Beyond MCS: You Are Magnificent! (AWEsome EFT video)

Moving Beyond MCS: You Are Magnificent! (AWEsome EFT video)

Here's something that inspired me to choose magnificence ... WHY NOT!!

BUILDING THE VARDO: A Show Case of Magnificent Progress

JOTS and Pete Welcome You to VARDOFORTWO!

The back wall detail: milk painted Hawaiian scented fern, my beautiful lau`ae.

The back wall ... the trailer hitch will attach to a truck ... maybe in the future a seat for a driver and a couple beautiful oxen (you never know!)
THE FRONT OF VARDOFOR TWO ... A LONG VIEW: looking through the long-limbed, unpruned ancient climbing yellow rose that the White Center birds love to perch on ... while waiting for us to scatter more seeds.
SIDE ANGLE VIEW : Showing off the snappy look of those tori`i windows ... yup, they ARE two different sizes.
THE CURVED ROOF: in its prepared for a roof top condition.
Here I am looking through the puka (hole) in our front door, envisioning the delicious conversations we'll have.

We are mid-way to the Spring Equinox. Sunnier days make these Hawaiian bones happy, never mind still needing the Duo-Fold wool long underwear. VARDOFORTWO has been living under wraps for most of Winter, like everything else. And yet, this week the hydrangea and the rose bushes are sending spring messages ... "We're waking up," they tell us.

So to start this precious new day we've pulled the tarps off and post here, the current state of VARDOFORTWO magnificence!! She is indeed, a rose in the blooming.

Building VARDOFORTWO with gentle to the Earth materials is our primary motivation. Building this mobile tiny home with awareness for the chemical sensitivities that challenge me is an equally important motive.
Building with joy and magnificence that is a choice. We choose that.

Cheers and Aloha, Mokihana and Pete