Sunday, May 31, 2009

'Ole Days Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

The days and nights of rest and restoration are here. Writing from the back seat of Scout our faithful station wagon to let all who visit know ... it is the 'ole days of the moon ... new views and news in a few days. A hui hou.

Mokihana and Pete

Friday, May 29, 2009

Choose your company

Kupuna La`au Nui
... the eldest of all trees, a grand, grand, grand 325 year old fir living just across the creek from us on the ledge

A clump of vine maple makes a delightful swing for a fairy bower of columbine plucked from Anna Paint's gardens and stuck in a 25 cent St. Vincent DePaul treasure.

True heat ... up into the 70's has come to the woods. The wild flowers and creatures are blooming. Teeny tiny flowers are showing up every day, winged life of all shapes and colors are filling the sky.

Yesterday was a big city day ... an hour and a half drive from the ledge to Olympia for our once a month big shop at the Olympia Food Coop...a tremendous place to remember what a good company can be. We find our organics there, get a good deal for the long drive it takes to find the food we choose to eat and the people and ideas that fill the place make it a feel good thing.

We applied for a low income membership with the Coop (since we have no income right now) and there were no PROVE IT OR LOSE IT policies, just a check of a box that says this 10% on all purchases discount would need to be reassessed in a year. I carry a simple purple card that has my name on it and show it at check-out.
Trusting, kind, good product, good people, and shopper participation (you need to write down the codes for the produce and the bulk items).

Grand tree, fairy bower and a Food Cooperative that works.
There are my three choices of GOOD company.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Aloha readers, viewers, followers and family,

We may be having comment reception (is that the phrase?) difficulties here in our blog world. I'm trying to track down the possibilities and get it corrected. If you feel comfortable emailing us that works.

Sorry about any inconvenience. Is Mercury just about to stabilize and conclude the retrograde?

Thanks for visiting ... solutions soon to come (cross your fingers and toes).

Mokihana and Pete

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CREATING A NICHE: The Mobile Bird Cage

We are growing ... here's an excerpt from our newest blog, a blog to drum up business, and we would like you to know about it!

Now we prepare for the next stretch of our journey: providing service and creating a business from our life experiences. Over the past months since we started blogging we have increased our visitors to about 30 visits per day. That means on an average we are visited over 10,000 times in a year. We get few comments so there's little way of knowing exactly why our visitors come or keep coming back. Given the increasing numbers of people who live with chemical injury and multiple chemical sensitivities we can only guess that a fair number of our visitors live with this illness.

We see the need to provide service and create a business based on our experiences as a resilient household of two who has learned (and continues to learn) what it takes AND how to build a mobile safe haven for a canary. We would like to involve you in the business development. How could we serve you? How could we serve someone you know?

We launch this blog to get your feedback and to plan our time for the next several months. We know we will need to create nooks and crannies, safe ports in more than one place on the Earth and make connection with people who know who we are are, resonate with what we are doing and/or could benefit from our experiences. So in collaboration with our other blog VARDOFORTWO we cast our net to find fellow creators of a gentle way of being on Earth, people who recognize they are The Sensitives and may need guidance and assistance ... building a mobile birdcage or perhaps you have a stationary home that needs 'gentle and chemically sensible remodeling' or maybe have a safe place for VARDOFORTWO during the winter. Any or all possibilities could be part of our niche.

Link to the full post at TheMobileBirdCage

When the Ledge is the Edge

RESERVATION FOR TWO at the fragrance-free Convertible Stump Cafe
Two sweet old chairs ... gifts from Anna Paint are all dressed up for tea ... within inches of the skinned fir steps fronting VARDOFORTWO.

There's space for a little cheer here.

The perfume poisoning is passing. I am less weak, don't feel like I've been on a whiskey and beer binge and I feel my real self alive and present. I've never been 'to war' and yet any day can become a time of chemical warfare alert. Thank you, thank oasis of a vardo and the builder of that safe haven ... Pete.

The wind is back today, it's blustery and the tall ancient ones sway slow and long. The trees are beautiful and we love their conversations...appreciate their company and learn from their long-standing history in spite of the challenges.

Life on The Ledge expands with each new step we take. Miraculous as it is we are into our 8th week of life here on the down-hill (every step we make is down hill on the Ledge). A week or so ago Pete re-claimed the old skinned fir 2 x 4's that lay in a heap at the edge of the Ledge, and shaped them into steps. There is almost nothing I love more than to sit on the stoop ... the steps. With those skinned fir boards we stretch our livable space by nearly three feet ... sit and enjoy the sun as it beams through the ridge top pines and fir across the Pond. Evenings are quiet and then the frogs burst out their aria ... and the steps are our front row seats.

In the fresh air, the skinned fir boards do not cause me any reactions and allow me the enjoyment of tree company. I know some of my sisters and brothers who live with sensitivities would find this difficult or a no-go. I appreciate the edge that I have to live on The Ledge. What do I value? Steps. What do you value?

Mahalo trees, mahalo Pete.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Riding out an exposure: PERFUMES ARE POISON

There is bliss and then there is a blast ... perfumes are one of the worst. I am coming through an episode that just reinforces the need to be resilient. A visitor came to call on our friends who share their space and their home. The visitor 'knew' of my sensitivities but forgot to come fragrance free. It's a lesson that costs me time, health and recuperation. My organs collect the chemicals and I suffer through the process. Sleep my most valuable ally, prayers right in there with the rest.

My friends are learning what happens ... they see it, we cancel our Sunday community dinner and Jane E. the dog who loves the visitor got another bath to try to rid her of the perfume and for a while I will need to limit my entry into the Big House. It takes a lot to educate and be educated.

Here's something to remind me, and our visitors what perfumes are REALLY...

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is basically a subset of Environmental Illness (EI), which is caused by living in a toxic world. The chemicals that were synthesized after World War II (including, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, cleaning products, detergents, etc.) are mostly "petro-chemicals" (petroleum based) and are quite toxic to humans. There have been virtually no studies done on the majority of these chemicals to see how they affect humans - the industry just placed the chemicals in the environment with the assumption that they are "safe, till proven toxic", instead of the other way around. *
One of the biggest offenders is PERFUME and other scented products. Did you know that many of the ingredients in your perfume are the exact same ingredients found in GASOLINE??!! I didn't either! The scary thing is that the perfume industry is NOT REGULATED at all - they can put any number of chemicals in fragrance without revealing what those chemicals are - or how they affect humans. We humans are all participating in a giant "lab experiment" against our knowledge and against our will, and it's making some of us VERY sick.

-an excerpt from Our Little Place

*fortunately there are some excellent resources and study being done to document the poisoning affect of these chemicals. One of those recent studies is now being posted over on Susie Collins' Canary Report ... it's one fully loaded project researched and published by Professor Anne Steineman and Amy L. Davis. Amy is one of our MCS friends who lives in Seattle.
from The Ledge and happy to be coming out of the brain fog and perfume poisoning, Mokihana
Smell a flower, leave the perfume alone, very alone.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

MCS and Chemical Injury Tip: Create the RESILIENT HOUSEHOLD

Living on The Ledge I have the luxury of feeling blissfully safe and blessed with wellness. It's incredible when the air is clean, the frogs in full voice and the symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivities a memory or someone else's science fiction. Building and living in our VARDOFORTWO gives me that luxury ... the safety of an oasis room where my body is able to restore itself from toxics and toxins while I rest and sleep. In a reassembled world, that luxury would be a birthright for all beings from bug to blissful old folk like me. That world will need more time and plenty of re-education. Today I had a chance (thanks to the strength of the internet here in the woods) to visit one of my most reliable earth "SOURCERIES" Susie Collins' The Canary Report. I found an article about the challenges and reality of construction and home repair for folks with chemical sensitivity or the chemically injured. The article will make sense to those who are chemically injured and have undertaken construction or home repair. It might be a stretch for those who don't get it or just don't go there.

Here is the bit of the article that most sang to me:

Households that accommodate the needs of the chemically injured need to keep operating, just like HROs, when there’s an unexpected chemical exposure. The householders have ongoing needs for sleep, food, water and medication. Much like in combat, the household of a chemically injured person may suffer severe losses due to unexpected chemical exposures: lost time, lost money, lost health, lost property. But like HROs, resilient households take the time to build capabilities for resiliency, communicate thoroughly and in a timely fashion and track and correct even minor failures. This is especially true during times of relative calm. The time taken to hone skills and correct minor problems may seem like plodding to some, but it makes a critical difference when the unexpected strikes.
Copyright © April 2009 by Michael and Judy Stouffer.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivativeWorks 3.0 United States License.

Building VARDOFORTWO required time (two years of planning, searching, testing, building and re-testing) and a good portion of the money we had. Pete and I have had to learn to become a 'resilient household of two" who take the time and energy to respectfully communicate THOROUGHLY and patiently. What sounds reasonable to one of us might not make it to the other, especially when one or both of us has been exposed to something toxic. The point made in this article by Michael and Judy Stouffer who blog at TAU TOPICS is that time to fine tune these skills becomes the ace in the deck ... or the joker you need when one more detail throws you for a loop. We have been helped by a keenly aware and sensitive counselor, to build this resilience in our relationship. Now that we are living with two other adults who are learning how to live with accomodating chemical injury these resiliency skills will be tested and we'll need to pay attention to the honing practice.

I'm truly appreciative for sources like this one that comes up when I am in one of those blissfully calm time. Perhaps this will help you too or be a place you'll remember to visit when you need it. Thanks Susie for the connection.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Answering Questions: Ahoy VARDO Creators AND Visitors and Travelers with MCS

A while back people asked us questions about the building of our vardo. I've added a few other questions and answers that often come up, too. Sorry for the long delay in replying ... here are some answers.

1. WHAT IS THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE VARDO PLUS TRAILER? Approximately 3,800 The trailer itself is 950 lbs.

2. WHAT SIZE IS THE TRAILER? 7 feet wide x 12 feet long

3. WHAT IS THE MATERIAL FOR THE INSIDE WALLS? We have 28 gauge stainless steel for the walls with a white oak (solid) 3/8''x 3'' t&g for the roof and painted with milk paint (no sealant or beeswax over the oak)

4. WHAT SIZE TRUCK DID WE USE TO HAUL THE VARDO? We rented a 2500 Heavy Duty GMC truck. It did the job and Pete loaded the bed with tools etc. In the future we would try to get a better set of tires on the rental truck ... the street tires weren't much good on the dirt slopes heading onto The Ledge.

MCS-Related Questions

1. WAS I ABLE TO MOVE IN & SLEEP IN THE VARDO WITHOUT REACTION? Yes. I enjoyed a very peaceful and non-reactive night the first night. That was a major accomplishment. Before we moved the vardo we vacuumed, wiped down the walls and made sure all the fabric had been washed at least twice. We heated and then aired the vardo prior to the move letting the materials 'bake-out' and release.


Window Coverings: The curtains are 100% cotton flannel (our old many many times washed in baking soda and milk) sheets.

Walls: The back wall is hung with a full 100% cotton flannel sheet and it's also backed with an old cotton quilt that has been washed and aired.

Bed: The futon is 100% cotton and organic cotton covering with a wool topper also with organic cotton covering. All of these materials have been washing and aired for months ... we used them in The Kitchenette. We use a silk comforter and cotton sheet and blanket too.

Storage: We keep our clean clothes washed and bagged in old paper bags under the bed

Electrical: We heat with a stainless steel and ceramic electric heater, use one small 40 watt lamp, and run an Austin Air Filter (most of the time) although the air on The Ledge is very clean except for pollens. This laptop is also kept in the vardo either in its traveling case or out on the slantboard/couch.

Couch: My old foam slantboard is covered with Denny Foil to keep the off-gassing from seeping into the house. It seems to be working. In time we will replace the slantboard with a bench Pete builds.

Floor: The ceramic tile floor is covered with two yoga mats (these are old thin, purple foam) and a cotton throw.

Hope these answers help any vardo builders and you who also live with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. The process is not simple ... it works though and we are thankful for VARDOFORTWO every day, every night.

No pictures tonight ... our connection and downloading is oh so turtle like in its pace. Turtle is a very good way to be sometimes.

All the best ... be of good cheer. Aloha, Mokihana and Pete

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunshiny Blog Style on The Ledge

It was a beautiful morning for blogging this morning. The wind was blowin' from the north, the umbrella gave me ALMOST enough view of the screen, the turban on my head was almost good enough to make the WIFI happen ... ALMOST!...7 hours later I've moved to the porch on The Big House and posting is finally possible. Timing ... it's timeless. Blogging in the woods takes creativity. How creative have you had to be to get your blogging fix?

Hoot, Hoot hurray this day's for you "Josh Tree"

Joshua Tree loved the land and trees that filled the deeply angled slopes surrounding the pond of Ever. Familiar to him since he was a boy, Josh knew everything about his trees. He worked in town and had little time on the trails for clearing downed limbs and rotted trees but his attentive eyes were always keen to the conditions on the glen. The sound of voices and laughter filled The Family’s mansion. Calliope and T.F. had promised to meet in the river bed mid-way between the lake and the pond of Ever. The river bed, now dry of run-off carved a shallow trail just below Josh and Anna’s porch. “Do you think he’s ever seen us?” Calliope asked as he slithered over the lichen-covered rock bed. “He’s a fully grown man with a love of the Tall Ones and yet he has reserved a connection between us that says something about his Grace. Is it easier you think, for some mortals to remain above water even when the pond of Ever draws everything and any being to the deepest parts?” The orange one was quite a philosopher with interests that always made Traveling Frog chuckle with delight. “Calliope, you of all beings ought to appreciate the changeable nature of a being. Orange in one season and slim green and tailed the next. It seems to me not all mortals care to invite, or perhaps lose memory of the grace to cant the dreams, we remain invisible to them.” “Doesn’t make Joshua any less a good man just because he can not see us,” Calliope was very fond of the keeper of these stretches of stony land. “No, he doesn’t need to see us to believe these are a special Wood and an even more special pond. There’s a season of unveilings beginning now that the Bird and her mate have pulled their wagon to The Ledge. What Joshua Tree does or does not see may be different before the cycle finishes.” Calliope quieted and followed T.F. to the leveled patch of stones not far from the lake’s shore.

- a snippet from Wood Crafting inspired by the real Josh Tree
who shares the land, The Pond, The Ledge and The Trees with
Pete and me

The adventure of life from VardoForTwo evolves with the experiences of building an
Intentional Community. Life on the planet offers us mortals opportunities to Reassemble the ways in which we live with ALL THAT IS. Pete, Jots and I are learning what it takes to share time, place and responsibility. At 60 + four friends and their familiars with natures and personalities as unique as our astrological signs (one Gemini, one Taurus, one Cancer, one Scorpio and two four-legged spirits of unknown astrological beginnings) are intentionally sharing a life.

We are nearly seven weeks into the process and we are learning: respect, cooperation, humility, compromise, acceptance and I practice the 12 steps that I learned while in the rooms of Al-Anon.

Our friends and the land upon while we live inspire me to listen and notice even more attentively. The snippet from my book in the making was inspired by the real Josh Tree. The picture in this post is his original cabin ... built decades past, Pete and I ventured the over-grown trails and brought back a parcel of enthusiasm and excitement. The Fairies and Magicians of the Woods and Pond are alive and well and living in the glen below The Ledge. Lucky us,
Mahalo, Mahalo!

Happy Birthday M & M ... the real Josh Tree.
and thank you Chuck for everything.

Mokihana, Pete and Jots

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Moments and miracles on and off the Ledge

Time has passed. Some of the things that happen are large ... impossible to miss. Other things seem smaller or easily missed because they blend in, or get missed in the rush. Today is Wednesday, and life on The Ledge and off have included making time to notice.

Last year's Cattails in the wetlands stand as tall as ever with puffy cotton-tops. Present for the newbies they are a reminder of continuing.

Deep muddy banks, smooth, thick and full. I love the hairy banks that hold up the edges, like some old, trustworthy head-dress.

Swallow nests built by hand, hang on the old cedar posts ... we watched the many kin of swallows swoop and dive as they make their own homes under the broadwalk made with mud.

Just before dust the red bark of the cherry tree that grows near the vardo pulled me near. Tree skin is beautiful. I wonder who named it "bark"? Surely not the tree.

A big miracle showed up. One shiny young woman with a project worthy of support and encouragement came to visit. Amanda Abel, a graduate student from the University of California in Santa Cruz has been 'quietly following' our blog and contacted us through email. Her query: would we be willing to let her interview us for her Small Home Movement project ...she's calling it "Closer to Home."

Both Amanda and I live with physical conditions that challenge our reserve of energy. I wasn't sure I'd be up for it and yet Pete and I both knew the opportunity was important. A chance to met and be part of a young person's dream for making a positive contribution. I asked Amanda to give me time to consider ... I rested up all week and prayed for the wisdom to make good decisions

The photo here documents the documentarian, Amanda hanging out on the porch of VardoForTwo after a wonderful Sunday lunch of barley bread, noodles with steamed carrots and peppermint tea and plenty of conversation. There was plenty of energy to share. All involved worked hard to make it happen and Pete and I have expanded our worlds because we met this young woman. Thanks for making the effort to be with us, Amanda. I hope there is time to rest between next steps (aloha!)

Moments and miracles are the result of committing to the belief that we're part the solution. It's a full life and periods of rest make the next awakening that much more noticeable. Living with the affects of multiple chemical sensitivities is sometimes inconvenient ... just think how inconvenient it must be for the trees, the bees, the bugs and Mother Planet.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leaping Lizards, Salamanders and Newts: inspirations from the Pond

The spotted salamander ... inspiration for a character

Another week is about to rack up ... that will make 6 weeks here in the woods. A book is being fed into me as I be with the woods. Nature is full of herself, and with spring continuing to bust out all around me it is inevitable ... a story unfolds as well. A snippet of this book called WOOD CRAFTING sits on the sidebar ... to the right.

The glistening creature, the Spotted Salamander is one of the characters poppin' up in my story. It all starts very innocently, these seeds for the tale. One Sunday while Pete and I scurried about in Pellet and Turtle's kitchen, putting the bits and seasonings to our shared meal Pellet mentioned seeing a salamander crossing the road that runs along the pond. "Some of them don't make it across the road," Pellet said. Turtle contributed a story of a neighbor and her son, "They used to carry the salamanders across the road and take 'em to the lake." Hmm, I thought what a kind and helpful partnership. Days later my imagination and the seed of that bit had conjured a situation. I needed one more slice of information. "Pellet, " I asked. "What do salamanders look like?" My long ago memory of the mo'o kin (Moo = Hawaiian for lizard or more aptly, water serpent and goddess) was scant. Pellet said, "They're about this long (a thumb and forefinger stretched into an arch) with a big head. And when they're crossing the road they're orange with ... spots I think." That was just what I thought! Later that night Pellet found a picture that had been on his calendar all April, "A present," he said. I couldn't guess what it could be. It was salamander ... and the final piece I needed to stretch the tale.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

'OLE DAYS ... Wednes, Thurs, Friday

Today is the first of three days and nights of replenishment, repair and rest. We continue the practice of taking time to complete the projects already begun (there are armfulls!). New posts will come after the 'ole days and nights are pau (over).

Thanks to all who come to see what happens when a pair of old dears re-dream the dreams of being part of The Great Planet. Creating a wee home is just the start of something big...and it takes all the replenishment, repair and rest the moon has to offer.

For you visitors new to VARDOFORTWO please link on the Moon Calendar sites to the right and learn a little more about about the Hawaiian view of the moon's affect on all.

A hui hou! Mokihana

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The life outside

The long view of life outside, VARDOFORTWO is simply a dab in the reality of just how much surface we 'claim.'
Two of three raised beds are pau. Pete used reclaimedwood from The Ledge, mostly 2x4s and 2x6s left over from the original building of Pellet and Turtle's home.

That's a small screen we use to shake out the stones and debris from the soil we'll use for planting.

Mid May and the soil's still pretty cold for planting. Maybe in the next couple weeks or so we'll put some organic seed or starts into the raised beds.
Never take for granted the utility of the clothes line. Thanks to Pete's ingenuity and the support of Tutu the grand lady fir, we have a large clothes line. Clean and clear from chemicals and toxic smelling detergents, and getting clothes safe to wear are major challenges and a many stepped process for folks like me living with MCS.

Cottons and wool are the only choices that keep my sensitivities calm. My long-time passion for thrift shopping is tempered now ... though not eliminated. My trips inside those shops must be well-thought out: I must be covered with hat, and clothing that can be removed before I get in the car again (my hair and outerwear will absorb the perfumes and smells from the shop); A mask is a must (though sometimes I don't need it, I carry it); A 'clean' heavy plastic bag will encase all my 'finds' and the bag either bundeed to the roof or safely in the rear of Scout.

Where does the clothes line come in? A typical thrift shop sweater (that's one of the wool sweater in the photo above) or flannel sheet requires at least 6-12 HOT,HOT WATER washings in baking soda and milk (to absorb and neutralize the formaldydhyde. Then, the clothes line or dryer ... Seem like a lot? Um, hmm. Baking Soda and fragrance free detergents two great solution to de-stinking the Earth!

Kitchen Camp on The Ledge. Tucked into the shrubs from a couple steps from the front porch is our kitchen. Two coolers = refrigeration cooled with blocks of ice we buy once or twice a week from the QFC in town.

A single electric burner heats a kettle for the venerable dozen cups of tea (hurray!) The old toast oven loyally serves up fresh barley bread, roasted sweet potatoes and other concoctions.

That table is another reclaimed from a life in the dump table, a former art table Turtle no longer wanted ... Pete the tinker does it over and over again.

In the far right-hand corner is our latest design from The Ledge creation. A by-the-side-of-the- road porcelain and cast iron double sink has become our kitchen sink on The Ledge. We wash vegetables, dishes and our hands there, and the water collects in a bucket we take to the compost. We found recycled tiles at Habitat for Humanity in Seattle (the yellow and green checker-board design = the hand-made tiles). We paid 20 cents a piece for them. More reclaimed wood was used to build the table. We had to Denny Foil and thumb tack part of the wood because though it is OLD cedar, the cedar is still very aromatic and I react ill to the smell. Denny Foil is our friend.

The camp tarp is the same tarp Pete used throughout the winter in White Center when the VardoForTwo needed to be protected from snow, rain and hail. Metal conduit (like we used inside for the wall and window coverings) is the tinker toy construction that holds up our kitchen walls and roof.

The romance of a wanderer's life was definitely part of the fantasy involved in dreaming up something that would transform the insanity of diaspora from a chemically threatening world. While we lived through the roughest of road life ... sleeping in Scout parked in driveways and parking lots, fleeing one more pesticide spray poisoning ... the romance of a mobile life fed us.

We have made the dream of a safe and mobile haven come true. The wee bedroom on two wheels houses our bed, keeps us snug from rain and wind, and provide respite when the world overwhelms.

The reality of these two old wanderers includes continuing being constantly resourceful and conscious of the ways we put the life outside together now. Reassembling a life that soothes our souls is not a romantic dream any more ... it is the grandest of dreams Mother dreams for more and more of us.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Malama e MAKUA O`o

There must be a million different names for the rains that come through the glen and The Ledge. Today the winds have been still, then gentle and next steady and filled with misty rain. The Pond fills and empties a little and like today ... signs of the muddy bank are visible from the vardo.

Caring for my own changeable self I have enough energy to eat a tasty breakfast and then crumble back onto the bed ... it's nearly one in the afternoon and I've made the short crossing to The Big House to enter a bit of news. "Malama e Makua O`o" means care for the elder in training a new weekly post I hope to do on Mondays.

Our life here on The Ledge is deeply filled with nature's pace. It is not so much constantly any one way. The short-term observation after five weeks here on the Olympic high country is more like the notice of how rains and wind change in a stretch of sixty 'contrived' minutes. No doubt the elements were no watches to time themselves.

I care for the part of me that knows without reading it.
I care that that part will join in when needed.

Malama e makua o`o

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother, mother

My son came to visit us on The Ledge. Over the water and through the woods he retains the award for being the first to visit us ... wherever we are! We sat and chat from the porch as he looked at the finished product of our years of making this vardo. "Your house should be in a magazine or something! It's awesome." To maintain my 'safe place' Christopher stayed outside and looked through the top of the front door. He and I sat on chairs overlooking the pond and he played his new guitar, sang music he had written. I listened and beamed in the glow that comes from mother pride. I get mini, concentrated doses of who my son has become. Whether its the way my brain and heart work sometimes with MCS ... needing to slowly process experiences to get it, or simply the fact that my only 'child' is becoming a fully wonderful being,
I am overwhelmed with it ... OVERWHELMED BY THE GRACE OF IT.

Our visit was a precious and wonderful gift. Weeks early for a Mother's Day present, I got that it was Mother, mother Day. The visit was short, a few hours packed with music, time with place, and catching up on the things that matter in our lives. I see the parts of my son his father and I nurtured as he grew. I see the parts of him that are hybrid by his own destiny and I listen to the lyrics he writes and sings and know how blessed we are to continue growing, learning and loving.

From within the big house across the driveway from The Ledge, the internet connection is strong and a post happens. Mother the Earth as if you know ceaselessly how dear she is to you.
Mother, mother we love you.

Happy Mother's Day,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ENCAMPMENT on The Ledge in the Woods

Encampment on The Ledge. This is how we are stretching our lives onto the slope of earth that is The Ledge. Jots the Panther (renamed 'Panther' after a month of becoming her wild again feline self) has her own vardo carrier home on the porch (to the left of the door). A row of pegs on the front wall hold our outside clothes. The Hawaiian Moon Calendar is pinned prominently on the opposite wall ... reminding us to 'stay connected.' The shiny new metal garbage can is our "pantry" a place to keep our grains, tea and spices dry from the rain and moisture and safely out of reach of the other critters who would just as soon eat our food as find some in other part of the Woods. Conduit and our ancient tarp are the temporary cover for our kitchen on The Ledge. We have work to do on the kitchen ... that would account for us being in Seattle right now. We need supplies to continue piecing together the extensions of our living from the vardo.
Inside VardoForTwo the nature of Reassembling our lives includes making changes when my body signals sensitivity to 'something.' Where once hung our old golden curtains of times not long past, our loyal moss green flannel sheet is now window coverings. The golden curtains are a blend of polyester and cotton and have built into them the formaldahyde-infused base that make them 'wrinkle resistant.' The chemicals off-gas for eons and when heated (by our ceramic heater or sunlight) the gasses splay and are absorbed into the skin. The curtains have been recycled to an outdoor life where the trees, fresh air and abundant rainfall neutralize them with more time.
Magical mystery ... we are part of the magic here on The Ledge. This is a view from the window of our front door ... in the mist is the Pond.

We have taken ourselves out of the Woods today, driving the length of road and a ferry ride to bring us back to the city. The weekly deep rains test our adjustment genes ... with everything soaked outside and only a wee space to be dry, old habits of random access to comfort rattle us. We have come so far on the path and there is more yet. What has made things magical for me are the silence, the sounds of critters who are there on The Ledge curious about our intentions. My imagination is fed and a book grows with all the magic as fuel. I will share bits and snips of that book over the time to come.

Be well and be easy.
Aloha, Mokihana

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sequential Access and Appreciation

We celebrated our first month of living from our wee wheelie home. A wonderful new tradition began shortly after we settled VardoForTwo on the perch of a place that I have dubbed The Ledge. "Shall we have a community dinner once a week?" Pete asked our friends Pellet and Turtle. Turtle was right on it! Sunday has become the evening we share food, engage in general merry-making and bring to the table the shared costs, concerns and events of the week. Our dream of creating an intentional community has begun its sequential access to becoming. While we shopped and tested the pieces and material for the building of VardoForTwo, the slow and organic process of building common values among four friends began. This was a purposeful journey that required teaching friends what and how Multiple Chemical Sensitivities shows up. What is 'fragrance'? Why is it dangerous? What are the alternatives? How do you make the changes to free and clear living? Turtle and Pellet stuck with us over the past nine months, and committed to clearing the common household cleaners, soaps, and personal care products from their home. I am writing from their kitchen right now, and appreciate every moment of a safe 'mother ship' ... a house to which we can connect.

"Sequential Access" is a phrase I ran across this weekend while searching blogs and websites with discuss about living small. A post on the blog CLUBORLOV perfectly described the style of living we are experiencing. Within a small space such as our vardo, things and as it happens ... processes are not available ALL AT ONCE. Our food is stored in a thrift shop Coleman cooler, a gift from Joel our old pal. Block ice chills our perishable food, and to get to something on the bottom, everything on top comes out first. Our clothes are stored in reused brown paper bags under the futon inside the vardo. I roll my clothes rather than fold them flat ... it keeps some of the wrinkles out. To get at my turtle neck, I need to do the sequential access thing, reassembling my tops to get at my choice for the moment.

VardoForTwo from the Ledge in the Woods is the next chapter in our reassembling life here on the planet. It helps to celebrate and renew our focus on what is working, and what things and people we appreciate. There are a heap of sequential process to keep us busy making our chosen life as modern Gypsies comfortable. So, as we experience those processes we will share them. I can tell it's been a while since sitting at the laptop with my thoughts and gleanings. We have some questions to answer from readers who have queried us about building VardoForTwo ... we will get to them soon.

Before closing, I resume the practice of posting 10 people and things I appreciate ...

1. I appreciate Pellet and Turtle, our old friends in the Woods.

2. I appreciate The Ledge, our new home in the Woods.

3. I appreciate the Woods.

4. I appreciate the warmth and safety of VardoForTwo.

5. I appreciate trail therapy.

6. I appreciate joyful moments.

7. I appreciate being able to pick up an old favorite book.

8. I appreciate a place to begin gardening.

9. I appreciate story.

10. I appreciate Pete.