A Conundrum of Contradictions

The musings of one born in the wrong decade

The Art of Sideways January 21, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 11:57 am
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Picking up briefly from where I left off, back in September right after the rejoicing stopped, things went sideways really fast. October thru December became the hardest months of the whole year. Mistakes were made, illness invaded our lives, and work was scarce. As a prize for surviving that madness, I know have Candida, which changes everything.

Candida is a condition where your body gets unbalanced and succumbs to a fungal invasion, usually starting in the gut, then getting into the blood, and spreading everywhere.  It’s yeast, in layman’s terms. If left untreated it can become life threatening; it’s very hard to kill, and no, there’s no pill for that.  The only treatment is a stringent diet, exercise, and patience. My jaw hit the floor when the doc said 1-2 years to cure. Years, people! So the night of Dec 7th became my personal 180˚ South moment: the next morning I woke up, it was a whole new world.  I no longer have a choice about getting healthy and exercising; it’s happening, or else.

This is my official shout-out to anyone suffering from Candida: I want to hear from you!  I need your experiences, your personal wisdom on what you’ve learned, your stories… I want to share recipes and compare notes. I want to get through this with as much grace and humor as I can manage (which may not be much, if the itchy butt-crack keeps up).

I kinda want to reference Dr Malcolm’s chaos theory from Jurassic Park here…as you can imagine, none of this was part of the plan and ‘tiny imperfections’ can have drastic effects. We went out on our own and survived for nearly a year (anniversary Feb 27) – it’s a big deal. My priorities and perspective has shifted, and now I can say I’m one of those people for whom health comes first. I can also see that going back to a ‘normal’ 9-5 job is the definition of insanity for me – stream of thought rationales coming shortly.

And there we are… not the place I hoped or expected, but a place where the new path starts. Keep moving forward, even if that means walking to the cliff’s edge, turning 180˚ S, and striding forward again.

PS: Having a condition that requires will power doesn’t give you will power. It’s no easier because I “have to”. I still crave chocolate.


Roller Coaster Summer October 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 1:33 am

Hey kids, what’s shakin’?

So things have been a little nuts… From a photography standpoint, we got the opportunity of a lifetime a couple months ago. Our friends, the circus/horse people, got their opportunity of a lifetime in the form of an investor, one with $10 million dollars to make their dream show a reality.  We were a near shoe-in as photographers. Deciding to put money with mouth, we took a trip to San Diego, CA, hung out for a few days. Things were moving very fast and then all a sudden they weren’t –  It was maddening! Ultimately we ended up working piece-work instead of becoming the traveling staff photog right off the bat. There was trouble in paradise even then.

The first shoot scheduled was supposed to be a two-day marathon that never got off the ground. The schedule had gone out the window before we’d even arrived. Day 2 saw us on a beach near the fence along side Tijuana, Mexico with a dead seal on it. It did turn out to be a sign.  The trip got extended with an invite to a cast party the following Saturday (open bar!).  By the time we were through, we’d stayed 8 days.

Acierto, Andalusian stallion and very well trained Ham.

The second shoot was developed more than scheduled, wasn’t actually requested.  From a customer service standpoint, we decided another trip was in order: a quick 3-day turn and burn to get some shots of the animals impossible the first time around.  Photographing horses turned out to be a steep learning curve. Thankfully, Honey is strong in that arena.  The joke of the ‘creation site’ was that it is a dirt lot in Tijuana; the truth is one wrong turn and you were crossing the border and gonna spend 3 hrs trying to get back. So how does one turn that into an attractive backdrop? Easy. Build an infinity wall. That turned into the second shoot. We stayed 11 days until we got it right and worked through 13 horses.

During one of the meetings, the office girls found out I do interior design. They were desperately in need of someone to organize the VIP tent and concessions, so I threw my hat in the ring. It went really fast and ultimately amounted to nothing, but I took away several lessons.

Rough Overview of my proposed VIP tent.

About this time everything started to go sideways in earnest.  There was an accident. A horse had to be put done and within 48 hrs everything unraveled. Our friends were home in less than a week.  The wheels had already been set in motion for a magazine cover, so if anyone gets California Riding Magazine, we grace the September issue.

Sept 2012 cover, California Riding Magazine

September turned into a month of celebration, a re-balancing of the natural order.  We spent 5 epic days partying, healing the wounds of recently shattered dreams. Bonfire. Dinner party. Bar. (tiled a bathroom) Going-away party. Strip club. Bar. Followed by a day of absolute bliss and carnal pleasure with my husband.  For our friends, anger has turned to ambition, the fire burning hotter than ever before. The dreams still live!  And with them, our once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity waiting in the wings…

For now, we are happy in our space in the middle. We, the definition of starving artists. Photography is where we want to go, but when photography runs thin we landscape yards and paint houses.  There are multiple paths to our destination, so we work as many as we can. In the meantime, we build with bricks and plant trees. The hard work will make us lean and healthy. It’s not an easy way to live, but we’re glad to do it; that explains it all really.  I could die tomorrow with a smile on my face, though I hope that won’t be necessary.

And there we are…

It also turns out this is my 200th post, which is very exciting!! Glad to have reached a milestone and actually done something before getting there. To the misadventures in life, cheers!!


Get Steely May 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 12:14 pm

A few facts to bring everyone up to speed, albeit rather abruptly:

I work full-time for my own design business, Besoj Designs. There’s nothing to Google yet but it’s paying our bills. Honey is my No 1 employee, and as of last week, our draftsman (the old-school way, no less). We have work booked through mid- to late June.


Let that soak in for a minute. I know I needed several.

On March 6, after some very odd events, the hotel decided I was collateral damage and fired me. Nobody really knows what happened; I don’t really care, seeing as they did me a favor. They screwed me with the money of course, and unemployment ruled they had every right to do so. I’m over that too. We picked up what used to be known as ‘side work’, and then got a referral, more work, another referral…word of mouth is a wonderful thing. And before I knew it, without having done anything special or out of the ordinary, I realized I was doing what I was afraid I couldn’t do. Now we make our own hours, pick our days off. We have flexibility for the unexpected – like the health scare we had yesterday. We’re taking a couple days off, because it’s the right thing to do, and I don’t have to call in.  Honestly, it’s pretty freaking awesome!!

 So plans got moved up a bit – we’d always planned to work for ourselves. Guess we’ve been ready and waiting long enough. I haven’t applied for one “real” job. I don’t intend to.

 In other news, I’m studying feng shui. I bring this up because it’s awesome hippie shit (that’s actually ancient Chinese hippie shit) and it works (what little I’ve done so far has had noticeable effects) and as I’m delving into it further….I’ve stumbled across a ‘coincidence’ that’s too loud to ignore. I’m studying flying star feng shui, which uses the cardinal directions to determine where your house’s good and bad energies congregate. It’s based on the facing direction of your house. Remember that documentary that changed my life from the last post? Now guess what direction my front door faces…?


180˚ South.

 Yeah. We can’t move. We’re gonna have to buy this house cuz here’s where we’re supposed to be.  I can’t argue with that kind of sign; stairs or no stairs, this should be our house.

 So there you have it. We’re freaking doing it. What are you doing?


Christmas 2011 December 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 12:54 pm

It’s nearly noon on Christmas. I’m in my pajamas, respecting the doctors’ orders of staying home and not sharing my cold. It sucks. I’ve missed or will miss a full week of work and the Secret Santa gift exchange. We’re also missing Christmas dinner with family.

We’ve got three people in various stages of moving related to this house: one going out; two coming in. People who move in December are nuts. I should know – we’ve done it. Combine that with the universal money situation (of everyone being flat broke) and suddenly the holidays mean something completely different. There is no wreath on my door, nor did we put up the tree this year. There are no gifts to open. I would feel like a fool if there were, since we borrowed money to pay our rent. One month without roommates changes the game significantly.

I’m a little down. But not for the reasons you might think. I don’t mind there are no gifts or decorations. If you have to, Christmas can be just another day. I’m bloody tired of being sick though – it’s interfering with my plans. Plans that have come into my mind whilst being sick and otherwise unoccupied, so I suppose there’s a silver lining to everything, but now that I have something to hold and aim for, and desire beyond all else, I want to get moving. The journey has officially begun! Every step has to count, every angle has to move me forward towards what I want, which is two goals really. They are two very separate things, yet cosmically tied together. One goal is for my physical, material self, the one who wants to go places, acquire things, and experience what true adventure feels like. The other is for my spiritual self, the one who strives for balance within myself, and wants to listen with a more finely tuned ear to the Earth and the vibrates around me. I have a personal guru and a point of reference, each aligned with these two separate journeys that will eventually converge. I’ve even planned my first tattoo, that’s how inspired and moved I am – I don’t ever want to forget the fire burning inside me, the hunger I feel right now.

This month has been pivotal in our lives: mine, my husbands, and our band of beyond-friends. We all feel it. We’re down, we’re broke, we’re tired, and we’ve been pushed so far against the wall there’s no other choice now but to make a daring move. And we’ve decided to do it together. Their dreams are now mine, my dreams are now theirs. They will work just as hard towards my dream as there own, because as I succeed so will they. My refrigerator is covered in affirmations from one of the best energy circles I’ve ever felt. We taped them there so we could read every morning and stoke the motivation. There are so many things I want in life, things I never thought of before that now matter in a world-altering way. I can have them all. I just have to believe and go for it with reckless abandon.

Next year is 2012. Many thoughts fight for space as I consider that. Will the world end in cataclysm and it all be for naught? Will some event take place that changes everything?

It’s irrelevant really.

Not a single day in your life is guaranteed. I’ve known people who’ve died during a friendly game of hoops and one who fell while rock climbing. If it’s your time, there’s no escaping it. So many of us live half-heartedly, believing we should save every penny until we retire, so then we can pursue our dreams. I disagree, in all caps if it would prove a point. You could die in your sleep, get hit by a car, have some undiagnosed brain aneurism and just fall down dead one day. Why would you not take every minute you are breathing and do something wonderful with it?

I think now’s a good time to recommend a very inspiring documentary. It’s called 180˚ South. I found it on Netflix and intent to buy it, possibly two copies, just to make sure it’s always in my mind what’s possible and necessary. It moved me; it shattered my dull and weary reality, and ultimately it will change me. That thought makes me smile.

So Christmas or not, sick or not, inside I’m happy. I’ve found what I want in life, what I need – it’s very rare for those two to be the same thing. And like the man said, “Screw the Holy Grail, whatever that is. It’s the journey that’s important; it’s the journey that changes you. Otherwise you’re an asshole when you left and you’re an asshole when you get back.” I could be a little off with the quote, but he’s right. He is so right.


Vacation!! November 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 2:50 pm

We have achieved the impossible this year. Despite the economy (gag), health issues, and the usual state of our finances (pathetic), we are going on vacation.

That’s not impossible, you say? Well, it has been for us. I’ve worked the last 15 years without one, so has my hubby. It goes without saying that the 8-day camping trip with the stomach flu does not count. Always seems there’s never time off available, or enough money, or a time when some other random catastrophe isn’t happening. The days of extra income and every-weekend fishing trips are over. And we couldn’t have managed this trip either, without the generosity of a dear friend.

So Thailand it is not. Despite everyone’s best efforts, none of the group could afford to go that far, get passports in time, etc. Same goes for two locations in Mexico. All six of us can, however, afford to visit the east coast and stay for free with family.

I’m being slightly vague on purpose. This isn’t quite the same as announcing to Facebook the dates you’ll be out of town, but its close.

I am floating on air just knowing that in X number of days I’ll be flying outta here. I haven’t flown since 2000; haven’t been further east than Minnesota. Try to imagine something similar to nearly two weeks in a farm house from the 1900’s, your own guest room, and essentially a bed and breakfast. And for anyone who knows anything about the rocky history with my folks, you’ll know it’s a huge deal to have a big family dinner on a holiday. This alone will sustain me through any trials between now and then.

The other challenges I’ve been working on: Fit for Life, getting a business or two off the ground…are slow, slower now that the cash flow has become more uneven than before. It can’t be helped, but living out of one’s pantry isn’t very FFL – veggies don’t keep, you know. But as I’ve said before, I accept that the prizes are mine, despite crawling towards my goal at a snail’s pace. I’m spending some time getting to know the Yoga Journal website, which I love. And the post is taking forever, but I ordered a used book on becoming a runner in 30 days. – I get that running is intuitive just like swimming for some people, but do either of them wrong long enough and you’ll seriously hurt yourself – besides, I need a guide to follow to follow thru.  They are small steps, but will eventually add up to a great distance from where I am now.  It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Four loads of clean laundry are staring me in the back, waiting to be folded and put away. If I don’t handle it soon, they’ll probably revolt. And I’ve decided I’ll try to grow roses in the wasteland that is my back yard. Ollas will probably help.




A Spiritual Experience October 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 12:33 pm

Did you know camping could be a spiritual experience?

I did, but it’s been taken to another level in the last three days. I’m on the path I’m meant to walk and every fiber of my being knows it. That’s happiness if I ever felt it.

We went to Utah. It’s one of our collection of 3-hr drives outside of Vegas that provides a stress drain and fresh air. I didn’t get any sleep since we left right after I got off work – that’s 2am folks – but it was an easy drive, little traffic, and I haven’t seen the sun rise for ages. It was glorious. Met up with a couple guys who’d come out the day before and moved camp to a bigger, more sheltered spot. Said spot happened to be occupied by a large number of rather aggressive bees. I got stung for the first time, twice, which hurts like hell and had me crying like a little girl. I spent the afternoon safely in our tent with a book. By nightfall the girls had arrived and the bees had gone wherever bees go when it gets cold. It was far colder than we anticipated, even though we’d planned for cold weather. That night we were animals around the campfire, singing, dancing, being dazzled by the Milky Way.The shadow theater was a riot; wish I had video.

The following morning was slightly awful. Everyone was awake and running for their lives from the bees, who had returned with a vengeance. Emma got stung too. A Chinese fire drill ensued as we packed up camp and headed down the mountain. We stopped at a ‘camp by donation’ site with no name, located maybe a mile or two from the main highway and right beside a healthy stream. It’s my new favorite spot. The rest of the gang went into town for more firewood and food, since the guys were leaving soon. Honey and I stayed and set up camp, had baths in the creek (biodegradable soap), and made ham sammies.  We looked like old school hippies, lounging about in the sunshine, dipping our toes in the water. One of the guys had a streaking run through the woods; the other went crawdad fishing and caught several. It was warm and bee-free. We had the whole place to ourselves until it got dark, when a couple hikers dropped in.

The magic happened even stronger that night, with Honey and I and the two girls. We solved the crisis of where to go on vacation since we are collectively broke. It felt right. The vibe was calmer, more earthy. I loved it.

Next morning had soup pot sausage and eggs. The girls had to go home before us; we had to jump their car first. We had planned to be packed up early, then lounge about until dinnertime when we’d go into town for our traditional green chili burrito at Oscar’s. Honey was restless so we went early, which turned out to be right. We split a burrito so we could finally have dessert – and Kathy’s Famous Carrot Cake is not nearly famous enough – it was the most divine carrot cake I’ve ever had. We visited a couple rock and gem shops that we’ve always passed before. I found a sale basket, bought a hematite ring to help with stress and a chakra stone bracelet. We were home by 6:30pm. The return drive just flew. We ordered Thai food and spent some quality time.


The soul has been fed and allowed to wander in the woods. It was open to see how special my friends are and how they’re really more like family. I love them fiercely. As far as getting my life together in various ways…there is nothing that can stop a determined mind. Progress is measured in small steps and though I’m not there yet, on any front, I’m content that the prize is mine.

Get your nature on, people! It does a body, mind, and spirit good.



Check in August 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 10:37 pm

Living Fit for Life is both more and less challenging than I thought. My body and taste buds have no objection to me eating 70% vegetable. And a male friend I haven’t seen in three months commented on my weight lost the other day. This isn’t really the kind of thing you can do if pressed for time though. I forgot how involved it can get to cook everyday; not to mention the mess I make that will be waiting for me when I get home. So its all very fluid.

I’ve committed in my head to a lifestyle change, so I’m not self-destructively neurotic about cheating when necessary. I’m still tired more than is reasonable and there’s more I could be doing – isn’t there always? – But I persevere nonetheless. Results will come.

Plus I learned my lesson last night: satisfying the munchies at 3am with leftover pizza is a very bad idea. Spent half the night in the bathroom because my health oriented stomach didn’t care for my choice. Go figure. They say if its right, you’ll know.

Anyway, other amazing things are in the works: two potential businesses, a real vacation, and other unmentionables. Hope ur all out there seizing opportunities too. Luvs