Thursday, December 29, 2016

Where is the French?

DNA result:

Apparently French Canadians are really English if my DNA is any indicator.
Which I suppose is not surprising when you think of how history between GB and France has played out over the centuries.
No Western European / French DNA indicated, what-so-ever.
First two largest hits indicate 70% some sort of Indo-Celtic melange.
Trace amounts of Italian (Roman advances into Britain?)
Trace amounts of Scandinavian (Viking Raids?)
This is gonna be an interesting research.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Living Tiny : My Garage Conversion

My first adventure into Tiny Living began with my Garage Conversion. When my house sold,  I saw there was nothing available to rent in my town, and in the surrounding towns, what was available was exorbitant. A very good friend of mine offered to let me turn her garage into a tiny house apartment.

So her garage was stacked from the floor to the ceiling with rubbermaid totes, antiques, paint, tools etc., as you would expect a garage to be. Literally there was no room to walk through it. Adjacent to the garage was a gravel driveway containing a utility trailer full of yard debris and a pick-up truck.
Now hold that picture in your minds eye.

The driveway has been cleaned up, the yard debris trailer and pick-up truck have been moved away and replaced by my new patio space. The pergola is it's own story. Barbara Kirkpatrick and I put it up together in a weekend. SAdly, the first night we put it together wrong. So the next morning she came back and at one point an entire side of it fell off and went crashing through the arborvitae's on that far side. It was a comedy. Anyway, Many thanks Barb, for helping me on this project!

Walk up three steps, in through the front door (Garage side door) into my retro entryway.
Looking back into the entryway.
 Before the conversion this area stored antique furniture and paint supplies.

Standing in the entryway, looking into the living area of the apartment.
I know it looks very cramped in here, but I don't have a wide angle for this camera. There is actually enough room for my adult kids to throw down sleeping bags on the floor when they come to visit and sleep comfortably.
Originally this area was stacked to the ceiling with rubbermaid tubs and antique furniture "Projects".

Standing in the living area, looking back toward the entryway on the left and toward the kitchenette on the right. Although there is a concrete floor underneath, we had a handyman build a floating floor.
 Actually the handy man built everything in here.
The entire conversion including labour cost between $4000 and $6000 to complete.

Dining area and kitchenette

The utility sink is perfect for this small space because it has so many uses as opposed to a small, bar style sink. I can hand wash delicate clothing in it and put the dish drainer right in the sink. A towel bar hanging directly above keeps towels handy. I am making a fabric liner for the exterior which I will fasten with velcro, in order to camouflage the cleaning supplies below.
Before the conversion, the kitchenette and pantry areas were used to store paint and tools etc.

Here is the pantry. It looks a mess right now. I need to re-stack the food in the baskets. Don't judge me.
So, there is a mini-fridge with an EXCELLENT freezer! The microwave is on top of it, and on top of the microwave is the toaster oven. I have successfully baked bread and pies in this toaster oven. It was a good purchase. Also included in the pantry are a coffee maker to the extreme far right, out of view on the work station, and a crock pot, George Forman grill/panini maker  and various other appliances including a single burner electric cook-top.

The question was asked,  "where is your bathroom?"
Fortunately for me, my room mate granted me my own private use of her second bathroom, which is nearest my apartment. The other option would have been to convert what is now the pantry into a small bathroom using fixtures that would normally be used in an RV. The space in the pantry is greater than most travel trailer bathrooms and so there would be ample room to do this. In such a case, the pantry would be moved closer to the living area, on the other side of the sink where the metal cabinet is now.

Stepping out of the kitchenette, back into the living space you can see that I've got plenty of space for my books, DVD's, computer games and even a few VHS. That book shelf is long and narrow and made a perfect room divider/entertainment centre. My African Baskets on top provide storage for seasonal items like hats, scarves and mittens.The black bookshelf, connected to the large white one contains my musical instruments, art supplies and computer odds and ends.

I originally installed this shelf with the hopes of adding smaller shelves beneath it, creating a sort of stairway up for the cats to be able to sit up there and look down on my roomate's dogs, effectively antagonizing them from a safe place. Instead, for now, my plants are sitting up there.

AT one point, many many years back in the history of this garage, some one had considered putting in a cadet heater in the wall. They carved out this space for the insert, but they never completed the job. So it was a hole but not all the way through. Just to the exterior siding at the back. So I am looking at this danged thing, asking my daughter who happened to be near by, "What should I do about this stupid thing?"  She said, "turn it into a little hidden shrine". So I had some random relics from back in the day when I was in my office studio, and had that whole 'Jesus Wall' thing going on. I pulled some of the smaller pieces out after Scout (my daughter) painted the interior. So, what you see is, from top to bottom:

-My Step Mothers Crucifix
-A small shelf depicting St. Jude, Patron Saint of Lost Causes
 (they tell me he is usually depicted with his head on fire) .
On St. Jude's shelf, sits a small rubber dinosaur, and a vial of water from St. Bridgid's Well in Galway, which Scout brought back to me from her recent Ireland trip..
-On either side of St. Jude's shelf is a rosary.

Inside the Niche:
-St. Dymphna medallion, Patron Saint of the Mentally Ill, with info card.
-Picture of the Blond Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane
-Illuminated plaque of some yet unidentified Saint, TBD.
-A hand stitched postcard of the Pope.
-An LED pillar candle.

Across from the Secret Shrine and behind the big book shelf is my sleeping cubby. The wooden garage doors were replaced with brand new insulated garage doors which were installed without their tracks. The tracks are stored safely in the storage unit in case the area is ever returned to its original garage state.

So that's the gist of it.
Below are posted  two video's. One is a walk through tour,
the other is an answer the question, "What is that?".

The walking tour video is here :

Here is a descriptor of the odd, tiny, vintage TV:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

RV Life Blocks

So as I was sitting up in camp at the lake, pondering futures while the dog looked on, I asked myself the simple question: "Michelle, what is keeping you from being a full time RV-er?"
My answer was irritatingly simple: "My earthly possessions".
The simple truth.
My stuff.
My crap.

That's what is keeping me from jumping all the way into full time RV living.

While my kids were small and growing up, there was a phrase that I often said inside my head, sometimes aloud.

"See? THIS is why we can't have nice things!"

Stuff happens.
When you have 3 kids, their friends (6 kids now). A slob of a husband, two dogs, two cats, a parade of pet rats, mud, snow, rain, dust etc., well...stuff just happens. Put away, or hold off getting, anything of value.
It's going to be destroyed so just keep it packed away, until...someday. I don't know when.

Anyway, now that my kids have grown and are relatively sensible stable people, I have gotten to the place where I CAN have nice things. So I purged a lot of items after the sale of the house and kept those precious items packed away for so long - the mid-century-modern furnishings.
**This room is not my stuff. Just the same style.**

So yeah, I'm kind of at a point in my life where I am into "my stuff". I am enjoying it after a long earned waiting period. I am kinda not yet ready to get rid of all of it in favour of RVing just yet.

And who knows, maybe
God is not ready for me to move into that lifestyle yet either. So maybe my current affection for "My Stuff" serves Him in that way.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

New thoughts are just old thoughts.

Those who do not remember history, are doomed to repeat it.
And as the way of Rome, so is America heading.

(This is not my article but it speaks volumes.
The original author is Matthew Rueger.)

~   ~   ~

How often have you heard sexual progressives claim that those of us who hold to traditional sexual morality and marriage are “on the wrong side of history?”

But it’s the proponents of the sexual revolution who are embracing a sexual morality that history left behind millennia ago—in the dusty ruins of the Roman Forum.

Yes, today Western civilization is undergoing a dramatic cultural shift. In just a few short years our society has fundamentally altered the meaning of marriage, embraced the notion that men can become women, and is now promoting the idea that grown men should be welcome to share a bathroom with women and young girls. Not unexpectedly, we’re also seeing movement toward the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, and incest.

It’s precisely in times like this that we need some historical perspective.  Back in the day, Christian sexual morality rocked the pagan world of ancient Rome. The notions of self-giving love, sexual chastity, and marital fidelity were foreign, even shocking to the people of that time.

According to the Roman sexual worldview that prevailed for hundreds of years, women and children were viewed as sexual objects; slaves—male and female--could expect to be raped; there was widespread prostitution; and predatory homosexuality was common. Christian sexual morality might have been seen as repressive by the licentious, but it was a gift from God for their victims.

Claims in our day of being progressive and moving forward by accepting the ‘new prevailing views on sexuality and same-sex marriage' are horribly misinformed … Contemporary views about sexuality are simply a revival of an older and much less loving view of the world.

But they are also a revival of an older and impoverished view of human beings.
We can’t look away and ignore this unholy revival of pagan sexuality and its cheapened view of human beings. But we also can’t wring our hands in fear or throw them up in defeat. Christ and His Church radically transformed a far more sexually cruel and chaotic world than ours.

Look to those ancient believers who went before us: Rather than succumbing to or accommodating the spirit of the age, new converts in the early Church came to understand that Christian morality is based on Christ’s all-encompassing purity and self-emptying love…Christians could no longer live as the Greeks or Romans. Their worldview and self-view was distinctly different. They were now one with Christ in heart and soul.

Their distinctiveness, would not spare them from suffering; it would invite suffering.
It’s pretty clear now that the same holds true for us.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An Observation. #321

It is sad how, in such a small, fairly affluent town, the ugly head of illiteracy can be found skulking about.

Touting itself as a safe, progressive, family friendly town, with an excellent school system, it turns its head the other direction rather than get involved with the "elephant in the room" - illiteracy.

The shocking truth is that, while our students are very well educated, the problem seems to be most prevalent among the adult members of our community.  Even more disturbing when you recognize that many of these illiterate unfortunates are successful business people.

I see it on a weekly basis.

Simple words even, that most first graders can sound out.
Words like:

(granted the word CLOSED would require a little more practice with long vowels and their relationship to the silent 'e', but still an adult *should* be able to sound these words out.

I think that our city council and the educational district need to put their heads together to come up with a game plan to eradicate illiteracy in adults in the town of Sisters OR.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mid-end of July

I have now been almost in the apartment now for 3 weeks.

there are still a few more tasks to be completed before I can move the rest of the way in:

-The insulated Garage doors need to be installed. Right now a friend has installed some temporary carriage doors to the front so that I can at least live in peace for the time being.

-The adjacent edge of the carpet will need to be stretched when the doors get installed.

-The sleeping loft can then be built.

-After that, it's some minor things and I can finish moving in.

-I still need to do the landscaping in the patio area, but I can do that at any time.
I should start today!


I got to take a Through Hiker, "X-men", up to the trail head at McKenzie Pass this morning.
I was in Ray's yesterday and there was this kid in the cracker aisle loading up on Cliff Bars and just a ton of crap. I said, "Hey there, you look like a PCT hiker loading up!" He said, "Yes I am". We fell in to talking. He said he was from Switzerland. Funny, because I would have pegged his accent as French, but oh well, what do I know. Anyway, so I go to pick the kid up this morning, and on the ride up there he says he has only been in Switzerland for 5 years but was born and raised in Paris! Hah! I knew it! Anyway, nice kid. He is doing about 30 miles a day. He started early May and needs to be done by Aug 10th. Kid is BUSTING it!
"Xmen" and "Bitsy" at the McKenzie Pass trail head July 20, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

I'm Kind of Over It Now.

This living in the camper with the two cats.
After a day at work, I want to come home. But to what? My stuff, that I would normally do, is locked up in storage. Much of it, I can't even get to at the moment. I am entirely reliant upon other people schedule to decide when I will be out of this and into my own space. I was hoping to be in to the apartment and have it mostly done by the end of June - first week of July. But now, I just don't see that happening. So I come home from work. I go into the trailer. I do what few chores I can, and then...what? Read for a while. Watch netflix for a while. Go to sleep. Some people would say, this is a dream life. It is so NOT me. I DO THINGS. I do not SIT still. This is kinda pissing me off. And yet,there is nothing to be done about it. Except sit. And wait. And wait.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Packing and Prepping.

I am overwhelmed and exhausted.

Packing up all of my belongings. Getting rid of some that I never thought I would.
Last time I moved I kept things "in hopes that I would have time/space to use them in the future."

I can't keep storing a bunch of stuff for that future.
I need to jettison as much as possible to avoid needing a huge storage unit.

So things are going bye bye.
This makes me sad.

I know I've flogged this dead horse before, but I'm gonna do it again now anyway.
I really hate how people are taking advantage of their fellow man by gouging people in rent. In the span of two years, rent for a simple 1 bedroom apt has gone from $650-ish to $1100 and more. Because the law only allows landlords to raise rents by a certain percentage annually, many landlords are giving their tenants 60 day notice, and the tenant is required to re-apply for their apt at the new higher rental rate. Often the new rate is nearly double. This has increased our local homeless population dramatically.

As I look for a place to rent, I go from being despondent to indignant. It's is obscene what these people are doing.

Fortunately my friend is willing to finish the apt she began constructing in her garage. She has agreed to rent it to me at a price I can afford. I am so lucky!

In the mean time, I will be living in my little trailer with the two cats, until the apt is ready. Fortunately there are public restrooms at the park nearby where I work, which has had new showers installed. I will utilize this for the few months while waiting to move in to the apt.

I REALLY hate putting all of my stuff in storage though.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Home is Where Your Heart is: aka Trusting for God to provide whilst staring down the gaping maw of homelessness.

I think that is the longest title I have ever had on a single blog post.

So as many of you know, our house finally sold. It was a thing that needed to happen.
Grampa has passed away.
Helga the family dog followed soon after him.
All of the children graduated and moved to Portland.
And we got our divorce.

We listed the house last year, but there was not much interest.
This year we listed it and it sold within a month.

Last year I had a studio to live in.
This year I have none.

The rents have jumped beyond ridiculous. As many of you know.
What used to be an apt tha rented for $650 2 years ago is now up over $1200 per month.

There are those who have known me for many years.
They've witnessed what they considered to be my struggles, but to me were just ordinary life and I believe I was blessed greatly even in the midst of struggle.

There are those that say to me now, "be patient, God will provide. He didn't bring you all this way to leave you homeless."

This coudl very well be true, but at the same time, such thoughts bring us down to the level of "deserve".
As if I deserve something.
I'll tell you what I deserve from God. It's the same as you deserve, as has every other human that drew breath deserves:

From God's perspective, I am a sinner. And I can't undo what I've ever done. Nor can I stop being imperfect.

Therefore, in the eyes of God Almighty, I deserve Hell and Death.
Do I have better?
Yes. So then why would I expect any more from God.

But WAIT! If you order now, you too can have all that Sin BS erased!
In one not-so-easy payment, God took care of it all.

Through Jesus sacrifice.

So do I deserve Hell and Death? Yes.
Do I have better? Yes.
Then shut up, Michelle.

I do believe that God sold my house.
Logically therefore, I can equally believe that God will make sure I have a roof over my head.

What does that look like?
Who knows.

If all else fails, I will live in my camping trailer.
With my two cats.
They will get used to it. Because I will be there with them.

So as it stands right now, there is nothing available for me to rent at a price I can afford.
I need a 10x20 storage unit to put both my crap and my kids' crap into as of May 31.
There are no storage units available. And even those that are available in neighboring towns have gone up the way that rents have - to unreasonable.

So, this is my odyssey for 2016.
What will God do?

I will watch and pray and be ready.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Re-Thinking the idea of "Home".

The house finally sold!

We close on May 31.

My plan is to have all of our crap moved off the property by the time the next Civil War event occurs - May 22nd.

This would give me that final week to deep clean everything before the new owners take the helm. The problem is that there is a shortage of storage units in the town. I am on a waiting list for one that may come available on May 9th. I am hoping and praying that the manager will let me have it!

Then I will just need to find one more, for the kids's stuff. It is an over whelming thought: to have to move all this crap again.

Fortunately over the course of the last year, I have down sized a lot. Even so, there are just some things that I am not ready yet to part with. There is a part of me that says I WILL again have a space of my own. In the mean time, there is a part of me that is REALLY excited about the possibility of taking a year off to live in a trailer and camp. Free from rent. Right now, there is nothing available to rent any way. I did find a couple of cute apartments in Prineville but that is 1.5 hours away from where I work in Sisters. I must be committed to this job for at LEAST two years, to see it through the Transition(tm).
After that, I may look for a "Big Girl" job in Bend.

 It is an opportune thing, that hte RV Show happens to be this weekend.
I have a pretty good idea already of what I want, and what I want to pay for it. But it never hurts to go to a place full of smart people and ask practical questions such as:
    -What are some practical tips on winter camping?
    -How DO I attach the sway bar correctly, to my weight distribution package?
   -I know that my Ford Explorer is "supposed" to be able to handle a towing limit of 7,000lbs, but
     seriously dude, what is realistic? Isn't it more like 3000-3800?
And other such questions.

 On the upside of this adventure in living, I have an excellent friend who, a few years ago, began to trick out her garage in order to turn it into an inhabitable apartment. She put in windows and started a bathroom and kitchenette, but then got distracted. She has VERY GRACIOUSLY offered to revisit that project, creating a space for me to rent at a price I can afford. The first order of business is to discover if the electrical panel needs to be upgraded, and if so, will it be sufficient to carry the extra load without having to re-wire the entire house. This is a huge investment on the part of my friend. And I need to make sure to invest in it as well, as a show of good faith.

Right now, in this area - and I am certain other areas as well - most people bring a take-home pay of approx. $900-$1600 per month. With rents being in excess of $1000 (for a 1 bdrm dump) to $1400-$2000 for a 2 bdrm apt, most people are looking into "alternative" housing options. It's just obscene what people charge for rent because they think they can get away with it. I would call down plagues on their heads if I could. People who give their tenants a 60 notice, because by Oregon Law they are only allowed to raise the rents by a certain percentage. If they want more than the law allows, they are allowed kick everybody out and make them re-apply for housing at the new, exhorbitant rate.
This is common here.
 I have no polite words to describe the sorts of plagues I feel these people need to experience. If you are some one I know and you are doing this, you better not let me know, because I will tell you to your face that you are absolute shit.


All of this to say that I am preparing my heart for new things. Sure. Everybody wants their own space. Sure I would love to use my mid-century dishware on a daily basis as I have been doing. But that comfort will have to wait. In the mean time, I CHOOSE to look forward to a life of "Adventure" in an RV.

 And I am sure that God will SHOW me a good time, in this life of "Adventure" in an RV. With the cats...Oh yes...

                                          My current trailer. 14 ft. 1210 lbs dry.

The Cats.
They had their first "adventure" in the trailer today. The home inspector was scheduled today so I had to get all of the pets out of the house. Ika went to work with me, but rather than cram the cats in a crate for 4 hours, I decided they should "train", by spending the afternoon in the trailer.
Funny thing, that...even though at the end of the afternoon, when I took them out and back into the house, they seemed none the worse for wear...somehow...I don't think they enjoyed it as much as I had hoped they would.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

After doing a little bit of research, I have discovered that it can be difficult to live in a camping trailer all year round. Not because of the size necessarily - as I pointed out before, I do small really WELL.
The issue comes in the winter. Keeping the thing heated reliably, so that the water pumps etc do not freeze.

There ARE trailers that are designed for use in the winter temps, but they start at around $20,000 to $30,000 and on up.

 I could pay some one to build me a Tiny House for THAT price.
So no thanks on the RV. 
I know that Doug lives in his small RV - MiniWinnie, year round. I need to find out how he does it.
His is an older unit so there must be a way.

Friday, March 25, 2016

RV Living - will it be the life for me?

It is a thing I have been contemplating lately. I have friends that have become full time RVers.

It may be a good temporary solution for me once the house sells.
Maybe take a year off. (off of house payments and rent).
Trade in my little trailer for a larger one - maybe an 18 footer with a bathroom.
I have plenty of places I can park safely, many of them within walking distance from my job.
In te mean time I can save up and research and decide what to do about a tiny house in the future.
Or maybe not a tiny house. Who knows.
I have been researching RV life, and its actually VERY do-able.
But no house payment, or rent for a while sounds really good.
And as most of my friends know, I am good with tiny. In fact, I thrive in it, better than spacious.

Food for thought.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What is it with me and my feet and breaking bits of them?
 Got up in the middle of the night, pitch dark. Broke my toe. 
At this point, looking back over my life, its easier to count the toes I haven't broken.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

As I come to a stop near the cross street, I see the runner a few yards away, getting ready to cross where I intend to drive. So I sit and wait until he is safely out of the way. But what does he do? He WAVES at me, as if not running him over is a praise worthy grace. I mean, do people put cars first, before human bodies? Oh what has this nation come to?!

In other news, I will be taking the night off. (Oh what Michelle? You mean you will not be up to your usual shenanigans?) to sit down and enjoy some of my favorite Irish films, like Waking Ned, and War of the Buttons, or Secret of Kells.

Have a good evening everybody.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

This is my desktop.         ^^^ Right here.

I swear I glanced up and saw
people running across the grass in
the upper left portion of the lawn, running toward the
spire at the far left.
It's the little people.
Playing tricks with my mind's eye.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

This is all I have to say about this...

Of Rights and Wrongs

Tolerance also means agreeing to disagree. 
People have all different concepts of what "Their Rights" are. 

The Right to be accepted - that's not a Right. 

The Right to be agreed with is also not a Right. 
It's certainly not one that is afforded to me. 

The Right to do what ever we want - that's not a Right either. 

Because somethings are just wrong, of course, you may disagree with me, and that's fine, maybe no things are wrong. 

Yeah, sure.