Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why? Gearing Up for a Move

Sonja in a shopping bag, ready to move on again

I've been in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, for three-and-a-half months and I am beginning to prepare to move on.

This surprised me at first, because TorC has so much to offer me--friendly coffee shops where I've met very nice folks, a couple of thrift stores to replenish my eBay inventory, a great recovery community, places to sell my artwork, and more.

However, I've also found myself back in the trap of being a wage slave here. My motorhome is large enough for travel, but is too confining for everyday living, so I rented an apartment. But, to afford the apartment, I needed a job.

Now the job has overshadowed my life, mostly because of the arthritis I still have in my knee following arthroscopic surgery. As I whined in my last blog entry, working just two days a week takes a lot out of me, because I tend to hurt pretty badly for several days after a work day. So two days of work means five or six days of pain every week, which has affected my productivity in other parts of my life...my eBay business and my artwork.

Surprise! Caught in the act of being helpful...

The obvious solution was to quit the job (done!) and live on my earnings from self-employment, while reducing my living costs. I asked my landlord about having Steve move in with me here in my nice little casita, and the answer was, NO. There's much that could be said about that, but I will refrain, except to say we each live in our own dream or version of reality.

I contemplated looking for a new place to rent with Steve here in TorC and decided against it. Much as I love this town, I am ready for new horizons, new experiences, new faces and places. It's who I am. I used to wonder what was wrong with me, that I am so ready to move on, but I've finally accepted that I am simply a traveler. I've never worked my genealogy back far enough to verify it, but my Scandinavian roots must lead to Vikings.

Recently completed shelf

So I'm giving my notice on the apartment, and in a month, Steve and I are heading for his place at Coyote Howls in Why, Arizona. I'll spend the winter there rent-free and be able to meet my expenses (health insurance, phone, Internet, food, vehicle insurance, and a life insurance plan to leave something to my kid) through self-employment.

Why is a very small town about 10 miles from Ajo, a metropolis of 4000. Surprisingly, there is public transportation. I'll be able to go to Ajo or even to Tucson (100 miles east) for the day whenever I want. Steve's sister lives in Tucson and we'll probably visit her fairly often and take in some entertainment there. Ajo has a lively artists' community where I might find some opportunities to study, volunteer or work.

Coyote Howls
is a primitive RV park in the Sonoran Desert that's off the grid, except at the clubhouse. Steve's 5th wheel has solar electricity, but I'll probably need to head up to the clubhouse with my sewing machine when I want to sew. I'll have the Guppy with me, of course, and plan to use it as my little art studio/eBay office so I don't have to impose my stuff on the space that Steve will share with me. The Guppy can also serve as a guest bedroom for visitors.

Because "Gesundheit" wouldn't fit...

I expect to be back in TorC once or twice during the winter. My kid Sly will visit me during his winter break from college, and I'd like to show him TorC and introduce him to some of my friends, particularly the gallery owners who may be willing to show Sly's work. And, if things go according to my own dream, I'll have artwork of my own to bring back here for sale at January's Gallery.

In the meantime, before heading for Why to spend the winter, I have much to accomplish here. I plan to use up some of my art supplies, especially vintage fabrics, so I'll have less to move with me. I've been commissioned by La Paloma Spa to do some mosaic work, and I'll still be filling in there occasionally, but not working the long 9.5 hour shifts that aggravate my arthritis. I'll be taking a short trip north to meet my friend Joni who's flying in from California for the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

And what's next, after wintering in Why? Hmmm...the choices are endless. Steve and I are thinking of some possibly extensive travels in the Guppy before heading back to TorC. The Pacific Northwest, maybe Alaska. That remains to be seen.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Busking--my way of manifesting a small cheese pizza

My neighbor Janice, who would probably prefer not to be photographed or discussed in my blog, works nights at the spa where I work two days a week. Sometimes when I'm taking over the reservation desk from her in the morning, there are no lodgers expected that day, so Janice's next night shift might be curtailed and she might make less money.

On those days, she leaves saying, "Manifest me some guests, Sue."

I'm, like, "Um, okay, will do."

I don't really know how to manifest lodgers, but apparently I must be doing something right, because every night by the time Janice returns to work, we have overnight guests. I wonder if I can take credit for this, or whether the guests come because it's getting cooler and they're more interested in staying at a spa where they can soak in the hot springs than they were during the middle of summer.

Well, anyway, this regular request from my friend and coworker has gotten me thinking a lot about manifesting. I've read The Secret and other stuff of that sort, and it seems to me that there's just one element that may be missing from the concept that you can get what you want simply by imagining having it while coming from a good place: work. But maybe that's just me.

Saturday night was the Art Hop here in Truth or Consequences (apparently our town is too small to have a full-fledged Art Walk), and I decided to manifest a pizza.

Not having complete confidence in my ability to do this simply by creating my own reality, I took my flute and music stand and some baroque music that I used to play in college back when my flute chops were awesome, and busked on a street corner for a couple of hours. I manifested enough money for a small personal sized pizza, but I gotta tell you, I busted my chops to do it.

I am pretty sure that if I learn (or actually re-learn) some jazz and pop tunes from my former incarnation as a semi-professional flutist, I will manifest more money. "California Dreamin'" will probably manifest an extra large, and "Baby Elephant Walk" will manifest extra toppings. Of course, it will take me quite a few hours of practice to manifest this much pizza.

I may sound pretty skeptical about manifestation, but really I'm not altogether a doubter. I have had some pretty incredible things happen to me since I came here to TorC. The very day that I needed an apartment because I was feeling overcrowded in my small motorhome, I went for a walk and happened upon a friend who had an apartment available. And the day I moved into the apartment, Janice told me about the part-time job that I've held ever since. I did absolutely nothing to have these goodies come my way, except to realize that at some point I was going to need a larger place to live and a job to pay my rent.

Now, a few months later, my needs are changing, so I'm thinking a lot about manifesting. For one thing, the person who I replaced at the spa may be returning, and our original understanding was that she'd have the job back if she came back to town. This is really up to the spa owner to decide, but I'm inclined to bow out and let the old employee come back and have the job, which has been more difficult for me than I expected due to the knee problems that arose right about the same time that I started working there.

I think the work, which involves walking around showing people to their rooms and giving them tours and instructions on use of the bath house, as well as some light housekeeping, is slowing my recovery from surgery. I do a lot better on the days that I don't work, and after working a day, it takes me a few days at home to get back on track--by which time I have to return to work again.

Of course, I do "work" on the days that I'm not at the job. I get vintage clothing ready to sell on eBay...photograph items and write up auction listings...pack stuff that's sold and get it to the Post Office...shop for new inventory at the thrift store, rummage sales, yard sales, etc...smash plates and nip them into tiles...clean and paint items that I can mosaic...glue tiles onto the forms and later grout them...take finished works to the gallery for sale...ad infinitum. But when I'm working at home rather than at the spa, I can pace myself and I tend not to hurt nearly as much.

A $3 yard sale shelf in the process of being manifested into a $50 shelf

I'm more actively making art than I was when I first got to town, and I would really like more time to pursue this. Can I manifest all I need from doing artwork? I consulted a local Tarot card reader on Sunday (she manifested $15 from me), and she assures me that it's all clear sailing, with no need for a job. According to Rebecca, my artwork will take care of all of my needs, and the only thing that might hold me back is my doubts that are based my dark cloudy past. Let go of my worries, and I will manifest abundance.

She also confirmed that I'm on the right track in my partnership with Steve, with whom I'm planning to travel to Arizona for at least part of this winter, where my living expenses will be vastly less than here in TorC, because I'll stay at his place. We're also contemplating sharing rent for whatever time we remain here in New Mexico this year and in the foreseeable future.

Chiles are almost certain to manifest abundance in New Mexico...or at least a twenty

So, for right now, I'm feeling very open to the idea of just selling my artwork and antiques at January's Gallery and continuing to sell vintage clothing on eBay. Whatever happens with the job, so be it. I have been well cared for by a loving God no matter what questionable ideas I've gotten into my head over the years. I'll keep doing my daily morning routine of asking for guidance and see what manifests.

Sonja (in laundry basket) daily manifests kibble, water and canned cat food, merely by being my cat...or is it mind control???!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back in the Saddle & Making Travel Plans

A cherub-topped birdhouse that is ready to grout and my next little project

Today it's been two weeks since my arthroscopic knee surgery. I was feeling like my recovery was slow, with more pain and swelling than I'd expected, because I've heard so many stories about people having such quick recoveries. However, when I saw my surgeon yesterday, he said I'm right on track for a person who has a lot of arthritis. I have more pain and swelling than some people because the surgery, although fairly minor, stirred up my arthritis. So it's just going to take me a while longer to become fully functional and pain free.

In the meantime, though, I am released to go back to all of my normal activities, including being able to fully immerse my knee in water again. Yay! So I went to the spa last night and soaked in the hot mineral waters, and it felt really good. I'm going to do that every day for a while, maybe even more than once a day.

I also rode my bike this morning for the first time in well over a month, and that felt great! Biking is easy on my knees because there's no impact. It's actually easier than walking. The doctor said I can ride up to 30 minutes a day, and just be careful to stay where the streets are flat and fairly smooth. So I rode my bike to my 7:30 a.m. meditation meeting and then to the grocery store, with no problems.

I'm very happy to be able to get back into the flow of life. I lost some income from my spa job while I was convalescing and I also took a break from eBay selling because there wasn't much point in selling stuff that I wouldn't be able to get out and ship. But now I am fully back to work, and I'm getting more mosaic artwork done again, too.

Sonja in one of the boxes that arrived while I was convalescing

While I was housebound, I ordered some box lots of vintage scarves from other eBay sellers, and now I've sorted through them and selected the best ones to resell individually. So today I will iron or steam some of the nicest scarves and photograph them, then write up some descriptions, set the prices, and upload the auctions. Some eBay sellers don't have the patience to do this with individual scarves, and that's why I'm able to buy estate lots of, say, 50 scarves or three pounds of scarves from other eBayers. Personally I love the work I do to sell individual scarves. I'm grateful to have found such a fun niche. I love the beautiful colors and handling the silk and the descriptive writing that's involved in preparing each auction listing.

I'm planning to work really hard this fall, winter and spring while it's the busy tourist season here in Truth or Consequences. I'm planning to continue at my part-time spa job as well as taking my own artwork and found objects (antiques, collectibles, other people's artwork, etc.) to January's Gallery for consignment, as well as working my eBay business.

Shelf that will go above my stove when finished

My hope is to get a little bit ahead of my monthly expenses so I can take off and travel all of next summer. Steve and I are thinking about going to Alaska, although we have a few other possible destinations in mind as well. Steve has never been to Alaska and it's been a lifelong dream of his to go, and I haven't been up there since the 1980s when I used to live there. So it would be a great destination, and we could visit lots of family and friends along the way.

In the meantime, we're going to take a shorter vacation up to northern New Mexico the first week in October, to visit friends in the Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos areas. This will be a good test of how well we travel together in the Guppy before we plan a really big trip!

Steve standing between the Guppy and John Rogers' 1970 VW Camper

Steve has lots of knowledge and experience with RVs, having lived in RVs and RV parks for about 25 years. So he's fixing everything on the Guppy that never worked while I was living in it full-time. I could never hook up to water, because there's a leak that gets the kitchen cupboards all wet. Steve is in the process of eliminating that problem, and then he'll see if the hot water heater works and whether we can use the shower. (I always used showers at campgrounds along the way, and I just filled up gallon jugs of water for drinking, dish washing, etc., and heated up water on the stove.) He's also going to fix the propane furnace, which I could never get to work. So the Guppy will be in great shape for our October trip--and the trips to come!