88217 Tiki Lane, Springfield $399,000

Tiki Lane

This spacious home is minutes from the McKenzie River with fishing, hiking and adventure out the front door.

Remodeled in 2008, four bedrooms and three bathrooms with an open concept kitchen for family gatherings and entertaining.  Three bedrooms and two bathrooms on main.  Family room and fourth bedroom on lower level.

On nearly a half acre lot with trees for privacy and quiet also RV parking and three car garage for all your hobbies and toys.

Call me for a showing appointment. 541-255-2578

Forget the “how” chase the “why”.

Week SIX is rolled up and I actually have about 20 minutes to recap.  It is currently a whirlwind of assignments and due dates with a daily battle to eat lunch.  Not that bad of a diet plan but a recalibration for sure.

Orientation was a long two weeks that had lots of teaming and sitting.  My booty had not sat for two whole weeks for 8 hours in a chair since I was in school for the last degree.  On the first day of Orientation I was all dressed up in a suit and high heels (torture devices).  At the end of the day I twist my ankle and tumble-down four small stairs in front of fellow cohort members.  At the bottom, I just took a moment and fully experienced gravity and my existence.

At the end of the first week of Orientation I had another experience that hurdled me back to middle school.  I found a singular bathroom that is pretty rare.  I was doing a small happy dance because I could use this space as a refuge if needed in the coming weeks and months.  In my excitement I failed to take a full look of my outfit.  I start my walk to my car across a small portion of campus and down one whole street block.  At the stoplight and nice fellow says, “Excuse me Ma’am, your dress is tucked into your tights.”  Death by embarrassment.

The second week of Orientation passed and all the excitement of the impending doom was about to burst.  We were told so many times that we were going to have a ridiculous work load and to not freak out.  Part of me let it roll off my back.  Psh, I do all kinds of stuff, how hard could it be?  The other part of me was shaking in my boots.

The first actual weeks of school unfolded finding a new normal of reading, homework and getting to bed at least an hour later than I need.  I was put into a group and the five of us have so many assignments and cases together.  These strangers are necessary for my success.  We needed to get on with the storming and norming so we can perform.  I am still not sure if we have fully stormed beyond my internal monologue but they are a smart, industrious group and thank goodness we are all in this together.

I had a ridiculously hard midterm on risk management using a decision tree in excel and a finance midterm that broke some people.  I may have lost a small portion of my spirit on excel but there is no time for that.  I had to quickly replace any feelings with studying for the rest of my classes.  Did I mention I have three graduate level math classes?  And it doesn’t end with midterms.  Class presentations and papers are due and relentless.    Throw in a new kitten, two different sets of house guests and real estatin’ (closed on two houses in October), it is surprising that tears only rolled one morning.  Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit, maybe I should have higher expectations for my abilities.

With this brief moment for reflection I have the chance to think back to a guest speaker we had a couple of weeks ago.  She founded a multimillion dollar company in her friend’s kitchen and had so many pearls of wisdom.  My favorite piece of advice: don’t get caught on the “how” and instead go forward with the “why” of the process/ project. If I want to freak out I can focus on the how and the song just plays on a loop, how did I get here. How will I get it all done?

I am focusing on the why.  I am here to learn how to create and manage my own real estate business and be equipped for any other business opportunities.  I am here to meet inspiring people who chase down their dreams.  And I am here because a chance opened up for me and I jumped at it.  I am doing it, I am going for the gusto in life.

MBA at 40?!?

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Well, not actually 40 but knocking on that door with increasing intensity.  It is true though.  I am going to start my MBA program at the University of Oregon in ONE week at 39.  You know that song, Once in a Lifetime?  And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.  And you may find yourself in another part of the world……  that’s me. How did I get here?  

Once in a lifetime 

p.s. that’s also how I dance.

My approaching middle age self-awareness has a verve for life that was hidden years prior in self-doubt and the search for true passion.  The younger me was trying desperately to have a passion but I am not a one, true passion person.  Picking one thing for all of my attention and drive is binding and repulsive.  Could be why I have had an exorbitant number of jobs and used to really like moving.   Learning that about myself took a while and left me feeling like I wasted a decent chunk of time worrying about not having a true passion. It also left my family confused because I always change my mind. I am a mutitpotentialite.  What is a multipotentialite?

Around November I was watching my life collaborator study for the LSAT and that fire in my belly for school rekindled and started smoking.  What am I doing?  Starting my own business was the tip of the iceberg. It was inspiring to watch someone you love go after their goals.  I decided to look into an MBA.  You know, the ROI of it and all.  So I met up with one recruiter from the school to pick his brain with an idea I might apply next year and it was cool.  We each had vetted each other and sat for a decent convo over coffee.  I do have a couple of inventions, a handful of business ideas and some lofty ambitions.  So I met with another recruiter, it really was only a recon job but they were both so supportive and advocated for my application that I jumped through those hoops, nothing stellar but a lot of putting myself out there.  Then I waited.  Patience and I can have issues. I couldn’t make my next plan or list accurately without knowing for sure what the school’s decision was.  

Soon the letter came for my life collaborator and it was a wind of excitement blowing through the house.  No letter for me, still working that virtue.  What if I didn’t get in? What if I did?  I have been to college, plenty.  And have had all kinds of interviews, try-outs, performances, but that mental nag was working my doubt like a parasite nesting. Then I got THE email.  I didn’t think I would be so emotional.  It is always nice to feel accepted.  YAY!!  I got in.  

Now what?!

How do I pay for it?  How do I continue my real estate business and attend school?  How will I find time to be an engaged, good mom?  What if I am too OLD?  What if my style/tattoos/beliefs/sexual orientation/politics/life choices make me stick out or make me not fit?  What if I am not smart enough?  How can I possibly handle more on my already full plate?

I have no idea how I am going to do it all but I am all in.  All in with my gritty resolve, quirk, sass and heart. And I want to share this journey.  I have a feeling there may be others out there going for the gusto in life or at least thinking hard about going for it. I have had some great life experiences and some heartbreaking ones all peppered between my beautiful & ordinary existence.  And the main lesson I have learned is LIFE IS TOO SHORT.  What am I waiting for?  Letting the days go by.  Not me, not today. 

NEW LISTING! 6078 Mica St. Springfield, OR. $245,900

Live on the market May 31, 2017.  Three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1310 square feet.  Landscaped and terraced yard with producing fruit trees and garden beds.  This home was modified  with more than $30,000 of upgrades for ADA compliance in 2008.

Maybe I have more work to do.

Do you ever think you have processed and healed over some major life event and then someone you know goes through something similar and all that old junk resurfaces?  Why is that?  All the work done to go forward and yet the old hurt can knock you right back to the start. That’s me today.  I noticed that the fall is not as far anymore but still upsetting.

When I had my son, I felt very isolated.  Part of that was my fault.  I did not have a strong friend network, the relationship I felt so secure in wasn’t actually and I did not know how to ask for help or get my needs met.  Part of it was my location.  I actually was physically isolated down a dirt road three miles from pavement.  It was a beautiful jungle and we had a brand new home that was built while I was gestating.  I stayed in that house.

Once my child entered the world, the stress of life became severe.  The gravity of the situation with trash and resources, my mortality, had me bed ridden for the first few days.  I could play it off as just giving birth but my head was swirling with the responsibility that was now before me.  Providing for my baby and rectifying all that I was not.  I felt I had to prove to the world my worthiness as a mom.  But the only person I had to prove that to was myself.

And this is my problem.  How can I be good enough for myself?

My memories are skewed and my heart is hurt from the challenges that our young family faced that I could not scale.  I did the best I could with what I knew but I was barely hanging on.  I am not sure if this is normal.  I don’t really know normal. Maybe if I had friends I could talk to and hang out with, I would have found out that having a baby is a game changer. My mom had her stories but they didn’t fit with my experience.  On the outside it all seemed to work but on the inside I felt like I was withering.  One distraction that started when my son was 6 months old was running. We ran.  All over, for miles.  Planning my run for the day with my son took up space in my otherwise lonely mind. Busy and lonely.  If anyone looked close enough, it was all very apparent.  I think being lonely is what killed my marriage.  We were each so lonely in our existences that we could not bridge the gap.  We did not even acknowledge the gap. The gap eventually became so wide I had to leave.  Not before I found someone else who looked at me.  The order of operations was all wrong. And I will be branded the “bad” one probably until one of us dies.

And I still feel for him and worry about him.  I went forward with the relationship outside of the marriage.  We are still together and it is full and loving and I am grateful for everyday we have together.  And with that gratitude comes a guilt.  For I have so much.  I thought I had worked through much of this but it seems I worked around it.  My work around is what allows me to be pulled back when a friend going through something similar reaches out.  I see all my missteps and all I could have done different.

When my son was weeks old I told him the story of how he came to be.  How I dreamt of him and waited for him and planned for him.  I also apologized for not being enough.  This “enough” is haunting.  Where does it come from?  And why does wield such power?  I promised him I would change.

As a parent, good enough works.  Dinner was good enough, the house is cleaned good enough but intrinsically hanging on to being good enough seems like a massive effort.  I know there is no way to have everything together.  It is not possible. Entropy is a universal law.  I abide by universal laws.  Yet, the grip of being good enough is tight around my neck.  Like I need to prove it.

I have weeded the cause of my worthiness down to a few things.  My sperm donor’s inability to have a meaningful relationship with me.  My only child tendencies to set the bar extremely high.  My chaotic and loving childhood. Instead of blaming addiction or emotional ignorance, I turn it inward to my having some flaw, something about me that is not good enough.

Maybe on some level I feel like a quitter and failure who put myself first and that I was so selfish in my choices.  My happiness became paramount and that was not okay.  I wonder if I have some karmic debt that I need to repent for my happiness so I can unload the guilt.

On good days, I am a fighter.  I fight for my life and joy and work hard to maintain and share it.  On bad days, I’m the asshole on the rock yelling to everyone how much I suck and don’t deserve all that I have.  Watching and feeling someone you care about hurting because of you is hard to get over. And that is such a dick thing to say, I feel your pain that I caused, sorry about that.

My friend will figure it out for herself.  Things will be okay.  And maybe things should change from good enough to okay.  It’s okay.  We are all okay.  And things can get better. When I am knocked down by issues I carry, it is not as hard to get back up.  My job is to be happy and honest and put that into the world, for my son.  I owe him that.  I owe myself that.

 

 

I jumped on the video bandwagon. How to use video, SEO and other little ideas.

 

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Ideas in a photograph

Realtors have to FIND business.  That may seem contrary to how easy it looks, wink.  Finding business as a new agent is like feeling your way through a pitch black underground cave.  It can bring up some fear issues.  Maybe that’s just me. I moved to the area almost two years ago because Eugene is awesome and don’t have the history of high school classmates or generations of family to pressure into using my services.  I don’t have what you call in the biz a sphere of influence, SOI.  This leaves me with more questions than answers. How do you find clients?  How do I market my biz?  How much does it all COST?

 

As a fresh agent, I don’t want to spend boatloads on marketing certain things are still important like food, tuition for my kid, gas, etc.  I want to use my crafty, boot-strappy, hound-doggyness to create my business.  In addition to a tenacious internal drive, I recently went to a seminar about SEO and blogs.  SEO is search engine optimization.  The main idea is to use words in your blog, posts, videos to have your content pop up before others.   In this seminar, there was a lot of talk about videos, especially Youtube because Youtube is owned by Google and Google is like the MAIN search engine.  Essentially, Google really likes to hear about itself and the more you share Google products the higher you rank.  Wow, that’s deep. Haha.  I also just sat through an hour of class explaining the recent changes to Facebook.  I pulled out a couple of keys points.  Your business posts reach less than 2% of the people who like your page.  Videos rank higher than any other type of posts.  And here I find my crafty, boot-strappy, hound-doggy self needing to reach more of my peeps.  And this is how I jumped in the parade of video makers. My First Video Please don’t laugh too hard.  I filmed this in my office, it is my first take (it did not get better with practice) and I wanted to put all I am learning into action.

Some other things I learned recently.  Always save your listing photos with the complete address.  It will show the address when people scroll over the photo.  Don’t pay to boost your posts on Facebook, it doesn’t help.  Don’t count on the paycheck until it is in your hand 🙂

Hope some of these ideas help.  I am super excited to share all I am learning about lending and “unique” properties.  I just need some time to process first.

If you are interested in selling, GREAT, fill out the form below.  Inventory is very low in Eugene, OR.  If you are interested in buying, GREAT, I would love to help you, fill out the form below.  Interest rates are still incredible and buying real estate is a brilliant step towards your personal wealth.

 

Surprises of Video Touring & Buying Out-of-State.

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Statistics abound and often inaccurate but I am going share this little gem, 70% of people moving out of their state are moving to Oregon. This means that we have a lot of people buying homes while out-of-state.

Why would people move to Oregon? You may be asking yourself. There are plenty of reasons. We have water! We have trees! We have lots of space and nice people. Outdoor folks have so many choices for adventures, mountains, beaches, camping, and hiking. In Eugene, we have the University of Oregon. Go Ducks! Those a but a few of the reasons I moved back to Oregon.

I have had three different clients now that purchase from out-of-state. This process is totally do-able. Title & escrow officers are super helpful and it can be pretty smooth. The main issue I find is managing expectations. If a client has only seen photos of the home it is hard to get a feel for the little things. This is why I do video tours.

So I had video tours yesterday of three homes in the Eugene area for new clients and I just want to share about the first tour.

The home is close-in country about 15 minutes from Eugene city, horse properties all around and about three wineries within a two-mile radius. Horseback ride to a wine flight, my kind of afternoon.

It can be difficult to tour, talk and video without making the viewers sick. These are live tours, usually FaceTime and I don’t want my clients nauseous after we hang out. To combat my worry I brought along my lovely assistant to film and I open doors and sweep my arm across the master bedroom landscape. Kind of funny in my head, not so sure for my clients.

Well our tour is going as well as can be. We have seen all the interior and I have pointed out the little unique features. We head outside to look at the yard. This property has acreage and looks like animals, my guess sheep. There is a great yard for the kids but it is close to a road that is busier than the listing Realtor said it would be.

We head over to some outbuildings, storage and stuff. There is a shipping crate. Now, I have a desire to get one of these and make something fabulous. Like a tiny home or a bunker or some craft storage. I am not entirely sure what I will do with one yet but I want one. So of course I am going to open it and take a look at how the sellers use it.

At this point in the video tour is going on 10 minutes. We are talking about the container and my clients are saying they would assume the sellers would move it. I reach for the handle to open it and see on one wall a bunch of tools, so I am narrating that it looks like tool storage. Then BAM! The female owner is in the shadows of the container looking at me like a deer in headlights. I SCREAM, thinking she is a ghost or an older version of the girl from The Ring. She looks blankly back at me and my assistant has caught all of this on live video and is not sure where she should point the phone. I try to recover my wits, explain how beautiful the sellers home is and introduce myself. The owner is quite nice and I may have startled her. We all think it is pretty funny.

The tour of this home ends, I return the key and we head off to the next house, laughing. The seller’s disheveled white hair, blank stare, and frozen posture is a little haunting but all in a day’s touring.

There is usually a surprise when touring homes and I was not disappointed. Real estate keeps you on your toes. Moving from out-of-state and buying a home before you get here is very possible. I would love to take you on a video tour anytime. Just know I am a screamer when frightened.

First Anniversary, out of the classroom and into real estate.

As I look back on my first year away from school, I am contemplative.  Reflection makes a great teacher and some habits do not go away no matter what you do.  I have a teacher streak in me that does not disappear in my new profession.  I have handouts for my clients that I use a highlighter on so they can really see the property tax amount.  I have a teacher tone I use when needed and my ability to herd humans into a designated area is still sharp.

Watching my teacher friends & family post on FB about winter break, snow days and grading is not enviable.  I do not miss the long hours lesson planning and grading homework.  I still put in long hours but I don’t lesson plan in a sense, it is named “marketing” now.  And I still do a type of grading, I have many documents I organize and share around looking for mistakes that I need to fix.  But it is different.

Some things that are similar between my former and present professions like the team aspect.  In teaching, you are part of a team.  You share lessons, time, energy and students.  You need the latest info and which kid is having a rough go.  In real estate, I am part of a team with the lender and escrow officer.  We strategize and talk about our shared clients and how to close the transaction.  I still have administrators watching me, they are now called principal brokers.  They help with my questions like admin does.

Getting to know clients is a lot like getting to know students, only it happens much quicker.  I see and hear all the problems in the 2 month period of buying a home.  And I really get the inner workings when I sell a home.  In the classroom, it took a good 4 months to really hear about the students private world.  I still deal with crying, blaming and procrastinating.   There are a lot more gifts I give out now and a lot less gifts I receive.

But I am on the other side of being a classroom teacher.  Some days I feel like I gave up on kids and education.  Other days I feel like I served my time, gave my love and it is okay for me to strive towards a different future.  Looking back over the last year, I have read more books in one year than I did in three years combined while teaching.  I took more personally enriching classes just becuase I wanted to.  I volunteered more at my son’s school.  And I worried less.

It surprises me when I think about starting my own business, not knowing when or where my next paycheck will come from, not having health insurance, this is all less stressful than the toll of worrying about my students.  I have not cried once in the shower in the last year about a student who is abused.  I have not had one sleepless night wondering if a student is safe.  I have not said once in the last year that I cannot do something with friends because I have to grade papers.

Friends.  I actually have time for them.  And they have all kinds of jobs not just teaching jobs.  I can socialize at any hour I want because I am in control of my day and my time.  And this is my biggest joy.  Being in control of myself.  When teaching, I was in control of my classroom (inside joke) but I had to answer to the bells and school schedules.    Now I make my own appointments and keep them.  I have no bells telling me it is time for lunch.  That fear of “how am I going to make money” is quieted by my freedom to figure it out on my terms.

I miss those sweet/ stinky/ornery middle schoolers.  Their bubble of energy and fits of spazz.  Their growth spurts emotionally and physically.  They kept me young and goofy and weird.  I may have accelerated aging since I left the classroom but nobody on the outside comments on my grey hair.  I miss sharing my love of science and the natural world with young humans putting the pieces together.   And I miss when they get something for the first time, that spark.  And I miss the dances.  A lot.  I got the best moves from middle schoolers.

I hold all this in my heart.  And I am grateful for my chance to change my mind and try something new.  Teachers are brave and they are giving.  And some days I feel selfish for leaving.  Selfish for wanting more money and to be compensated for how hard I work.  Selfish to leave behind my friends & family who are still in the thick of education.  Ultimately, I am selfish.  I needed to put my needs first and my needs were about my family and my future. At the end of the day, no one else is going to put me first.  That’s up to me.

A retired teacher once told me when I said I left teaching “some of the best teachers leave.”   That stuck with me.  Not that I was the best, but that people leave.  It doesn’t mean I am bad or a quitter.  I just left.  And like leaving any relationship it hurts some days and is really exciting other days and some days I have all my emotions at once.

 

I cheated on my hair dresser. And I am so sorry.

I know, I know!  I’m a cad.  I am a dog.  A no good scoundrel. What can I say?  I want what I want when I want it.  I am so first world.

Here’s the story about hair, well my hair and its current iteration.

Let me preface the story.

Hawaii.

I had the best hairdresser in Hawaii.  Big Wig Salon,  Mitch brought my short, uneven, rat bite looking hair to a healthy, shiny, awesome existence (I had it cut at Supercuts and I think the girl was high and not a good, creative, on her game high hence the rat bite looking pieces).  He has skills, made wigs for SNL, actually worked on the mom jeans commercial and is just generally amaze balls.  But moving away from Hawaii also meant moving away from Mitch.

Eugene.

I have a pretty awesome hairdresser.  She did wonderful things to my Huma and her sassy short do.  Her products are organic and delectable.   She is funny and real and great to hang out with.  I love her salon and think we could be real friends outside of hair.  She also has her opinions about my hair, mainly its color.

We had tried a semi-permanent color, reddish.  I adored it.  But then with any darker hair dye color, for those of us with grey or any other color really, we get those pesky roots.  And pretty darn fast.  When I went in for the touch-up, I ask for permanent dye.  I was not using all of my critical thinking abilities.  I liked the color and felt pretty and wanted to be a girl who gets her hair done.  I was not thinking of the touch-ups every three weeks, the boringness of sitting still in a salon so often or the money.  I just wanted to have pretty hair.

My hair dresser said how pretty I looked with that color, how natural it looked and how good my skin looked.  I am vain.  I liked to be told I have a nice anything really.  Flattery can get you somewhere with me.  I know, I know.  I gotta work on that.

Well, three weeks later I am going mad with roots.  They are literally driving me crazy.  It is all I see in the mirror, any mirror or any reflective surface.  I am fixated.  I start emailing my hairdresser what can I do, how can I fix it.  Then I get serious and start researching.  If I want to have red hair, the most high maintenance of all the colors, I will need to commit to the salon visits, the boredom, the money.

I can’t.  I can’t do it.

Was the money what really tipped that scales? My family knows my Scot ways.  No, it wasn’t the money that was the biggest determining factor.  It was the boredom.  The thought of sitting in the chair, once a month for at least an hour was too much.  Like a jail sentence where you can leave the jail but have to come back on the weekends or after work.  I just couldn’t do it.

So I start researching how to fix this.  It seems like I have a lot of time on my hands for hair salons and googling.  Well I don’t really, I put off dishes, real estate prospecting and writing blogs to find out the best way to go back to blonde.  Turns out red is one of the hardest colors to change.  Ugh.

Back to the salon.  I explain my reasoning to my hairdresser.  She gives me a skeptical look and says she will try to take it blonder.  Well, she tried but my hair was still red.  A lovely red that I adore but couldn’t keep.  I had just sat in the chair for two hours and was no closer to blonde.   It was like those really expensive ______ (you fill in the blank, it’s usually shoes for me) that you bought but feel so guilty about you have to return.  Or is that just an experience I have?  I am a half Scot.  Anyway, I felt like I was not getting what I needed/wanted.

A couple of weeks pass and there are those DAMN roots.  I had decided to try to go blonde with a different hairdresser.  Whaaa?!  Premeditated cheating.  I cannot even claim “it just happened”, I was looking, prowling, for another person.  I felt a tinge of guilt but I went forward and booked an appointment at another salon.  Owned by a Mitch type.  I was hopeful.

The day of the appointment was on one those days that had me asking, “Is Mercury in retrograde?”.  So many things got screwed up that day.  My Huma cut her finger and needed stitches, she lost her car keys, forever, one of those days.  My biggest obstacle before the appointment was my car died in an intersection.  Funny in a way, because I could tell why it died.  It seemed like a hose got disconnected and that stopped my car from being able to idle.  I just took my girl-only auto class.  I couldn’t fix it but I had a good idea what caused it.  Sitting in that intersection 30 minutes before my appointment, I really wanted my son to be there in the dead car.  To go through those feelings of uh-oh, our car is broken, now what.  I think those are important moments.  And I could have modeled my not freaking out.  Didn’t happen like that though, he wasn’t there.  A tow truck came and I had a good friend deliver me to my appointment 15 minutes late.  Not so bad for a cheater.

I must have had a look because she asked if I needed a hug.  I accepted but it was one of those hugs that lasted too long.  Let me tell you, I had a feeling I should not have my hair done.  There were too many things going wrong that day.  And I told her that before we even started. I told her just don’t melt my hair (that happened to me before).  She assured me we should go forward, she wouldn’t melt my hair.  I have to stop myself at this sentence and wonder why on Earth would I take any assurance from a stranger I just met?  I proceeded anyway.  Tell her my hair history, the products used to dye my hair, how often, everything, all my dirty little secrets.  In my research, I found that you must be very honest so not to have a bad reaction, etc.  Well, small talk as sparse.  She applied the bleach, she was not funny or very interesting.  We did not gel.  She hid away in the break room while the bleach bleached.

I sat looking how you look with a head of foils and waited.  Damn chair, damn boredom.  She emerges from the break room, we rinse and I get back into the chair.  Then she goes, “uh-oh“.   WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?! In my mind I am screaming.  She said it and I heard it.  Uh-oh is bad.  I watch her try to recover.  She asks what did I use to dye my hair, she has never had this happen before, am I sure I didn’t dye it myself.  There was an accusatory tone like it was my fault my hair turned “peach- apricot” in color.  In my mind, there was a rant to beat all rants but I didn’t say anything.  Just had the worried look on my face.

She decided to tone it to help with the color.  I am near tears yet on the fine line of hysterical laughter.  I knew that it was not the day for hair dye.  I knew Mercury was gonna step in and cause a kerfuffle.  The toner helped but overall I was a cheater who had her karma delivered in a peach color.

At the chair, this new hairdresser chopped my curly hair in a not curly layer-y way.  We finished our time.  I tried to be stoic but was texting my friend and I am sure the hairdresser read my text that had the laugh cry emoji and stated my hair was orange.

I told the mistress hairdresser I was a cheater and I caught hair syphilis.  This could be why she charged me full price.   As bitter as I was I still tipped.  Oh, not my usual 20% just 15% but still tipped and grumbled on the way out.

Sometimes the grass is greener or blonder on the other side and sometimes it is not worth it.  At this time, I have those darn grey hairs doing they thing, mainly on the right side of my head.  Funny how greying gives no shits about symmetry, its okay symmetry is overrated.   I will need to go back to my hairdresser who I like and spill my guts.  I will have to tell her I cheated and caught hair syphilis and see if she can help me. The look in her eyes, the disappointment and hope she doesn’t dye my hair red.  And I will have to sit there for a couple of hours, bare and vulnerable, exposing my vanity and complete first world-ness.

 

 

We drove to Standing Rock, North Dakota for Thanksgiving.

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After an overwhelmingly successful donation drive, we had two vehicles filled to capacity, a U-Haul trailer and four drivers on the road to deliver.  I had never driven beyond the middle of Montana and oh my, North Dakota is far from Eugene, Oregon.

The items we were delivering to the water protectors varied.  We had gathered more than we could take and I had to sort through items for quality and appropriateness.  The night before we left, our living room had mountains of supplies, coats, food, randomness.  In full disclosure, I really felt pushed beyond my comfort zone.  I needed to do something with all these items, reign in some of the chaos, put order to disarray.  I made piles of coats by gender than size.  A good friend recommended vacuum sealed storage bags and soon we had seven x-large bags full of the coldest weather gear.  We made supply boxes and first aid boxes.  All of this generosity covering my couches.  The people of Eugene really have a lot to share.  The world is abundant.

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We gathered most of the donations through social media events and sharing.  I was on the local news twice.  Oh, Facebook and the news.  I am not going to rail about fake news or anything really besides the fear we allow into our lives.  I had watched countless videos about Standing Rock, daily.  I was full of emotion about what was happening hence the donation drive and delivery.  I was saddened and worried and mad about the water and my fellow humans.  (What is the root of all those emotions? Fear) Once we had made the plan to go it became very curious how people reacted.  I had more warnings for my safety than I had expected, from all types of people.  Their concern was real.  But I wasn’t afraid.  Should I be afraid?  Was I being naive to the reality of being attacked by water cannons and pepper spray?  Was I missing an appropriate amount of fear?

Facebook and I had an unhealthy relationship in the 2010’s.  We broke up and remained apart for about 5 years until last year when I started my own business and needed to hop back into the ring.  I created clear boundaries for myself and Facebook.  So far things have been relatively healthy.  During the break up I could not control myself and the happiness of others was crushing me.  I was in ruins and off kilter while EVERYONE was happy and successful.  I did not have the tools to see the truth about Facebook.  Fast forward:  Today my comparisons of friends success and their highlight reel has been kept in check.   Comparisons are a rusty sword to my well-being.  They cut gashes that fester on my weaknesses (it’s all about the tools).  In my world, I feel envious when certain friends travel the globe but mostly I wonder why people post some of the personal things they do.  To share intimate information with people holding a tenuous thread in your life seems like a false vulnerability that teeters on attention seeking and over exposure.  I have to wonder sometimes about what I post and share and the story I am telling about my life because essentially we are all telling a story.  I digress.

Two days before we left for North Dakota the water cannon incident in below freezing weather happened.  What I watched and read was so brutal.  On the drive there I wondered how humans can continue to treat one another this way.   The majority of my information was from Facebook.  The brief news bits on the radio really did not give much meat to the story.  We also heard bits from people who had returned from the trip.

The drive was interesting.  We hit two snow storms.  There were towns I really did not want to stop in.  There were places that I did not want to be too lesbian in.  Just slide right on through, don’t bring any attention to us.  We made good time.  And we hit North Dakota on Thanksgiving.  I had never driven through an Indian Reservation.  We had to take an alternative route because we heard that there were roadblocks and searches and this took us south of Bismarck through the Rez.  I was unnerved.  How did people survive and make a living?  It looked bleak.  Hardly any trees, hardly any greenery.  The houses were really spread apart.  The miles and miles just rolled by.  Nearing Cannon Ball, I had a flood of nerves.  I welled up with tears and as they spilled out I tried to place the root of my emotions.  I was empathizing with a suffering.

Then we made it to camp.

My tears promptly dried.  I was not expecting the vastness of the camps.  The sheer number of tents and cars and people left me with a new set of emotions.  We were greeted by a beautiful woman at the gate who welcomed us home.  After driving pass rows of cars, we found a spot to park and stretch our legs.  In the near distance, we heard a megaphone giving peaceful protest directions.  We headed over and got caught up in a large group heading to the front line.  Yikes!  This is where people are hurt and the guards stand waiting to inflict the punishment.  We had gas masks and ear protection but left it all in the car.  Should I be scared? I didn’t feel scared.  And as we walked, the hill with the guards became clear.  I had seen this hill on Facebook.  I walked past the guy who posted vlogs daily, I felt an odd familiarity with him though I cannot say we ever met.  I overheard conversations that were trivial and saw people who looked like people I had seen at other gatherings.  Not protests but parties.  I saw more cars chugging down gasoline driving to the front line.  So many cars everywhere.  Isn’t our fossil fuel consumption a big part of this problem?  Isn’t the pipeline moving around crude oil to be processed to fuel things like cars?  And as we got closer to the hill I felt like a hypocrite.  I drove my car 1500 miles one way to fight against the very thing that got me there.  I was just another white girl at the party.  My privilege clouding the actual struggle of native people.  My history class never covered the genocide of Native Americans with any actual meaning.   As we walked, the men on the hill became just men.  And I am just human.  And I was an interloper in this battle.

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Once we reached the front line, it became very clear to me that this place was not where my best efforts would be utilized.   There were prayers and songs and people crossing the water.  There were National Guard troops waiting on every hill with Humvees and rifles.  There were publicly paid armed guards standing watch from atop the hill ready for something.  But it was Thanksgiving.   And the guys on the hill were just guys.  Not even important guys because if they were they would have the day off.  Those guys couldn’t change the course of this pipeline.  They were not the powers that be.  They were just cogs like the rest of us who drove there dependent on oil.  I felt like I should have had a spiritual experience.   Like I should have felt more and been moved towards some enlightenment. We shared space and spoke with other humans doing incredibly human things.  We went back to camp and shared the items we brought.  And we left.  That night.

On our long drive home we listened to many podcasts.  Some on racism, one about Putin’s propaganda against gays and I decided I needed to use my power wisely.  BLACK LIVES MATTER.  And white lives need to believe and live and teach the fact that black lives matter.  Yes, all lives matter but it is not the same history for all lives.  The majority of white lives have not had slavery as defining force in their ancestry.  There is not the same societal, educational, economic forces pressuring all lives.  Side note:  read or listen to THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead.  It will blow your mind.

Me yelling at some guard on a hill who has to work Thanksgiving (I can’t even get started on Thanksgiving) someone without any real power is not going to change anything.  He may be able to inflict harm but he cannot make real change externally to the pipeline.  And how do we make real change?  How do I make real change?  How do I use my power?  I want to say IDFK, but on some level I do know.

Gotta start inside first.  Check myself, my ego, my bullshit.  Do my work on me.  In my experience, this work is a constant.  Not in a self-centered, I-can-only-work-on-me-type of way, but remembering I-carry-some-bullshit-type of way and to not let that slow me down in making the world a better place.  So internal work then external work.

External work: I like to think and say “vote with your money”.  How do we vote with our money?  First, if we are in debt we have no power.  We are not free, we are tethered to things that happened in the past. Second, if we are not informed we have no power.  We must know how the system operates to change it.  Eyes, ears, heart open.  Take in information in a broad manner and critically think about what you find.  Third, if fear steers the ship we are going to sink.  Fear has to be put aside when rethinking the paradigm and our place in it.  Fear is a crafty shit that seeps in even when we are looking for it.  We have to manage our own fear (internal) but we also have to navigate fear within our groups (external).  The fear that grips groups of people really clouds and skews judgement.  I am sure you have seen this fear show its ugly face with recent politics in the US.  I have seen and heard a lots of fear mongering about the President-Elect.  Fear cannot steer the ship.  Fourth, STOP EATING MEAT.

We did not need the gas mask during our brief time at the front line, it will be saved for another day.  I empathized with my imagination, maybe from conjuring suffering from a collective consciousness or maybe from the deep well of my personal suffering.  I understand the walk a mile in her shoes but if I cannot even fathom the shoes or the road, it’s nearly impossible for me.  I don’t think I am alone in this.  I had no first hand knowledge of Standing Rock.  I didn’t know anyone who lived there.  I thought I knew what was happening based on social media.  I learned that I need to find out for myself.  I needed to go to North Dakota and feel small and powerless and gullible.  I needed to realize my own hypocrisy and the power fear has over me.  I needed to see other humans so committed in their cause to make me feel so flaky in mine.

Where is my power?  It may be in my story.  The story I hear in my head and my heart.  The story I tell others.  We need to tell our stories with a fierce love that allows changes and editing.  An unconditional love that lets us see flaws but tell the story anyway.  Our stories may be the only thing we have. Our stories have power.

Maybe I had a spiritual experience after all.

I am not native, I am an invasive. And my heart hurts.

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Empathy.  The difference between humans and worms.

Before we decided to drive to Standing Rock, North Dakota, I was incensed about the North Dakota Pipeline.  Big business, private interests stealing from the people with permission from the US government.  Water contamination an obvious outcome of this pipeline.  904 oil spills in North Dakota this year. The government taking from its own people via eminent domain. Obvious conflicts of interest and gross misuse of power.

Then we decided to gather donations and drive to Standing Rock.   It is as if my heart was allowed to feel the full force of grief.  The crimes against Peaceful Protectors.  One letter difference between a protector and a protestor.  The crimes against our Earth.  Allowing this information in on a deeper level through an open heart HURTS.

I am not native.  Actually, I am an invasive.  I have been all my life.  Growing up in Hawaii, I was reminded incessantly how I wasn’t from there.  I was too white, haole, and to go back to where I was from.  I don’t know where that is.  I forgot, my people forgot, in a sense we all forgot our true home.  The Great Forgetting of where we are from and who we are connected to.  My paternal side has been in Hawaii for four generations and my maternal side for three generations.  I am fifth generation born in Hawaii and my son is sixth.  Thinking of going back to where I am from always left me in a quandary.  Should I go to Scotland? The land of my paternity, of which I have 50% of my genes, a place I have never been to people I have never met.  Or to the small islands off Portugal, the land of my maternal people, also a place I have never been and people I have never met. This lead me to the idea that the people there wouldn’t want me either.  I would still be an invasive.  A girl with no homeland.  And so I have been my whole life.  I am not sad about this, anymore.

As an only child, there is always a bit of longing to be a part of that familial web that I don’t really understand. I have family, the greatest mom I could have, uncles, aunts, cousins, all sharing bits of genetic code yet the existential “who am I” is a bit more literal.  It doesn’t seem that my family members share the same lack of place.  When I was in Bali, I started to understand the way the people there all participate in this large web of life that maps them and tethers them.  Maybe it’s the tether of “this is where you belong, this is your place” that I am missing.  My place on the map.

We all exist in the anthropocene and are cruising through the sixth extinction.  We know how we live changes the biotic and abiotic factors.  It is not hoax that our species has altered the environment drastically.  We know that we are heading for a shift in energy use, whether we choose to acknowledge the eventual end of fossil fuels or not.  We know that we have decimated species and many more are on the brink of extinction, example Orangutans killed for palm oil, burned to death in the process of creating farmland, our most genetically similar relatives.   We know that horrible things happen to children, our most valuable and vulnerable of society, yet we push forward.  I push forward, IMUA.

I have seen the many Facebook posts, read articles, seen footage of the Water Protectors, Peaceful Warriors brutally attacked and felt helpless.  Utterly helpless.  It could seem hopeless.  Hope and hopelessness: an interesting mingling of feelings.  I find it harmful to hope, it sets me up for unmet expectations, essentially it leads me to suffering.  I choose to have faith over hope.  And I am choosing to have faith in myself and our species.  Faith that we can bring a bit of our intention and energy to those who can stand up for their beliefs because we all want to believe.  Faith that empathy will allow us to share our bounty and abundance with those who have abundance of conviction and in turn share a connection.

At this time, there seems to be an unveiling of sorts.  As if we are remembering with our hearts things we had wiped away through the Great Forgetting.  I think it is societal to turn away from our history of violence and oppression towards groups that are anything but the white man.  That is hard to write.  I am white.  And in some not so distant past my ancestors may have participated in brutality against others.  The Great Forgetting is like a giant eraser of those memories that has been handed down and all I am left with is a blanket of nondescript guilt and lack of place.  A denial of our collective memory that causes guilt/ sadness/ heartache.  My guilt could partly be attributed to my Catholic childhood, those catholics and their horrors.  It could be guilt for my opportunities and my access to alternative choices because I am not such a minority.  And it could be due to the DNA we all share that is coded with all of our history.

This Great Forgetting has lead to apathy.  A feeling like a low grade sickness at the back of your throat, nothing full blown that you need to take action on, but there waiting to get worse.  Apathy is widespread.  I see it.  I feel it.  The memories are in us but vague, unreachable.  We remember through the DNA passed to us, the atrocities our people endured and participated in.  We carry this.  Yet, we also carry the memories of our connection.  Embedded further in our twisted base pairs.   This is time for the Remembering.  We have to sort through our layers.

In Hawai’i, there is a ceremony called Ho’oponopono– to make right.  Essentially, in the easiest way to share- I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.  Start with yourself then work out.  I want to share a prayer I keep in view at my house by Aunty M.

Divine Creator

Father, Mother, Child as one…If I, my family, relatives and ancestors have offended you , your family, relatives, and ancestors in thoughts, words, deeds, and actions, from the beginning of creation to the present,

We ask your forgiveness…

Let this cleanse, purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies, and vibrations and transmute these unwanted energies into pure light.

As it is said, it is done and set free.

The first time I read this out loud I cried, hard.  It gave me faith that in my Remembering I have the ability to change and heal.  I can empathize and not be swallowed by another and their suffering.  It is okay for me to remember and dive deeper toward connection.  It is okay to offer forgiveness to myself.  It is okay for me to help even with all of my flaws.

Standing Rock is part of our Remembering.  And our Healing.  This is evident by the people here in Eugene who have donated their time and energy to help two girls on a mish to drive supplies to North Dakota for people who are beacons of light.  It is evident in people from around the world doing what they can where they are.  This support, for the plethora of reasons motivating each individual, has strengthened my faith in our collective human experience moving toward the light.  My heart hurts and cracks feeling the violence happening to the Water Protectors and our Earth.  And I am grateful for this pain.  For each time my heart breaks, even just a little, it opens and with each crack I have a little more room to hold goodness, love and peace.  This is what puts me on the map.