Monthly Archives: March 2012

Preparing for a remodel

Our house is… quirky. The original cabin was a summer house built in the 1930s. (I adore the original part of the house.) It was added on to at least twice since then, including finishing the basement. We have a lot of square footage, but the house feels small because the space isn’t usable. The house lacks FLOW.

The first five years or so that we were here, we focused on improving the infrastructure of the property. We cleared brush and debris, did a ton of fencework, improved drainage/mud control, and put down gravel in key areas. We didn’t “landscape” and make it pretty, but we did a damn good job making it usable.

Then we moved on to the house. Thus far, our projects — with the exception of removing the drop ceiling in the hallway — have been practical rather than aesthetic. Now we’re about to take the first steps of a major remodel, which will be both functional and aesthetic.

We’re tackling two areas initially: the basement and the guest bedroom, which is soon to be my office. We’re taking the basement to the studs in order to do some signficant inside-the-walls work. We want to rip out and replace every bit of electrical wire in the house, updating it for the 21st century and wiring in a generator capable of running the whole house. My husband wants to bring in propane, and we want to make sure all the plumbing is solid. We also need to do infrastructure work for the computer networking and a new heating system. Oh, and we need to replace the central beam that runs underneath the original cabin.

Massive, expensive work, and that’s just the functional stuff!

The demolition begins on Monday, April 2. Over the past three weeks, my husband and I have been preparing. There are five spaces (four in the basement, plus the guest room) that have to be completely emptied. Three of these were used primarily for storage. The other two were Jay’s office and our living room, which includes my office and the treadmill. Everything in those five areas is being moved to two other areas, both of which have other functions — like our kitchen. I joke that it’s like playing three-dimensional Tetris.

Still, I feel good about where we are. I’ve taken “before” pictures of the basement. (Haven’t taken them of the guest room yet, which is a bummer, because it has been mostly broken down now.) We’re down to one storeroom and the big furniture, and we know where everything is going. My biggest frustration now is that I need to take a bunch of stuff to the barn and out to the trash today, and it’s pouring down rain. That’s a pretty minor frustration considering we’re just a few days away from D (Destruction) Day.

We don’t have a firm timeline for the project. We pay for these sorts of things in cash, and so we can do it exactly as fast as we are able to save money for it. We have some “getting started” money, and I *expect* to work some overtime this summer. If the latter fails to materialize, that’s okay — it will just take longer to finish. It could, in fact, take years to get back into the finished basement. But, like I said, that’s okay. We’re doing what needs to be done, and we’re doing it right.

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Animal Communication workshop, day 2

Sunday was day 2 of the workshop. This day was tougher for me than day 1, but St. Francis came through again. Thank you, St. Francis!

The first half of the session was spent working with three dogs who were there at the workshop. Aries is a black Lab mix who belongs to the woman who hosted the workshop, Aspen is a golden retriever, and Murphy is a beagle. They were all sweet, delightful dogs.

We did several exercises before we tried direct communication. One was an exercise of awareness. I have trouble extending my awareness to other energies around me. I just don’t feel anything. I had trouble with that exercise, but it turned out that the impressions I got were spot on.

The next exercise was an exercise in imagination. I was excited about this one, because THIS I do well. My imagination is extremely well developed! We were supposed to imagine greeting each dog, imagine them greeting us, and imagine what each likes to do. I loved that exercise, and I felt completely plugged into the dogs, because I’d already met them and gotten a feel for their personalities.

It turned out that I was again pretty much spot on with what I imagined. This made me wonder if maybe all the “imaginary” conversations I have with my beasties on a routine basis is more real communication than I thought.

I went into this workshop expecting animal communication to feel external — to feel like I was hearing or seeing something that very clearly didn’t come from myself. Instead, what I learned is that it feels more like you’re making something up. Only what you make up ends up being correct! The secret is practicing so that your accuracy goes up and TRUSTING that you’re not actually making this up.

That’s tough. The exercise with my partner on day 1 really helped with the trust, because it didn’t feel “external,” but the precise accuracy was immediately confirmed.

After our mid-session break, we worked with photos of animals provided by the workshop participants. I brought pictures of my three dogs, and Guin and Blue, the horses. (Blue isn’t technically mine anymore, but Heidi gave me permission.)

There were two rounds, so each person spoke with two animals. Mary provided a list of 13 questions. After each session, we went around the room and gave the answers we had gotten, and the animals owner told us what we got right and wrong.

In general, concrete facts like color of the food dish was difficult. At the same time, many people were able to provide really detailed descriptions of houses (inside and out). Mary also cautioned that sometimes people would think something was wrong, but then later would realize that it was right after all. We had an example of that with Aspen, the golden retriever. One person asked if she had a red toy — said the red toy was her favorite. Aspen’s owner said she didn’t have a red toy. Later in the workshop, Aspen’s owner casually mentioned that she gave Aspen a stuffed Kong anytime she left. Bingo! The favorite red toy.

The animals I spoke with were Ying Mo, an African Grey parrot, and Whisper, a black cat. I am fairly unfamiliar with both birds and cats. I think, though, that’s a good thing, because I had fewer preconceived notions about them.

I didn’t do well with Ying Mo. I did better with Whisper. The highlight with WHisper was that I saw her crunching bugs. It didn’t really fit any of the questions, so I noted it, but didn’t report it. Whisper’s owner said that her big thing right now was encouraging Whisper to eat all the bugs she found in the house. I showed her the notation I’d made.

That was cool.

The person who read Blue did a phenomenal job. His report back gave several people goose bumps, which I’ve learned is a common sign that a reading is accurate. (This is true both with animal communication and Tarot. Probably with any intuitive reading.) He said that Blue had a message for me: “Thank you for making it possible for me to live the life of my dreams.”

You’re welcome, Blue man.

There were solid things in every reading. Some people had a success rate of probably 80-90%. Those readings were AMAZING. I’m not that good, LOL.

Mary reminded us to focus on what we got right. As she said yesterday, this is like learning a foreign language. After one workshop we’ve just learned a few words. It will take time and practice to become conversational — much less fluent.

Next step for me? Practice. I’m going to try to set aside some time each evening for meditation and practice. I have many animal friends who have shared pics of their pets and who will give me feedback. My goal is to ask just a few questions at a time, and work with the same animals in many different sessions. Hopefully my accuracy will improve over time.

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Animal Communication workshop, day 1

Today I attended the first day of a two-day basic animal communication workshop with Mary J. Getten. So. Much. Fun.

I have always wanted to communicate with animals. Animals are my life, and to communicate with them… well, there is no higher blessing. So through the years I’ve read books, and I’ve practiced now and then, but I’ve had only limited success.

I have always known — and Mary said it’s nearly always true — that I’m a better sender than receiver. Two examples:

  1. Anyone who has every moved a pet to a new house knows how stressed they get. It is, in fact, in credibly common to lose pets during the transition. I read an animal communication book that said to just talk to your animals and tell them very clearly what’s happening, what will happen, why it’s happening, what it means to the dog, etc. So when we moved to Duvall, I did that for Rain (an extremely insecure dog) and Pax. Neither dog showed even minor stress about the move, during or after. They transitioned to the new house as though they’d been visiting here for years.
  2. I tried an exercise from an animal communication book where you visualize an image and send it to your dog. This was right before we got horses, so I decided to send a picture of a breed of horse I liked. I happened to have a call with an animal communicator the next week, and I asked her if she could ask Pax what image I had been sending him. She said, “A black and white horse with feathers?” I had been sending a picture of a Gypsy Vanner.

I have had only one clear experience as a receiver, however, and that happened just a couple of weeks ago.

Miss Pflouff had been coming inside from the yard soaked in urine. It was like she had lain in a puddle of it… but there were no puddles. Or like she had peed while she was lying down, but she was clean and dry around her own lady bits. She was too tall for the boy dogs to hike their legs and get her back like that. I had no idea how this was happening, but it was happening regularly.

One morning she jumped up on the bed to tell me good morning, and when I leaned over to kiss her head, BAM! An image just appeared in my head. I saw her squatting to pee, and one of the boy dogs lifting his leg to mark her spot — while she was still peeing. I wasn’t thinking of the situation, and I had never even thought of that possibility, but I saw it plain as day.

So I believed it was possible, but I had never been able to open that channel at will.

Today was the first day of the workshop. There are sixteen students, plus Mary. Some are experienced; some are just like me. She explained to us that learning animal communication is like learning a foreign language. You don’t go to a class and come out speaking fluently overnight. You learn a few words. Then you get haltingly conversational. Then a bit better. And only with time, practice, and immersion do you get really fluent.

Today we didn’t practice actual animal communication. We talked about various aspects and did some exercises and meditations to help prepare us.

We did the COOLEST exercise with a partner. We sat face to face and visualized a tube connecting us heart to heart. One of us was the sender and the other the receiver. Mary would say a color — out loud, so we both knew. The sender was supposed to pick a shade of that color, pick an object or objects in that shade, try to imagine how it feels, etc. Then the receiver had to say what he received. Each person was the sender twice and a receiver twice.

My partner and I got all four right!!!!! The colors and our objects were:

  • Pink / Pepto Bismol
  • Orange / Orange juice
  • Yellow / Baby chick
  • Purple / Eggplant

I was a better sender than receiver. I sent pink and yellow. She said both correct answers IMMEDIATELY — no hesitation or working up to it.

I got the right answers for mine, but I kind of worked my way to it.

  • For orange, I said, “Orange Crush, and I see an orange with juice spurting out of it.” But I never actually made the leap to “orange juice.”
  • For purple, I picked up the color Mary was going to say before she said it, and then had to push an image of Barney out of my head. LOL. I knew it didn’t come from my partner. I saw like thick swirls of slick, deep purple oil paint, then it turned into an eggplant. And she was sending eggplant.

Tomorrow morning we work with live animals, and then tomorrow afternoon we work with photos. I’m not taking one of my dogs — there are only going to be a couple there and they needed to be smaller and cat-friendly — but I have photos of both my dogs and horses ready to go.

By the way, when I decided to do this, I prayed for help from St. Francis, Patron Saint of Animals. And he really came through! Thank you, St. Francis!

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My challenge comes to an end

The last few weeks have been hard. My motivation has been terribly low, and I’ve hung on to the challenge by the barest of threads. I found every possible loophole to exploit. I wasn’t losing weight; I was backsliding. I was miserable… but I didn’t want to quit.

Jay and I had a long talk about it just a couple of days ago. He said if it was just about the money, he’d cut me a check right then. That wasn’t what I wanted, though. Having that goal out there gave me something to hold on to. I figured motivation was cyclical. I just needed to find some new something to get me jazzed again.

Yesterday I had a doctor appointment to go over blood test results — my first since starting the challenge. The appointment was at noon. Considering how much I’d been pushing the boundary lately, I didn’t want to go to a weigh in with a bunch of food in my gut. So I didn’t eat yesterday morning.

The appointment went well. I was teary and depressed and confessed the difficulty I was having. We went through my results, and they were admittedly excellent. My fasting glucose dropped from 110 to 105. My A1C dropped from 6.5 to 5.8. And my vitamin D3 rose from 18 to 50. The problems I’ve been having with my tendons, both quad and deltoid, are clearing up, which she attributes to lack of gluten in my diet.

She said, “I want to be sure you’re hearing this.” Everything we were working on was improving. The challenge was definitely working.

And yet, I still screwed it up.

Afterwards I was hungry, and I just didn’t want to face the food we had in the fridge. So I cheated. I enjoyed every damn bite AND the accompanying serotin. Instead of fessing up, I tried to hide it (which was seriously disrespectful to my husband). Obviously I don’t try to hide things from him too often, because I got caught.

(Apparently my offering to take the trash out was a big clue. Can’t imagine why that was seen as unusual. Also, apparently the receipt I dropped was also a clue. Husband smart.)

I don’t want to make light of this. I made two rotten choices yesterday. I chose to go off the challenge, and I lied to my husband. He forgave me, but the challenge is toast, and I am… bereft. I think this might have been the biggest failure of my life. No, I do not want to hear about how I accomplished all those good things the doctor talked about. I had a 12-month goal. It was important. And I failed.

I didn’t sleep much last night. I was trying to come to terms with it. Trying to figure out what I do next.

I didn’t find any answers. Mostly my thoughts were, “I’m a lying loser who fails.” I wanted to write that on the walls. Maybe tattoo it on my forehead. I’m a lying loser who fails.

I cried a lot. Thank goodness I have River, who snuggles and licks my face. I wanted to sleep, because everything always looks better in the morning.

Except it doesn’t.

I don’t want comments, but I can’t figure out how to turn them off. I don’t plan to check in and read them, so they’ll sit out there in limbo if you bother writing them. I don’t want comments on Facebook either, so I’m just going to close the site for a while. I don’t want emails or phone calls or, dear God in Heaven, in-person visits.

Eating fish tacos is not the worst sin I’ve ever committed. I don’t care about the fish tacos. I’m mourning the loss of the challenge — the goal, the thing that gave me some reason to TRY.

I just don’t know what to do now.

I’m lost.

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