I try to conceptualize that I last wrote in this journal back in March and I know it is true, but it feels like yesterday. Time is all wibbly wobbly timey wimey for me lately, not just because of a menopausal haze that seems to have fallen over my brain and neuro system, not just because my sleep is all jacked up and I am between the worlds most of the time, but because my life is changing so fast I can’t seem to keep up with it. I open my eyes, blink twice, then realize the day is gone and it is time to sleep again.
A couple of years ago, I knew I wanted my life to be different. I needed more adventure, more magic, more money, and more substance. I needed things to feel more real and corporeal, but I also needed to feel secure and rooted in something important. Last Spring, my soul sister, Tammy, and I began speculating that it would be fun to do a major festival together for the Sacramento area. We both worked festivals for a bazillion years and both of us had run festivals before, but we never ran one together. The only one we ever worked on together was one another local gal was running. The major Summer Solstice in the area was running its last event that year and she and I both worked it and considered whether we should pick up the torch for the following year. Without a few months of that, PanGaia Festival was off and running in the planning stages with our Dream Team of coordinators assembled. Since then, it has snowballed into a major event and while we could not be more proud and excited, it is a hell of a lot of hard work. The thing has taken on a life of its own and sometimes feels as though it is running and we are trying to catch up.
So that’s one thing.
Back at the end of January, I was looking around for a writing venue and decided to apply to Patheos.com, which is a wonderful blog site that hosts the ultimate set of discussions on absolutely any religion path, and even atheist paths, you can imagine. I sent them my resume, they asked for samples, I sent samples, and surprisingly, I was hired. The pay is based on page views and I have not yet made the number of views required for it to be financial beneficial, but it gives me a place to write with my target audience right there waiting for me. I love the four of you who read my personal journal, but wanted to stretch myself a bit. I write two columns a week there and let me tell you, it is just kicking my complete ass to do it. As soon as I put one blog post to bed, it seems like it is time to write the next one. Plus, when you write about magic, it involves defending your own beliefs and that is so far away from my interests it’s unreal. I believe what I believe and share those thoughts. They aren’t up for debate or interpretation or analysis. Discussion, sure, but I don’t get all bunged up if someone doesn’t believe they same way. Just “cheers” and “love the texture of different beliefs” and “salut” and on we go. Unfortunately, others seriously get off on intellectual debate and historical citations and all that shit just makes me tired as hell. If you don’t reply, you look somehow bested and it hurts your reputation. If you reply with something like “thanks for sharing,” then you look evasive. Arrogance is the immediate kiss of death for any writer and you quickly lose your audience. I am debating whether or not to continue because it takes up a lot of time and the benefit is still something up for debate. I’m…mulling and meanwhile, writing my ass off at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/energymagic/.
So that’s another thing.
The third book in the Seven Sisters of Avalon series is well underway, although I do not get as much time with it as I would like. I hope to have it finished, plus another non-fiction or two, but the end of summer.
Another thing even.
Nathan transferred to Visions in Education homeschooling program the first week of January and we managed to get him from straight Fs up to Bs and Cs for the end of his Sophomore year. Those of you who have done it know that homeschooling is not for sissies and when I homeschooled in elementary school, it was sort of quasi-precious, but in high school learning stuff I did not see until college, it was like brain abuse. To top it off, he was jaded and disillusioned over his previous school experience and I practically had to drag him through this last semester. In the end, he excelled and kicked so much ass. I am very proud.
So there’s that.
Around the middle of February, Eric told me that he wanted to go part-time at the VA and had worked out that the pay would be nearly the same when you considered that he would not pay for full-time benefits or lunch or gas for the two days he would be off. I thought that sounded fine and I was excited that he would have some down time. He was a Veteran Representative for El Dorado County and during his time in that job, he helped over a thousand veterans get their benefits. He is exceptionally good at what he does and it was rare that we would go out anywhere without someone coming up to him and tearfully thanking him for all he did for them, telling me how wonderful he is, and giving him hugs. It is, however, a very stressful job when you listen to the human misery of people all day long. People who are wealthy and healthy do not usually seek out veteran benefits. These are folks who are homeless, extremely ill or dying, left with no resources, reliving horrible battle experiences, and unable to cope with normal life in most cases. Since Eric is also a disabled Gulf War veteran, this was difficult for him and hit some of his own triggers. He sought out counseling for it, but ultimate decided he needed to cut back on his time at work. Since he is also a gold-miner and has not been able to give that good energy investment in a while, it seemed like a solid move to make.
He turned in his resignation from the full-time position effective March 20, making it clear he was available for part-time work. Now, the county bureaucracy being what it is, as of this time, there is still no part-time position in the works two months later and the pay that would be “almost” what he made full-time is no pay at all. He has been busy here extending the chicken yard, fixing the fence, and a million other things. It is nice having him here and he is an incredible help. With Dylan graduated as of late December, Nathan homeschooled, and Eric not working out of the home, alone time simply does not happen. From the minute I wake up until I go to sleep, it feels like someone somewhere needs something from me. I have taken to waking at three or four in the morning just to listen to the silence and try to think and keep my brain safe. The screwed up sleep cycle is not my friend.
Then there’s that.
I bought into a computer shop in December and started in January. I knew a good bit about computers and learned a lot more and now I am pretty fly with them if I do say so myself. My shop is only open on weekends and is in a huge (like 40 acres) swap meet in Roseville, California, which is an hour and a half in no traffic from where I live. My shop is the only fully enclosed shop on the grounds. As it turned out, a lot of what the previous owner told me was not the case and I do not believe he intentionally misled me, it was just shit happens. We worked our asses off cleaning out the shop, which was a combination of a junk yard and Microsoft museum, to figure out what is and is not immediately usable and get what isn’t out of the shop and into storage. We cleaned the shop literally for days.
We sold a few refurbished computers and fixed a few more than that, but in the end, the shop could not sustain itself on sales and service alone and as it became clear that Eric’s work situation was changing, it was even more critical that this place had to get its running shoes on quickly without the luxury of building up a new business. If you can imagine a thriving swap meet environment, you know it is about impulse buys and it is weather related since most of it is outside. For a while, it seemed like any rain we got was on the weekend. It poured and great for California that needed the water, but horrible for business. Then it was cold and most people do not care to walk around a swap meet in the cold.
In March, I was sitting in my shop, trying to stay warm with a space heater, hot lemonade, and layered clothes, and contemplated how I had not sold anything in weeks. The store was a money pit and I was ready to just sell the whole business and be done. The problem was that I did not have anywhere else to go. I tried various home-based businesses with no luck at all. I applied the previous winter for around twenty different jobs including McDonald’s, Walmart, etc and never even got a call back. I would have done about anything to have an income and some security and the only thing that came along was this stupid computer shop that was not holding its own at all. If this had been a magic shop where I sold magical, Pagany, Witchy items, then at least I would have the people to enjoy and…
…I have a shop. It can be whatever I want it to be.
So I converted a good 2/3 of the shop over to magical stuff in early April. Since then, I have gotten lots of great feedback on what is selling and what isn’t. I started out with the idea that it would be like a Pagan Thrift Store where you could come in and get gently used magical stuff with a few homemade incenses and such thrown in, but since then, the homemade stuff is selling so well that I am going to liquidate the dragons and wizards and candle holders and end up with almost entirely stuff Delena, Eric, and I have made. The shop is called Botánica de La Reina and the online store is here. It has been wonderful to meet so many new people who are excited about what we are doing. They are so complimentary talking about how beautiful the shop is and how nice it smells. I love feeling eager to get up at 4 AM and head to work for ten hours or so at a time rather than dreading it like I did when it was only computers. The computers still get some action now and then, but the botánica is more lucrative. I like having items people can buy for a dollar or five dollars. The biggest problem magical stores have is they focus on high end inventory and forget they are marketing to broke-ass Pagans. I am working that side of the business and keeping things affordable by combing the internet or foraging for my own supplies to cut out the middleman.
During the week, all I do is write and make products for the shop every waking hour. Eric took over the last month of homeschooling Nathan which was a highly beneficial switch and helped me immensely.
In just over 2000 words, I have described my whole world to you. My friends have been kind enough to bless me with beads, broken and unbroken jewelry, herbs, feathers, and other items I can use to make things for the shop. Every day is either writing and making product or working in the shop. As for the personal journal, time just flew away from me.
As I step back and objectively look at all of this, there are places where I can be frustrated and places where I can be worry, but to what end? It never helps anything and only injects tension into an already shaky situation. All I can do is work hard and give it all my best effort. Then, if the whole house of cards goes up in smoke, I will know I tried. Meanwhile…I work like mad.