Tag Archives: adventure

What Can It Hurt?

My room is crowded with furniture and things, because I live in a small house and I enjoy being surrounded by stuff. Blankets overflow onto mountains of stuffed toys, books cascade across end tables and doll armoires, video game consoles perch on guitar cases. I have four separate wind chimes in one room, three windsocks, two kites, and a toy glider plane.

I also have terrible balance. One day, I tripped over my own pant leg–of course it wouldn’t be over any of the actual clutter, that would make sense. In the infinite stretch of time between losing my balance and actually hitting the ground, I had the presence of mind to really consider my potential landing places. I was initially headed for the doll armoire, both filled and topped with ceramics and glass.

“Not great,” I thought to myself. “What’s in reach to brace against? Window? Mm. That…is not going to hold me up. Death by broken glass sounds unpleasant.

“How about the cat bed? Not occupied by cat. Good start. Is occupied by yarn and, ah, sewing scissors. Questionable. The cover is on them, though. Probably not capable of stabbing me. Okay. Let’s do this. What’s the worst that can happen?”

So I executed a beautiful pirouette and landed on my ass in the cat bed, entirely unstabbed.

Sometimes, that’s the only real question: what can it hurt if I…?

Right now, I’m working out the logistics of quitting my day job and everything that comes after doing so. I’ve written elsewhere about what a fiasco it is. Bad boss, unhelpful coworkers, long hours without breaks, physical demands unsuitable for a body breaking down like mine.

Change scares humans, though, as a general rule. Right now, I’m trying to get past the paralysis that says, no matter how bad it is, leaving will ruin everything. That even this mess has to be better than the unknown.

There’s a game played by those managing their anxiety. Best case, worst case, most likely case. It forces your anxiety to test the logic of its assumptions.

Worst case if I leave my job? I lose my income source and can’t get anyone else to hire me. The writing doesn’t bring in enough to cover my expenses. I lose my health coverage, get substantially sicker, and rack up medical bills. I run through my (surprisingly decent) savings and can no longer help pay the bills. We stop being able to pay the mortgage, lose the property, and die of starvation in our cars in the riverbed.

(Pause to shake and whimper in a corner.)

Best case? I don’t have to answer to an incompetent who can’t do the job I’m saddled with. With my suddenly open schedule and increased rest time, my fatigue and pain improve or at least become manageable. I start spending all that time on writing. I get brave and creative because I’m not constantly on the verge of collapse. I publish frequently, get noticed, make a name for myself, and start making real money. I replace my lost income with money made doing something I love. I stop feeling like a stranger in my own house. I have the time to pursue other creative projects, and my career just keeps growing.

Most likely? I use some of that new free time to job hunt. I still write and publish more. I find another low-income job to help make ends meet. With the benefit of experience, I avoid some of the pitfalls of my current job, like working many hours off the clock. It stays just a job, kind of crappy but not actively harmful to my well being. The writing still starts to pay off, thanks to the increased attention. My career is slow and steady, and I still eventually get to quit having a day job entirely.

Okay, so, really. What can it hurt if I quit? How likely is it that going through the window is unavoidable? How much more likely is it that the worst I will face is scissors with the safety cover on? What sort of balletic moves do I need to pull off in order to minimize the fallout?

(In this metaphor, the best case scenario is one where I spontaneously sprout wings and never have to hit the ground at all. I’ve always wanted to fly. Maybe even that isn’t as unlikely as I fear.)

Implicit in all this is the answer to another question: what can it hurt if I stay and change nothing?

My body. My spirit. My future.

I’m working up the courage to jump, to brace for impact while trying to grow wings on the way down.

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March Wildflowers

I visited the Santa Margarita Wildflower Festival, a small to-do in a semi-local town. I’ve now got several packets of California-native flower seeds, which will be lovely additions to the existing collection on the property. Thus inspired, I took a few photos of what’s blooming at home right now. (Click to embiggen.)

California Poppy

California poppies

Red Stemmed Filaree (an invasive non-native species, actually, but their seeds form spirals, and the green seed pods can be made into a pair of scissors for one’s pointless amusement, so I’m fond of them)

Red Stemmed Filaree

Freesia (okay, it’s not a wildflower, but it was blooming in the backyard when I went to head inside, so it got included)

purple freesia bloom

Bonus points to me for remembering this time: camera settings! They’re a thing that exists! So I futzed about with my f-stops to get more interesting results in my depth of field. I’m so rusty at doing Proper Photography ™, but I got some decent shots this time, yeah?

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Butterflies for My Birthday

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. (More on that later, probably.) To celebrate, Mum and I went to the Pismo Beach monarch butterfly grove.

I enjoyed taking a ludicrous number of photos: well over 100 shots. (Not counting the full roll of film Mum took as well; gotta wait to have that developed.) A lot of them turned out mediocre. I don’t have a long lens for my camera, so it just flat couldn’t get close enough at times. Also I, uh, forgot to switch to the action setting when I really could have used it, so I’ve got some lovely blurs of butterflies in flight.

Here are a few of the best shots! (Click to embiggen.)

monarch2016-01 monarch2016-02 monarch2016-03

And one blooper:

monarch2016-04

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MacGyver Approves This Story

Let me tell you a story. It’s called “I Never Asked to Be MacGyver!”

Yesterday, among other things, my father and I went to pick up materials for hooking up my travel trailer for moving to the new place. Also, we hauled up a dump trailer full of fruit trees. Long story short, though, at one point, the plug for the dump trailer was taken off the truck. We didn’t know that it never got put back. It got to drag for the rest of the day.

Fast-forward to sundown. We’ve finished all our other work and the only thing left to do in the dying light is unload the trees before heading back south.

Did you know that the worst possible thing you can hear is your travel companion saying, “Oh, damn,” followed by a frantic kind of silence?

The plug is destroyed, chewed up by the road, all mauled metal and detached wires. Without the plug, we have no running lights, brake lights, trailer brakes, or turn signals on the trailer. And it is going to be full dark soon and we are two hundred miles from where we need to be.

Cue my best (worst) MacGyverism experience ever. We’ve got the adapter for the travel trailer, which my father made himself. If we dismantle it, we can use it to replace the destroyed dump trailer plug, provided we can get the wires connected up. We have as our resources, beyond the soon-to-be-cannibalized adapter, a small pocket knife with scissors and a nail file, an iPad for a flashlight, and whatever random junk we can scrounge up from what the previous tenants left scattered outside the house.

At one point, as we tried to figure out how to keep the spliced-together wires in place in the absence of, oh, say, tape of any variety, I actually said to my father the following words:

“I don’t have tape, but I have a maxi pad. We could wrap it, adhesive side in, around the wires to hold them together.”

As it turns out, I only had to break off sections of scrap wire embedded in the garden, barehanded, to tie it up. Still, those words happened, and I think you need to recognize how completely, appallingly awesome my life is sometimes.

Oh, we also blew a fuse in the truck while making the repairs. So we had to fix that by iPad light as well. It didn’t help that I had forgotten to take off my sunglasses as it got darker. I wore sunglasses at night while MacGyvering a vehicle.

Yes, we are that badass.

It is now after seven, full dark, and my father and I have once again earned our reputations for resourcefulness in the face of Greek tragedy levels of bad luck. We unload the fruit trees, grab fuel for both the truck and ourselves, and hit the road.

Only to get pulled over by a cop. At this point, I’ve had just about enough. I no longer feel like a badass. I feel tired and sore and I am vibrating from the stress. I am telling myself, do not have a panic attack in front of this cop, you will get shot in the face, breathe like a normal human for the next three minutes. We’re thinking, naturally, that the whole mess of wire has fallen apart and we no longer have any lights.

As it turns out? One of the tail lights has a broken cover and the red nail polish we used to tint the bulb has since burned off. That is why we have been pulled over. A friendly warning, sans citation, to get it fixed. I cannot tell if this is monstrous bad luck or embarrassingly good.

Since we made it home alive, in more or less the same number of pieces as when we left, didn’t get ticketed, and came away with this story to share, I’m going to call it good.

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