Crazy Viola Davis’ Oscar Speech

by Jennifer

Did anyone else think Viola Davis’ Oscar speech was bananas?

Thank you to the Academy. You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories.”

Viola Davis – Oscar Speech was crazy.

In its full context, it makes more sense, and is pretty respectable, but woah, what a start to a speech.

 

I was skeptical of Van Life, but…

by Jennifer

Other girls post makeup videos.

I post attempting to wash my face while living in a van videos.

Applying lipstick in the closest bathroom I can find.
Applying lipstick in the closest bathroom I can find.
I warn mothers and fathers to lock up their children’s IG accounts because they ikely don’t want them to see me and become inspired to:

@ age 31
With an a Ivy League degree
And an amazing husband 3000 miles away, back home
While many are in an office on a Monday, I’m sitting in a Mercedes repair shop waiting for the van to get its fluids refreshed.
While many are in an office on a Monday, I’m sitting in a Mercedes repair shop waiting for the van to get its fluids refreshed.
Uproot their lives to:

Live in a van
Wash up in the mornings in a Park and Ride Bathroom.
Preach animal rights and veganism
Roam the streets on early morning jogs
But…

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Success versus Failure @ Age 31

by Jennifer

Meaning often comes in taking risks, breaking the mold of what people want us to believe is success.

While I do see the value in having enough saved to protect oneself against health ailments and other life obstacles, I think meaning is about helping others.

It’s about thinking how you can make your mark on this world.

How can you not fall victim to roteness? To not being aware that you are living life?

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He’s the Harley Quinn to my Joker, and Vice Versa.

by Jennifer

Feeling : “Digging Holes” -Icarus Himself

The last time I wrote Sandy and I were nursing wounds. Fortunately we were able to work things out…

…in large part to the community around us telling us that although we are bound to get tangled in each other’s questionable decisions and disagree that they see the worth in what we’re doing together.

I’m not always sure of the decisions I make. I don’t meticulously comb through the details of the consequences. It’s bothersome to me, so impulsiveness reigns.

Running down a street scattered with trash and roosters that give chase + dogs that crawl from under the junkyard’s fence – another decision I didn’t think through the other day.

I like being impulsive. Combine that with stubbornness, and I’m a whole lot of the opposite in my decision making process to my husband who is patient and slow to react because of his calculations and thoughtfulness.

We are so similar in many regards that it is startling when we can’t understand each other. Much of what attracts us to each other – that we find admirable in one another lies in differences. He likes that I’m silly, quick to act, and generally “off.” I like that he is contemplative and kind, slow to judge and adaptive.

Suicide Club Harley Quinn and Joker

He is the Harley Quinn to my Joker, and vice versa. Both certifiably nuts according to social norms, and we feed into each other’s “throw caution to the wind” agendas.

So we aren’t going to romantically end up temporarily imagining alternate realities, a la La La Land.

Sandy claims he’d come find me if I really did physically move myself away, and just like I did when I saw him Thursday for the first time since our fight, I know I’d melt even through all my stubbornness and guardedness. I may want to distrust him, but I know that he cares about me, even if I don’t understand his choices sometimes.

In the end, we are more like the last scene of A Cure for Wellness (which I can’t find an image of anywhere, but this is close). Feeling better, but not cured.

But a cure is less than the point than that the fact that we choose to pedal  together – him with parasites in his belly and me with deeply seated mommy-daddy issues, or maybe it’s the other way around.

Sleeping next to Bob Hope Airport and Building a Friendship on Tour 

by Jennifer

Do you have an early morning flight and want to sleep near the Bob Hope International Airport?

Are you a high roller with a Planet Fitness Black card ($20/month) like me?

Planet Fitness Burbank

Well, then you can park your vehicle outside the Planet Fitness next to this airport and have full access to a wide range of their services:

Bathrooms with running water
Hot showers
Massage chairs and beds
Wifi
Full gym (of course)
And a large grocery store and a laundromat just steps away
Why that’s cheaper than a hotel!

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Post Breakup Planning 

by Jennifer

There are times, like pre-dawn when I run past Burbank Airport, which we slept at the edge at last night, when my eyes feel heavy and for a glimpse I feel the loneliness, post breakup, that makes you want to die. 

The feeling shakes quickly. Just drops from your head as you step into the glow of a streetlight. Grief is absurd. There’s too much to do, and I’ve learned from past breakups that the pain is self-inflicted. We become so disappointed in the person we thought was supposed to be there for us. Too much reliance – other people may call this trust – that when someone unreasonably attacks you that they’ll have your back. I can take care of myself, and found this much more effective yesterday.

You fill with thoughts that you’ll never find a partner again. But I’ve thought that before after breakups and been proven wrong.

My greater concern lately lies in what I’ll do when my tour ends. I don’t think I want to work Warped Tour with F.A.R.M. I have no desire to live in the Bnb or condo, as I don’t care to be responsible for rent. I’m lucky that I have some family and friends I can stay with until I land my next job. 
I’m going to use my freedom to either travel on site to work in a disaster relief program or some other live-on-site nonprofit. If something opens for All Hands, I’ll do that, and for times when I’m in between sites I am thinking to move in with my Grandma in rural Pennsylvania to take care of her, as she has been living alone in the same two story townhouse much of her life and is less able each year to function there. 
I’ve heard from my aunt and father, that have tried to live with her, that she is challengitaking share a house with. She is fastidious and speaks in a shrill voice that must sting when laced with directives of things she wants done, in just the right way. 
However she may act when I live with her, I will stick it out as long as I can as she is the relative that came rescued my brother and me from neglectful foster care parentshand raised us for a year. 

We had been living like feral children in the Blair Mill Apartments. At ages 6 and 8, my brother and me roamed the complex with no sense of time or place. We went where we wanted and came home when we were hungry. We played outside till all the other kids were called home and wandered in and out of homes of people my mother never met. The things we saw I’ll save for another post, but I think I was lucky to have been an ugly, awkward child.
—–
Living with my Grandma was tough. We didn’t like it. She was strict. It was only after we left that I understood she had performed a rescue.
She taught us boundaries like curfew and bedtimes. She took us to the library a couple times a week and respected the time I wanted alone in my room to read. Husky porkpie me slimmed down and discovered that I was pretty good at running long distance and playing street hockey. Students at my old school struggled to recognize me when I returned to my old elementary school the next year. When she and my 5th gradmy teacher saw me sailing through class, she had my IQ tested and placed me in a gifted program. 
The concept of “confidence” was new to us, as my brother and I were aberrants in a white community and shabbily dressed in my cousin’s hand-me-downs that we wore through till they were threadbare and the elastic had worn out. I remember feeling shame every time I put on my magenta pink bathing suit. It had a cute green seahorse embroidered on the belly, but was littered with holes I would push my fingers through when shyly waiting to enter the water so that no one would stare at the way I was dressed.
—- 
I’ve run out of time to write this morning, but generally I’ll use this opportunity of moving solo to accomplish things I’d be too tied down to complete if I were in a relationship.
I’m only 31, and there’s no shame in dying alone if I’ve lived a life I’m proud of.

Part 2 of “Our first fight 2800 miles apart”

by Jennifer

Yesterday morning after I finished writing my blog, I went into Food 4 Less to pick up some fruit. Pulling out my wallet from my pocket, I watched coins scatter across the floor, realizing in a dumb moment of panic that I had not zipped it shut the last night when I stuck my new F.A.R.M. Amex card in it.
Everything on the floor. Ching! ching. ching. I knelt and crept on my hands and knees, pulling up coins, laughing lightly to myself at being the only one huddled on the floor grasping at pennies and nickels, as shoppers with carts rolled in from the entrance.

And then I saw it. A ladybug walking across the pink marble floor. I wouldn’t have seen it if I had never bent down.
I tried picking up the ladybug. It ran and then flipped over as my big, clumsy fingers scrawled across its back. Its little legs flailed in the air as I tried to delicately maneuver it into a clasped fist. I was determined to bring her outside.
As I walked through the exit, closed right fist, I thought of how the coins from my wallet fell. I was meant to be there at that moment, for the sake of the ladybug AND mine. We are brought here, together with one another to collaborate and care for each other. Long ago, in the parable of Adam and Eve, we learn that we lived in harmony with animals. It was our fall from grace that led us to sacrifice, to eating their flesh, and living in discord with them.
The ladybugs eat the bugs that may devour our crops. We revere the ladybug and save it whenever we can. Treat each other delicately and we can help each other and be a part of a whole.
I’ve been thinking of the concept of “whole” a lot since I left Farm Sanctuary yesterday. There Grace and I worked with a team of volunteers – mostly vegan – to run a Valentine’s Day event that raised funds for the org and allowed humans to connect with the rescued animals. As I got to know the other volunteers and their shared interest to save farm animals, our bond, our unified goal, superceded our differences. I cared less that one took too much time and pleasure of getting selfies of herself and each farm animal. Nor did I mind the woman that shouted the name of each animal and then exclaimed how she had been waiting all her life to pet each one, individually, animal by animal.
If this was the case, that I could readily accept these strangers into my own brood, and forgive them their faults, why was I having so much trouble seeing Sandy as part of a whole?


Where I left off with Part 1 of my last post…

I stopped talking to Sandy Friday night. No “Good night.” Just shut down after some rattling – tension in my voice dissension.
I didn’t want to hear from him. He was speaking some weird brainwashed speak as far as I could tell. “There he is reverting into his former self,” I thought. I found it interesting to hear about old Sandy, and generally while I might remark that I thought he made rushed and foolhardy decisions, I tried not to intervene and question the reasoning behind such choices, because old Sandy was good and buried under more developed, experienced current Sandy.
Maybe that’s what surprised me. That under layers, sedimented like rings in a tree, but more loose like thick sod squares of new grass thrown on top of one another, old Sandy was rising through the dirt like a zombie out of a grave in The Night of the Living Dead. Out he came, but he was not young and fresh. He was a rotten version of himself with paper thin skin, ready to be consumed by mass hordes of careless humans with their violence.
I know now that isn’t the case. He probably would have handled lunch with this girl like a champ, but the thought that this ungrateful, disgusting individual should cross back into his life, become a part of his life, willingly on his part, was too much to handle.

Later I reached out for the opinion of one of my longest friends – Nicki.

Nicki is a certified couples therapy counselor who knows how to remain surprisingly objective about the situation, despite our friendship. Branch, I have dated in the past, when I was even in less control of my anger and relationship expectations. Nights of his returning to me drunk and sloppy ended with sharpied criticisms across his body or books tossed outside in the rain.
They both provided thoughtful and trusted advice. Sandy might feel that my judging his choice to hang with this girl is controlling. I should not seek to control him. On his part, Nicki said that her practice subscribes to a view that a couple is a unit. If one is uncomfortable with a person in the other’s life, to protect the unit, that additional person ought to be cut. Sandy and I may continue to disagree, but the immediate and physical conflict is removed. I explained to her that I was less concerned with the act than the reasoning. I would not feel comfortable with his continuing to want to see someone who had taken advantage of him.

Our first fight, 2800 miles apart.

by Jennifer

We’ve been together for two years, and while there have been small, hangnail issues, nothing has been as full-blown an altercation.

Then two nights ago, a little over two weeks into this cross country relationship, I learned of his plans to hang out with a sort-of-ex of his on Tuesday. I won’t go into detail, as I want to respect his privacy, but this was a person who had treated him poorly in the past and taken advantage of him. 

My husband is a really good person and has made a habit of taking wounded bird types into his life. I admire and generally support him in such endeavors, unless I see one of these people start to take advantage of his kindness. They ravage, they destroy, and they are selfish. My husband wants to help them.

Maybe that’s why I appealed to him as he learned of my past. There aren’t many sadder, unbelievable stories of childhood than that of mine and my brother’s. We are resilient and fairly adaptive, highly secretive of the darker elements of how we were raised. Horror stories of neglect become light hearted anecdotal chuckles when I mention them in passing because now that I am far removed in time they just seem absurd and interesting pieces to share.

I’m a regular Horatio Alger, a broken bird whose wing has healed, but didn’t set right because no one picked me up and took me to get proper care. While I can fly like all the other birds, my form is crooked, which allows for many possibilities of interpretation. People that value originality, often those carrying their own damage, befriend me and we form our own band of successful, happy misfits. However, unlike some of the birds he has pursued in the past, we are kind and compassionate.

While I strive to do good myself, because of the neglect I’ve experienced in my life, I am less forgiving of people that have wronged me. While he is a believer in the good and greater good in every person, I believe in the seed of evil that lies in each member of humanity. In my eyes, even those monastic types still seek..desire; self meditation occurs at the cost instead of using said time in charitable acts.

Jealousy isn’t at stake here. He makes me feel 100% the certain of his love, and I encourage him to hang with two wonderful people in his life – his exes, Araby and Julia. However, this person manipulated him, at a young age, to make some inappropriate choices that should never be asked of a friend. And no matter how much she has changed since this occurred, the act was so sick and disturbing, I don’t know why he wants to maintain a friendship with her, other than his forgiveness factor and hope for this person is much greater than I can fathom with my Old Testament sensibility.

So in hearing his plans to hang with her, I flipped. I never expected to get so angry at something as simple as his saying he was going to get lunch with a person, but it really flicked on a rabid part of me. Self-preservation – of me, of him – does something really strange to you.

When I asked if she had apologized for what she’d done, he replied, “Yes. Among other things.”

It’s awful to make him feel that I abhor him, but I could not speak to him after he tried to defend his choice, saying he just wanted to catch up. I love my boo and trust him to make good decisions now, but I’m glad I met him after he had already stumbled over all these people that didn’t care if they brought him down if that meant they could step on him to get a footlift up. In the end, he did not do them any favors by subjecting himself to such acts. None of these people have gone on to be better people because of his influence. If they got better, they got better on their own – likely learning more from cause and effect – act like an assholes, wind up in jail (in two cases), or get treated like an asshole. So why the persistence amongst the discomfort it causes me?

I’m not innocent of making bad choices. I’ve my own parables to live by:

Don’t stay in a relationship because you fear hurting your partner by leaving him. 

Follow your heart, not your head.

Stop dating alcoholics. 

To be continued tomorrow…

Lancaster, California – It is so wonderful and awful here.

by Jennifer

It hasn’t even rained and there is a rainbow in Lancaster.

Is so wonderful and awful here.

Lancaster, California at dawn.

Surround sound mountain views and empty, dusty plains.

It is truly stunning each day as I watch dawn break into an eruption of color.

It is so unlike New York City, where beauty comes in buildings blocking the horizon. We call it a skyline to make it special.

Lancaster California asleep

I love small city California.

I could walk all day to its outskirts and beyond. It makes me think whether I ought to embark on the group hike I signed up for to Devil’s Punch Bowl Park.

Full moon over a field in Lancaster, CA

But you can’t leave your laundry going at the laundromat without thinking it would be stolen.

We found a laundromat with free WiFi in Lancaster, California.

For every turn of natural, dust covered beauty, there’s a dirty foot of pavement. Empty storefronts.

I found the one sign with the town motto “Lancaster. It’s positively clear.”

Lancaster, it’s positively clear.

Surrounded by tossed bags of trash that had somehow opened upon impact with the ground and scattered across the grass.

Again. “Lancaster, it’s positively clear.”

“Lancaster. It’s positively clear.”

Panorama – sunny on one horizon and rain on the next. Lancaster, CA

What does that mean?

Clear that “Sugar. We’re going down.”?

Clear that people are positively who they want to be, or at least positively going to act how they want to act, at that minute, with little reflection on how dumping that trash contributes to a, “I give up” attitude that serves as a guiding principle that condones other people dumping their trash all over this sacred – maybe no longer sacred – Earth.

I watched “The Space Between Us” last night at the local theatre. The story opens with a few lines on how the human species has depleted the Earth of its natural resources and now must seek settlement on Mars. There is a bleak few minutes of rhetoric on this unsettling and very “positively clear” future that exists in our reality, before the fault-laden storyline unravels. It’s meant to be punchy, dropping some hard lines that are all too real and foreboding, and it is the most effective part of the film in making my stomach drop.

Why do we accept this merely as fate?

Lancaster, California

Why don’t people experience more concern and take action to delay, if not stop, this future?

Is there hope that we will pioneer technology that will dig us out of this mess? Despite our lands being ravaged, as we dig deeper and deeper for fossil fuels as we become more desperate and starved for easy sources of energy.

Why is this ok?

Why, reader, aren’t you doing more in your life – convincing others to do the same?

Do we not really care?

We will exit this world at the end of our lives. Is that why we don’t care? Mother Earth is such a figment of symbolic fiction that we don’t care that we are all separate needles stabbing at her into a steady, rapid death until she gets fed up enough to pay us back with climate disasters and disease.

If we were vampires, set to live as long as we liked, would we take more care?

I’m going to go eat some more fruit, collecting the remains to dump later in a roadside ditch to rot and composte.
Cause despite all the human error and stupidity, I love this beautiful place and want to do my part to preserve it.

Basement Discoveries – High School in Two Minutes

by Sandy

As I mentioned in my last post, lately I’ve been focusing on organization. When I took a trip to Hoboken a couple weeks ago to clean up our storage unit, I found a torn up bag filled with the old Hi8 video tapes that I had recorded in high school. Over the last two weeks I’ve slowly been digitizing them so that, in 50 years when I want to recall how I spent my youth, I will have video records to share with the world.

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