Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Let me dig in your past / Tell me a story.

Estate sales are my passion.

Let me tell you a little story.......

I began going to estate sales solely because I am nosy, and have a "thing" for houses. Most houses store years of energy, can you imagine what happens in a Victorian? Houses fascinate me, and so to avoid getting arrested for stalking, I became an estate sale regular. I don't need to go early, because my mission is not to buy & resale, but to slink around the houses, enjoy the nooks & crannies, secret passages, etc.  Due to the fact that by the time I get there, there are so many strange humans in a tight spot, I usually did not get much energy sense of the house and its past inhabitants.

That all changed one day when I went to an estate sale early and stood in line with lots of people talking china, furniture, etc. I came early because I had spotted a few slips on the estate sale listing (this is when I was into converting vintage slips into dresses) that I wanted to try and get. I took my children as back up and strategized :).  You must understand, estate sales can be pretty cut throat. People PAY others to get in line for them so they can be the first in. Lots of resellers who buy cheap and resale in their stores. To each their own.

This house was TINY. When we finally got in, I headed straight for the bedroom, but then stopped. In another room, there were tables set up with piles and piles of neatly folded children's clothing.  Vintage cotton that was clean & pressed, you could tell it was stored with love. Also, piles of tatted lace. Real tatting. If you have ever seen this in action, it is an intricate dance of sticks, needles, and fine thread. And then there were people, ripping through these items like a fury, throwing things on the floor, ripping lace off of items.

I stomped in and began taking things from right under one of the perpetrators, and stuffing them in my bag. When it was filled to the brim, I went to look for my kids. My daughter already had a stack of old photos to show me.

To make a long story short, I bonded with the woman whose items I clutched to my body. I would not find out why until 2 weeks later. That is when I went to the store of the estate sale company (they are one of favorites), and talked to one of the owners. I told her how I had this bag of stuff I will never use, and why I had it.

Some of Rita's treasures.
She proceeded to tell me the story of a fabulous woman, who I named Rita, because she looked like a Rita to me. Rita had a sad, but magnificent story. In her pictures, she looked glamorous. She was German. She raised German Shepards. She overcame sickness, and grew up a few houses from her real family, who had to give her up secretly for adoption because they were too poor to raise another child. She was kept indoors or away with aunties, because her parents were afraid the resemblance to her siblings would expose their secret. She was a strong women in our community, and did great things and shared her talents & wealth. Unfortunately, she died and left behind no heirs, so her treasures were fair game.

I am now the owner of some of Rita's baby clothes, tatted lace, family albums, slips, crock, and
other miscellaneous items such as costume jewelry, buttons, post cards, stationary. Too bad I could not find her sunglasses!! Some of these items have found their to my Witches.

Everything is saged, washed, and ready ride with the Witches!
Rita's items catapulted me into a new passion. Find out who these people were. I am not like a history sleuth, when I find quirky houses, I dig in. I have since met a Senator's wife who was secretly a herb witch,  a man who traveled back and forth to France to learn how to make wine from flowers & herbs, and met his lovely wife while doing it (their naked lady picture hangs in my bathroom!), and lots of other marvelous people. Their items are treasured in our homes, many of them finding a second life here or becoming part of the Kitchen Witches & traveling.

Sometimes, I walk into a house that just emanates sadness & dispair, and I end up turning around and leaving. Even when the houses feel happy, I am cautious. I LOVE these items & their stories.  When we get home, everything is carried in the back yard, and saged, finishing up with a thank you & a blessing for their new lives. Then everything is either washed, soaked, or brushed clean. This is the one rule I have: NOTHING comes in my house uncleared. That is also the one tip I give everyone, remember all these items carry memories & energy, both good & bad. I learned that the hard way. I bought and painted a dresser, and put it in my studio to hold my paints. It was gorgeous, but every time I walked by it, I could feel a weird vibe. And it smelled weird to me. Only to me. After a few weeks, I just cleaned it out and put it on the curb.

I will continue to collect treasures & stories, and hope you enjoy them as I pass them on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kill Insomnia. Sleeping in alignment with the Earth's magnetic fields.

I have been dealing with insomnia for years. Not counting the the “full moon” nights where I do not sleep anyways, I have not slept more than 2-3 hours at a time in ages.

Of course, I have tried all sorts of things: sleepy herbs (hops, chamomille, lavendar, etc), melatonin & co, exercise, no exercise, sleep pillows, sleep routines, alchohol, no alchohol, feng shui, old mattress, new mattress, natural latex mattress cover...My bed has literally been in every room of this house except the living room.

Mentioning the living room: I always sleep best on my old (20 years), patched up and knobby couch. I am sure it harbors 20 years of dust in it’s thick, engulfing pillows. When I lay on it, my head points East. Read on to see why that matters.

Recently, I was researching Feng Shui sleep positions by Kua number. If you want to spend a few hours on the computer and get transported to another world, find your Kua number (just Google, it will help you find & calculate), and then read how you should ideally sleep, sit, function, and goddess forbid, don’t DO ANYTHING IN YOUR ADVERSE DIRECTION!!!

My adverse direction is North.

My head was pointing North when I sleep. I sit at the table facing North all the time.

I must now rethink my allegiance with The Northerners of Game of Thrones.

And by the way, my husband’s direction is not at all compatible with mine. Neither is his horoscope. I need to rethink our 20+ marriage.

No wonder I am a sleepy, chaotic mess!

Honestly, I began assessing my life, and have decided to drop the Kua thing, otherwise I may get depressed. There is no way I can swing that. BUT....I am definitely avoiding facing the North as much as possible.

More research shows that several cultures feel that the best way to sleep is to align your body with the magnetism of the Earth. Now, THAT makes sense to me. The ideal direction is East to West, with your feet pointing West. Again, just Google “east / west sleep postions” and you will get lots of opinions. :) Read with an open mind.

View from my new bed position :).
If you are doubting the strong pull the Earth has on us, reading this absolutely fascinating study about dogs pooping in alignment with the Earth's magnetic fields.  Yes, my friends, it is a thing.

I decided it was worth a try, and during a recent sleepless night I moved my bed once again. There is no good way to position my bed with my head pointing East in my little room. My whole house is only 900sq/ft, imagine the bedrooms with windows, closets, doors. Plus, you don’t want your head under a window.

What is a girl to do? Forget all rules and awkwardly plop the giant king sized bed in the middle of the room. Text your husband at work to be careful when he comes home at night so he does not hurt himself. Lay in the bed.

Ok, it feels good. I can look out the window, the headboard protects me from light, yelling kids, and exuberant dog.

Maybe this is not so bad?

I am sleep with my head pointing East for a week now. Some nights are fantastic, some are shitty as always. I am going to give it a few more weeks and report back, hopefully aligned with the Earth and well rested.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Thankfully,  my parents recognized this when I was a child.

I have always been "Mondsüchtig", or moonstruck.

A few days before, and a few days after a full moon, something deep inside me stirs and I am awake & zooming. The nights are long, and I am awake. As a child, I read, and went through at least one Nancy Drew book or several new comic books a night. Now, as an adult, I get up and clean, write, or I pull out my giant art box and felt magical creatures while my mind roams. I always have Full Moon Blessings for new Witches & Goddesses.

My own children show signs, but right now both of them are sleeping deep. Just in case, they have been prepared.

In school, I spent some days dozing off. As a young adult, I always had jobs with odd hours, so this did not affect me so much. Later, when I held 9-5 jobs, full moon days meant lots of coffee & power naps. Thankfully, I make my own hours now, so taking a nap in the middle of the day is not out of the question.

With the rare Christmas Full Moon coming up in a few days, I wanted to share some of my favorite insomnia distractions:
1. A full Moon and Christmas Day has always been linked in many stories, movies and television shows. Examples include the TV specials, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer, and the movie The Santa Clause. One of my favorites to watch: "Moonstruck" with Cher!

2. A perfect night time snack: Nutella. Nutella feeds the spirit. My go to: rice cakes with Nutella, and coffee creamed with Egg Nog.

3. Good headphones. I catch up on my Netflix, or turn of the music and clean. Either way, good headphones keep the rest of the family snoozing.

4. Keep a Full Moon journal. A sketchbook is excellent, so you can be creative. Keep this special journal for Full Moon nights only, you will be amazed when you flip back!

5. Follow Santa on Norad! 

Mainly, try not to stress out, but embrace the power of La Luna if you are affected.
Happy Full Moon!
Much love,

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A lesson in Human-ness

Every year, the Sun-Tues before Thanksgiving, my family goes to volunteer at a food bank hosted by a local church. We do not attend church, but we began going there 9 years ago as a community service project of our 4-H group. Though we are no longer with this 4-H club, we still go as a family, one day my husband takes the kids (on his only day off), and I take them the other days.

Every year, just like this morning. I drag myself out of bed and consider if “I really have to go…or can I just drop you off?”. I know, it sounds terrible, but it is the truth.

Yet, every year when I am done with this 5 hours shift, my heart is full and I am grateful that I went.  The people who host this food bank are above kind, they treat everyone that comes with such kindness & dignity, I am honored to be part of this.

It is the people that I meet, the people who are so thankful & interesting. The stories I hear touch my heart, and sometimes bring tears to my eyes. I get hugs, and am blessed several times a day.

Today I worked as a personal shopper in the boutique. This is where people can browse for warm coats and clothes. This morning, it actually cooled off and began to rain, so people came looking for warm covers. A few hours in an elderly couple handed me their slip. As I escorted them in and explained our procedure, they were speaking a foreign language, but I could not pinpoint it. When I asked the man, who was very well dressed, he said: “I am from Iraq.”
Me: “How long  have you been here?”
“One year and 3 weeks.”
He looks at me, and says:”We had to flee Iraq. I am a doctor….” and with that he began telling me his family’s story. One day, “they” broke into his house and almost beat his wife (who was standing next to me) to death. A neighbor heard her screams and intervened while they called him to come home. The intruders eventually left. He said they packed their things and left 48 hours later. Forever.
“I had to leave everything. My clinic, my equipment, my EKG machine…just everything. Our house & belongings, car…”

I could see the tears well up in his eyes. Then  he began telling me of his sons. One went to Australia as a refugee, and was studying there. The rest of the family applied for Australia, but was not accepted. He told me how he could not work here in the U.S., since his credentials do not count, and he would have to get his licenses, etc. I could see how all this pained him.

I looked at him and began telling him a bit of my story. My grandparents came to the U.S. as refugees, from an area called Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a piece of country that has swayed between Poland, Russia, and Germany over its existance.  They too had to leave their possessions, properties, etc, to be seized by the government. But they survived here, and built a very comfortable life in L.A.

Everything I had on credentials and expertise was pretty much useless when I moved here. All those years of schooling, all those diplomas & certificates, were nothing but mere pieces of paper. I started working for $5 something an hour….

There were many more stories today,  but I wanted to share this one. I wanted to put a human behind “those refugees” you are hearing about every day. My family were refugees.

Please do not let the extremists kill the one thing they do not have, and want to attack: Our human kindness & compassion.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Death sucks

Death sucks.

Death means something is taken away, and you can never get it back. Physically, anyways. My saving grace in dealing with death is that I still get to "feel" my loved ones periodically. Not on my schedule, of course.

It has been three weeks since my dog, and spirit animal, Rex was mysteriously and quickly taken from me. He was not ill, or old (he was 9), and this happened in a matter of hours. It left a huge hole in my heart. It also left a huge empty space in our house (he was well over 100lbs) and our everyday lives. I was just looking for some pictures of furniture we are selling and came across the many pictures of Rex I took. He was a gorgeous animal, with so much spirit in his eyes. It just takes someone mentioning him, or me seeing pictures, and the tear gate is open. It still makes me so sad.

With that said, I did not want another dog right away. My kids, who feel this loss as much as I do, just in a different way, did. My daughter is in Europe now, the child was not able to say good-bye to her dog. She said she knew, and is dealing with it in her own, almost grown up way. My son was so sad, Rex took his last breaths in our arms.

I tried to cope by donating our food, etc to a Shepard Rescue. The first time I went on there to get their contact info, I saw Valor. A few  minutes later, my daughter sends me a picture of: Valor.  We were all drawn to him.  After a week, my son and I decided to go meet him at his foster home. He sent his sister pictures and videos, they already knew he was ours.

The next day, Valor was brought to our house.

He came with a packet of undisclosed medical history, as well as "I was just informed that the vomits every time he eats so they gave him Pepcid". No wonder he looked so skinny to me.

To make a long story short, to chagrin of my husband, we kept him...on a two to three week trial. It may sound harsh, but I was not in the emotional, or financial position to take on a sick dog.

I immediately put him on what I felt was the right diet for him, which included quality food without grain, coconut oil, probiotics, and tuna fish. I threw the Pepcid in the trash.  He has not thrown up once.

The first day was hard, but when I woke up to licks on the second morning, I knew we made the right choice.  He is the sweetest dog. Even though he has had major surgery, and was mauled by another dog (that is why he is so scarred and his ears are serrated), and all this other stuff, he is strangely balanced. Don't get me wrong, start running outside, and you get a two year old wild shepherd. He balances out my son's wild energy by matching it with his own. He checks in with me periodically, and jumps into my lap when he feels me being sad. Every once in a while, he sneaks into my daugther's bed, waiting for her to come home.

Our dogs have always come to us for certain reasons, every one has left a mark and taught us something.

Valor has come to heal, and to heal our hearts.

P.S. Please look into a shelter or rescue if you are looking for a dog! The Shepherd Rescues have so many great dogs, 2-3 years old. That is when the cute little puppy turns into a beligerent teen who needs a strong Alpha to guide them. Just like humans. If you get a puppy, please choose your breed wisely.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

It's been real

On Thursday morning, my dog, my spirit animal, died in my arms.

I have spent the last 48 hours grieving, I am heartbroken. I am angry.

His death was sudden, and we are still trying to figure out what happened. We believe it may have been a reaction to a vaccine. As I do more research, I will post. For today, if I can get one thing out there, PLEASE be as diligent about vaccines for your pets as you are with your children. Research, and only let them administer one at a time.

Rex was my companion, and he came to teach me a lesson. Patience.

My daughter wrote a beautiful piece about how he came into our lives. 
We were actually just going to "look" at the dogs. When we walked up to the junky yard, he came straight up to us. I picked him up, my husband paid $20 for him, and we drove home with him in my lap. No plan. When we got home, my then 16 year old dog Caesar looked at us like were crazy.

So the adventure began. We had ourselves a puppy covered in fleas, unsocialized, and already showing neurotic behavior. He whined & bit us. My older dog wanted nothing to do with him. I started reading books by Ceasar Milan, and the Monks of New Skete. We bought him a crate, and I wondered why "crate training" was not in my life before.

He grew right before my eyes, and slowly began to trust us. We were told he was aggressive, neurotic, etc.......We already claimed him, and there was no going back.

I had to learn how to be an Alpha Dog. I had to learn patience.

For 9 years, I had the most fantastic dog. He was a big bear, loving & sweet. Protective. Gorgeous. People would stop us all the time, little children were fascinated by his size & fluffy fur.

He was my spirit animal. 
I will miss him dearly.
We love you, Rex

Friday, October 02, 2015

A new ADULT in the house!

Today my "baby" turns 18.

She is "officially" an adult :). What does that mean? Not sure, but it does mean she can now VOTE instead of just collecting the "I VOTED" stickers! In my family, becoming an adult does not give you much transitioning klout, we "kids" are all in our 40's & 50's, and all still listen to our parents!

Even though she will always be my baby, today is the day we will celebrate her new title: ADULT. She is in Europe right now, traveling with her Oma (haha!! she already appreciates me so much more. You thought I was strict??), so this day is bitter sweet. It is the first time she is not with us on her birthday, and it is a bit weird.

So I will reflect and celebrate her from afar.

I made a pretty cool human. I remember vividly when they plopped her on my belly, and she stared RIGHT into my eyes. Talk about an instinct awakening in my soul. At that moment I knew I would protect this little creature with my life. That was about the only thing I knew about parenthood, and the rest of her childhood went on with trial & error.

Instead of nursery rhymes I read her the Greek Myths :). One day she looked at me and said: "I am Athena".  From then on, she was Justina Athena, and to this day I think the right Goddess chose her.

one of my favorite pictures, take
She has always been head strong & confident. She was raised by, and around very strong women, and that shows in everythng she does. When she wants something, she makes it happened. She is the poster child of the Law of Attraction. Taking her out of school in 4th grade & homeschooling was the perfect path, and it opened up so many opportunities for her. 

I admit, I made some questionable parenting choices at times, but look what happened! She has turned out to be an exceptional human, and I could not be more proud. She is hilarious & intelligent, loves to talk, and adventurous.

 Plus, she doesn't take any shit.

What else could a Mama want??