Freak Out!

Freak Out!

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.   Steve Jobs

I spend my days with teenagers, lots of teenagers. When sickness settles in the area I am sure to be exposed.  Sometimes you get lucky and avoid all the nastiness and other times it just can’t be avoided.  I’ve been home from work for a couple of days so that tells you where my luck ran out.  I’m a little stir crazy with time to think, and this project, the deconstruction of my life in order to reassemble it into something new has its moments.  Times of pure excitement and energy to move forward and other less enticing periods of panic and fear.  I’ve been here before, fearful of change,  because what if the outcome is worse than the current status?  I know there are people out there that think I’m crazy for wanting to live in a tiny house, and there are days that I believe them.  In those quiet spaces where I can hear myself think, the voice that resides in my comfort zone gets loud and sounds something like this…

“You’ll hate living in a small space.”

“This is a crazy idea.”

“What a stupid waste of time and money.”

“You’re not smart enough or strong enough to pull this off.”

“What if this is a giant disaster and mistake.”

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The sentry that has guarded my door for years gives me courage.

This grand step into a tiny house is not something being forced upon me. I could easily continue on with life as I know it, making safe, well-traveled adjustments as needed.  There are a lot of moving pieces designing this future lifestyle, the actual house sometimes seems the most straightforward.  When the voice of fear is taking over my head, I take a deep Ujjayi ocean breath and think about what is good.

  1. The number of discarded items is growing steadily, over 1200 items so far and I don’t miss any of them.
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My entire laundry room and garage is starting to look like this…   big “FREEcyle”  sale in the spring!

2.   I’m taking better care of myself striving for greater mental and physical stamina.

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YUM.

3.  My emotions are open to whatever they need to be.

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Happy Girl.
  1. I have moments of that “peace that passes all understanding” which indicates to me that I am spiritually on the right track.
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A higher power leads the way.

I think the fear is attached to the subtle hints of the spring that is coming soon…a little more light everyday, much friendlier winter temperatures and lots of birdsong.  Spring will also bring action.

1.The purchase of a trailer…I haven’t figured that one out yet, but have done my research and am narrowing it down.  Still have a couple of local options to explore.

2. Quotes on a material list … I sorta have one of those.

3.   Decisions on windows and front door so framing details can be worked out.

4.  Figuring out my “power budget” so I can price out a solar system.

4.  The organization of the build site …

AKKK … the list goes on and on,  opening the door wide for doubt. I haven’t invested much in the way of money yet.

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Plans and resources
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Love these!

The greatest investment has come in the countless hours going into research and design. I’ve taped an outline of the house inside my house and am feeling out the movement of 286 sqft … and loving the design challenges!  I doodled the featured photo while on a beach in Mexico years ago, I must have needed reminders back then as well.  Fear is a giant brick wall slowing down everything in my path. Time to climb over the fear as the Trek to Tiny gains altitude.

Remember friends … kindness begins at home!

Hillary D.

Downward Dog with Dogs

Downward Dog with Dogs

If you are reading this from outside of Northern Idaho, then there is something you should know about one of America’s “Top Ten Small Towns” …. we have WINTER.  Sometimes it looks like this …

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Winter Snow and Sunshine

 

And sometimes it looks like this …

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Fun to follow when this freezes over.

The winter rain that comes after large amounts of snowfall creates one big sloppy, frozen, snow berm bound, school cancelled landscape.  I actually don’t mind the shoveling.  When I lived on acreage in the country I would shovel paths into the woods. This winter I’ve dug out over and over my car, the truck, the deck, the walks and even shoveled  a racetrack for Vita to express her extroverted puppiness.

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Dog Track

It only took one wrong toss of water laden snow to send a message to the left lower back that all is not well.  Something tweaked, not serious but relentlessly annoying.  This recent twist has brought me to my yoga mat multiple times throughout the day as I did not quite feel ready for the hot yoga room.  I am learning be a better listener when my body speaks, I am learning how to gently unlock the tension in my life and I am learning how to downward dog with dogs.

Vita sees me hit the mat and assumes “floor time = playtime” and immediately pounces into the Sun Salutation.  She sits on my legs while I Cat/Cow and the restorative Child’s Pose is a clear signal to lick my face and nibble on my hair.  The pinnacle of fun is Downward Facing Dog where the two dogs immediately see a perfect tent for wrestling under.

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Post-yoga nap.

Today I will venture into a hot yoga class and work the muscles a little deeper and as always it will be an invigorating, peaceful experience and I will miss my furry yoga buddies when I Down Dog.

Namaste.

Hillary D.

Dishwater Tears

Dishwater Tears

This winter of snowdrifts and deep cold has been a blessing.  Like all big winter years I’ve had some challenges, my furnace became stingy with heat output and the hot water heater took note and is withholding hot water.   I even climbed up in to a very awkward attic space to look at the furnace (thank you yoga!) thinking there might be an obvious part lying on the attic insulation.  There wasn’t,  and if there was I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what to do next, but it was an adventure!  I have no idea how that furnace will someday be replaced with its given location.

These normal home owner issues always bring my head back to the tiny house, and the potential issues that water and heat might face.  The extra time indoors has allowed me to research and plan. It reminds me of pre-trip planning when I’m traveling somewhere new, it’s part of the journey and can save you many headaches before arriving to the destination.  If I had jumped right into building the plans I had purchased I wouldn’t have the redesign that better suits me.

I spent my Friday night tackling the craft cupboard, which holds many clues that we were a former home schooling family.  How wonderful that I work for a school that has two amazing art classrooms, a pottery room AND a Makerspace…I know exactly where all these cast-off art supplies can be put to good use.

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Piles of extra art supplies

Doing dishes over winter break started to get under my skin.  The dishwasher seemed to be endlessly full as well as the sink and the dish drainer … we have too many dishes. I emptied all the cupboards and started a new discard corner in my daughters empty room.  My kids will each receive a box of really pretty items when it comes time to set up their own living space.

I won’t have a dishwasher in the tiny house, so after bringing down the sheer number of dishes we use I decided to go on a dishwasher ban to see how washing dishes by hand day in and day out sits with me.   I ask Alexa to play some music, light a candle on the windowsill, and fill the sink with hot soapy water (when the hot water heater is feeling generous).  Turning this daily chore into an opportunity to think has turned doing dishes into therapeutic motion, there are days the dishwater mixes with tears.

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My therapy office.

I’ll be just fine without the modern dishwasher, both my dishes and my emotions will get a good scrubbing.  I will however need a good supply of this awesome product as my hands take the brunt of cold and hot.

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The best hand cream ever!

Thanks for all the great support and feedback as I share this trek, looking forward to posting my first construction photos in the summer sun.

Be Well Friends.

Hillary D.

The Good Life

The Good Life

My lovely, bitterly cold winter break has come to a close and I feel energized and rested all at once, which I believe is how a vacation should leave one feeling.  The weather is North Idaho cold. Snow drifts are growing with every shovel, plow and windstorm that blows through.  It’s beautiful outside with all the sparkly snow and sunshine and it entices me to enter into the scene outside my window. The icy reality sends me back indoors to my steaming mug of hot tea.

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Everyone has ice sculptures hanging from the house.

The gift of days and days of uninterrupted time was priceless.  I’ve taken great pleasure in the ordinary; cooking, cleaning up the place, reading, continuing to downsize,  and joining fellow winter travelers who are healing bodies bent from shoveling snow in the hot yoga room.  There was leisurely time for meals with friends, long phone conversations, nights of rowdy music and dancing, board games and hanging with my boys.  My dog is in heaven, he follows me through the house so happy I’m here and he learned how to share his space with a puppy.  The school I work for has taken on a Golden Retriever pup who will become a therapy dog (I think she already is!) and I co-parented her for an energetic week.

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Vita and Goliath

This was an awesome opportunity to redesign the tiny house to better suit me and I dove headfirst into Google SketchUp, learning the program and having so much fun living virtually in my future home.  The efforts reinforced to me again that a simple life is a very, very good life.

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The tiny house is taking shape…I love it!

My unstructured days are coming to a close. School resumes and we jump right in to a busy 2nd trimester. My task will be to carry the energy and renewed focus into my open, bright, puppy filled office.  Spring is slumbering under the frozen landscape, but the daffodils are there and will make their grand entry signaling a new season bringing a whole new trek.

It’s storming again, stay warm friends.

Hillary D.

 

Fit to Build

Fit to Build

So the plan is that I will build  much of my future tiny house myself, with help from my boys, friends and other skilled people who have offered their talents to the project. I know this is possible because I’ve seen other women in my stage of life successfully pull off their projects with great results. I do however, know my limits.

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One of my favorite tiny house builders,               Karin Parramore .

I do not love heights, and am not convinced it is a fear I wish to conquer, so the roof installation by a professional is probably money well spent.  I would rather not burn the house down, so the expertise of an electrician friend will be much appreciated and I am sure there will be many other instances where I will not be too proud to ask for help or advice.   In addition to books and online forums, YouTube has become a fantastic resource for every aspect of building a house on a trailer. A few of my favorite channels are Ana WhiteLife Inside A Box, and Tiny House, Giant Journey.

I also know my physical, emotional, and mental health need to be in tip top shape.  So I am preparing myself for the rigors well in advance.  I am working to get strong, primarily to avoid injury.  There are a couple of local businesses I’d like to give a shout out to who are integral partners in creating greater strength and wellbeing and are a part of my tiny house journey.

My  favorite place to get centered and sweat is at Sandpoint Hot Yoga.  I decided in October of 2014 that I would actually start PRACTICING yoga and not just dabble in it when my body felt beat up.  I had never done any hot yoga before, and to be honest,  I truly hated it at first.  Sometimes all I could focus on was how much longer will this last, or I’d think about what I had to do that day, or a breakfast burrito sure sounds good, or why does it have to be so hot, and dang … yoga is HARD.

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This looks relatively simple…until you attempt to do it correctly.

I’ve learned to appreciate the different styles of several great teachers but one in particular has really changed my life.  Nicole Murray who teaches Power Vinyasa classes has taken me farther than I believed I could go.  She has taught me how to let go of my ego and more importantly how to breathe, or to remember to breathe, or to breathe in new ways. You would think that remembering to breathe wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but trust me, you forget and breathing makes all the difference.

Starting hot yoga was intimidating for me, I am not the typical lithe thin yoga body. I have boobs, and hips and a menopausal mid-section so stepping into the mirrored room with young bendy bodies didn’t exactly provoke overwhelming levels of confidence.  But, I had made a commitment to keep showing up,  so I did.  Having a teacher that encouraged her class to try and fail and try again, gave me the encouragement to keep challenging my balance and my flexibility, and mental stamina.  Nicole even appreciates the yogi that comes in and just lies on their mat in the heat for 65 minutes, because that is all they can give that day.   I sweat, and I fall (sometimes in a spectacular manner with sound effects and all) and I keep on going.  I listen and persevere with patience and acceptance and have made progress.  Whether I actually achieve my desired poses, I now BELIEVE that I can, and that I can also build a house.

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Someday …

Knowing the materials for my house are HEAVY, I thought it couldn’t hurt to increase my strength so I started working with a trainer that I have known for many years.  Missy Balison  has me sweating buckets while I lift what feels like impossibly heavy weights and she asks for more burpees than can possibly be good for you (wink, wink!)  Missy has a colorful studio, well equipped with a vast array of exercise equipment to keep things interesting. She is another instructor that creates an encouraging environment to explore your limits, not to mention the wealth of knowledge Missy possesses regarding all things nutrition and exercise science. I like the camaraderie of the other women who have also had to get dressed, tie their shoes and venture out into  the still dark morning to tackle their own goals.   If you are reading this from outside the Sandpoint area she also has an active online training program, you can check out her services here or on Facebook.

These teachers and the environments they create are one more building block for my future life that is forming and I want to say thank you with deep gratitude for the knowledge and passion for their craft that they share.  Women empowering women is a beautiful thing.

Trekkin’ and Sweatin’ and appreciating the little things along the way …

Hillary D.