Readying the Storm

Just a quick update for you. It’s Sunday at about 10am. Phillip and I have plenty of food stocked, plenty of water. We spent yesterday doing whatever prep we could for our apartment building; moving Phillip’s garden, securing the trash cans, picking up any lose debris, moving the plants inside. We washed all of our dirty clothes just in case power will be out for more than a week so we would have clean clothes. We got a bunch of pickle buckets for face washing. We have 7 gallons of water, but I went ahead and filled all of our tupperware with water, and even some ziplock bags. Our building is a nice solid concrete block square, so we feel (and hope) the building is pretty solid. Of all the local weather men, only one hasn’t been screaming “death and destruction,” but says instead, “We’re Floridians, we do this. We’ll all be fine. If you’ve made your preperations, you should be in pretty good shape. Orlando will still be here tomorrow.” So, we haven’t changed the channel off his newscast. It was refreshing. We have plenty of knitting and crocheting to do, but once the power goes out, we have plenty of candles to play cribbage by. If the winds get more than 70mph, we’re prepared to hide out in the bathroom where there are no windows.

Nothing much more that we can do now, except ride it out, keep our spirits up and pray. I’m not as nervous as I was the other day. I think because I’m safe in my home, with my husband and furries, we bounce from the more optimistic news channel to South Park, so we’re not being exposed to panic. But, pray for those on the west coast and down in South Florida. They’re gonna need it.

Much love,

Gregory

We’re ready!

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Clawed

With the hurricane looming closer and closer, but still more than 4 days away, Phillip and I went to Publix to get something simple. We have our stash, we have our jugs of water and canned goods, back up coffee, toilet paper…..But, what we needed was something simple for dinner. We went to our neighborhood Publix at an early time of day and knew we were in trouble. Five to seven cars were waiting just to pull in the parking lot. We finally found a space, we don’t care if it is close or not, and headed for the store. We passed a woman who had squirmed her way into a handicap space. (Sorry, but don’t give me PC correction, not today). A legitimate disabled person was honking at another handicapped person and screaming, “I need to park here!” The other woman (allegedly handicapped) got out of her car and screamed, “I’ve been waiting for a space for an hour, go fuck yourself.” I just looked at Phillip and said, “Damn….all we need is something for tonight.” Yeah, two disable people fighting over a parking space….and both of them walked out their cars to have their argument.

We got into the madness that was the human race. No shopping carts left. No hand carts either. I’m looking at baguettes while people on the other side of the aisle are crashing carts into each other to get Gatorade. No water left. Only the strawberry flavored Perrier. And I drink a lot of Perrier, but even I was questioning, “Man, does it really taste THAT bad????” We went to get beef for stew. And that was all we needed. Already had my veggies at home. We quickly went to the express line, which is no longer express thanks to you bitches with your chip cards. I remember the days when the express lane was cash only…..but, I digress.

As Phillip and I were waiting semi-patiently in line just to buy two simple things, I had time to scan the store, the people, the energy, the behavior. I guess as a moment of comforting reaction, my left hand held my right arm and began to rub, as a sort of self hug, self affirmation, self protection, self defense. I watched old ladies being pushed aside for medicines, people beginning to battle over bags of potato chips, shopping carts full of not what was needed, but for the purpose of hording, forgetting and uncaring of anyone else who may need something, people taking home 20 gallons of water, people paying other people in the store for the water in their carts at double the price. I saw people panicking, falling into mayhem, screwing each other over, dismissing humanity and declaring righteous rule.

And my hand felt wet. I looked down and that comforting motion of moving my hand back and forth had somehow changed. I was covered in blood, had begun to claw myself without knowing it. I looked down to find my hands and arms covered in blood. I shuddered, “Oh, my God…..” There was blood everywhere. I gave Phillip my wallet, and the cashier, whom I have seen for 20 years, even said, “Darling! Papi! You’re bleeding!” I ran to the restroom to wash it off, to clean myself. I grabbed some paper towels to hold the wounds, the deep scratches.  I stared into the bloody running water. I looked into the mirror, my face turning white. And all I could think of, “Is this what we have become? Animals…..”

When I returned the cashier, Carmen, was so concerned. “What happened?”

I didn’t have an answer. I really didn’t. I guess I felt so overwhelmed with watching the human race screw itself into a panicky frenzy that I just got lost somewhere in my own head. Just watching them harm each other, despise each other….I guess my self comfort became something of a “wake up.” I don’t know why it happened. But, I do know that when I was watching the madness happen…..it didn’t seem to me like anyone else did. They were all in their own worlds….and maybe my own psyche was telling me to wake up. They don’t care about anyone else. They’re buying 20 packages of toilet paper and potato chips. They care nothing about the world, they care nothing about their neighbor….they only know that they’ve been told to get what you can, keep it for yourself, and fuck anyone in your way…..

And Phillip said, “That’s what people are like.”

I replied, “Those are the ones that will fail and suffer first…..”

 

You Have Friends You Haven’t Met Yet

I saw my neighbor this morning. She brought me coffee 🙂

It’s true, Phillip and I were up until about 2am knitting and crocheting to stock our shop so that we could sell everything we could to help her out with her rent. We’ve made some good progress, but we still have a long way to go. Knowing this, she brought us some coffee and I told her how far we had gotten. I thought she was going to cry. She wanted me to tell all of you how grateful she is for your help and your concern. While we were up late knitting and crocheting, she was out delivering pizzas from open to close.  So, she popped down before we both embarked on our days. She said, “I’ve only got about 24 hours.” My reply? “If you’re doing everything you can, I’ll do everything I can. If you, Phillip and I have to stay up all night, we’ll get there.”

I really do want to help her. I want to help anyone in anyway I can. I’m looking out my window now. My hands pecking at the keys without my eyes on them, my vision focused towards my view. I have a lush green expanse of bold trees and blooming flowers, a hefty, billowing cloud slowly rolling through azure. I can safely step in any direction. I have a place of peace, a place of refuge that anyone who lends them self to Whitman would find a place of reflection.  Life is good here at 1225. We’ve turned dead spaces in gardens. We’ve built a small community around our croquet games. We’ve built a word my neighbor has never seen. One of using what you have to make your life better, more enjoyable. Simple smiles carrying more weight than any trash you see on the news.

Phillip? Phillip grows vegetables. And when everything is ripe? Anyone and everyone is allowed to come grab a fresh tomato or zucchini.

I have my talents, my words, my busy spidery hands spinning through yarn. And I have all of this, this beautifully sweet world, because others believed in me. And now I want to do the same for her. She’s only been here a month and seeing for the first time that life CAN be wonderful, it CAN be enjoyable and peaceful….if YOU put that peace into the universe.

If you’ve followed this blog for a long time, you know that I’ve always insisted that I sought security and stability for the sake of becoming a philanthropist. I’ve realized that I don’t have to wait until then. I can begin now, with what I have, with what I can do.

So, it’s about noon on the east coast, Sept 4th. We have about until tomorrow morning at 9am to get her rent paid. We have a ways to go, but we’ve already accomplished enough to give her hope and optimism.

I want so much for her to see that despite her past abuses from others, that there ARE good people in the world. She moved into our building a month ago, leaving an abusive husband she was married to for 18 years. She grabbed her daughter and left, wanting to move onto a better life for her daughter, to go to a better school, to live in a friendly safe environment….and she met us. She has few teeth left, delivers pizzas for dominoes, and slaves like a dog to make things better for her and her daughter. But, sometimes….no matter how hard you work, you don’t quite make it. And knowing she couldn’t make what she needed to finish paying her rent, Phillip and I have stepped in, using our shop and our donate button to help her. If it were up to me? I’d make it all right for a month. Help her finish paying rent, some towards the electric, a full pantry of food, just to get her up and sorted so she could be ahead, rather than struggling from behind. One day, I’ll be able to do that with anyone, at any time. But, for now, we have to focus on at least keeping her here.

When we were done with coffee she said to me, “No one has ever been this nice to me. You’re the only friend I’ve ever had.”

And I said, “No, ma’am. You have a lot more friends than you know. You just haven’t met them yet…..”

Let’s sell out the shop! or you can donate below:

Because That’s What Friends Do

The rain got us again. Our booking at our new spot last night was cancelled at the last minute. But, you know I’m a determined and optimistic person! We have our usual Saturday spot later today….if the rain doesn’t get us again. The rainy season is almost over, and in the meantime, Phillip and I are gonna start pulling up to businesses in the early part of the day and just ask if we can park. And of course, we’re still selling through our shop. I’ve been doing more crochet lately. I like doing different things. And I especially love doing smaller things, like baby dresses and doilies. And of course, I do love the ironic vision of this scrawny red neck sitting on the back of a pick up crocheting these delicate lovelies. 🙂

But, I have another reason to be so ambitious today. I was outside taking pictures of Phillip’s newest Strange Friends and my neighbor upstairs was sitting on her stoop crying. I’ve always felt really bad for her. She’s had it rough. So, I often visit her down for a pot of coffee (she’s fallen in love with my French press). She moved in a while back, very friendly, very kind. She up and left her abusive husband one day, a man who kept her locked at home, wouldn’t let her leave, and forced her to stay out of his sight in their bedroom….for 18 years. She up and left one day, no longer able to cope. She wanted something better for her daughter. So, she found an apartment in a nice part of town, with a great school and friendly neighbors. She found that she could actually walk her little dog at night in this area with being afraid. We do live in a really nice neighborhood. It’s not the expensive side, by all means. Just friendly people. She was having a hard time making it happen, though. She doesn’t have very many teeth left, no education, no money. So, she got a job delivering pizzas. It doesn’t pay much, but its a start towards a better life for her and her daughter. She has no bed, but sleeps on the floor. When she first moved in, she didn’t even have electricity for the first week. Phillip and I were at the ready, letting her and her daughter use whatever they needed until the lights came on. (we ran an extension cord from our apartment to hers so she could have at least SOME electricity). In return? She made us a delightful lasagna. She’s a good person. A kind person . As we say in the south, “she’s good people.”

So, when I saw her crying I asked what was wrong. She wasn’t able to make rent. She had some, but not all. “Well, hell, honey. Let me make us some coffee and figure something out.”

It all ended up very simple. I told her, “You know, I’ve got a shop online full of product. BUSTING with product for people to buy. Phillip and I are still getting our rent together, but once we’re done with that and paying the truck insurance, everything else we sell, we’ll give to you.”

“But, I can’t pay you back.”

“You’re not going to. Its not a loan, its a gift.” Then I explained to her that people have been so gracious and so kind to us when we were in need. So, we always do what we can to give back. I don’t have the money to give her at the moment, but I told her I would spend all weekend pushing what I have to sell in my shop so that she could have the proceeds. She was mystified. She started to cry and I said, “I’ll only ask one thing in return….promise me you’ll be more optimistic. You’ve already made steps to make life better for you and your daughter, now BELIEVE it. See all those names on that truck? Those are that believed in us….because we believed in ourselves. Now, let’s not cry anymore. Let’s get to work!”

“Thank you for helping me.”

“That’s what friends do!”

We had coffee. She felt better. And I felt inspired. I’m going to help that woman. She deserves it. And once I hand her the cash she needs to pay her rent, I’ll make sure she does a video to thank all of you. And she’ll know that there is a community of crafters out there who have her back.

So, let’s sell out the shop!

 

When a Foe Dies….

A foe of mine passed. We never really liked each other, we only “sort of” knew each other through our work and our mutual friends.

I didn’t like his writing, and he despised mine. We were in the same circles in our 20’s, playing laughing dancing at Barbarella. (I didn’t use commas, because those denote pause….and we never paused to play laugh or dance in those days). I was the strange one in the corner, he was more mainstream. He went on to write for magazines in his 30’s, I went on to write for myself. I’d hear him on the radio, on NPR and get pissy because he wasn’t allowed a counter point. I offered often a counter point, a conservative one. NPR declined.

I’d see him here and there in my 40’s, at the post office, at the grocery store. We had become weird boys grown into men doing what responsible people do….and still I just huffed and passed him by, as he would roll his eyes at me.

He wasn’t an enemy. He was just someone I didn’t agree with. And I guess our versions of life and how we get to our dreams were so contradictory that we didn’t see the similarities. We had different paths, but the same dreams. Because of that, we sneered at each other.

He hadn’t been feeling well. Spent weeks feeling awful. When he finally went to the hospital they discovered he had pneumonia. There was nothing more they could do. And another legend in this town went quietly at the age of 45.

He was someone in life I never cared for, never wanted to be around. But, I’ll light a candle for him, wondering what bliss may have come if he and I had only attached ourselves to our similarities, rather than our differences. God bless you, Billy….Cheers.

Virtual Truckin’ Knit

The weather has not been cooperating with our little yarn truck. We woke the other morning and said, “Let’s just start driving up to different cafes and see if they’ll let us park. They say no, we drive on until we do find a space.” Unfortunately, it has been raining for two days and forecast to rain for 2 more. Today is our usual day for us to park at Nora’s Sugar Shack, but looks like that might be cancelled, also because of the weather.

But, we’re not going to let THAT stop us! Of course, not! We’ll open the bed of our truck virtually! We tested this out yesterday. We didn’t blog about it, but just on facebook that we were selling our yarn in our shop because of the rain. BAM! Our little mini skeins of sock yarn sold FAST. So, here we are, putting everything that we’re selling on our truck in our shop. Many of you can’t be here to see our little truck in action, so this is another great way to see what we’ve gone. When we can’t be on the road, we’ll have our yarn in the shop. But, if we ARE on the road, things in the shop will  be marked “unavailable,” until we get back.

And there is a plan! There is always a plan. When all this inventory is gone, we’re going to pay our rent and bills, of course, and with what is left, obviously invest back in the business. But, instead of buying other people’s yarn, we’re going to be selling our own line of hand dyed yarn, only available through us. That’s right! Our line of hand dyed yarn! So, when we’re driving around in our truck, parked by a cafe, you’ll be able to get the yarn that we produced. Yay! So, take a look around our shop. Watch us grow, watch us get bigger. I LOVE this 🙂

Check out our shop here! Everything must go!