Then vs Now: June blogging over 10 years

I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore When do you think it will all become clear ‘Cause I’m being taken over by the fear ~ Lily Allen The Fear (2009)

I’ve always dug those “this day in history” things on the news. And with my blog, every once in a while I check in on what I was up to.

What was I doing 10 years ago this month? 9 years? 5 years? Last year?

With a decade of writing to a variety of readers (I’ve noticed the followers varying, dropping in and out and sometimes back in over the years, depending on my topics), I have this really unique visual and written look into my life and how far I’ve come (or not, haha).

Sooooo…shall we…?

2009 – I built this rainbarrel at a tool library workshop where they provided the barrels and connecting thingamajigs. 10 years later? We repurposed it into a composting tumbler (the kind you can roll a wheelbarrow under to empty out when it’s full, found the idea on Pinterest, of course) when moving to the farm and it is still going strong!

2010 – Long, long hair and 50 lbs lighter, this first picture was before I met my  husband, before I knew of the many ways my body would fail me in the coming years. Sigh…nine years has been a bitch to the physical and emotional.

2011 – My girl Daisy with one year left in our nine years together. These days, it’s our equally ferocious (not!) girl Lucky commanding all of our affections. But I’ll never forget my first girl 🙂

2012 – Back then, the view out the front of my little home in the city was of the sunset and lots and LOTS of power lines. These days our  view out the front is of the sunrise and wide open spaces, with barely noticeable power lines. How my world has changed in the past 7 years…

2013 – That June was Dan’s first extended visit to see me here in America, where I showed him everything from wandering my hometown to cruising down the Oregon Coast (including driving through the town we now live!) to a spontaneous road trip to Mt St Helens (shockingly as a native Oregonian, my first time!) to picking berries on Sauvie Island to watching the Mariners play ball. Six years later, it’s just us being us out here in on the farm, remembering where he came from and appreciating where we are now.

2014 – Our little garden in the city, where space was maximized for raised veggie beds, fire pit, patio dining and more. Back when I grumbled about replacing the fence that separated one half of the property from the surrounding neighbors when now we have to think much, MUCH more creatively about fence upgrades for 5 1/2 acres! Now 5 years later? Our  veg garden space is almost as big as our entire PDX lot, where fencing is to keep in the ducks and keep OUT the deer (along with a whole lotta stink-spray).

2015 – Here’s an example of where, well, not much has changed! This time 4 years ago we were in the middle of a major bathroom remodel while also getting our house repiped, knocking out the walls and moving the plumbing. Back then it was a tiny 5×8 bathroom with our basement directly below (and the basement’s exposed ceilings making the job exceptionally easy for the plumbing crew). This time it’s a much, much bigger job – redoing the second layer of subfloor in our upstairs master bathroom, and waiting for two contractors (who, like the majority of GC’s in this town, respond at a snail’s pace) so we can finish the plumbing rough-in (as the first plumber quit mid-job on us after we complained about their multiple no-shows) and build the shower and install the floor and vanity and, eventually, the new composting toilet. It’s exhausting doing this upstairs-formerly-the-attic-before-a-shitty-1980s-remodel renovation, so we are grateful every day that we have 1 1/2 other bathrooms. Amen.

2016 – Three years ago I was in the midst of cycle four, wearing my new ‘lucky socks’ and taking it as easy and zen as possible. That was the cycle where we got pregnant and had one beautiful half-summer of optimism as we planned the future we’d dreamed of…before we lost our only baby at nine weeks and our world would never be the same. Here in June of 2019 we now try just to get out of bed every morning and do our jobs and take care of our little farmstead, as the scam that Danielle Counts of Baker City, Oregon (that’s her name – Facebook folks out there can find that sociopathic cunt super easy) tried to perpetrate on us, for apparently no other reason than to inflict unspeakable cruelties on a couple of strangers who had already gone through massive traumas over the years. I boxed up all of the baby clothes and cloth diapers and homemade wipes and stuffed animals and the few gifts we’d recently received and I took down the May Gibbs alphabet art that has been staring at me every morning (our bed is in the nursery since we’ve been renovating for almost a year) as it feels like torture. All I can say is I hope CPS takes her children away from her because she clearly has no heart. So now, it takes everything in my body and soul to just keep going.

2017: Two years ago June, just after the final round of donor egg IVF failed and our Ethiopia adoption went bust when the country ended all international adoptions, even though our money was paid and the packet was in Addis Ababa, my retina spontaneously detached from my eye in something the doctors could only call ‘idiopathic’ and say that stress could be a factor. I wonder if I cried too much. A two hour vitrectomy surgery meant days of ‘face down’ recovery, a hideous eye patch, no driving, no sex, no exercise, and waiting for the bubble to slowly shrink in my vision. Two years later, my eye is normal but I still see my eye surgeon annually to make sure that everything is OK, because I’m now at a greater risk for cataracts. Considering I have no health insurance, meditative/yoga breaths are part of my daily regimen as my greatest fear is that this year’s stresses will bring about more physical pain, so yeah, superfuntimes, right? And I wear my glasses much more.

2018: And yeah, a year ago we sold my beloved little 1925 urban homestead on a standard 50×100′ (.1 acre) city lot for a big ol’ 1940 farmhouse on 5.64 acres that we officially landed on in July but legally became ours in June.  Literally more than fifty times more space. Unimaginably weird, especially for two city kids who were used to living car-free for large portions of our lives. Sounds crazy to some country folks, but I told my husband if I had to do it over again I’d have been fine on half the space, but for some reason I thought if we chose ‘only’ 2-3 acres it wouldn’t be worth the massive life change we had initiated. Now while we’ve not been here all that long, there are literally places on our property I have no need to go. But hey, I told my husband that if they ever change our zoning from R-5 to R-2 like they did on a nearby stretch of road, we could always split it up into two pieces and sell it for some retirement $$. I must say though, I thoroughly MISS my gardens in the old house as it was 12+ years of hard work to get that house where it was, something the new owners will never truly comprehend or fully appreciate, no matter how well they take care of it. I miss living in a blue house and know that someday we’ll paint ours here (or, better yet, completely change the siding out), but I must say it’s nice to have a bit of space, even if we’re still figuring out the unusual layout of this place. It’s still a house, but getting closer to home.

Words from then and now ring true…

I’m sick and tired of the way that I feel, I’m sick of dreaming and its never for real. I’m all alone with my deep thoughts. I’m all alone with my heartache and my good intentions.

I work to eat and drink and sleep just to live, Feels like I’m never getting back what I give. Ive got a sad song in my sweet heart. And all I really ever need is some love and attention

And I don’t want to cry my whole life through, I want to do some laughing too.

~ Girls Hellhole Ratrace (2009)

But honestly, I need to keep hearing Kelly Clarkson in my ears instead…

I can see the wait there in your eyes I can feel the thought in your sigh Your knuckles are bruised from a losing flight One way down a dead end street Broken glass underneath your feet You think the day won’t break the sunless night

The sun will rise When you’ve lost your lights The sun will rise It’ll be alright


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