Sunday, November 28, 2010

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Right now, at Osa Mountain Village -- our hopeful new home, many paths are being cut out of the jungle by hand (or shovel). These paths will make the jungle available to both the tourists (on the jungle tours and night jungle tours) and to us residents who fancy a lovely walk in Nature.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Bio of Sorts

I am supposed to be writing a bio of Paul and me to send to the folks at Osa Mountain Village. Since we are all coming from around the world to live together in this community, the web designer wants to include info on us on the webpage so we can get to know who our neighbors will be.

I've been avoiding it. Writer's block, I could say. But mostly it is not knowing how to summarize ourselves in a paragraph enough to get our new neighbors to like us. It's a bit like internet dating.

So, I thought I'd share my writing process with you. I started just free-writing and eventually the bio appeared. At the end. Of course. :)

I did, however, know exactly what picture I wanted to use for our bios:

Bio for Osa Mountain Village:

Hi future neighbors! We’re so excited about joining you and living in Costa Rica with our family. Our hope is to make the full-time move in the summer of 2013. I know. It sounds forever away. (Sigh) But that’s the way it will have to work for us. Maybe that will give us the time to learn some Spanish – ‘cuz we know about six words. And. It seems important that we would learn some before moving to a Spanish-speaking country. You know? 

I’m supposed to be writing a bio for my husband and myself, so that you will know a little about us. Wouldn’t it be cool if we were able to make friends before we actually all moved in next door to one another?

Why I want to move to OMV: for the adventure of moving to a new country, for the increased time that I’ll be able to spend with my family (especially my husband who works long hours with unpredictability in his schedule), and so we can have the sheer joy and excitement of starting our own businesses and working for ourselves. We could perhaps have done this in the States, but it would’ve taken us far longer to accomplish because of the cost of living being higher here – and the market for our businesses being saturated.

What we hope to get from OMV: an increased feeling of community. I want to know my neighbors and have our children play with yours. I want to work towards common goals (sustainability, permaculture, living off grid, sharing responsibilities, community-building, etc). I want to make new friends and live through new experiences. I want to write about all of it.

A little about us:

Paul is a thinker. He sits back and listens. He smiles and likes to joke around with our kids. He’s silly. He’s great one-on-one or in small (5 people?) groups. Not so much with anything bigger. He’s a leader. He’s a superb salesman. He looks at the big picture. He likes to write, act, and talk politics. Lefty progressive politics. He’s agnostic and an existentialist, but will talk about Jesus and the Bible with you as long as you don’t pray for his conversion to Christianity. He likes live music … all of it. Especially anything with a bluesy hint to it. He loves watching movies and reading but also wants to get out more in the world and experience and be more active. And to connect with those around him on a deeper level.

Valerie is an experiencer. That’s how she relates to the world. Dips in and swims around in it and THEN thinks about what just happened. She’s passionate about whatever she’s doing or learning about. In the last year that’s been: writing, knitting, unschooling her kids, urban homesteading, eating healthier, advocating for her son’s needs at his new school, Bikram yoga, No Shame Theatre, communicating on a deeper level with her husband, living an alternative sexual lifestyle, traveling, making new friends and loving everyone. She’s a lousy housekeeper and doesn’t like cooking, mostly because she forgets about dinner until 5:45pm and then has to think of something quick – which often turns out to not be very healthy. She loves reading and has bookshelves of books she hasn’t yet read but still compulsively buys. She’s writing a memoir right now and has a blog or two in her pocket. When she moves to Costa Rica, she will miss Bikram yoga, decaf lattes (why is there no decaf coffee in Costa Rica??), and her Smart phone. And Netflix! And wearing a scarf on chilly days. But mostly her best friends Tamara and Julian.

Oh. And she’s not religious. Organized religion scares the crap out of her … but she identifies as pagan. 

So there it was. In the last bit. I often have to "clear my throat" on the page before I can get to the meat of what I want. Of course, I'll still have to edit it a bit and polish it, but the meat is there. And for those of you that actually know us in person, have I hit the mark? Is that a good representation of us?

Monday, November 15, 2010

How Vacations Lead Me To A Job Hunt ...

We want to visit Costa Rica twice a year. We want to witness the growing of the Osa Mountain Village community, and to meet our neighbors and grow our connections with them even before we move there. And we just want to vacation there 'cuz it's cool! :)

It's funny. I've spent a couple of years feeling nostalgic for something that I've never had ... and now I almost do.
Lots of times I've found myself envious (in the most polite way, of course) of those families that vacationed at the same place every year. You know the ones. That cabin at that lake that you remember going to since you were ten? Now you've started bringing *your* kids to it?

It wasn't *real* envy. I didn't pine for that imaginary cabin. I just sort of wistfully thought it would've been nice to have had that experience when I had been a kid. But it didn't happen, so, oh well. But. Should I want that for my kids? Should I figure out a way to get that for them?

That's what went through my head for a couple of years. But I didn't really do much about it. It kind of already happens by default with the Massachusetts trip every summer. My kids do have that every-summer-trip-since-they-can-remember trip. But the crappy part for me and Paul, is that it doesn't happen with us.

So. Costa Rica. The house in Costa Rica can be that for us while we are prepping for our move there.

Once we live there, we'll have to come up with a new one. :)

The challenge we now face is that if we want to visit Costa Rica once or twice a year .... we need the money to do it. *snort*

Ok. So, trying to cinch our budget to fit my income -- leaving Paul's for Aubrey's private tuition and rental expenses for Aniela in Portland -- doesn't leave any room for a vacation fund.

"We'll just have to put it on a credit card then," I said to Paul two nights ago.


Well, there was more to it than that. Something about the cost of a trip divided by twelve monthly installments, the total being paid off before putting another trip on the cards meant affording a trip every two years. Hmmm.

So how were we going to afford the trips?

"You just need to get a job," Paul said.

Now, let me explain something about myself.

I am not a slacker.

By any stretch on the imagination.

Even though this weekend I spent almost 40 hours of it either in the hot tub or laying in bed.

My first paying job (other than babysitting) I obtained at thirteen years old. And I've worked every year since then ... with a few months off a year. UNTIL .... my husband died in the year 2000. Then I didn't have to work. And I've been sooooooo grateful for that opportunity. I've been helping my family live and eat on Social Security Survivor Benefits and Veterans Affairs DIC income. I feel blessed and so lucky that this was the case when Rob died. I know that other widows are not that fortunate.

So, a job.

"It can even be from your writing! Sell your book! Write articles for magazines! We just need the extra money if we want to do any traveling," Paul said.

I earned my massage therapist licensure a couple years back. I could re-activate that and work as someone's employee instead of for myself. Maybe my chiropractor friend would hire me to work in his office.      But.       I would have to go back to school to earn my extra CEU's to get current on my license requirements and pay the license and insurance fees .... and I definitely don't have the money for that.

I looked on craigslist this morning. For jobs. (I keep typing "jogs" ... I wonder if that means anything.)
I think a good job for me would be working as a barista in a local coffee shop, or in a bookstore. A health food store like Sundance would be awesome, too. Something part-time and that wouldn't require me to use child care. 'Cuz my income would get all eaten up from paying that.

So that limits me a lot.

That must mean that I need to concentrate on my writing. :)

See how I turned that around?

I'm brilliant.

But I'm not afraid of hard work. Really.

Just practical.

I'll keep looking and at the same time, beef up my querying and writing of shorter pieces as well as FINISHING MY MEMOIR so I can start marketing it.

... and, oh yeah, AUTHOR PLATFORM. *sigh*
I really must start working on that !!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pleasures -- from 2/15/06

These are the pleasures I have known:

The sound of running water.
The sound of water splashing in a fountain.
The sound of water rushing rippling over rocks in a river bed.
The chaise lounge in a beautiful garden on a beautiful patio.

Holding hands with my lover.
Smiling with a friend.
Reading a good author.
Writing something that feels true.

The texture of honey in my mouth.
Hearing my lover moan because of something I did.
Seeing my children's eyes sparkle with joy and enthusiasm.
Watching my sleeping babies.
Seeing our dog's delight when running as fast as she can.

Snuggling with my children before they are too old and don't want to anymore.
Discovering a story in a painting.
Talking about art and the emotions it arouses in me.
Sculpting the essence of a face and waiting for the soul that comes through to introduce him or herself to me.

Sobbing and screaming while another held me and just witnessed my grief.
Exploring foreign lands.
Feeling a part of the Divine.

A sense of belonging.