Treasure Hunting with Heather

The other morning I woke up and immediately said “575” out loud to my husband. I’d had a very vivid and what felt like an all night long dream about this number. I was walking along the trail I always go on with Bella  and kept seeing rocks with the number 575 painted on them.

Oh My Goodness: SO COOL! Right? 

I’ve always been a dreamer. By that I mean I dream a lot, both day and night. I tend to take many of these dreams very seriously and often put a plan of action together to get my dreams into a place of reality, especially if they are recurring dreams, like owning my own business or making a cool piece of recycle-art or launching a blog site, the kinds of recurring dreams that usually happen during the day but maybe get a little work done on them when I’m sleeping. 

I will note that I do NOT intend to ever put a plan of action on how to make being chased by bears a reality, which is one of my recurring night dreams. When I have that dream, I instead turn to my book  “12,000 Dreams Interpreted” and assure myself it’s just my competition chasing me. Which is GOOD. The recurring earthquake dream thing? That’s just one I don’t want to talk about. When we had an actual earthquake the other day, I was sitting at my desk and it felt like someone was pulling on my chair and I thought to myself: “I KNEW we had a ghost in the house! I have always known!” and just when I was going to go run and tell everybody the good news Mitchel came running out of his room too saying “Did you feel that?!!!”. I was deeply disappointed that instead of my ghost,  it was one more sign of the end of the world as we know it. And despite me feeling mostly fine after, it certainly nagged at my psyche just a tad.  

But a NUMBER DREAM??? That’s a fucking TREASURE HUNT! 

The first thing Grant did was look up what area code 575 was. I love that he takes my dreams as seriously as I do. He SO gets me. He also knows by now he might as well just dive in willingly.

New Mexico. Kind of weird. I don’t know anyone from New Mexico. When I looked up current news for New Mexico, all I found was shit about covid-19 (like every other state in the US) and I don’t want to talk about that. I did discover some fun facts about New Mexico. It is a very experienced ‘wine country’. A monk started a winery along the Rio Grande in the early 1600’s. Wine is always good news. Good wine even better news. It’s the home of the largest hot air balloon festival in the WORLD. New Mexico also has more PhD’s per capita than any other state AND there is a law that says idiots are not allowed to vote in New Mexico. I do not know which of these two things has more to do with the fact that the first atomic bomb was exploded there, but I do know (now) that the cows in New Mexico (which outnumber the humans in New Mexico) are thriving. So I think New Mexico is going to be just fine. 

The Arabic poet Al-Khansa was born in the year 575. Upon first discovery I assumed Al-Khansa was a he. Turns out that she, according to wikipedia, is the best known female poet in Arabic literature. She wrote beautiful mourning poems (elegies) for her brothers who died in battle. This was the role of the female poet in her time. Ironically, she much later converted to Islam where mourning is forbidden. After her conversion, all four of her sons died in battle and it is said that she did not cry over their deaths but instead sung praise of their martyrdom. While I can not speak to the religion of Islam with much intelligence, I bet she cried inside. She lived to the age of 70 ish. That’s a long damn time to be stoic. 

Page 575 in my bible is Psalm 311: A Prayer from David in Distress and Thanksgiving for Escape. Maybe my son Dave needs to get out of the house today. Page 575 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a summary of why sex before marriage is a bad idea. How does one have that conversation with their kids and not be a hypocrite? Page 575 in my mom’s Alcoholics Anonymous book is THE VERY LAST PAGE of the book. WHAT???? Is that a sign I should not have spent more on alcohol than groceries during this quarantine? Five fellow recoverers wrote notes to my mom there about what an inspiration she was to them. One person said “your stories cracked me up”. Another said “I have grown to love you and feel like I have known you forever”.

According to a little numerology research, 5 signifies life lessons gained through experience or MAKING important life decisions about personal freedom and other cool life changes. The number 7 signifies spirituality. The term ‘lightworking’ came up a few times in my reading about the number 7 which in a nutshell is a mission of sending nothing by positive love vibes into the world in order to help heal the world. This means even to the assholes. You can’t fight bad with more bad. I did an internal giggle-clap of delight at that idea. Lightworking sounds so much more fun and fruitful than selling carpet. The number 8 comes from 575: (5+7+5=17=1+7=8). Hello. It’s MATH PEOPLE! The number eight symbolizes inner wisdom, karma, business, manifesting abundance and wealth. AND is the number in my blog site.

So it has become very CLEAR to me that angel number 575, is telling me three things: 1) keep looking for treasure 2) keep writing on peaceof8.com 3) maybe not use the word fuck so much if I want to be a lightworker instead of sell carpet for a living. 

Fuck. 

Running to Truth

I have been running a lot more these days. 

Running from the news. 

Running from fear.

Running from sobriety. 

Running from emotions.

Running from growth. 

Running from faith. 

But of course everywhere I run, there I am: a ball of rigid resistance. I did finally cry on the yoga mat the other day for what logically seemed like no good reason. I wasn’t even doing a difficult pose. But I felt better after so I decided not to over analyze it.

Later that day I took Bella out on our usual route which is about five blocks down to Wyakin Park where we do about a mile of trail walking before heading back up the hill home. 

Recently, I noticed that I sort of sing/chant in my head to my breath when I walk. Usually just a weird repeat over and over of whatever song I most recently listened to, implanted into my mind and in rhythm with my steps.  I thought on this day to replace it with prayer instead of mumble rap which is what I’m hearing a lot lately with my three youngest boys all home, quarantining with me. I inserted Hail Mary’s into my breathing. It’s been forever since I prayed like this: meditative, prayer chanting. I arrived faster than usual at the trail park. 

I let Bella off her leash and she jumped into her routine of darting ahead, whipping back and forth across the trail and then falling way behind so she could then run fast to catch up to me, all the while sniffing and snorting and dog smiling. 

Bella’s not worried one single bit about anything except maybe the robins, who have recently come out in full force and on this day were friskily taunting her into chase before flying up, untouchable. The robins aren’t worried either. They are unwavering in their praise of the day, singing it loud for all to hear. They do not question that there will be water to flicker-splash their wings into and dip their faces in deep satiating drink. They have no doubt that the worms and bugs will be there for them and their babies to eat.

I stopped in my tracks in stunned recognition and remembrance of this basic fundamental truth: the joy of being cared for so deeply and lovingly that one need not have a worry in the world.

“Oh!” I whispered. “I forgot for a minute.”

Just as I whispered this a huge woodpecker with a stunning head of red feathers flew across our path and landed on a tree about six feet from us. Bella and I both just paused in awe while he stared at us for the longest time. When I reached for my phone to try and capture him in a photo, he flew away. I swear he whispered “You’re welcome my love.”

Sharpen Your Zombie Stick

The me from two weeks ago wrote these words  at the bottom of my long list of to-do’s right about the time when reality was setting and the repercussions of this virus were real:

‘Love the Day but Sharpen My Zombie Stick’

It was of course meant to be funny. 

As IF the zombies were really coming. 

Silly. 

Silly that I didn’t realize that silly is my zombie stick. 

If I don’t keep it sharp the zombies will actually get me. Fighting them off has for sure been touch and go since things got serious. I didn’t think it would be so hard.

The me a week ago still felt impervious to zombies:  

What’s this?  A virus you say? 

As IF that’s going to make my steadfast optimism waiver one damn DROP. 

All you who are feeling dark and gloomy? STOP IT!  Optimism is a CHOICE. Life is good if you let it be good. Just do a bunch of things that bring you JOY you sillies! Take advantage of this time! 

I’m fucking happy being quarantined! I’m an introvert anyway. 

The only thing this virus is going to change about ME is that I’m going to have much cleaner hands from now on.

Blah blah blah. The old me from a week ago was SO obnoxious and peppy.

On a side note, I need to confess that it’s very embarrassing that it took a global panDAMNic to get me to wash my hands more. I’m not going to lie, I pretty much used to reserve hand washing for when obviously gross things happened like having to clean up dog vomit or if I accidentally peed on my hand from a premature or poorly loaded tp wipe. But now I look at my hands like they are evil weapons of mass destruction that can only be conquered by soap, water and homemade hand sanitizer. Who knew my hands were so nasty.

So, the me from yesterday, though still optimistic,  had a little shame brewing about my years of unclean hands. Plus the worry that I didn’t remind my children enough when they were young to wash THEIR hands unless they were visibly covered with dirt or what not. In my defense, I was busy just trying to keep them alive by remembering to FEED them. 

Then as though intentionally trying to push my peppy optimism all the way into the dirt and step on it, my husband told me I needed to be more patient. WTF? We were having a business talk about a specific work situation I had ‘allegedly handled inappropriately’ by not shutting my pie hole until a more strategic time to speak. Patience. Something I have never owned much of. I know it’s true but it still stung. So I sort of wanted to lash out and find the voodoo doll I keep in my closet that weirdly looks like my husband and do a little needle work. 

Instead I went to my office and sulked. There was no sense going to that extreme until absolutely necessary. We’ve all got a long haul ahead of us with this quarantine. Besides, he is also my business partner and human resources frowns upon the use of voodoo during business hours.

Anyhow, I got to wondering if my lack of patience was potentially flowing into how I was viewing this quarantine and how other people might be handling things and tried to get my empathy skills back in place:

The people who felt the need to buy all the toilet paper and eggs, did they have childhoods where they were not provided for properly and consequently had a deep seeded fear of not having ‘enough’?

Did I, a mother of six, actually forget how hard it is to be home with little kids and not loose your shit when you are trying to do your job as well as you can AND take care of their needs, which involves a damn snack every four minutes and help doing math you no longer know how to do properly?

I put myself in the shoes of people who live alone and are quarantined as such and would easily trade places with those parents, even if it meant learning new math and not getting to pee by yourself. I imagined what it would feel like to know that you might not touch another person for thirty or more days or possibly ever if the virus got you. 

The people who are sick and in the hospital from this nasty fucking virus: scared, alone, their lungs failing them. Are they lamenting that they didn’t live the life they had intended, this anxiety causing further decay? And the nurses and doctors taking care of them knowing that this very act of care could possibly give them the very virus they are trying to conquer. 

Am I depressing you? Yeah. Fuck empathy. It hurts. The empathetic me CRASHED. Hard. The cocky arrogance of being “GREAT” through all this replaced by a dark cloud of gloom.

So I made the brilliant decision to just quit work early and numb myself from all this damn empathy and binge watch ALL. SEVEN. EPISODES. of “The Tiger King”. 

I will never ever get this time back.

And the zombies, they had me pinned down right where they wanted me: already wounded from way too much empathy for my own well being and now crying over how awful people treat animals and no fucking wonder the word is going to hell and… 

…maybe we deserve this. 

Don’t be mad at me for putting the words in my head on to the page. I know more than a few people have thought these words. 

Maybe the universe is fighting back. Maybe God is pissed off. Because we are all such damn assholes to the earth and to each other and to TIGERS! Oh the TIGERS! And I am clearly the biggest asshole because I wanted to try and save all these beautiful big cats, which clearly meant I am either destined to be a drug lord, a meth addict or a husband killer. I mean after all it’s HARD being quarantined with a bunch of men: four of my five sons who mostly don’t talk about their feelings and a husband who thinks I’m impatient with the world. And he’s RIGHT! Which makes it even WORSE.

The zombies. They almost got me. But today’s me escaped from them long enough to tell you all that no, you don’t deserve this even if you didn’t wash your hands enough in the past like me.  Also, regardless of how good or bad you might feel during all this, sharpen your zombie stick, whatever it’s made of: humor, empathy, love, art, writing, exercise, cheez-its: whatever the hell you need it to be made of.. just sharpen the damn thing and use it to fight the happiness sucking zombies that sneak up on you when you least expect it and try to trick you into thinking there is no cause to be happy in the midst of all this super scary chaos.

I promise to try and be more patient with you and with myself and I also promise my hands will be mostly clean the next time you see me. Which I hope is soon. In the meantime, sharpen the stick my loves.

Love, Heather

Teach Them to Make Coffee

The sky might actually be falling. 

Whatever. 

I think we can handle it. At least most of us. 

I’m not gonna lie, I was more perplexed than worried when our governor announced on Friday the 13th that all bars, restaurants and saloons in Washington would be closed for at least two weeks. I was mostly just obsessing on the use of the word ‘saloon’. I mean who uses that word anymore? But I figured Governor Jay used the word saloon because he thought maybe using just the word ‘bar’ would not be clear enough to get the point across: NO PUBLIC DRINKING IS ALLOWED ANYMORE in ANY PLACE except alone in your closet, hiding from the man-boys who might find your booze stash and either judge you or sneak some. Plus, there are usually spittoons in saloons and that would DEFINITELY spread the virus fast, in a super gross way. I totally concurred with GJ’s decision.

But then my husband told me to either get my glasses on or learn to read because the word was SALON not SALOON.

Dear Sweet Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the very tired angels: Armageddon has come for us all and she has very bad hair.

But really? I have been wanting to grow my hair longer anyway. Besides, on Monday the 23rd, G.J. announced that in 48 hours all non-essential businesses must shut down and that in order to flatten the curve, people would be required to stay in their homes for at least two weeks, save for essential getting out reasons, like drive through coffee orders (because apparently no one knows how to make coffee at home anymore). So the only people who will be seeing me and my bad hair are four of my five sons who probably don’t notice that I even HAVE hair, my husband, whom I quit trying to look good for years ago, and my daughter on Facetime who for SURE cares about how good or bad my hair looks but soon won’t be able to see me through her own overgrown bangs.

Really, I’m not stressing about bad hair, no public drinking or eating, a tanked 401k (we don’t even HAVE a 401K so why would I worry about that?) or whether or not our kids will fall behind in school. The boys are disciplined enough to do the minimum requirements via online schooling and I have been stepping in every now and then to help them stay focused. For instance I requested that Mitchel shout into his video game headphones in SPANISH ONLY this week, so that we can ALL learn how to swear in Spanish, which somehow seems so much more polite. My plan for next week is that everyone needs to be up and at ‘em by at least 11 am. Mainly so that while I’m uber busy obsessing over the latest news and statistics from the CDC and the WHO (which according to my daughter is NOT a band, who knew?) someone can bring me coffee. Coffee that they learned to make at HOME. That right there is about as good of a mother as I’m going to be until Armageddon gets her bangs cut.

Stay safely sane and make the coffee at home my beautiful friends.

Think With Me For a Minute

You have one single loved one you know is at high risk and could die if all the people around your person don’t act asap. It could be your kid, your dad, your bestie, your spouse, your lover, your grandma. These necessary actions cause a lot of scary and possibly devastating financial turmoil for a lot of people who are not at risk but it saves your person’s LIFE. Would you not pray for the actions and potential sacrifice of the whole to save the life of your one person? Every single life is precious. That’s my take.

Eight and a Half Minutes of Abandonment

It’s early morning and I’m in a hotel room  in Orange County, California getting ready for a few days of meetings. I flew in yesterday, which I must say, was a day that felt like a complete fall apart after a long run of back to back peaceful days full of good choices and namastaying. 

Things went wonky when I could not find my green, eco-friendly, save the turtles straw that I use every single morning to drink the raspberry, spinach protein/vitamin shake that I drink every single morning right after my routine of morning pages, gratitudes, yoga and shower, which all happen in the same order, every single morning. Make note: none of these things had happened yesterday morning except the shower, because I had an early morning meeting before leaving for the airport. So it was truly the metaphoric last straw when I had to drink my smoothie WITH MY LIPS touching the CUP thereby gaining a semi-permanent purple ring around my mouth, the kind little kids get when they drink red Kool-aid. Only greenish purple. 

This led to further unraveling. For instance, I thought that my meetings were in SanDiego this week. Actually, I thought Orange County was a COUNTY that San Diego was in. So when I checked in for my flight, I had a total panic attack when they said I was actually going to Santa Ana. But then I looked at my meeting itinerary and it said Laguna Beach. Where the fuck was I supposed to actually BE?  Instead of blaming California for it’s lunacy of having one general location be called so many things, I instead started feeling bad about myself for not knowing where I’m going on such a regular basis. I am my own travel agent so I only have myself to blame, though you’ll be happy to know I was actually supposed to go exactly where I ended up. Which is pretty typical for me, by the grace of God and a couple tired angels. 

Then, the Prime Video shows that I thought I had strategically downloaded for my airplane ride, in fact did not download. So I turned to the book I had just purchased as a challenge by a friend to reread: “Atlas Shrugged”. Unfortunately the book had print the size of microscopic ANTS and I forgot my cheaters. So I had NOTHING to actually do on the plane except pretend to sleep because I’m trying not to work every second of my life. Except the guy next to me had to keep going to the bathroom every four minutes. 

These heinous first world problems all happened because I couldn’t find my green straw. 

I’m pretty sure someone in my family is fucking with me.  

And I WILL get to the bottom of this when I return to Spokane. But I’m here in Orange County/Laguna Beach/Santa Anna/San Diego where I’m pretty sure straws are against the law, among many other lesser things. 

For instance the sign on my bathroom door says: 

“ PLEASE BE ADVISED in accordance with CALIFORNIA STATE LAW this door must remain closed to provide clear access to the exit in the event of an emergency. Thank you.” 

Now, I am not a typical law breaker. Like my rigid morning routine typically helps keep me together in an otherwise hectic existence, most rules are in place for a reason. BUT come ON California: everyone knows that one of the many advantages of staying in a hotel room by yourself is that you get to poop with the bathroom door open. 

So I broke the law.

I’m a Washingtonian outlaw, breaking bad in California. 

Feeling rather free and feisty, I skipped my yoga routine and took advantage of another hotel delight: dancing with complete and total abandonment, jumping and shaking and convulsing to Michael Jackson’s best all time song “Smooth Criminal”. Twice. It wasn’t pretty and I’m not gonna lie, I may have peed myself a little, but it feels like I broke out of jail for eight and a half minutes. You should try it. (Dancing not peeing.)

My very logical point here is that I can sometimes let myself be mentally jailed by my routines. Besides, when they take me to Folsom for leaving the bathroom door open, I’m gonna have to learn to live without a heck of a lot more than green straws. 

P.S. Folsom is NOT in Orange County. It’s in Sacramento County. Where Sacramento also is. Somewhere in California where I am not. Yet.  

The Write Reasons

Yesterday, when Black Fried Day was over, I went to go take a bath after mostly sitting on my butt all day with the family, watching football, basketball and movies while eating leftovers. When I looked in the mirror I saw there was a giant booger in my left nostril. I was kind of shocked that no one had said anything to me, because it was HUGE. Your family is supposed to tell you when you have boogers in your nose. But upon further inspection I realized it was part of a chewed up potato chip. Grant says he swears he didn’t see it but wanted to know how I knew it was a piece of potato chip? 

“I didn’t EAT it! Gross! I knew because it still had ridges.” 

How does something like this HAPPEN? Did I snort it out from my partially filled potato chip throat when I was laughing? Did I cough into my hand and then itch my nose? WAS IT FROM SOMEONE ELSE’S MOUTH? 

There are so many questions that go unanswered for me on a daily basis. 

So there. I have made myself giggle about something silly that happened to me. It seems just that on day 30 of my quest to post on my website every day for 30 days that I should be entertained by myself. Otherwise, why do this right? 

Writing a post every day has not been easy. On day fifteen I whined to my bestie about being sick of myself already at only half way through. But I don’t think it’s me I was really sick of. I’m easily entertained by me. I think more so I was feeling bad about adding to the noise on social media.

There is SO MUCH NOISE. 

It’s a tricky thing, writing. Writers write to write but we also write to be read. And to be read in the vortex (aka the internet) without becoming an overbearing social media hound is nearly impossible. (It’s this new thing called algorithms that I am currently unwilling to figure out.)

I have been thinking a lot about what it may have been like to be a writer before any kind of advanced technology was created and there was just pen on paper and this burning desire to SAY for the sake of saying. If you wanted “likes” you wrote letters to people about your ideas and if you were compelling enough, they wrote back. Though it was and still is considered rude to not acknowledge hand written letters. 

Pen on paper is my preferred means of writing, especially when I’m working on poetry. That nobody seems to like except me. Though I’m mostly okay with that. I understand it’s probably confusing to read about potato chip boogers in my nose one day and a restless poem about ghost words the next. Who IS this person on Peaceof8? Is she even stable? 

But that brings me to the point of this “Closing Post”. I have been exploring in my mind these 30 days what it is I want out of the writing on this blog site. 

Healing? Maybe so. I know that every time I write something and then release it into the vortex, I feel lighter and freed from the nattering in my head. Things are worked out on the page and then let go. That seems like healing to me. Several years ago a friend and I were talking about my blog site. I said I was thinking about shutting it down because no one was really reading it. He reminded me that if one person reads a post and is made to feel better in some way either from laughing or crying or just a little truth sharing, then it’s worth it to keep going. So there is maybe the idea of healing another person while I heal myself. 

Immortality? Oh yes. Maybe a little bit of that. When you leave a trail of words people can still find you even when you’ve gone out of their physical sight. I bet when I’m dead my kids will actually read my posts to see what I wrote about them. Though they may be grossed out by the potato chip booger. 

Money? I used to tell myself that when I was making money writing I would then  be a successful writer. But I look at some of the blog sites where writers write for money, and I am bombarded by ads or asks. This noise to me distracts from the words. I make plenty of money with my noisy enough day job.

Fame? If I write regularly am I hoping that fame will come? I guess there will always be a bit of desire for fame. It’s hard to overcome the need to be read by as many people as possible. But if I’m truthful, I know I’m not ready for fame yet. It’s possible it will come someday but right now I’m still trying to find my voice, which is still going through the highs and lows of puberty writing. Fame would mess up the search and I’d be forced to abandon my bad poetry and short story attempts for the pressure of finding funny in everything. And some days things just aren’t funny and I want to write about that too. So I’m grateful for my small but loyal group of readers who put up with my inconsistent voice. They are my fuel and have reminded me about the importance of commenting and sharing when I have read marvelous words from other writers. This is the ultimate compliment a writer can receive and right for the write reasons.