Saturday, December 10, 2016

Zero Waste and the Common Cold

I tend toward illness twice per year, when the weather changes from cold to hot in the Spring, and from hot to cold in the late Fall. This isn't a consistent pattern, I have skipped through a whole year or so without getting sick, but I definitely get at least one minor cold every year.

This year, my partner and I are experimenting with finding our pace with zero waste lifestyle. We're already hippy enough to be doing a lot toward that end, but we decided to step up our game and be more mindful about the waste we are generating.

In years past, when I had a cold I would run to the pharmacy and pick up a bunch of cold medication for relief. Not only have studies shown that these over the counter medicines don't do much for colds, but they are very wasteful. Tons of non-recyclable packaging goes into these products. I think their main point is to make you sleepy enough that all you want to do is nap! Which is a great practice for sick days, but there are better ways to handle it that don't tax your body as heavily.

I've had my little change-of-seasons cold for the last few days and it is transitioning out of my system faster than normal. I've been doing a LOT of things differently this time around, and I think the change has helped. So, I will share with you what I've been doing.

Here's how the cold cycle usually goes for me with OTC's:
Day 1 - itchy nose and throat
Day 2 - post nasal drip, clearing throat a lot, sneezing
Day 3 - nasal congestion, ears congested, and sore throat on one side
Day 4 - same, but on the other side
Day 5 - nose runs like a faucet, sneezing, throat pain is killer, coughing begins
Day 6 - nose clears up, but ears still congested, cough is worse, lung congestion
Day 7 - coughing up a storm!
Day 8-14 - recovery, all symptoms slowly disappear

That's a long time to wait for a cold to go away.

For this cold, I decided to avoid OTC's entirely. I went with completely zero waste solutions instead. Disclaimer: THERE IS NO ONE REMEDY THAT WORKS TO ALLEVIATE ALL OF YOUR SYMPTOMS ON ITS OWN. The strategy I employed this time was to attack the cold from every angle I could think of, relentlessly. I have been drinking 2 kinds of medicinal tea throughout the day (which I'll share later), I have been using one cloth hanky per day instead of tissues, I have been hydrating like it was summer in Tucson, I have taken daily baths, I have used a neti pot to irrigate my nose 2-4 times daily, I gargled with salt water, I ate nothing but nutrient rich food, I used copious amounts of vitamin C, I used raw honey instead of cough syrup, I have stayed off my feet as much as possible, and I practiced a whole day of silence to save my aching throat. I also used Chinese medicine for symptom relief in the form of tea pills and acupuncture. As you can see, I've been doing lots of things, and the combination of all of these things has sped up the cycle of this cold significantly. This cold is on its way out already, and it's only been 4 days! I anticipate being fully recovered by the end of the weekend. Which is good, because I have finals coming up.

Here's the breakdown for this run:
Day 1 - itchy nose and throat (treated with teas, vitamin C, and slippery elm lozenges)
Day 2 - post nasal drip, clearing throat a lot (neti pot & gargle, tea, lozenges, honey, rest)
Day 3 - nasal congestion and sore throat, cough begins (neti pot & gargle, tea, lozenges, honey, acupuncture, tea pills, rest, silence)
Day 4 - nose clears up (woah!), throat clears up (woah!), ears clear up (woah!), coughing is minimal and clearing (WOAH!) (tea, lozenges, honey, tea pills, neti pot & gargle, rest, partial silence)

So let's break it down a little further. 

Every day, I've been eating nutrient rich food, cutting down on sugar and junk. I've been resting as much as possible, I took baths to clean myself and relieve tension, and I've been hydrating my body. When you're sick, your body is trying to cleanse itself of the microbes or toxins that are causing the illness. Hydration, rest, and flooding the body with nutrients is the best way to help that process along. FYI, I used a home spun saline solution for the neti pot and gargle. This is 1/8 tsp. salt to 8oz. of water. And for the neti pot, only mix this solution with boiling water in the neti pot itself (this kills dangerous water-born microbes, no really, they can kill you). The following is the daily breakdown of the other remedies I used.

On Day 1, I drank 2 kinds of tea (recipes below), one for my symptoms and one for my immune system. I used 4,000mg of vitamin C; 1,000mg with each meal, 500mg upon waking, and going to sleep. I also used Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges as needed throughout the day. I made sure I ate well, and rested a lot. 

Day 2, I began using my neti pot to irrigate my nasal passages and wash out any bacteria that might be hiding out there. Neti pots have been a game changer for me over the last year, they really do a lot to clear up nasal congestion, sneezing, and post nasal drip. When my throat started hurting, I gargled salt water to ease the pain, swallowed 1tsp. of raw honey to soothe it further, and used the slippery elm lozenges whenever I needed them. 

Day 3, I added silence to my treatment. I didn't talk for 12 hours. That helped the pain in my throat a ton, and kept me from coughing. That afternoon, I went and got acupuncture for my tendonitis (something I've been doing for months) and to relieve the cold symptoms. I also started using Jade Dragon Advanced Cold tea pills. These pills are a Chinese medicine formula called Yin Qiao Jie Du Wan, and they are to be taken when the cold has "advanced" into the lungs, resulting in a dry cough (symptoms are Wind/Heat).

Now, hang on just a minute... How is taking pills from plastic bottles zero waste, you say? Well, it isn't. There is a foil/plastic seal and a desiccant packet in each bottle that gets thrown away, but the bottle and lid can be recycled. Sidenote, I use the cotton stuffed in the bottles for fire starters when I'm camping.

Day 4, which is today, I'm continuing everything from the day before. I am speaking today, but being very mindful of when and why, and what I choose to say. My recovery has blown me away. I wasn't prepared to feel this good today! So, I'm basically going to continue doing what I've been doing until all traces of my symptoms are gone. Hopefully it takes less time than the other method does. It has already proven to be superior with how well it has dealt with my symptoms.

My conclusion is that practicing radical self-care when you are feeling under the weather is the key to a fast recovery. If everyone took the time off work to care for themselves when they were sick, they would be sick less and for less time. And wouldn't that be nice!

Now, as promised, here are the herbal tea blends I used to treat my symptoms. Your local herb store should have all the dry herbs in stock, hopefully in bulk.

Symptom Soothe Tea

1 part Mullein
1 part Tulsi
1 part Shredded Licorice Root
1 tsp. Honey (raw preferred)

Use 2 tsp. of tea mixture in a strainer, and steep in boiled water for at least 10 minutes in a tea cup for full potency. Take this throughout the day (at least 4 cups).

Ginger Burner Tea

Disclaimer: This tea is VERY SPICEY.

1-1.5 inches fresh ginger root, sliced thin
1 lemon
1 Tbsp. Honey (raw preferred)

Slice 1-1.5 inches of fresh ginger root thinly. Put 4 cups of water into a small pot, add the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer (just under boiling) for 30-45 min. If you have to add water to keep it simmering, that's okay! Reduce the mixture until you have 2 cups of liquid left. Strain out the ginger, add lemon juice and honey. Drink 1 cup now, and 1 cup later! Up to 4 cups per day. Want to boost this tea? Add 1 inch fresh turmeric root for pain relief or a pinch of cayenne for extra BURN (just kidding, it's an expectorant).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Country Mouse

I have learned ONE thing for certain from this urban living experiment I started 4.5 years ago.

I am a "country mouse".

So, here's a list of conclusions from this experiment:
  • Cities Stink - No literally, they smell like shit. Literally. You've got hundreds of thousands of people stacked on top of each other, surrounded by concrete, which takes on the smell of whatever is dumped on top of it. So, when I walk around, I smell oil, gasoline, piss, shit, garbage, and, if it's around "mealtime" or restaurants, I smell food in addition. It only starts to smell like landscaping and cut grass once you get out into the suburbs or into a massive park (if you're lucky enough to have one nearby). But that's not the city, that's the suburbs.
  • Cities Are Covered in Garbage - This is a two way street. Again, population density makes for a LOT of trash. The rule is, if it's usable trash, put it out on the curb or by the dumpsters to let your neighbors or homeless have dibs. The trash in big cities is incredible! I have found tons of beautiful clothes, expensive appliances, leather shoes, unsoiled furniture, food (no kidding, and I didn't even have to dive for it), and plenty of other things. I have a new mantra, "The Hood Provides". If you wait long enough, it will show up on a curb somewhere, waiting for you to come pick it up. But I said this is a two way street. For all it's throw-away abundance, there is a lot of stinky, putrid garbage around. Bags of dog shit, ton upon ton of plastic, rotting food and who knows what, decomposing paper and clothing, yard waste... You name it, it's getting dumped in West Oakland, up the street from my house.
  • Cities Are Full of Crazies - The pace here sets people up for a lot stress. Rent is high, work is fast and furious, everything is expensive, and, again, people are stacked on top of each other. Which leads to overcrowding, and more stress. There are tons of goods and services available to destress, for those with enough expendable income. Otherwise you're probably medicating your stress with food and drugs. And this is just the sane people. Let's not forget the growing homeless population, and the huge percentage of it that is comprised of addicts and the mentally ill. These are the people that the world tries to shove under the rug. I really feel for these people. There is probably nothing more terrifying than being homeless and in the middle of a panic attack and a psychotic episode while going through alcohol withdrawal. Think about it for a minute...
  • Cities Have EVERYTHING - Anything you want, anything you want to do, anything you want to see, anything you want to be, any persona you want to have, it's all here! And then there's everything you never wanted ever and hate with every fiber of your being. That's here too. And so are the people that like it.
  • Everything Changes Constantly - This I already knew, but it becomes even more pronounced in centers of culture and technology. And this, consequently, is the only conclusion that has done anything for my growth. It has caused me to be a little Buddhist about clinging to security. It has also showed me that no matter how drastically things in my life change, I am going to be okay. I can overcome just about anything.
  • Money Rules In Cities - If you have it, you're a lot happier than if you don't. The list of reasons could fill volumes so I'll just stop now.
  • I Need Nature To Stay Sane - The only way to gain a reprieve from the stress of urban living is to LEAVE. In nature, the pace is slower. Change happens slower. There is less to do. There are less people, less trash, and very few horrible smells. You can see what is happening miles away from you instead of only a few hundred feet away. You can see the sky. You feel small and alone in the best way possible. You can close your eyes and be surrounded by nothing but the sound of the wind.
So that's what I've learned so far.

Now, an update: I haven't made an entry here in a very, very long time. I've been living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I came here to be a graphic designer, and ended up developing chronic hand problems and working retail. I made it work, though. Now I'm back in school looking to get a degree in dietetics, a field that I've always been passionate about. I hope to leave the cesspool of urbanity behind in a year and a half or so. And it's about time. I'm pretty much over it. There is no way I could ever live in a place as populated as this one longterm. It was a relief to live in such a liberal and accepting place in the beginning, but the trade off isn't worth it to me. I crave solitude and a much slower pace.

So, right now, I'm back in school, living in Berkeley, engaged to the love of my life, and looking forward to the future! It's a good place to be.

So, I am totally a country mouse. City mice are totally weird. I hope that I can move back to a less populated area either during my next bout of school, or shortly after. We are considering the Southwest again because of the climate. I'd like to live close to my Mom too, and if we end up in Arizona again, I'll have peeps to reconnect with!

We have lofty dreams of an airstream, and then an earthship. Whatever we do, it's going to be epic. I'm going to try to start posting here again, but it will most likely be sporadic at best. So, stay tuned if you dare.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Adult Decisions

This last 12 months has been full of adult decisions. Not fun adult decisions, not sexy adult decisions, but difficult adult decisions. I am satisfied with the decisions I've made, and I am satisfied that they have put me in a good place in life. I just wish that I was having more fun making them, and that the results were less mundane.

My decision to come to California was a good one. If I could go back, I would change how and when I did it, but it has turned out alright in the end. Finding a job was hard, but waiting for the right one turned out to be the best choice I could have made.

Speaking of jobs, I now work at Happy High Herbs! It's an herb shop that sells herbs to make you happy, healthy, and horny! That's actually in the orientation book, I think I'm among friends there. ; ) Everyone I work with is super nice. And this job has opened my eyes to a huge new world of knowledge and experience. I've finally found a treatment for my cramps that works, I've found effective treatment for my depression and anxiety, and I've even found some herbs that make me feel super "well"! The greatest thing about this job is that I get to help people. I get to introduce people to a wonderful new world of plant healing. It's wonderful!

I've been making some great new friends in the past few months and I'm very happy with how things have been expanding for me socially.

Finances are finally starting to even out, but I'm not out of the woods yet. Nearly there. I'll finally feel secure in September when Academy of Arts University schedules me in officially for modeling. Then I can get rid of my debt. Once that's gone, life will be awesome!

So yay being an adult and making shit work for me!

Now if only making shit work for me was as fun as all that. It is satisfying, but in a different way than doing my own thing with little regard for the consequences is satisfying. I liked the other pathway better, but this one is more sustainable in the longterm.

I'm almost 31. Weird. My Saturn Return is over, and I'm at the beginning of the next phase of my life. I like were it's going so far.

On the art front, I hope to get lots done before September. By then, I'd really like to have enough material to have a show somewhere. Here's hoping! It's taking lots of time. But there's a very good reason for that. I have chosen to develop a style, finally, at long last. While all my classmates were busy doing that in college, I was busy playing catch-up with color and design. So I never took the time to figure out how I really operate artistically. Now, I'm doing the work. Figuring it out, throwing all of my instruction out the window to reinvent my artistic self. It feels so good! And I love that I have taken a chance to tie it back to the sacred.

Everything in my life seems to be waking up that way. It feels really good. I feel like I've been missing out on a lot by not paying attention to the world through that lens.

So being an adult isn't so bad after all. Here's hoping I'll figure out a way to make it stellar before time marches too far past me. : )

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I have embarked on what might be the biggest art project I've ever done in my life. The series will be called Mythogenesis. Here's the pitch.

I'm creating new mythology! Meet your new gods.

I have embarked on a grand project that I have been toying with since before I attended art school at the UofA. I have done a lot of work in the realm of comparative religions independently for most of my life. My fascination with ancient pantheons began in 6th grade when I first learned about the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt and Greece. I devoured books on mythology, learning symbolic alphabets of iconography. As I grew up, I learned about even more pantheons, Norse, Celtic, Hindu, Arabic, Roman, and many more. I learned about Catholic saints, Kachina spirits, Orishas, animal spirits and myriad more fantastic creatures that inhabit our invisible, spiritual world. And the most fascinating things lie in the parallels between these spirits, and ultimately, that they come from the same place and are, in fact, the same spirit.

"Mythogenesis" will be a series of illustrations and later paintings that bring similar spirits back together, using all of the iconographies of each parallel spirit to create a composite image that reflects the dominant aspect of the deity. The title of each piece will be the name of the new God(dess) depicted, and the final piece will be done in the style of medieval sacred icons. The final paintings will be done in oil paint and gold leaf on panel. I'm attempting not only to create new myths, but pay tribute to the new spirits that these myths give rise to. I am drawing inspiration from ancient religious art, relief sculpture and statues, Russian icons, modern cartoons, pop culture and a host of modern artists and illustrators.

By fusing similar deities back together, I hope to impress upon the viewer that all of them are one. All of the thunder gods are thunder gods at the end of the day, be they Norse or Native American. No one religion is correct, but all draw upon the same wonder and awe, and the same spirit is present in each of them.

Here's what I've worked on so far.



I'm hoping to develop a stylistic language that can give new life to philosophical concepts and characters alike. Savior is a conglomeration of the mythical Saviors of Mankind from 5 ancient cultures, and Chrysalis is my commentary on sacred metamorphosis.

My room mate told me to do what I can right now. And the way I interpreted it isn't just to keep plodding along, but to do what you can RIGHT NOW. I can't worry about the huge finished product yet, it's way far off! I have experiments and small pieces to do before I sit down and begin work the huge finished products. So, baby steps. First Chrysalis to test out the gold leafing process, then some other experiments to work out paint and techniques and progression. After all of that, I'll start on Savior. And when Savior is done, I'll begin work on the other 7 pieces to go with it.

The broader scope of this project includes many tribute pieces to spirits, deities and sacred concepts. I plan to do multiple versions of the same image that focus on different aspects of the same deity and all kinds of fun stuff.

Super excited and super inspired. The frankincense helps. ; )

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Productivity Is A Four Letter Word

I've been thinking a lot about the notion of productivity.

When one thinks about productivity, one usually thinks about what one has done that day. How many chores we finished, errands we ran, projects we finished, the work that we did. Personal productivity is the motivation for many people to drag themselves out of bed in the morning and put on pants. This notion of having to do things in order to feel good about oneself is very strange, don't you think? Simply being alive and breathing should suffice to satisfy our ego enough. So where does this come from? Why must I tally off each and every task completed and feel better about higher numbers?

So let's look at the history of "productivity" and see if we can unravel the conundrum of it's looming presence in our lives.

Productivity is an economic concept connecting the measurement of efficiency to production, relating the total input to the total output of a single unit. The term was coined in the early 19th century (1), during the escalation of the Industrial Revolution. A quick look at the history books will give you an idea of what was going on at the time. The world experienced a huge economic boom which, it could be argued, continues today. We have reached the peak moment in this event, however, and it is evident in all of our institutions that the Victorian ideals that drive our Industrialist philosophies are unsustainable and flawed.

Productivity has crept into the deepest recesses of the human psyche through the clever use of money and commodity. We are consumers, and the notion of economic productivity touches every facet of our lives. Even our expectation of ourselves as people.

Pseudonyms of productivity include, "abundance" (which relates to the creation of "starvation economies"), "fertility" and "potency" (relating subconsciously to gender politics), "richness" (relating to wealth, and wealth back to consumption; and also to quality of life). These words trigger different subconscious relationships to productivity in our brains.

Productivity as abundance means we will never have enough; we will work to earn and consume and hoard. We work to fuel the productivity loop. We create capital to gain capital. And if we find ourselves with more than we need, we hoard that capital in banks and garages and storage facilities. Or stocks and real-estate. If you are not productive in this way, you live a life plagued by unfulfilled needs. You are deprived, and poor, and lazy. Very negative things to be.

Productivity as "fertility" and "potency" feeds our instinctual need to create. One could argue that the drive to reproduce and gender politics are influenced by this subliminal aspect of productivity. If you are not fertile, you are sterile. If you are not potent, you are weak. For women, this means you cannot produce children, and for some women, it carries the ridiculous notion that you are "less of a woman". For men, it is an affront to their masculinity; we all know the toxic stigma that being "impotent" carries. I mean, you must be a sissy if you aren't sporting a raging boner at all times, ready to rock!

Productivity as "richness" is pretty obvious. If you aren't productive, you are a lazy, stinky bum who lives in a shopping cart in an alley and begs for change. For not contributing to the production/consumption loop, you are a burden on society. And no one wants that, right? (Except for those that choose it in the name of simplicity or adventure.)

Productivity is a positive word that people use to describe themselves. "I was super productive today!" "I had a very productive afternoon." "I was running around all day being productive!" These are all statements that make us feel very good about ourselves. This is productivity as progress, and this is where it gets complicated.

The notion of progress and the notion of productivity are married in their influence over our lives and culture. Lack of progress means you aren't "growing" or "allowing for positive change" or "developing". Further, and at it's root, it means you are lazy. And being lazy in this culture means that you aren't "producing" anything of "value".

Progress, value, and productivity are very toxic things in a starvation economy. They cause people to degrade things that have no monetary value, hold themselves to unrealistic expectations, devalue experience and the time it takes to gain it, develop toxic attitudes about taking time out for self exploration, attach deep meaning to material possessions and wealth, hoards of very negative things. And not meeting these unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves in the name of being productive makes us feel horrible about ourselves.

So what have we done? How did this abstract economic concept seep into every crack and crevice of our lives? I could rant about the unsustainability of the 1950's utopian concept of progress and the deep evils of capitalism, but you've no doubt heard about those elsewhere.

I propose something more... well... productive!

I propose that we unmask the concept of "productivity" for what it actually is. It is nothing. It is a rule we added to the game to complicate it for ourselves. Productivity is man made. Productivity is a restriction. Productivity is, above all, a stupid rule. I say we break the chains that bind us to ridiculous expectations and low self esteem. Dare to be unproductive! Deign to sit with yourself and do nothing but feel the sun and the breeze! Don't think about anything, don't move, don't listen to music, don't check your phone, just be here. Set a timer if you have to (I know it's lame, but it helps).

Be present, not productive. Celebrate the little victories like putting on pants and feeding yourself. If you are warm, comfortable and fed at the end of the day, I'd say you were pretty productive! Don't get mad at yourself for taking a day off to think, or heal, or sleep. Do what you have to do! If it conflicts with your productivity, you are being too productive, and you are not being present.

I know it's hard. Doing nothing and being present may lead to enlightenment (or a general feeling of wellbeing) but it is much harder and less immediately satisfying than being "productive". Being present takes time. It takes time to learn how to do it, and one needs to make the time to do it. Because it takes time, the rewards, though greater, take time to manifest and appreciate, but they are worth the wait. (I hate the word "manifest", it's overused but it's the best I've got at the present moment.) Let go of your attachment to productivity and begin living up to your own expectations. And then let go of those expectations and really find bliss.

Do what you have to do, don't put productivity above yourself. I wish there was a word other than productivity that encapsulated the concepts of "do what you have to do" and "be true to yourself first". Silly English, you don't have the right words. Productivity is a 4 letter word, and that word is "work". Work is no fun. "Play" and "live" are much more fun! Feeling good in your mind and body is a lot more fun. That's not to say that you shouldn't take care of yourself, but "doing what you have to do" and "work" aren't necessarily synonymous. There is work in doing what you have to do, but do just that. Just do what you have to do, don't get hung up on all the extra side-quests.

The game doesn't have to suck, because we can pick the rules we want to play with. I'm leaving productivity, in it's negative sense, to people that like complicating things. I'm much too busy playing my mo'betta game over here. Not only that, but I demand to play my own game. It is my choice. Don't diss me because my game is easier and more fun than yours. That's your problem. No fair trying to make me feel bad about my awesomeness.

Try it. That's the main message here. Try doing what you have to do instead of what productive industrialists tell you you "could" or "should" be doing. "Could" doesn't mean "should", and "should" doesn't mean "must". There are 3 words for a good reason. Try it. And make sure you fit in things that you "like" and "want" to do too. : )

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lost in Translation

I've always known that I am very eloquent when I write. Even more so than when I speak. I'm good at converting my thoughts and feelings into words, and I try to do it as often as possible.

As far as serious conversations go, however, I really suck at communicating sometimes. I always think of how better to phrase whatever I was talking about an hour or two after it happens. Kind of like how you always think of a better come-back to an insult after you walk away from it.

I have gotten better about speaking my mind through the practice of "blurting", which is just saying what is really on my mind in tense situations in an effort to get everything out on the table. It is a wonderful practice. And it has served me well recently, but it doesn't work in every situation.

In sensitive, serious conversations, where nerves are frayed and feelings may be hurt, blurting can only serve to aggravate the situation. So what is one to do? If I am made to participate in conversations like this, my blood runs cold, I start to shake like I was in a high school trumpet audition, and my emotions go positively haywire from the pressure. I used to be able to mask these reactions, but not anymore. Now things get lost in translation between my brain and my mouth. However, there are solutions to this problem.

Being an introvert means that confrontations are hard. They're hard to navigate and drain us quickly. And then we need time to digest the situation and recharge, which is nearly impossible in most situations. In these cases, writing is the answer.

When I write, I get to think about what I want to say, say it in the most eloquent and precise way I can conjure, and I have time to put my thoughts together to convey the meaning that I want them to. When I'm rushed, precision and true meaning are the first things to flee from my language, leaving me, mostly, at a complete loss for words. Which doesn't fly in serious conversations and leaves the other participant flustered and frustrated. But if you give me time to think about it and compose a paragraph or two, everything is made clear again.

This written approach is by it's very nature proactive, which is unfortunate. Reactionary writing does nothing to assuage the feelings of the person you are reacting to (who is often very emotional by the time the conversation jolts to an abrupt beginning). But in the end, it results in less hurt feelings and better understanding from both parties. I've heard the argument that text can be cold and unemotional and lead to all kinds of miscommunications, but I actually believe that it is easier to say what is on your mind when you sit down and actually think about it long enough to put it into words. I like writing poetry for this reason. Because then I have to really think deeply about what it is I want to say and how.

I hope that I'll find a place in my life that will be more open to this kind of communication someday. Until then, more journaling and more poetry. And if you receive a serious letter from me, don't be offended, take it as a compliment. It means that I care enough about you to tell you how I really feel.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Years Dreams

An overview.

New Years: I dreamt I was covertly covering for a handyman in my apartment complex that never fixed anything due to addiction and depression. I would steal his tools, fix stuff, and replace the tools when I was done. In order to do this, I needed to learn how to pick the locks into some of the other apartments, because the handyman kept all the keys. At the end of the dream, I was in the roofless tool room and I had found 2 practice locks (you could see all the parts of the cylinder) and a set of really good picks. Then I woke up.

Interpretation: I have the tools, now all I need is to learn and practice how to use them.

Jan. 4: Woke up at Grams' house in my dreamscape (which is a fascinating place in my mindmap). I was just staying 1 day there while traveling on to somewhere else. My mother and my sister walked into the room looking serious and looked at me. They nodded and said, "We have to do it." My sister said it after my Mom said it as if to affirm that my Mom was right. I looked at them and said, "Do what?" They looked at me with raised eyebrows and my Mom said, "What do you mean what? Haven't you ever seen your Dad do this before?" I said, "Do what?" My Mom and my sister exchanged a knowing look and said, "Ooooh, you don't know then..." And I was still confused when they walked out of the room. I went to follow them, but I woke up.

Interpretation: This is all very Freudian and trinity oriented. Sister, Mom, Grams = Maiden, Mother, Crone. I'm my conscious self, my father is my subconscious self where I know everything already. So essentially, I have the tools, now all I need to do is remember how to use them.

Jan. 6: I was somewhere in Claremont (dreamscape LA again). I was sitting with my cousin Marc and his fictional little brother. We were talking about drugs, Marc was pretty blasé about the whole thing but his little brother just really wanted to smoke pot with me. He took out a duffle bag of implements that we could use to smoke with. I zipped up the bag and put it back under the bench he had taken it out from under and basically told him that yeah, it's fun and all, but there's a time and a place for that, and now isn't the time. Then I woke up.

Interpretation: I have the tools, now all I need is to learn when they appropriate to use.

So I guess the overlying theme of my dreams lately has been pretty concrete. I have the tools, I just don't know exactly what to do with them. This actually makes me feel pretty optimistic! It means that I'm the captain, essentially. I'm driving this bitch, I just need to shut up and drive!