[Upon casual review, I notice this blog contains perhaps more f-bombs than the average blog, which is interesting — I discuss some emphatically-felt things here — but anyway it’s pretty crass of me and I apologize in advance.]
Haley and I were up in my Spell loft about two weeks ago (Australian label with a cult following; I recommend you don’t look or else they might get you too) and she asked me, Do you tend to wear x y z gowns under these or those circumstances? I forget exactly what. Strappies with kimonos when it’s cold or something, blousy long sleeves when it’s hot, who knows. And Haley is an ultimate, but also one of a kind, Southern belle: Oh mah gaw(l)…!
And I said, I don’t know! I haven’t had a chance to find out!
And she was like, huh?
And I was like, I’ve gotten to wear a nice Spell outfit like five times a year, maybe. I’ve been out…just doin’ all kinds of other things, things you have to wear jeans and overalls for, and a lot of warm layers.
She looked pretty confused by that — it’s pretty confusing — and looked back at my wardrobe. I have the kind of Spell wardrobe you don’t just fall into. It’s like an extreme sport, acquiring these things. They sell out immediately, they’re rare, they’re expensive and hard to come by. What have I been doing, accumulating so much of a specialized thing that only makes sense with a certain type of lifestyle that I definitely haven’t had?
I guess I needed something financially and emotionally committing enough to anchor me to the vision of the life, the weather, the physical me I DID want, someday, rather than the [all that] I needed to live in order to get there.
Yeah…some part of me still can’t believe I was out, you know, teaching truck driving in a big freezing parking lot, this time last year (a job I love in many respects but still pretty rough).
I wondered though, for years off and on: could I make it on audiobooks alone? I tried to make it on audiobooks alone when I first started producing them, back in 2015. Short answer: I couldn’t. And I was lonely. I’m down for more me-time than the average bear but I didn’t have a significant other, a roommate, or really many friends to speak of, and I just narrated in my closet all the time, in Tucson…and actually got lonely! Shocker. Also broke — just never knew whether to do royalties or hourly, neither seemed to pay off like I needed it to. So of course I got myself back into truck driving and that dominated the next five years of my life, mostly pleasantly…well, I don’t know if pleasant is the word. I love truck driving; I don’t always love the variables around it.
But yeah, I kept narrating audiobooks, as I could, off and on. Found out the royalties is the way to go, incidentally, and fell into a relationship with a primary author, very wonderful, very comfortable. She’s busy, raising kids, but doing a great job with her sales platform. I guess I probably don’t have to describe the enormous amount of work and churn and discomfort involved in trying to make career moves that get you somewhere…? Like: when I met Nick in Flagstaff, I was already moving to Albuquerque in a month, because I’d taken a job, so we had to figure our stuff out pretty quickly, and then we both moved, and then the job fucked me over at first so I had no money or hours, and Albuquerque fucked him over. Then I applied for a new job with the same organization, and then they took their sweet ass time getting me going, then when they did they worked me to death, just to death. I was exhausted. Making up the lost money, of course, but at what cost. Then both those jobs fucked me in retirement stuff because of HR’s confusion between original hire date and second hire date, closing the avenue of retirement funding that made sense for me and forcing me into the avenue that made no fucking sense, and lost me all my employer contributions. I spent a lot of time fighting that but lost, or just finally gave up. Then an admin job opened up above both of those, and I spent a bunch of time making an application that stood a chance, while doing my other jobs and having taken on online teaching as well, and I got into the second round of interviews and was one of the final candidates and then the funding situation changed and they decided to defer hiring anyone for that position, indefinitely. So I’m just sweating balls working all day in the heat in the summer, all day in the cold in the winter, doing the truck driving instruction thing which is good work, very important work, and I’m grateful to have had it.
STILL, all this time, I’m narrating audiobooks on the side, if you can believe it lol! And again, periodically, I thought to myself: if I just quit ALL this other bullshit and did even a book a week, could I make it? Might I possibly do even better?
But I didn’t pull the trigger on that. My sense of hanging on to good work when I find it is really strong, you know, and my sense of wanting to have at least a few forms of income was even stronger.
But, because of that, Nick and I had to move and figure out our relationship and experience our lives together in a place that was, in various ways and for various reasons, antagonistic to us. He got bloody noses all the time, had trouble breathing, cracked hands, cracked lips, cracked nostrils. He grew up on the coast. He can’t handle the southwest like I can. All that aridity does just fine for me — it only ages me prematurely, making the skin of my face, neck, chest look like crepe, look like crap, sucking me dry like a mummy. None of that would have had to be the case if I/we had work that was location non-specific.
That’s right: location non-specific. Those are the magical words for me, the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard. But yeah, at that time in my life, when I applied for the job, took the job, right before meeting Nick, I was like: I’ve GOT to stop living with my dad. I’m forty-fucking-two. I’d not lived with him before his big vision fail, where he had to have surgeries to fix prior surgeries, and then I’d like shut down my Tucson life as the vision fail thing dragged on, and that’s what brought me back to Flagstaff, and ultimately I found myself somewhat out of the woods with supporting him, but having gotten myself so deep in seasonal and other forms of trucking that I was just home basing there, not really living-living there…but living there enough to drive me crazy…but not super clear on where else to go or why. He was getting old enough that going real far away, to some actually desirable place, just wasn’t feeling like an option. I was so stuck. I was feeling really, really stuck.
I think that’s one reason I threw myself into work, especially fire season, so hard. My boss would be like, can you just go out and stay out, 150 days straight or whatever, as long as there’s work? And I’d be like, yes please. My boss would be like, can you drive that water truck back to Idaho from Wyoming, swap for a fuel truck, drive the fuel truck to the Nevada/California line, and be there by noon tomorrow? I’ll pay you double. And I’d be like, yes please. My boss would be like, can I rotate you to a spike camp in Agness and have you sort out the accounting on a fuel truck that’s been there for two months, and the operator fucked up the paperwork and it’s all messed up? And I’d be like, yes please. Audiobook narration obviously suffered, haha. But it funded my Spell wardrobe! That was one thing I could commit to, that made me unconditionally, and I mean unconditionally, happy. I couldn’t invest in a house, I didn’t know where I wanted to be; I already had a vehicle so that was fine, I’m def not one to add special rims or some shit. I didn’t want to try and buy my own truck, without land of my own or a shop or anywhere to park it. I didn’t want to start any other kind of business. I had all the good stuff I needed for audiobook narration. I wanted to, in some way, invest in the kind of future I wanted, not the kind of life I had, and for whatever reason — I know it sounds crazy — pretty, beachy dresses was it! I would get it in the mail and try it on, and look fantastic (blizzarding outside) and think: this feels too good, and cost too much, for me NOT to have a life where I can wear it, someday. I was literally financially forcing myself into angling towards something totally new, totally different. Hawaii was not even remotely a concept that had occurred to me yet. Can you believe it? The only other idea I could really get behind, money-wise, was like a nice motorhome or something, but I didn’t even know where I would park it. And then life changed too fast for that to matter.
This is so crazy, looking back on it. I was like, I probably just have some kind of online shopping addiction. And maybe I did. It was the one way to kind of “have” the me I wanted, amidst all this other stuff, that was arguably me as well, but way different. I guess, sometimes, only time can tell whether you have an online shopping addiction or an actual inner commitment to buying things that will serve you in a future you’re determined to have, however unlikely it may seem from your present day reality.
I remember I got to wear, like, one nice outfit, one day, in 2018, in Flagstaff, when it was warm enough to wear it, and only because the fires had started early and then died down in mid-May. (Snow on the ground by the time the season was over and I got home.) It was the Sayulita set, flutter shorts and an off-shoulder top, with some ankle boots, and correction: it was *almost*warm enough to wear it. But I wore it. I was like, goddammit, I’m going to go to this festival in the park wearing something pretty as if I’m a real fucking girl, no matter what. And then the next day I was off on another fire. But I remember that outfit, and sitting on a blanket on the grass at that festival (it was a festival I had played, in previous years), and how good it felt.
So anyway, fast forward to two weeks ago, crawling around in my Spell loft with Haley, and her two young kids were crawling around with us. Her daughter adores purple, and was pulling out every single purple thing (I’m a fan as well, it accentuates the green in my eyes) and holding it up against herself, and her son was avowing that he did not like girl clothes and girl stuff, but sort of stroking and exploring various fabrics nonetheless.
And Haley, who is sort of like Scarlett O’Hara except she can grow vegetables and take care of things, was like, Oh mah gaw(l), do you wear this as a dress or unbuttoned as a duster, mostly?
And I was like, I have no idea! I can’t wait to find out!
Oh yeah, so that’s what I was going to say! I got laid off from my safe-ish, secure-ish job in March, Nick broke up with me or asked me to please break up with him, same difference, got invited out to Hawaii by a friend, and then at the same time my audiobook author lady really assessed the situation and became extra-brilliant. She was like: if everyone’s laid off and shut down and forced to stay in their houses: they’ll probably buy a lot more audiobooks! She started experimenting with new forms of marketing and evolved a strategy, involving the free download codes issued to us by Amazon, among other things, to take the same ole books we’d had on the market for years and re-invigorate their sales. I mean, pretty soon it was like 3x, 5x the royalties we’d both been seeing. And the method she evolved doesn’t actually depend on a global fake pandemic, but it was inspired by it, let’s just say.
So, by the time moving to Hawaii became an actual prospect (Nick and I only stayed broken up for like three days), narrating for work became an actual prospect too. It wasn’t necessarily going to be enough for both of us to be super comfortable, but it was definitely enough for both of us to reliably be able to afford rent and food, and the luxury of more time to produce more audiobooks to bump up the royalties as much as possible, as an experiment. Oh, forgot to mention, Nick began co-narrating with me back in April, as he lost his strength coaching business of course.
So: despite working the whole 2020 fire season together, and all the kerfuffle and expense of moving to a new continent and getting set up here with my dad and brother (that’s an even more amazing ingredient of the surprise Hawaii stew), we managed to complete one entire 5 book series together, and we’ve already done 2 out of 3 of a spin off series, and we’re already contracted for a bunch more, that we have the time and aptitude to complete in short order and really enjoy, frankly. Our author connected us to another author that needs male/female dual narrators, in fact, and we’re going to start in on her books. And our primary author turned the whole marketing operation over to her 15 year old daughter, now, and I just pay her 10% of whatever royalties she’s able to generate for us, and so far it’s been real good. I think it can get better, as we get more books in the pipeline, but it’s location non-specific work that we can do our own way, on our own time, and we just could not be more grateful. I’ve been able to help connect Nick to this livelihood, and sort of coach him a little (sometimes more than he wants lol), and he’s been able to re-invigorate the whole experience for me. It is a lonely form of work, a necessarily isolated form of work, and having both of us in the room, listening and silently cracking up about each other’s mistakes etc, has totally changed the experience of narration for me. Whereas I felt maybe a little put-upon to do three chapters in a row, previously, I now feel able to crank out five or even seven, sometimes. Nick has this real get ‘er done energy that I just love. My old pie-in-the-sky goal of a book a week has been immediately eclipsed by his natural joie de vivre — he’s like, we could do a book every two days, babe.
So, the upshot of all this is that, instead of standing out in the freezing cold or burning hot every day, teaching the tractor trailer parallel park over and over, or the alley dock over and over, or whatever, wearing my coveralls, I get to wake up, write something, and then decide what to wear, and spend some time in the narration studio enjoying the cadence and timbre of my own voice, everyday. Every day is perfect, so deciding what to wear is really a matter of if it’s a lil rainy or a lil sunny. And I spent the last four years accumulating a wardrobe that makes perfect sense in Hawaii and makes me feel very very very happy, while having no idea that entire time that I’d be moving to Hawaii.
So I’m not sure if this blog is about the depths of frivolity that females can sink to?, or how lucky I am to have followed my gut about things despite my gut making absolutely zero sense in the context of my former life?, or what, but I sure am happy. So yes, maybe in about a year I’ll have an answer for Haley about what I wear when, but for now I frankly don’t know. I have a lot of beachy, foamy, frilly wardrobe catching up to do 🙂
Oh, and sorry for the long radio silence! My first day back available to blog was yesterday, actually, and I spent the whole morning writing a blog that was so risky, and so rough drafty, and so problematic even though I think it was still incredibly valuable, interesting, and insightful — much more so than this one — that I realized I better not post it. Or I better get my ducks in a serious fucking row, on that subject (the subject being sacred masculine, sacred feminine, the thinking all around trans stuff contextualized in a spiritual versus a political sense, etc) before I commit a blog to the blogosphere.
I was in Cancun, all last week — well, I was in Cancun for most of the week, and traveling the entire western hemisphere on what turned out to be like a 36-leg, 2 day journey both ways, to get there and return home, because fucking American Airlines canceled my original, reasonable ticket, with no notice, for no reason beside “covid”, a week in advance of my trip, and so I had to patch together a Frankenstein abomination of a replacement itinerary from Southwest Airlines, the only airline to even remotely come through for me. So I spent a lot, a LOT of time getting there and getting back — being in all different airports, hotels, Ubers, friends’ houses, the whole thing.
Immediately before all this, I had gotten my computer back from the Mac shop in Hilo. They said they didn’t find anything wrong with it, but they just re-installed the update that had crashed it in the first place, to be on the safe side, but here you go. So, I was like, thanks, and checked that it worked, and it did.
So, my computer nevertheless turned out to be broken for the entire trip, and I’m using Nick’s computer now just to write something. He made the ultimate sacrifice and left it for me — I dropped him off at the airport day before yesterday, for his trip back East to spend Xmas with fam. I could afford to do either my trip or the Xmas trip, not both, and the annual pilgrimage to Cancun is really important to me.
Long story short, Cancun is not only a haven for normal recreation but a hot spot for medical tourism, and I became a committed medical tourist years ago — I guess about five years ago, when I lived much closer to Mexico, in Tucson. I’d heard you could get dental etc. for cheaper but I hadn’t taken the plunge. I didn’t really know where to start, and I don’t even speak Spanish, etc.
But I had a friend who’d had a great experience with braces, in Nogales, and he took me with him and set me up. Turns out it’s so easy, so cheap, and such high quality. I became a devotee, instantly. I’ve had such shitty dental care and medical care and financial experiences around that, here in the US. They act like it’s not even your business how much it costs and then like something’s fucking wrong with you if you have a hard time paying for something that was not even made clear to you at the outset how much it would be. It’s all about the insurance, here, and if you don’t have insurance, you just fall immediately and entirely through the cracks. I’ve worked my whole fucking life and never had insurance that did anything for me, except when I was active duty, and I tell you what — I’m happy everyone’s scared of medical care in Mexico. Good! Less lines for me to wait in. I cannot emphasize how emphatically grateful I am to have that option, and how much of an enormous “no” I want to ensure the American medical situation receives from me, as a result. I would love to charter an airplane and fly a banner across the sky that says “FUCK YOU AMERICAN MEDICAL SITUATION”. I love Mexico, and have had 100% good experiences there, not only addressing current concerns but also longstanding older problems that I wouldn’t have ever had the time or money to fix, in the US.
So, it’s a bit of a saga I suppose, but what’s evolved for me is this relationship to Cancun. It’s really a hub of medical tourism as well as the more traditional brand of tourism, and whatever it is I need — dental, medical, surgical, cosmetic, dermatology, pharmaceutical, hair, nails, lashes, seriously whatever — I try to just hold out for Cancun to get it, if I can. I even found a really nice fancy push up bra for $1.50, that would have cost $70+ here.
And like, these days you know, me and Nick have been thinking, we should probably have a couple Z-packs and some hydroxychloroquine, maybe some Prednisone, just a couple high powered things around just in case. So my recent fire season friend Julie came to Cancun with me (we had so much fun and got to know each other so much better!), and she and I walk to the farmacia, and the guy there is like ‘no you need a prescription’ but he takes us next door to where we can get a prescription. It costs two dollars to sit down with this…prescription guy, idk he looked really young, and ask for a prescription. So we tell him what we want and he asks why we need it. I say, “Because I live in the US, and I used to live close to Mexico so I can go to the doctor if anything happens to me, but now I live in Hawaii so I’m scared if something happens to me I’m too far away.” And he’s like, “That totally makes sense” and writes the scrip! Awesome.
And finally, just to put a bow on this extremely rambling blog, my friend Julie is not a devotee of Spell dresses and garments, and was bemoaning how she didn’t feel ready for Cancun. No one does, after fire season. Fire season makes you pasty, fat, temporarily rich, and sort of lifestyle hung-over. She was on that Creek fire, for instance, for 45 days. It’s just a bizarre Groundhog Day sort of life. I said, “Don’t worry — I’m bringing you a whole wardrobe and you’ll look like a goddess”. And I did, and she did! Pure magic. Magic that I paid for when it didn’t even make sense to, because my soul was yearning so deeply to, against all odds, have some kind of life where I just wear pretty clothes every day and the weather is perfect and I can still make money somehow. Crazy, just crazy that that worked out, and I’m living it. I even have incredible lashes right now, for the time being, since I just got back from Cancun 🙂
Oh, and how about that BITCOIN?! Went to 24k! Holding at 23k+ now. Very interesting.
Okay, breakfast is calling, and merry Christmas Eve, everyone. I have all kinds of opinions about the election and the country and the fake pandemic and the Deep State, as usual, but I’ll just leave you with probably the best link of all time, this guy Simon Parkes, for what I consider to be quality intel if you’re interested. Okay, bye for now!
Oh and one final PS: if you're interested in my recommendation for good, reliable care of whatever nature in Cancun, of course just comment or message me. I should probably add links and specifics and all that, but that's just not what this blog was about. But I'm always happy to share anything that's helpful — most of us in the US are all in the same boat and it's good to find workarounds.
FYI the Spell loft in progress, before my trip: