I’m on my way.

Jeff and I have really been talking about things lately. We’ve talked about solid desires for the future, about what we need to do to get there, and about relaxing in the midst of it all to savor our life as it is. We realized that we really want to be activists in our life, in a bigger way than just what we eat and our personal choices, you know? Like, we want to try to really revamp our lives to reflect our beliefs in a way that sends a message. We’ve been doing more research on eco-villages, and we’ve been talking to friends about seriously committing to something (whether it be a community of urban farmers or an out-in-the-country kind of place). We know that it’s important to not do this alone, so if we can’t get commitment from friends nearby, then it’s likely that we will find an existing group to join. I don’t want to leave, but I know that I want to be part of a group of people dedicated to the same things, and I want Vera to grow up in an involved community. Anyway, it seems like, as of right now, we’ve got a pretty good start with the folks around us. Exciting. I contacted an eco-village in the northeastern Ohio region, and I hope they will give me more info. Their mission statement really sums up what I want: "We are striving to create an intentional community, designed by the residents to encourage social interaction between neighbors in daily life. We intend to promote and embody the restoration of healthy and balanced relationships among people, land and resources."  Oh fun!

Sept. 10th:
Jeff built his sister a table. She wanted it to put over her dog crate, so she gave him measurements and off he went. I think it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s made from olive and walnut- both from wood that his dad had stowed away in his garage. This is his second piece of furniture. A true artist.

Sept. 11th:
A jungle of basil. And to think, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough… I didn’t grow nearly enough, but there was no need considering all the basil that would be gifted to us from people who had waaay too much. Yum. I think I’ll make a tomato pesto pie.

Sept. 12th:
We like to say that Maya is in "donut mode" when she’s like this. She’s so warm and cuddly. I love my pup.

Sept. 13:
Today has been pouring! The diapers needed washing and I had stalled long enough, but with our dryer broken and it pouring outside I’m looking at hanging diapers all over cabinets and doors and chairs all over the house. It’ll be a diaper frenzy!


Before and after- installment #2:

Front porch. There was such a mess of repotted plants and corn husks and cigarette butts (from our friend upstairs who NEVER throws them away, it’s weird) and whatever left on the porch from the busy summer, I thought it was time to go into fall with style. Much better.

In other news, I got a job. I am watching a friend’s baby (just two weeks younger than Vera) 3 days a week, for 9 hour days. I was hesitant when they asked me. It’s job enough watching one baby and trying to take care of whatever- but two? I knew I could mentally feel fine about one day, but three? Well, it’s really just what we needed though. It’s enough money to get us out of the red and it enables me to stay home with Vera still. I was nervous about it, because really, with a baby, I don’t even have time to work. But I can do this. So I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m also really happy to make my friends happy. They don’t want him in daycare, and even if they did, the cost is prohibitive. How can anyone afford $900 a month for just 3 days a week? I couldn’t. Jeff and I did the math and figured out that a single parent would only take home $17 a day, for a 9 hour day (assuming they made $10 an hour, which is pretty average). Outrageous! I mean, I understand that daycares need that money, but it should be subsidized or something. How are people supposed to pay rent? It’s crazy. And this is what I meant about going back to work. It’s almost laughable to only be making an extra 50 or 100 bucks a week when all is said and done. So, when opportunity knocks… I’m determined to be happy about this and not overwhelmed. In my spare time I can do other odd jobs, and we might even be able to save a little. This is a good thing for us right now. I’m also cleaning a friend’s apartment on a regular basis (this has yet to be scheduled, but it will soon), and I have some work from my dad to do too. I’m just gonna have to get better about delegating jobs to Jeff, because I won’t be getting as much done as I did before. Maybe I’ll make a chore list… how blah is that?

Things have been very productive and promising lately, which is good considering how hopeless I was feeling about school and money the other day. We’ve managed to get our old income back without me returning to work-work, and we still have quite a bit of savings left (which is likely going straight to school loan payments, but still).

I might go for a walk in the rain this afternoon.

"Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night."
-Kahlil Gibran


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Comments (15)

  1. brigittefires

    I really enjoyed the “fun” aspect of going to http://www.chorewars.com

    You get experience points for doing chores, it helps you keep track that things are getting done, and you can set up a reward system that once each/both/either of you reaches a certain number of gold, you do/get something. It’s good times.

    And congrats on the job! In your situation I know that would be a load off my mind. And hey, it’ll prepare you for the future 😉 ok jk.

    At least you’re dealing with two babies of the same age. It would be a lot more difficult if they were farther apart, even just by a few months at that young, just because they would be wildly different in their interaction ability and the things they’re mentally ready to grasp. But this way you can do the same thing with both of them and be alright. (OTOH you can’t send one off to play by themself while you do something with the other one but hey, you can’t have it both ways right?)

    What kind of stuff is involved with you eco-village idea?

    Good luck with it all!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      That’s so funny! I already give myself points for extra stuff (the stuff I have trouble motivating myself to do). I’ll have to give that program a try so that Jeff can help and get prizes too! Thanks for the idea. 🙂

      The eco-village, well, it sort of depends. They generally focus on growing their own food, alternative energy, community service, etc. They really try to be examples of intentional communities living in a way that honors all life and is self-sustaining (at least partially). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-village

  2. purerandomness

    At UM they do have a child care subsidy for graduate students. It pays something like $2000 per semester for child-care related expenses, so long as the provider is certified through the state.

    My siblings and I went to a neighborhood woman’s house for babysitting through my 4th grade year. I don’t know how much they paid her, but it was a LOT less than $900/month!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      That’s cool! Yeah, I know there are options for people, but they can be kind of hard to find. For instance, Washtenaw has a day care for like 2.50 an hour or something, but the kids have to be at least 18 mos. Anyway, it’s tricky for people. I’m glad I can stay home for now!

  3. 93_millionmiles

    Nice table! Jeff should start a furniture company.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I know! I have total faith in him. How are you, lady?

  4. stupidfool

    that is great news, about you watching your friend’s baby! it sounds like it will work out really well for both of you. and you’re so great with your daughter, and so put together, that i’m sure you’ll have no trouble with the two of them!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Aw you’re so encouraging! I can do it! Thanks.

  5. Anonymous

    That is awesome about watching your friends baby! My last nanny job was taking care of twins so you will pretty much be doing what I was doing. It’s a lot of fun. When there are two they enjoy each others company. 🙂

    1. robinbronwen

      Oops, the previous comment says anonymous. It’s me!

    2. Gracie (Post author)

      Yes! Lots of parallel play, yes? I’m hoping it’ll be a breeze.

  6. Anonymous

    Jeff’s table is beautiful! wow! As for 2 babies, well maybe they will occupy each other. 😉

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I’ll tell him you thought so! Yes, I’ll be sure to give updates on how it’s all going. 🙂

  7. aamour

    wow! that is so cool that he made a table!
    good job getting a job!

    … i really love the quote you posted.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks! oh and I LOVE that quote. It’s so centering and it makes me want to work with joy…



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