Flowers and Coffee are Good Things

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It’s so easy at times like this to feel like everything in my life is shit, that the universe hates me, that I’m doomed and that diseases are settling into my body and will kill me soon but only if I don’t get murdered first.

It’s time to count the good things in my life:

The mourning doves in my neighborhood. Especially the one that just sat on the wire I can see from my office window who kept looking at me and I really think he was conveying a message of peace because I felt calmer looking at him and talking to him. I love the sound of doves cooing.

The butterflies and humming birds that have visited the garden this week. This year’s garden is the best year yet for attracting beneficials and growing beautiful flowers of all kinds. The health of a garden can be measured by how much life is thriving in it.

My immediate family. They’re my favorite people even when they drive me nuts.

Max (SO FAR) seems to be navigating teen-hood at an even steady healthy pace. His teen years up to this point have been much easier and mellower than his toddler and kid years. By a lot. I’m so thankful how well he’s taking it that we don’t go out much and can’t buy much extra stuff. And he’s finally getting out of the house to hang out with friends in real life after school and on some weekends. While it feels scary to me, it’s incredibly healthy.

Coffee. Fair trade coffee.

Kittens. Thank god for kittens. I mean, such cuteness is healing.

I’d list some more good things but it’s getting hot already and I need some food. Anyway, what good things are in your life right now?

 

Self Loathing is a Sneaky Bastard

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Last night I saw a milk commercial where a woman eats a bowl of super spicy meat chili and the idiot voice-over says “GOT MILK?”. This is going to haunt me forever. MILK AND MEAT CHILI IS A LEVEL OF DISGUSTING I NEVER IMAGINED FROM AMD’S* AND NOW WILL NEVER FORGET.

What if cows had domesticated humans instead of the other way around? I’m picturing a  bull sitting down in a bucolic field to eat a big bowl of spicy human baby stew and suddenly realizing what he really needs is to also have a big-ass glass of the human milk that fed the baby he’s eating…

Last night I made a really amazing eggplant Parmesan that really wasn’t eggplant Parmesan at all because I didn’t fry or bread the eggplant, there was no mozzarella, and no Parmesan (except for what I sprinkled on top, and believe me when I tell you that I used mad restraint which isn’t normal for me). I broiled eggplant rounds that I brushed with mustard vinaigrette dressing until they were tender. Then I sandwiched soft ricotta cheese between slices of eggplant, covered with a homemade simple marinara sauce, and cooked until bubbling hot.  It was so good. So simple, not especially fattening, and so delicious. Tomato season is coming to a close and I have canned and frozen no tomatoes and that sauce was the only batch of homemade sauce I’ve made all summer. I also made no pickles.

Yesterday was the first official day of fall. The morning was wonderful and perfect – sunny but with a crisp cool fall breeze. It made me feel buoyant! But then it got hot like summer in the afternoon and it’s going to be in the 90’s all weekend. Typical California September weather. In spite of the weather, I’m so happy to live here. The question of whether or not Philip is willing to relocate for work came up and the answer was a resounding NO.

I have plantar fasciitis. It’s horrible. Just another stupid foot problem.

It hasn’t even been a month since Zeke died and it still feels alien to say that. If his ashes and bone bits weren’t in a box in my mom’s unit I might think it was all just another one of my dreadful nightmares. But they ARE there. I held what’s left of my brother’s earthly body in a box that came to us in the mail (which I had to sign for, a detail that only bothers me because you sign for parcels, not bodies) and it was heavier than I expected. I was overwhelmed by a more terrible sadness than I had already been feeling.

I understand so much more about grieving now than before. It takes time for your brain to adjust to the facts. You know what’s real, you know death is natural and happens every day, you don’t deny that it’s happened to someone you love. But you still have to adjust your world view to include the new fact that a person you love is no longer IN the world with you. It comes in waves and sometimes it catches you unpleasantly by surprise.

Another weird thing is the envy I’ve been feeling about all the people who got to spend more time with Zeke than me. As I read people’s stories about him in memorial messages I have felt envious and I didn’t expect that. I was not a person Zeke chose to spend much time with. I was a familial obligation. I know he loved me, but so many people got to have him in their daily lives and were closer to him than I got to be. Even Tara spent so much more time with him as an adult than I did. There’s nothing to regret in this. It’s just a fact. We lived very different lives and I was just his big sister. And not a particularly fun one.

Goddamn. I don’t know why I’m suddenly filling with self loathing. While a totally familiar feeling, it’s out of place right now. But then, everything is, isn’t it?

Now is a time to focus on little things. Like potting up a new rosemary plant. Like making good nourishing fresh food. Like continuing to take one step at a time towards building a successful business and not giving up. Like spreading wildflower seeds in the garden, different ones than last year. Self care is doing little positive things for yourself every day. They add up. They really do. So keep doing them, everyone.

*Adult Milk Drinkers

Vampire Facelift

vampire facelift

The amazing thing is that this makes sense to someone in a professional medical capacity. Only in Los Angeles!

I’m trying to get back into the usual flow of life but I’m not sure I had a particularly good flow of life going on in the first place. I got derailed in my efforts on Friday to regain any sense of normalcy when the postman delivered my brother in a box. Holding that heavy box and knowing it’s the weight of all that’s left of my brother’s body was awful. It’s a totally matter-of-fact thing that I didn’t think I’d have such a hard time with. Intellectually I don’t, but holding it made me break down. My mom and Philip also broke down. Then we made an altar around the box of remains and felt a little better.

On Saturday I spent most of my day developing an aromatherapy blend for grieving to put in the diffuser my mom brought home from Zeke’s bedroom, a new addition to Zeke’s life given to him by his best friend Jen Jo. Against nearly all recommendations for grieving blends, we decided we liked jasmine better than rose damask for the floral middle note. Rose is the one single essential oil that is in nearly every single blend recommended for grieving. I love rose damask but my mom and I found the jasmine more uplifting and over-all more effective for our own feelings of grief and loss. So I now have an essential oil blend for grieving which, once I have labels, I will package and put in my shop for sale for others who may need the same support we do.

Yesterday I knew I needed to get moving on my Sugar and Pith work. I have a mailing list to put together, products to make, lotions to perfect, and farmer’s market applications and samples to package up. So. I sat on the couch for a really long time because it was a thousand degrees out and that’s stupid. I was angry with the weather but lacking the energy to do anything about it.

Finally I cleaned the kitchen, cooked some tomatoes down for sauce, and got to work on my lotion trials. Mostly because I really need lotion and it’s ridiculous to buy some more when I have all the ingredients to make my own and a fair amount of skill by this time. Skill is what I wanted to perfect, though. I made three new batches. The first one was just as weird texturally as all my previous batches. I mean, the stuff goes into the skin wonderfully well and is awesome but it looks weird like overwhipped cream. Which, I believe is exactly what the problem was. So I spent my late afternoon and evening developing my lotion-making skills. I’m almost there.

Then I ate an entire medium sized pizza. Fucking gluttony.

Here we are at Monday and I feel as low energy as ever. Still no jobs in this house (I have resumed looking for work, though I scarcely see how I will find anything decent that I can do with my bum foot and lack of uber-specific super-powers every employer demands and seems to think they’ll find) and Philip is working his ass off looking for a good job. Lots of recruiter action, no interviews. Well, there’s a phone interview today but for a job he probably won’t get hired for and can’t actually commute to.

I continue to watch episodes of Poirot all day long. I think I’ll rewatch some Miss Marple today. But first, I think I better go water the front yard. It threatens to be another scorcher today. Boooooo. I better go shower and water the yard before I sink too deeply into this physical and mental malaise brought on by extreme monetary stress and horrible sadness.

At least I’ve got kittens!

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How’s That Grief Coming Along?

Mom Zeke and Tara in Portland

While I was in Los Angeles with my mom, sister, and Ezekiel’s roommate and best friend, his being dead was surreal and visceral. I knew it was real because we were going through his things and everyone around me kept crying (myself included a few times) and we had to arrange for his cremation. After four days of intense shock and grief I was ready to come home and not think about my brother’s death every waking moment of the day. So I watched every youtube episode of the Great British Bake Off I could find (WHY THE FUCK CAN’T I FIND EPISODE 4 OF SEASON 4?!) and re-watched nearly every episode of Poirot ever made (EXCEPT THE LAST ONE WHICH SUCKS). My sister went home. Life kind of returned to sort-of normal-ish.

I started feeling like maybe it was all a dreadful nightmare and my brother might drop by at any time toting some chardonnay or cheap beer since we can’t be trusted to have such things on hand. I didn’t see him that often anyway, so it’s not unusual that he’s gone. So how can it be much different than him being gone now?

To keep things more real my brain launched itself into an obsessive thought mode. It sounds like this in my head:

Remember when my brother wasn’t dead? My brother’s dead. My brother’s dead. My brother’s dead. My brother’s dead. I liked it better when my brother wasn’t dead. My brother’s dead. I will never see my brother again. My brother’s dead. (On seeing someone pass by my house I resist the urge to shout “Hey, my brother’s dead!”) Zeke’s dead. (Philip walks into the room and I say “remember when Zeke wasn’t dead?” He remembers.) My brother’s dead. My brother’s dead. My brother’s dead. (Resists urge to post this all over social media because everyone already knows my brother is dead and it’s a bummer to be reminded again and again of someone’s recent loss and also – it makes you look like you might not be handling it well) I’ll never see Zeke again. My brother’s dead. My brother’s dead. My brother will still be dead tomorrow. My brother’s dead. My brother’s dead. Etc…

So it dawns on me that maybe part of me doesn’t totally accept that he’s dead and my brain is there to make sure I remember it and swallow it and deal with it every waking minute of the day.

Self-inflicted lobotomies aren’t recommended.

I can’t seem to stop my brain from saying obvious stupid shit like “All of my life up until now, Zeke wasn’t dead”

The problem with saying something a million times is that at first you may be pounding a truth home into your psyche, but eventually words repeated too many times in succession lose meaning. (Say baboon really fast 20 times in a row and tell me if it doesn’t start to sound extra weird and meaningless)

At least we didn’t find any porn among his things or on his computer.

But really, death is something that happens to millions of people every single day. It’s the only thing more inevitable than birth. You might not be born, but if you’re born, you WILL die. The blessing for me is that I’m not tortured by the concept of heaven or hell or reincarnation or the belief that there’s a reason we’re born and a reason we die and that somehow our death is connected to the quality of our virtue. I don’t have to sit around worrying about the state of Ezekiel’s soul. The state of his soul was never anyone’s business but his own.

The fact that millions of people die every day means that millions of people are grieving every single day, same as I am right now. That’s kind of awe-inspiring. This grieving experience is something most of us who are living will share in common at some point.

Being born into this world comes with a tremendous amount of baggage. And once you’re in it, there’s only one way off the planet, death.

I find these thoughts soothing to some degree. Death is what it is. So if it starts feeling normal that my brother’s dead and I will never see him again, it’s just because it IS normal. It doesn’t mean he’ll ever be forgotten or that his time here wasn’t remarkable (because it was). It will just mean that I’ve accepted what is incontrovertible and have decided to mentally and emotionally move forward through the grieving process.

How To Grieve For Me When I Die

Union Station

Here’s a handy guide on how to confidently grieve for me when I die:

What stories are you allowed to tell or not tell?

Tell the stories you remember of me as honestly as you remember them. Share any bits and pieces of my life in photographs that you want to, that intrigue you or inspired you, or even that weirded you out. I do not care. I will be dead and will have no opinion on such matters. Don’t lie about my faults or pretend I was a better friend or sister or mother than I was. If you do I will definitely have opinions about it and stick around to haunt you miserably. Only the truth will set my spirit free.

No, but really, even share the stories that make me look pathetic?

Some people will remember terrible things about me. That’s okay, I have never pretended there aren’t terrible things about me to say. I peed on a bus once. At one time in my life that was a shameful secret that only my friend Carrie knew. There were circumstances, but it’s still a horrible memory. One day I started telling that story out loud to people and I’m not ashamed any more. It happened. Life is ugly. Life is complicated. Life is a big shit-pile of problems with a tiny soupcon of happiness to make you think it’s all worthwhile. A lot of life is funny if you have a dark sense of humor.

Don’t let anyone censor the way you grieve for me, and if you’re not grieving but are really happy I’m dead then what the fuck are you doing reading this anyway you asshole? I probably hated you too, so fuck off.

To sum it up:

When I die I don’t want to ever be talked about untruthfully to preserve some sense of dignity I never had while I was living. If you would have said something about me when I was a alive, then it’s probably okay to say it when I’m dead. Even if you would have said it to someone else rather than to my face, when I’m dead I won’t have a face so, samesies.

What about all my earthly possessions?

The idea of my family going through all my clothes piece by piece kind of creeps me out. I know they’ll need to do it. But it still creeps me out. So no one need wonder how I would feel about it if I were still alive. Philip and Max are my heirs and all decisions about my things are theirs and only theirs to make and though I know Philip is an incredibly generous person and will most likely let you have things of mine as mementos (and I’m fine with this, up to a point) if he decides to burn all my shit on the top of a mountain, everyone else will just have to deal with it. Hopefully he’ll remember he needs a permit for that. But I won’t have to worry about it because I’ll be dead.

Also – I will dislike it if people get too attached to my possessions or attach too much importance to them as a proxy for memories of me. I’m gone, hopefully not coming back, my things are not me. My things are just things. Okay? You can hold on to some of my things, but don’t attach too much importance to them is all I’m saying.

Corporeal disposal is such a nuisance!

I want to be cremated the cheapest way possible OR I want to be buried naturally with no chemicals in one of those nature preserves where it’s legal to do so but only IF we (haha) can afford it.

I do NOT want my family viewing me unless it’s necessary for identification purposes like if I was murdered or befell something terrible making this necessary. I will be dead and looking worse than my worst hair and skin day while I was alive. That’s the only vanity I claim in being dead.

If any part of my dead body is healthy enough to donate – DONATE MY HEALTHY PARTS before burning the rest. But, you know, good luck with that.

How about a big-ass funeral parade with a giant portrait of myself done up in bright carnations set up in the back seat of a Cadillac all holding up traffic!?

No thanks for a big funeral procession. When I was younger I did fancy something really cinematic because it was more fun to imagine than a simple cremation and a shabby gathering in a rec center afterwards to eat pre-made grocery store cheese plates.

I don’t care about a memorial. I will not feel uncherished if there is no memorial. But if you feel you have to have a memorial and you make it the least bit fancy, then I insist that there be kittens present. Also, if there is a memorial, please come fully clothed. And NO camel toes. Seriously. I’m also very clear about this:

ABSOLUTELY NO MOOSE NUTS

(The blessing of dead people is that they have no opinions and it’s best not to imagine what they would think or feel because if they actually could tell you, you might find it annoying or even burdensome)

What to do with my writing and photographic legacy (such as it is):

Do not publish anything of mine that was unfinished or in a first draft state or in a notebook. You can take and share pictures of anything I’ve scribbled but do not formally publish anything like that.

(As I’m writing this I have the full intention of burning all my early notebooks and diaries because they depress the shit out of me, so if for some reason I still haven’t done that, bear in mind that it’s Philip’s fault they still exist and if you really want to do me a favor, burn them without looking at them. However, if you don’t do this, just don’t fucking publish anything from them officially. Such tedious and depressing crap! And those poems about Jesus will really shock most people who knew me.)

What I leave unfinished must be left unfinished. You can reprint anything I’ve printed or that was finished and is awesome. My family may make money off of me posthumously with my full blessing, but, you know, good luck with that.

You can make really inappropriate jokes about me, my death, any services going on in honor of my death, or literally anything. It will undoubtedly be way more interesting than anything else being said. But nothing of a sexual nature or I will definitely stick around long enough to learn how to fling a lamp at you from beyond the grave.

Don’t anyone say I’m going to heaven or any of that bullshit when you know for a fact I don’t believe that shit exists and if I’m wrong and it does exist? I AM NOT HEAVEN MATERIAL AND YOU KNOW IT. But seriously, life on earth is pretty hellish so I figure I’ve already done my time and am ready to fully not exist on any plane. If I have to get reincarnated though? I want to come back as a chunk of mineral buried deep in the earth’s crust.

Lastly, how to best honor my memory when I’m gone:

Shed light into the dark every chance you get. Be as honest with yourself and with others as you can. Cultivate kindness and empathy. Be as generous a person as you can. Except with your avocados, obviously, hoard those motherfuckers with razor-wire. Cultivate forgiveness for others*. And forgive yourself for being human because that’s something you can’t change in this lifetime. Those are the things I care most about, that I’m working on all the time.

I feel confident now that you all have perfect clarity about how to deal with my death when it happens and can avoid any awkward discussions about what I would or would not want. You may reference this at any time unless Philip lets this domain name lapse. I highly suggest you all come up with your own guidelines on how you want people to grieve for you.

*I’m working on this AT THIS VERY MOMENT. Forgiveness doesn’t require you to allow a person to stay in your life who’s hurt you or done wrong by you, it’s about recognizing fallibility and not letting past bad deeds done to you eat away at your heart and your spirit. It’s about letting go. It’s hard and it’s very important. Sometimes it takes a lot of time.

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Goodnight Little Brother: Ezekiel (Zeke) Laforest, 1972-2016

blurry laughter

My brother Zeke died yesterday. This is my favorite picture of him and my sister Tara. Grief is a strange and personal creature, molding itself to your own specific schisms and dogmas. It coils itself around your heart delivering periodic electric shocks or administering blessed analgesics so that you feel strangely empty and disconnected from the earth even if what you think you want is to bleed your heart into cracked dry earth.

most recent dad and Zeke

Everyone will have their own version of Zeke to hang onto when they miss him. This is mine.

When we were in grade school and walked to Mira Vista Elementary he would sometimes take out his anger on me by kicking me in the shins. I forgave him every time he did it because I loved him so much and felt so protective of his fierce angry soul that I hoped I could absorb it all with my own body. I wanted to fix the world for him and still believed back then that love and compassion would do the trick. He knew better. I’m a pretty old soul but however old my soul might be, his was primordial.

Zeke three days old

Mums said Zeke was born angry. I don’t get to tell the story of how she came to think this, because it isn’t mine to tell, but I’d definitely like to know why I never wore pretty camisoles like this one when I had Max.

Tara Zeke and Max

I loved classical music when we were kids as much as Zeke loved rock and roll. We argued about the superiority of one over the other quite often since his bedroom was next to mine and he played his music loud.

He brought a black widow into the house in a jar with a flimsy tin foil covering poked full of holes and when the spider disappeared I never slept again. He loved spiders, lizards, hermit crabs, and sharks. I remember one of his early acrylics was of a shark and I was so jealous that he could paint so well while I could not.

bandw Philip and Zeke

Zeke liked to think he was taller than me when, in fact, we were the exact same height. Philip measured us. His nephew outgrew us by inches just in the last year. So Max wins.

Zeke explaining shit to Max I have been known to accidentally call Max “Zeke”. In the last couple of days I’ve done it several times but now it kind of hurts. Max is a lot like his uncle in so many ways. Especially when he was a small kid.The nerd glasses tryout

Zeke loved his family in small doses. His friends are where he sought his daily familial needs but he loved us none-the-less. You know when a person truly loves you. Even if they walk in after months away and tell you when they need to leave before saying hello. I’m his sister, not a sentimentalist. There are bonds that are formed especially with childhoods like ours that nothing but siblinghood can create. We love him so much, so fucking much, we cursed him and his prickliness, his slippery-ness, and tried to hold onto him every time we saw him because he was connected to us through spirit. He was also so much fun to hang out with.

Right before Christmas I was looking up vintage clear non-prescription glasses to wear while riding my Vespa at night. On Christmas day we picked Zeke up and he’s wearing the very glasses I was hoping to find – except they weren’t vintage. I wanted his glasses. How is it that no matter what cool thing I want to do, he gets to it before me? Fucker.

me and Zeke Christmas 2014

This is my favorite picture of Zeke and me.

I once ate a big bite of salmon because Zeke loves salmon (and fish in general) so much and insisted that I would like it the way he made it. I knew he was wrong but I hated to disappoint him so I ate it and almost immediately threw it up all over him because fish is disgusting and I will never like it.

the nerd glasses

Zeke was always honest, even when it made others exquisitely uncomfortable. It never made him uncomfortable to be true to himself and speak his mind. He was not a saint. He was constantly getting into sticky situations, spent a lot of time broke, was prickly as fuck, already an old man by the time he was five, and I have spent my whole life worrying about him because I came into this world before him and was a curmudgeonly old man first.

He had a deep love and connection with music, was always introducing those around him to new sounds as he discovered them. He was a serious lifelong skateboarder, but never went pro. He was possibly the most fearless person I’ve ever known, although I suspect he was afraid of dentists. He was an incredible artist. Over the last few years he has honed his photography and his art series “Urban Archeology” so much that I felt sure he would soon be able to get his work into galleries. I don’t say this as a loving indulgent sister, I say this as a person with a strong eye for design and art but without the talent he possessed.

I loved my brother unconditionally, but not blindly. Zeke was always the coolest person in the room, but he was rough around the edges, always scraped and bruised, and there were times I was worried he was becoming a conservative republican. But the best thing about Zeke was that he had a genuine big heart. He wasn’t around his family half as much as we wanted him. We were always trying to hold onto him a little longer before he jetted off. As a sister I couldn’t rely on him to be there in ways I could count on our sister to be there for me. I think most people will agree that when it comes to Zeke, you have to take him on HIS terms.

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My most treasured memory of Zeke is the time we spent together with Tara in Scotland attending our dad’s wedding.

In spite of Zeke only knowing how to live on his own terms, and not on anyone else’s or for anyone else’s comfort, whatever he had to give he gave it freely and fully. I’ve always been incredibly proud of my brother.

I’m desperately sad that I’ll never get to laugh with him again.

I love you, little brother. I’m sorry I didn’t have the power to keep you safe.

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Sugar and Pith is Official in the Eyes of the Law

plonk

Sugar and Pith is now officially a business in the eyes of the State Board of Equalization. I filed my DBA as well but today I need to get the announcement set to run in the papers for 4 weeks.

I’ve had a lap full of purring kittens and good coffee. Now it’s time to do a little photo set design and be dressed and eat something and take pictures. I suppose I should also comb job listings because even though I’ve just made my business official, the money doesn’t instantly appear. If I knew for a fact that Philip would land a job in time (before another month is out) I wouldn’t bother. I’d just commit to this business full time. I think Philip WILL get a great job, but I’m definitely scared.

I’m trying hard to trust that everything will smooth out and be stable again instead of freaking the fuck out that we’re going to have a repeat of the tough years in Oregon.

I’m keeping this short today. I’ve got a lot to do and if I keep myself moving then I’ll have less chance to fall apart.

My hair is still a mess. I’m going to let it grow out a little before getting it fixed. I’ll just keep it in a barrette at all times. No one need know it was cut by an incompetent doofus.

Here I go.

No really.

Why feel like a hag when you have rejuvenation in a little bag?

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Making a Solid Plan of Action for Sugar and Pith

happyI have heard people say many times that whatever it is you want to be doing you should be working at it every day and you will eventually get where you want to be. I find this frustrating as hell because it assumes that you don’t have bills to pay and that to pay the bills you have to do other stuff too because it’s an amazing fact that money doesn’t flock to whoever is doing what they truly want to be doing with their lives. Money doesn’t know when you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to be doing. Bills still come due. It’s also a fact that you can toil away at your dreams for your whole life and never get where you want to be. It’s also a fact that working jobs that aren’t what you really want to be doing can tire some people out to the point of sapping them of all will to work on the things they really want. People like me.

I got a really bad haircut yesterday. I haven’t had one in 8 months because the last one I got was dreadful too. Both haircuts I’ve gotten this year made me cry. I’ve also been working really hard at keeping positive for my whole family while we’re in an employment crisis. I didn’t get called back for a job I really wanted that I should have heard  back from yesterday. Keeping the barking dogs of anxiety and depression at bay is exhausting and extremely difficult for me. It requires that I not really pay attention to anything closely. I took a real dive yesterday. I’m still feeling the effects today. To be honest, I’ll feel it for days but after writing this I’m going to pretend I’m 95% better so no one worries about me or is dragged down by me. It’s how many of us function in a world that we don’t function well in. We pretend. My friend Sonya wrote a brilliant post “Depression and the Writer” about what depression feels like yesterday and talks about this. I think everyone would benefit from reading it.

What I want to be making a living at (a REAL living, meaning it pays the bills) is writing novels and making potions. Ultimately I just want to write. But selling novels is a notoriously hard road to build so if I have to sell something else, do something else to make money, I want to sell my apothecary goods because I’m damn good at making healing and luxurious body care. Being in business for yourself with body care products is just as difficult a road to build as selling novels.

I know, I just know that if I could get my stuff visible I could make a decent living doing this. I don’t want to sell my stuff wholesale because doing small batch as I do isn’t as viable that way. My label would be seen, yes, but then I’d have to make twice as much product for half the profit. I want to be direct to consumer. That’s what I want. Small batch high quality body care.

This is what I want. Now, how to make it happen? Marketing. I need to become savvy at marketing. Always the thing I’m not. Can I change that? Can I develop this savvy? It seems antithetical to who I am. How can I turn that around? Like, yesterday.

First step is to go and get my official resale license. Which means filing a fictitious business name first. Time to commit. Time to move. Time to DO IT.

Marketing ideas:

Get myself included in the farmer’s market (might be a waiting list)

Research local bed and breakfasts and send them tiny sample packs that could be given to patrons (a mini kit including a single use of lip balm and wound salve for example).

Enter gift sets in raffles (suggestion of my friend Amelia who has a raffle for me to enter my stuff into)

Get my goods into subscription boxes of body care products (suggestion from my friend T’Hud)

Get my goods into the hands of a celebrity. If any of you know how to go about doing that, please tell me. (This is a suggestion from my friend Laurie F.)

Get my products reviewed by a body care website with high traffic. (This is a long game as it can take months for a site to review your stuff IF they even decide to do it)

Get an article in Willow and Sage (another even longer game because even IF I can get a submission accepted it can take a year to get printed – but this kind of attention can be a huge boost to business)

So, those are some good ideas, I think. But I need shorter turn around ideas to work on too.

I’m going to go eat some breakfast and head over to the office where I file for a fictitious business name. Then I’m going to get some supplies to photograph my Skin Polish so I can get that listed. Then I set up my photograph staging so that tomorrow morning I can get started taking pictures immediately. Next I develop sample packs – figuring out what to include and how to package.

The next thing after that is to make new business cards or post cards and then brochures to include with every sale.

Oh crap. I’m getting overwhelmed again. Deeeeep breaths. Steady on.

Go!

 

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Letting the Light In One Morning at a Time

Noon day light

I’ve got jasmine essential oil on my nose. I’ve been mixing Sugar and Pith’s signature scents and taking stock of what I need to order. I’ve tried out a few different jasmine oils and it’s hard to pick the best one. The one I accidentally got on my nose is pretty good.

I don’t know why,  but in spite of our rather dire employment situation right now, I feel optimistic. That’s not usually how I feel at times like this. Is this a strange secret perk of middle age?  That I can be optimistic in spite of the depression, anxiety, and serious situations that generally provoke both into overdrive? Or is it because Haring the ex-feral kitten keeps climbing into my lap and blissing out just being near me? His medicinal purrs do seem to be extra strength.

He’s in my lap right now making it hard for me to write. He keeps looking up at me with his beautiful face full of – I don’t know – do cat’s feel love? Cause his face is full of whatever the equivalent of love is for cats. Sweet sweet boy!

I applied for three jobs yesterday, so today I’m working on Sugar and Pith. I’m going to set up my stage set, write notes on what things I need to make, get organized, and set the shipping on the website, blah blah blah.  You know – I need to spiff everything up big time! So many little details need tending to. But I’ve finally got the time to do this and it’s what I really want to be doing anyway. So now’s the time.

On that note, I’m going to go get my breakfast, get dressed, and get back to the work at hand. Notice how I’m getting more disciplined about writing every day? Soon this will extend to the Suicide for Beginners writing as well. I have to keep the whole writing rig oiled until I can sit down and concentrate on it fully. The first step is sitting down every single day to write. To write whatever. Which reminds me, I have writing to do for Sugar and Pith too. Ideas are flowing in! Must capture them before they evaporate.

 

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A New Pep Talk

warehouse window

How come flies are always coming into the house but never go back out? When they get into my office they spend all their time buzzing at the windows. But when the windows open, they don’t leave. Humans are like this too.

I haven’t had a haircut since the end of 2015 because it was so traumatic I cried for 40 minutes afterwards. But now I really need one and I’m still avoiding it.

Last night I figured out that I wouldn’t need part time work if I could sell 21 wound salves a week. I need to make this happen. I’m also thinking of concentrating more on the self care items than the things like syrups. Though, I have them and can make them. I’m thinking that I want my focus to be on self care, particularly of the skin. I really want to finish perfecting my embalming creme* and package it. I definitely want to produce the Moisturizing Skin Polish I’ve been working on that a few of my friends have tried and loved.

Anyway. I have to get ready to go to my new job. When I get home I will work on ordering more tins (I’m almost out of the salve tins and need to make a new batch). I’ll strategize and list all the steps I need to take to make this shit happen. It’s time. My products are great, I feel completely confident in them. I just have to learn how to market them. I need to go from sucking at marketing to succeeding at it. Time to cross that line and make it a skill. I can do that, right?

RIGHT?!

*My very rich, thick, and healing body creme. Dudes, it’s amazing stuff! Not for all skin types necessarily, but really amazing stuff.