Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Big Yellow Taxi Epiphany

You might remember the Joni Mitchell lyrics, I hadn't actually even thought about the Song until the day we went house hunting... and then it began looping thru my head, I'm sure it was an Omen that I was having a Big Yellow Taxi Epiphany:
"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone... they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot..." 

Yes, that is probably what would happen to Bohemian Valhalla if some greedy Developer or Investor purchased it... it's usually what happens to large Historic Properties on Acreage in the more outlying towns and suburbs around the City.  Or even IN the City for that matter if they're not protected by being designated Historic.  And to say that I didn't really care would be a lie.  I knew that once I Sold it there would be the possibility that ever driving by it again and seeing it's Fate would bring deep and huge regrets and a flood of negative emotion at what was Lost and possibly even gone forever, like so many others in the area before it.
And then there was the Reality that touring newer Homes made me Appreciate what we already have even more and fall more deeply in Love with this Old House!  I instantly morphed into Retired Banker Mode and the Banker in me just over-rode the potential benefits of moving and focused in on all the flaws and problems.  With the grossly inflated prices, postage stamp lots, lack of space and storage, dwarfed rooms, inferior construction and materials, lack of craftsmanship, expensive HOA Fees, Restrictions, wild fluctuations in value for the past five years... well, it just magnified the flaws to me and made me nervous about being a buyer.  I started thinking about how much we'd have to Sacrifice and how much we'd have to get rid of in the way of possessions to even fit into these small Homes!   Renting off site Storage for overflow 'til it Sold, for my Inventory for the Showrooms, to have an Art Studio to Create in, to house The Man's Recreational Vehicles... just added expense and headaches!   And downsizing to the degree we'd need to so quickly and making a move would be headache and stress enough, I wasn't sure I was up to it... or even wanted it now that I thought about it with Logic rather than Emotion!
Then there were the other Red Flags... too many homes in the area for sale, all having been on the market too long.  Which led me to believe the Sellers probably paid too much and needed to be bailed out on upsidedown properties... or bought what they thought was an Investment they could make a killing on and without making any improvements since their purchase, were trying to gouge a prospective Buyer.  Too many second Vacation Homes meaning properties would be Vacant half the year or owners really could be quite transient and flipping or renting Vacation Properties frequently.  Too much New Development going on, making it all the more difficult for Sellers to Sell existing properties and the potential for HOA Fees to increase exponentially to maintain the expanding Common Areas and compensate for Vacant and Unsold Properties.
Plus the Personal Reasons... The Man we discovered, simply couldn't do stairs so multi-level Housing was completely out of the question.  No Balconies and Views... phooey... the list of Positives was drying up fast!   And because most lots were so tiny, most of the Homes were multi-level to be able to give even the illusion of square footage sufficient to live in and not just Vacation at!  To get a Home even remotely close to holding what we'd want to bring with us, we'd have to spend upwards of $690,000 and that price point was ridiculous... if I could or would spend over half a Mil, I'd rather live in Hawaii... I've seen fabulous properties in actual Paradise that cost less!   And lets face it, Lenders aren't lending so freely anymore, they got their $$$ cheaply and they're holding onto it rather than lending it cheaply, so qualifying factors are questionable anymore and contingencies are frowned upon.

Yes, there was the hardwood floor house with a Pool on one level... but it was the ONLY Home in the Community and the Location within the Community that was a single level and could remotely fit our needs or be in a price point outside of the stratosphere.   And honestly, it wasn't worth what they were asking IMO and the Value fluctuations of said house had ranged so Wildly I don't even think the Market knew what it was ACTUALLY worth because Holy Mother of God, the Selling Prices in only a few years of this Home were all over the place!   Not to mention they hadn't fenced the Pool... added expense... and the whole interior would have to be painted because it was Crazy... even for Yours Truly who is an Old Hippie that has no Fear of Bold Color!   *LOL*
So... though a New Adventure and scratching the itch for our Wanderlust was Exciting... I'd rather stay put in a Home I Love, that is almost paid off and has ample space for my Pretties and the Storage we require.   I have a huge Art Studio Space that Guests can stay in when they visit.  The Man has his Work Shop Cottage for all his Tools and Acreage for his Recreational Toys... all at no added cost.   I can hire a Gardener and Maid Service if I decide I need more Help with Maintaining all that we have... and now I fully realize ALL THAT WE HAVE!   I didn't have to have a Big Yellow Taxi Moment *Whew*... I just had to have a Reality Check and the lyrics looping thru my head as a Warning of what I was about to consider doing... that couldn't be undone.  Thank God!
Blessings from the Arizona Desert... with Contentment at remaining at Bohemian Valhalla... Dawn... The Bohemian

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Time For Big Unexpected Changes And Letting Go? Perhaps...

It began with a leisurely random drive to no place in particular for The Man and I on a Beautiful Wednesday Morning... after we had dropped the G-Kid Force off at School and enjoyed Breakfast at Village Inn.  And it ended in a most unexpected manner... in a part of the Arizona Desert that held a Community we had never been before and instantly Connected to.  One that Captivated us so much that we began thinking something we never thought we'd think again, especially at this Season of Life... Contemplating a Move and the Selling of our Historic Bohemian Valhalla!!!  *Gasp!*
We have Lived the Nomad Life all of our Lives, moving so often that we never really put down roots anywhere and never Loved any Property so much that we couldn't or wouldn't leave it.  When we Purchased this Old Historic House many moons ago though, we had expected to Live out our Lives here and we Truly do Love our Home... every quirky inch of it... and it has been a Labor of Love since day one... so it would be very difficult to leave it and entrust it to anyone else... the Property has such Character, such Spirit and History.
But there are the facts... the Wanderlust and discontent was building for both of us in recent Months and we knew it... it was perhaps Time for big unexpected changes and Letting Go.   Perhaps...
Why else would we suddenly feel Compelled to take a random drive with no particular destination and just Happen Upon the Ideal Community... and even more than that... a Home that Called to us as strongly as Bohemian Valhalla had all those Years ago when we rescued it and Lovingly Restored it?  Sure, we drove around this Ideal Community for hours and jotted down every Home we saw for Sale to do our due diligence once we got back Home... but this one... well, we just kept coming back to it.  We could SEE ourselves living here with complete Contentment.
And so we discussed it, with more Excitement and Enthusiasm than we had felt in Years... of this Possible New Beginning?!?   And we made an Appointment to View it for Tomorrow Morning... even tho' the Virtual Tour had Confirmed a Love At First Sight Feeling.  We'll then see what our Options are more clearly.  You see, it would be so difficult to give up what we presently have, because we DO still Love it and there are certain merits to remaining since our Ranch Acreage is paid off and this Old House is almost paid off.   And yet, there are certain merits to downsizing and starting afresh... and weighing the two had begun to tip the balance and not ever so slightly... but a lot in fact... which Surprised us.
After all, this was a Community only about ten years old and we prefer Historic neighborhoods... but this one had been built with similar Charm and Character... but without any of the decay and social ills that Older Neighborhoods often can't eradicate entirely, even with revitalization.  Making all that is New Appear Older and more Established... and Reminiscent of other Historic Areas we Love and had Contemplated moving to.  This Community had Small Town Appeal with spectacular views and just outside the Urban Areas... so it wasn't remote... and yet was self-contained if you didn't want to venture to the City.
I really don't know what the Future holds... but the Possibility of starting over again, though daunting and a bit scary... also thrills and makes us tingle.  It just Feels Right at this Time and I've always gone with my Instincts of when it's Time for Whatever.  Those with Nomadic tendancies don't form the Attachments as deeply I suppose... and this is the longest we've ever stayed put.  But Selling Off Bohemian Valhalla and our Ranch up North is no longer something we would never consider.  Though I came Home and realized how much I'd surely miss and probably cry over... maybe even a river of tears... I also Feel as tho' there would be tears of Joy as well at a Fresh Start and a Blank Canvas to build upon... New Dreams, New Possibilities!!! 
There's a lot of Work in maintaining a Property this large and I no longer have the Help to do it.  Though we had always Dreamed of developing our 48 Acre Ranch into our Retirement or Vacation Home it is very remote and The Man is now very sick, so it probably won't happen as we'd Envisioned many years ago.  I've been in a Letting Go Mode for the past two Years in fact... with a strong yen to Simplify and go back to a more footloose and fancy free existance like we Enjoyed for the first four decades or more of our Lives. 
 And there are the questions.  What do we need so much Property for anymore?  As we Age will it all become even more of too much?  Why not cash out on all this Equity we've built since all of our Grown Children have their own Paths which likely won't lead to wanting Bohemian Valhalla?  We want what is best for these Precious G-Kids now that we have to consider where we're Raising a Family again.  When we Purchased Bohemian Valhalla they weren't even born and we almost had an Empty Nest so our Needs and Location Filters were quite different.
  Our Old Neighborhood was even quite different then when everyone else had owned their Homes around us for close to half a Century.  Now most of them have moved away or passed away, leaving Investors gobbling up what is around us.  People who don't Live here and just want the Properties for Passive Income Flow, so there's not the same Pride of Ownership with all the Rentals and a more transient population of Neighbors coming and going, not Connecting the same.  Times Change... People Change... Needs Change... Seasons of Life Change... and we must sometimes accept that and consider New Possibilities and Let Go.  We're at that Crossroads now... and only Time will tell which Path we'll chose...
Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Delayed Gratification

Delayed Gratification... I'm not always very good at it.  I'm a Creature of Habit and I always have my Girl's Day Out Scheduled for the Third Thursday of each Month and so I look forward with anticipation to that particular day.   When the time comes and then I can't go... I confess, I'm Misery personified.  After all, since it's one lousy day in a whole Month to look forward to, it can be crushing when I cannot go due to Personal Reasons interfering with my rare and Cherished 'Me Time'!  This Month had been such a Month... and Girl's Day Out had to be Cancelled and Suspended for me and I wasn't exactly sure when or if there would be one at all this Month?  *Sob*

If a delay is indefinite until you await whatever plays out... it can seem like a mighty long time, feel like an Eternity, and hang like a Black Cloud.   The Man acknowledged my Disappointment, since it had been a trio of Family Health Crisis, including his, to sideline my Special Day in May... and he has tried to make it up to me... in part with this Lovely Necklace Creation from an Upcycled Vintage Watch, which I just Love!  Thank You Honey, da Bling is better than a good medicine and can seem to Cure whatever ails ya, or maybe that's just me, I dunno??!!!  *Winks*

Princess T had also been quite Morose... after all, she's a Girl... and hadn't had her Girl's Day Out this Month with Gramma either... it's one on one Time we particularly look forward to doing together.   So she was totally Jazzed when I suggested that Memorial Day Weekend we'd set aside a day for that delayed Girl's Day Out we both desperately needed.   She was a bit miffed that she couldn't get into Miss Shelly's Mini Gypsy Manse this time and could just peek inside... after all, she didn't wanna only look Miss Shelly, she wants to OWN this thing and MOVE IN!  *LOL*  Or at least Pretend it's hers and she Lives there... and she's not the only one GF, Gramma does a heady dose of Pretending herself!  *Winks*

But she quickly got over it whilst visiting the Sister Shops of RUST AND ROSES and SIRENS AND SAINTS.   Of coarse she got duly Spoiled Rotten by my Friends there... as did I... so it softened and tempered the Disappointment of having missed...
All of THIS, among other things, that had transpired during my Cancelled Girl's Day Out for my usual Third Thursday!  When you know your Special Day is chock full of a slew of OOAK Special Events it's very, very difficult to not be able to go at the last possible minute and be sidelined by Crisis, Infirmity or whatever comes up unexpectedly and dashes your Plans!  I heard it all was Spectacular, as I knew it would be... but that was now water under the bridge and I we decided we'd make our re-set Special Day ultra Special in a different way...

With Retail Therapy!!!  Works for us anyway!  *Winks*  So... we found this Gorgeous Vintage Belgian Cut Velvet Tablecloth at a great price...

And this Vintage Industrial Style set of Bar Stools Created from Upcycled Re-Bar and Antique European Feed Sack Materials for a mere $29 each!  *Happy Dance!!!*

Just the right blend for me of French Country and Vintage Industrial for the Art Studio and more Creation Station seating.   This one I Loved the Old Repairs to the Cloth keeping it utilitarian over the Years in a Time when we weren't a disposable Society.

And I liked that the portion of the Cloth used to upholster the Stools made good use of the Stripes in the Cloth too.   I J'Adore Antique European Feed and Grain Sack Materials, so Organic and Simple yet Sturdy and Visually Appealing.

Tho' the Princess got her Bohemian Bling, she had to bring it to my Attention that, "Look, this Vintage Bike matches my Ensemble Gramma...!!!"  Duly noted... like I hadn't noticed with her standing right next to it with the 'My aren't we Pink Today' obvious as hell and written all over it and her!   *LOL*  Right now one of her Favorite Artists is the Singer Pink and her distinctive Style of Adorable Fiesty Attitude Tomboy Chic.  That Style is right in line with Princess T's Personality of Scrappy yet Fashionably Chic.  *Winks*

While there we both were gushing over this Vintage Belgian Cut Velvet Hat... and a Young Woman standing behind us bought it before we left.  She was so Cute and this will look Stunning on her.  I Love to see Unique Pieces of Vintage Fashion being worn by the Younger Generation and given New Life and distinctive Fresh Style for this Generation.   Too much is mass produced now to stand out in a crowd unless you have your own Personal Style and the Confidence to wear it proudly.

And for End of Season Clearance ALL Commercial Salvaged Letters, regardless of size, were all one low price each!!!   *Whoop Whoop!!!*

I spied some Black with tiny white Dots Letters and wondered if there would be enough of them to spell out something Special or Profound for the Art Studio Bedroom Make-Over?

Ta-da... yep... the Favorite Color and Patina of all Junquers... RUST!!!  *Winks*   That'll do... load 'em up!!!    So these came Home with us too!

But we did a lot of Window Shopping as well as actual Shopping... since Inspiration abounds at both Shops.

And losing oneself in Gypsy Gal Paradise is like being at Home Away From Home for us...

I mean, can one EVER have enuf Vintage Motel Outdoor Seating... I think not!!!  These Classic Shell Design Motel Chairs are a Staple for Outdoor Entertaining... and finding a set of four in great condition... booyah!   No... I didn't buy them only because I already have so much Vintage Outdoor Seating here at Bohemian Valhalla you'd think I was Hosting an Outdoor Concert or somethin'!  *Winks*

And we always look forward to the Socializing at the Shops with our Friends on our Girl's Day Out too... so it's not ALL about what we happen to 'Score' and drag Home with us like the spoils of War as if we just Raided and Plundered a small Historic Village!  *Ha ha ha!*

And I must say, since the Great Edit and Purge began a couple of Years ago with the five-to-one Rule of one thing comes 'In' means five things go 'out', we're a lot more discerning about purchases.  So, if I don't absolutely Love it, have a functional need for it or can flip it for profit, I'm just gonna Enjoy lookin' at it and being Inspired by it without the need to get it.

Though Shelly's Shops always have a Wealth of Inventory that are mighty Tempting and are just My Style!  *Smiles*

So it's always Enjoyable to meander around and behold all the latest Lovelies... and Styling of it all!

And you never really can be certain what you can't Live without until you see it, right?  *Winks*
And things that I have a Wealth of stashed at Home, but get Inspired on different ways to Showcase them or Style with them, while I'm at the Shop Admiring the Vignettes.  Yes, I have an abundance of furry lil Vintage dead critter pelts... it's like a demented Viking's Graveyard for Orphaned Antique Furs.  I can't help it, if I find a Cheap Old Fur, it's coming Home with me 'cause they can't have just died in vain with nobody to value past Ultimate Sacrifice now can they?!  Discarded and forsaken Old Furs just make me Sadder than the precious Animal having given up it's Life for the sake of Fashion or Sport!  It's weird logic I know, but that's just how I Feel about it... I've never killed anything, but I've never wasted or not Respected the Sanctity of anything's Life either.

And I so Admire anyone else's Gift of having a Green Thumb and Nurturing Plants as well... Shelly clearly has that Gift and in her Garden areas of the Shops it's abundantly evident.

Doesn't this just want to make you Salvage all your Interesting Old Cans and mass them together in Container Gardens for your Flowering Plants, Veggies and Herbs?   I'm a sucker for Interesting Packaging... the more Colorful or Exotic and Unusual the better... and I like Container Planting in them.

And then there are my Friend Angela's Amazing Gypsy Belt Creations from Vintage Cowboy Belts, Bohemian Bling, Hand-Dyed Velvet and Stone... *Swooning*   Even tho' I already own a Collection of them... I can't get enough of them Visually... and you probably won't be able to either... so here's a bounty of Close-Ups for you to Enjoy...

No further Words necessary... the Art Speaks for itself!!!

You've OD'd on the Beauty of them haven't you?  And Subliminally now you desperately WANT one don't you?   Even if, like me, you don't even have a Waist anymore!?!  *Winks*  I just have my Vintage Mannequin Gals Model them for me so I can just look at them like the Art they are!  Well... 'til I get my Girlish Figure back that is!  *Smiles*

And then I'll be lookin' like THIS!  *Winks*  Hey, in the famous words of Comedienne Judy Tenuta, "It could happen! ' BTW: That's the Talented Angela in the background  waiting to Surprise me with the Spectacular Silver Art Nouveau Cuff Bracelet she Created and Gifted me with!!!  My Friends are so Good to me!

And it's also Important to be Good to yourself too... so I'm Happy to report that a recent Doctor's Visit revealed that all my stats were now in the 'Green' regarding Diabetic numbers and my hard work and tenacity at regulating the disease and changing habits that might be aggravating the condition is paying off!  That's reason enough to Celebrate, right?   Apparently the other aches and pains that have been plaguing me are just a result of having lived this long and squeezed a lot out of Life... so I'm Okay with that since it's Normal... and beats the alternative, right?  *Winks*

So... if I can just manage more Rest and Relaxation I'll be Golden... and get the Stress levels of Full Time Caregiving down.   I've been throwing any ballast overboard that threatens to weigh me down... including and not limited to un-necessary possessions, unhealthy situations I can avoid and excess weight!  *Smiles*

What's been weighing YOU down lately that you could discard, avoid or consider ballast in your Life?

Whatever it may be... consider ridding yourself of it and lighten your load too...

Blessings, Peace and Love coming to you from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Auto Pilot

It's been one of those times when I'm coasting on Auto Pilot it seems.  Mom is still Critically Ill and Hospitalized, The Man and The Young Prince are still in very Fragile Health and needing a lot of Attention... and I've been dealing with some Health Issues of my own that have threatened to sideline me.  So keeping a sense of Normalcy about our days has been a particular Challenge.

The House has remained in a state of Suspended Animation of sorts... Frozen in Time between the Holidays and Now... and that's had to just be Okay for the time being... or perhaps for the entire Summer, I'm not sure yet.   The Editing and Purging has continued in spurts... mostly to replenish Sold Inventory in the Showroooms, even tho' Sales have been Soft as the temps rise and the Snow Birds head back Home.

I've picked up some extra hours at Work to offset Rent and I'm Hopeful the Memorial Day Celebrations Hosted by our Antique Mall will draw the crowds and turn some more Inventory so that I can set about re-styling the Showrooms, which desperately need it since I haven't been able to spend much time attending to them.

My Focus has been upon Family and the Personal Health Crisis several of them have been facing in recent weeks.   When the Young Prince got out of the Hospital I Treated he and Grandpa to a Summer Make-Over at my Friend John's Salon in Hopes it would bouy their Spirits and tidy them both up.  It helped with Prince R who Enjoyed his new 'do'.

The take on a British Invasion Style he and John collaborated on turned out quite well and gave him lots more options for Styling and transitioning back to his Natural color while still taking advantage of some of the Blonde we decided not to cut out entirely.

And he promptly gelled it into a Mohawk... which has kinda been a Timeless Generational Style that has been passed along in the Family... The Son once sported one...

 And so did one of my Cousins in the Sixties.   As for The Man though, he's still struggling with considerable Health and Emotional Challenges, which have been rather overwhelming in recent days for us all... and the Make-Over didn't uplift him or make him feel any better at all.

It's been particularly difficult on Princess T having so many other Family Members monopolizing all of the Attention due to extreme Health Issues... and so I've made it a point to get around to the much delayed Girl's Day Out for May with her.   There will be Future Posts about our Adventures... and of coarse my Friends spoil her rotten so she's got some new Bling...

And she wasn't the only one who was Spoiled Rotten by Generous Friends, so was I!!!  As my Talented Friend Angela Surprised me with a Heartfelt Gift that I wasn't expecting at all... another one of her Amazing Silver Cuff Bracelets in a Beautiful Art Nouveau Style... just because she knows I've been going thru so much!!!   It really Touched my Heart, but then she always does, such a Kindred Spirit is she.  I needed that right now... Connections to Kindred Spirits and to be Pampered.  Thank You Dear Angela, your Gorgeous Surprise Gift was like a Good Medicine!!!

Having some sense of Normalcy and Socialization amid this Avalanche of unfolding Drama and Family Tragedies that has buried and threatened to suffocate me if I didn't dig myself out and come up for some air was what I desperately needed and I knew it!!!

Crisis heaped upon Crisis and Extreme Worries for Loved Ones takes a toll and I certainly had been Feeling it.  As it manifested into some Painful Physical Ailments and the Auto Pilot turning on so that I felt rather Robotic and going thru the motions of what needed to be faced and done each day, pushing hard just to do the minimum required and get thru another day intact.

So I needed some Freedom and Frivolity thrown in and squeezed into the insane schedule somehow... this weekend was That Time to attempt to renew, replenish and recharge so that I could stay afloat.  Maybe not getting very far off the ground, but at least not submerging either.

I even did some Retail Therapy which will be revealed in a later Post... and was funded by recently purged items that I'd finally gotten around to Pricing and tossing into the Showrooms rather than languishing in piles at Home where it wasn't doing anybody any good!  *LOL*

In fact I find that particularly Stressful Times are the best remedy for indecision and hesitancy at cleaning house and culling possessions... my Sentiment Ratio drops considerably when I'm physically tired and emotionally raw... I just want stuff gone so I don't have to deal with nor look at it anymore!  And all that I want to remain is what I Cherish most and am not the least bit on the fence about keeping.

And with it being Graduation Time yet again... it was Nostalgic to come across Cherished pixs of The Son taken just before he Graduated in 2004.   The Young Prince will be Graduating from 8th Grade soon... and we are to go pick out some Semi-Formal Attire for him to Attend his Ceremony... they all grow up so fast, almost in the blink of an eye!!!   It doesn't seem as tho' a decade has already passed since our Youngest Child Graduated!  But then again... now some of our Grandchildren have already Graduated!!!

And in spite of almost total Neglect by Yours Truly... the Veggie and Herb Gardens have thrived this Season and are already producing abundant Harvests!!!

It helped that I relocated them to a more convenient spot so that watering and tending wouldn't be such a chore and they're receiving ample extra shade from the Mesquite Grove near the Porch.

Perphaps one day I shall have a Greenhouse or Conservatory to Pamper them and myself better.  But for now I'm just Grateful they've done pretty well on their own without much help from moi.  And that's what I must do too... continue to Survive and Thrive in spite of not having Ideal or sufficient amounts of Help present or available... I know it's possible... it just isn't easy...

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl