Monday, February 13, 2017

On & On It Goes

Well that was an interesting couple weeks.  I spent a lot of my downtime working on jewelry, reading, and watching downloaded Game of Thrones episodes.  The jobs on the farm weren't difficult, though some were quite time consuming and my back was hurting most of this month due to a flare up of an old injury, so that was difficult to do farm work with, but I managed.
It was nice to meet some other HelpX'ers...and I've just recently realized that I never explained in the beginning of this section on European Backpacking that my partner, Miguel, and I are spending some time work-exchanging through an organization called HelpX, which affords us the opportunity to learn and better skills such as farming.  And given that's where a lot of our interest lies, i.e., being able to grow our own food, it's invaluable experience for us.
Back to the past couple weeks.  Spent that time tending to plants and animals, and getting to know a couple other HelpX'ers from Poland, Scotland, and Denmark.  It's nice to be out in the world again, meeting folks totally different in origin, but who I can share similar morals and values with. The Polish guy, Robert, was a gentle soul, full of thought, who ate his vegetarian food slowly, reflecting on his recent encounters with beach-dwelling neo-hippies. And the Scottish/Denmark duo, Gary & Jeannie, was a  bubbly, chatty couple with refreshing excitement for the topics I love to gab on about.
The vibe at the farm was sometimes good, sometimes stressed, and I found it a challenge to navigate Marian's particularities, but I sort of expected that, given my own sensitivities to peoples' preferences and her general energy about the land.  It was also pretty akward given one of the guys who lives on the property took a serious liking to me and was pretty interested in having a fling, even though I wasn't.  So, a good deal of my energy was spent on holding my boundaries.  I also spent a lot of time walking, as town was a steep desecent about 30 minutes away, and more strenuous on the way back.
I'm glad to have had the time there; it reafirmed lessons on boundaries and forced me think deeply about my interactions and choice of action.  And it put me in contact with three new friends. And,  I'm glad to be moving onto the next leg of the journey too.  It was nice to have alone time without my partner but it's been great to reconnect and have our shared time too. We've really been enjoying the last couple days, and the place we're staying at is very laid back, which is welcomed.

I'm supremely excited about what comes next: Morocco :) Plane tickets purchased, Visa information sorted, we'll be there soon! I can already foresee wanting to buy so much clothing there that it'll need to be  mailed back to the States in a crate. For now, it's no work exchange, but a little vacation from our vaction. Beach, hiking, taking pictures, drinking in the middle of the day, finding any excuse to lie around a bit more...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The farm and the ocean

I've taken off on my own for some time. Miguel and I needed some breathing room. We're not the type to want to spend 24/7 together. So, he's on Gran Canaria and I'm on another island called Tenerife. The night I arrived to this island, I stayed at a guesthouse of a sweet, quirky German woman. We hit it off and she invited me and Miguel to come stay with her once my farm gig was over. Turns out Miguel will be heading over sooner than  I, and we will reunite there come mid-Febuary.

Now. I'rm here on my own. Staying with a woman who owns a patchwork quilt of land and who is very, very particular about what she wants done with it.

Marian is hyper, high strung, very Virgoesque, but kind. I'm curious how our Virgo powers will do alongside one another. Will it be effcient, orderly bliss? Or an overbearing, scrutinizy implosion?  Time will tell...  I'll be here with her for two more weeks, then I've got a little break when I'll take off for another island called La Gomera, which  I can see from my terrace.  She's asked me to house-sit for her after my break, which I'll do if all goes well for the next couple weeks :)

Yesterday I cut lavendar for Marian's farmer's market. What a heavenly a job!!!  I also shucked some fresh & dried beans, played with the dogs, and helped to collect these spicy, vinegary type of tiny orange tomatoes called fisires.  Today I organized a lot of irrigation tubing, cleared rocks, wheeled many loads of miescellaneous crap up a hill, and all with a pulled muscle in my back.  The red wine I'm currently drinking has been well earned. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Aqui, esta momento

Fast forward three weeks and we've left the mountain dwelling.  Things were well enough, but we grew weary of some things. Come to find out, Ben was very ill with cancer, and his general attitude was angry, or worn out, or frustrated. Something of all of those. He made some unkind comments to Miguel, and as a result, put us both on edge.
So we stayed and did our volunteering and are now on our way towards the Canary Islands.  Guess I shouldn't gloss over the past couple weeks though. Okay, there were some cool moments.
We met an old, wiry ex-pat named Patrick.  He's kind of a loping coyote type. Two teeth up top, a couple scraggly ones down below. Came to Spain 20 years ago to sell a LandRover, been in Competa ever since.  He took a liking to us and lent a hand mixing concrete for a rockwall Miguel was building for Lieuwke's gallery. And then a couple days later we picked him up in town and made a nice meal  back at the mountain house.

Even with the general weirdness in the air, there were some sweet moments at the place in Competa. The town was pleasant, and finally a local decided to be nice to us. He  owns the only restaraunt opened during siesta, so he's making a killing off of all us foreigner who don't take 2 hours naps in the middle of the afternoon. 
                                     I was able to make some jewelry with my down time,                
                             

And we celebrated Miguel's birthday on the mountain. 33 years old! 

It snowed our last day on the mountain. What a great time to take off for the Canary Islands!

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Imprecise Journey

This was written one month before leaving the U.S. (November 2016)

This is the hardest part. Right here, right now. Right here, in the compact dust of my hometown, where I've been twiddling my thumbs and fighting off the travel itch for 3 years since leaving the Bay Area. Where I've been laying low, not joining clubs, not over extending, not molding too many friendships, not beginning new hobbies, not buying new art supplies, not welding together old habits with new ideals, not screaming so loudly, not always wearing Glitter, not faking enthusiasm, not accepting less than what I need in almost every moment to be happy, not over-eating, not under-being, just really being, really just being.
The desert has sewn me back together.

But, I've got to go now.  


A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step

There have been 2 aha moments since being here. The first, while strolling down the promenade that trailed behind the Arc du Triomph in the center of Barcelona. I was walking, simply walking, and taking in all that was around. It was my second day in Spain. The journey from the United States to Spain had been nearly 24 hours, furiously flying, much moving. Finally settled in Barcelona, ​​this day was warm, grounding, but exhilarating at the same time. On all sides of me there was action, varying degrees of cuteness, and beauty, and picturesque-wow-they-actually of these things in Europe-type of activities. There were old folks kissing their grandchildren, young folks doing acro-yoga, singing, playing guitar, sunbathing. There were open air markets selling toasty, crusty brown breads, dark chocolates, homemade jams, and wine, oh wine, wine, wine. There were street performers making life-sized bubbles, playing tiny violins, performing their puppetshows. I was surrounded by surrealism, European daily life and I actually felt as if in a dream ...


I've been planning this backpacking trip to Spain for 4 years, and to be here, finally, amidst the real people and real smells and real laid back vibe of all of it. I could not speak. Anything more than "Oh, it's happening now". That was the first. 

The second was two days ago. Between Barcelona and now, Miguel and I have trekked through a couple cities. We've stayed on a farm for two weeks, learning to grow lettuces, build greenhouses, and eat our meals patiently with wine and freshly picked vegetables. 
There, in Gava, on the farm, We had the pleasure of getting to know the  Spanish version of Kramer. A real sweet heart with a million and one projects to complete, fueled by dark chocolate and the purest passion for organic farming. We spent many hours caring for burgeoning plants, crumbling walls, and a giant bear of a dog named FlyBoy. And from there we took a 9 hour car ride to Granada, where we spent the next 5 days covering the city up and down by foot. I would have lost 5 pounds if I was not supplementing every afternoon with wine and cheese :)




In Granada we had the opportunity to see Flamenco performers, in a little cave-like dwelling, off the side of an ancient street that hugged the cold, trickling stream. The performers were raw. The guitar player had an injured hand but was still compelling. The singer with a kind face and tight black clothes, crooned his way through the evening. The dancer, though ... fiery, furrowed brows, voluptuous, strong.                                                                    She wanted to slap us in the face then kiss it all over.     



Granada is so rich. It's a sensory sampler platter of Arabic and Spanish ways. Antique and stern, yet Exploding with Color and Character. The homes in and of themselves are are masterful pieces of aging architecture, especially foreign to us Americans, whose concept of old is 300 years. There we were standing across a literal castle, only separated from it by the city sunken into a blue lit valley,  smiling at the beauty of this country's known history and this country's adoring relationship to it.




Now we're far from the city, in a secret splattering of white-washed casitas stacked upon one another. We've moved on to a new adventure with two Dutch artists who have made their home in the hills of Competa. A winding drive from the coast, it is a heaven above heaven. At night I see the fog sneaking up and around our small wooden cottage, and in the morning I awake to sweet orange light, pure from the mountain air, and quiet. So quiet. I'll be here for a while, helping Loewke and Ben with their gallery in town, and taking long walks in the country, gathering wild rosemary and wild memories ...
So the second aha moment was here when I woke up on our first morning in the hidden hills. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, preparing a pot of tea, opening the curtains that cover the glass of the front door ... and I see this ...




Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I am also on Etsy!

If you would like to own a piece of jewelry or piece of art by me, please visit my Etsy store. It is called "Turquoise Tomboy" and can be found by clicking this link:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MargueriteSaxton?ref=hdr_shop_menu

If you like a jewelry design but want different colors, please let me know and I am happy to create a one-of-a-kind piece for you!

Thanks for the support!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando

I don't have Facebook, don't use Twitter or Snapchat or any other form of social media. The only internet presence I have (barely) is through this very basic blog.
I am not one to present emotional quips through social media, and that's why I don't use and often find the platforms to be flat and unsatisfying. Nonetheless, I need to express my incredible sadness at this moment.
After learning about the mass shooting and murder of 50 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando,  which took place on June 12, my heart was doubly crushed at learning of the savage shooting of the up-and-coming singer Christina Grimmie, who was also murdered in Orlando, on Friday, June 10th at an unrelated event.  Christina was my personal favorite when she was on "The Voice" a couple years back. Her voice was gorgeous. When she died she was only 22 years old, and she didn't even have a chance to fight back because the coward who shot her did so at an autograph signing, strapped with 2 guns and a hunting knife and probably smiled all the up through the line until he got so close to her that the shot was surely fatal. Oh, and then he took his own life, not having to face the years racked with guilt and sorrow and despair that he caused.

My sorrow also radiates from a shocked, terrified state. Because, I am a queer person who could have easily been in that nightclub in Orlando and watched my friends taken hostage or being shot.  Anyone shivers at imaging having to hide in a bathroom stall while a gunman hunts down your friends, not knowing if you will make it out, texting your loved ones "goodbye".  Not only is it difficult enough for queer, gay, and transgendered folks to just simply live, there are awful, sick humans making it their business to wipe them out.

WHAT THE FUNK are we doing as a nation?

HOW THE FUNK are we continuing to let this happen? How long ago was Columbine? 1999! What year is it now? 17 years later... Even before Columbine there have been lunatics with automatic weapons poised to kill many, many people based upon their sexuality, their faith, their skin color. This article is a list of such sadness dating back to 1984: http://timelines.latimes.com/deadliest-shooting-rampages/ .

And while psychos like Donald Trump and his conservative minions double down on their pledge of banning Muslims, and while too many elected government officials continue to murmur, "No, now isn't the time to ban semi-automatic weapons", more people are going to die. More regular, fun-loving, hard-working, talented, intelligent, good people are going to get shot.  If elected President, Trump is going to use this as a way to pass terrible, bigoted, hateful, anti-every-faith-besides-Conservative-Christian laws - just as George W. Bush used 9/11 to pass the Patriot Act, the profoundly pervasive act that allowed government to intrude upon and essentially own United States citizens' privacy.  And even if not elected, Trump will use this shooting, among the others in most recent history, as fodder to help spread his poisonous theories and his "ideas" about every female, person of color, disabled persons, and persons of different opinion and faiths than him.

And the general population will eat it up and become terrified and hide their heads in the sand with a rifle in both arms, ready to shoot, to kill, whichever unlucky soul passes their way first.

WHAT ARE WE DOING AS A COLLECTIVE GROUP OF PEOPLE TO CHANGE THIS?

I am angry. No, livid. I am stupefied that, my god, here we are again.  And what will change because of this?  Why are so many parents losing their children? In the name of what?  Are the guns laws going to finally change to reflect the sanity of sensible United States citizens? Or are we going to continue pandering to the lunacy and extreme hatefulness of a handful of folks who believe it is their right to erase groups of people simply because they are DIFFERENT than themselves.

I am sick thinking of what this culture has brought upon itself by cultivating a nation of virtual reality killers, detached children, 9-5 slaves to a flawed system; a culture of sad, sickened youth who will pledge their allegiance to an extremist cult because it is the only thing that makes them feel loved, protected, and understood. Even worse, what this nation is effectively choosing to keep bringing upon itself will be magnified in exponential ways if we don't interrupt the cycle with SERIOUS, COMPASSIONATE, CARING, gun reform, mental health services, and a slew of social and psychological reformations and repairs. We need gun reform. We need mental illness to be taken seriously.

What more has to happen for this to become clear?




Sunset Pearls 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stone Saguaro Custom Piece




Sunset Seedbead Earring and Necklace Set





Moonlight Seedbead Earrings





Sunshine Seedbead Earrings