Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tiny House/Gallery on Wheels - More than a Dream?

One Sketch of ObscurAbode Dreams
Recently I was feeling really down due to health problems. I wondered, will I ever get to live out my dreams of a tiny home/gallery on wheels? And I was chatting with my bro, Milo about it. We had a moment of clarity when I asked if he'd like to help me build the Tiny Home/Gallery on wheels we've been talking about, live in it until we some day help him build the cob home of his dreams, and let me bunk with him when we run gallery showings.

I love this guy.  We aren't related by blood, but I love him like a brother and  we sort of adopted each other when he was 18. He is one of very few people in the world who I have told they could live or crash here in our home if they ever needed to. Strangely, Milo is the only one of the 3 non blood relations who hasn't taken us up on it. I say non blood relations because the same holds true for my sister, but we've never lived together as adults.  Milo is currently staying with some friends of ours in exchange for his help in turning their yard from dirt nap to sustainable desert oasis. He has a great site called Vegan Meal Adventures which I have mentioned before, yet he doesn't hassle me for being a meat eater because he knows how much I love and miss my veggies and how I long to eat them once we get my allergic reactions sorted out. He is also one of the few people who really gets all my health problems yet doesn't treat me like broken glass. And last but not least he's an artist, and we have a common love for tiny homes, and sustainable living. Why we have never discussed the possibility of teaming up to make our dreams a reality before this? I have no idea, but I'm glad I gutted up and asked the question. And his response was an instant YES! No hesitation.

Dreams of Creating a Tiny Sustainable Lifestyle
We agreed that we will not build anything until he is out of school and my health is more under control. So that gives us till Fall 2014 or so to brain storm, plan, fund raise, save, scrimp and make it happen. In order to move from dream to reality, we decided the first step is to share all the sketches and inspirational photos we like with each other, so I set up a google docs folder, and we are using it to brain dump all our ideas, hopes, goals, dreams, and inspirations towards a tiny home/gallery on wheels. Originally I was thinking of calling it ObscurAbode, but we're going to toss other names around like Pinwheel. We figure the name will come together when the house/gallery does.

I suspect a few things will hold true: Our design will be creative/artistic as we are both artists, meticulous as we both tend to research, plan and prepare with attention to detail, as self sustainable as possible, innovative, and accessible to people with disabilities. The rest is going to come together after we both share what we need, want and hope to see in this project.

It presents a unique challenge to create something which is both a house that feels like home, and a gallery which is open to the public. For one thing, we have been discussing how to make the most use of vertical space and still have it accessible to people with mobility issues. This is important not only because I will be staying there on occasion, but more importantly because we want the gallery to be wheelchair accessible. Two of our most fun and innovative ideas have been inspired by thinking about people with disabilities as relates to our tiny home. One is a chair rail/lift system which can be used with or without power to move around the home both vertically and horizontally, and another is an accessible fold out restroom/changing room/shower. Both are very exciting and we are looking forward to making them a reality. In the mean time, I am sketching, playing with a floor plan app on my cell phone, and considering building tiny models so that we can visualize our ideas in 3d. Will my dreams of a tiny house/gallery on wheels come true? Stay tuned!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Brown sugar and olive oil cookies

Due to allergies I am currently only allowed to eat very limited set of ingredients. So it's been a bit like playing a game of mystery box cooking. You are given a pig, several kinds of rice in all its forms, sugar, salt, olive oil and water. You don't have to use all of the ingredients but you may use nothing else; what would you make?

I made several things but for this post I just want to share these brown sugar and olive oil cookies. I was starting to feel pretty trapped and limited to simple rice and pork loin with a bit of salt or sugar now and then, so I started to get more creative. I was craving desert and something crunchy so I decided to try to make a cookie out of brown rice flour and this is what resulted.

1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 quarter teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons cooked rice
1/3 cup olive oil of your preference

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Stir dry ingredients together: 1 cup brown rice flour 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 quarter teaspoon kosher salt. Place 3 tablespoons of your favorite cooked rice in 1/3 cup of hot water.

Allow the rice to soak in the hot water for a few minutes. In order to release the starches, stir and then mash with a fork, and stir again.

Add pt 1/3 cup of water and rice mixture and 1/3 cup of olive oil mix until all ingredients clump together into pea size or larger pieces.

Using your clean hands form the mixture into slightly flattened spheres of dough and place on the cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.
Allow to cool on a cookie rack, and enjoy!

Also goes nicely with a salted caramel topping, tho I haven't quite perfected that recipe yet, so that will have to wait for another post. If you try these let me know what you think and what if anything you would do differently.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Step by Step

Don't Give Up Doodle
Sometimes life has to be taken one day at a time, and sometimes step by step. I've been slowly healing from my last trip to the hospital. While there, they put me on antibiotics which apparently allowed some bacteria in my gut to run rampant, and I ended up having to go through two courses of a really strong drug to get rid of it. In the mean time I managed to get in to see my allergist/immunologist who told me "You are allergic to everything...well, pork and tuna would be OK to eat."

Living on pork and rice with the occasional tuna did get me feeling a bit better gut wise, but then I was feeling lethargic and weak. Not sure if that was part of the healing process or due to my not having a balanced diet. So far I've only been on this elimination diet for a week, but by yesterday I started feeling desperate for something other than pork and rice so I slathered some peanut butter on a rice cake for a snack, and had a sweet potato with dinner. Allergies responded to something, but I'm not sure which it was. So I'll eat sweet potatoes today and leave out the peanut butter to see if I start feeling better or worse. Step by step.

I'm in foodie hell, and I'm trying to stay positive and focus on getting healthy, but i have to admit this constantly feeling like crud is depressing and then finding out I'm allergic to just about everything and trying to figure out what things I can eat without making myself worse has added to that. But today a good talk with a friend before he went to a job interview got me back on track.

I had thought it was Friday and had planned to call a lawyer about updating my medical power of attorney documents, but decided since it's Saturday to relax, watch Spiderman with my loved ones on the couch, make a blog post, and if I feel up to it, to go get a much needed haircut. I always feel better the day after I get my hair cut. Maybe if going to the barber doesn't exhaust me too much we can go see the latest Superman movie tomorrow. Maybe not. One day at a time. I have to remember that.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Slow healing

I have been sick for a long time. Sometimes it seems like just as I start feeling like we may have found a happy balance something else hits. Thankfully they did find a bacterial infection they could treat and that sounds seems to have helped a lot. I am also avoiding most food and sticking to a few foods. My allergies seem to have calmed down a lot, but I would still like to find more answers and get back to being able to participate in life more. Still, it has definitely forced me to focus on the moment and keep it simple in almost every area of my life. Each day I try to have one goal, and to make note of something positive I did or noticed about my day. For example today I set up a Google docs folder for a group of friends updating the Phoenix Trans Resource Brochure. After doing that I rested and tonight after Nick and Patch get home we all plan to watch a movie together that we have each been hoping to see. Carlie is out of town for work, so it will be just the night owls. It took resting all day so I can stay awake for the movie tonight, but I am looking forward to it! Got to make time with friends and loved ones between doctors appointments and being sick in bed. Even if that is just a relaxing night at home watching a movie, it will be fun!