Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Career Design Associates

As you may know, in February of 2012 I signed up as a client with Career Design Associates in Garland, Texas, just east of where I live.  Helen Harkness runs the most amazing skills workshop.  A group of 7 other women and I (it just happened that we were all women; it isn't always the case) meet on Saturdays for many months, identifying our skills, talents and passions to transition to new careers.

Yesterday CDA hosted a small group in a follow up meeting and I was asked to give a short presentation on what I am doing.  I wasn't really looking forward to it, but I admire and respect Dr. Harkness so much that I couldn't say no to her.  I brought a few photos, and my company's vision and mission statement, and told my story.

I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience! Two of the attendees were women from my skills group, and then there were three from other groups, and then two new folks who are planning to join forces and work with Dr. Harkness.

If you have any desire at all to make a career change but aren't sure what you want to do, I highly recommend her program.  I learned so much about myself and what makes me happy!  The link to CDA is here:

Normally I am not hugely excited about public speaking, but I guess when I am really passionate about a topic that changes....

I also received an offer from the AV guy who was there to videotape the event - he wants to do a short video segment of me for me to put on my (soon to be developed) web site (or blog.)  That was a great connection, and an offer that I will accept.   Of course, I hadn't realized that we were going to be videotaped, so I let my hair air dry on a dog walk, and hadn't put on any make up, but heyyyy I guess what you see is what you get in that segment! 

Trip in Review: February 17th

Sunday!  Judy and I had our routine down now - meet at the coffee shop at 8:30, hand her the GPS and on to Cotati for another day of classroom time.  We were learning so much our heads were spinning but we were just reveling in it all.  The duo teaching were so great together - the perfect balance between construction technique and tiny living experience. 

We also got to tour a co-housing community, Frog Song which was really cool.  Common shared areas for meals and relaxation, guest room to rent, chores rosters, gardens, beautiful foot paths... pretty sublime.  It was great to see - we were grateful for the opportunity.

Bodega Bay, CA
 At the end of the day I had a whole list of books I want to order regarding building code - they will be so handy!  I can't wait to order and receive them.

I also forgot to mention that on Saturday we got to tour Jay's tiny house.  It was just as amazing as I'd expected it to be.  I laughed at myself because here I have sold most of my possessions and sold my house, but until that day I'd never stood inside a tiny house.  It's a good thing that I liked it as much as I expected to, or I would be in a pickle!  LOL  Ohhhh minor detail.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Trip in Review: Feb.16th

It's Saturday.  I'd arrived at the Sebastapol Inn without event the night before.  I'd been in touch with another workshop attendee briefly the week before, Judy.  She was also staying at the Inn and we planned to connect Friday night.  Connecting ending up being exchanging a few texts and texting photos of each other - we were both so tired from our day of travel.  We agreed to meet in the hotel coffee shoppe at 8:30 a.m.

We met, and clutching our coffees climbed into my "couch on wheels" - my rented Chrysler 300.  It felt like a boat compared to my Mini Cooper, but it did have heated seats.  As we said hello we looked each other up and down and started laughing - we were wearing matching Carharrt bib overalls. Little did we know that would be only the first thing that we had in common...

I handed her my GPS and unfogged the windows, and off we went to Cotati for the first of two days of the classroom workshop.  We chatted non-stop on the way, both just so excited and wondering what to expect.  We came in fast & hot, and were some of the last ones to arrive, so we ended up on the front row in a room of 20-15 people.  It turned out being in the front was the best!  We had a great view of everything plus we could hear everything...

One of the first things we did was go around the room and say our name, where we were from, and why we were there.  Wow!  That was really interesting!  Everyone had such different stories and were in such varied places in their lives.  And to be in the same room with 20 other people who wanted a tiny house was such fun!  At last - people whose first question isn't, "what about the toilet?"!!  LOL

There were lots of lunch options within walking distance and we were able to sit outside in the sun and dine.  Judy (Canada), Nina (Chico, CA) and I soon became inseparable.

The workshop was so well organized and it was nice that it was so small and informal - you could really ask questions and connect with Jay, Mark and Daniel.   They made an amazing team!  Gabriela was videotaping the whole day, too - and into the build later that week.  Ohhh the blackmail footage she eventually captured!  LOL

When the day was over, we drove back to our hotel, and set out on foot, walking and exploring.  We found great food, a Wholefoods, and a Rite Aid drug store... in the next week we visited both several times... It was nice to have so many options within walking distance. 

Trip in Review: Feb. 15th

I'm going to try to catch my blog up - I'm just back from a tiny house week in California!  I should have brought my laptop along.... is that the justification I'm looking for to purchase a Mac?  Sigh.  Probably not.

So, I flew out on Friday, February 15th  My flight was at 6 a.m. - painfully early - but at the time that I booked it, I had plans set up for the day and wanted to get there as early as I could.  With the time zones, it was challenging!  My taxi picked me up at .... 4:45. I was amazed at how many cars were on the road at that time... what are people doing??

But alas, it turns out that even that wasn't early enough.  I arrived at 5:20 for a 6 am. flight and was told it was too late to check my luggage.  In a haze, I agreed to take a later flight.  In the mystery of air travel, I still arrived about the same time as I would have on the original flight.  I didn't examine the details - didn't care - but I suppose something about my Phoenix lay over (I use that term loosely since it involved sprinting) made that happen.

I got there, rented my car (heated seats!) found some coffee and hit the road for the city of Sonoma, California.  I was stunned by the beauty.  There really are vineyards  e v e r y w h e r e....

After about 90 minutes of a close relationship with my GPS I found Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and burst into their lobby:  "Is this the famous Tumbleweed Tiny House Company?!  I have traveled from Dallas to see you!" 

Although my visit didn't pan out exactly as planned, it was great fun to lay eyes on the place, and meet everyone whom I had read about online.  They were all so friendly and gracious. 

Later in the day, Pepper took me on a tour of her place, where she builds small houses for her company, "Bungalows to Go."  I was amused to note that as the roads got narrower, more hilly and we wound through redwoods, the faster she drove.  I kept driving slower, because my nose was pressed against the window... She truly lives in an enchanted forest.  She and her family were so gracious to spontaneously give me a chunk of time on a Friday evening.  Thank you Pepper & Dylan!

Pepper had to back my rental out of her driveway for me - but assured me that she has to do that for everyone the first time!

I got back on the road at dusk, and headed for my Inn in Sebastopol.  So exciting!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Charlie's Angels

Angels with... Drills. My new friends Judy and Nina.

I'm so happy that I may burst.

Justified Giddiness

I was so right to be giddy with anticipation of this trip. And the giddiness goes on!

Our classroom days have concluded and our group has melded into a cohesive group ready to take on the world! We learned so much, and I've made a seriously awesome new Canadian friend, too!  Ey?

The evenings have been full of exploring and amazing food (ahem, except for last night) and we even fit in a 20 minute stop at the coast, just to say we were there.  I'm slack-jawed with the natural beauty of the area.

Today we start construction.  I'm breakin' out the bibs!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

California, Day One

Oh. My. Gosh.  What was I thinking, not bringing my laptop to really be able to blog??  I had THE most amazing afternoon yesterday and I have so much to tell you! I love my iPad but I have the need for speed typing!

Today is Day One of the first ever Four Lights Tiny House Company Workshop!  I don't know what to expect but I am open for anything...

And have I mentioned how jaw dropping the scenery is here?! Vineyards and redwoods. Holy cow.

I'll take a lot of notes and turn them into posts as I am able.  This is going to be a SPECTACULAR week.  Just. Spectacular.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Wow, so I totally dropped off the blog there for a while.  Whoops.

I've just been really busy - catching up with friends and getting ready for my trip to California!

Hel-lo Four Lights Tiny House Company Tiny House Camp!  Hel-lo Tumbleweed Tiny House Company!  I am ridiculously excited.  Plus, I've never been to northern California and I've heard it's beautiful. Hel-lo Sonoma!

I'm excited to stand in a tiny house for the first time.  To stand in it, turn around, look up, spread out my arms and take it all in.   I am going to spend a week just being a sponge and soaking in all the knowledge and the whole experience, and meeting new people.  I'm formulating a list of questions that don't yet have answers - if I can't get them answered next week, then they probably don't yet have answers...

I broke down and said "yes" to Tom's offer of new work boots.  Mine were nearly 10 years old.  Broken in, comfortable, but okay right, 10 years old.  I must admit, I have new boot love.  They are soooo comfortable and they look good, too!  And, they didn't come from the boys' department...  (LOL  Hey, they fit, what can I say??)  

So off I go - a plane ticket, a car rental, my framing hammer - off for a week of unknown adventure.  Bring it - I'm ready!   I'm so excited I could probably skip all the way there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Balansera, Inc.

I did it!  I am officially in business!

I filed my Articles of Incorporation with the Texas Secretary of State last week, and yesterday I got my papers back from them - I'm in! 


“Balansera” means “balance” in Swedish.  (yes, mom, I know, I am more Finnish than I am Swedish!!  Sorry Dad, it's not Norwegian!  Ha ha!)

Balance as defined by Merriam-Webster:
3(a) a counterbalancing weight, force, or influence

5(b) equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements

6(a) an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements

7(b) the ability to retain one's balance

9(a) mental and emotional steadiness

In my mind, the things that I want to do - live with less, appreciate what you have, get grounded and healed with essential oils and a natural lifestyle are all things that promote a balanced life.

I also wanted something that began with "BA" and I wanted something that is generic - e.g. not tiny house related.  I'll do a d/b/a for A Bed Over My Head.

I also like that is is a feminine word, ending with "era."

So that's the scoop on the company name - such fun stuff!  

And so what do I want my company to be and do?  Here are my vision and mission statements:

My Vision Statement: (A descriptive picture of a desired future state)
To build and maintain a tiny house in an urban setting, and to open minds by demonstrating that living with less can be freeing – both financially and by allowing more time for personal development and community involvement/contribution.  To build a vibrant and social tiny living community in Dallas that will share the joy and enthusiasm of being happy with less.  To live by example.

My Mission Statement: (The means of successfully achieving the vision.)
 a.      To promote the tiny living lifestyle by
i.      educating the public about tiny living;
ii.      breaking down the misconceptions and negativity of tiny       living;
 iii.      facilitating people to pare down possessions;
iv.      reducing the concept of the size of the space called home;
 v.      teaching people how to obtain their own tiny house;
vi.      partnering local businesses with the tiny living concept;
 vii.      demonstrating how to maintain the living tiny lifestyle; and
viii.      building a tiny house urban community.
 ix.      being a local, tangible example of tiny living by
                                1.      building my own tiny house
                                2.      living in an urban setting
b.      To demonstrate that the tiny living style promotes
i.      a grounded, more balanced life
ii.      freedom from debt
iii.      a supportive network
 iv.      a more sustainable lifestyle
v.      more time for personal development & community

I have lot to do, but today - let's celebrate and raise a glass to what lies ahead!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013