Your Buddy, Crocker

Visiting my first farmer’s market, which didn’t take place until way after I moved to FL, was magical. Ever since then I have always wanted to work my own show booth and this past weekend, 10 years after visiting my one, I actually got to. The spectacular part? Not only was it my first trade show, but it was AC’s very first ganja fair, and I got to be a part of it. Holy shite, right?!? The kicker? I had less than a week to mass produce product to sell, order packaging and labels, and gather materials to somewhat decorate my space to better attract buyers. Good thing I am always down for a challenge.

When I began making edibles, I knew that the idea was a solid one but what I didn’t know was how I would fair when there were others in the area doing the same thing. It was an idea that popped up when I was totally fed up with serving. After more than 15 years in the restaurant game, I needed an out. Having no real plan, and genuinely over the work related bullshit, I, one day, cashed out my last tables and walked out. It hadn’t been an easy day and so I spent the day fuming, going over in my mind what had happened at work to get me to the point of quitting. I spent the following day on Indeed going over the listings in hopes of finding work. Due to the pandemic, I was already behind on bills so this last minute decision to quit my was pretty bad timing. Everything that popped up on the site seemed to be restaurant related and although I knew there was money to be made there, instant money, I reminded myself that it was again a restaurant job. They were all the same, therefore why continue down the same path that would produce the same unhappy results? I needed to do something different. I began applying for other types of work, but no matter. Every application I sent in, didn’t make me feel excited one bit. Instead of feeling hopeful and excited, I felt dread and almost would wish for no one to call me. I began picking up odd jobs here and there. A little bit of puppy sitting here, a little bit of babysitting there. A little bit of selling ganja here, a little bit of delivering Mary jane there. It was one day, sitting in the backyard of a client’s house trying smoke a bowl without the neighbors seeing (or smelling) that I thought to myself, “I wish I had an edible instead…it would make this a lot easier…” and that’s when the bulb turned on. Why not make and sell edibles? The clientele was out there. I knew I had some talent in the kitchen. All I needed were the supplies and equipment.

My next move was risky. I guess that entire week I was full of risky moves. I took my last couple hundred dollars and spent it on everything I needed to get started. I had no real plan (seems to be a running theme) other than to bake and sell, “Let’s see where this takes me.. I’ve got nothing to lose.” That was back in July, now 11 months later, after much trial and error, I am elated to see this risk turn into great reward.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still so much more to do to get this little baby of mine fully up and running. I spend my days working towards taking the steps to do MORE, then spend my night’s dreaming of all that will be. Last weekend’s ganja fair allowed me to get a glimpse of what things for me could look like in the future. Selling my product to people, watching their expressions when trying my homemade edibles, and recognizing the look of satisfaction, made me feel so proud. To watch the first product sell out, then the second, my heart was elated.

Although I’ve winged much of this, I now have plans, solid plans, to grow this business. With the support of those around me, and trusting in the Universe, I’m excited for the future of Buddy Crocker Co.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — Goethe

Missed Opportunity

**He spent his whole life waiting for her to arrive in order to fulfill many of the dreams he had envisioned for himself…

and then he died.

Once he arrived to heaven he was given the chance to speak to God. He frustratingly asked him,

“Why did you have me return home without allowing me the experience of finding true love and being able to live out my goals and dreams? What had been then the purpose of this experience?” With an air of peace and love God answers him,

“My son, I laid before you many chances to accomplish the dreams and goals you had set for yourself. Each time you allowed them to slip from reach simply because you didn’t want to go through the journey alone, not knowing that you had the strength of me in you to do so successfully. If you would have followed any one of the leads the Universe had arranged for you, not only would you have accomplished goals and turned dreams into reality, but in the course of doing so you would have met who would have been the love of your life in physical form as well as finding the love of life in every form”**

Someone I know inspired this mini story. A soul who lives life sitting on a couch waiting for love to find them in order to finally live out the life they have always dreamed. I see nothing good come of it. All I see is a precious journey being wasted simply out of fear or dislike of having to go through it alone.

Sometimes it is taking the step of venturing out of your comfort zone that allows for grander things to come into your life. Sometimes it is stepping off of that ledge and diving head first into life that saves you from a tragic fall, that saves you from the death of spirit.

Don’t wait to do the things you love. You may never have the chance to do them again. Don’t weaken at the thought of solitude. Be strong and marvel in it. By doing so you will gain strength in yourself, and love and appreciation for yourself. You’ll discover that all your finest treasures have been with you this whole time and the desires you seek will manifest in ways that you never thought possible.

The message is simple: LIVE.

072-2  Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Location: Santa Monica, CA

 

Headed South

I cannot say that the day I made the decision to move to Florida I remember in full detail. Actually, that part of my journey here I don’t remember at all. I can’t pin point that exact moment when the decision was made, but I know it happened because here I am. The parts I do remember are as vivid as if it were happening right now. For instance I remember the difficulty I had in making a decision. Choosing between everything I had ever known in life and something so foreign and unknown to me was not at all easy to do. There is something about familiarity that can hold a person hostage. Even if you may not like the current situation, the fact is, that it’s something you know in a world full of unknowns and that reason alone can keep you there. Fear can stop a person dead in their tracks, keeping them from living life. Keeping them from uncovering new opportunities and new ways to grow. I eventually decided to go against that fear. Intuition had no part in it and those “gut feelings” that people always talk about were more feelings of being ill. All I know is that one day, about a year after the idea was first sowed in to my brain, my Maxima was crammed to capacity with boxes and trash bags, full of  what used to be my simple life.  Hitting the road at 3 am I left my protective bubble of New Jersey behind and off I was to the great, yet totally scary, sunshine state.

The feeling was like no other I’ve ever experienced before. It was late February and although it was ice cold, I had my driver side window rolled all the way down. Thinking to myself that I was finally free, all I wanted to feel was the freedom and with that window down and the breeze brushing against my face, I felt what it was like. In that moment all ill feelings I had before, all melted away. Similar to a bird soaring in the sky, I was at peace. I was free and I felt it.

My decision to leave home wasn’t because of any tragedy. I wasn’t running away from a crazy home life nor was I in the search of fame or fortune. It wasn’t because I was trying to get away from Mom and her “rules”. I had had a pretty good life, good friends, good everything really. Once I confronted a few issues from my early teenage years, I was good, or at least in a better place. My reason was simple. I needed change.

I remember waking up one wintry morning, and after sitting snuggled in my bed for a few hours reading, I put the book down and thought to myself, “there is so much to see out there..” Seeing only what I had seen up until that moment in my life, I wanted, no, needed, to see more. I wanted to experience more than the dead end casino life, the old and ghostly boardwalk of Atlantic City, and its over priced salt water taffy. I had to set out and see what this unpredictable world had in store for this vibrant and nomadic Jersey girl. I got out, settled in a small town on the gulf side of the state, and that was all she wrote..

Well, for that stage of my life anyways, hehe.

Yes, there were a couple frustrating hiccups along the road (those I’ll save for a later post) but I know that the choice of coming here was a good one. The flow of life was just too smooth for it to not have been. Life since then has totally been worth it.

I’ve had countless friends ask me how I did it? How did I just pick up and decide to leave one day and not ever really look back? I would have to say that my choice to finally take the step towards moving was small part rational thinking and majority on impulse. You have to just one day stop thinking and just do it.

Could things go wrong? Of course they can!! But hey, guess what?? Things can also go wrong in that familiar yet boring and unsatisfying situation you’re in. Would you rather run a risk of finding yourself in a maybe painful situation by pursuing the things you love, or by enduring the things you hardly even like?

Since moving here I have taken other risks in this journey of my life. Some worked out. Some didn’t. The good part of all this is, this one chance I took to move 1,300 miles away from home gave me enough confidence and strength to allow me to always go after the things I love without doubting myself. I realized that it’s through  experiencing that we will find the true rewards in life.

I’m almost thirty and I’m getting to that point where soon the youth will take my advice with a grain of salt. Still, I will never tire of telling people no matter their age or mine, move away from home for a bit. Get away from the comforts of what you have always known. Dive into the depths of those uncharted waters that have always appealed to you for they have for a reason. Pursue your dreams and make them reality. Look around and you’ll see that you are never too young, nor too old to make things happen for yourself. You can do it. You really can. If things don’t go as planned, it’s not a failure or a loss. It’s a lesson and from that you’ll learn to accept the things you maybe cannot change and tweak the things you can. Living. Learning. Improvement. Evolution.

 10012488_475753932608580_1627322358_n-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan Location: Sanibel Island, FL

The Land I Loved

The day I left was the saddest day of my life as an adult. The funny part is? I didn’t have anything to really hold me there. In other words, it’s not like I was leaving anything behind per say, only the dreams of my future.

It didn’t hit me as we were placing all of our belongings out onto the curb. My things that I had worked so hard for just out there exposed and left behind. It didn’t hit me as we pulled away and watched as the neighborhood I had called my home for the last year fade away from view. Everything that had become familiar to me that year was slowly fading and with each second that ticked by it was all becoming just a part of my past.

The silence during the first half hour of our car ride was needed because the lump in my throat wouldn’t have allowed for otherwise. It was once my turn signal indicated our arrival onto the interstate, and that moment of me looking into the rear view mirror, that a warm sadness washed over me. California had won. A true and real feeling of failure is what ran through my veins. It wouldn’t be for weeks that I would get to feeling like “me”again and then even still, it was a hurt “me”, a healing “me”.

My eyes welled up, the tears hot and intrusive. I could no longer hide my hurt once they overflowed and ran from the hiding spot behind my sunglasses and down my cheeks. I didn’t even bother to wipe the tears. What for? The pain was real and there was no sense in hiding it. Instead I chose to live through the emotion, actually feel what it was I was going through. I had fallen in love and for me this death was worth the mourning.

I’m sure many reading this will think I’m being dramatic. Only those who have taken risks and failed will understand where I’m coming from and really, those are the people I’m talking to. Only you are the ones who can relate. If you’ve never been through something similar, if you’ve never failed before and were left with nothing more than a a hole in your heart, read this and realize, your day is coming. That is for sure. It’s best you read up so you’re not blindsided as I was.

As a kid I had always dreamed of living in the rural parts of California. I had seen so many pictures and documentaries, the lay of the land in northern California was like a dream. The first computer I ever got that could actually surf the internet, I spent time looking up and researching places around the U.S that had always interested me. Cali was definitely my number one. I didn’t want to head there to be rich and famous. Fuck that. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I wanted to live in California because it was something that had called to me as a child. Those beautiful mountains. The sky which seemed to always look so candy colored. The way the leaves turned to those amazing autumn tones in the fall with bright yellows, oranges, and reds. It was no surprise to anyone who knew me that the second I had cash saved up, off I was. I drove out to the West Coast without a moment’s hesitation. The people in my life dishonestly supporting me didn’t deter me. It was my dream, not theirs, that I was hunting for.

I had been purposely positive throughout the three days it took to drive there. I thought about how quick I would find a job. I thought about how awesome it would be to live in the new apartment, in my new neighborhood, with my new neighbors. I imagined all the cool places I’d finally get to see. Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Hollywood Blvd, the Sunset Strip. If there were any doubts at any point in time, I crushed them with thoughts of positivity. There would be no Negative Nancies in my head bringing me down. No sir. I was (still am) a firm believer in the Law of Attraction so for me, negative thoughts weren’t even an option. It wasn’t until a year later that I looked back and realized, maybe the negative thoughts that would slip into my mind here and there was just life trying to prepare me for what would later be a shocking reality. But like Karma I find Hindsight to be a bitch.

My theory on Los Angeles’ smog problem is that it isn’t pollution, per say, that is floating above everyone’s head. It is my belief that the layer of smog that always lingers are the souls of the innocent who venture out to L.A and never return to be the same again. I mean hell, they don’t call it the City of Angels for no reason. I imagine it being like a trap box for the innocent. The interior of this box looks so appealing. It’s dressed up in opportunities and gold. Shiny things hang in its interior, attracting you like a fly to a light bulb. You get there one way, with a pure and maybe even naive way of being. Before long, the doors to this box snap shut and you are trapped inside, doing things out there to survive that you never thought you’d  have to do.

Yea, as a child I dreamed of going to Northern Cali but the opportunity arose for me in L.A. I figured that I could get myself started in the city. It would be my first foot through the door and then once I saved up a bit I would migrate up north.

I never even made it to saving up.

The California life is expensive. The cost of living was ridiculously high and real jobs were scarce. Just by looking around, the amount of homeless people or those collecting cans and plastic could be proof of what I’m telling you. My story during this time could have gone many different ways. It could have gone better. It could have gone way worse. It’s kinda funny because now thinking about it, they way I lived in L.A was so carefree, it was almost as though I was tempting danger to come dance with me. The streets of Los Angeles, the devil’s playground, and I was out and about living as if I were still out on the Island of Sanibel. I spoke to strangers. I would go out and try to explore my surroundings and many times, during this exploration, I would get lost and wind up on a block a didn’t belong. The drinking was out of control and there were more than a handful of times that in a moment of sheer blackout, would take my car and attempt to drive home. I always made it of course, but that is only because I have the best guardian angel out there protecting me.

There were so many mistakes I made when arriving to Cali. There were also many obstacles that also got in the way, obstacles that prolonged the feeling of settling down. I don’t think that in the year that I lived there did I feel at all settled.  Jobs weren’t working out. Food was scarce. Bills were piling up. The roller coaster of emotions and the stress were taking a toll on me. Secretly I would cry myself to sleep on almost every night. It would have been one thing if it would have just been myself that I needed to worry about. The fact that my sister decided to come along on my little adventure was what hurt me the most. Not because she came along with me but because she was suffering. This was my dream that I was trying to live out and now that it was going horribly bad she was suffering. To look at her face filled with so much anxiety and sadness really broke my heart to pieces and so the day I was confronted with the opportunity to return home, her face was the one I saw. In my mind, I saw her looking at me with the eyes full of hope of going back home, and that’s what made me break.

The decision was literally made from one day to the next and to be honest it wasn’t too hard of a decision to make. We were already 3 months behind on our rent. We had no food except for a bag of rice and a couple cans of tuna. By this time anytime we grocery shopped it was mainly baby food and soup cups that we ended up getting and that was to be split between my sister and I, along with my dog and her cat. Crazy right?

It had just been a few days before our planned departure that I had received an e-mail from our landlord stating that if we didn’t have the three months of rent we owed him within 48 hours, he would be there with police escort to evict us. Instead of leaving as planned, our trip back home was to be expedited. We gave our neighbor’s some of our things. Actually, we were trying to sell our stuff to them but after realizing that they were in no greater shape than we were, we freely gave things away. We then packed the car with whatever we could bring, but my small two door sports car couldn’t hold much, so we just left mostly everything behind. Like I mentioned earlier, the amount of people that are homeless or who rummage the garbage for food or things to help them get by is astronomical in L.A. So instead of leaving much of our stuff inside the apartment when we left, we decided to set what we could carry out on the curb for people to take. I mean for us it was like, “Well we can’t take it with us, so let’s leave it for those who will truly need it.” It was 6 am in the morning when we finished, the sun was just beginning to wake up. Our plan was to get out of there before our landlord showed up with his police escort. To be behind on a month’s rent is bad enough, but to owe three months is ridiculous. The fact that he hadn’t thrown us out sooner was a shock to me and a testament to how kind he was, for he was a really nice landlord, and there was no way my sister and I could face him.

As we got into my car, I noticed that there was already a family going through what was just a few seconds ago our belongings. It was truly a bittersweet moment that to even think about it now tugs at my heart.

I lost a lot on this adventure of mine to California. Not just my physical belongings but I also left behind a sliver of my dignity, piece of my heart, as well as a chuck of my soul. Yet, with my losing or leaving behind a few things I had also gained much more than that. I took with me my experiences of meeting new people, good and bad. I have taken and stored away beautiful memories and also some scary ones. Everything that I have obtained through my journey to and from California has served a wonderful purpose and have also gifted me with amazing stories for me to share. Who knows if I’ll ever go back and attempt at living there again but at least now I know somewhat of what I should be expecting.

There was a post I previously made about how I’ve only truly been in love twice. I’ll go ahead and correct myself by saying that it was three times. California. She is beautiful. She is enticing. She was a ruthless love.

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Art Work Credit: Jet Victory Follow on IG and FB