Remember to Breathe
Even when your heart aches.
I was planning on writing a lot more in March, I’ve tried to start writing this post about 30 times since some of these things happened and it’s been a bit overwhelming, but here’s what has been going on in my life:
My beloved 11-year-old disabled green cheek conure Justice died completely unexpectedly on March 16th.
I woke up that morning to him having a seizure, rushed him to the animal hospital, they did tests and then he died a shocking 10 hours later (when he appeared to be steadily improving) of what appears to be a brain aneurysm - I paid for a full necropsy and everything.
There was nothing I could have done, but I’m devastated. He was my little guy - I inherited him from my friend Carol when she died, and I expected to have him another decade or more. I still can’t talk about it without weeping.
Petrie is still healthy and happy and turned 25 on April 10th. I feel bad - I’ve been intellectually ready for Petrie’s passing since his mate Kiwi died, but I was utterly shocked by Justice’s death. I’ve told Judd I expect Petrie to live forever out of spite. He’s my cantankerous little old man bird. I’ve also let Judd know that when Petrie dies (I’ve had him 23 years) I’ll probably need a baby to replace the hole in my heart. He understands this.
It’s weird to only have one bird left. I have owned 18 birds in my life, and I’ve never had fewer than 2, I’ve usually had 3-4 at a time. I miss having more birds, and I am looking for another one, when I find the right match. I will never not have birds in my life. I got my first when I was 7, it’s just part of my life forever now. I adore them.
I’ve reached out to every bird rescue in southern CA (and some in central and northern CA) to see if there are any other footless small parrots out there needing a setup similar to the one he had - his cage is cleaned and ready for a new companion, when I find the right one.
I literally miss him hourly. My heart aches.
Judd took this photo of Carol and Justice in 2013.
I have more writing to do about Justice, but I just can’t bring myself to yet. He was so special, and I loved him so much - and he was this last connection to Carol’s life, so it feels like she died all over again. I don’t have words. Just tears.
Our friend Penny took this in 2018 - of Justice & me cuddling.
A Family Visit
A week after Justice died, my eldest brother, Ragnar, flew to Los Angeles to visit me. The trip was already planned, and we had a jam-packed eight days together, exploring the Sequoias, Disneyland, Downtown LA sights, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, my Tiki bar for Karaoke and more. Ragnar had never been to LA - I’ve lived here 12 years!
I have a bunch more photos on my phone I need to post, and more to write about that, but it was lovely to see my big brother on my side of the country, and show him my life. He also spent some quality time geeking out about music with Judd and that was nice - they’ve always gotten along, but I’ve wanted Judd to feel more “family” with my family, since they’ve had limited in-person time together, and it’s nice to have that.
I’ve spent the last two years learning a lot about mycology, and the last six months on an incredible team of dedicated people (my love included) building out a product that tickles several of my ideological sensibilities:
A personal mushroom grow bag. Optimized for psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, this kit enables decentralized, easy, access to psychedelics for the masses. Just add genetics, wait, and harvest! We’re in the process of soft launching now, next week we’ll have product videos and the preview product (an exclusive first run!) will be on store shelves (more this summer)! I’ll post a link when it happens! It’s been an exciting ride and I can’t wait to show it off!
In the meantime, I also won a competition for best (aesthetic) mycelium growth on an agar plate at the California Psychedelic Conference a few weeks ago. It had to be a varietal I’d worked from spore - and this beautiful plate won the award!
This kicked off more posts on my Instagram & Tiktok: @YourTripSister, where I’ll be posting continuous content relating to psychedelics, cannabis, and especially mushrooms. I’ll be cross promoting with the companies I’m working with - and it’s going to be a great time. Please follow me there.
Roe v. Wade News
I obviously have opinions on this topic, and they’re overwhelming, and I’ve engaged a bit on Facebook already about it. Needless to say, as a matter of principle I don’t consider my body to be subject to bad laws by government telling me what I can and can’t do with it regardless of what the federal govt or states have to say about it (evident already by my psychedelic use), and I’m here to help anyone in a state that has the audacity to try to restrict their ability to control their own reproductive capabilities. I’ve got an invitation to do a political show on this topic, and I’m preparing an essay, so needless to say I’m certainly not silent on this issue, but have I mentioned I have so much going on?
Speech - Making Liberty Look Good!
I gave a great inspirational speech in Minnesota and Texas at the LP Convention and I have the slides to post with my commentary between them as an essay here. It’s my hope to post that before the 25th of May.
In February I attended the LP of California convention which I mentioned here - I just posted that album last night, you can find it on Facebook. In March I also photographed the LPPA Convention, and in April I attended, spoke at and photographed both LPMN and LPTexas. I have tens of thousands of photos I’m in the process of editing. I have to have all three of the remaining albums out before the Reno convention, and then I’ve got a few albums from 2021 to finish up and post.
For people who wandered over here from my posts on Facebook about my photos - you don’t need my permission to use my photos and you don’t have to pay for them - if you’re so inclined, donations go towards my travel and new camera equipment:
@Avens on Venmo
$avensobrien on Cashapp
email@example.com at Paypal
1Ht8EqhmMmdksgXfY3W7tarfYf1w9iuyPU for Bitcoin
I will say, Facebook’s newer UI makes posting photo albums a really unpleasant experience and I kind of hate it. Eventually I may need to find a platform to create albums for posting that are accessible to everyone, but it’s complicated and I’m not looking forward to figuring it out.
I’ll be at the Libertarian National Convention in Reno May 25th-30th.
I’m also speaking at and attending FreedomFest in Las Vegas July 13-16th, and I have a promo code of $50 off if you enter LOOKGOOD50 upon checkout for your ticket. My photos from 2021 are coming at the beginning of June.
I’ll be on several panels at Freedom Fest this year - I’m looking forward to talking about numerous subjects, including drugs!
Following Up On Decrim Psilocybin
We did not get enough signatures to get decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms on the CA ballot and that really sucks, but we’re going to begin efforts soon for 2024, if we don’t see decrim activity legislatively first (I mean we’ll push forward either way, but we’re watching for it!).
Disneyland Feeds My Soul
I’ll admit one of my treats to myself this year has been Disneyland. I’ve gone every month (twice in January!) because I bought an annual pass, and it’s been a really nice way to let loose for a day. As a child I always wanted to visit DisneyWorld, and my family didn’t have the money to go but friends of mine would come home from vacations bragging about it, and I always thought it was something fairly unreachable for me.
In college, when I was 17 (2004), I got a one day pass to DisneyWorld as part of a college Leadership summit event, and I had a good time but I was with a crowd of my fellow students and we didn’t go on the rides I wanted to (and I was too scared to go on Space Mountain after having the worst time on Splash Mountain). In 2014, I got to go to Disneyland but didn’t know the park well enough to take advantage of it. Now that I’ve gone 7 more times, I know all the rides, I’ve been having an absolute blast, and it just makes me genuinely happy (so does bringing people with me!).
It’s one of my random joys, and I feel profoundly grateful and happy for it.
Five years ago my friend Lee Vodra died. She was a character, and she was also one of my greatest cheerleaders - constantly giving me the kindest and most insightful compliments about what I do, who I am, and how much I matter. I didn’t even know she was sick - she hid it well - but she died May 1st, 2017, and I happened upon the memory of my post about it. I’d mentioned something she said to me once, and I think I may need to put it on my wall or something because it hits me profoundly every time I read it.
I am blessed with amazing friends - not just Lee, but others who’ve gone above and beyond for me countless times - been there in bad times and good, lent me money, given me a place to stay, given me work, given me a shoulder to cry on, and countless other less extreme but ultimately supportive and kind acts of friendship. I know I work hard to cultivate good friendships and be a good friend too, but I don’t proclaim to the world as often as I should just how profoundly wonderful so many of my friends are to me.
I feel very grateful, and those of you who know, know. I should do more to make sure those of you who don’t realize do too.
Judd has also been profoundly supportive and loving through everything - starting a company together, building our lives, hurting with me as we’ve lost two of my birds in the last two years - he takes incredible care of me, he provides so much, he protects me from so much, and he gives me room to flourish - while also being completely there for me when I break down numerous times over this latest loss. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in my life, and I say it a lot but it’s worth saying every day, I love him so much.
I’m sure there’s much more that’s happened since March 1st I could mention, but this is long enough and I can save that for future essays. Look for an abortion essay and an optimism essay from me this month.
I really enjoyed this essay in The Atlantic:
A Gentler, Better Way to Change Minds
Stop wielding your values as a weapon and start offering them as a gift.
By Arthur C. Brooks
Finally, after being “meh” about both Book of Boba Fett and Moon Knight, thankfully Narcos: Mexico Season 3 is bringing the heat and I love it. Judd and I try to take an hour every few days to watch an episode of something together and Narcos is making us really happy. If you haven’t watched Narcos, and can handle some violence and subtitles, start with the original Narcos and then watch Narcos: Mexico. It’s beautifully done.