Nov. 11, 2018 marked my first year in Lake County, and it was a day that I looked through my window at a smoke filled landscape, this time from the Camp Fire in Butte County, two counties over to the East, the deadliest and most costly fire in California history. I’m still looking out on a smoke-hazed landscape! Earlier this summer, the smoky skies were due to the Mendocino Complex fires right in my own backyard, which briefly held the title for “worst ever” ever in our state. Ironically, I moved here partly for the area’s reputation for clean air!
It’s not easy being new, especially in an area where most others have long roots and well-established social networks. I had only one friend here, before I made the move. As an “alternative and complementary provider” and “community wellness practitioner,” I’ve been struggling to serve this community. My sexology and hypnosis skill set is unique for this area (and for most places, actually). Due to my environmental illness issues, I can’t go to meetings of local merchants to network with other small business owners, because people are always wearing fragrances to such events. So the question remains, “who will buy my wares?”
While I’m concerned about “marketing” (’cause making a living is a thing), I’m even more concerned about “give back.” I’ve always been an activist (as much as is possible, but even “woke” activists wear perfume to organizing meetings and then I’ve gotta dodge ’em) but this year I’ve been locally fallow (with a few exceptions). While many issues call to me–climate change, trans and LGBQIA rights, homeless, anti-racism and pro-social justice, environment issues and environmental health issues, stray cats–I haven’t yet found my community service niche here in Lake County.
One problem is I can’t consistently show up to things, or sometimes even show up at all, and people don’t understand why. It’s the perfume, friends. And the hand lotion, the shampoo, the scented candles, air “fresheners” and all that other crap.
So all of the above is a lot of “I can’t” but I truly want to discover the “I can” so I can move rapidly to the “I do.”
My activist skill set includes writing, public relations, strategic planning, formal training in non-profit fundraising, graphic design for flyers, curriculum development and teaching.
Here are the areas that do concern me the most, at the moment:
Rural and community health. Last year I started a Facebook group which is now called Better Health in Lake County CA Now. It currently has 241 members. I also did a non-scienitific survey of how Lake County residents felt about their options for health care.
Safety of Seniors and Disabled People in Wildfire Situations. See this recent blog for my ideas on this. I can be a gadfly and bug elected and appointed officials, if nothing else, but I’d like to link up with other folks on this issue, to organize locally.
Disaster prep. I’ve been trained twice through the Community Emergency Response Team training (FEMA), in Albany CA and in the Puna district of Hawai’i Island. We need that program here in Lake County! (And yes, the CERT trainers accommodated my disability requests for fragrance-free classes. There’s still something to be said for the ADA!)
Emergency Housing Network. I envision something that’s in place so that when shelters are full, or if shelters can’t provide for special needs, people have a list of resources and possible places where they can go. This probably consists of a data base where both providers and those in need can be vetted in advance. Newcomers, especially, who don’t have a ready network of family and friends in the area, are in particular need.
LGBTQIA Rights and Resources. There are not enough here, sadly. Earlier this year I tried to create a “Rainbow Room” monthly meeting at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, but only a couple of people came and the room was too expensive for me to continue to rent it alone, hoping more would show.
Environmental Health. That’s a whole other series of blogs. This website doesn’t seem to have been kept up, but I used to be on the board, and even president of The Environmental Health Network of CA, a grassroots organization consisting of people who are enviromentally ill.
Climate Change. More to say on this as well.
Finally, I am constructing a page on this website where I will list various Lake County CA resources for general health and wellness. I’ll try to keep it updated. Please feel free to send me suggestions for this. Thank you!