Friday, August 1, 2014

A change

For those of you who would like to know where my new blog site is please post a note for more information.  Thanks! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Running Closehauled

Riding on the edge. Breeze in my face, feeling the splash of the spray as the bow hits the waves. Sail taunt in the wind and the sheets almost humming in my hands.

Sun over my shoulder warming my back and making the water before me dance with points of brilliant light.

Feeling the ripples of the water running under my tiny craft. I can feel it in the heels of my feet as I brace against those sudden little shifts of wind.

Sailing a long tack before I yell "Gybe Ho" to the sky. The sail on the boom swings over my head and snaps back into play as I head off across the water feeling all the worries of life streaming away as my little boat and I enjoy each moment of our day.

Sometimes. .... I just need to talk about it you know?? Still waiting to sail my little beauty. Been far too long since I have been sailing. :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Shenanigans with my van!

For those of you who saw the Bloody Basin post, you already know I was having trouble with my van and why. There are steep, winding turns on that road, especially the last bit before you get to the campgrounds. Enough that I put my van in low for the first time since I got her last fall.  It went into first fine, but when I put her back into park, it felt wrong.  Stiff and like it did not want to work correctly.  When I started her back up and put her into drive, again she did not want to shift.  I pulled just a little harder than I used to have to and there was an ominous clunk.  She was in drive so I came back up to the freeway.  I was originally going to head into Cordes Junction for ice, but something told me I had better check her out before I got on the freeway.  So I pulled off to the side of the road but she did not want to go back into park.  In fact, I could not get her to go into reverse.  I was counting myself lucky that I was able to get her into neutral! Then, just as I got her into neutral, there was one more bad noise and suddenly the gear shift was very easy to move.  Flopping around in fact.  But she was not shifting at all!  I shut off the engine and set the E brake on as usual.  I looked at the linkage on the column under the hood and it appeared fine, as it did underneath the van. It was obvious where the problem was.  I could reach the linkage from under the hood that was attached to the steering column, and I could shift it from there.  But this is not an area where I have any expertise, so I wound up stuck by the side of the freeway waiting for a tow truck.  It was not a good place for me to be since there were one of those big power towers right there by the side of the road!

But wait!  There is more!  When the tow truck came out to get me, there was no where to take me.  Most of the shops were closed for Easter weekend. The only place I had to go to, was back were I was.  So back down Bloody Basin road to that spot where I was eaten alive by some kind of nasty bug.

All I could do was wait.  How did I get back down there?  I am glad you asked!  The Tow truck driver put her into drive for me and I went and parked back in my spot.  Set the E-brake. Firmly!   Said a little prayer.  Got out of the van, lifted the hood, reached down in and pulled that bar all the way back up til she was in Park again.  Whew!

So.  I am safe, but I am running low on ice.  I spend the night thinking about it and realize I am going to have to go to the store.  Time for some planning.  Get a Big Rock, okay maybe a medium rock and put it in front of the wheel so she cant run over me.  Start the engine.  Prayer is still continuing at this point believe me!   I am aiming for neutral, then I will know one more click will be drive.  Unfortunately, I found reverse, which I was hoping to blow right by and she started to roll away on me!  Half hanging on, half chasing her, I get her into neutral and she stops rolling!  Take a few moments to just breath.  Get TWO, BIG rocks.  One in front of the tire and one in back of the tire.  YES, before you ask, I had the E-Brake on, but evidently that was not enough.  So, after a very shaky start. I get her into drive.  Rocks are holding.  I get back in the van and drive over the rock in front.  Stop, set the e-brake, and it holds.  Out of habit I start to put her into park with my flopping gear shift.  Smiling ironically to myself, I carefully get out of the van, pick up my rocks and put them in the van.  After all who knows if the gas station will have good rocks!

I go Cordes Junction.  6 miles away and 3 on the interstate.  I am praying the whole time! I get there scope out the gas stations.  One has a fairly level parking lot and an area no one is parked in!  Great combination!

I park up against the curb.  Feeling smart!  I get what I need and then take a deep breath!  Yup.  Now I am going for just one click   Reverse.  Rock is in place. Click, Reverse.  Rock is holding so I get in and drive over it and it breaks!  I back up all the way across the parking lot to the curb behind me and stop her.  Set the brake.  Curb is holding.  Get out, place my other stone in front of the wheel and put her into park!  Take a deep Breath!  It sounds funny now, but believe me when I was in the middle of it, this is exactly how it was going!  One tiny step at a time, recheck, double check, pray, then move on.  Then I suddenly realized, I forgot about getting water.  No Way was I going to move the van again.  After all I only had one rock left!  So I got a gallon jug and walked back and forth around the store to get water to fill at least one of my six gallon tanks.  Then, time to start the van once again and get back to my spot on Bloody Basin Road.  

I got back okay!  Had a great Easter thanks to a wonderful BLM Officer.  Had some great conversations with him about all kinds of things!  But back to the van.  Talked to the shop on Monday, could not get her in until Tuesday.  Called to get a tow and guess what!  They will not pick you up if you are on an unimproved road!  That is right and it was the Tow Truck driver who told my insurance company that and forgot to mention it to me!  Arrrgh!  So.  Once more into the breach dear friends, once more!  Place two big rocks!  Front and back.  Got her in drive and did not stop til I got to the shop!

The Shop!  DBC Automotive Repair in Prescott Valley Arizona.  If you ever need work done and you are anywhere in the area!  This is the shop to go to!  Wonderful staff.  Knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile to help you get back on the road!

Well this is what she looked like.  Nothing for it but to tear her apart and see where the problem is.  

They could not find the part anywhere.  

They could not find a replacement steering column either.  It was not long after 1977 that Ford changed from having the key on the dash board to having it on the column itself.  Makes a difference in how it will fit.  

It just does not look good, does it.  

 But it really looks strange when there is nothing there at all!  

If you have ever wondered what a steering column looks like, wonder no more!  :)

That is the space she goes into.  

So they took it out and they actually welded the shift arm into place on the steering column.  Because the two kinds of metal were different he said it was hard to weld.  Which means I need to treat it with lots of tender loving care.  Bumping the shift arm is also not a good idea since that can cause it to change gears even when you do not want it to!  

Here they are!  

My Heroes!  

Time to put her back together!  

Looks practically the same except....

There is no knowing what gear you are in by looking!  Well you can guess!  But I have to be sure before I head out!  I am being gentle with her as I always try to be!  She may be old but she is certainly gold to me!  So grateful to be on the road still!  Trying to move from place to place and having to reach down under the hood to put her into drive each time would be tough!  Besides I am running out of room for rocks!  

Looking back, it would have been really embarrassing to have my own van run over me don't ya think? What kind of epitaph could you write for something like that!  Home Run?  Home Run Over?  Vananigan Shenanigans?  LOL  At least I can shift her like normal.  Well close to normal and it means I still have my home.  This is a very good thing!   

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beware of Beastly Bugs In Bloody Basin, But the Beauty, Ah the Beauty!

Aqua Fria. North of Black Canyon City and south of Cordez Junction AZ on I-17 there is a huge chunk of BLM land surrounding a monument. I am only slightly ashamed to tell you that I never went to see the monument. I was just desperate for a place to park. I was trying to stay close to north Phoenix for a doctors appointment coming up, but also trying find someplace that had enough elevation that it was not so terribly hot!

I had blown right by Badger Springs Road as a possibility since it had so many of those huge Power Towers all along the roadside. But I had hopes for Bloody Basin Road since the towers went off to the west of I-17 and the camping spots were supposed to be on the east side.

I went down Bloody Basin and there was one spot about a mile in, but it was on the side of a hill. No way to make it level so I kept going.  I got to mile marker 6, which is actually only 3 miles off of I-17. (Don't ask me. Just reporting the facts! LOL ) Anyway, it was a nice little turnout and despite the warning I received from RV Sue about not staying anywhere that had signs for sightseeing it looked pretty good to me and I set up camp. But there were not so many sightseers as there were off road vehicles. Everything from Dune Buggies and Dirt Bikes to ATVs and Golf Carts. Evidently, it is a favorite spot for off-roading in any fashion. But still it was a good spot for me so I stayed, until.... Yup. Bugs, and really I still do not know what kind of bug got me for sure, but I wound up with 50 or 60 vicious bites that looked like mosquito bites at first, but were far more active. Oozing, and itching and on fire, kind of like combining a fire ant bite with a bee sting on top of a mosquito bite! I kid you not. It was wild and woolie!  The tough part is this is where the van broke down.  After I got all of the bug bites I had to stay through the weekend because it was Easter weekend and the shop was not open. They could not squeeze me in til Tuesday morning.  Trust me, when I finally got to a store, allergy tablets became my best friend.  In fact, I just took two more since I irritated one of those spots last night and evidently rekindled the fire!

But that comes at the end of the story! While I was there I met a wonderful BLM Officer who was a delight to talk with. If you ever want to know about the best places to Boondock, ask a BLM officer. They have all kinds of good information. For instance, just 3.5 miles from where I was parked there was actually a campgrounds with a vault toilet and great big trees to park under.   Check it out! 

But you do have to get there.  At 3.49999 miles it gets a little interesting!  This is a picture of it going back up.  Not nearly as impressive, but I was having trouble with the van at this point and did not want to stop and get a picture looking back down the hill and all of those lovely rocks sticking up out of the road.  

Wait, did I mention the stream?  Before you get to the interesting part there is a stream.  

There are signs. 

Some I felt were a little personal.  If you keep going, it calls you names  ...

...and since you obviously did not get the message the first time, it tells you again!  

Naturally I went across anyway!  

Hey it was only a couple of inches deep!  :)

I took care of all things necessary.  Pardon the Pun!    

Then went exploring!  

But you see those power towers behind the van? 
Yup, even at that distance I could feel them. 
Which is Not a good thing! 

They were on the way down there too.


Back to my little spot at the 6 mile marker!  

There was all kinds of beauty right there on the hill behind my home! 

The desert has it's own call to the senses, 
even though it does sometimes try to hide its beauty.  
Beauty is always there for those who are willing to take the time to look for it. :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Are You allergic to the 21st Century?

Ever been overwhelmed by the gal with perfume pouring out her pores in the elevator and get an annoying head ache because of it? How about man-made sweeteners? You know, aspartame, Sweet and Low and so forth? Do they give you a headache that would stop a horse in its tracks? Here is a good one, the Dollar stores. Ever walk in one and feel like your eyes are being rubbed with sandpaper? Does the “New” smell of carpet, or cars, or furniture, or clothes bother you? Air fresheners make you catch your breath? Especially the sprays? The laundry soap isle in a store, does it make you kind of queasy?

That was me for years, actually for most of my adult life. It seemed to get a little worse each year and then a few years ago it got down right rude! In fact, I am currently living in my van because living in just about any of today's housing means I am participating in chemical warfare. With me as the target! If it has a chemical in it, you can be pretty sure I will have some kind of bad reaction to it. Don't forget, when I say bad, remember I have moved past annoying and entered the land of down right Rude!

Now here is the interesting part. Chemicals are everywhere today. In our buildings, clothes, cars, soaps, shampoos, cleaning and laundry products, even the food we eat and often the very air we breathe may be filled with all kinds of man made chemicals. In some cases even our forests have been sprayed with fire retardant, so don’t think a walk in the woods is safe and I mean seriously, who knew a fabric softener sheet could be considered dangerous! Did you know that one of the chemicals they use in those innocent looking sheets is the same chemical used in Anesthesia? No kidding, oh yeah, don’t forget, they put fiberglass in there too. I know, crazy isn’t it?

Did I mention my cell phone yet, or your cell phone? Or just about anybodies phone? Especially a Smart phone. Oh yes, even my phone is a problem, it is not just all of the chemicals that are used today but it is also the electromagnetic fields that are created by some of our new technology, like smart phones, computers, WiFi hotspots, cell towers and even electric lines on telephone poles. They have all declared war on this ole gal. So more questions. Have you ever freaked out your computer, or watch, or phone? You know made the computer screen jump and do strange things, or caused the LED lines to disappear on your watch? When you go into the grocery store do the doors seem to hesitate when you try to go inside? If you answered yes to any of these questions, well, you just might be allergic to the 21st century!

According to the specialist I am now working with, the chemicals in our world today are harmful to everyone. Most people just don't get as sick or even very sick at all, and many times don't even know why they are sick. Just like those who are allergic to say, peanuts, some get a little sick and may not know why, then there are those who know, that for them, peanuts are deadly. Like me, there are many people, with a specific genome, that cannot release toxins the way the rest of the population can.

Because of that I became very ill, to the point where several of my doctors did not believe I would still be alive to make it to my next appointment. They did not share that little bit of, what I would think was important, information with me until after I started seeing Dr Michael Gray and my health started to improve. Trust me, there is no doubt in my mind, and theirs, that he has saved my life.

There is so much to this that it is hard to comprehend or even realize just how deep it goes. For instance, movies are my favorite entertainment at night. I was hoping to find a DVD player to take on the road with me, but when I checked with my friends on the Yahoo Group called the Green Canaries, a chemically challenged support group, (that is right, there are a bunch of us out here!) they all told me that every player would have to off gas for months before I could safely use one. (Off gas:essentially that means they have to release the toxins that are strongest when they are new)

Clothes are another issue. I can now only wear cotton and so much prefer organic cotton. But organic cotton is very expensive. I simply cannot afford that, so I wind up washing and rewashing used cotton clothes to try and get all of the chemicals out of them. I know one gal who washes new cotton 36 times with vinegar, baking soda, and peroxide, in an attempt to clear all of the toxins. Another lady prefers to use a pressure cooker to get all of the nastier chemicals out. The goo that gets poured off after she is done cooking the clothes is enough to scare me silly.

What toxins could be in clean, brand new clothes? I am glad you asked! There are all of the pesticides that they use to get the cotton ready to go to the market, then there are the silicone waxes, harsh petroleum scours, softeners, heavy metals, soil retardants, ammonia, and formaldehyde-just to name a few of the chemicals needed to get the cotton through the machinery in order to manufacture clothes. Then of course, there is the fire retardant required on some clothes and all motor homes, cars, bedding, and even your mattress. There are additional pesticides sprayed on each shipment to keep the critters out before and after they get to the store. Want to know more, read here to learn more about our childrens clothes or here for a list of the chemicals used on cotton and then there is this site, which tells you about the known cancer causing chemicals that are used on cotton in the USA. So, are you starting to get a picture? It is not pretty, is it.

I have been doing some empirical testing over the winter. You know, try this on the ole gal, or see how sick I get when I do that, and if I try this, Oh My! Wont do that again. The electromagnetic fields emanating from my phone are not only causing problems for my body, but neurologically as well. When I have been exposed to my phone for any length of time, especially when it is charging, my balance, my thought processes, all get affected. Even simply sentences become difficult to formulate or understand and I will start to stutter and cannot find simple words. Which makes sense if you think about it. The good Lord created our minds to run on very finely tuned electrical energy. If we introduce a second rate man made electronic device, then it is going to cause our own system to short circuit. The more exposure we have, it stands to reason that the effects would continue to increase as well. Some online sites walk a fine line about the dangers. Some try to present specific facts while others are clearly determined to find someone culpable. This has been around for awhile. It is not new news. Lawsuits of all kinds have been filed for a variety of reasons concerning the impact EMF has on the human body.

But it is certainly new to me. Well at least this side of it. For most of my adult life I have had an impact on electrical equipment, like I listed above. Technically speaking, I would freak them out, (Got to love those technical terms) I could erase the lines in a LED watch by wearing it for a few minutes. I could cause my computer to do things it should not be able to do. Things that made the IT techs say “Hmm it should not be able to do that!” Unfortunately, at this point, those same electronic devices are causing me to freak out! Okay, sometimes ya just gotta try to find the humor in this. Granted it is a little twisted at times, but hey, it is humor. :)

Quite seriously for a moment, there is increasing evidence that we should all be concerned. One experiment conducted by school children still makes me wonder why more people are not alarmed by this. I mean if our kids have figured it out? Hmm.

For me, I am learning the hard way, that there are some things I just should not do. Even when I try to avoid what I know will be an issue, I still can get in trouble it seems.  I wound up accidentally sleeping by some small electrical lines one night when I was in Quartzsite. I did not realize they were there until the next morning.  Don't ask me how I missed it, because I have no idea.  All I can tell you is that it was a mistake. I was fighting to make sense when emailing the next day. I would have to read the email over and over again and keep correcting mistakes before I could send it out. One I sent to a friend was a mess, but they knew the problem I was having, so I just let the mistakes ride and hoped they could figure out what I was saying.

Another aspect of this is that it also hurts my hands and face too much to keep using the phone after a while. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes for it to become very painful. Driving through town can be a challenge, then my whole body gets involved. Any town is bad for me these days, but some seem to be much worse. As to why? Beats me, I just know for me, certain places are harder than others. The fact that some of those towns I went to were heavy into farming and you could see the layers of pesticides in the air... Well I don't know for a fact, if that has anything to do with it or not, but my doctor has asked me to avoid any towns on the Colorado river since pesticides are high on my list of no no's.

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I was trying to find ways to keep the computer from hurting me. It was actually the phone that was the real problem. The computer is an issue if I am on it too long or if I try to use it in my van, then the length of time I can use it gets much shorter. All of that metal in my van causes those electronic fields to bounce around and can even create hotspots within the van that can be very dangerous for anyone, but especially for me, since I am already so sensitive to it. I do not have the funds to have a separate WiFi hotspot and keep a phone too, so, with the help of a couple of great tech friends, we found a way to tether my computer to my phone and keep the phone as far away from me as possible.

My post called Bits and Pieces now takes on new meaning when you realize that I would not have been able to use almost any of those gifts if they were new. So cast-off items were a blessing to me in so many ways. I could not afford to buy most of that, and was simply doing without. Even if I had the money to buy them, the toxins they would release would have made me horribly ill or it would have taken months and months before I could use them.. That old saw 'One man's junk is another mans blessing” is certain true for me!

So what about you? Any of this ringing a bell? Are you mildly allergic or are you already heading down the path I am on? Something to think about for sure! I try to buy all organic food, I filter all my water with my Big Berkey and I am boondocking in the boonies, with as few trips to town as possible, so I can continue to regain my health. I don't know about you, but I think I can safely say, that I am definitely allergic to the 21st century. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bits and Peices

March 14th, 2014

I spent the winter at the Long Term Visitors Area (LTVA) which is a place you can go boondocking in Winterhaven, California just North of Yuma, Arizona. It is BLM land with extras! Most serious Boondocker's consider the LTVA's to be uptown boondocking since they offer you clean water, bins for your trash and a place to dump your tank. For me this was indeed an incredible place to stay and truly a haven for the winter.

More than anything else though it was the people I met that gave of their time, talents and even some of their Stuff? No. Junk? No. Not junk, their Extras? Cast-offs? Recyclables? Just bits and pieces that were too good to throw away but they did not really need any more? However you want to put it, their bits and pieces have been incredible gifts to me and have made my life this winter so much more than just bearable, they have made it lovely and wonderful.

Some of these friends, most of them new to me, have asked me to refrain from using their names, so I will go with Initials for everyone instead. Although there are those who may never see my blog, much less this post, it is important to me that I say thank you again and this post is also here to help me remember that there are wonderful people in the world. People who live in trailers, vans, tents and occasionally, yes, even houses, can be some of the most caring people you will ever meet.

So much has happened. So many incredible gifts from people, that I am not sure where to begin. My van has been through some serious renovations this winter. Well now, THAT is a good place to start. My van. A gift from the elders at my home church. Yes, they just gave her to me! It just does not seem possible to me yet. I was looking at spending the winter in my little car and praying that some how the good Lord would work it out for me. Talk about working it out. That was just the beginning of an incredible ride! So here is a list of some of the gifts and the wonderful people who gave them to me.

J and RS for allowing me to stay at their home for that first month after leaving my apartment. It helped me get to the point where I was ready to live in my car. DD for giving me a place to park last summer and JW for asking DD about it in the first place. Both of those warm, caring women have been a blessing to me in ways too numerous to list. Loaned me all kinds of things to get me started on my journey, I mean really, how many people do you know that would allow you to borrow their privy? Now that is a good friend! To say nothing of the long list of things they gave me. Everything from buckets and tubs to clothes and even a winter jacket for my little Macha! Best of all DD has already told me I have a place to stay again this summer.

SK & LS, boondocking friends of mine, for asking me to live near them in Bouse, AZ. Even though it did not work out for me there, (I could not handle the bitter cold snap they had) it did allow me the opportunity to meet SW in Quartzsite who made curtains and helped me hang them in my van. She also taught me the benefits of Reflectix and wrapped my little cooler in some to show me how effective it could be. Another camper there provided the funds I would need to help me meet and drive an online friend, SL, to New Mexico, who in turn gave me half the money I would wind up needing to be able to pay to stay at the LTVA. SK provided the other half of the money when I was trying to find someplace else to stay. LS for the computer, though she said it had some issues, it is now my first ever laptop! Both LS and SK still email and write to me! Yes, old fashioned snail mail and I love it! I actually had an online friend, LR, the crazy tech guy, as he likes to be called, who helped me walk through some of the setup to get my computer tethered to my phone. I actually use my phone as a hot spot! Another camper at the LTVA battled it out with the computer in the first place to get it running and then tried (and purchased) all kinds of things to get it set up for me to use in such a way that it would not hurt me.

Ah yes, you read that right. A computer can hurt me. Another part of the story. But that will have to wait for yet another post.

D, C, J and J, for all the work they did on my van in Casa Grande. Their list of help is huge! Everything from purchasing and helping me lay flooring and a total scrub down to get the mold issue out of the van, to sewing material to act as a rug, labeling my jars and so much more. B and S for the two 6 gallon jugs to use for water that will replace my loaners and they also gave me a solar panel and a rack. Since they were moving into a smaller camper, they no longer had room for these things and gave them to me. My second solar panel! My first was a Christmas gift from another camper to keep my van battery charged up so I could watch movies on the DVD player from PG. It had been sitting in her closet for several years unused. There is another whole story there as well. B and BW for the solar controller they gave me, it was too small for their new set up but still worked. Since they no longer needed it, they gave it to me. They also found the little wooden feet for my cot to keep it from digging holes in my foam floor, lumber for under my wheels to level my van. But more than that, the afternoon chats and the caring they showed me, as my first neighbors at the LTVA, let me know I was in the right place!

I bought a tiny home made solar oven and a deep cycle battery dirt cheap from PT and he also gave me the cushions I am now using on my cot which has made my bed so much more comfortable. So four different sets of folks helped create my solar system. It not only runs my computer, it charges the batteries for my lovely flashlight which can hang inside my van, both of which were given to me by another camper, along with the batteries to run them. MH for the Tu Tuff to cover my Styrofoam flooring and her hubby GH for some invaluable research. Which allowed me to purchase a hand cranked pump to transfer water from jugs too heavy for me to lift. Then there are the two P.A.'s at two different Doctors offices. One gave me a down filled mattress bag for my cot and the other a shower bag. I can stay warm and clean. This is huge when you are living in a van with no heat and no plumbing!

R, T and B, who gave me a bigger and better cooler than what I had (No worries, my son is going to inherit my old one, you know, too good to throw away! LOL) and let me have the table with an umbrella, which I used while I was in Winterhaven (I could not take it with me, but again, no worries, S who invited me to tea one day is now using it) and thanks to T for the shoulder to cry on and the wonderful talks.

By the way, sitting at that table, overlooking the lake, having my tea in the morning, while reading my bible or playing my guitar and singing in the evening. That is more than just food for the soul. It is a delight to the eyes, to see the glory of nature around me, while reading and singing about the artist? Each morning I would have only one thing to say. Just one, quiet, very gently spoken word, indeed said almost as a whisper, quite simply “Wow”.

Several of the folks listed above would make runs to Yuma for me for ice and groceries, one even took me twice. That is how I found out that Yuma is not a good place for me to go. Another post will be out shortly to cover that issue. There is a base just a couple miles from where I was parked. Since I am a military spouse, I can go to the commissary for most of my groceries. I still find it hard to believe this one, but this particular base, was not only actively looking for and purchasing organic food for staff and visitors like me, they were also using green products in the fitness center where I could go to take a lovely, hot, long, delicious, shower for free, without fear of getting ill. The base Chaplain found blankets for me when it turned out that my sleeping bags were not working well, which yet again, another camper helped me with by washing them over and over again to get the chemical residue out that had been left in them by detergent and fabric softeners.

Are you overwhelmed yet?

PMW for the pan and the walking stick and her hubby BW for the chair and ladder. BP and EP for the camp table, a set of funnels, measuring spoons and a whole raft of other items, my favorite being my spoon rose which lives on my dashboard. (Ask me sometime, it is a lovely story all by itself!) M at the base for help on my van, B the kayak guy for the cookies he gave me as a Christmas present. The list goes on and on. I assure you I have Not listed everything. Every time I get up from the computer to go fix lunch or get more water I am reminded yet again of another gift from people, most of whom, I met since being on the road. Clothesline when I had none, an inverter to run my grinder, a meter to check the status of my battery, the loan of tools, help setting up my roof rack, a pocket watch, a camera, yes you heard me right again, a really nice digital camera, when it became to dangerous to use my phone that way. Each time I would attempt to defer and say I could not accept something so expensive, I would hear the words, 'It is not being used, it is an extra, and you need it now'. The list just keeps going. I can assure you I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love shown to me this past winter.

So many gifts from so many giving people. I am truly blessed. Thank you to each of you and may the Lord bless you all in very special ways.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Promise Kept

It has been said that it is a bit unusual for a woman like me to have ever welded, even with the small level of success that I had years ago. (Tap Tap Tap, Dag Nab it! Bubble!) In fact, another camper suggested that finding any woman who had ever welded had a very low probability even when factoring up. I was contemplating that statement and was reviewing friends I have known and can really neither confirm nor deny this as an actuality. Whether or not any of my lady friends have ever welded has never come up in conversation. Though I must say there are a few I know that it would not surprise me if they have.

However, I will admit that it does seem incongruous, to say the least, that I have finally fulfilled a promise I made myself more years ago than I care to admit. It is not the actual promise so much but the circumstances in which the promise was realized that strike me as odd.

I am currently sitting outside my van at a lovely table that even sports a big umbrella. The gift of a couple who were neighbors for a time and could not take the table with them. I am typing on the first laptop I have ever owned. It is plugged into my own little solar system. Both of which, with a variety of components, are courtesy of the many different friends that I have gained since living on the road. I have just finished a tasty corn chowder that I made on my camp stove and while it was simmering, I was in my van, keeping that promise.

 Hanging a Painting. I finally hung, with out string, a painting I received as a gift almost 30 year ago now. It has been tacked up with string and moved from place to place for years and it is finally up on the wall of my van. I had to laugh as I thought of the picture I was painting for my neighbors. I had borrowed a drill from another camper, who left it with me with nary a question about whether I knew how to handle it. I suspect that the knowledge that I had welded in the past, however poorly, may have contributed to the lack of concern on their part.. The fact that strikes me as so funny is that here I am out in the desert, with my "June Cleaver gone wild" apron on, something I made last year, another promise kept, a really nice DeWalt in my hand, finally mounting a painting exactly where I wanted it to be, while lunch was simmering on my camp stove.

I looked at that crazy string now lying on the van floor that had been on that painting for so many years and I realized that I truly am quite at home out here in my new life. Many times I had opportunities to hang that painting properly, but, as always, a couple of tacks in that string were just good enough. Yet, every time I took that picture down I promised my self, all over again, that some day I really would have my own little home to hang it in. That someday it would be properly hung. That someday is today.

I created a little thing out of bits and pieces I have found or was given out here in Arizona. I am told it would be called a sculpture? It is just mine, a reminder of the beauty I have found in this life. I have also just recently written a song, the first one in years now. "Home is Where the Heart Is". Perhaps I can record it for you later. But it speaks of the love I have for this desert land, the life I am leading, the friends I have made and the beauty I have seen.

 It is funny how and where we mark milestones isn't it? For me time has always been so elusive.  Rarely remembering the dates, but the events in my life stand out so clearly.  I have several posts started and the opportunity to finish them is here but this event, hanging an old painting, has usurped them all. So here I am to make note of something so very simple to most people but something so incredibly profound to me personally. I am home.

I am home.