Krampusnacht in Palm Springs

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Those crazy boys are gone and I am so happy to be missing them.

It’s like the pain of childbirth. Unendurable while it’s happening but the memory fades enough to where some of us actually choose to do it again and again. It’s because they’re so dang cute.

So now we’re back to our quiet little lives in our tidy space ship. I never did get the full-fledged crud everyone else got. Maybe I will but I feel like I dodged that bullet. Thank you gods!

Winter has come to the fake desert and we have settled into a routine of sorts. Yoga, soaking, reading and trips into town. Palm Springs mostly. I liked it from the start and it continues to charm me. It has a definite Liberace gone wild vibe. Who doesn’t love that?

Today we had elevensies at Cheeky’s where we sat next to a couple of 50 something year old men who were discussing Harry Potter in great DETAIL for the entire meal. I had the Chilaquiles which do not win my coveted Best Chilaquiles Award and Himself had the Eggs Benedict which were served on a cheese scone. We’ll be going back for the french toast because… pannetone french toast w/ creme anglaise and fresh cranberry.

It’s Krampusnacht tonight. Hide your kids, hide your wife!

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Be safe everybody!

 

The Perfect Thanksgiving

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After days of whining, crying, denial, anger, depression and bargaining.
there was finally peace and quiet in short intermittent bursts. Probably the most relaxed and quiet Thanksgiving I’ve ever spent. Except for the one I spent with my high school boyfriend’s best friend Marc. He drove us to a Diner in Flushing and we ate sandwiches with french fries. It felt like being released from captivity. The Turkey Tyranny overthrown.

The feral beast set free.

Now here I was released from captivity once again. Eating sauteed swiss chard for Thanksgiving dinner, in the “fake” desert as Kaleb refers to this place. My mother would be appalled and mortified that I did nothing more than feed these children something orange, stirred and heated in the microwave , with a frozen neon colored sugar stick for desert. My former self is certainly horrified but I am immune to all judgement today. I had a mango and Habanero kombucha with vodka. Keeping my mind limber. I’m girding my loins for the oncoming attack, the one I am not immune to. The next in line to be felled by the evil malady that has befallen my fellow fake desert dwellers.

We thought it would be the perfect place for these two. Pools,hot tubs, a playground and showers! Run them hard all day long and plop them in bed at the end of the day to melt into sleep. It sort of worked for about 2 days before Shit Just Got Real. One of them got sick. There was coughing, sneezing, fever and all of the above. one by one, we fall. The feral beast with her cub’s cubs. I’m the last one standing. When I fall no one will be left to turn on the microwave or turn off the lamp.

Some Days

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Some days you have to turn off the news
and listen to the bird or truck
or the neighbor screaming out her life.
You have to close all the books and open
all the windows so that whatever swirls
inside can leave and whatever flutters
against the glass can enter. Some days
you have to unplug the phone and step
out to the porch and rock all afternoon
and allow the sun to tell you what to do.
The whole day has to lie ahead of you
like railroad tracks that drift off into gravel.
Some days you have to walk down the wooden
staircase through the evening fog to the river,
where the peach roses are closing,
sit on the grassy bank and wait for the two geese.

Philip Terman

Not Done in Yet

It was the first time we’d  lived in the trailer without power in 93 degree heat. Well,it was 93 in the trailer. Only 91 outside. There was the smallest but most delicious breeze whispering over the river making it comfortable enough to sit outside under the shade of the awning and what I’m calling a weeping pine, can’t find what it really is. I had feared the heat much more than the cold. One can add layers and fire up the propane heater or sit in front of a fire outside but there is no remedy for the heat without ac and the heat just does me in. But there we were.

Not done in yet.

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That was a couple of days ago. It was a beautiful campsite complete with wild burros coming to visit every evening and ducks landing at the river’s edge

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Then the boats started. Those really loud, really shiny expensive looking things with people in helmets at the wheel going so fast they appear to be riding above the water. And the jet ski people and the water skiing people. One after another after another. The noise wore us down and we left. Came back to the desert where no one else is around and we can sit outside under the mesquite trees which provide perfectly adequate shade.

Not done in yet.

Our friend Bob Wells of cheaprvliving.com interviewed us on his You Tube channel. Thank you Bob! And Thank You everyone for all the nice comments.

Birds Will Shit on You

We spent last week in Mesa, AZ. visiting with my son Peter and his wife Pam. They were here for a bodybuilding competition and we were there cheering him on. It was such a great visit. They are an amazing couple. Peter put in an incredible amount of heart and hard work and it paid off, he looked awesome. Props for all the dedication, determination and grit it took to get where he is. I am in awe and I could not be prouder of him and Pam is the girl to have in your corner. Super supportive, smart and beautiful. A gem.

And Mesa! Who knew? Hotter than Hades but we found an RV park with a super large pool and brand new facilities for a great price. It’s not Snowbird season yet so the place was kind of ghost town. Perfect! We found great places to eat fantastic food. Lots of farm to table, clean and green food. So nice to see this becoming a trend. Grabbagreen, Overeasy, The Cutting Board and Republica Empanada! So good.

We also managed a quick visit to the Mesa Art Museum where we discovered Daniel Martin Diaz. He had a showing of his drawings based on Milton’s poem Paradise Lost. It blew my tiny mind wide open. Thank you internet and DMD for having a website where I can take my time looking at your work.

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When in the big city, we also like to take in a movie if there is one worth watching. That is not usually the case but this time we found one. The Wilderpeople. Go see it! Hilarious and beautiful. Shot in New Zealand, it’s the story of an unwanted foster child and his wild adventure towards finding family.

We had a short and sweet visit with Scott’s grandmother before heading back up to Sedona for a few days of cooler temps and hiking! We came back to the same spot we had on our way down to Mesa last week and found a group of cyclist women having a retreat. The spot is big enough for all of us and little did we know those girls would be my new best friends before the day was over.

We decided to ride a few miles down the road to the Palatki Ruins our first morning. It was a long hot and muggy ride for me up hills and I wasn’t feeling too great so we turned around and I was really loving the downhill until I lost control on that gravel washboard road and went down hard, ate a bit of gravel. First time that’s happened since I was a kid and guess what? That shit hurts a lot more when you’re an old broad. Shoulder, elbow, knee and hip tore up and hurting. I’m sure I’ll feel it more in the next couple of days. So much for all the hiking I had planned.  I’m not even up to hobbling.

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Paige, Max and Ash…and Rider

 

So…Sedona.  What’s up? First time we tried to visit, we had to turn around and go back to Flagstaff  because the heat was just too much and forget about finding any hook-ups. It’s boondock or bust. Second time was good but we had only one night. This time, not a great start, though I felt super lucky to have the girl cyclists in camp. Scott rode back about a half mile to get the truck but forgot the keys. Cyclist girls to the rescue ! They dropped what they were doing to come and scoop me up. A BIG THANK YOU!!! to Paige, Ash and Max for  bringing me home.

I was kinda not feeling a whole lot of Sedona love at this point but then…

We went to lunch at Cafe Paleo Brio. That cheered me up. They have bone broth on the menu y’all and kombucha & vodka for happy hour. Among other goodness and it’s decorated like a cave!

I have this app on my phone called Field Trip and it pings out when we’re driving by anything of interest.  From the Historical to the Metaphysical. It pinged out Rahelio Mystic Tours here in Sedona as we were driving to lunch. There was a short article in Sunset magazine and a link to his website. Sweat Lodges, Sedona Vortex tours, Astrology, Shamanic healing. He does it all. There’s a lot of that kind of thing here. I chuckled as I read some of it to Scott after lunch and on our way to the grocery store.  So of course, Scott runs into Rahelio himself on the way out of the grocery store and makes a date for a sunset tour and if I can walk well enough by then I’ll be going too because that’s what we do.

“We are not there until we can say ‘yea’ to it all.”

Joseph Campbell

 

“As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off.”

Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

 

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Peter and Pam Mesa 2016

Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Own Inner Darkness…

Poor little blog. I have abandoned you for the lure of the quick and easy Instagram and Facebook platforms. I’ve fallen into the arms of #ing and photo filters and kissing smiley faces.

Sad face.

 

 

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It will soon be a year since we began living on the road and it’s only very recently that I have begun to feel like it’s real. We’re not just camping. I am a Nomad.

Since we’ve been on the road we’ve had several family tragedies and fiascos which have demanded our full attention and participation. We’ve gone across the country twice. It has not been easy but it has been wonderFULL as well as awful. Life in high-definition.

I see and feel a pattern here. Huge, intense and overwhelming situations crash down upon us and we ride our little ship across the waves as best we can. We have crafted a sturdy vessel to weather these storms. They pass and we ride calm seas for a while. During the calm we take stock. We lounge and process and give thanks. We don’t wait for the next storm. It comes with or without invitation.

We’re in calm seas at the moment. Back in one of our favorite places. Up on a mountain, in a meadow of yellow flowers. A ring of pine forest surrounds us and the sky provides all the drama for once.

So it is time, pattern and distance that creates the rhythm of this nomadic life. And stuff happens in between. I’m rolling with it.

This morning we walked through the forest. It looks like it’s been a good monsoon season here in the mountains of Arizona. There are wildflowers still blooming but some are already shedding their party dresses, succumbing to the long sleep. I foraged yellow and blues and purple blossoms for some eco dyeing ala India Flint, the Prophet of Bloom.  There are pockets of sun in between the trees where Black Eyed Susans dance in the breeze.

 

I came upon this when we got back home.

 

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An interesting article by  herbalist Claire Norris. 

she writes:

“The Black Madonna guides us through our darkness and represents the inner process of transformation. Her blackness has been attributed to the accumulated smoke from votive candles of the faithful, or the dark-skinned inhabitants of the Holy Land, or simply to artistic license. But we need to look deeper to the symbolic and spiritual meaning of her blackness—to the powerful attraction she holds for her devotees in terms of healing, inspiration and transformation.”

Synchronicity at it’s finest.

“This journey is not only about traveling to a particular place, but also about a journey to the depths within, a pilgrimage to the shrine of our own inner darkness.”

My only expectation when I embarked on this part of my journey was to find my way forward by getting quiet and listening. Attending to whatever presented itself. And so I have done and so I will continue to do.

I’ll be out in the forest picking a few Black Eyed Susans.

Camping with The Bobs

It’s been a helluva a ride.

 

We’re currently in the mountains in Arizona camped with The Band of Boondockers, The Bobs, a small band of nomads creating a nomadic community. Fun and interesting people parked in a meadow surrounded by pine trees under blue skies. We’ve only been here a couple of days and already it feels like home. Of course, that’s because wherever I go, I’m home. That’s a strange and wonderful thing.

 

The first night we spent around a campfire listening to music from the Dear Leader’s vast collection and amazing sound system. I could feel the trees dancing around us and their gentle applause. Last night we huddled into one of the trailers and watched tv and then spent a few hours in deep and open conversation. During the days we’re pretty much each doing our own thing. A perfect combination of solitude and community.

 

I found this on Instagram today:

 

The universe does this thing, where it aligns you with people, things and situations that match your vibration.

The higher you’re vibrating, the more you will attract things that are beneficial to your well-being.

 

 

 

 

 

Hatch and Hillsboro New Mexico

#airstreamlife #airstreamdreams #airstreamliving #lifeontheroad #takeyourpianowithyou #osh

A photo posted by yolieom (@yolieom) on

Street psychiatry on the cheap. #mentalwellness #iheartnewmexico #nothingwrongwithme

A photo posted by yolieom (@yolieom) on

More from the ghost town.

A photo posted by yolieom (@yolieom) on

 

There! Finally figured out how to post my Instagram pics here. Yay!

 

 

Chickens, Forests, Rivers and Moons…

It was cool and wet yesterday morning. Cool enough to see your breath.  North Florida is not anything like the southern part of the state. It’s lush and deep. Forests, rivers, lakes and big dramatic skies. It’s a wild and beautiful place made more so by the people we have been with here. The Moons.

 

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What a gift it has been meeting them all, eating Ms Mary’s delicious meals, sharing stories and mind blowing outings! The Wakulla Springs! The earth primeval. Alligators, birds, turtles, trees and water bubbling up from the earth.

The Tallahassee Jr Museum! Hands on history. Historic buildings, native flora and fauna. An amazing place to spend an afternoon. Ms Moon’s beautiful daughters Lily, Jessie and May joined us with their children Owen, Gibson, Magnolia and August. Have you ever heard more perfect names? They were, each and every one of them, beautiful, sweet and warm people. It’s going to be hard to leave.

This is it though. This life of movement and stillness. I’m learning to flow with it.

Scenes from the last few days…

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Ms Moon’s chickens! They’ve spoiled store bought eggs for me forever.

 

 

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Owen and Kaleb and the blue Dinosaur at the Tallahassee Museum of Natural History.

 

 

 

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self portrait at the Moon House, full of treasures and truly one of the most beautiful and love filled homes I have ever been in.

 

So…What’s next Universe?

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Our time here at shhhhhhh!!!! Whispering Pines is coming to an end and I could not be happier about that.

It’s not JUST the train that rolls by our bedroom window, rocking our bed in a not fun way every hour or so, or the unsmiling folk that look offended when I smile and say hello. It’s not even that the weather has been so cold that I’ve only been in the pool twice! The pool was the main reason for staying here in the first place! It’s really just that my feet are literally itching to get on the road. To give my eyes something other than 300 other RVs to look at.

In keeping with my life as Mexican telenovela minus the tits and ass, we now have a new crew member. He’s short and loud and carries a bag of dinosaurs around.

 

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He’s a brave little guy, down for almost any adventure so he’s fitting right in. Braving cold water, learning to ride a bike and dancing late into the night.  

 

So what’s next universe?

 

 

 

Life Interrupted

20160125_091305My baby brother died two weeks ago. He was 52, had just gotten married five days earlier to a woman he was really happy and in love with. His youngest daughter was/is about to graduate from the Naval Academy and begin her new life. He was an amazing father and mentor to so many people in his community and he was funny and sweet and a good son. He took care of my mother these last few years.

I flew to Florida and helped his widow make “arrangements”.  Spent a few very intense days dealing with all kinds of family issues and am now trying to settle into the idea that he is really gone. Not an easy thing this grieving. It takes it’s own time.

The Monk came to be with us and I am forever grateful for his presence in my life. He guides and steadies me. We’ve known each other since we were kids so he knows me and my family as well as his own. Knows every skeleton in every closet. What a blessing. He knew my brother well and loved him.

Tearful drove across the country like a madman to be here with me. He had his own profound and solitary adventures along the way. It’s not how we planned to spend this part of our journey but here we are. We’ve come to realize this is all part of the journey. Every wonderful encounter, every devastating heart break. This life on the road has one amazing aspect I did not imagine. It makes me feel awake to every moment, good and bad. No two days are alike. It makes the world seem fresh and new and fluid.

We’ll be here for a few more weeks before we head back west. There is not much in the way of “wild” camping here in Florida. It’s the high season so all the state and county parks are booked solid. There is no boondocking to be had anywhere near where we are so we’ve been staying at private RV parks. I don’t have many positive things to say about them other than you can have all the water and electricity you want and it’s not freezing but it’s not warm enough to take advantage of the pools. On the plus side there are plenty of Latin restaurants around so I am having my fill of Cuban and Puerto Rican food.

 

 

RIP Mike. Love you forever bro.

 

Anza Borrego part Deux

We wound our way one mile up a fairly steep, rocky and windswept mountain yesterday to find Marshall South’s homestead. I’ve been reading his Ghost Mountain Chronicles, the account of his family’s “experiment in primitive living”. I am soaking in it.

Something about this man and his family on that wild remote mountain has captivated me. An Australian dreamer, poet, artist who had a vision back in 1932. To flee from the modern world and it’s soulless drive away from the natural world.
They lived like the Indians. They roamed the mountains naked and barefoot and made everything they needed. They wove rugs and fired pottery, made a printing press for their poetry and drawings and they raised 3 children up there. Well, mostly. The dream went south when they divorced but they lasted 16 years up there and kept a journal of sorts which was published in Desert Magazine monthly.
So it was a thrill  for me to walk the path Mr South and his family trod and even though the wind was howling and we’re both fighting off colds, I’m so glad we did. As we were exploring the homestead I spied a tiny tent  tucked in among the mescal plants and boulders. An older gentleman stepped out of the tent.  Tom who is 78 years old,  was spending the night on the mountain in his super lux Cuban fiber tent. We had a lovely chat about Marshall and his wild experiment and he told us about his trek on the PCT a few years ago AND  the AT when he was 14. The dude is hard core. I’m thinking of him up on that gusty mountain top communing with the ghosts of Marshall and Tanya because they are up there I’m sure. Tanya gave up the ghost and left the mountain once Marshall started spending more time in the town of Julian than with her and the children up on the mountain. There is almost nothing left of the homestead. Some of the water cisterns they built, part of an old bed frame and other rusted pieces of things.

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Scott and Tom @ Yaquitepec

 

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View from the top.

 

We came back to camp and visited with the fellow Airstreamers who are spending the holidays here in the desert.

It was a fine day.

 

 

 

 

We had little visitors for a week.

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It gave me a whole new appreciation for those full timers with small children.

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve enjoyed this spot and the little town of Borrego Springs. I feel like a regular at the Market and the Library and this place….

 

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which makes a fine Ketel One dry martini.

 

The Red Ocotillo which makes a delicious crab cake benedict and Carmelitas for Chilaquiles.

I love it here and look forward to coming back in the spring maybe but I’m ready to head out. Tomorrow we move on. West to Yuma.

I wish you all the Sweetest and Happiest of Holidays.XXOO

Anza Borrego

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Monday. I write that here to remember it. Monday, Wednesday, 7, 23, April, December? It’s become irrelevant in some ways. In other ways one needs to know what day of the week it is, should one need a book or a quick run through the thrift store, both closed Mondays and Sundays. The library however has a strong enough wifi signal to mooch from and they kindly provide comfortable benches right outside their doors.

Notable times here are becoming so not by times or dates but by quality of light. Early mornings and dusk when our long shadows follow, lead or walk beside us, up and down trails, roads and washes.

I love the desert more and more. The terrain is otherworldly and can be tricky. You think you can see far into the distance but it dips and rises making things disappear and reappear like magic. We’ve come upon seemingly abandoned encampments cobbled together from hay bales, furniture, wood, old phone booths and tarps and rock gardens out where you can’t imagine anyone working that hard. The only life, other than the occasional human variety we’ve seen are rabbits, birds and dragonflies. A hummingbird visits at least once a day, peeks in the open door, flits around camp for a minute and takes off until the next day while the dragonfly perches on the tip of the van antennae. At night the coyotes yip and howl late into the night.

Endless excitement.

Meanwhile our little nest/spacepod is becoming an efficient and cozy little hang about. We organize a little more each day as we learn our new way of life. It gave me great pleasure to organize the kitchen pantry and bathroom cabinet today. I marvel at how little we need and how well this little Lairstream suits us.
The van is finally clear of all the stuff we needed with us but didn’t quite know what to do with. There is a place for everything and there has to be, it’s a tiny space and we both like keeping it neat and tidy.

There is sometimes a cell signal at our camp but mostly not so…

 

 

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It’s done. We are officially homeless and jobless. Currently staying with family until we pick up our home on wheels in 2 days.

I feel about 5000 lbs lighter in my soul. Letting go of material possessions…who knew it could feel this good.

Thank you Universe.

 

Poor lonely little blog. Sad face.

That well I fell down, it was deep and vast. I’ve pretty much explored 1/15th of it. I’m leaving the rest for breakfast, as my big boy grandson says when he’s had enough to eat.

Since August (!) I have gone camping again, this time to the Eastern Sierras where I taught a soap making class to a group of survivalists  and herbalists and I learned how to dye fiber and comb wool and make sourdough bread and survive the apocalypse. If it ever goes down folks, you want to come with me. I’ve got the soap! No need to be dirty or stinky. And I can make bread.

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I came home and began “cleaning” house. Again. After 20 + years it takes a good long while to “clean” your house and make it ready to sell. Which we did. We are now in the throes of last-minute thises and thatses. We are almost all pared down to the bone and still searching for our home on wheels where we plan on living for the unforeseeable future.

To soothe myself I have taken up long showers and baking. Not simultaneously. The long hot showers are taken in the evening and the baking happens in between everything.  It all started when I discovered the Great British Baking Show. Oh my. I’ve not gotten on the scale since starting this little obsession because I can tell it will hurt my feelings. Also I don’t care. In a few short weeks, I will be taking very short showers and not baking anything. So.

I’m still delivering things to the forest though I’ve slowed down a bit. The baking and the showers and the selling the house thing has taken up most of my mental capabilities.

shh