The Girls Came for a Visit

It was a quick visit. It always feels like a tornado has swept through the house because literally, it has. An Indigo flavored tornado. One forgets what “they get into everything” means until you’re once again introduced to the world of a two year old.

I always go through the house before her arrival to make sure I’ve put away anything she can hurt herself with or that I actually don’t want eaten or smashed or hidden somewhere never to be found again but there’s always stuff I’ve overlooked. She’s the best at finding things!

and cute as a bug!

One of the first things she grabs are the blocks. It’s a ritual. She stacks them and then claps and waits for applause.

Frank is crazy about her. He was super sad when she left. He was heartbroken.

I was too a little bit.

It didn’t even sneak up. It just went from Winter is Coming to Hello I’m here! Winter in the desert doesn’t look a whole lot different from Summer, Spring or Fall but it feels very different. I’m thankful the 3 digit temps are gone and I look forward to sewing up some warm clothes.

I wore my crocheted cap for this morning’s walk and I’m hooking up a sweater I hope works out. I started to knit this sweater about a month ago. Frogged it about 5 times, (no lie) and got the body done but when I tried it on I hated it so I frogged it again and am going in an entirely different direction. No matter how far down the wrong path you’ve gone, turn around. I embroidered that on a pillow once and I try and live by it when knitting or crocheting mostly. Not when cooking because going down the wrong path when cooking sometimes yields delicious surprises.

I joined a knit/crochet group that meets at the library once a week. There’s a woman that is embroidering the edges of a quinceañera skirt. It must be 6 yards around at least. Black satin, she’s been working on it for months and comes and sits for three uninterrupted hours each week just so she can get it done by Jan. She’s a monster. Then there’s a woman in her mid 80’s who is a master crocheter. She wears the most intricate and gorgeous crocheted tops she’s made herself and is always working on the laciest raciest bras I’ve ever seen. For herself. She giggles a lot. She’s kind of my hero.

There are young girls that come and crochet as well. It’s such a sweet thing. I’ve missed hanging out with people!

Here’s a picture of some of the blankets I crocheted during lock down.

I’ve lost count of how many I actually made. These are my favorites.

Learning New Tricks

There you have it. September’s sewing.

I’ve spent the last two years knitting, crocheting, baking and sewing. In a bubble. So when I saw the Mini Wardrobe Contest over on the Pattern Review website I decided it was time to share. Three tops and two bottoms that can be mixed and matched. I already had a decent head start on fabric acquisition and plenty of patterns to choose from. The deadline was yesterday so of course I waited til just a few hours before to enter. Not because I wasn’t finished with all the sewing but because I kept thinking the pieces were all a bit boring. Not in color I’ll admit, I did go big and wild for me. Red and yellow are not colors I’m used to wearing. But I suddenly felt…vulnerable. Not a feeling I like but one that I am inviting in for chat and who knows where that can lead. I’m old but I’m learning new tricks.

Waiting til the last moment was a really dumb thing to do. There were so many steps to uploading and reviewing and linking and I found the website clunky and confusing. I made every possible mistake and my entry may not be accepted. There’s a wonderful woman coordinating who has been helpful, patient and kind and is trying to get me in but I don’t expect it will happen. Which is ok! I had fun making all this stuff and I’ll be wearing all my fabulous makes all winter. I’ve been sewing most of my life but I learned some new things this month and got some new tools and took a big leap putting them out there and here so it feels like a win to me.

How is it possible? 3 years gone by. This abandoned space still here.

Reading that last entry. Trying to remember what that hope felt like. I can’t.

Maybe I’ll go back there later. For now I just want to be here. Claim this space. Look around and wipe away the dust. Add some new stuff. Make it mine again.

Here’s where I’ve been spending many hours.

My little sewing nook.

Little Red, the wolf and the dark woods for company.

Still here almost gone…

 

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Summer turned to Fall. The streets are carpeted in golden Ginkgo leaves, now sodden and soft from the rains. I feel like a New Yawkah again. There’s a woman who lives on the block that I see almost everyday.  She meowed at me the first time I saw her and that has become our normal greeting when we pass each other.  I have my favorite coffee spots where I hang out and try to sketch strangers without attracting attention. I’ve managed some fun things in between the hard things. I attended a tour/drawing session at The Metropolitan Museum with an artist whose work I’ve long admired, visited with fellow nomads who were passing through, took a few classes at Yoga Union which specializes in Yoga for those of us with back issues. Life changing! Also took a few Kundalini Yoga classes. That’s a whole ‘nother thing.

I took to watching the news incessantly when I first moved into the apartment. It didn’t take long to see the design to capture and manipulate my mind. Still I watched in awe. How is it we submit ourselves knowing full well what’s happening? I switched to The Office episodes as antidote. Laughter is good medicine.

My daughter is mending. It’s a difficult, painful road. She’s tough, she is an Ass Kicker.

I will be leaving soon. Back to…

no, not back to.

Onward. To something else.

I’ll report back.

Through the Looking Glass

I have stepped through the looking glass. Again. My days are spent moving through, with and amongst 8.55 million people. The Greatest Show on Earth. Where else can one see a woman pushing a stroller with a parrot in it? A long skinny black man in a long black dress ecstatically doing pirouettes in the cross walk while a sea of people rush across and around him hardly anyone taking notice, or if they do, it’s just another Tuesday…

Buskers on the subway. Disco, violins, cellos, guitars and harps.  The show only costs $2.75 and is profoundly moving to me. I am captivated and find myself in tears at how lovely and lonely and hopeful it all feels.

There is a great healing going on. My oldest daughter has cancer and is in the finest hospital in the city but it isn’t pretty. My partner has stepped onto the healers path. It isn’t pretty either. There’s the News in this country everyday which is uglier than anything. Healing just isn’t pretty or easy. It hurts and it’s going to leave a mark but the hope is that you get through it and the scars become ghosts that walk beside us

lest we forget.

I woke in the middle of the night to a dog growling at the foot of my bed. There was no dog but I keep thinking about that dog.

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Splendor

The weeks I spent in Florida seem so long ago! After all the “purging” and organizing was done, I took to walking early in the mornings before the rains and before it was too hot to move, jumping in the pool afterwards to cool off and then spending the rest of the days with Mom. It was quiet and slow and then it was time to go back to the other coast to spend time with the Number 1 Grandson.

We spent two weeks up in the eastern Sierras. We had a blast. We spent the first few days out in the Alabama Hills where there are lots of giant rocks for a boy to climb. Lizards, rabbits and dinosaur bones. S’mores by the fire at night, a quick trip up to the Whitney Portal to see where all those intrepid hikers begin and end their climb of the highest summit in the contiguous United States.

 

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He was impressed.

“I love this place! I want to marry the world!”.

I know just how he felt.

We spent the rest of the time in the trees up in Mammoth Lakes, paddling and fishing all those gorgeous mountain lakes until the smoke from nearby fires chased us out. We fled south and found an oasis tucked in at the foot of the mountains. A funktastic place called Keough Hot Springs. A run down seen better days mineral springs “resort” with a giant swimming pool that showers water down upon you like a waterfall. And a large hot mineral spring pool for evening soaks.

Just the thing after spending a week in the dust.

We thought to spend the night and move further south if the wind kept pushing the smoke towards us but it didn’t and one night turned into 7 and we found another place to add to the favorites list. Moldy carpet, rotting wood, sketchy old trailers, big loud, happy families on the weekends, indifferent and unprofessional staff and sweet and hardworking maintenance guys keeping the grass green and beautiful. After spending the day in the pools we’d sit and watch the rabbits and quail come out and graze right by our little spaceship on the grass under the trees next to the creek.

It was perfect.

Number 1 Grandson is gone home now and we are heading north. Parts Unknown. We drove through Nevada, Oregon and Idaho in one day and are now back in Oregon at yet another hot springs “resort”. This one is clean and beautiful but lacks the charm of the little oasis. I guess we really are tree hugging dirt worshippers.

 

 

” I want the following word: splendor, splendor is fruit in all its succulence, fruit without sadness. I want vast distances. My savage intuition of myself.”

Clarice Lispector

Letting Go

I can hear the soft rumble of my Mom’s snoring over the incessant little German clock she has stuck on her fridge. I can hear that clock even when she’s got her Telenovelas  blasting on the tv. Banging away the minutes of our lives.

From the mountains of Utah to the swampland that is Florida. Two short flights away. What would have taken days or weeks driving time (preferred method) took 6 hours counting the layover. Of course the whole endeavor takes weeks off your life span when one factors in the stress of flying.

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Mama at Breakfast

I’ve come to Florida to help my Mom sort her shit. And boy howdy, her shit needs some sorting. She’s not a hoarder exactly she’s just not very organized. Her flat is filled with chotchkies and little bits of paper she’s written things on that she doesn’t want to forget. Then she forgets where she put the little bits of paper. You’ve never seen such chaos. It’s an exact reflection of her mind these days. I started the “sorting” soon after arriving though she is unaware. I know how that sounds but I also know she won’t miss any of the things I’ve tossed while she’s sleeping or in the shower. She doesn’t remember most of what she has. We open a box and it’s like Christmas! We’ve done some “sorting” together in addition to my solo work. The excruciating “but I might need those 20 (hideous nylon) lace curtain panels” or the 6 shower curtains for the one bathroom, or the eight 20-year-old suitcases with broken zippers. When I gently remind her that she might only need one she acquiesces but insists on offering it to her neighbor before giving it to the Goodwill. I cringe at the thought. Most of the stuff she is grudgingly willing to part with she insists on offering first to friends who she believes will appreciate and love these things as much as she does. I feel her pain. I remember my first bouts of purging and how difficult it was to let stuff go because I might someday need them. I’ve not missed a single thing. Letting go has become easy.

 

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
 Elizabeth Bishop

It’s everything…

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Toadstool Hoodoo

We left the beautiful meadow and drove north through Navajo country. Stark and sad and beautiful. Sandstone cliffs surrounding miles and miles of dry brush as far as my eyes could see with little pockets of humanity. Old mobile homes on cinder blocks next to thrown together out buildings, cars and old trucks clustered around each other like a kid’s matchbox car collection and every now and then a Hogan (Navajo Round house).

Destination: Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border. There’s camping right on the shores of the Lake and it’s lovely. Even when the wind is blowing 35 miles per hour with 55 mph gusts. Well, that part isn’t that cute. But when the sun is shining and it’s warm and the water is still and the only thing you can hear is the flapping of the crows wings as they circle around looking for treats…that parts nice.

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Lake Powell

 

 

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Hail storm Grand Escalante

 

 

 

Sandstorms, hail, sunshine and cold. Woo hoo!!! Utah in April. It’s a magic show. One minute it’s this and the next, it’s that.

It’s everything.

Namaste.

Gratitude

 

 

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Medicinal Plant Map of the United States

 

Found this amazing map this morning on my morning internet rounds! And this…

 

Gratitude: The Short Film by Louie Schwartzberg from ecodads on Vimeo.

 

We’ve traveled so many miles since my last post here.

Today our little tin can sits in the middle of a meadow surrounded by a forest of pine trees. The wind is up, the birds are calling and flitting from one dead mullein stalk to the next. There’s a gang of elk that come by to graze at dawn. It’s like we’ve landed on a different planet after spending a few days in Phoenix and Tucson.

In deep Gratitude for all the magic places we have been and all the places we have yet to discover.

Namaste

The New Year dawned on us in the desert.

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I watched from under the covers in my little nest of a bed.

This morning my Homo Sanctus aka The Tearfuldishwasher set out for a few days solo retreat. Off he went with his blanket and zafu, water and apples to sit under the open sky and chant his prayers. Suddenly the house was so silent it was almost assaultive. We spend almost every waking and sleeping moment together. It’s that feeling of going out and leaving your baby for the first time. How you keep turning to see how or where he/she is. How you feel the empty space in your soul where they live and something feels off. I have always relished my alone time. Longed for it and soaked it up like a dry sponge thrown in a bath fragrant with lavender and rose oil. Monday mornings in our stick house when everyone was off to work and school I would luxuriate in the silence and peace. Somewhere along the road that has changed. Don’t know how or why. Maybe because being together as we have been we’ve just sort of become this one unit. A two-headed, multi-limbed creature that acts as one. What a crazy thing!

Anyway, I’m not lonely, I have several fellow nomads around me if I want company and I have PROJECTS! lots of reading and eating to do. The wind is picking up so I’m tucked away in the Silver Happiness Machine about to cook up some lunch. Also I can catch up on Peaky Blinders. Life is good.

Namaste

A Sonic Jiggle Bath, Rainbow Basin and Petroglyphs

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After a couple of months moochdocking, in which we started and finished many fabulous home improvement projects, we hooked up our little space pod and headed for the wild. We landed in the Alabama Hills the first night and took a long deep cleansing breath. It was good. Nothing like that lunar landscape to settle yourself down, open that heart chakra and get you all dusty and dirty. It’s comforting to return to places we’ve been and loved well. It feels like coming home only it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s just Wednesday and there’s nothing to do and no one to see for miles and miles. It’s just you and the sky and those mountains. The heart rate slows the breath deepens the mind lets up on all the monkey shenanigans, you find your “spot” and settle in.
We moved on.

 

 

 

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We found a new to us spot in Bishop on the Volcanic Tablelands. Wide open views of the Sierras and a 10 minute drive to town. We explored the petroglyphs down Fish Slough Rd, which were astounding. Messages from the past to ponder.
We moved on.
We drove 6+ miles down a bone crunching washboard road to another amazingly beautiful spot called the Rainbow Basin. Just 10 miles outside Barstow CA. We arrived at the Owl Canyon Campground just as the sun was setting. I felt myself “settle” a few more levels. The deep silence and beauty of that place was mind-blowing. It didn’t even matter that every jar in our fridge was twisted open and tossed around all our food. Kimchi, bread and butter and dill pickles, soy sauce and mustard all soaked into everything in there. It might have made a mighty fine salad dressing or sauce for ramen had I the desire to cook a meal. I did not.
We hiked the canyon in the morning and found a niche to sit in which I’m pretty sure only appeared for us and then closed when we left. It’s that kind of place.

 

 

 

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On the way out and back to town we stopped to check the fridge and set things right before our longish drive and found the sonic jiggle bath our little trailer took this time,  had opened the sink faucet and flooded the entire house! We threw down every towel we own, cleaned up the under sink cabinet and drove on knowing everything would be dry before we got to our next stop. And so it was. At least everything in the fridge stayed put and we got to do a major house cleaning and laundry! See? Nothing is f*&ked dude! I lit some candles and burned some sage and went and soaked in a sacred pool.

All is well.
For now.

 

It’s not all Unicorns farting rainbows…

 

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Sometimes we find ourselves in a park between a Safeway and the world’s largest ammo depot in one of the most depressing towns I’ve ever seen.

Sometimes you catch a stomach bug and it holds on hard making you grateful for the unlimited water and showers at said park.

Sometimes mice invade your Airstream eating your quinoa. I’m not that crazy about quinoa anyway so I’m not going to cry about that.

Sometimes you listen to an interview with a kkk leader and a Latina journalist and he calls her a mongrel right to her face and it makes you cry because you’re a mongrel too and you can’t stomach the bold and gleeful way some people hate.

 

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The fanciest and prettiest thing in this town. The sequined mini mart sign.

 

 

 

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Every room in this charming motel had the same silver drapes in the windows. Your best bet for blocking alien transmissions.

 

 

Of course there’s beauty everywhere and I can usually catch glimpses in among the trash but this gift seems to have abandoned me for the moment. It will return, that much I know.

 

 

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Twin Falls, Boy See and the Sawtooths…

We hadn’t planned on staying in Twin Falls more than a day or two at the most but we were there for a week. That’s how it goes when you don’t make plans, arrangements or reservations. We fly by the seat of our pants and it works out for the most part since we prefer boondocking to RV Parks or campgrounds. Summer is tricky though because it means we need an RV park to survive the brutal heat we sometimes find ourselves in and we need to get into a park mid-week and plan on staying through the weekend to get a space among the hoards of other RVers out on their summer adventures.

Anything above 90 degrees is most unbearable in the Airstream. It becomes an oven and we become baked humans.

And so we found ourselves in Twin Falls, Idaho in a county park that is both beautiful and sketchy. There were equal parts big expensive RV’s and rusted out tin bucket trailers. There was a young couple with two small baby girls next to us. No vehicle, just an old trailer. Their story: they came from Utah after a job for the husband but the boss showed up drunk and the wife punched him out and there went the job. They had someone tow them out there, no vehicle of their own. They’re stranded. They fight, they play, the husband walks miles to the grocery store for food and sometimes the babies play outside with their kitten.

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Everyone we met in Twin Falls was friendly and open. We heard a lot of personal stories within the first few sentences spoken. It was a little surreal and a big contrast to Boise where again we needed cool air. We found an RV park right on the Greenbelt where you can hike or ride your bike along the river for 25 miles or so. Parts of it are beautiful and well maintained and the rest of it isn’t.  We hit the Boise Art Museum and saw an interesting collection of the 20th century “Masters” like Pollock, Rothko and O’Keefe. It was the strangest show! I thought it all looked murky and sad. It could have been the lighting but it also felt like the artist’s least successful works. The O’Keefe was awful. I’ve never seen an O’Keefe I didn’t like! I have now.

We also went to the movies. I always look for the “hippie theater” in any town and Boise has an awesome one. The Flicks. It has an indoor and outdoor cafe with food and wine and beer and they were showing Maudie which was wonderful. Go see it!

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very cool sculpture by Brad Rude at the Boise Art Museum

It was unbearably hot and I was happy to leave Boise for the Sawtooth National Forest where it’s cool and one of the most beautiful places we’ve been. Mountains and rivers, bike trails and hot springs, cell signal and town close by!  Everything. We were greeted by a hail storm, always a little unnerving when you live in a tin can. I’ve seen some big ass dents on some Airstreams made by hail.

We’ve met up with a fellow nomad and are camping together for a few days in a valley close to the town of Ketchum.

The clouds are moving in again.

And so it goes.

 

 

 

Down a long bumpy dirt road through the forest there is a clearing, almost a perfect circle. That’s where we were just a few short days ago. Camped on the edge surrounded by Ponderosa Pine just outside of Flagstaff. The ground is a mix of low growing lupine, yarrow and various other unidentified tiny flowers that glow and shimmer in the morning sun. When we arrived the sky was a moody indigo, dead quiet except for the occasional thunder in the distance. The absolute opposite of where we came from.

Phoenix was white bright and the heat, assaultive. Overwhelming traffic, a mass of people and an endless array of commerce, all happening at full speed.  I think this must be a symptom of aging. The world seems to be speeding by too fast to take it all in. It was a short but intense visit. My son Peter was competing for the Mr Arizona title and he won! I’m so incredibly proud of the man he’s become, his hard work and dedication. I’ve never seen such discipline. He’s a force of nature. The most gentle giant. We celebrated his win with his beautiful, smart and funny wife Pam and her parents and friends. If one is judged by the friends they keep, he comes up a winner in that regard as well. Having such loyal, supportive and loving people in your life is a great gift.

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Going from one extreme to the other left me a little stunned. There was no flow from one state of being/place to another, the city one moment and the forest the next. The contrast was so great and so abrupt it took a while to fully process and though we wanted to stay a few days to sit in the quiet, the rains were soaking the earth making little lakes everywhere and turning the dirt road into an orange soupy mess. We decided to get, while the getting was good.

We drove north up 89 through the Navajo nation and made it to the border of Utah where we found another magical spot but the HEAT!!! No longer at altitude we spent a miserable night baking in our little ship. I could not wait for morning to break camp and continue on into Utah to an RV park, any one would do as long as we could hook up our little ship and blast the air. We landed in Provo and after setting up camp, we went and had tacos at 180 Tacos. Falafel tacos! The best thing we did in Provo.

Next up. Twin Falls Idaho at the Rocky Creek RV Park, a sweet little county park tucked behind a quarry. A little hidden oasis not very far from the Shoshone Falls, the Niagara Falls of the west, the scene of Evel Knievels epic 1974 fail to fly his skyrocket across the Snake river canyon. The launch pad is still there and it begs the question, what the what? Who would imagine they could ride their motorcycle rocket across that giant chasm? Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle Rico comes to mind, betting he could throw that football over those mountains.

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It was a good 4 mile walk and the falls are beautiful. This whole area is such a surprise to me. I pictured mountains and forests but it’s flat as a pancake. Where the hell is all the water for such a huge waterfall coming from? A river and a giant hole in the earth make up the whole show.

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This world!!!

XXOO