Himself is remodelling the bathroom. Since there is only one in this little house it is something of an inconvenience. Luckily we have the “clubhouse” by the pools where we can shower and use the facilities. It’s cold now though and there is no heat in the bathrooms so I usually soak in the hottest mineral tub and then take a shower. This is going on week 2. Or 3. I’ve lost all sense of time.
It’s all brought to mind how easily one slips into comfort. I turn the tap on and hot water streams out! There is a refrigerator with more food than we can eat in a week. Bottles and jars of condiments, sauces and jams.I flush the toilet and don’t give one second’s thought where my waste goes. I have a bidet! I wash dishes with the water flowing. I have a washing machine! It’s a tiny one but it does the job.
When we lived on the road we carefully conserved all water and power and though we had a shower in the Airstream we rarely used it. We’d shower in RV Parks where we’d also dump our waste and do our laundry. None of that seemed like a hassle. It was a system that worked well for us. I liked being mindful of what we needed and what we used.
I didn’t notice how comfortable I’d become until the bathroom went away. Moving here has been like slipping into a warm bath. How the lobster must feel before it’s too late.
I slept so hard last night that when I woke it felt like I had risen from the dead. I could vaguely make out the lands I’d visited, the lives I’d lead, they felt so deep and so old.
It’s cold and gray this morning. I have a little heater but boiling water for coffee warms the van up pretty quickly and I know it’s going to get colder this week so I’m trying to “steel myself” Buck up and tough it out! Lol.
I’m camped at a small lake in southern Arizona. I usually like coming here. Have found some beautiful spots around the lake but this time may be the last. Things change. There is no camping on the edge of the lake anymore though there are a couple of spots still open, they’re always occupied and somewhat remote. When I camp alone I like to at least see other campers in the distance. I have never shed my NYC state of vigilance.
My first night out I hoped to camp at an old spot of ours. The one in the header picture with the labyrinth but it was occupied. Damn those people! How dare they! And so on. The next morning on my walk I found not one but two labyrinths! Both excellent camp sites. I could hear the Universe “you want a labyrinth? Here you go! Quit your whining!” My Universe voice is a Joe Pesci type.
I feel so lucky to be able to get up and go whenever the mood strikes. I get restless and need to change my enviornment and routine even though I love both my little nest and my daily rituals. It doesn’t take much to reset. A few days on the road usually does the job.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The fanciest and prettiest thing in this town. The sequined mini mart sign.
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.