Being Sick, Getting Better, Ready to Adventure On.

being sick

At the end of my pet and house sitting gig in Boise, earlier this month, I headed north to McCall, ID hoping to spend the major part of my summer hiking, biking and kayaking and practicing photography.  The same people I house sat for have very generously offered me their second home in the mountains.  Linda accompanied me with plans to spend a week, before returning to her family in Boise. We both got sick. We were both sick for the full time she was there. Arrgh!! This is not how I wanted to spend our time together. I was hoping for hikes and ample time to take photos. Instead we were sick.

I don’t spend much time around large groups of people. I should go out and expose myself more, so that I don’t catch the latest thing that is “going around”. When I worked as a nurse and a tour manager the “bug” exposure was always there and usually one illness  a year would do it. After I started to annually receive the flu shot, even that went away.

Since Jim’s death I have been healthy. With that stressor, I would not have been surprised if I had gotten sick. Stress can do that to a person. It just did not happen. I did have other physical events like a broken ankle but that is not getting sick. That is one of those oops moments that the Arnold girls are prone to. 🙄

Although I love my tiny home, I was very glad to be in a real sticks & bricks house. There was a great deal of comfort, being able to curl up in a firm, double bed with Elsie, my sidekick, curled up next to me. During the day I sat in a comfy chair and watched the weather play out it’s agenda. When I wore out, back to bed I would go. I wonder what I would do if I became sick while traveling in my cute little Roadtrek. One time a few years back I developed a really bad headache and I retreated to a hotel. If I got really sick while on-the-road I think I would retreat to a hotel until I felt better. Maybe I wouldn’t, yet I think my inclination would be to nestle in somewhere.

Except for the cough, I am better. And why is it, that the cough is the last thing to go? I don’t know. Usually for the better part of the day I am fine but when I get weary the cough shows up. Sigh.

After the REI Garage Sale on Saturday, early the next morning I began driving north. Since I still feel in recovery mode I find that if I travel four to five hours in a day, that is enough. I have found wonderful national forest campgrounds each night with nice short or long walks right at the edge of the campground. Tonight I have upgraded to a State Park Campground on the edge of Flathead Lake.

Thursday, I am meeting up with friends in Columbia Falls, MT. We are doing a six day river raft trip on the Flathead River starting near the border of Canada. I am excited to be out and doing.

 

The country I have been exploring has been amazingly beautiful. In the high country it is spring and there are fields of flowers in bloom. Mosquitos abound. A good snowy winter means a lot of standing water this spring. Water=Mosquitos. At one point, I pulled off the road to get a photo from the RT, rolled down the window and within a matter of moments there were mosquitos everywhere. I spent the next twenty minutes chasing the little buggers and, despite bad karma, killed every single one. I have no regrets. After that little fiasco, I had to clean the interior of the front windows. Sigh. I am not a fan of mosquitos. 

Spending the majority outside means that bugs are part of my life. I just like the ones that do not bite or sting. Why can’t we have a mutual agreement to not bother each other? Life is not like that and I have to accept that there will be the infrequent close encounters.

Hmm, I wonder if this could be applied to the rest of my life as well. It is the end of my day and I cannot go to that deep thought place right now.

Montanna

I am looking forward to being on the river. We will be floating near Glacier National Park. It will be stunning country. This type of adventure is one Jim would have enjoyed. This time I will have to enjoy it for both of us. Ready to adventure on.

 

It’s All About Water

Payette River

I am about water. We are all about water. We are made of water. Without water we and this planet would not exist as we know it today.

I love bodies of water great and small. This spring is about water in the west. There has been an abundant supply of snow this past winter and spring runoff is happening, in the lakes, rivers and streams. I have heard several comments from the locals here in Idaho regarding the amount of water in the rivers this spring. “I have never seen the Payette River this high.” “There is usually a beach here.” “Wow!”

Since Jim’s death the ocean has been my friend. I sent his ashes into the Pacific and I have found some comfort in being close to the ocean since then. Leaving the ocean behind was hard for me and I was wondering how much I would miss it. When I discovered these wild flowing bodies of water, I find, I have not missed the ocean one bit.

Pacific Ocean in all it’s Glory

I love water. I love it when it is quiet and meandering. I am attracted to weather at it’s worst. I think many of us are. There is something about nature in all it’s fury that beckons me to go outside, climb the mountain, stand on the sand and witness the un-tameness of it all. Big waves? You bet. Wild surf and bad storms? Yep. I once had to crawl under a boulder on a mountain peak while lightening struck and hail was coming down, fast and furious (it was a surprise storm). At these moments, when nature is in it’s full fury I am reminded that I am a speck in this universe. It is a good reminder and humbling.

Spring is a juicy time of the year. Water abounds and is usually at it’s most prevalent. There is still snow on the mountains, more water is still to come. This year I am going rafting for six days on the Flathead River in Montana. Ah, more water. I love to put my feet in water and if it is warm enough I love swimming in it. In San Diego, the summer is boogie-boarding season. There is a quiet joy in kayaking or paddle-boarding a peaceful lake. It is fun to  meander the shore-lines and see what I can see. There is nothing better than the sound of a loon on a quiet lake.

Fields near Donnelly

Since I have arrived in Donnelly, Idaho, I have been surrounded by large bodies of water, Cascade Lake and Payette Lake. As a nature photographer I really enjoy all this water. It attracts birds and all sorts of wildlife. If I want a chance to photograph, all I have to do is put on some mosquito repellant and sit by a lake or stream and wait. Right now the open fields have quite a bit of water in them. I can stop almost anywhere and wait. If I am quiet and patient enough the animals and birds will come. My favorites this spring are grebes and sandhill cranes. They are my current favorites until something else attracts my attention.

Greebe

Greater Sandhill Crane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cascade Lake

Ponderosa State Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water attracts all of nature, People, animals, birds, bugs-the list could go on. Water is a part of my life and I am happy to have it there. I like to camp next to it. Fishing is fun. There are times that I enjoy renting a hotel room right on the beach and sit and contemplate life, as the waves gently or not so gently crash onto the sand. When evening falls and a lake is still, the sunset is awe inspiring. It quiets my spirit before sleep.

Today and every day I celebrate water in all of it’s wondrous forms.

 

A Quick Update

Poncho

I made it to Boise, Idaho. I am house sitting in this beatifully situated town for a week. My charges are Poncho the dog and Misty the Invisible Cat. Why is she invisible? She resides most of the time under the master bed or under the covers. Ah it reminds me of Elsie the cat.

I am including a link to my latest post on the Roadtreking site.

Roadtreking: Celebrating the Small RV Lifestyle.

I thought you might enjoy reading of my adventures as I was heading for Idaho. Click on the underlined link above and it will take you to this post. I guest post for this site approximately twice a month. If you enjoy RV’ing you may want to follow this blog.

I also have updated my photos of my travels. If you would like to see more of these click on the link below and it will take you there.

Photos of Life in a Small Motorhome

When you look at the page on Shutterfly I have added some new albums. Zion National Park would be a good place to start and then move on from there. Idaho will be starting soon.😀

I am in Boise until later this week. When Linda and Steve return I will be heading north to Donnelly and McCall, Idaho. I am looking forward to spending some time in one place. It is time to catch up and reflect on a year since I sold my house and moved into my small and comfortable RV full time. There is more to come.

Meanwhile, I hope you are celebrating Memorial Day, well. Get out the grill and enjoy the day. While you are having fun and enjoying the beginning of summer, never forget what this holiday is all about. I remember as a child we would drive by cemetaries and see the American flag flying from the majority of graves. It was and always is a touching thing to see. Remember to honor those who have served or are serving today. It is part of the freedom we enjoy.

 

Bearing Witness

For twelve years I was an attendee of the local San Diego Society of Friends, more commonly referred to as the Quakers. Bearing Witness is an important part of their belief and practice.

“Bearing witness is largely nonverbal. It is being a compassionate observer to the unfolding of another person’s life or a particular moment or event.” The Power of Bearing Witness”-Judith Johnson

We, all of us, at some point or another in our lives come upon crisis, large or small, good or not so good, it really makes no difference. When crisis or trauma unfolds I believe that it is helpful to have those around us who can bear witness for each other. Sometimes we help each other sort through our feelings. More often we become someone who listens and observes while the other person speaks freely from their heart. Some times it is a quiet role of helping to hold the space so the other person can take care of the business at hand.

Guests at a wedding are bearing witness. Any time any of us gather in small or large groups we bear witness to that event in time. 

“When we bear witness, we lovingly give our attention to the other without judgment. We comfort without smothering. We play a supporting role — powerfully upholding the other starring in his or her life. It is not about us. It is about them. Yet, we make a profound decision when we do not try to fix their pain and suffering or share in their experience by telling how we had a similar experience. Bearing witness says, “You are not alone. I see you. I witness what you are experiencing. What you are experiencing matters to me. I surround you with my love.” The Power of Bearing Witness-Judith Johnson

Recently I was reminded again of the importance of bearing witness. A good and dear friend of mine received some painful news. Most of the day was spent on the phone and speaking with others. I began during this process to become aware of my role, bearing witness. Being in the immediate environment, as a witness to this time, I held the space so that she could make the phone calls she needed to. It felt important to let her know she was in a kind and loving space and she could take care of business. When and if she was ready, I was there for her to talk with. I was bearing witness.

One of my favorite quotes is “We are just walking each other home”. I believe we bear witness or honor the other person and know we are each on the same path, even though we may have different directions to get there. There is nothing more honorable and special in my heart than to help each other through all the different times in our lives.

 

Many have born witness for me over the past four and half years since my husband, Jim’s death. My community of friends has grown stronger. I am only now, beginning to recognize the importance that their role was for me in those first few years after he died. Most of these friends began to bear witness for me and Jim together when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I appreciate now, how much each person has offered to me. Some gave me space to talk and cry. Others kept me distracted, playing games, going to the movies, seeing an art exhibit. All of this support offered me space to grieve and begin to heal. We do this for each other. Sometimes it is all any of us can do.

There are many sides to bearing witness. I have become more conscious of this roll as I have matured. Although Jim’s death was hard, I still see that time as something I am so grateful for. We were all right there in the moment. It was special, unique, sad, loving and every other emotion the world. All of us that were with him until the moment of his death were bearing witness to a very special moment in time.  I may not always be happy with the outcome yet I am so thankful for the moment.

Lately I have been having these flashes of the events of the day he died.  They arrive, quite unexpectedly and then within seconds they are gone. I am left sitting at a stoplight in wonder. I feel that I am finally able to sift through that day, those events, without pain. The fact that these moments come quickly and leave quickly is important. I feel that these moments have been creating space for me to consider such topics as “Bearing Witness”.

Today I am thankful for those who have actively and not so actively held the space for me. I am thankful for the times I have held the space for others. I am thankful for Bearing Witness.

I Am On The Move

When I look back to my last post, I am amazed it has been almost a month since I posted. What? How could that be? I have been on the move.

 

I left San Diego in mid-April. Once taxes were completed and the dental work finished it was time to figure out what to do with my summer. In classic Janet fashion, sometimes I find it hard to decide what direction to go. Sometimes when everything is planned a better option shows up and there I am, my typical Libra self, once again, contemplating and making plans and changing my mind.

Friends, near and far are a life line for me. I treasure my friends. This part of my journey has been about travel and friends, and new experiences.

A View of Zion Canyon

First stop on my rambling life, Zion National Park. I have a very good long time friend that lives just outside the park.  Sharon and I have known each other since I was young and I babysat her children. When I was in my early twenties I reconnected with this family and it turns out, it was the best thing I could have chosen to do. Sharon and her husband David always unconditionally loved and supported me. Unfortunately David died a little over two years ago. Now after a 60 year marriage Sharon is on her own. She and I have joined the same club, like it or not.

I spent my week in and around the park doing challenging hikes and helping Sharon around the house. One day of hiking was followed by a day of errands and yard work. It was a great combination.

Central Nevada

From Zion I drove across central Nevada heading to Monterey, CA. I have never spent much time in this state. The byways I took makes me want to go back and explore more. Another state goes on my ever-growing list of places I want to visit. I like the solitude of the area. When a badger crossed in front of my RV, I could stop in the middle of the road to watch it. There was no traffic. Nope, not one vehicle.

Roadtreks all in a row

After all the solitude I arrived at a Roadtrek Rally located at the Fairgrounds in Monterey. The rally had forty Roadtreks and about sixty people. For three and a half days we gathered for meals and other events. We explored each other’s rigs and new ones as well. It was three days of camaraderie and learning. I discovered that larger groups of people can be fun when I have a place to retreat to for quality alone time.  Another very good use for my Roadtrek. Meeting friends can be fun. I met several people who I have met on-the-road. It helped that there were a few friends at the rally. Charlotte, a good friend and the woman who married Jim and me lives in Monterey. We were able to slip a breakfast in and catch up on new and long time experiences. She is a magical, delightful person.

Oh so good friends-Gary on the left and Ron on the right as you look at the photo.

Now I am heading north. I will get to my summer plans in a few minutes. Two nights ago, at the last minute, I called friends in Santa Rosa who I have always threatened to visit and this time I did. First you have to know, I love Ron and Gary. They have always held a special place in my heart. They are both Scottish dance teachers as well as amazing musicians and delightful friends. Not only did I get to spend a wonderful evening with them, dancing and catching up…I got to dance. Oh it has been long. My ankle is not 100% yet but it is close. Being back on the dance floor was delight. Coming back to their house afterwards was even better. I love these two men and I am glad we are friends. I have known Ron for close to thirty years. He is special.

Where to next. Well here it is, in a nutshell. I am heading north to Lassen and then to Medford. It is time to meet up with my friend Mary again. She is the one I spent some time with in the Arizona desert this winter. I am looking forward to catching up and getting some wine tasting in.

Idaho is my destination for a part of the summer. Linda and Steve, more Roadtreking friends,  have offered me and Miss Elsie their cabin in Donnelly Idaho. I am taking them up on the offer. I am looking forward to being a bit stationary for a few months. Other events on the horizon? A river trip, the solar eclipse (oh Jim would be so proud) and later in the summer, Colorado. It is time to spend time on my property there. Late summer and early fall is a delightful time to be in the mountains.

I am grateful for the western United States. I always thought I would end up in New England. I often tell people I got to the Rocky Mountains and never looked east again. There is something about this part of the country, from the mountains to the Pacific that touches my soul. I am looking forward to my mountain summer. And….you know….if any of you are in the area please be in touch. I would love to visit and explore with you.

All my friends are treasures and I look forward to spending time with each and everyone of you, time and time again.

Today I am grateful for Friends and Friendship.

 

Getting Ready to Roll

I feel like I have been in San Diego for a long time. It is not true, I have been here for a month. My RT went into the shop today to have a few things checked. She is ready to go. Oil changed, tires rotated, DEF fluid topped off, leaky gray water tank fixed today. It looks like everything is a go.

Once again I am un-nesting. I find I get anxious before I get ready to “get on-the-road”. I have delayed trips by a day or two or by a week or more because of anxiety, mostly presented by my not feeling well. I am now recognizing the symptoms earlier so I can attempt to stop the anxiety from getting the upper hand. Well, most of the time.

A wash outside of Zion National Park

Where am I heading? I am leaving in the morning, tomorrow for southern Utah. I have a dear friend who lives just outside the entrance to Zion National Park. I am anxious to see her and catch up. It also helps that I can walk from her house to the washes and take off hiking and exploring. And then, there is the park within a short drive. This is an amazing part of our country.

I would like to say that this anxiousness has occurred since Jim’s death but that would not be true. When I was working as a Tour Manager, I would feel that anxiety build before a trip. It amazes me that I have to tackle this issue when I love to travel so much. I believe that some of this anxiety is my desire to be perfect, which I will never be. Then there is also the unknown. When Jim was around he would help defer it by keeping me busy. Now it is up to me to discover tools to help with this. Reminding myself that once I get behind the wheel, the anxiety disappears. Breathing and meditating is also another useful tool. If any of you have tricks that work for you, please oh please share.

Life is a continual learning and growing experience. I am looking forward to the beginning of the next part of my continuing life adventure. I am not sure where I will land but I am certainly going to make it an adventure getting there.

Get ready Miss Elsie, we are getting ready to move out.

 

 

Challenges of a Small Home Lifestyle

Lake Jennings

I have been in San Diego County since March 19th. I have camped in two places since my return and I am getting ready to move to a third place. It is important to book ahead when Easter weekend looms on the horizon. My first campground was at Lake Jennings. It was a beautiful site, on a scenic reservoir. Now I am a bit closer in towards San Diego at another very nice campground, Santee Lakes. This weekend I will move once again and then when Easter is over I return to Santee Lakes.

Wood Duck Mama at Santee Lakes

When I really enjoy a place, where I have stopped to camp, I find it is hard to let go of it and move on to the next one. I think I, un-intentionally, like to set down roots. I believe many of us do. That is why we buy homes or land. That is why we nest.

I think it is a very good lesson to un-nest and re-nest once again. I have found, since I have taken on this experiment in living that there are two responses from people. The younger generation tells me how cool it is and that is what they want to do. The older generation ( people my age and older) don’t always understand what I am doing. I have to admit I don’t always understand what I am doing.  I do know that the longer I have been living this lifestyle the more comfortable it gets. Do I think I will do this long term? No. I miss my community of friends and eventually community will be what draws me back to settling in one place again.

There are challenges with this lifestyle, as there are with any. When I am back in San Diego I visit my storage locker a couple of times. I like sitting around what is familiar and loved. It feels like all these objects and belongings are waiting. Hmm…I am waiting too. I am not sure what I am waiting for, yet, I am waiting. My belongings know what they are waiting for. They are waiting for a home.

What are some of the challenges?

  • My living space is very, very small. Storage is always an issue.
  • What do I really need to live a comfortable life? This is a question I ask myself several times a month.
  • Things need to be orderly. I am somewhat of a slob. I am not dirty but I tend to lay my clothes and belongings other places than where they should be. I cannot afford to do this in this small space. If something is pulled out, when I am finished with it, it has to go back to it’s home instantly.
  • It is amazing how quickly this small place can become dirty. I clean every single day. The carpeted area gets vacuumed. The floor gets swept daily. The floor also get’s washed every other day.
  • I have a small “wet bath”. When I take a shower, the whole bathroom gets cleaned. This usually happens every other day.
  • The garbage cannot linger. I have to remove it every other day. Smells accumulate in a small space.
  • When I want to go somewhere in my Roadtrek, I can’t simply pull out. I have to disconnect the water, and electric. The refrigerator has to be moved to battery power. Are all the windows and doors closed and locked? And where is Miss Elsie the cat, usually sleeping in the driver’s seat.
  • I have two of everything. That means if more than two people come to visit, they either have to come with their dish in hand or I get paper plates and plastic ware, which I really do not like using.
  • When getting ready to travel, is everything in it’s place. I have a check list that, even after close to four years, I still look at. It is not unusual to miss one thing.
  • When I had a house I noticed when things went wrong, only after they had escalated. In a small space I notice more quickly if something needs attention. This is of course a house on wheels and all homes have issues over time. The time is just shorter in a small home.
  • It is amazing what I can lose in here. Now my keys go back where they belong as soon as I enter my home.
  • I used to have a whole file cabinet. Today, I have one portable file with all the essentials in it.
  • I usually do not read books. I read on my Kindle App. There is limited space for the real thing. I miss turning the pages. I would, however, prefer to read than not read. 📚
  • The cat litter cannot be ignored. That gets cleaned at least once a day. It took a bit of research, I finally found a type of cat litter that has minimal odor. Yay. Tracking means vacuuming.
  • If I have to take my RT in for repairs, what do I do with Elsie the cat? When I am in San Diego I can drop her at my friend Nancy’s (thank you, Nancy). When I am on the road I usually will put her in her cat carrier and if it is longer we find a hotel room.

I am sure that if I took more time I would discover more challenges. The challenges become a daily part of life and I don’t think about them too much. It is better to approach the unique situations as they come up. There is always a solution. The one nice thing about my RV is that if I break down somewhere (hasn’t happened) I have a place that is comfortable while I wait out the solution. That is nice.

I may just do another post on the benefits of this lifestyle. I have found there are many. Right now, though, today is moving day. I am off to Kumayaay Lakes Campground for Easter weekend. I am looking forward to staying here. Until about a year ago it was closed. Now it is open weekends and has come in handy when Santee Lakes was full. Time to do the process.

Happy Easter everyone.