Change Happens

Elliot Community Hospital

In 1970 I began my education to become a registered nurse. I went to a three-year diploma school, Elliot Community Hospital School of Nursing in Keene, New Hampshire. I became aware for the first time of the resistance of people to change. In the last year of school, a new hospital was built; Cheshire Hospital. It had all the latest equipment and technology. There were single and double rooms. There was air conditioning. It was new and amazing. Three months before I graduated patients were moved and the old hospital closed.

You would think that everyone who worked in the old hospital, which had been in existence since the late 1800’s, would have been excited and looking forward to moving into a hospital with the latest of everything.

The old hospital did not have air conditioning. I remember taking care of patients and then going to find a fan to cool off. Often patients were situated in the hallways with curtains around their beds as there was not enough space to accommodate all of those in need of hospitalization. It was archaic.

Change was in the air. Many of the nurses who worked in the old hospital were hesitant and angry about the move. They were used to where they worked and were resisting change. They didn’t need all the new things at the new hospital. Things worked just fine where they were. They feared the unknown.

The student nurses could not figure out why these nurses were so hesitant. We knew it would be a lot of work to move everyone, yet we were looking forward to the shift to the new hospital. Who wouldn’t want to be in a brand new building with the latest of everything? We were excited and looking forward.

About two years ago WordPress, the host site for my blog announced that it was going to gradually change the editing program, from a Classic Editor to a Word Block Editor. I was given the chance to learn how to use the new editing system. They had video tutorials. They continue to offer online support. I have been resisting this change since they announced it. I didn’t have time to learn it. I liked the old system. Why change something that is working? Oh my, I sound like those nurses at the hospital.

When did I become resistant to change?

I have been putting off learning the new format until I had to change. That change came with my last post. I can no longer access the Classic Editor. I have no choice now, but to learn this new format. I am struggling to learn. I know I will succeed (look at what I am doing now), yet it is a struggle. I am busy watching tutorials. I have been on chat with the WordPress agents. They are patient and knowledgeable. It helps to know I am not alone in my quest to learn this new system.

Not only do I have to learn a new editing system but the theme I use for this blog is also no longer available and it has been suggested that I change the theme before I can no longer use it. I am glad that I am in one place and have the time to sit and learn all these new ideas. Expect changes in the look of my blog. Things might look different for a while until I get everything figured out.

 Insight into change teaches us to embrace our experiences without clinging to them — to get the most out of them in the present moment by fully appreciating their intensity, in full knowledge that we will soon have to let them go to embrace whatever comes next.

Insight into change teaches us hope. Because change is built into the nature of things, nothing is inherently fixed, not even our own identity. No matter how bad the situation, anything is possible. We can do whatever we want to do, create whatever world we want to live in, and become whatever we want to be.

All About Change by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Change is a part of my life. Change is part of your life. Change is a part of everyone’s life. We may not always recognize when it begins to happen. We may resist it. We may fight it but change is guaranteed to happen.

I have experienced a lot of change since I started this blog (look at the archives, they are an interesting read). As I look back at my life, change has been consistently a part of my life. I continue to learn that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible. Change is inevitable. I have not always embraced change when it has arrived on my doorstep, yet it is there.

Today I am embracing change and learning about this new way of editing. I would like to think that this past pandemic year (The Great Pause) has allowed me time to discover and explore change. I hope to come out of this time a better and more complete person, and more accepting of change in my personal life and in the world around me.

The Adventure of It All

Northwest Sunset

I enjoy an adventure. I like to read about others’ adventures. I like to watch documentaries of adventure. I am a closet big wave surfer and high altitude climber. I like to be in the middle of adventure.

On March 16th I left San Diego to adventure north. After spending time in Oxnard, California, and Point Mugu, getting the last of the rig repairs completed I headed north. Destination, Whidbey Island, Washington. On an adventure, I seldom go right to the beginning of the new experience. I decided to give myself time to wander through California, Oregon and finally Washington.

Oceano Dunes

The Oceano Sand Dunes are located south of Pismo Beach. The Dunes area is recognized by scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public as the finest, most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California. The Preserve offers rare opportunities for on-the-sand activities—you can camp on the beach and in the open dune area, go horseback riding, and drive right on the beach. In fact, it’s the only California State Park that allows vehicles to do so (four- or all-wheel drive recommended). I did not camp on the beach. The fee to be towed if one gets stuck in the sand is quite a bit. I camped in a private campground that allowed direct access into the dunes.

This is my third visit to the dunes. I know I will return again and again. There is something special about standing in the middle of these rolling dunes and seeing no one except the little animal tracks at my feet. These dunes are what I expected every desert to look like when I was a child.

The Dunes

Being close to Hollywood, several movies have been filmed here. The most noted one is “The Ten Commandments”. When filming was complete, rather than dismantling the set, it was coved with sand and left. According to an article in the LA Times, “Hollywood discovered Guadalupe Dunes decades ago“, pieces of this set continue to be found by amateur and professional sleuths.

I found the dunes attractive for the opportunity to take photos in the ever-changing light. The light was shifting moment by moment. It would have been easy to take a photo of one object again and again. the light changed before my eyes.

This is a place I know I will return to again and again. And if you are wondering….The dunes are packed hard so walking is easy in most places. Be ready for that soft spot though.

I pushed myself north a bit faster than I would have liked but I knew there was an empty house in need of attention at my final destination.

Mary Making Bagels

I did take a few days off to visit with two close friends, Mary & Wanda, who have created their bubble. All three of us have been vaccinated. It felt safe to visit. What does one do when there is no room in the house to sleep? I slept in my rig on a quiet street in Medford, Oregon. Oh but I had access to a bathroom to shower. Sweet.

It has been almost a year since I have visited anyone closely except Ward and Cynthia, part of my bubble. It was good to see other people who I knew were consciously taking care of themselves. Mary introduced me to her new E-bike. Oh my goodness I could do some damage with that. It was fun to ride. For now I will stick with my road bike.

Since I left the bay area it had been rainy and gray. When I got on the ferry to Whidbey it was gray and a short time later I drove off the ferry into the sun. About forty-five minutes later I arrived at my temporary home for the next two months.

It has not remained sunny. On Sunday the weather changed, a cold front came through. There was hail. There was the wind. The temperature dropped. Then Monday arrived and the sun has been out ever since. I was told that I have seen the worst of the weather.

I am beginning my adventure on Whidbey Island. I will be here until mid-June. I have been exploring beaches and taking photos-lots of photos. I will add a link to the photos with my next blog post. I am adjusting to being solo again. It gets pretty quiet without anyone to talk to. It is life and I am slowly settling in. The view and the outdoors are helping assuage the quiet.

My Current Home

My adventure on Whidbey Island is just beginning. I hope you will come along for the ride, walk, hike,…

Today I am thankful for people who entrust me to care for their home. Today I am thankful for a cozy home with an amazing view. Today I am thankful for the opportunities that are offered to me. Today I am thankful for recognizing opportunities.

Breathing-Breath-Breathe

Today I received notification from my endocrinologist that my one-year anniversary of treatment for thyroid cancer looks good. All the tests came back where he wanted them. And today I took a full deep breath and reminded myself to relax, not to worry, and yes I can look forward.

It is interesting to witness my reaction to medical news or any news. I am not aware that I hold my breath or all that implies. I am not aware that my shoulders are lifted the slightest bit. I am not aware of this until I get good results and notice my shoulders drop, my brow unfurrows and I take a deep full breath. I allow the warrior woman to relax, thank the Gods that be, and move forward with a lighter step.

I became aware of this when I was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. The first year was tough. Not all the news was good, yet I waded through that first year and it became easier. Each time my annual visit came around I prepared myself for the news, good or bad. When another year went by and everything looked good, I relaxed, and down went the shoulders, my face softened and I took a full deep breath.

In April of 2019, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. One side of my thyroid was removed. I delayed having the other side removed until I returned from an amazing trip to Africa. That following November the other side of my thyroid was removed. I underwent the radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer in early 2020.

Most of the year I am fine but when this winter arrived and I had to get my lab work and ultrasound done, the worrying began. Up go the shoulders, the brow furrow deepens and I hold my breath. I want the news to be good yet I am readying myself if the news isn’t so good.

Now I can relax for another six months until more lab work is due.

What helps me when I become stressed or worried?

  • I practice yoga, at least five sun salutations a day, or a full practice.
  • I stop and take five deep breaths (count in for 4 and out for 4), in and out, each day. I may repeat the process several times a day. It is unlimited. Sometimes I add a mantra to my breath.
  • Exercise is important. I bike, hike, and walk. I also do weight-bearing exercises.
  • I see a counselor when I need to.
  • I try to journal but am not faithful to this form.
  • I go out and take photos. Nature and photography can calm my soul. Birdwatching has the same effect.
  • I call my friends and family. It is good to have others to vent to when I am alone so much of the time.
  • And always, I remember to breathe.

After Jim, my husband, died I took a twelve-week mindfulness meditation course, through my HMO. I was looking for anything that could help me get through one of the worst times of my life. Mindfulness Meditation helped me focus on breathing and learning techniques to move forward through grief. Breath was definitely a focus of this course.

Conscious breathing is my reminder to slow down, everything is OK. Breathing reminds me to let go of what I cannot control, to reset, everything is OK. Breath helps me to relax, everything is OK. Breathing reminds me I am OK, I am doing the best I can at this moment in time. My lungs are happy that I am giving them the exercise they need to do the best job they can do.

Today I am taking a deep breath. I am thankful for good test results. Today I am breathing and looking forward to a time in the Northwestern United States. I am more relaxed and tonight I am confident that I will sleep just a wee bit more soundly.

Today I am breath. Today I am breathing.

Today I am thankful and grateful.

BREATHE

Already on the Road

On the Beach at Pt Mugu

Usually, I title a post “Getting Ready to Roll” when I am preparing to move in my rig.  I can’t do it this time as I am already on the road. This morning I departed San Diego for the season. After a difficult farewell with Cynthia and Ward, I began the drive north on a beautiful and chilly Southern California morning. 

 

One may ask, Where are you heading? That would be a fair question to ask. I have not told many what my plans are. I didn’t want to jinx it. I am going to be house-sitting for friends on Whidbey Island, near Seattle. I will be there until some time in June. I am so excited. I have never been there so it is a brand new place for me to explore. My bike is ready and my kayak as well. I am ready too.

Whidbey Island is the largest of the islands composing Island County.  It is about 30 miles north of Seattle. The island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. It is ranked as the fourth longest and fourth-largest island in the contiguous United States, behind Long Island, Padre Island, Isle Royale.

Hopefully my Northwest friends will pay special heed to this post. I am sure we can figure out some way to safely visit. Oh I hope so.

It feels good to “get on the road”. The adventurer in me takes over and who knows what may happen from there. I am thankful that I have a large country to explore as I am still not feeling comfortable traveling by air. It is good to have so much to explore outside my own front door.

A Beautiful Sycamore at My Campsite

Today I took a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, through Malibu, ending at Point Mugu State Park. It is a small park with a small beach on the Pacific Coast. There are many hiking trails and it is a quick walk to the beach. It is hard to believe I am not far from Los Angeles and millions of people. Yet here I am snuggled into my RV after a short walk earlier in the afternoon. I am camped among the sycamore trees and it is quite lovely here.

I usually get a bit apprehensive when I leave for a new place. Today I did not feel that. For that I am thankful. I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride. It helps to have good audiobooks to listen to.

So get ready to come along for the ride, I will have new photos to share and new stories to tell. Come on along.

 

My West Coast Family

Santa Barbara Sunset

I spent four days last week in Santa Barbara, CA. I traveled north to get some inside repairs done on my rig, EmmyLou.

Santa Barbara is such a lovely town sitting out on the Pacific. I stayed in an Air BnB very near the coastline. I could walk or ride my bike almost anywhere. I rode my bike back to the Air BnB after I had dropped my rig off. Even the bike ride was a pretty one. It makes me want to return to that area and spend more time.

Santa Barbara Mission

In the last thirteen years of my working life, I was a Tour Manager and Tour Guide. I often took people on tours to the Santa Barbara area. I know this type of work sounds glamorous but let me tell you it is work. I had to be responsible and ready twenty-four hours a day. And I had to be the expert. What’s that tree? What’s that rock? Who lived in that house? Although fun could be exhausting.

I enjoyed spending time alone in this town. I could finally do what I wanted and when I wanted. I could explore and get to know this area my way. It was a quiet and fun-filled four days. My rig is ready to roll. I had some time to explore at my pace, at my leisure.

Last Saturday I returned to San Diego for the final medical tests of the year. I am one year out post-treatment for thyroid cancer. These tests are now done and I am awaiting results.

Driving north or south on the coastline in southern California means that at some point I have to drive through Los Angeles. The ride up was easy. The return ride was a little how I remember the traffic in LA  pre-Covid. As I drove through the “Valley” my thoughts turned to Jim’s family. I connect that drive through Northridge and Chatsworth with the Fenningham family. It still feels odd to not exit the freeway and drive to “Mom’s” house. Each time I drive through that area I remember times with Jim’s parents and sisters. After both parents died his sisters and I have gradually moved forward with our lives and don’t stay in touch. We all move on yet I still miss this connection with Jim. I think of his family often and hope they are doing well. I also wonder if there will come a time when I drive through that area and don’t reflect back.

My West Coast Mom

I am grateful his family was so inclusive when Jim was alive. I felt like I had a mother on the west coast after my mom on the east coast died. She was instrumental in keeping the family together. The whole family took me in as another member. I am grateful I had those twenty-one years with my west coast family.

Now my rig is ready to roll and so am I. I am taking a few precious days to enjoy Cynthia’s and Ward’s company before I head out on Wednesday of next week. We have been quite a household. I will miss their company.

Today I am thankful for all those years I had with my west coast family. I am thankful that I still feel so much love and kindness for them. Their support after Jim’s death was important and wonderful to have. I am thankful for friends who become family. Today I am thankful.

 

 

 

My Bounce Around Month-The Challenges of Personal Growth

Sunset on Squaw Lake

After spending two weeks in the desert I once again have returned to San Diego. No, wait, I am in Santa Barbara. I call this month my bounce-around month. I am moving about the southern California area to finish this visit for the year.

Why am I bouncing around.

  • I really wanted some time in the desert and two weeks was all I could find this year to venture to the east.
  • I received my second Pfizer vaccine on March 1 in San Diego. I am doing well.
  • My rig, EmmyLou is getting things done. First, she had the outside fixed. Now we are working on the inside.  RV’s need check-ups. Today we are in Santa Barbara to meet up with Dan Neely. He is one of the Roadtrek Gurus, traveling up and down California to make it easier for his customers to meet up with him.
  • I have to return to San Diego as I have a few more tests to finish up my first post-year thyroid check-up. (I had thyroid cancer a little over a year ago) Oh and I am getting old, I have to have my left eye checked for a cataract. But I don’t feel old!

Rope Canyon & Peggy

Ladder Canyon & yours truly

My trip to the desert was grand. I camped and hiked and biked and kayaked. Although most of my friends were not in the desert this winter, a few were. Peggy and Roger have managed to figure out how to be in the desert and social distance this year. Peggy took a few nights to come and camp with me. It was good to meet up with her. We did some amazing hikes-ones that challenged me. The most rigorous one was when we took an early wrong turn in the Mecca Hills and ended in Rope Canyon instead of Ladder Canyon. After we tackled the first rope in this beautiful slot canyon we decided we were in the wrong canyon and hiked back out. Then we decided to tackle Ladder Canyon. It was a challenge but after Rope Canyon it was definitely easier. It is a beautiful place in the desert.

Squaw Lake Kayak

I met up with Cori another Roadtreker at Squaw Lake, a dammed lake on the lower Colorado River. There are several lakes just north of Yuma that is part of the Imperial Dam Water District. This is a great place for boaters, fishermen, and other watersports lovers. The lakes are gentle and easy to navigate. We also kayaked to the River and went up river first so we could float back down to the lake entrance. It was a fun adventure with Cori. We hiked and kayaked for two days before I needed to return to San Diego.

My adventures in the desert were not always fun. Friendships can be hard as well as rewarding. I sometimes wonder if I know how to communicate as well with others now that I have been on my own for so long. I tend towards introversion (yes, really) and since I have been staying away from people I wonder if I need to break into the world of others more carefully and slowly.

I have learned a valuable lesson on my desert trip this year. Being respected is important to me. I try hard to respect others and I have grown enough, now to count on others to appreciate me. When that doesn’t happen then it is time to leave and regroup. I also need time to remind myself that I am a good and worthy human being and worthy of being appreciated.

Argh! Growing is hard and challenging. I have a friend who turns 90 this year who told me once that I will still be growing when I reach 80. When growth is easy, it is fun and exciting. When growth is not so easy, it is challenging and hard. It is often the challenging steps that are the most rewarding.

A Santa Barbara Sunset

I will be in the lovely town of Santa Barbara for two more nights and then will head south. I am staying in an Airbnb in a quaint section of the city. I am one block from the beach and it is quite beautiful. This morning I dropped my rig off and then bicycled the 13 miles back to my residence. This afternoon I will repeat the process to pick her back up.

The adventure of life continues. I am grateful for the challenges that come my way. I am grateful for my friends who love and respect me. I sometimes grudgingly appreciate those who challenge me and help me grow. I am thankful for the mechanics and others who help my tiny home of wheels stay in tip-top shape. I am really thankful for my tiny home. Today I am thankful for a blue sky, classic sunny southern CA day.

 

Finally!! The Desert!!

Tonight I was texting my sister and I realized I have not blogged in a while. I also realized that very few people know where I am or what I am up to.

After a month at the RV facelift hospital-my rig is minus some major dents and bumps and is back where she belongs, with me. It was a good time to get some of this work done as I had a place to stay (thank you Cynthia and Ward). EmmyLou is home and looking spiffy.

I usually spend every winter wandering the desert southwest. If it is too cold in one spot I move to the next. It is a good way to spend the winter. I usually find interesting and unique places to visit and meet interesting people.

This winter was a bit different with the RV in the hospital getting a makeover. I had to stay a bit more stationary, sheltering in place during this Covid time. My annual medical and dental appointments seemed to stretch out more than usual.

Peggy Hiking Into a Slot

I really wanted to get to the desert, even if the time was limited. A week ago I departed for the closest desert I could find. Here I am in the California Desert. I started in Anza Borrego State Park near Borrego Springs. Most of my friends did not come to the desert this year due to Covid. Two of them did. I met up with Peggy and Roger who have been safely distanced camping in the parking lot of a church. It was fun to see them. Masks up and all. Peggy came and joined me for a few nights. Two little rigs parked together at a boondocking campground. We had some girl time and did pretty cool hikes. It is exciting to see people.

Now I have left the State Park and have moved on to the Salton Sea. It is rather a unique and unusual place. I come here because of birds. I love birds. I love to take photos of them and watch them. The Salton Sea is a major migratory stop and wintering ground for over 400 species of shorebirds and other birds. Today the Snow Geese were the stars of the birding experience. At one point there were so many coming in for a landing on the water, you could hear their wings. It was so cool.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am here for a few days and then will move on to the Squaw Lake, part of the Colorado River, to get a little bit of Kayaking in before I have to return to San Diego.

I will be returning to San Diego on February eighth to get my second vaccine. After a few recovery days, I am off to Santa Barbara to get some interior work done on my rig.

Dan Neeley the owner of Dan Neeley RV Service specializes in Roadtreks. He travels from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He is really good at what he does and I am thankful he comes far enough south that I can reach him. Now that EmmyLou has had an outside job, it is time for the RV part of her to be checked. Once that is done I bet you think I will be hitting the road.

Not so. I have to return to San Diego for a little over a week so that the final part of my post thyroid cancer screening can be completed. So far everything looks good and I expect that these tests will look good as well. I still get nervous and wait anxiously for the results. After these results come back I can take a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling, and be ready for another year of adventure.

I think that covers it. I have been learning to rest and relax. I am thankful each day for wonderful friends who continue to love and support me in whatever way they can. I am thankful each day that I can venture off for a hike, see delightful and awesome birds, and catch a good sunrise or sunset along the way.

 

Did you know that if you click on any picture it will enlarge?

Did you know that if you click on the different colored words that are underlined, it will take you to the web site?

And the Vaccine Race is On

We have been living in a Covid world for a year. Masks on. Keep your distance. Someone is coming too close to me on my walk, it is time to cross the street. Who is in my bubble? Uh-oh is this tickle in my throat Covid?

Toilet paper, I must stock up on toilet paper. What about disinfectant wipes? What about masks? I must get supplies. I must make sure that I have enough. Is there ever enough? Should I get more? And finally, the mayhem slows down. Everyone has enough and life returns to the Covid normal.

Restaurants are open. Restaurants are closed. Oh no, wait they are open again. I can eat outside or get take-out. That restaurant has dome bubbles. Are the tables distant enough from each other?. Maybe I will just order and take it home. Many have curbside pick-up so I don’t even need to go inside.

Click on this link ” Our New Normal in Pictures” for an interesting look at how we are adapting to this strange and yet relevant time in our lives.

I haven’t been inside many grocery stores in months. When I do venture into one, it is a treat. Yet I get in and get out as fast as I can. This crummy little virus can be hiding anywhere.

I bike alone. I hike alone, I walk alone (unless Cynthia comes along. She is in my bubble), and kayak alone.

I have become accustomed to this lifestyle and I am good with it. Since Jim’s death, I have been relearning to be solo again. I am glad I had practice before Covid arrived.

Now the next step has begun. The Vaccine is becoming available. Yet immediately we are back in the same messy situation that was featured in the early stages of this whole Covid year. There is not enough valid information available to the public. People are desperate to get the vaccine. In California, we were told that the 65-year-old and up group is now eligible. And once again it appears that people are scrambling to get that first shot. We hover over computers and try again and again to find any available appointment. If you know someone who has received their first dose, you may be envious or even jealous of the fact that they have received it and you have not. It is so hard sometimes to be human.

My first vaccine appointment is on February 8. Yep, I hit the jackpot, got on the computer at the right moment, and was able to secure an appointment. And remember the vaccine is not fully effective until you have had it in your system for 12 days.

I am trying to be patient. I am trying to remember to breathe. This will all work out, I know it will. How is this vaccine going to change my behavior? That is a question that we should all ask. In reality, it will not change what I am doing. I will still mask. I will still order to go. I will still socially distance. I will not hug anyone, well except my bubble buddies. Really, not much will change.

Having the vaccine will give me peace of mind. It will also help me be part of the solution to this pandemic. It is so important to be part of the solution.

It has been a roller coaster of a ride this past year. For those who have lost people to this horrible virus, it has been a hard and troubling year. As the numbers grow there are not many of us who are not affected by those we know who have succumbed. It has been a most difficult year. Although we can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, it is still a distance away and all of us must continue to cautiously move forward.

Through the next several months I will try to maintain an easier awareness stance and maintain the course. I will remember to breathe relax and be patient.

Today I am thankful for science, and the vaccine. Today I am even thankful for the crazy human experience.

The Bumps & Dents of RV Ownership

The places we have been

A month after I bought my sweet little Roadtrek I had my first incident. What made me decide to back the rig into the driveway of my home in Santee is beyond me. I was still learning how to drive the RV forwards. Slowly I backed into the driveway only to hear a loud pop. I dented the rear passenger-side door and broke the glass. I was devastated. I felt like the worst RV owner in the world. How could this have happened? Oh, the shame!

The window was easily fixed but the dent has remained an ever-present eyesore. I swore one day I would get it fixed.

Throughout the years of ownership, I have added a few dents and bangs to my little home on wheels. There was that one night, in the dark, when I took the corner too sharp into a campsite. There was another little dent in the rig. Trees are often my nemesis. I have gotten better driving it and the incidences have calmed down, except….I have met up with a few curbs that were not my friends. I can proudly say I have, with the help of Jeff Curry, learned how to fix the steps with a bit of fiberglass, sanding, and paint. I am getting good at these repairs.

Mary & Me in the Anza Borrego Desert

Then there was the time in 2016, I drove over a rock, well maybe a small boulder, in the Home Depot Parking lot in Crescent City, CA. When I backed off the rock I took some of the bumper off the front end. With the loving help of a local auto repair shop and two very nice RV’ers who stopped to help, we fixed it so I could ride into Medford, OR to a body repair shop. I was devastated and embarrassed. I also felt a warm glow for how nice people were to help me. The positive outcome of this incident I met my friend Mary, who put me up in her home for a week. We have been friends, ever since. We meet up, usually once a year to play in the desert or on the rivers. I don’t regret this side trip to Medford, not one bit, except the bumper. Sigh.

Right after the 2016 election, I was to pick up Cat at the Mexican border. Remember Cat? She bicycled the west coast of the United States that summer. I was her sag wagon. Elsie and I accompanied her and her two dogs on a summer adventure. The day I picked her up I was a bit upset with the election results and probably shouldn’t have been driving. I drove out of a parking lot and ran into one of those side arms that let you in and out of the lot. I dented the driver’s side of the van deeply. I finally had to admit defeat and contacted my auto insurance company. I was fortunate, none of the water or propane were affected. It became a repair of the body only. It was an expensive repair and boy oh boy did I feel bad. I felt so bad about this one that this is the first public admission of the above-said incident.

Driving down a Chicago alley

Two years ago as I was returning to the west coast I visited my friends in Rogers Park, Chicago. They let me park in their parking space, down an alley, and into a gated parking lot. I have successfully managed it in the past. In 2019 I was not so lucky. See, there was this garbage bin….I dented my side sliding door and up to this point I have lived with it. Each time I look at that dent I feel sad that I did that to my little home.

After I sold my property in Colorado I decided to take advantage of some of the income and fix my major bumps. I retained money from the sale to get this expensive body-work done. I have put it off. About a month ago my side door got stuck closed. At least it was closed. When I stopped by the Sprinter Shop they were able to open it, yet I was told that the latch might be off because of the dent in the door.

It was time. Today my sweet little rig has been in the shop for a week. The side door and the back door are getting repaired. I may be without it for up to 4 weeks. They are busy. I guess others have had the same idea since we are Covid restricted and are getting things fixed.

I have learned valuable lessons from the above incidences.

  • I usually drive three to four hours a day at the most.
  • If I am distressed about something then maybe not driving for a few days is a good idea.
  • Don’t drive when I am tired.
  • I take time to really look at campsites. It is good to get out of the rig a few times to make sure everything is free and clear.
  • The most valuable lesson is to admit I am human. These things happen. It does no good to berate myself and feel unworthy. These things happen! It is time to get rid of the embarrassment and try to do a better job the next time.

I am thankful today that I am staying with Cynthia and Ward so that my rig can be lovingly taken care of. It is good to have friends who love and support me and give me a room in their home.

Driving the Backroads

I am thankful that I have the money for these repairs. I know others who are not in this situation. It is a bit humbling to admit this when I know others are struggling to make ends meet. Hmm, maybe it would be a good idea to donate some money to organizations that are helping those in need. Yes, definitely a good idea.

I have finally come clean about my dinging adventures with this lovely little rig. She has over 100,000 miles on her. I hope it will put on many more as I live this lifestyle. Hopefully with fewer dings.

 

 

 

 

An Uncomfortable Week-Part 1

I try to avoid politics as much as I can on this blog. I like people and I want my followers to be comfortable reading of my adventures out in the big wide world. I like that people can read my posts and laugh, cry, and be moved or bored. Today I am stepping out of my and maybe your comfort zone.

This past week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I have felt sad, horrified, and angry. I have also noted moments of reflection about the times I have been to the United States Capitol in Washington DC.

Like most people, seeing the Capitol building assaulted by a group of people who were out for blood and “revolution” broke my heart. Who are these people? What gives them the right to desecrate this incredibly gorgeous building? They said this was their home and they were taking it back. Well if it is their home it is mine too and I am not happy with how these groups treated my home. I am not happy with how they treated the nation. I am not happy at all.

Who are these people? I read an article that said they urinated in the halls, spread feces on the walls, and destroyed for the sake of destroying. Who does this? Who thinks this is a good idea? I cannot support a revolution where people think this is OK. Who taught them that this kind of action is OK?

I felt such pain for that building. Have you ever been there? If not you should go, well not now. The historic buildings in Washington DC are incredible works of art. They are not buildings, they stand for so much more. After several architects, the Capitol building was completed in 1836. It had already witnessed an attempt at its own destruction during the War of 1812 when the British tried to burn it to the ground. It didn’t work and it remains a symbol of a now floundering democracy today.

Capitol Rotunda.

I read that some of the rioters after breaking into the rotunda dropped their mouths when they looked up at the rotunda. They started to take photos. Who can blame them, it is a beautiful space. This is what they wanted to destroy. Some said that this is a symbol of what is wrong with this country. I disagree, this is a symbol of what is right in our country. This is a symbol of freedom. Freedom from the oppression of the British. Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Speech. Freedom to become better. I don’t believe it is the freedom to destroy.

After the grounds were finally secured, the cleaning up began. Who cleaned this mess left by mostly white supremacists? It was black people whose job is to take care of our house. I read an article about these people and I know it may sound a bit romantic but, here is the final quote in the article. “With each stroke of the broom, they were slowly helping to piece this democracy back together. It’s what Black people have always done, no matter the circumstances, no matter the burden placed upon their back.” I couldn’t agree more although I believe I would add many people of color and caucasian as well.

There was one other person helping to pick up the mess that these groups left behind. New Jersey Representative Andy Kim was helping the other workers.

“When he finally did walk around the rotunda — his favorite and arguably the most storied room of the building — the disarray left him speechless. Water bottles, broken furniture, tattered Trump flags and pieces of body armor and clothing were strewn on the marble floor as if it were an abandoned parking lot.

“I was just overwhelmed with emotion,” Kim, 38, told NBC Asian America. “It’s a room that I love so much — it’s the heart of the Capitol, literally the heart of this country. It pained me so much to see it in this kind of condition.”

So for the next hour and a half, he crouched down and filled a half dozen trash bags with debris. When he finished cleaning up the rotunda, he began working on the adjacent rooms, including the National Statuary Hall and the Capitol crypt downstairs.

Then he returned to the House floor to debate Pennsylvania’s vote count, a session that lasted until 3 a.m. By Thursday evening, he’d been awake for more than 36 hours.

On a day in which video of mayhem and bloodshed inundated social media, a widely shared photograph of Kim, alone on his knees, picking up the final pieces of garbage in a nearly empty rotunda, was a radical break from — and rejection of — the violent impulses that drove the country to the brink of collapse. Many people labeled him a “true patriot.” While Kim said he didn’t dwell much on the symbolic heft of his actions, the term was on his mind.”          Asian American News

Today I am proud of Andy Kim. He represents what is right in this country. He represents what is right in our government. He and others like him project hope for the future.

I have biked and kayaked and walked my way through the end of the week. I seek nature when my head and heart can handle it no more. I feel sad for this country at the moment. Our leadership has created such divisiveness and I am not sure that it will be easily corrected. As this country has done before I believe we will persevere and move forward hopefully in a more gentle direction.

Meanwhile, I will breathe. My niece, who is a youth minister in the Presbyterian Church shared a meditation when this was happening on Wednesday. Brittany, I changed the words a little. I will breathe in peace and I will breathe out peace to others. Breathing is sometimes all one can do.

I may send some love to my amazing and steadfast home in DC as well.

This is a part 1 in a series of at least 2. If you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to.

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