Dollhouses, Kayaks, Moving Forward

An Example of a Queen Ann Style Dollhouse

Years ago, more than I can remember, Jim (my husband) and I decided to build a dollhouse. A good friend of mine had mentioned that she would love to have a Queen Ann style dollhouse. Sharon is someone we both loved. She wanted a dollhouse and so we built her a dollhouse. This was not just a wee dollhouse, it was at least 2-3 feet tall. We shingled, wallpapered, carpeted, painted it and more. It was an adventure we enjoyed together. I don’t remember how long it took us to build. It was months by the time we finished it. It was a labor of love. Every moment we worked on was rewarded by Sharon’s reaction when we presented the finished product to her

Building the first one was so much fun that we decided to build a second one for Jim’s niece. This second house was just as much fun as the first. After it was completed it went home to Chris.

Once the second dollhouse was complete we decided to move onto a much larger adventure. Jim and I had been planning to buy kayaks for some time. It was Jim’s suggestion that we try to build our own. After much research, we narrowed our search to two companies, Pygmy Boats, and Chesapeake Light Craft. Chesapeake Light Craft became our company of choice. Did we want to use their blueprints or build from a kit? What was the difference between the two? The blueprint meant we would have to find the wood, cut it into the shapes we needed and find all the components that were needed to put it together. The kit came with all the wood pieces cut into the shapes we needed. All the screws, nails, rolls of fiberglass, epoxy glue and more were included. We decided on the kit.

We were both working full time. The kayak building was done on weekends and nights. We were busy. Jim was certainly the lead on the building, I was a very active second in command. In approximately six months the first boat was complete. We painted her red and named her Whistling Woman. I was reading a book titled A Whistling Woman is Up to No Good. This book showed women of the ’90s how to express their wildness, describing how they can get in touch with their true natures and express themselves in a sometimes-disapproving society. The first kayak was mine.

It took us six more months to finish the second kayak. We had learned a bit from the first kayak so the second one was easier to put together. It was five pounds lighter. When it was complete it was painted forest green and named Ronin, after one of Jim’s favorite movies. The second one was Jim’s.

After launching them successfully on Mission Bay, in San Diego, our kayaking adventures started. We took classes through Aqua Adventures and an independent boating store. We learned how to capsize our boats, turn them over and re-enter them. Learning to come in through the waves on the ocean was a challenge. It was fun to get wet. Kayaking into a strong wind also presented us with new challenges.

The kayaks were frequently out on the water. Early, Sunday mornings often found us back on Mission Bay. We would kayak until the other boat traffic would get heavy, then retire to a coffee house to enjoy the rest of the morning. As we became more proficient with kayaking, the learning curve is quick, we ventured further afield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took them camping on the lower Colorado River, on the back bay at Newport Beach. When we finally felt brave enough we went camping and kayaking throughout California, making sure to spend time on the lakes and bays. It was fun to combine our love of camping with the joy of kayaking.

After Jim died I continued to kayak. My tactics changed. First I had to figure out how to get my kayak on the roof of the Subaru Outback. Then I had to figure out how to get it off the roof. I got very good at asking others for help. Kayakers are a nice group of people and I never had to search far for assistance.

Three years ago I started my nomadic full-time existence in my Roadtrek RV. I sold my house in Southern California, moved what I wanted to keep into storage, including the kayaks and began my full-time traveling adventure.

I have been thinking of the kayaks often over the past year. I have held onto them for emotional reasons. Jim and I built them. They were a precious reminder of our life together. They were a reminder of this very loving and unique man I married. Over the past year, I decided these kayaks needed to find a loving home, where they would be used and cared for. Keeping kayaks in storage is not the best use for any boat.

October 2019, I decided that I was OK with selling them. I had a few requirements.

  • They need to go to a loving home.
  • They need to be used.
  • I need pictures of them once in a while so I can see they will be enjoyed and loved.
  • They are not to return to a storage unit.

With Elsie’the Cat’s disappearance the kayaks, once again were put on the back burner. Trying to find Elsie was the number one priority. Unfortunately, Elsie is still missing.

Early in March, I decided to proceed with the selling of the kayaks. I spiffed them up, took pictures and after advertising them to friends, I put them up for sale on Craigslist, Nextdoor, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace. The offers started coming in. How was I going to choose? Just as I was preparing to sit down and sort out all the offers, a friend contacted me. He wanted to buy both kayaks and I would get visiting privileges. That, is a sweet deal. They will be going to someone I know. I have no doubt they will be loved and taken care of. Any time I want, I can ask Jon how they are doing. Maybe I will get an occasional picture. And…I have visiting privileges.

On a blustery afternoon in San Diego county, three of us loaded them on the top of Jon’s truck and off they went to their new home. It was hard to see them go, yet I know that it was the right thing to do. They weigh in at 40-45 pounds. I no longer have a car to haul them. They are 16 feet long, making them to long to fit in or on the back of my RV. The bottom line, I want them to be used and not just sitting and waiting to be used. It is the best way to honor them and to honor Jim.

I am content. I can look at this as a sad farewell or another step forward in my life. Maybe I can find a smaller kayak that will fit my needs better (12 feet sounds right to me). Maybe I can manage without one at all. Or maybe I will just decide to build myself another boat. the opportunities are endless as my life moves forward, one step at a time.

 

 

 

 

Friends & Urban Farming

I have been in San Diego for a week. My re-entry to this community is usually a bit hard. I don’t think it is the memories. I feel it has more to do with me trying to decide if this is still my home.

Last winter I rented a studio at the beach for 3 months. It was delightful to be near the beach, yet I found I was lonely. When one disappears from their friends for a long period of time, well they move on and in some ways so do I. I wondered how I would feel coming back this fall.

My month long home

Things are different this time. For the first month I am here I am house sitting for good friends in a large, beautiful home that has a feel of a retreat in the middle of a busy city. Both Elsie and I are enjoying the space. There are ample opportunities to sit outside, by the pool, looking over the canyon and a cozy, protected side deck and yard.

Having this space has offered me the opportunity to invite friends over and enjoy their company. Many of my friends are curious about my current home, so they arrive in ones or twos to visit, catch up and take a look around. And, because the house comes with six laying hens, people can go home with fresh eggs.

I am learning about chickens. When one stopped laying a few days ago, I was concerned. Like all good techies or techie wanna-be’s, I headed to the internet to read up on why one of the girls is not laying.

  • Did you know that when daylight hours are decreased hens will stop laying? Yep…so I wonder if this is the reason that she has stopped laying. Chickies need 15-16 hours of light to lay eggs. Our daylight hours are decreasing, so this might be a normal event.
  • A chicken needs around 20 grams of protein to lay an egg. In addition to protein, chickens need: calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, fat and water.  A chicken also needs a lot of protein to grow feathers; feathers are approximately 80% protein. So a chicken only has enough protein to either lay eggs or moult, it doesn’t have enough protein to do them both at once.
  • Too many goodies-table scraps and such may also cause them to stop laying because they are not getting the nutrition they need from their main food source. OK I admit it, I have been table scrapping them. This stopped yesterday.
  • If they are dehydrated they will also stop laying. Chickens will drink around three times as much water by weight as they will eat. I don’t think that is a worry as I change their water every other or third day.
  • Are their nesting boxes clean? They don’t like them damp or dirty. Guess what I am doing this afternoon?

Now, you too may know more than you ever needed to know about the urban chicken craze. I had two pet chickens when I was growing up. I am enjoying being around them again. They are funny and personable.

I am house sitting for a month and then plan to camp and visit other friends for about 10 days and then return to chicken farming for another couple of weeks. It has certainly upped my game. I am relaxed and sleeping in and am enjoying exploring my new neighborhood. It is a beautiful area. For those who know the city I am in Tierra Santa and some of the trail heads to Mission Trails Regional Park are a mile away. Sweet.

I am enjoying seeing all my friends, a little bit at a time. I still do better in small groups. Large crowds continue to overwhelming to me. For all my San Diego friends. I am back and I plan to stay until January 2019. Please give me a call or email or text. I love this time of the year because I catch up with all of those who have been part of my social community for almost thirty years. I love all of you.

Today I am grateful for friends near and far. Today I am grateful for this lovely home and retreat. Today I am grateful for chickens. Today I am grateful.

Changing It Up

Sunrise near Tofino

I attempt sometimes to post my latest trip news. Somehow when I read it, it does not seem real or honest or me. I am not a travel journalist or writer. I am not sure what I am when it comes to writing but I don’t think I am the above. It feels phony.

What is it that I write about? And, why do I keep writing? I am not sure of the answer to that question. Yet, write I will until I don’t feel like doing it any more.

When I first started this blog, my intention was to keep my friends and family informed as to my where abouts, as I traveled the United States and Canada in my cute little RV. Here I am five years later still writing and still sharing my feelings and adventures in my life.

After a month on Vancouver Island-I arrived there late in July-I am once again state side. I have been in Washington for a few weeks and am exploring all these new places I have never seen before.

A Month on Vancouver-Slideshow

My month on “the Island” was good. I met very nice people and did a lot of fun things. The smoke hampered my activity a little but, not much. By the time I left Vancouver at the end of August there were at least five hundred fires burning in British Columbia. Smokey, Smokey, Smokey. Fire in the west is what it is. It makes me feel sad for the people, animals, birds and more that get caught in its path.

This past spring was hard for me. I was sad and lonely. By early July I gave up and increased my antidepressant dose. I was on a minimal dose and decided to increase it, a little, to see if that would help. Amazingly it did. One of the young woman I had my hair cut and colored by, told me she is on an antidepressant. She said that if taking a small pill every day for the rest of her life allows her to enjoy her husband, children and her life, she is willing to take a pill to help her do the above. I think of her often and after she said this, I decided that I was going to give the increase dose a try.

I also decided that I was going to change up how I traveled in my rig. I suspected that if I was around people a bit more, the loneliness might lessen.

I belong to a couple organizations and I have not really accessed them the way I could. They are RV lifestyle organizations. One organization is Boondockers Welcome. If you are a host, you offer your driveway or yard to people traveling through your area by RV. Some of the sites are a driveway and you must be self contained. Others offer electric hookups and/or water. If you really lucky you may even be able to dump your gray and black water tanks. As a visitor you contact the people via the website and request a stay. The hosts can accept or refuse. It is not personal if they refuse, sometimes the hosts just have other things going on.

I started to access Boondockers Welcome when I was in Idaho. My first visit was under the tall pines. It was quiet and lovely, next door to a state park and near a small town on Lake Pend Oreille. The home owners and hosts were lovely. We spent an evening sitting in the driveway, exchanging stories and meeting the neighbors as they walked their dogs. It was delightful. They were delightful.

Since then I have been to several hosts homes and each one has led me to meet kind and interesting people. I love the socialization. I have perked up. I am glad that I listened to my inner voice that guided me away from the isolated lifestyle, I have chosen to lead over the past few years. Now I mix it up. I spend days on my own and when I feel the need to socialize I will look for a home site near me and park in the driveway for a few days. The hosts understand that you need time alone, yet we also make sure to visit and exchange RV’ing stories with each other. Sometimes we share a meal. And sometimes I end up making a new friend who hikes and explores their own home territory with me. Other hosts,  I am planning to meet again, “on the road”.

When things are not working for me it is certainly time to change it up. Thanks to organizations like the one mentioned I have the  choice to change it up. It is a healthy lifestyle choice for me. I am glad I could recognize the need within myself to try something different.

Tomorrow I am on my way to the Seattle area. I am going to be staying with a couple who I have met through the Roadtreking : The Group,  Facebook page. They have a full site across from their home. I can easily catch a bus to the ferry and take the ferry into Seattle. I am enjoying ferry travel this year. Another new adventure awaits. I am looking forward to meeting them and exploring a rather large city without having to drive my Roadtrek into the heart of it all. I am looking forward to meeting this couple and changing it up.

I think that will be my new mantra “Change it Up”.