House Sitting Review

Today is Elsie’s and my last day in this beautiful home. We have had a good month. Elsie likes the room to run and I have enjoyed the quiet and beauty of this home. I have learned a few things.

  • I don’t need 2500 square feet to live in. When I first arrived I went from my bedroom to the kitchen. After finally giving myself permission, I expanded my space to the den and sun room. The formal dining room and the master suite were areas that I explored very little, if at all.
  • I like being still. I liked having a place to come home to after appointments and walks.
  • I really like being surrounded by beauty.
  • A good hot shower was a delicious treat for me. The shower in my RV is a bit on the small side.
  • Another treat is having a washer and dryer handy.
  • I enjoyed Therese’s art room. It is light and airy and has really good vibes.
  • As I lay in bed at night it was a delight to hear the coyotes howling in the canyon. I really like coyotes.
  • I like chicken sitting but I would not choose to be an urban farmer. Fresh eggs were a treat to be savored.
  • When the hip bursitis got bad I fell in love with the couch in the den. It was one place I could lay without any pain. It is a magic couch.
  • Sometimes it is good to have someone take care of your home. A week ago one of the drip irrigation pipes broke. I went outside to find water rushing down the driveway. This neighborhood is so quiet, it may have taken a while before anyone noticed this.
  • I like the pool but I am not sure I would like the maintenance and upkeep.
  • I liked having a garden that I could play around in. I love pruning and making a yard look nice.

Here is the beginnings of a list of what I will look for when I am ready to move back into a sticks and bricks type home. The longer I stay in one place the more I begin to long for a sense of permanence. I continue to recognize the longing for community. It is hard to do when one is “on-the-road”.

I am not done with this house quite yet. I move back in for two weeks over Thanksgiving before my house sitting gig is done. It has been a fun and interesting adventure.

Today I vacuum and dust and clean. I want my friends to come home to a happy and well cared for home. I know they will have many tales to tell.

Tomorrow Miss Elsie and I move back into our small house on wheels. We are going to camp on San Diego Bay for a few days before venturing off to visit friends.

Today I am thankful for good friends, lovely homes and my Roadtrek RV.

 

Aging, Limping and Medicine

Aging is not always fun. My body changes shape. Wrinkles show up. Aches and pains are not as easy to get rid of. Words that I still have to get my brain around – hot flashes, menopause, osteopenia, cancer, arthritis, weight gain and more. My latest one is Bursitis.

I limped into San Diego. Yes limped. By the time I arrived here a month ago I had a sore right hip and knee. The IT band felt like it was on fire. Immediately I started the rounds. Chiropractics and laser helped some. Acupuncture was another good alternative. Myofascial Release and Massage also helped trim the pain. Nothing was getting rid of it.

After this past week, continuously being sore in my hip and leg, I decided it was time to visit the Doctor. Off to Kaiser and a meet up with a very nice doctor. After reassuring me that he did not think this was cancer he did several tests, including kinesiology (how cool is that for a western doctor?). I was diagnosed with Bursitis in my hip.

He recommended a cortisone shot into the bursa in my hip. I was hesitant. We spoke of the side effects and the expected outcome. He told me that he was glad to see I was being a strong advocate for my health care and he would do whatever I would consider best. I left with my first cortisone shot ever.

By the time I went to bed last night the pain was essentially gone. Wow!!! It felt good, really good. I got a good nights sleep and today my world looks a little brighter. I have exercises I need to do, probably for the rest of my life. I am OK with that. Most of them are very yoga like. I really enjoy yoga.

His instructions were to ice it, exercise but if it starts to get sore stop that exercise. My chiropractor tells me not to sit so long behind the wheel of my rig and walk around frequently, both good suggestions. I guess I will be back to setting my alarm so I get out of the RV every hour.

Now that the pain is mostly under control, I will now work with all my practitioners to help to heal my bursa. I am not giving up dancing or hiking or walking or cycling. As long as we all understand that then, as a team, we can work on healing my sweet hip.

I have my Masters in Holistic Health Education. I have always been an advocate of a holistic approach to my health. Holism means that I use the best of all worlds of medicine that are available to me. I also believe that it is important to go from least invasive to most invasive, and that was the path I chose when I returned to San Diego.

It is OK to employ western medicine. I mean there is so much out there to help, why wouldn’t one use it? I went to school with so many people that despised anything to do with doctors and hospitals. As a former nurse, and holistic practitioner I had a hard time grasping the concept that western medicine could be so evil and bad. I saw how much it helped so many. Doctors and hospitals are not the enemy and I for one am thankful that I can include this medicine in my holistic approach to my health care.

As I limp a little less into my day today, I am thankful. I am thankful for Dr Ceccilio who encouraged me to be active in my choices. I am thankful for all my healthcare team who can support me in the choices I make. This morning I am thankful for that little shot of cortisone.

Now it is time to go to the storage unit and go to work. Yep, like I said I am not stopping.

Birthdays, Breast Cancer, & This Time of the Year

As October winds down, I am feeling relief. Relief that this month is done.

Every year since I had breast cancer (I was diagnosed February 2010), this month has been a bit hard for me. I don’t like pink, never have and never will. I feel kind support for those who walk for breast cancer, who shout about being a survivor, however I am not one of those people. I have found nothing to be grateful for, for having been through the experience of a breast cancer diagnosis. Mostly I find I have residual anger, residual PTSD, and residual everything surrounding this diagnosis. I am grateful to be alive and I would like to see this event take its place in the far reaches of my memory. As you might tell, I am still working on it.

Each year at this time I worry a little bit. Is my mammogram going to be normal? Will my surgeon and oncologist find anything? Is that weird pain in my hip cancer? Ay Yi Yi Yi.

Jim

Jim, my husband, died from cancer 6 years ago on October 17. Shall I mention that this is the day after my birthday? He went into the hospital the day before his 60th birthday (October 10) and died the day after mine. Well there is something to get through. I have not enjoyed celebrating my birthday in big bang up way. I like to be quiet now and contemplative.

I describe those three and half years between my diagnosis and his death, like a deck of cards. They were thrown up in the air the day of my diagnosis. Just as I was beginning to pick up the cards, boom, the next event happened and the cards flew into the air again. I have been slowly picking up the cards ever since. I still can’t find some of them, ergo, I remain living in my RV and drive to the next destination hoping to find another card. This has been an adventure, a painful process, a lonely one too, times of great fun and exploration and everything in between.

Here is what I am appreciative today.

  • My kind and wonderful friends from all over the world who call, email, text and contact me through social media. When I need someone to talk to, out of the blue one of these friends will call. They have saved my day, my life, my moment more often than I acknowledge.
  • I am financially comfortable. I could buy a cute and fancy RV and move in. I can afford the repairs (they don’t come often), the gas and everything that supports this nomadic lifestyle.
  • I am alive and able to go on grand adventures, both small and large.
  • Elsie the cat-what would I do without her? She is one of the most adaptable and loving companions I could have. We are into our fourth year of adventures together. She remains a delight.
  • I am glad to be able to see the sunrises and sunsets. Each day I wake, is another day to be grateful for everything.
  • The doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturist, massage therapist, myofascial release practitioner, and all those other health care workers on the broad holistic spectrum that keep me tuned up and moving.
  • My friends and acquaintances that offer me a bed in their home, whether it is a visit or house sitting. Sometimes I need a respite from my little living space.
  • I appreciate everyone waiting and giving me room to figure out what is next? No-one else is judging me. I need to stop judging and being hard on myself. You know that saying, “It is all about the journey, not the destination”-I still need to learn this.

    Jim & I flying to Baja for a week on a deserted beach.

There are three days left in this month. I don’t count them down anymore. I feel I have made progress in acknowledging this month and not feeling quite as sad or out of sorts. One of my friends asked me this month, how I felt about the “whole Jim thing”. Well there is a loaded question. Each moment of the day the answer could be different. I believe I have come to a softer acceptance of this month, of the events that transpired six years ago and I still miss by dearest and best friend. Jim saw things in me that no one else has ever seen and I will always miss this about his love for me and mine for him.

I bid farewell to October, thankfully doing a bit more than just getting through the month. I embrace and welcome November. I embrace and welcome each day I wake up in the morning and am able to figure out what small adventure I will take myself on that day.

Today I am grateful for all of my friends, acquaintances and all of the followers of my blog,  who send me messages of support and encouragement. Today I am grateful for people.

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.

Travel Themes

Sunset on Puget Sound

After spending two months in Northwest, I am heading, slowly south. Well I am picking up speed on Friday.

It has been a good summer and fall. I have figured out a few things about myself and this mode of living and travel. I have adjusted accordingly and I am more content, less lonely and have loved meeting new people. Elsie the Cat remains my faithful buddy in travel.

As I reflect back on the past seven months I have seen a theme emerge for this time period. Friends are wonderful, old ones, new ones and those not yet met. There is something about long time friends that is a bit of a mystery to me. I have visited with friends I haven’t seen in years and yet, when we meet it is like we just saw each other yesterday. Why is that? I love the feeling of comfort and acceptance this gives me. I hope my friends feel it too.

In the past seven months I have had the opportunity to visit with five very long time friends.

  • Joy I have known since high-school. We traveled together and laughed a lot. Thanks to her and her sister I was able to enjoy a real family Easter.
  • When I reach the east coast, Chris and I try really hard to connect. I have known her since my first job as a nurse in 1973.
  • I had the opportunity to travel with Leslie in Alaska for two weeks. We had not seen each other in a few years. We were roommates on a small ship Alaskan cruise. Not only did we have a fun adventure, we also had ample time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Helen and I explored Indiana together. She is one of those special friends we talk deep and still find plenty of opportunity to create adventure and laugh.
  • Melissa and I re-met after having not seen or communicated in over forty years. Wow-I swear it was just like yesterday.

I have know all of these friends for twenty or more years. It has been a special event to spend time with each of them. Each of our lives take their own path. It is so much fun when those paths intersect and we have time to catch up.

My good friends, getting ready for the Artisans Market

I have been in Oregon for the past week. I have another long time friend in Corvallis who I am visiting now. Kat and I met Scottish Country Dancing in San Diego. We became fast friends. We reconnected two years ago after a long period of absence. Her and her husband, Charlie are artists. Kat spins and weaves and Charlie is a potter and basket maker. The last time I was here I learned to dye wool with natural dyes. This time I an learning how to weave on a Turkish spindle. I have new beautiful yarns to play with and pet. Kat and I have had a week to catch up and enjoy each other’s company at a leisurely pace.

Today my RV is getting new shoes (tires). On Friday I am moving south. Once a year I return to San Diego to get “stuff” done. Over the next few months I will get my annual mammogram, visit with my doctors and see my dentist. Once I am done, I will be given the all clear and then I am ready to figure out what is next.

San Diego Here I Come

Heads up all you southern California friends, I am heading your way. Miss Elsie and I have been asked to house and chicken sit for good friends in San Diego. Ah the life of the urban farmer. We are house sitting for a month and then will move to a campground through the New Year.   I look forward with anticipation to visiting with all my San Diego friends, who have supported me faithfully since Jim’s death six years ago.

Today and every day I thankful for all of my friends. I feel blessed and special to know so many absolutely wonderful people.

 

Friendship & Social Media

This is me at Graduation

I was a new graduate out of nursing school in 1973. I worked for a year in a big city hospital in Philadelphia to gain experience. Boy did I ever gain experience, charge nurse on a 40 bed sub-surgical specialty floor with 2 nurses aids, on the night shift. What????

After a year I decided it was time to spread my wings and leave home. I had always wanted to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. When the application came and I realized how far I would be from my family, I was not ready to commit.

I was too young. 

I decided that I would stay state side and become a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Volunteer. After a week of training in Chicago, I traveled north to my assignment for the year, in a little town-Glenwood City, Wisconsin. I worked in a West CAP program (Western Wisconsin Community Action Program). Although I really never had a job description, I worked for the all the programs the office housed. 

There was a young woman who worked in the office, Melissa. We soon became fast friends. We did so many things together and it was fun. Through out the 1970’s we stayed in touch but gradually we went in different directions and lost touch. 

Enter facebook. Melissa and I reconnected about a year ago. It was such a delight to connect with her again. We have followed each other on Facebook. It has been almost forty years since we have seen each other. How could that be? I am not that old.🤔

Melissa & Me 

Last Tuesday Melissa and I met. Elsie the Cat and I have been camping in her and her husband, Will’s driveway since last Tuesday. It has been so nice to re-meet her. She and I have a lot of years to catch up on. We have been busy talking, a lot. It is interesting to see what she remembers and what I remember from our past.

Here are few things we have quickly found in common.

  • Yoga, today it is more mainstream than when we first took classes.
  • Contradance-we love to dance and we both met our husbands dancing.
  • Our political beliefs are similar.
  • Embracing our joy for life is similar as well.

This has been a wonderful meet-up with Melissa. I had no idea that we would actually visit with each other and still have so much in common. We even think we still look the same. I feel blessed. 

On Monday I will be driving south into Oregon. I am planning to meet friends there as well. I feel so grateful today for all the unique menagerie of friends that are such an important part of my life. 

I am feeling thankful.

Moments of Pure Joy

 

IMG_8385Have you ever experienced a moment of pure joy? You know, the moment I am talking about. You see something or someone and you feel true happiness or delight in what you are seeing, hearing or doing. The joy can be so overwhelming you may even giggle or laugh right out loud.

Last Thursday I left Port Townsend and began to travel south along Kitsap Bay. My destination was Suquamish, not too far from Seattle and yet isolated enough to avoid the busy-ness of the city. I am visiting with Jean and Jim who I met through the Roadtrek (my RV) community. Currently I am sitting on the deck looking out over the bay and enjoying the sailing regatta in the distance away.

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A View of Port Gamble

On my way to Suquamish I discovered the town of Port Gamble. The community, originally known as Teekalet and later renamed Port Gamble for the bay which gave it access to ocean commerce, was founded as a company town by Puget Mill Company in 1853. The town is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The community has a wide range of shops from antiques to a tea shop and an old-fashioned general store that is a popular tourist destination

As I was walking around town I discovered the post office and a whole garden filled with the most delightful dahlias. It was one of those moments of pure joy. I looked at all those flowers and laughed right out loud. They were beautiful. Out came the camera and for the next half hour I reveled in this beautiful garden. Those flowers made my heart glad. Dahlias were one of my father’s favorite plants and it immediately brought both my parents to mind. Such a delight.

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Enjoy the slideshow of these beautiful flowers. Maybe these photos will bring about your own moment of pure joy. If this is not your moment, go out and find yours. It is often waiting in the most unexpected of places.