Tag Archives: crazy

Dry cottonwood leaf on a rock.

Life in Review

Why is it that we wait until a near death experience to review our lives? Why don’t we do that every month or so to figure out where we are straying from our path, from our true selves? If we did that as a monthly ritual, people wouldn’t experience what others call a “midlife crisis”. Actually, crisis is the wrong word. It isn’t a crisis, its a course correction. People going through a midlife crisis are actually coming into alignment with who they truly are.

If we reviewed what made us happy and focused on that throughout our lives, we wouldn’t need such a dramatic change to line up with who we really are. Instead of waiting until retirement to figure out who we are, we could spend our whole lives being that person. These thoughts have made me review my own life.

I realized as I wrote this that I don’t remember my mother piling a lot of expectations on me. She never indicated that she expected me to do anything other than ride horses well. She was particular about that. For that matter, Dad didn’t seem to have expectations of me either or maybe its just that I didn’t notice their expectations.

As a result of this, I’ve made some interesting choices. I didn’t get married and I’ve never had kids, a path very few women take. I seem to have followed the less beaten path in many of my choices. Often I was the only female or one of only a few women in my jobs and hobbies.

Some of my jobs and hobbies are well out of the norm for women in particular, but even most men wouldn’t have gotten into some of the stuff I have.

At various times in my life, I have been a:
Police officer
Vehicle repossession agent
Woman’s Professional Football player
Process Server
Cashier
Security officer
Web site designer
Expert level crocheter
Lamp-work bead maker
Jewelry designer
Public speaker
Teacher
Group leader
Disaster responder
Emergency management volunteer
Chaos control technician
Horse trainer
Rabbit breeder
Switchboard operator
Admissions clerk in a hospital
College student
Licensed EMT
CERT Trainer
Amateur Radio Assistant Emergency Coordinator
Skywarn weather spotter
Net control operator in ham radio
Wedding planner (not my own)
Photographer
Care giver
Cook
Dish washer
Costume designer
Seamstress
Writer
Poet

I have been going through that list and focusing on the jobs I liked and which I didn’t. I also looked at what parts of those jobs I liked and which I didn’t to find the real me. There is a theme emerging pretty clearly. I need freedom and variety to be happy. Every time I had a job that constricted me, I disliked it. Sometimes that dislike came quickly. Sometimes the job had other things that made up for the lack of freedom and I didn’t hate it immediately, but I always came to hate it.

I also need autonomy. Having someone tell me what to do and exactly how to do it drives me batty. I am not a robot to be programmed. I am a human being and a creative one at that. I need to be allowed to think for myself. I need to find the way to the desired result in my own way. After all, my way might be better or at least better for me.

Other revelations include the need to be learning new things. Okay maybe that isn’t a revelation. I’ve known I get a charge out of learning new stuff, but other things were a little bit of a surprise. I like being different and, I’m comfortable being different. I like inspiring other women to do things out of the norm. I like inspiring people to see beyond the box they have built around themselves and to push their self imposed limitations. I like pushing people’s perceptions of reality to broader horizons. I also need to feel valued and to feel that I am doing some kind of good in whatever I do.

So what kind of employment can I find with these traits?

I haven’t got a clue. The roles that have called me the most are disaster related and creative. My dream job is to create an Emergency Management team that would stage before a large disaster and step in to help the overwhelmed locals through the first two or three days. Those are the critical times in a disaster when the loss of life is highest and when I feel my chaos control skills would be most useful. When disasters aren’t happening, I could be focusing on the creative stuff like writing.

The thing is, there is no path to that role. I only know of one organization that even comes close to that and they focus on debris removal, not disaster management. Maybe they haven’t thought of that potential yet . . .

Looks like I have some research to do.

When was the last time you sat down to review your life? Have you ever? You should make your course corrections along the whole path so the adjustments are easy. If you wait, you may have to do what I’m doing and blaze your own trail through the bush.

Did you drop anchor in a good spot or just a convenient one?

Home Is…

Yesterday’s post, Solving Homelessness, got me thinking about the definition of the word home. So I looked it up on Google.

Home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

synonym: residence, place of residence, house, apartment, flat, bungalow, cottage; accommodations, property, quarters, rooms, lodgings; a roof over one’s head; address, place; informal: pad, digs; hearth, nest; formal: domicile, abode, dwelling, dwelling place, habitation

Most people in America would say a home is either a house or apartment. At least the people that didn’t spout off with “home is where the heart is.”

The synonym “accommodations” seems to fit my definition of home better. After all, a person living in a tent has a home, but by today’s standard would be considered homeless. Why?

Because most people anchor themselves. They need to be anchored to feel safe, but if they anchor themselves they don’t go anywhere just like a ship at anchor.

I’ve been reading the blogs of people who live in RVs, campers, and tiny homes and came across a blogger today who has lived in a camper van for 12 years. This is a choice he intentionally made and one that works for him. He likes it so much that he encourages others to join him and offers suggestions on how to make the leap from house/apartment dwelling to living in a vehicle. You can check out his blog here.

When I started telling my friends about creating The Wander Away, there were varying responses. One person said, “So you want to be homeless?” Since he has been living in a travel trailer for years now, I challenged his definition of homeless. He has a travel trailer, but he parked it in a semi-permanent manner. That was his choice. Our living arrangements would be similar, but he needs to be anchored. I don’t.

I told another friend and his response was, “You’re gonna be a gypsy?”

I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I guess I would fit the stereotype. I even read palms and tarot cards and know how to change the color of horses so I can conceal that it’s a stolen horse. These are all things the stereotypical gypsy was accused of, so I guess the title would fit.

Another friend immediately told me it was expensive, but he hasn’t done research like I have. I’m paying over five hundred dollars in rent and utilities. Expenses that would cease to exist when I move into The Wander Away. The blogger I mentioned above said he actually spends less in gas every month than he did when he had a house.

The reason? He doesn’t have a daily commute of forty miles. He travels for fifty miles or so and stays for a week or more. Then he moves on again. As a result, he has no where near the gas consumption he used to.

He also saves on utilities by installing solar power and following the ideal temperatures as the season progresses. He works his way south in the fall and wanders back to the north in the spring. He gets to see this beautiful country and stays mostly where it is free for him to stay which cuts down on his living expenses.

Imagine living in a National Park and waking up everyday to that kind of beauty. Imagine spending time in one location long enough to really get a feel for it and the people. One morning at a coffee shop with a coffee klatch will give you the inside scoop on everything you need to do while you are in the area. If you like it, you stay for a while. If you don’t, you move on to the next location.

Sounds like heaven to me, so I guess I am a gypsy, minus the stereotypical horse thievery which I suspect most times they were not guilty of in the first place. What they were guilty of was challenging societal norms. People are not comfortable with nomads, but that is exactly how the earth was populated. It was also how America was founded. People, unhappy with where they were, came here to live. Some of those people found their spot. Others are still looking for it.

Challenging societal norms seems to be my lot in life. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and I think I’ll keep doing it until people wake up and accept that societal norms are not healthy nor one-size-fits-all. Some people just don’t fit nor do they want to live in a societally accepted box. Because let’s face it, that is what a house or apartment is. A box.

Maybe the people that said, “Home is where the heart is,” were on to something. Maybe instead of sticking people in boxes, we need to be asking “homeless” people what their definition of home is and then make that definition acceptable and possible.

My friend’s desire to end homelessness might be possible if we accept that people have different definitions of home.

How would you define home? Let me know on my Facebook page.

To change the world, invest in the people around you.

Solving Homelessness

A few days ago, I went to dinner with a friend and we got talking about my beliefs and observances. I talked about the book Get Out Of Your Own Way by Dr. Cooper and then asked the questions that got me thinking in the long term.

What would you do with your life if you had half a billion dollars at your disposal? How would you change the world for the better?

My friend has a wandering heart and said he would travel full time like I want to do. When I pressed him for an answer to the second question he said he would end homelessness.

That is a pretty lofty dream and since I’ve had that fear of being homeless for years, I’ve been thinking about it every since.

A few years ago I looked into buying a foreclosed house. It was small, only six hundred square feet on a half acre and the only thing I could find wrong with it was a broken drawer front in the kitchen. It was move in ready and I was ready to move in.

The monthly payments on it would have been less than three hundred dollars. I was and still am paying four hundred in rent on a studio apartment. I figured if I could afford four hundred in rent, I could afford three hundred in house payments and I’d have something to show for it.

I contacted my bank and the loan officer there pulled up my credit history then said, “You don’t have a lot of credit history.”

“I live on what I make and save for what I want,” I responded.

“Well, in order to get a better credit rating, you need to get more credit cards to establish it.”

I stared at the phone, then thanked him and hung up.

Take a minute to think about that. I did.

A person who lives within their means is rejected for a home loan because they think and plan ahead and don’t mooch off of others.

Yes, mooching. That is exactly what loans and credit cards are designed for. After all, what would you think if your friend came to you repeatedly through a month and said, “Hey, I can’t afford to buy these things, will you loan me the money?” That is exactly what people juggling credit cards are doing, mooching. They just aren’t mooching off friends.

That home buying experience got me looking at the banking industry and home loans in particular. Why would they reject people who live within their means?

Bank officers don’t sit down with you to look over your budget to see if you are a good option for a loan. They go straight to the numbers and generally don’t talk to you much. They analyze how much credit you have extended to you and whether you have been paying those bills. But in their quick numbers crunch, they don’t look at the most important factors.

They don’t ask how much money you make. They also don’t check to see if you are making your rent or house payments on time. Because let’s face it. When I’m broke, I and most Americans, prioritize keeping a roof over their head over paying a student loan or credit card payment.

The credit card companies know this, too. That is why they have such high fees for late or non-payment and are quick to report you to the credit bureau. They want you to put paying them at the top of your list of priorities because they don’t give a crap if you have a house. They care that they got their profits.

The mortgage issue ate at me for quite a while, then one day it clicked.

Banking is a for profit industry, too.

They are punishing people for living responsibly because those responsible people don’t ask for loans and therefore don’t pay interest and don’t make the banks any money.

That revelation ticked me off. Responsible, intelligent people are being punished while irresponsible people are rewarded for bad behavior. What the freaking hell is wrong with our country that this would not only be standard practice, but not questioned and challenged?

Then I realized, I’m ahead of my time. I’m still thinking outside that box everyone else finds so comfortable. Americans, as a people, don’t stop to think about stuff like this because they are tied up with the competition of getting to the next level in the game of life.

That game has rules that are being rewritten by industries like the banks. Those rules are not in the best interest of the greatest good. They are in the best interest of the greatest profit.

We can solve this problem by rejecting those rules and writing our own. We can do that by helping each other instead of relying on the profit mongers to do what we as a society should be doing.

That is the first step in solving homelessness.

If you own investment property, take a look at your renters. Many of them have lived in your houses for years and pay their rent on time every month but, for whatever reason, they can’t get a house loan. Why not talk to them about rent to own? After all, you can afford to by another house. They can’t.

The next step is buy up cheap rental houses in the worst part of town. Let the people pay rent for a year and establish their credit with you, then offer them the rent to own option. If you are really generous, make the year’s rent their down payment.

That one step could change the worst parts of town into nice neighborhoods and would leave the banks and profit mongers out of the equation.

Invest in the people instead of the property and you and I can change the world.

Everyone grows at a different rate. Accept yours.

Wander Away


My life plan has taken a couple turns in the past few days. I know now that the job in Washington state is neither mine, nor what I really want. The Universe has made that clear. I understand that it was a catalyst to get me thinking about moving, getting out of this rut where I’ve been stuck.

That job listing started the thought process that will change my life and I hope yours as well. You see, my new plan is to live full time in the Wander Away traveling, writing, meeting people, and taking pictures. I have a few ideas about how I can fund this. One will be through writing and I think another will be speaking and teaching others how to do what I’m going to be doing. Both things I’m not only good at, but I also like.

I spent all day yesterday thinking about my little camper. I’m calling it The Wander Away. The engineering of it just plain wore me out. Anyone who thinks that thinking is easy has never done it. A hard day thinking can be just as exhausting as a hard day working.

My challenge is with the floor layout. I’m working with sixty square feet, but I have two wheel wells that are about 30 inches by a little over a foot. These will pop up twelve inches and I’m trying to figure out how to get a twin size bed into a six by ten foot space as well as a tiny galley, clothing and supply storage, and a toilet of some sort.

Image of a hand drawing for the floor layout of the Wander Away.

This is what I’m working with. One square equals three inches.

To complicate things, the interior walls at their highest are only going to be a little less than four feet tall and will be a tad shorter in front. Weight distribution has also crossed my mind. I don’t want one side of the trailer heavier than the other.

Side view showing the profile of the Wander Away.

Side view. End result will vary.

I have the whole thing taped out on my floor and am using that to visualize what I need. Nothing will be single purpose. That just isn’t practical when you plan on living long term in sixty square feet.

I had thought to create a Murphy bed to free up floor space during the day, but I think the wall height might prohibit that. So, if that doesn’t work, what I could do, is create two foam panels on hinged trays. These will allow the tray closest to the wall to go upright and create a sofa. The space under it would be taken up with the wheel well and storage.

To combat the low ceiling, I’m going to have a rolling stool that will save my knees and work as a foot stool when I’m sitting on my nifty sofa.

The Wander Away's tentative floor plan.

Still a work in progress. Galley design is next.

On the opposite side, I will have my closet and some storage as well as a camp toilet. To save weight I’m going to build the shelves out of one by two lumber and use plastic or fabric bins for drawers. The whole thing would be modular and removable without much hassle. Another advantage to this type of shelving, is the fact that light can get through so I can see what is in the cubby and if I don’t like the look I can always wrap it with a pretty fabric.

The whole point to this is that I am designing everything around exactly what I need and how I live. Everything from the size of the bed to the location of a shelf will be exactly what I need and nothing more.

I don’t know if the ideas I have today will be in the end result, the Divine will let me know when its the right time. After all, there may be something even better that I would never think about without the right trigger.

So, for now I think, plan, and dream of wandering away.

Please share or pin this post so my dream can happen. It’s just a click, but that click could change the way someone looks at their world.

Thank you and God bless.

The Brain Damaged Goldfish

Years ago, when I was working a ‘real’ job, the movie Finding Nemo came out. I hadn’t seen it, but one of my coworkers told me I reminded her of Dory. When I finally saw the movie, I had to laugh. I could totally relate to… oh, look a butterfly.

Huh? Oh, sorry. What I was saying is, I have the attention span of a brain damaged goldfish. Want evidence to support that claim? Very well, here it is.

It takes me two hours to make and eat breakfast.

It goes something like this:

08:21:23 Turn on the computer. Get coffee beans from the cupboard.
08:22:04 Grind coffee beans and put them in the coffee machine. Add water and turn it on.
08:24:19 Turn on the computer to get music started, too quiet otherwise.
08:26:41 Get sidetracked reading forum posts.
08:57:31 Do some work.
09:05:12 Realize, I haven’t had my coffee. Grab my cup, but notice it’s dirty.
09:05:17 Look for a clean cup, but I only have two and the other one is dirty, too.
09:08:41 Figure out which one is less dirty. Follow the the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines, to determine if it is too dirty to use with out washing. It isn’t. Use least dirty cup.
09:08:52 Sit down at the computer and read e-mail.
09:12:17 Remember I was getting coffee. Get sugar and add to dirty cup. Pour in coffee and milk.
09:13:01 Added to much milk now the coffee is cold.
09:13:53 Put coffee in the microwave and start it.
09:14:14 Do more work on the computer.
09:21:33 Realize I still don’t have my coffee. Look around, wondering what I did with it.
09:23:19 Found the coffee in the microwave. The coffee is cold, reheat.
09:23:46 Work on computer and listen for microwave ding. Get coffee and take first sip. Burn lip and tongue. Put coffee near the computer and start breakfast.
09:25:08 Find a frying pan.
09:25:30 Determine if frying pan exceeds the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines. If it does, wash it. If it doesn’t, put it on the burner and pour in pre-cut onions and peppers. Light burner and go back to computer.
09:31:36 Notice the sizzling from the pan and stir.
09:31:59 Go back to computer.
09:36:15 Notice sizzling again. Add frozen hashbrowns to pan and stir.
09:38:48 Go back to computer.
09:46:48 Remember food in the pan, stir and look for dish to eat it in.
09:48:41 All the dishes are dirty, start looking for least dirty according the the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines.
09:50:08 Find least dirty dish, but it’s disgusting. Wash the dish.
10:02:12 Stir peppers, onions, and hashbrowns. Add eggs and stir the mess together.
10:03:52 Work on computer.
10:06:54 Stir food. Put the food in the newly washed dish and sit down at computer.
10:09:46 Sip coffee, coffee is empty. Wonder when I drank it.
10:10:03 Make more coffee. Sit at computer and take two bites of breakfast.
10:13:16 Remember I wanted to make tea. Get up and find pan to boil water. It’s clean.
10:13:47 Wonder how that happened.
10:13:53 Fill the pan with water and set it on the stove to heat.
10:15:02 Go back to breakfast. My food is cold, so I put it in the microwave.
10:15:52 Work on the computer.
10:19:19 Water is simmering and reminds me to make the tea.
10:22:23 Remember the food in microwave. It’s still warm.
10:22:56 Eat breakfast while reading a funny story on computer.

You might laugh, but this is really how some of my mornings go.

Check back next week when I post the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines.