Sweet Dreams are Made of This

Dreams have always held a lot of fascination for me, once I learned not to be frightened by them like as a child. As an adult, I have tried to “read” them for clues that my subconscious is trying to tell me.

I know that the subconscious reveals its secrets in code, it just doesn’t step up and say, “Hey, you have taken the wrong career path, it is causing us stress here!” No, it puts me in a scenario where I am going down a Road, let’s say Road A, but I am looking for Road B, and I know it is around here somewhere, just a block over, but I can’t get there!

My other favorite is I am late, usually for work, and I keep getting distracted from getting there. I can’t find my clothes, can’t find my keys, the door is nailed shut, on and on I go. I seem to be struggling to reach my destination, I am hours late, I am getting stressed, angry, frustrated and I wake up feeling all of that.

That brings me to last night’s dream, it is the frustrating kind, I know there are lots of symbols, I am trying to accomplish a simple task and it goes on and on. Here are my “symbols”:

– I am in a location that is not safe, in downtown Louisville, there are rough looking street people and I know I have to get out of there.

– I have an important document I need to get to an individual, I can’t seem to find her, I make repeated calls and get no help so I have to go to her office, still in Louisville.

– Once there, I learn I still can’t locate the person, I have to ship the document to her. And then the frustration escalates.

– I can’t copy the address down because I have no paper, I have no pen, I can’t read it, it is outrageously long and complicated, the person keeps distracting me, I keep misplacing my paper and have to start over again and again.

– She can’t give me the address of where we are located.

– There are beds in the offices.

– There are peep holes in the walls.

– There are complex chains of command that she can’t explain.

– Searching my purse for pens I find all kinds of things, poetry I have written, food, food wrapped up in poetry, hardware, nails, again, it goes on and on.

I never accomplish my task and I wake up tired and frustrated.

I do understand the differences between your conscious and subconscious. I believe in the idea that if you are struggling with a decision or a complicated problem, study it in depth before you go to sleep. Your subconscious will continue to work on it while you sleep making it more understandable when you rise. I also believe the subconscious notices more than you do consciously sometimes causing what at first appears to be a knee-jerk reaction; them later you realize your gut was trying to tell you something you hadn’t picked up on just yet. (My knee-jerk reactions have gotten me into trouble with bosses and peers; but often revealed something I would later figure out on my own.)

Your “gut” is trying to tell you something, believe in it!

So now I am here analyzing my dreams once again. What does this one mean? Does it reveal fact or fear? Is it my journey in the past or in the future?

All I know is I’m still tired and now I am afraid to go back to bed for fear I will dream again!

Stuff

Believe me. You have too much stuff. I know, I had a hard time getting rid of a bunch of my stuff when I went on the road camping. I gave away stuff, I sold stuff, I tossed stuff and I put stuff in storage and I carried stuff with me.

All along my route I tossed stuff that I didn’t need, or I left it beside dumpster to recycle, or I left it in the laundry rooms. I got the stuff in my camper to a pretty manageable level. What I had I had a place for, and though I am not a tidy person, when I did tidy there was a place waiting for everything. I didn’t have duplicates of stuff, like how many veggie graters do you need? I own four. I had one in the camper and never used it. So out she goes!

So when I get back to house (apartment) living I am faced with all this stuff I put in storage. Some things are just the stuff that comes with families, heirlooms, antiques, photos. Some is just more, well, stuff.

I got an apartment just at the last minute before the cold weather moved in. (Thank you, Lord, for taking care of me, “God helps procrastinators that help themselves.”) Unfortunately, the only last minute apartment was upstairs. Now I am slogging only what is necessary into the apartment and I realize that not only do I have enough stuff to survive but I have multiple layers of stuff, the same stuff! You do NOT need 15 knives to cut up a chicken! Why do I have 3 colanders?

Layers and layers of stuff. New stuff, used stuff with a few more miles left on it and old stuff I can’t seem to part with. WHY? Maybe a psychiatrist . . . . . . . whatever!

I didn’t start out a minimalist, but I may have become one. I didn’t think I was a hoarder but now I feel like I was one.

Fact is, it entertains me that I am so happy with so little. I can do without. But I’m not doing without, I have all I need.

Deprivation and Appreciation

Without Deprivation there is no Appreciation

I made a choice in 2015 to mix up my life. I sold my stuff and went on the road for about six months. It was an exciting time and personally enlightening – in hundreds of different ways. And while I seriously never wanted for anything, I did deprive myself of various items to see how I would endure. As the old saying goes, “all things are relative”. I began a game with myself to put everything in perspective. While I know, globally speaking, my personal evaluation is self centered, it did result in a huge payoff of personal awareness and growth. For example, I had a tiny tub, so I couldn’t take a tub bath, but unlike certain regions of the world – I had clean water.

Continuing with the shower theme, it took 20+ minutes to heat the 8 gallons of water I showered in. So I began to appreciate the act of bathing even more so. A shower was not without effort, and 8 gallons of water did not allow for a long luxurious shower. But if I hurried I could take a bath and have hot soapy water to wash my dishes in! Bonus!

If I had hot water constantly at the ready like we do in our houses, I would have emptied my LP gas tanks very fast which might have impacted my ability to cook or heat the camper. And my timing is NEVER perfect so that would have happened when it was raining and I couldn’t build a fire to cook over! So caution was always a consideration.

Now when I jump into the shower, I think about the convenience of hot water, the energy involved in keeping it that way, and my “boy I could stay here all day” is tempered by the reality that clean water isn’t in abundance for everyone, not even in America; and hot water costs me money and enlarges my carbon footprint on the earth.

The Happy Camper is not an all-seasons camper, and it is not suited for cold weather camping. So when the temperature dropped to the lower 30s, it was very, very cold inside and difficult to bring the temperature up to “toasty”.  In those situations, I resorted to a ceramic heater, and at night I turned on the electric blanket and hopped into the bed with Kiki. (Cats are very smart about finding the warmest spot in the joint!) Happy Camper had a gas furnace but again, drew on my precious L.P gas tanks, and was pretty pointless due to the lack of air tight windows and proper insulation.

Again, who was paying for the resource? The campground? Or me? What had the bigger impact on the environment? How warm did I need to be?

I am pretty sure my friends would find my apartment frosty right now. But I am amazingly warm compared to some of the nights I spent in the Happy Camper worried that my water pipes might freeze. I can’t feel a breeze blowing in the windows when the wind blows, and while I will pay for it, I do have a constant supply of Natural Gas to keep the furnace going and the water hot.

In the past, did I think about anything but being warm enough? Did I think about the impact of filling up my soaker tub and crawling inside with a book? Nope.

While my survival was not a “struggle against nature”, nor the am I Bear Grylls, it was a process of consideration what did I “need” vs. what did I “want”. How long could I make something last? If I give this up, what will I get back from the experience and how hot is hot, and how cold is cold relative to . . . what?

Why are you here?

Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Howdy Y’all –

Having planned to be in another place, I have taken a casual approach to Christmas this year. Staying out of the shopping meccas, and contemplating Christmas in my heart. I have no little children to consider or try to make a special world for. So it is good. This morning, I rose and opened my blinds to look down into my Dodge Dakota parked below my window. There on the front seat where I left him last night sat my special woodsy Santa that I bought many years ago as a tree topper. Santa looked up at me, warmed my heart and whispered “Merry Christmas”.

I am currently in Charlestown Crossing Apartments in New Albany. This is where Rachael and I moved when we made our “Great Escape” before my divorce. She is hosting our annual Christmas Eve open house and Christmas plans are taking their expected course!

Moving out of a camper into an apartment has many interesting aspects, some funny, some unexpected, some baffling, and I am just thankful I still have enough mental faculties left to see them, embrace them and learn from them. I have always liked change (especially when it was by choice), and I certainly have had nine months of constant change! Waking up and wondering “where the hell am I?”, has been one of the funnier consequences. (I have decided when I can no longer answer that question is when I need to really be worried!!)

Many of you have asked why I am not in Florida, or the Southwest or someplace warm. The answer is simple and complex. When I took off I didn’t know how much courage I had. I hadn’t planned to go alone for one thing, so I didn’t think about courage. I was thinking about logistics. I had prepared my accommodations knowing a 60 year old woman was doing this so I went as simple as possible.

Some people said I was brave to go alone, but I don’t think I was so brave. I was doing what I knew I had within me. I also knew that if I was going to do this NOW was the time. I have no grandchildren (yet), I have my health, and my mental health (no joke here folks, you know what I mean).
I have said it before and to many women, “you can do this, if you really want to”. Wanting to slip out of the traditional or the comfortable, if only for a short time, is within all of us if we have no limitations.

In my mind the worst of all limitations is FEAR.

So I left, not knowing my limitations, not knowing how I would do. At first I visited places I had been to and was comfortable with, then I lit out in new directions! Yep, I came back home several times, but I lit out in a different direction each time. Warsaw, Indiana to the north, Hillsboro, Ohio to the east, Fort Pillow Historic State Park, Tennessee to the west, and Hot Springs, Arkansas to the south. Along the way I learned tons of stuff about this great nation, the people, travel, camping, and most importantly – MYSELF. And somewhere around Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I had visited with my family as a child, and I learned about geography, geology, history, and hot springs, I found the edge of my comfort zone.

Hot Springs was one of the few places I visited in my travels where I felt I could buy a home and live. But I found I didn’t want to go any further away from home than there.

Yep. My comfort zone is about 500 miles away from home!!

So, there you have it. I have absolutely NO regrets! (Well, maybe I regret selling my favorite chair!) I have had the best Summer of my life! And now I am home, safe with family and friends to cocoon for the winter and consider which direction to light out in come spring!!

Dropping Anchor

The Happy Camper, Kiki the Kat and I have been snuggled behind my brother’s house for a week as I have been contemplating my options. I’ve been looking at houses, and apartments so I can put the camper in winter storage before I freeze and blow her pipes!

God Bless Greg and Cindy for their generosity.

I am going to change my status from Full-Timer Camper to Part-Timer which is a step up from Week-Ender Camper. I know, that’s stupid.

I feel too detached from civilization not having a home base. I had no anchor. I have come accustomed to that floating sensation, but I also understand the emotions it creates. I know it would be a different picture with a spouse or a travel mate, but “it is what it is” as they say!

My solitude, my travels, seeing the country from a different perspective has given me a whole new clarity I have never experience before. Walking naked into the world (metaphorically speaking) and doing a 360 is mind blowing. Like the ghost of Mr. Scrooge, to step in and observe a world I am not really a part of was an experience not to be missed. I have a whole new appreciation of life and the people of this country. America.

What I am trying to say is women of a certain age, and probably men too, become invisible in our society. We are there on the street, walk in and out of shops, and no one pays much attention. Traveling from town to town and not staying long enough to become familiar lends a certain amount of anonymity and invisibility. I could walk in and out of situations, chit chat, ask questions, have discussions and disappear. Like a puff of smoke. At the campgrounds, I knew they remembered me only until the next camper took my place. All I left was a paper trail.

Creepy! Especially if I had been “an evil-doer!”

So for now, I am going to settle in to a new home (whatever that is going to be), get my bearings, and chart some new adventures. I want to spend time enjoying the traditions unique to my family, watch the seasonal changes, and look forward to spring. I’ll be downsizing my home so I can continue my Camping. So no fancy addresses for me!

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving everyone!!

Fort Pillow

I told my daughter the other day that I didn’t know if I could go back and live among humans. Most of my locations have been so natural, and peaceful, and so good for my soul.

At Echo Charlies Marina Resort, near Eddyville, Kentucky I was pushed way back into the woods, but near a road. Other campers were parked around me, but they were empty. I seldom saw people unless I wanted to. But there was one little couple from Evansville, Indiana, he was a retired Cop, they would pass by in the evenings until they packed up for the season and left.

I could sit at my table and watch a Mother Nature parade past. I loved it.

But it was time to push on because the weather was getting colder, so I took off toward a little Park, Fort Pillow Historic State Park, just north of Memphis that looked like fun. As always, my 2 hr. 56 min drive dragged on for many hours more. It seems once I get close to a destination I can’t get to it. This time, MapGuest sent me in the wrong direction, but for a good reason I have figured out.

I had called several hours prior to getting there just to make sure I had a place to stay, the conversation went something like this:

“I was wondering if you had any open campsites for the evening.”
She gave a little chuckle and said, “We have 32.” Her chuckle made me curious.
“How many do you normally have?”
“32.”

She gave me basic directions but all I remember distinctly was, “Just remember we’re way down at the end of that road.”

Yesterday was cold, rainy, and 4 hours into a drive, I am pretty tired. I was seeing cotton fields, way sooner than I would have imagined and it is pretty woodsy getting down into this area. I turned on Chamber Lake Road like MapQuest told me to, and I think I stepped off the end of the earth as I know it.

On and on I drove, past Kudzu that looked like mourning giants, smoothing out the countryside, consuming trees and barns, then the black top turned to gravel. Not gray gravel, but red brown muddy looking stuff. And on and on I drove, past a swamp right out of Legend of Boggy Creek then along side a lake. Warning buzzers are deafening inside my head, but there was NO place to turn around. I keep thinking she said, “Just remember we’re way down at the end of that road.”
Really?? This far?

Finally, a pick up approached and I rolled down my window and flagged him down. It was a Hispanic dude, with women and children. Murders and rapist don’t take their family along normally. Do they?

“Is there any where up ahead to turn around?”
“Yes, yes, turn around!” Did he know what I said, or did he just agree?
I kept thinking “Just remember we’re down at the end of that road.”
The more desolate it got the more determined I was to turn around and find a Walmart!

Mapquest tells me I have reached my destination, but it is a sign by the road telling me about the wildlife management project involving The Nature Conservancy, and the State of Tennessee . . . . CRAP.

If I had a rock I would have hammered my phone. But I was too scared to get out of the truck!! Chit. Chit. Chit.

I keep going and emerge on the edge of a spans of flat farmland, dotted here and there with patches of trees. I begin to notice similar machinery to what I see in the White River water management area and it all makes sense. This are is where the mighty Mississippi spreads across the plain and they manage the water levels, for farming and wildlife habitat. But it is still freakin’ scary.

Finally, I call the Park again. She tells me once again how to get there, and once again, I second guess her directions, and drive around lost for another half hour. So, I call again, this time she realizes she’s dealing with an idiot. But I get there, and he Ranger meets me, leads me to the campground and helps me back the camper in.

What a sweetheart, he sounds like LaSalle on NCIS New Orleans. He proudly tells me about the Campground. They have never had trailer hook ups before, in fact, they just opened this part last Friday!! And guess what!! I am their very first camper, ever!! (I’m hoping to get a plaque or something, don’t you think I should??)

Everything is brand-spanking new! Virgin fire pits, virgin charcoal grills, virgin water hookups, virgin electrical boxes, you get the picture! Even picnic tables with no one’s initials carved in the wood. Very thoughtfully laid out ringing a bathhouse, with handicap sites closest. One site across from me sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river! Sweet!

LaSalle, aka Ranger Robbie, says he will make one more pass through in about an hour then he will lock the gate behind him until morning. Night sets in, the rain tippy tapping on the roof, and an insecure feeling of security falls over the Happy Camper.

Thank you, Lord, for my Facebook friends who kept me entertained until sleep finally overtook me. They made me laugh, and verbally held my hand. Thanks guys!!

BTW – MapQuest couldn’t direct me correctly to the campground because until Friday, it didn’t officially exist.

The Tennessee State Park website won’t tell you about the Fort Pillow Massacre, but here is a link to more information:
http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/fort-pillow-massacre

Splendid

What a splendid day, in the middle of breakfast I watched the camp guys with the honey wagon pump out my black water tank and I didn’t even puke. I did however, throw the rest of my breakfast away. That is all camper-speak for they brought a wagon around and pumped the poo out of my camper’s tank because it was full.

Shortly after that a stranger walked up to my door. He was wearing only grey sweat bottoms and bedroom slippers and looked like Frank on American Pickers . . . . I met him at the door, my Rossi 38 in hand. He asked for a glass of water, said his girlfriend had kicked him out, with only what he had on and he was walking to exit 40 to get a ride. Hhhhhmmmmm. Sad story.

I called the campground hosts, they intercepted him and after he mentioned he had bipolar disorder (twice) and they gave him a ride to the Interstate. But I am going to be on the look-out for any Frank look-a-likes for the rest of the week!!

Battling my compulsive tendency to take my camera everywhere I go, even to just go sit on the picnic table and read. (Ladies, you know the way we feel when we suddenly realize we don’t have our purses on our shoulder? That way.) I finally, won and went to sit first on the table, then on the tailgate of my truck (the view is different). And by DAMN if a fawn didn’t walk up to the road just across from me and munch on the grass. DAMMIT. DAMMIT! Dammit!

Then I remembered I had my cellphone in my hip pocket!!! teeheeeheeee