Know it all

“Know whatever comes to you unexpected to be a gift from God, which will surely serve you if you use it to the fullest. It is only that which you strive for out of your own imagination, that gives you trouble.”

The Journey by Brandon Bays

4:26 AM. Tired of tossing and turning, now on my left side, now on my right, now on my back, spreadeagled dead center across the bed, I give up and get up. I hit the buttons, fore and aft, to extend the slides pulled in last night when the winds were high. It’s dead quiet out now. Not even the rooster is awake.

Inverter on. First cup of coffee of the day. Vibrant red Keurig single cup coffee maker purchased for Mom after Dad died. She didn’t want it, she insisted, even though it was her color.

My favorite coffee — Great Value French Roast 100% Arabica Coffee in the purple box. I heard that the man who invented K-cups regretted adding to landfills. I vow — again — to order biodegradable K-cups from Amazon but Walmart’s convenience, low price, and dark roast are too tempting.

I apply Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain in summer oak to a scrap of quarter-round and lay it on a piece of aluminum foil to dry. Remember I got vinyl plank flooring installed in Slab City? Well, Anthony, is helping me install trim around the edges. “You want to protect the wood,” he says, handing me a half-full can of stain, “In case you spill red wine on it.” I couldn’t picture myself drinking red wine anywhere near where the floor and the cabinet met but keep my mouth shut. I don’t make decisions based on fear, I tell myself.

I am so arrogant. I pride myself on not living in fear but live in fear everyday. I’ve been wanting to meet someone (For a change) and I do.

Anne calls me on my B.S. “You always talk about not living from fear and here you are doing it,” she chides as we talk men. We’re good mirrors. I call her on her B.S.; she calls me on mine.

I flash back to a conversation at Cathy’s house in Minneapolis several Christmases ago. Mom, Dad, and I in the kitchen, post-show wind-down. It was dark, late, and cold but warm and toasty in the kitchen. Mom in her pink flannel flower PJs. Jack and Diet Coke warmed from the inside out. (Do you sense a theme here?).

“You’re not humble,” Dad said to me.  “Your sister,” he turned to Cathy, “she’s humble. You’re not. You never have been.”

It’s true. Even as a kid, I knew what I knew and I had confidence in what I knew. And I questioned, all the time. Especially people in positions of authority. Parents, priests, professors.

More than one person considers my never-ending questions “arguing.”  I don’t. I consider them “discussions,” an information exchange, a two-way street. More than one person gets annoyed, really annoyed with me. But I can’t help it. Questioning is as natural as breathing to me. And in questioning others, I question myself. I am constantly challenging myself to re-think things, to have an eternally open mind, to never be satisfied with the status quo.

I don’t want to self-censor — I did that for too many years and am only recently finding my voice again — but I don’t want to piss people off either.

So what to do?

Make a second cup of coffee and wait for the sun to rise.

Peace be with us

If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, there must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart. — Lao Tzu

I’m on constant edge these days.

San Diego Harbor Cruise. From left to right: Me, Tom, Teri, Renee, Tony.
San Diego Harbor Cruise. From left to right: Me, Tom, Teri, Renee, Tony.

Perhaps it’s because I just got back from eight days in “sunny” San Diego.  Teri and Tom flew in from Milwaukee to visit Roan and me. We had a non-stop week:

  • Temecula wineries,
  • A southern harbor tour and lunch in Little Italy with cousin Renee and her new beau,
  • Eating at Souplantation and Roberto’s and Denny’s,
  • Shopping for flooring at Lowe’s with Teri’s help and musical instruments at Guitar Center and Alan’s Music Center with Tom’s help.

Perhaps it’s my onerous To Do List:

  • Write this blog post;
  • Go back to The Sun Works to get the leak discovered during a torrential downpour in El Cajon, an eastern suburb of San Diego, fixed;
  • Go to Salvation Mountain to meet with Ron, a journeyman floorer, to talk vinyl planking;
  • Dump and fill tanks;
  • Work on my new business, Pegasus Speaks Designs;
  • Learn a new-to-me autoharp;
  • Practice songs for acoustic nights at California Ponderosa and the Oasis;
  • Book flights for my cousin David’s mid-March wedding;
  • Schedule a conference call with an editor to discuss my book;
  • Find out what’s wrong with Roan’s nose…
El Cajon weather 20 January 2017
I arrived at the El Cajon Elks Lodge in a torrential downpour. The region got about two inches of rain the week we were there.

Or perhaps it’s the uncertainty that permeates the atmosphere.  The world reflects back a collective disquiet.  Can you feel it?  Mother Earth does; weather is odd all over.

Whatever the causes, I feel harried and hurried.

All I want — all most people want — is peace. But how do we find peace in a world where we’re bombarded by bad news a nanosecond after it happens, where talking heads scream at each other across studio tables, where up is down and down is up?

Peace begins in our hearts. If we can find peace through whatever means work for each of us —  be they walking or reading or dancing or listening to Solfeggio frequencies or running or yoga or… we can pass the peace on.  We can increase global peace  one iota at a time until all the iotas add up to a tsunami, flooding the world in loving kindness.

Peace. Join the Evolution.

Peace - Join the Evolution t-shirt
This and other “Wear the Word, Spread the Light”™ t-shirts are available from Pegasus Speaks Designs.

 

My summer vacation

Did you miss me? Did you wonder where I was or what I was doing? Or, were you otherwise mired thigh-deep in the throes of your own end-of-summer vacation?

Roan and I left Deming, New Mexico on Monday, 22 August 2016. Destination: Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit my sisters. We left Pegasus behind, taking the 2010 Honda CR-V.

map of summer vacation 2016
(1) LoW-HI RV Ranch, Deming, NM. (2) Motel 6 – Elk City, OK. (3) Motel 6 – Springfield, IL. (4) Milwaukee, WI. (5) Little Long Lake, WI. (6) Motel 6 – West Des Moines, IA. (7) Motel 6 – Big Springs, NE. (8) Rainbow Lodge & RV Park, South Fork, CO. (9) Moriarty, NM.

 

Two and a half days, 1,633 miles, and 25.5 hours later, we arrived at Mary Rose and John’s house in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Sarah braided my hair.
Sarah braided my hair.

Over the next two weeks, we’d visit and catch up; go to Sarah’s volleyball games; drink Irish Coffees with freshly-whipped cream at Rochambo on Brady Street; hang out with Anne on the cool East Side; then bounce to Teri and Tom’s place in Menomonee Falls because who wouldn’t want to spread this joy around?

And we made an impromptu drive four hours north to Little Long Lake nestled in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to see former neighbors from across the Reston, Virginia cul-de-sac.  Dana and David’s lake house was packed but there was room for Roan and me in Dana’s mom’s house next door.

Roan playing in Little Long Lake, WI.
Roan playing in Little Long Lake, WI.

On a close-to-overcapacity pontoon boat late Saturday morning — 10 people, 3 dogs, clear skies, gentle breezes — I raised my spicy Bloody Mary.

“This does not suck,” I said, “In fact this is the farthest from sucking that anything could possibly be.” This much fun every day would kill me but I was on vacation.

Then back to Teri and Tom’s for “pizza palooza” with homemade pizza dough and four types of pizza grilled to perfection because any less wouldn’t be a “palooza,” before packing up and hitting the road again.

Somewhere on I-80 westbound, I decided to drive back through South Fork, Colorado. There was no reason for me to rush back to Deming and I wanted to see where Ron has spent his summers for the past 17 years.

Southwest Fritatta
Though tasty, Ron and I would not get the Southwest Fritattas again.

Bloody Marys, lunch, and coffee in Creede; white-linen Sunday brunch with Bloody Marys (are you seeing a pattern here?) at the Windsor Hotel in Del Norte where we visited post-meal with the housekeepers and Maude, the ghost of a 21-year old woman who killed herself in one of the rooms.  Yes, a man was involved.

You think after 4,231 miles we’d stay put for a while. No such luck. The day after we got back to Deming it was back on the road to Moriarty, New Mexico, a mere 273 miles north, to look at a 2004 Safari Trek 29RBD at Kay’s RV. Nice but not The One.

Kay recommended Sunset Motel on Historic Route 66 for the night. I thought of a young and energetic Mom and Dad passing this way on their cross-country drives from LA to the Midwest.

Back in Deming for about a week now, we’re ready to go again, this time in Pegasus or perhaps a smaller coach. I’m still looking…

It’s only money

I didn’t want us to be that family. You know the one: kids nitpicking over Mom and Dad’s stuff, nickel and dime-ing each other to death. Family ties being re-defined in terms of spreadsheets and dollars and cents.

I didn’t want us to be like that and for the most part we haven’t been since Mom and Dad died in 2013.

But recently something’s changed, something I’m not proud of.

I’ve become what I’ve so despised and judged in others — someone who cares about money, or the lack thereof.

What’s changed? Let me count the ways…

2/29/16 – $622.11 – AutoNation
4/19/16 – $419.46 – Spartan Motors
4/21/16 – $1488.34 – Rincon Truck Center
5/10/16 – $204.98 – Jimmy’s RV Repair
5/10/16 – $94.00 – Amazon
5/16/16 – $750.81 – EPDM Coatings
5/24/16 – $332.29 – Spartan Motors
5/24/16 – $860.70 – Cummins
6/2/16 – $150 – Gary

TOTAL: $4922.69

Add on another grand or so for E & M Auto Repair for Pegasus and to re-fix my car’s air-conditioning, the same A/C that AutoNation “fixed” back in February. A/C is good to have when it’s 90+ degrees.

money raining on man holding umbrellaWhat do the ubiquitous “they” say — when it rains it pours? Consider me drenched already.

So, what to do? Run for cover, find someplace dirt cheap to live, hope that major expenses are behind me. And start making money.

And so yesterday, I asked Gary about his experiences working for Amazon — they hire RVers for the Christmas season. He’s done it for several years. And I navigated to the Workamping for Amazon CamperForce website.

But, even as I clicked my way through the online application, it didn’t feel right. I withdrew my application halfway through the process. Nevertheless, I signed up for a free jobinar on the CamperForce program for June 14, Teri’s birthday, Flag Day.  Dad used to tell Teri that people flew the American Flag just for her.

So, Amazon is out. What’s “in”?

What does my heart say?

– Work on your book
– Continue to teach yoga
– Post more of your t-shirt designs

And so that is what I will do.

In the past, I’ve avoided saying “I can’t afford it.”  As we all know, we can afford to do what we want to do. And, often, as in the case of my yoga teacher training, when we’re on the right track the money magically appears to supports us. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience.

I don’t want money dictating my life.

Let it pour.

Deming-bound

No somewhere over the rainbow for us, at least not this month (Rainbow bound).

The good news — the engine overheating on ascending grades (1907.80) was likely caused by a totally gunked-up radiator. Mike at E & M Auto Repair on Pine Street blew out the radiator from all angles and sent me on a test drive out towards Adobe Deli.

“There’s a slight grade on the way,” he said, “Lay on the throttle as you go up — it’s steeper coming west — and watch the temperature.”

Done and done. The highest the temperature got was between 175°F and 200°F. One problem fixed.

Which still leaves cracked exhaust manifolds, a leaking air bag, and a turbo oil supply line to replace. After waiting a few days to hear back from Kenny at E & M, I called.

“What’s the word on the parts?”, I asked.

“I’ve called a couple of my suppliers and haven’t heard back from them,” Kenny replied. “I can’t get a straight answer.”

Kenny and I decided that I would order the parts. Which left another quandary — which parts would come from Spartan, the chassis manufacturer, and which would come Cummins, the engine manufacturer.

I thought I had it all figured out and parts ordered from the right place until I took another look at the part numbers on Rincon Truck Center’s estimate. It looked like Cummins part numbers began with the number “3.” But I had ordered the exhaust manifolds — part numbers 3937477 and 3943841 — from Spartan. Which explained the mark-up.

And I had forgotten that I was a Cummins Power Club member which entitles me to a 10-percent discount on parts.

So I’ll be back on the phone first thing Monday morning with Matthew at Spartan and Ivan at Cummins in El Paso to get it all worked out.

*****

We’ve been on the road for three years.

About 2 PM on Sunday, May 5, 2013, Pegasus et al headed out of the Northern Virginia suburbs of D.C. heading west.  I eased 50-plus feet of vehicles through the narrow streets of a Fairfax neighborhood, taking my time to get by cars parked on either side of the curvy road.

Once on I-66 heading towards the Beltway, I felt more comfortable but still like I had swallowed a hive of pissed off wasps. I merged left onto I-270 north, REO Speedwagon’s “Time for Me to Fly” playing on the radio:

Time for me to fly
Oh, I’ve got to set myself free
And that’s just how it’s got to be
I know it hurts to say goodbye
But it’s time for me to fly

My home of 25 years faded in the rear view camera on Pegasus’s ample beige dash.

Fast forward three years to May 2016. What has happened in those 36 months? A lot.

  • Several family members died: Mom, August, Dawn, Carol, and Sue (“Dear Sue”).
  • I became a great aunt twice.
  • I discovered that living full-time in a motorhome isn’t a mode of transportation, it’s a lifestyle.
  • I’m not a tourist — never have been — just ask my sister Cathy about my five minutes in St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • I learned with the help of the husband of fellow yoga teacher trainee Parul, that “home” (“When I think of home”) isn’t about where the best weather is — it’s about relationships. Yes, I am a bit slow at times.

Which brings me back to Deming, New Mexico. I have friends here, the area is familiar, and there’s wine and margaritas.  I’m OK here.

And when it’s time to leave, I’ll be OK there too.

And OK is good.

It’s all part of the journey.

Journey on Dear Reader.