And still I dream

I have a dream. Not the Martin Luther King, Jr. kind of dream — although I do dream of a time when all people are judged by the contents of their hearts rather than the colors of their skins — but a dream nonetheless.

The Florida Mountains and the Chihuahuan high desert ecoregion were home to the Apache Indians. (Photo: K. Dianne Stephens)
The Florida Mountains and the Chihuahua high desert were home to the Apache Indians. (Photo: K. Dianne Stephens)

In my dream I’m sitting in the shade on a stone patio behind a small off-grid house —perhaps a yurt or geodesic dome. Cool morning breezes fluff my hennaed hair. To the east — the Florida Mountains. Roan, paws and belly damp from a dip in the horse trough, saunters over, eases down.

A man — in my dream he’s a cowboy — comes out of the house carrying two cups of coffee — one tablespoon of flavored cream plus a sprinkle of cinnamon stirred in. Just the way we like it. We sip in silence as the sun pastel-paints the Sleeping Dragon.  Another day in paradise. The man and I smile. Two needles in a haystack we.

Horses greet the day, neighs carried on the wind.  The man has fed and watered them or maybe I have. We’re both early risers. Our favorite time of day. A new beginning every dawn.

Home.

Two coffees later, I retreat from the sun to the coolness within to eat breakfast or perhaps I’m fasting until lunch this day. Then off to my office space to work. Perhaps writing or drawing or answering emails or ordering hay.

Or, maybe this day an impromptu road trip in Pegasus to the man’s friends’ winery in northern New Mexico. The old war horse wants to run. He hates it when I call him “old.”

But who will feed the horses? A neighbor boy who looks up to the man like the father he never had.

Or maybe no road trip this day. Maybe the man will jump on his UTV and ride the property, his dog riding shotgun. Or maybe we’ll ride the property together — his and her horses, his and her dogs — a much-needed break from the computer screen.

Maybe we’ll plan the book tour. He’ll drive Pegasus or…but I don’t want him to be an accessory to my life. And vice versa.

So Roan, Pegasus, and I will hit the road, missing the man every second of every day until we’re all back together again.

Home.

Time passes. Dogs and horses long gone. The man and I slow down. No more road trips. Nothing else to see and why leave paradise?  Why leave home?

The man dies on a Tuesday. I hold his hand, look into his eyes as he takes his last breath, and say, “Over and out.”  I die on a Wednesday.

Our spirits shoot into the Great Void.

“Welcome home!,” They call out to us.  “Job well done! Come join the party!” And into the Void we go.

Home.

BUT.

But.

But the man in question (“Too”), the man who helped inspire my dream has gone. Following his own dream. Perhaps to return, most likely to not.

And still I dream.

Dear Reader

Dear Reader:

Please excuse my recent silence. Dead in the water and all that jazz. Did you notice my absence or did it seem like just yesterday that you read about our  misadventures in Slab City?

It’s not because I don’t love you anymore, or because I don’t care, or because I have other, more pressing things to do. Actually, I have been busy with other things. Like you I’m sure. Things like taxes, maintenance on Pegasus, margaritas in Palomas.

And it doesn’t help that time lately seems to be both accelerating and standing still at the same time. Do you feel it too, Dear Reader?

Anyway, Pegasus et al have landed back in Deming, New Mexico, our home away from home. We’ve been here since late February and, apart from a quick weekend in Columbus, Ohio for my cousin David’s wedding, we’ll be here until.

Until when is anyone’s guess.

Until I get bored and feel the need to move.

Until it gets too hot and we head north through Colorado and South Dakota to Minnesota and Wisconsin for the summer; then Indiana, Ohio, and my old home in northern Virginia for the fall; then Arkansas in early October for a workshop; then back west.

But what am I up to now?, you ask. What has kept me so busy that I couldn’t write? What, what, what?

What exactly am I up to as I sit in Pegasus, boondocking for a mere $85 a month — can’t beat the price — orifices snapped tight against the wind and sand storm.  Strategically parked nose to the east, tail to the west, open slides to the relatively calm north. Even Roan is inside. Just another spring in the high desert.

What am I doing? I’m writing a book based on my blog posts from the past three years. The book will also include select comments from you, Dear Reader, as our journeys dovetail — ebbing and flowing before forking to the four winds. It’s a beautiful thing when journeys overlap. It reminds us how we are all more alike than not.

Anyway, back to me. My book will either be called “Becoming Me Again” or “Life Wide Open,” like the poem of the same name I wrote back in September 2014.  Oh, how time flies.

I’ve compiled a 62,300-word manuscript and am looking for expert outside eyes to help me with the next steps. And, unless someone comes knocking at Pegasus’s door with a hefty advance, movie deal, or both — I plan to self-publish.

So, long story short, if I go radio silent for a bit, please excuse me, Dear Reader. I still love you and think about you often. The feeling’s mutual, I’m sure.

With Love and Thanks.

Liz Carmel

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.

Rainbow bound

rainbow

I’ve been in Deming, New Mexico for two weeks now reconnecting with old friends over margaritas, teaching and practicing yoga, working, cleaning, and writing.

I teach yoga on Wednesdays and Saturdays to a dedicated quartet; designed and launched the LoW-HI RV Ranch website; and spring cleaned.  Roan, the carpet, couch, two chairs, and car got much-needed scrubbings.  My teeth are next in line; a cleaning in Palomas, Mexico costs $35.

And I sold a few items: a too-big-for-my-hands acoustic guitar and a too-big-for-my-coach 45” Visio TV I’ve been hauling around. I still want to sing so a small keyboard may be in my future.  Anyone in the market for a gently-used red Kenmore Progressive canister HEPA Vacuum?

I started Writing the Memoir 101, an online workshop through Writer’s Digest University. I wrote 53,563 words of a very rough first draft during National Novel Writing Month (“NaNoWriMo”) in November 2014. But the words are disjointed, the structure nebulous, the theme nonexistent. The assignments and deadlines will force me to focus.

Assignment 1: A narrative summary of the memoir you want to write, including its scope, its structure, its tone, its audience, its theme, why you want to write it, why now, and what your plans are for the book when it’s completed (500 words).

Assignment 2: The Cast of Characters for your story, with a brief description of each one’s relationship to the central character and role in the story (maximum 500 words); a brief scene that reveals your memoir’s setting (500 words).

And I’m waiting to take Pegasus back to the shop — two shops to be exact. Jimmy’s RV Repair on May 10 to address a short list of miscellaneous repairs that shouldn’t be too costly or involved. Then, E & M Auto Repair on May 16 to fix what’s causing the engine to overheat and to repair the cracked exhaust manifolds.

Summer in Deming where daytime temperatures spike into the upper 90s does not appeal. But where to go when you have no place to be? I sent an email to a few full-time RVing friends who would know:

I’m looking for someplace to spend the next several months. The ideal place would be inexpensive, in a rural area but close enough to stores, and in a temperate climate.

Beverley urged me to head up:

No matter where you go, this is supposed to be a hot summer. Going UP in altitude is your best bet, or head for the Pacific Northwest and get on the beach or near the beach.

Ron responded as I knew he would: South Fork, Colorado — 500 miles north and 4,000 feet up from Deming. Ron’s been spending summers in South Fork for 17 years.

South Fork it is. Assuming all goes well at the shops, Pegasus et al will be rainbow bound on May 22.

Rainbow Lodge & RV Park in South Fork, CO is located about 500 miles north and 4,000 feet up from LoW-HI RV Ranch in Deming, NM.
Rainbow Lodge & RV Park in South Fork, CO is located about 500 miles north and 4,000 feet up from LoW-HI RV Ranch in Deming, NM.

Nothing personal

“But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way I can take this personally.”

— Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Do you ever feel that every time you open your mouth, you’re walking through a minefield that could conceivably blow you and the people around you sky high? That what they hear is not what you said? That people read between your lines and inaccurately so?

What do you do? Do you clamp down hard and rescind your typing privileges? Do you continue to speak your truth — damn the torpedoes full speed ahead — never mind the fallout? Or, do you follow a third way, taking a moment to breathe and regroup?

I consider myself a communicator and I think I’m a good one. I should be able to accurately convey my thoughts. But when I don’t, when people misunderstand what I write or say, is that a personal flaw? Perhaps. But it could also be the reader coloring my ideas with their own, born of their unique lives and experiences — what has led them to this day, what will lead them to the next.

Lately, it seems that my truth is offending people left and right. And it makes me sad. But I can only control what I say. I cannot control how others react to it. How others react to what I say is none of my business.

But, you contend, how can you be so cavalier? You need to worry about how your words affect other people. Pussyfoot around, wary and soft. You need to measure your words — nay your very thoughts — like a well-scripted diplomat. You need to censor your truth.

I understand. I get it. But I don’t buy it.

I may anger a few people with this post. But how you react to my words is your business, not mine.

This is my truth. Now go speak yours. And I promise to not take it personally. Because nothing is.
____________________

The_Four_AgreementsDon Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.