Showing posts from August, 2010

The Gratitude Bracelet

I've been reading "I Feel Bad About My Neck", by Nora Ephron. I like Nora, but you know... I feel bad about this book. So far, it comes from such a negative perspective on aging, it's making me feel bad about things I hadn't even thought of before. I might finish it, because she's funny, and I don't have anything else waiting in the book stack at the moment, or I might give it back to Mitzi, so she can take it back to the used book store she got it from, and get something else.

I was able to make beads in the daytime today, for the first time in weeks. It's chilly and rainy, which is perfect beadmaking weather. And while I'm in no way ready for summer to be over, I do appreciate being able to get my work done before it gets dark outside. I was thinking about Nora Ephron while I worked today, trying to decide whether to keep reading or throw the book out the window, and then I had a great idea for a bracelet. Jewelry ideas come from some odd places…

Moon River - Take 1

I got my new harmonica yesterday, and I don't want to do anything but play it now. I am head-over-heels in love with this dear little instrument, and I think I might actually have a chance of breaking the I'm Not Musical curse. The internet has been a big help. I researched different types of harmonicas, read the reviews on various brands and models, and then ordered a Lee Oskar in the key of C. Today I also ordered Harmonica For Dummies, because I don't want to always have to use my computer for a lesson. There's a lot of good free info online, but I wanted a book too.

Last night I wandered around the web a while, and found JP Allen's page, which I really like, but can't afford the almost $300 for his DVDs just now. I'm gratefully making use of the free videos he has to offer, and we'll see how I do. Next I stumbled across Jack's Harmonica Page, which offers a lot of easy songs for beginners to practice on and gain confidence. I clicked to Moon Riv…

Yes Day

We had the most amazing Yes Day yesterday. The kind of day where everything goes right, which seems odd enough in these chaotic times. But to make it even weirder, we were in Medford. Not Paris, or Bora Bora, or Disneyland. Medford, Oregon. Just goes to show, the magic can happen anywhere.

We were in search of a solution to a cracked shower floor problem. We'd originally thought we'd just replace the tub, faucet, and shower walls, but quickly found out they want twice as much for miniature, poorly made RV parts as they do for regular bathroom stuff. We were looking at over $500 to fix our tiny Barbie-sized bathroom, so we decided to get creative. I'll do a "before and after" set of photos when we actually get around to getting this done. The real magic of yesterday was how many people we ran across who really wanted to help us. We hopped from RV repair places to boat repair places to Lowe's and Home Depot, and in every single place, we found someone helpful. …

The Biggest Difference

There isn't a lot of difference between living in a house and living in an RV, except for the obvious restriction in space. We see that as an asset most of the time. There's little room to collect unnecessary stuff, it's easy to keep clean, and there's none of that exhausting running from room to room and up and down stairs. The other night I was standing in the kitchen, and Rick handed me something to put in the "office". I simply pivoted on my heel, set it on the table, and swung back to stir our dinner. To slightly modify Buckaroo Banzai's famous line -- When you live in an RV, no matter where you want to go, you're already there.

The biggest difference between the way we live and the way you probably live is that we have to empty our sewer once a week. By "we", I mean Rick. This is the one thing I find horrible enough that I might have to give up and rent a house if Rick were to suddenly abandon me. Today and tomorrow are Rick's days…

Yell Fire

The Oak Knoll neighborhood in Ashland snuggles up to the golf course. I imagine a person might buy a house in such a high end locale, over, say the elegant surrounding hillsides, because it feels safe and secure and protected from the wildfires that rage through the area all too frequently. What could happen in a lovely place like that, right? Well, factor in a homeless man who starts a fire in a dry, grassy ravine next to the freeway. Add wind on a hot August afternoon, and then watch that fire rip through the grass in seconds, gather strength and speed, and leap across four lanes of traffic. Suddenly, there is no such thing as security.

Yesterday afternoon, Rick called me from town, where he was on his way home from a quick grocery run, and was watching in amazement as the first small bit of fire he spotted went out of control almost instantly. He watched a barn burst into flames, with burning debris exploding off in all directions. And while he watched and told me what he was seein…


It's official. We've agreed to stay in Ashland through September, which makes our stay about two weeks longer than we'd planned. Make plans, and plan to change them, right? We can't help being responsible and conscientious. It would be easier to be selfish slackers. As it is now, we'll blast out of here on October first, and get to Taos as fast as our little wheels will carry us. We have business to take care of, a house to sell, and maybe most important of all, friends to see. After a year away, I notice how much I miss our friends. We know so many people in Taos, and while only a handful -- ok, a large handful -- are actual close friends, there are so many lovely people to enjoy bumping into in town, or chatting with at parties. It's occurred to me that what I miss as much as my friends, is just knowing people. I miss knowing people in my town, and being recognized when I walk down the street or into the grocery store. We are invisible here, and it's maki…


Fall arrived here yesterday on a gust of cool wind. It whispered, Summer's over folks. Time to break camp and go back to school... I tried to ignore it for a day, but there's no denying the change in the slant of the sunlight, the smell of the breeze, and the sudden, merciful coolness. Sure, it's supposed to hit 100 here again in a day or so, but there's no going back now. It might get hot again, but it won't feel like summer again, not until next year.

Fall freaks me out a little bit, because like a gateway drug, it leads directly to winter, which scares the crap out of me. In a "normal" year, I dread the relentless cold and wet of winter. Summer is so short, and winter so long. It really seems unfair to me. This year is a little worse because I don't even know where I'll be for the cold months. All this uncertainty is unsettling. I'm off balance, and overcompensating by eating too many potato chips and drinking too much wine. But I'm usu…

People (and Eggless Salad)

I have a hard time keeping track of the days, but I know today is Sunday, because last night we had some people to deal with. We're getting to that part of the season where everyone who works in the park - any park, from what I gather - starts muttering, people, about every other word. It's like in the suffragette song in Mary Poppins, where Mrs. Banks belts out, "Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're raaaaather stuuuuupid....". Substitute "them" for "men" here, and you've got the start of a great new campfire song.

I can relate to Mary's style. Be nice, take no crap, and bring out people's better natures, even if you have to trick them. It's a good way to operate, and it's actually working pretty well here. The people last night were not as bad as some we've had this summer, and we've really been noticing that since we put those friendly little signs on the picnic tables, most folks jus…

Here We Are

I read somewhere that Alice Walker spent a summer by a river, making a quilt, and writing "The Color Purple". That image has sparked envy in me for years, just imagining the luxury of that one summer in another woman's life. I feel similarly about "Eat, Pray, Love", glowing a "Wicked" shade of green when I think of Elizabeth Gilbert's year in Italy, India, and Bali. How does this happen? How can I get in on it?
I loved the book, "Eat, Pray, Love", and also loved the movie, which Rick and I went to see yesterday. I'm not a book reviewer, or a film critic, so I'll just say, Read it. See it. I hope you love it too. I think I'll go see it again, for the visual numminess of it, as well as the encouragement it gives a regular girl like me to dig deeper in myself, and find the real goods. It would be (and is) really easy to sit here wishing I had a summer by a river, or an extended trip across the world. Then I could do some real wri…

Uncle David

My Uncle David came to visit this week. If you've been here a while, you've kept up with the cast of characters. Mitzi is my cousin who lives here in Ashland, and David is her dad, my dad's baby brother. I've always adored my Uncle David. He was wild and cool and funny and rebellious when I was a kid, and I just wanted him to think I was cool too. I guess I still do. He's a bit less wild and rebellious these days, but still one of the coolest, funniest guys I know, and it was so much fun to have him camped here with us, and to spend more one-to-one time with him than I ever have before. Most of the time families get together for birthdays and weddings and holidays, and even though it's nice to have everyone together, I usually come away feeling like I didn't actually talk to anyone. This visit was nice because we were next door neighbors, and had time to walk the dogs together and just hang out and visit. We went up to one of the mountain lakes yesterday to…

Sweet Potato Salad

When I cook for a party, I always make too much food. Always. Rick tries to stop me, but I can't help it. I am my mother's daughter. I like to feed people, and I'm pretty good at it. I have 2 favorite vegan cookbooks of the moment, that I flip through often for ideas, but some days I just want to wing it. Reading directions and flipping pages in hot weather with favorite people in the kitchen with me is just too much to ask. But if you need some menu planning guidance, want to add some healthy new dishes to your diet, or want to know why in the world anybody would want to be a vegan anyway, check these books: "The Kind Diet", by Alicia Silverstone, and "The Urban Vegan", by Dynise Balcavage. I love them both.

There were 6 of us for dinner last night, so I decided on 3 hearty salads, telling the meat eaters to bring their own (and keep it out of my kitchen). I was serving up enough protein, fiber, vitamins, and all things good for you to feed the entire…

I Kissed an Owl

I think we've fallen into a Harry Potter movie tonight. It was a hot day. Hot. Like 103º at our place, according to our fancy digital weather doo-dah. We spent almost 3 hours in the kayak after Rick got off work, watching uncommitted little thunder clouds turn from white to yellow to pink while the hills went softly pink and green, the sky beamed shades of turquoise to rival tropical waters, and the lake reflected all of it in rolling swells from the ski boats. The air was heavy and wet and hard to breathe. All day I was questioning my love for Ashland, like a fickle girlfriend who has just discovered that her boyfriend has ugly feet or a goofy laugh or some other trivial thing that can break an early relationship in pieces. We only dragged ourselves back to camp after the sun had gone down, and whipped up a quick stir fry to eat outside by the light of the Tiki Torch.

The buzz of the campground seemed to keep time with the quickly changing weather, and before long the clouds had …

Buy Our House

Isn't it funny how the things that make us feel secure one minute, make us feel imprisoned the next? After  year away from our pretty little adobe house in Taos, it's clearly time to free ourselves of it. Yes, we needed to keep it this long, to give us an anchor to the planet. Too much freedom all at once can be terrifying. Knowing the house was there all these months has given me/us the time to understand that the stuff in our lives is what rules our worlds. The power of Stuff is unmistakable right now, as we prepare to break camp in a few weeks, and haul ourselves, our dogs, and our trailer back to Taos, for the sole purpose of dealing with the house. Maybe it's a "soul" purpose too. I mean, isn't everything?
I've already mentioned that we've lost our renters as of the end of September. We didn't see it coming, but we can handle it. I'm working night and day to keep enough money coming in to pay the mortgage now on a house we don't live i…

Night Shift

Way back when, in another life, I worked the swing and graveyard shifts as a cocktail waitress at Harrah's Tahoe. Almost everything has changed since then (thank God!), including my ability to squeeze into that little velvet-and-rhinestone dress and walk in four inch heels with a 20 pound tray of drinks on my arm. But lately I'm finding it necessary to adjust my days, and my sleep, in order to get my beadmaking job done. Camp host duties are time consuming, thoughtful blogging takes a big bite out of the day, and it's been so darn hot here, the Bead Tent is an oven in daylight hours. I'm committed to everything I'm doing, so I just keep trying new ways of fitting it all in. I tried getting up early, and that didn't work. It's much easier to stay up late. So for now, at least until we pack up and go to Taos in September, it looks like I'm back on the swing shift.

I sat out there in the Bead Tent the other night and cranked out over 150 beads. Granted, th…

Two Fun Things

I've been interviewed by Levonne Gaddy, of A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings: An RV Adventure. It isn't often that someone actually asks me about myself. Most of the time I'm just spouting off here without adult supervision. I enjoyed the process of coming up with what I hope are intelligent, thoughtful answers to questions other RVers, or potential RVers, might have on their minds. Camp host to camp host, reaching across cyberspace, I hope I've been helpful! Be sure to visit Levonne's other blog too, Levonne's Pretty Pics. She's a heckuva good photographer, and we have some eerie "parallel universe" kind of similarities in our lives.

Fun Thing #2... I WON! Don't you love it when you win? I sure do. It doesn't matter what the prize is. Every win is like a little pat on the head from the Universe, saying, Good work! You go girl! In this case, it's a good prize, and that makes it even better. Zoe Nelson, of Zoe Nelson -- Artwear, …

Sharing The Pond

Emigrant Lake is low, and getting lower every day, by about 1-2 feet. It's a manmade lake, created for the local irrigation district many years ago. Later the county came along and got permission to build the park around it, with the condition that the water remain in the control of the irrigation folks for all time. So in a good spring the water level rises to a lovely juicy fullness, up to the edges and pouring over the spillway next to the RV park. Then, as the summer goes on, surrounding fields grow greener while the lake level drops to a discouraging level.

I can see how wars have been fought over water. If there was any question as to who controls the water here, I imagine there would be constant arguments over its use. But a balance of sorts seems to have been reached, and as the lake disappears before my eyes, and valley sprinklers run day and night, the fishermen, speed boats, jet skis, kayakers, and swimmers appear to peacefully co-exist.

The Ashland Rowing Club also op…

Playing Dress-Up

One of my favorite things about camping - or not camping, as we're doing - is the lack of mirrors and good light. I can go for days without taking a close look at myself, and the older I get, the better that suits me. Out here I rarely wear makeup, my wild hair is allowed to roam free, and I sometimes wear the same thing several days in a row. Unheard of, I know! But I also know nobody's looking, so if the clothes don't stink, might as well save on some laundry. I went swimming in my only pair of "shorts" yesterday, which are knee length and not at all cute. They're good for camping though, being a  stylish dirt-green shade of dark khaki. I dislike swimsuits to something of an extreme, so decided to go ahead and jump in in my standard uniform of shorts and strappy black camisole. The lake is a bit on the muddy side right now, and today my swimming costume was not suitable for another wearing. I poked through my meager closet this morning, and decided, what-th…


Is it possible to shift the energy of an entire campground? I don't know, but I think maybe so. Last night was the quietest, most peaceful Saturday night we've had here all summer. We were nearly full, but every single group was calm and respectful and wonderful to have here. I just want to kiss them all. I'm so proud of them. I don't know how it happened, but I hope it happens again.

This morning is violins and an extra cup of tea. It's Lucy not barking at people as they walk by. It's two dogs coordinating their morning potty time so I only have to use one poop bag... Are you getting my drift? I feel as if magic fairies have dropped in to help me, and life is as sweet as a bag of jelly beans. I have hope for humanity again. I'm going to go enjoy this day, before it changes its mind.

Ninja Camp Host

(Thank-you PaxArcana, for the photo)
When a campsite is noisy at 10:00, odds are it's going to be noisier at 11:00.  The mild mannered, nerdy guy and his little dog, seemed like ideal neighbors to have just two sites above us last night. But by the time I was heading for bed, that little duo had added a couple of pretty ladies and another guy to the fireside. Quiet chitchat got louder and louder, the language more profane, and the laughter more booming, and I wasn't in bed for 5 minutes before I realized I was going to have to go back out there.

Luckily, I was wearing my black kimono robe over my pj's, and I crept up on them like a Middle Aged Mutant Ninja Camp Host. They looked up, startled, and after a couple of rounds of Huh?, Huh?, they finally heard me holler, Turn the music off please! Once I had their attention, I introduced myself as the Camp Host, and like magic, I slipped into Warrior mode, deftly flinging my demands, one by one, while they could only stare and n…