Sunday, March 30, 2008

van pics! finally! #3

here's the electrical system input, just a hole in the side of the van where i stick the extention cord into. the cover is an outdoor outlet cover that snaps closed and keeps rain/snow out.

view with the back doors open. i still have plenty of free space under the bed. tools go in the toolbox and in the back door cubbies. reflectix velcroed to the back windows helps keep it temperate inside.
here's the cord that i plug power into to run my appliances. the hole to the outside is that grey circle (cover outside is closed).

van pics! finally! #2

here's my kitchen setup--propane stove on top of the shelves, toaster oven wired to the cage, pots/pans/various junk on the shelves. could definately use some organization! the heater on the right is what i use at my parking spot and i tie it up to the shelf when not in use.
oh there she is, that little cutie freyja:) there's the cooler behind the passenger seat, work clothes hang above from an adjustable shower curtain bar.

behind the driver's seat sits my propane tank bungeed to the cage, it's very secure. the cd's and little stereo live here as well as the maps and reflective shades for the front windows. i plan to make another clothes hanging area back here too for dresses and coats.
the view looking in from the sliding side door

see the next post for more!

van pics! finally! #1

view of my bed looking back from the passenger seat. comrade panda lounges on the down comforters, he's tired from all the anarchy. clothes fill all the drawers and the space to the right of the cattycorner drawers is a catch all for sweatshirts/scarves/gloves and other random stuff
my hand pump sink set up, cabinet above holds knives, tape, soap, ect. under the sink goes trashbags, cleaning supplies, baby wipes.
on the left bottom corner of the bed hangs my laundry bag which is attached to the cabinet with a hook, front and center is my toilet (a 5 gallon bucket with a luggable loo seat attached) which mostly serves as a garbage can and seat.
my cabinet system which holds tea, honey, canned goods, medicine, essential oils, dishes, sacred artifacts, and spices. on top of the bottom cabinet is my power strip which is plugged into a big contracter grade extention cord into which i plug in the van for power. see later pics for the rest of this system.

here's how my sink system works--one gallon jug for fresh water, the waste water goes out the blue tube through a hole in the bottom of the van. easy!
i have to put the pics in several different posts for some reason, so keep reading!

electricity is everywhere

i'm suddenly seeing all kinds of electric outlets in public where it would be incredibly easy to plug in for a while when needed. there's 4 at the post office where my po box is and they're actually out in the parking lot on posts, most accessible! i could use these late nights or weekends and probably not arouse much suspicion. then there are many in the mall's parking garage where i sometimes park for work, not a late night solution, but anytime during mall hours would probably be easy. and there's one outside my work, though i'd have to put a cord across the sidewalk to access that one. and then there's one outside st. mark's coffee house on a post near the street. would be a great late night access point when the business is closed.
makes me think it would be easier to live without my parking spot that i had once imagined. i'm sure there would be some run ins with security guards or police when using these spots, but it would be easy enough to explain and move on. and in most cases, if they didn't see me plugging in, why would they notice? i may try them out just for fun!

Friday, March 28, 2008

april's pledge

now that i've had almost a month of vandwelling experience, it's time to up the ante. my systems for personal care are all in place, and the newness of not having an unmoving roof over my head is gone. now, the focus turns to paring down living expenses and keeping track of spending. my laziest area is food--i love to go grab a coffee and a breakfast burrito in the morning while i check my email, but the tally is adding up and i can't really afford to spend 400 a month on these little outings. i think a reasonable budget for food is 200 per month, since i get at least one free meal every time i work, and can often manage to take some more food with me if i so desire.
so, for the month of april, i pledge to stick to my food budget of 200 dollars. i'm going to put 200 dollars in an envelope on april 1st and that is what i shall eat out of. this will include all outings to coffee shops, all lunches with friends, and all late night convenience food. it will be challenging, i know because this is my weakest point, but i'm ready for it. if i run out of money before may 1st, then i'll have to find ways to eat for free until the month is up. i'm going to practice some tough love on myself. i think it will be easiest to save most of the weekly money for my two days off, and try not to spend any on days i work. i could allocate say 15 dollars a week for breakfast groceries which is all i really need on working days--an egg and toast, or cereal, and of course coffee or tea. then for my days off i'll be freer to go to devil's food for breakfast, or have a lunch out with E. by practicing restraint on convenience, i shall overcome this beast of indulgence.
eek....i'm scared of that beast, it's big and muscle-y..

Thursday, March 27, 2008

a day in the life of a vandweller

spring is fully here and solidly confirming that fact is a day like today. i woke up in the murky grey light of early morning and noticed the sky looked different--it's the sky that holds low misty clouds that gently drop rain as if they're trying to avoid bending the grass. so soft and dreamy i just couldn't get out of bed, the blanket of humidity held me down and soothed me. so, i succumbed to the temptation and went back to sleep, the delicate drip drip on the roof was my lullaby. when i could no longer justify my languor, i slipped out of bed and fed my cat, still wallowing in the closeness of the atmosphere.
since i slept through yoga, i had to come up with a plan for getting clean before work. my laundry bag was full, so i prepared to do my business at the laundromat. i packed a bag with the necessary supplies while i brewed some green earl grey in my french press. at the laundromat, there's a bathroom with hot water, it's a "one seater" so that's great, private, roomy and perfect for my purposes. there is a sign that says "no personal bathing" and i'm sure there must be a reason that sign got posted. i can't quite figure it out, but someone must have made a mess in there i guess. it's another sign that the way i'm living is not acceptable, but i am unthwarted and push on. i make it quick in there, and since i'm practiced, it takes only 5 minutes and i feel like a new woman. i don't think the attendant noticed, and if he did, he kept his mouth shut. the fact that he may have a crush on me doesn't hurt. refreshed, i do a load of laundry and get online to share it all with you.
when i leave, i will round up something to eat, maybe hit the breakfast queen and then head into town to do some errands before work. days like this make it so easy to vandwell--i don't have to worry about where i park the van because the full cloud cover keeps it from getting too hot in there. i love that colorado is so sunny, but it's a welcome reprieve to have a day like today.
thanks for tuning in...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

the ten things game

the longer i live in my van, the more i realize how little of my stuff i actually use, and it pisses me off that it's there doing nothing. why do i hang on? so i came up with a way to channel that energy into getting rid of the dead weight. it's called the ten things game, and it's a survival game where time is running out and the only way to survive is to get rid of ten things on the ship. the mood is tense, and choices must be made and made quickly. i get a bag and begin to fill it-- not everything counts as "one" thing, like underwear and socks, it takes 4 of them to count as 1, and silverware takes 3 for 1. there will be more rules, i haven't figured it all out yet, but i played this morning and now my clothing drawers close more easily. i got rid of mostly clothes, they seem to be my weakness, though books might be a close second. it's much easier to get rid of the clothes first since i'm not sentimental about most of them. i the light of the ten things game, things just don't seem that important, i mean do i really need 5 pairs of leggings? when it's between them and my french press, the answer is obvious.
fellow van dwellers with a clutter problem, feel free to play along and let me know how it goes!

the wandering blues

all this preparation for ultimate mobility has made me..well..longing for some mobility. it's great that i get to live in this city and have no rent to pay, but being in my van all loaded up with my favorite things has made the barrier to leaving very thin. yes, i need to make a certain dollar figure every month to be on track with my goals, and i will stay here to accomplish that, but the tension is building and i know when it's time, i'll be more than ready to go. i'm so excited for the day when i am free to take any offer, any adventure with only minimal preparation. my first taste of this will be in the fall when i find a warm place to winter, maybe i'll be a workamper or some other caretaking position where i can make some money, but mostly just hang out in the great outdoors for the winter. i've never been anywhere that wasn't frigid and incapable of sustaining human life for at least a few months in the winter. this year is going to be different. i have a great appreciation for the beauty of cold winters, the quiet, the snow, the barren forests and the wildlife tracks, but i want to experience something new. sunbathing on christmas is an experience i want to have and dammit, it's time.
once i'm out of debt, i figure i can live easily on 500 a month, an amount that's not hard to come up with either by saving it, or working a few hours a week. this amount would be reduced if i found a job/situation where food was included or partially included. i really want to do a stint of volunteering at Kalani on the big island of hawai'i, and they're having a "sale" on volunteering--it's half price (250 a month) from april to august. it's really a great deal, this price includes room and board with three fantastic healthy meals a day, and all the activities and ammenities of a world class resort, plus special programs just for the volunteers, and all you have to do is 30 hours of work a week in the kitchen or cleaning cabins. if i was already free, i'd do it, but i'll just have to wait. i did something similar, though more work intense at Kripalu Yoga Center a few years ago and it was one of the best and most formative experiences of my adult life. i'm eager to get back into the volunteer community, it's a place i definitely feel like i fit, which is a rarity these days. feels good to dream about the future while fully enjoying my days here in the present.
om shanti

Monday, March 24, 2008

so it's been over three weeks since i moved into the van. let's check in and see how systems are operating.
1. bathing--seems to be pretty easy, i shower at yoga 3 times a week, i bathe at E's house when i'm over there, or i take a mini-bath in my van with a tub of warm water and a washcloth.
2. peeing--easy. in a bottle when i'm in the van or in public restrooms. have to disinfect the bottle every other day with some bleach or whatever other cleaning solution is in the bathroom i'm using.
3. pooping--slight challenge, usually timed for a public restroom, but the body doesn't always cooperate. in the bucket with kitty litter works, but i feel kinda criminal disposing of it. oh well, some sacrifices are necessary.
4. staying warm--very easy, between the down comforters and the electric heater, i usually end up waking up too hot. when i don't have electricity, i take a hot water bottle to bed and that does the trick on nights that aren't too freezing. i haven't used my propane catalytic heater yet.
5. staying cool--challenge. on sunny days it's hard to find a shady spot to park when i go to work. i believe i'll have to plan ahead this summer to park in the mall parking garage when going to work which is a few blocks away. at other times, it can be difficult to find a satisfactory place to park when i'm out and about. this is where not having a cat would make things easier. not an option!
6. eating--slight challenge. it's so much easier to go out for a bite, especially when there's wifi there! this is more a matter of discipline which i intend to get better at.
7. public relations--big challenge. it's much easier to keep quiet about my situation than tell people because reactions are not good. i don't like to lie and it's hard for me to live in the shadows, but it's necessary to some degree. i wish i'd been more secretive at work. oh well, lesson learned and no real harm done, just annoyance for me.
8. finances--easy. the relief i feel at not owing any rent at the first of each month is enormous! i can't emphasize this enough! it's an awesome feeling.
9. entertainment--easy. there's always a project to do in the van, and if not, then i'm out enjoying the spring air, reading a book, or writing. i do miss my friends though, and i feel kinda lonely here now. why am i here? oh yeah, financial goals...

well, i'm off to get plates for the van today. i don't know what to say about my address. i might just use my old one since i don't have any mail that proves my new one in the eyes of the dmv. hmmm.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

fertility awareness

it's amazing what we're not taught in school. health class in high school teaches you how to put a condom on a banana and i can certainly label male and female reproductive parts on a diagram, but i was clueless about how the female reproductive cycle really worked until i started learning about fertility awareness from my dear friend and trusted herbalist, sarah. turns out its relatively easy to discover when a woman is fertile, and it's only about 5 days per cycle. learning where in they cycle these days fall is the science of fertility awareness. it takes somewhat of a commitment to do this, and the pattern emerges over time so don't expect to see the whole picture in the first month. the process is basically this:
1. take your temperature at about the same time every morning before getting out of bed with a basal body temperature thermometer, this measures your temperature more precisely than a regular one.
2. check your cervical fluid several times a day. this can be done by several methods, the one i use is just to observe it on my underwear. the fluid varies throughout the cycle from pasty and dry to stretchy like eggwhites and everything in between. come up with a name for each kind so you can record it.
3. keep track of this information and other pieces like mood and pain (like headaches/cramps) on a chart. you can find premade charts online or make your own. record information every day and watch the pattern.
that's it! well, there's more, but thats where you start, just by observing. it's best to start this when you are not sexually active so there's no chance of making a mistake. the way you read the chart is to look at when the temperature spikes by a half degree or more. when that happens it indicates that ovulation has occured. this usually coincides with stretchy "eggwhite" cervical fluid. since you can't predict exactly when ovulation will occur, you can only tell after the fact, it is safest to avoid sex before ovulation if you are trying to prevent pregnancy. then 48 hours after ovulation, the egg has died and you are no longer fertile. then it is safe to have sex with no worries about pregnancy. this method can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy and it's 100% safe for all women, no side effects, and minimal cost. why this is not common knowledge is a mystery to me. maybe because it can't be locked down, formulated and codified. because it's different for each woman and you are solely responsible for following the clues. because it can't be sold and doesn't come in a convenient pill form. because no one makes money from it.
and these are the things that make it valuable to me. i love that i have the power to know my own body and to choose my reproductive status without relying on dangerous pharmaceuticals that could ultimately make my reproductive choices for me. i love that if i decide to get pregnant, there is no period of waiting for the drugs to wear off, i'm already following the natural rhythms of the lunar cycle.
a good source of information if you want to give it a try is a book called "Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH.
viva la reproductive revolution!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

run in with the man

i'm back in the land of the living, after a trip to the emergency room and two and a half days off work, i've finally turned the corner on this flu. being ill is a great way to experience the value of health, and i know i wouldn't be able to van dwell if i wasn't in generally good health, it's just too much work.
i had my first run in with the cops on wednesday night. i was leaving work, early due to vomiting, and my van was parked about 2 blocks away under a tree for shade. it was dark out, but i had reflectix in the windows to keep it cool during the day and i guess this makes people think there is something odd about the van because someone had called the cops. i walked up to the officer in the car and asked him what was wrong. he asked me if this was my vehicle, and i said yes. he said that someone had called to report a suspicious vehicle. i wondered what that meant exactly, but i didn't ask. he asked me for my name and address . i didn't miss a beat when i told him the address of my parking spot, but it felt a little weird, like he shouldn't be asking me that. what did i do wrong? my van was legally parked, the tags are current, it's insured. i wasn't bothering anyone, someone just thought it looked threatening. then the officer asked me for my phone number, where i worked and if i lived in the van. that's the first time anyone "official" has asked me that and it made me uncomfortable. he clearly didn't want me to be living in there. i didn't deny it, i just said i live at 3--- S Logan street, which is true. he seemed a little sheepish at grilling this innocent looking young lady and was easily appeased by my answers, but what if i was deemed "suspicious" looking? just what does that mean? i tend to calm peoples fears when they see decidedly classic american looks, but why? i could just as easily be a con artist, a killer, a person worthy of suspicion. it's all a game, it's played by hunches and stereotypes, and for now at least, i'm winning.
also, my boss when he gets a little drunk, likes to make jabs at me about living in the van. he doesn't even know what my living situation actually is, but he thinks it's fun to make assumptions and then ridicule me about them. he's got one of those overblown egos that surely knows more than anyone and always makes better decisions. i wish he would adopt a less intrusive manner, it's really irritating. he's an overgrown college student with a coke habit who has learned just enough about psychology to know that his experience is all that can ever matter. i guess he hasn't learned or doesn't care to learn that creating good relationships with people can enhance your own experience. he's also pretty sure he knows whether someone is important to him or not and acts accordingly. i've learned to stay out of his way and clash infrequently with him, but i wish i could just be natural and unguarded like i am normally.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


today was the worst day of the year so far. i spent last night tossing and turning in a feverish misery. it was very cold outside so i took a hot water bottle to bed, and turned the heat up to high, but even so i was cold. i woke up shivering and tensed up so tight my muscles were cramping. i realized then that i was really sick. so i plugged in my electric mattress pad and sealed every cranny with down. i warmed up and fell asleep for a while. it was an awful night, but i was as comfortable in the van as i would have been in a house. i'm a spoiled van-dweller with electric heat and a quiet safe place to park.
this morning when the sun came out, i opened the side door to get some fresh air and let Freyja out. there's a cat that likes to come visit and is a very curious fellow. Frey doesn't like him and i don't let him come into the van because that's her space too, but the problem becomes how to keep him out when i have the door open. well, on a normal day, i'd just shoo him off, but i was dead weight in bed this morning so i made a decision that i'm not proud of--i threw a C battery at him and hit him in the head. he ran off immediately and i felt like such a shithead for doing that. he wasn't doing anything wrong, just being his sweet self and i poured my agony out on him. later on when i was driving to E's house, i saw him trotting down the sidewalk and i stopped to check him out. he didn't look hurt, and i asked his forgiveness. we'll be pals again i'm sure.
i was supposed to work tonight, but i couldn't get it together enough to go in. E has been taking care of me since he got off work and i really couldn't ask for a better friend right now. my mom could probably do a better job, but that's because well, she's my momma. he's gone out twice to get me what i wanted to eat--first round of saltines and ginger ale, second round chicken soup and ice cream. what a guy!
so, a little update on van life--i installed a cabinet above my sink to keep all the little things i use frequently like knives, toothpaste, soap, thermometer, wine key etc. i bought a solar shower and a new propane stove at REI but haven't tried either. and i'm going through all my clothes again and getting rid of more things i don't really wear. i took a garbage bag full to buffalo exchange on monday and got 35 bucks for it. still feeling good about vandwelling, but it's alot of work. every minute detail has to be attended to, and each possession must prove it's value or be terminated.
i'm going to recover and cuddle up with E for a while. good night all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

expect the unexpected

rule of thumb for van living--expect it to happen. there's a delicate balance of items in the living space of the van, coffee mugs, hot plate, toilet bucket, toaster oven (yeah, i know it's overboard, but it's my favorite kitchen appliance!), water jugs, cooler, and of course random clothes, cd's, tools etc. i'm learning the lesson over and over again, that if it can happen it will. 2 nights ago i spilled the pan of water i was heating not once, but two times. i was so mad at myself the first time and demanded that i be more conscious of my movements and not do that EVER again. then i did it again five minutes later. several soaked towels later, i realized i had to come up with a better system and rather than just setting it up as quickly as possible, i had to take my time and run the cord over to the sink area, set up the burner on the cutting board and then NOT do anything else in that area until the water was done. ok, so now i knew the law of tight spaces and wouldn't be lulled into a false sense of, yeah until this morning. i was having a leisurely start to my day, straightening up the van, rearranging the stuff outside and taking a shallow "bath" in a plastic tub. i had heated up water to wash with and then i heated water for my tea. i chose the delicately delicious jade pouchong and steeped it in my favorite handthrown mug while i prepared my travel mug by washing it and putting the correct amount of honey in it. then i went about gathering up my things and putting them away, getting ready to head out for the day. i had it all together, opened the gate and got in the drivers seat. pulled out and headed down the alley. i turned the corner and heard a crash from the back. uh oh. what was that? i pulled over and climbed into the back to see the my precious tea spilled all over everything, i'd forgotten to strain it into my travel mug and all that careful work was lost and worse, i'd created more unnecessary work--soaked the carpet, tea leaves stuck to the cabinets and cooler and soggy slippers looking sadly up at me. dang it. i really wanted that tea!
so, i sulkily went to the bank and headed to the laundromat to do all the wet towels, but i still needed some caffeine. determined not to waste time or gas, i was going to stop at whatever coffee shop was in between the bank and the laundromat, as long as it wasn't a starbucks. well of course there was only a gas station or a starbucks and when faced with that choice, my palette concedes it's better to go corporate than stale folgers. i hate starbucks with their carefully crafted marketing and color schemes, it's just too push button monochromatic for me, and usually the service is curt and impersonal. but, again this day i am to expect the unexpected--the guys working at this place were hands down the friendliest baristas i've ever had the pleasure of ordering from. i mean, i was in the drive thru for cryin out loud and they're asking me about my day and if i'm happy and what i have planned for the afternoon. they weren't nosy, just curious and it seems longing for some human connection. they were so full of vigor (or maybe just espresso) and doing their jobs so joyfully, i couldn't help but laugh at myself for prejudging my experience. we parted like friends and i can't help but hope that one day i'll be in the same predicament and just have to go back and see them again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


i have a secret...i love laundromats. yes, i'll agree that it's much more convenient to do laundry at home, and the truth is i didn't miss going out to do my laundry when i had a washer/dryer in the basement. but i think it's fun to go "out" for laundry. you never know who you're gonna meet and it's a great place to watch people who you may have nothing else in common with save the fact that you both had to do laundry at the same time. i don't use smelly detergent or fabric softener, but i kinda like the smell of others using it, the same way i like the smell of gasoline but wouldn't intentionally have it around to smell.
another reason i like these places of the washed cloth, is i'm an eavesdropper. it gives me a strange pleasure to hear other people's mundane conversations. occasionally i'll catch something profound or furious or achingly sad, and at those times i'm glad to be a witness.
maybe it's because i never had to go to the laundromat as a kid that i like them now. it's also a place to watch soap operas or read a book, and nowadays to check my email, or blog. it a retreat where no one will find me, yet i'm doing something essential to life.
i'm at the closest laudromat to my parking spot and it's pretty sweet--free internet, a tropical mural on the back wall with a window into the barber shop in the rear, a couple of video games which i haven't checked out yet (hopefully there's a pinball machine!), and the washer/dryer to people ratio is very good. i tend to like 24hr mats best, but this one is open six am till midnight seven days a week which is pretty good. i'm sure i'll be reporting from here many times and once i get my laptop battery, i may be lurking in the parking lot at night to check in with the vandwellers yahoo group, or post a late night after work musing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

the friend matrix

it feels a little sad now when i'm in a thrift store, when it used to feel like a treasure hunt. i remember feeling this way before. yes before i had a full time bff. and now that she's moved on, i'm a little empty here by myself. and what's the point of making tea and having a second breakfast at noon if it's only me? might as well go to the coffee shop and blog while i sit alone. the most painful part was the days before they left, knowing that the inevitable was coming, but still having the revelry of good friends to enjoy. now it's not painful, but a low-grade sorrow sometimes fills the air where laughter used to live.
it's always been this way, i've got no one to hitch my wagon to and i like being that freelance friend who might show up any day, but probably won't stay. the price for this is a little loneliness. i want to gather all my beloved friends up and plant them together, then i could be caretaker of them all and never want for adventure or love. their free wills barring that, i will become mobile and bounce around making grand entrances and melancholy exits in all their lives while i run around talking to plants and listening to mountains. it makes me happy to do this.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

more van improvements

today E helped me get the parking spot cleared out. there was a bunch of stuff in there like part of an old chain link fence, chunks of concrete, and three huge logs from a tree that had been cut down the previous year. the landlord (if you can call him that) was supposed to have it all out of there before i moved in, but here it is well into the second week and he hasn't done a thing. it's a good thing E is so strong, otherwise i would have had to hire someone to cut the logs up so i could haul them out. i'm not about to learn how to use a chainsaw...well not yet anyway. i pulled the chain link fence out with a chain hooked to bernie's bumper, that part was easy. then i filled a garbage can full of concrete chunks while E drilled a hole in the floor of the van. the sink had been leaking, and the floor was soaked, so yesterday i pulled out the soft sided tanks and found that the drain tank was leaking BAD. i threw it away, disgusted and peeved. E said, why don't we just put a hole in the floor and the water can drain out the bottom of the van? good idea, i thought! so, today he manned the drill for yet another brilliant idea. the hole he put in the floor was the perfect size for the drain, he was even able to pound the little hard plastic thing that had screwed into the tank into the hole for a practically airtight fit. no more tank worries! it's just what i wanted--a very simple water system that gives me the comforts of home, but is easily repaired and maintained.
tomorrow i will level the ground up and try to tear out the rest of the sticks and roots so i can start to fix it up the way i want it. i think just a little patio table/chairs and a chimenea will do the trick. it'll be just like living in my own private campground. yay.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

how yoga helps

all walks of life meet in the hot room to sweat it out together. we agree to follow the seemingly impossible directions of the instructor, as fully as our bodies allow. living right on the edge of discomfort, right on the edge of pain, pushing ourselves as far as we can without falling over into injury or exhaustion. i love extreme asana practice--bikram, power, ashtanga, if there's sweat and major challenge involved, i'm there. for me, it's about wringing out all the organs and tissues of my body and letting fresh blood flow in, also wringing out my limitations and emotions to gain a fresh perspective. i tend to stagnate and get muddy if left to my own devices, and this practice cleans me up and clears me out. there's something about the class atmosphere that really helps me to work as hard as i can. if i'm by myself, i'm way too lazy and can find any excuse in the world to quit or do less. in the room with all those other people, i'm commited to the practice. i'm there for 90 minutes come hell or high water and i might as well do my best. seeing others in varying stages of their practice is inspiring. someday i want to be the old lady who has great muscle tone in her arms and doesn't bat an eye at a headstand.
most of all, i do the practice to stay sane, to experience my body and mind as a unified whole, to realize it's always new. each moment flows into the next, and this IS my life. it's all happening now.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

traveling with cats

i put a lock on my gate and posted some signs about no tresspassing, beware of dog, etc. and there's really nothing of value out there anymore. if they want my kitty litter, they can have it!
speaking of kitty...she's adapting, though i'm not sure how happy she is. i'm giving it a full month before i put a definitive declaration on her emotional health. at night, she's all purrs and love, and last night she slept in the bed with me (first time) which was cozy. but during the day, all she does is hide under the bed when i'm driving around, and last night she meowed mournfully when i got in the van after work. it was so cold! i know she has a fur coat on, and there are plenty of blankets/hiding places to conserve warmth in, but i feel bad making a pampered housecat into a vagabond. well, if i can do it, so can she. i put in a hot water bottle when i got to work last night and i don't know if she cuddled up to it or not. i slept with this same bottle last night and it's new so it *stinks* like plastic. she probably hates it. but she's eating, drinking, peeing and pooping, so there's no signs of severe distress. she's always been a traveling cat, she just has no idea how long this could go on. hehe.
this coffee shop is freezing and so are my fingers. oh warms winds of spring where are you??

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


what a way to burst my little bubble. i came home last night all happy and proud after work and when i pulled up to my spot, something was wrong...the gate was wide open and plastic containers were strewn about. my heart sank. why would someone bother with my junk? there was nothing there of any real value, and i had foolishly thought that no one would mess with it. i went to bed feeling depressed and like maybe i should have never rented this place. i decided to call my landlord in the morning and figure something out.
when i talked to him this morning, he told me one of the neighbors witnessed the ransacking and called the cops. there's a high school right across the street, and apparently some kids got into my stuff looking for beer or whatever it is kids want these days. they stole my cooler (empty) and a few backpacks (also empty) and a first aid kit. why? i can't imagine. they certainly couldn't get any money for these things, i guess they just did it out of boredom. they caught the kids and my landlord is pressing tresspasing charges and i could press charges for theft as well. i think i will, unless they return my stuff with an apology (not likely). disheartening. and then i woke up to another snowstorm. ugh..spring can't come soon enough! the high of yesterday is balanced by the low of today. i thought about moving out, but i really like my little spot, and with a few changes, i think it'll work. my landlord brought over a security camera today, and i'm putting a lock on the fence. hopefully this will be enough deterrent. i may also look for a little tool shed that i can lock things in, but they're kindof expensive and i don't want to end up spending just as much as renting an apartment to fix this place up. i made up my mind to try again, but if there's another incident, i will move on. i'm looking at this as a lesson--my van is my home, not my parking spot, and anything outside my van is subject to the world at large. keep it simple, stupid!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

the first night!!!

I spent my first night in the van last night. it was a new feeling, have you ever felt something you've never felt before? or maybe it brings to mind a distant recognition? that's what it was like. the closest i can come to naming it is to say i felt like a kid in a fort i'd built, hunkered down for the night and my parents didn't know i was there, though i never actually did that as a kid. my cat, Freyja, is adapting well. she was a bit pissed last night when we were driving around, but once we parked she was purring and eating and acting like herself. i opened a bottle of wine i'd been saving for the occasion--a nice chianti, and settled in to read and write. i wrote a response letter to my ex-boyfriend who is doing some time. i guess all that sobriety and time has made him think of me and what we had as not so bad. not that he ever thought it was bad, it just got lost in the shuffle i guess. he's like a twin soul, born only 2 days apart, only a few miles apart, both of us with classic aryan features--blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin. and we bring out the desperate romantic in each other, always a poem rather than a picture, a letter surpasses a phone call, and a graveyard the favored meeting place, the park be damned!
i sealed the letter and picked up my book "Blue Highways" which i'd started reading last year and put down not due to disinterest, just to soak in it. i think it's a big part of my inspiration to be a van-dweller. it's the america i like to explore when i'm travelling. the slow route, the ghost towns, the forgotten paths.
i feel great today after the first night in the van. i went to bikram yoga, showered, slathered on the coconut oil and headed out for my day, refreshed. alive. ready for my new life.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

the breakfast queen

yesterday was 70 degrees. this morning i woke up in a snowstorm. i was so disappointed because i wanted to take everything out of the van and organize it, but it was not going to be possible today. so i decided to take on the things i could accomplish today and that included breakfast. exploring my new neighborhood i discoved a little diner called the breakfast queen 2. at 11am on a sunday, you have to wait in line, though it moved quickly. i started to gather the scene while i was in line. bright red booths lining the walls, a row of tables in the middle with those chairs that have the padded backs and seats, always remind me of pizza hut in the 80's, neatly hung art on the walls--paintings of cars, faces, dogs. so american. the kitchen was wide open to the dining room and the cooks were moving fast, methodical and practiced. the one closest to the dining room was in a good mood, greeting regulars and laughing. he was young and i heard someone ask if he was so and so's son. he said yes.
i was seated and offered coffee immediately-yes of course i'll have some. a sassy blond in her late 40's brought it to me in a mug with advertisements for local businesses on it. i came to adore her through the meal, she minced across the room, swaying her hips and laughing flirtatiously. she had a great figure and apparently it still worked for her, she was having a great time flitting about and she was a darn good waitress to boot.
i learned the names of the waitresses when the cook called them up to pick up their food. sandy, brenda, debbie. i just made sense and they were all over 40 with long hair and plenty of energy. when debbie came over to check on me she asked in her smoke-cured voice "is everything delicious?" and indeed it was. the hash browns were real potatoes and not greasy, the eggs were done right, the sausage was not scary and the toast perfectly buttered rye. the coffee left something to be desired but this is a real diner, not a yuppied out version of comfort food with a tongue in cheek decor. this is just what it's trying to be. a great place to eat regular food. you won't find tofu or a latte or steamed chard on the menu, you won't find a tattooed hipster lazily stooping to serve you. that's in another part of town and while i'm sure i'll go visit, i'm happy to be where the breakfast queen reigns.
tomorrow...pray for better weather