Wednesday, October 29, 2008

winter cometh

the first snow has fallen in my corner of appalachia. a signal of my impending departure. it feels good to see the flakes fly since i know i don't have to endure the whole winter here. i am aware of that familiar dread, but it can't sink into my heart this year. i've skidded to a place of rest after all that work i did this past year, and i finally feel like i'm moving at the speed that suits me. i'm no longer pushing myself through a rough patch, i'm just walking on the ground noticing the beauty around me. this is my life. this is how i really am.
i'm almost entirely packed, just a few little details to arrange when joe gets here. my parents have been so generous to me, they have provided enough nooks and crannies in their house to safely store all the items i can't take with me but might need later. they've taken me to lunch almost every day and given me a furnished apartment to live in and a car to drive around. i'm a lucky person, and i get to feel like a kid. a kid that's taken care of, loved, needed. this visit to home was just the right thing to prepare me for the rest of my journey. all my medical, dental, optical, emotional, and familial needs are taken care of and i'm ready to strike out on my own again.
last night we had a poker game that served as my going away gathering. we used to play almost every week when i lived here 5 years ago, and the same guys that came then got together last night in my brother's basement. there is something so deeply fun about sitting around a table taking each other's money, telling stories and drinking beer.
after the game, my brother and i stayed up talking for a long time. he gave me 4 boxes of 8-tracks! he swears he told me about them before, but i don't remember. there's about 80 tapes, all country, all in excellent condition. i'm thrilled. i will have to have them shipped to me when i get to where i'm going, because there's just no room in the suitcase, but they are going to be hours and hours of fun. i'm a nerd.

Monday, October 27, 2008

standing in my way

frustration is the name of the day. i set aside this day to visit my friend in prison, but the brilliant government system intervened and halted my progress. no where does anyone tell you that an inmate is only allowed 5 visitors a month. you only find that out if you do all the work to be approved and then show up and get your van searched while you stand in the cold and then go in and oops! you're the 6th visitor this month. go away and try again later. oh? you're not from here and you traveled across the country to see him? too bad, go away, come back next month and we'll see. seems like a little bit of information they could put on the website or tell you on the phone, but hey, if it wasn't difficult it would be easy! fuckers.
so, dejected, i came home and decided to pack my bags for the trip. oh yeah, i'm going on a trip. this winding path has lead me all the way back east, but i won't be here long. my dear friend joe is coming to pick me up in his veggie car and take me to a magical little city in new york state where i will go to parties, vegan potlucks, and anarchist coffee shops galore. a trip to the big city to see my partner in shade, andrew, from whom i just need a few more hugs. then i will help him with his land project, play outside, and cook lots of vegetables for a few weeks and he will drop me off at the airport (again) because that's what we do. my plane will land, with cat in hand, in seattle where i'll spend the november holiday with my bff couple. that's as far as i've got. there is a destination in mind after thanksgiving, but i hesitate to post it until the ticket is bought. even then plans have a tendancy to change.
i'm moving out of my van and into a few suitcases. after shedding so many layers, i still have more to get rid of. i'm almost just a person now. it feels good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

another day another dog rescue

i went on another dog rescue mission, this time less dramatic but just as sad. a neighbor out by our camp has a puppy tied up by his house with no food or water and very little shelter. in the three days i was up there, no one (that i saw) checked on the dog and i began to worry. i took him some food and water and a blankey to sleep on in his dismal little doghouse. he's just a pup, no more than 8 months old, and friendly as can be. i wish i had a big farm and could just take him into the fold. lacking that ability, i called the spca and they are going to go check on him and take him in if need be.
i wonder why i keep being presented with lovely animals in need of proper care? is it time to settle my ass down and take in some orphans? maybe that is my biological clock ticking. i do have a strange urge to grow herbs, bake pies and make a recipie file. hmm. i'm gonna shove that category of urges back for a while because i've got some other things to do, but i think it won't be ignored too much longer.
i'm trying to get out of here soon, but things are holding me back. things like the laziness that won't let me get my van cleared out and ready for storage, and dental work that keeps failing so i have to go back, and the red tape involved with getting on the "list" to visit my friend in prison, and gathering supplies needed to travel on planes with freyja, . all things that must be done, but will they be accomplished by early next week? it's getting cold here, i'm wearing 4 layers, that sucks.
good news--i made a kick ass halloween costume for a party i'm attending saturday. boots with the fur, tail, horn, and a dash of spray glitter just so when you brush up against me you know you've been touched by a unicorn.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

head for the hills

hometown adventures with chris today, he was nice enough to stop by and break the cycle of work-eat-drink-internet on his way through PA and i showed him the crazy man's candy shop where we used to get cigarettes when we were 10, and then we explored the mostly abandoned machine factory where there were countless rooms filled with countless shelves of extraordinarily metal-dust covered molds. last night we did the bar tour--st. charles to dinger's to buster's to legends. he likes to walk fast too and i think he's endured my little town well, though i'm sure he will be glad to be on his way.
i'm going to my family's cabin in the woods for a few days. the leaves are past their peak of brilliance, and the weather has turned frosty. building a fire, eating soup, walking in the woods with crispy leaves underfoot, this is the autumn experience i was looking for. tonight i'll be there by myself, it's my time to figure out if i'm really going to take the step i've been contemplating. tomorrow i'll be joined by friends for some good ol'country fun.
into the wilds of pennsylvania..

Thursday, October 16, 2008

village pet store and charcol grill

i came across this through the 721sandwiches blog. this is the finest contemporary art i've seen in a long time. well executed, poignant, painful. i hope i have a chance to see the exhibit when i go to new york.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


i'm moving through the world with no guideposts but my instincts. no goals but my survival. no barriers but my ability to figure things out. these last days have been rife with confusion, waffling, doubt, and excitement. i'm on the precipice, not knowing quite what might befall me. i asked for this, i surely did. every path has obstacles, and i can't for the life of me figure out which ones i'd rather tackle. ha! you thought i made a decision?? think again. welcome to my fairy tale, a tangled wood through which i wander where every solid thing i think i see morphs and i am lost again. it's fun, yes, but tiring.
tomorrow i will search for clues in my past. my old journals i've kept stowed away hold secrets that may help me understand why i am here, where i should go, and what i've been working for. the freedom is not a goal unto itself, it's a doorway that, now opened, baffles me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

plan for no plans

i'm edgy about what the economic status of our country is going to do to my loose-knit plans. already things have come apart a bit--my friend in the caribbean is no longer in the caribbean. he couldn't find a job, couldn't find affordable housing, got depressed and downtrodden and came home. now he has no furniture, no winter clothes, no job and is living in a cheap hotel. while i will never have to live in a cheap hotel, i wonder if my experience will be similar to his. i've never gone somewhere and failed to make it, but i have had some incredibly rough times which i don't care to repeat. would i be better off just staying in my van this winter and driving somewhere warm? or should i go to the islands and try my luck? OR should i do something radically different? i feel like the pieces i had laid out have all been put in the hat again, ready to be rearranged. i'm comfortable with the uncertainty, i'm just amazed that it keeps happening. nothing goes according to plan, so much so that i no longer need to make plans, but it's difficult to talk to people when they ask about what i'm doing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ode to a friend

crystal. she's perfect. no she's not a genius or a huge success or a brilliant artist. she just knows how to be a person, the person she is. that kind of natural beauty that shines through bad tattoos and difficult relationships, and defies her smoking habit and bar food diet with a lean muscled figure, plump lips and young energy. she's a royal figure in this town, known by all, loved by most, a bad-girl you can still trust. i've often asked myself how she does it so effortlessly, and that's just it--she's a natural. there have been dangerous lessons, fights, periods of stagnation, but she always comes out on top. a little wiser, more savvy, stronger. she knows how to play the game of life by some inborn ability i lack. and over the years this has kept her a fascinating friend for me, a teacher by example.
in exchange i teach her yoga, take her places she's never been, fully enjoy being her sidekick, and always leave the door open for her to join my adventures. i don't know if she'll ever take me up on it, but she is one of the treasures i find when i come home.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

a different kind of painful

tonight i play poker with my brother and friends. this should be fun at least. maybe profitable, who knows? though it would only be dumb luck at this point. or my awesome skills that have been laying dormant. we shall see. at least i get to go out and burn off some of this energy i've got stored. working in an office makes me restless and i feel the need to go out all the time. working at a bar, i don't have that need, it's built in to my workday. this new way of being is entertaining though.
i saw my grandmother a few days ago. her skin is thin like onion paper, her head seems to have withered, and she's far shorter than i remember. being in a nursing home has to suck. it's like a daycare where the parents never come to pick the kids up and half of them are crying or talking to the wall and sitting in shitty diapers. the home she's in is pretty good compared to many, but that feeling is still there. i daydream of my future, will i be in the same place? at this rate, i won't even have children to take care of me, and i certainly won't be checking myself into one of those places. unless i move to a country where there's universal health care, i won't likely have health care, so if i was her, i would have died along time ago of a stroke, or cancer, or craziness. i'll probably just fade off into the wilderness. it might be painful, but it'll be a different kind of painful.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

my younger days revisit

when things are fascinating, i'm really living. when days go stale, i'd rather be on my way. i've experienced a regression to my younger days when all i wanted was to socialize, to drink, to put on makeup and do my hair. this is frustrating to me because i'm not really like that anymore, but i can't quit acting that way! my friends are older now (like me) and don't go out on week nights. i guess everyone forgot how to party.
if anyone reading this is in the mood to get nuts, you should come over.

Monday, October 6, 2008

central pa

i've been meaning to make a post about what it's really like living in central PA, but i think this video says it all. it's an excerpt from a movie made by people i grew up with and it's clearly awesome. Steve's Conditions

Sunday, October 5, 2008


one thing i can say for this place, the boys like me here. probably simply because my face is fresh to their eyes, yet they have a frame of reference through my family and friends. whatever the reason, i'm soaking it up because i know it won't last. this "just passing through" thing has it's benefits, but i know i'm not making lasting connections. that's ok with me right now. i'm fully committing to my traveling nature. let the rest of my dreams and goals retire to the back burner, it's time to explore the world! this theme has come and gone in my life, but never have i been in a better position to embrace it. a few more weeks of familial fun times and i'm off again to the unknown. i would almost always choose the unknown path rather than go further down the known one. this is a hinderance and a help depending on my outlook, and today, my outlook is smiling.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

i miss my van

separation anxiety creeps in, mildly but noticeably now that i'm not sleeping in the van. don't get me wrong, i'm enjoying the bathtub, the full length mirror, and the refrigerator, but i no longer feel like a kid in a fort. i feel like a displaced adult. i am in between lives. people have asked me where i'm from, it's a longer answer than they've signed up for. they ask me where i live, same thing--do they mean today? or last week? or next month? any yet i can't just say i live in my van and i'm only passing through because that's not exactly accurate either.
my friend who is already in the caribbean is not having such a great time. he says there is no work there yet, and he isn't comfortable committing to an island by renting there until he gets a job. i wonder if he'll decide to leave before i get there. i don't really care, we are not inextricably linked, but it will make things different for me. he says all the jobs start in early november which is good for me, but i wonder what i'll do for housing if he's not there. i wish i could just take my van! i don't want to leave it. my little shell to protect me from the world of high rent and geographical stagnation. oh, what's a vandweller to do? of course, i haven't stepped on the plane yet, so there is room for negotiation. will i or won't i? the great part is--i'm fine either way, i'm really unattached to the outcome. as long as i get to have an adventure in warmth this winter, i don't care how i get there, by plane, by boat, by van, or by mule.
i do know one thing. whether i do or not, i still WANT to live in my van.