Quotes I like:

“Not all those who wander are lost.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Past Year of Living "Homelessly"

It has now been over a year since I lost my job, gave up my home, put all my stuff in storage and started this experiment to see if I could live without a residence for a year.  It has been interesting and I am proud to say that I have made it!  This doesn't mean I have been living on the streets or like a "bag lady".  I have been very lucky to have a small rv trailer to live in and homes of friends and family to stay at from time to time. 
This has been a real learning experience.  I learned that you can live a very simple life without a lot of "stuff".  Having an 18 foot trailer requires that you pare your life down to the real necessities.  It made me take a hard look at what I actually "need" and what stuff I can live without. I found that family and friendships are more important than any 'thing' I have owned.  I found that there is joy in each day if you just look for it.  I have found that people can be truly amazing and giving, even total strangers.

 I spent the first part of last year living in an RV park with some snow birds and a lot of folks who just live in their RVs due to financial circumstances or just lifestyle choice.  The owners and managers were incredible--helpful and friendly.  There was a fellow who lived in a panel van in the park.  He had very little and wasn't in the best of health.  At one point several of the guys in the park got together and built him a wooden deck with picnic table and awning cover so he could have a nice place to sit outside. They didn't ask anything for this, just did it out of the goodness of their hearts. I ran into similar folks in a small town in North Carolina when my car broke down.  Total strangers who offered their help and kindness to a passing traveller. Amazing!

I visited two of my sisters for awhile and we all spent more time together than we had since we were kids. I rediscovered the closeness that sisters can share while we laughed over fond memories and shared recipes  for dishes our mother used to cook. I also reconnected with my step brother and his wife whom I had not seen in many, many years and it was nice to become friends with them again.

Last summer was spent at the Jersey shore working for a dear friend. I lived in my trailer on the farm and slept with the soft nicker of the horses in the barn.  Some days were challenges but it was hard to complain when surrounded by the warm sandy beaches, ocean breezes and good and caring friends.

The fall and winter have been spent at yet another farm helping family during a military deployment.  I have spent wonderful days with my grandson. Days I will always cherish.  This is something I would never have been able to do if I had been working away at my career.

I have learned to live on less, appreciate the small things in life, get reacquainted with family and develop an appreciation just for living each day.  It has been a real "stop and smell the flowers" year.

I was very lucky to have had this year and very blessed that I was never actually homeless unlike many people have become in this poor economy.  Homelessness is a very real problem and one which still needs to be addressed.  I was happy to find a blog by a young woman who helped inspire me to begin writing this one.  She is a true success story and if you can, please visit her blog at: http://www.girlsguidetohomelessness.com/. Her blog has now become a book which will be on sale soon.  She is very brave and resourceful and I'm so glad things are working out for her.

While I thought that once the year was over I would go back to living my former life, I have decided that I am not ready to resume it.  That life seems very shallow now and I want to continue this journey.  My time at the farm is almost up and I have been offered several new opportunities to travel to new places and experience new things. So I believe I will take another trip around the sun on this journey of life and see where it leads me.  I stopped making plans awhile ago, and while not a very religious person, almost daily I ask God to simply place my feet on the path he wants me to take and I will follow it.  So far he has done a bang up job.

I want to thank everyone who assisted me in this endeavor, whose love and support helped me along the way and without whom this year would have been so much less. You guys all know who you are.

So stay tuned for the further adventures of Wanderwoman! I promise to be funny again soon! (well I am always a little 'funny' (maybe strange?) but will be humorous again!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hello China, Russia, France, Toledo and Hackensack!

I check my  blog stats from time to time to see if anyone is reading this thing.  One of the things the blog stats provide is a breakdown of countries where the audience is from.  Lately I have had a number of readers from Russia, China and France.  I assume that the blog is translated into those languages(?) or maybe they can all read English (?)  Anyway - to all my foreign readers!  Hallo! Welcome! I should add the following disclaimer for those who may read this from overseas:  PLEASE NOTE:  Actual life in America may vary greatly from that described herein. Reading of this blog may result in laughing with resultant release of bodily gases.   But seriously, I would be happy to be a "blog ambassador" to all the foreign readers and will gladly answer any questions you have about the US. One question I have heard often from citizens of countries outside the US is:  "Do Americans really all walk around carrying guns?"  I can gladly answer this.  If you are a terrorist or a Somali pirate--the answer is YES.  Otherwise, it is true that many people in this country are armed on a daily basis. These include police officers, drug dealers, cowboys, and gangsters. But then there are many people who are not. These people are often referred to as "Victim".

The blog stats also let me know how some of the blog readers came to find my blog.  To the person(s) out there who stumbled in here by using "Mommy Spanking" in their search engine, I am sorry you were dissapointed that this is actually not a porn site.

To my loyal readers and those who follow Facebook, I have added a page on Facebook for Wander Woman 0001. Feel free to "friend" me there.

Ok, I have now mentioned guns, spanking, drug dealers, Facebook and porn in this post. I can't wait to see how this drives new readers to my blog! LOL!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Help! I'm having a melt down!

We happily arrived back to the farm this evening from our journey south for the holidays.  Unfortunately all was not well.   I decided to go to the basement and check the freezer to find something for dinner only to find that the items on the very top had defrosted and the ice (this is not a frost free type freezer) was melting. Oh No!  We checked the outlet—it was working so that wasn’t the problem.  We thought maybe there had been a power outage, but checking the stuff in the refrigerator’s freezer, we found it had not thawed out. There was bad news:  The freezer was kaput, and good news: most of the food had not yet thawed out. Another day away and we would have had a scene from CSI down there.  My daughter and I quickly set about digging out all the food (mostly frozen meat of various types) and putting it in boxes, coolers, laundry baskets and whatever we could lay our hands on.  I did suggest that anything that we couldn’t immediately identify be trashed and luckily she agreed so we were able to get rid of some of the “mystery meat” in there.  I grabbed two large, black trash bags and tossed the "unknown meat" into them.  Wow! A chest type freezer can hold a lot of meat!  In digging out the meat I did notice that she had an inordinate amount of sausage.  I asked why she had so much sausage and the reply was that it came with the meat from the pig that had been butchered.  No one in the family likes sausage so it sits in the freezer.  I think I will find someone who wants it and get rid of it! We needed to save our bacon (but not the sausage)!
We then started calling friends and relatives to inquire whether they had any extra room in their freezers that we might use.  However, in farm country, in winter, most people have their freezers full.  While it was cold enough (read: freezing) outside to store the meat for the night we were afraid that animals (particularly the wild dogs) would get into it.  I wasn’t relishing the idea of picking up dead meat out of the yard the next day when my daughter remembered that there was an old freezer out in the shed. She went out to see if it was working.  She came back with good news! It appeared to be working!  So we dragged the boxes and laundry baskets of meat up from the basement, loaded up the car and hauled it out to the shed.  Of course there is no light in the shed so we had to use the car’s headlights to see what we were doing.  Long about now I started looking over my shoulder for Jeff Foxworthy as his tag line "You might be redneck if......." was running through my mind.  We grabbed frozen hunk of meat and literally tossed them into the freezer (I am not looking forward to going out there to get dinner in the future!)  The stuff is all in there but in no particular order or any resemblance of neatness.  Just a bunch of frozen hunks of meat, some in plain old zip lock bags.  I wonder if Jeffrey Dahmer's freezer looked somewhat like this.
In the meantime my 3 year old grandson was standing on the front steps yelling out to us wondering what we were doing.  I yelled back for him to go into the house as he was barefoot and did not have a coat on.  We yelled back and forth for awhile (again looking for Jeff Foxworthy) and he finally did go inside. Unfortunately, when we came back to the house we found that he had locked all the doors and we couldn’t get in.  My daughter and I ran from door to door trying the handles and calling for the 3 year old to open the doors.  He seemed more interested in watching Sponge Bob and didn’t want to let us in.  Guess he was mad that we didn’t let him come out and play with the frozen food.  This was a problem.  People who live in the country don’t lock their doors. In fact my daughter doesn’t even have a key to her house.  They bought it at foreclosure and never did get keys to it. (oh dear, I KNOW that Jeff Foxworthy is here somewhere)  I then remembered that the basement door was probably open but I had tossed some firewood down the outside steps earlier so I could drag it into the house (Oh, God, I AM a redneck now) and it was sitting in a pile at the bottom of the steps covered with a tarp.  I decided to try climbing down the stairs and over the wood which was something like skiing down the side of a very bumpy hill and slamming into the door at the bottom. Luckily that door was unlocked.
By this time it was about 8:30 and any thought of cooking dinner had "melted" from my mind.  I recalled that there were two (now no longer frozen) pizzas that had been at the top of the freezer and threw them in the oven.
I wish I could say “it is good to be home”. Hah!  We ate the pizza and collapsed into bed tired from both the long trip home and effort of dealing with the freezer problem. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year from the Road!

Well in true form, I spent New Year's Day travelling.  Drove back to the frozen north spending first 12 hours and then 7 hours the next day on the road.  I am destined to go places! Just not sure where they always turn out to be!

I do love driving around the country.  It is so much more pleasurable than flying, which I hate to do. I don't mind the actual flying so much, although the very crowded condition of planes these days is a deterrent. I hate the whole process of flying.  I hate having to check in, go through security, wait to board, worry that some idiot will drop their bag on my head as they load it in the overhead bin and then seeing the whole process repeated once the plane lands. I would gladly fly around if I had my own private jet! Since that is not going to happen, I choose to drive.

Driving lets me stop when I want, eat when I want and what I want and see things I would never have seen otherwise.  I have had more adventures driving around the country than anyone on a plane ever could.  I have stumbled onto great finds including wonderful restaurants, festivals, scenery and just great times! It is fun to meet new people from different areas and see how they live their lives.  I have, however, found a number of riddles on my travelling, to which I am still seeking the answers.  Many seem to concern shoes, but shoes are, after all, a big part of my life. So here are the riddles. If you know the answers please enlighten me!

Why do you find one shoe in the middle of the road?  How does someone lose just one shoe? Were they hanging their feet out the car window and one fell off?  Were two people fighting in the car and one threw a shoe at the other and it went out the open window? Was someone walking down the road and their shoe came off?  I can't imagine how this happens.  And if you lost a shoe in the road wouldn't you stop to get it? Why not? This is a total mystery to me. Although I can attest that I have lost one shoe myself when I was in a car accident many years ago.  It was a fairly bad accident and I was trapped, injured in a crushed car. The firemen had to come with the jaws of life to cut me out of the car. When the ambulance workers lifted me out to place me on the stretcher I felt one of my shoes fall off and asked them to get it.  I was bleeding from a number of areas and covered with broken bits of glass and probably suffering from internal injuries.   They looked at me like I was a lunatic and probably thought I had brain damage (which is a possibility with or without the car accident) but I didn't want to lose that lovely, black peau de soie pump. (see shoes are really a big part of my life!) The shoe ended up on the road, in the rain.  I morned for it for some time.

Also, I see a fair amount of shoes dangling from overhead wires.  I assume that some perpetrator(s) put them there to taunt the shoes owner, but why are they still there?  Aren't there wire maintenance people out there who come and take them down after awhile?  What caused the shoes to be tossed up there? Surely there there are poor, starving people somewhere in this world who need shoes (my mother always swore there were poor, starving children in the world who would love to have the dinner I was turning my nose up at) Seems a waste to have shoes just hanging on wires.

Of course, since I have a strange brain that works this way, I conjure up images of poor children running around the streets of a third world country wearing all sorts of strange shoes which have been saved from wire dangling. Maybe we should start a new charity which rescues these shoes and sends them to poor, starving children. I can see the tv ad now -  Won't you please help rescue these shoes?  Some poor starving child in need could use these shoes. Please donate now so we can purchase ladders and postage to save the shoes and starving children! Maybe we could also rescue the abandoned shoes in the middle of the road and maybe we could pair them up and send those shoes to the poor, starving children.

Anyway, the mystery of the shoes remains unsolved. I won't rest until I know the answers!

Happy New Year from the road!