Stabilization

Another long while before I’m able to come in here and share my thouMossghts with you all. There are so many changes since I last posted! I’m not even sure where to start, but let’s see where the train of thought takes us, shall we?

This morning I had the desire to listen to some music that I’d not listened to since I lived in Phoenix. Lorrie Morgan, Tim McGraw, Juice Newton, and more. So I created a Pandora station with the thought that I’d get it out of my system and go back to the tunes that have been coming from my speakers lately. Instead, I find myself singing along to nearly every song that has played so far. The memories are no longer haunting, but are filled with smiles and goodness instead. I’ve come a long way from that young woman who was so excited to head east into a new life, a new dream. Do I miss her sometimes? Yes, I certainly do. The naiveté, the belief in goodness, and the softer edges. But I like who I am now. Sure, there are sharper corners and I have seen some displays of hatred that shattered my rose-colored glasses, but there is a deep core of energy and strength that I didn’t know that I could use.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over these years and the most uplifting thing is that I am still growing and changing and becoming more Me. I have been enjoying more days of feeling positive and hopeful about the future and that is a really good thing. I can believe that there will be a bright tomorrow for me and the ones I love.

Updates:

  • New kitten in the house. Ofelia is a runty female with mostly white fur and calico ears & tail. She’s going in for her surgery in the next month or so. The other cats are tolerant of her and have even taken a few naps near her.
  • The Tarot Workshop is coming along nicely and I’m coming up with new ideas each week. When I release it publicly I think it will be pretty good.
  • I’ve teamed up with a designer and she’s been wonderful to work with. You should check out some of her patterns at Designs by Mesha.
  • I’ve been without coffee for about 6 weeks, I think. It was a smooth transition to tea, but I’m missing that flavor so I’ll likely pick up some quality decaf or something.
  • I’ve learned how to pair several things through bluetooth as well as tethering my tablet to use for my internet. These are things that will come in handy when I hit the road.
  • Knitting and listening to books is still how I spend my free time and I’ve found a lot of time to think about the deeper lessons in my life.
  • My fatigue levels aren’t as bad as when I moved here even though I do still need a nap every couple days.

That’s about it for now. I’m sending out positive thoughts to you all!

A quiet morning

01 As the sky begins to lighten, I think about the way the last half of 2016 has gone for many of us. And I think about myself, too.

There were days, weeks even, when I thought that I’d give up my dreams of heading out onto the highways and visiting with all the people I’ve come to know over the years. I could feel myself giving up home of actually being able to make this into a reality anytime soon. After all, my failing health, slow sales, and so many other things were adding to the weight that I was carrying and it all felt to be too much.

That’s not true, though. There are more and more days when I know that I’ll be standing in the Acadia National Park or the Tonto National Monument Park, and I’ll be able to share those adventures with all of you. There are even more days when I remember how many people believe in me and those thoughts life me out of my doubt more than anything.

Today is Christmas and I am wondering where I’ll be next year. Will I be with the kids? Will I be on a mountain or a desert mesa? Will I have lights in the RV? So many unknowns out there and all of them with the potential for adventure and joy and wonder.

I wish you all the very best for the remainder of this year, and the best blessings possible for the next.

Destination

02Throughout the month I have been thinking about my chosen word for this year (Apparate) and how I can apply it to each day. This past week, I’ve chosen to focus solely on the Destination. In the simplest terms, I think about how the things I do each day would be handled in such a small space. In what ways would I conserve water even more than I do now? Would I prepare food differently? What about washing dishes? Clothes? Planting veggies?

Right now, as many of us do, I rinse my dishes after use then wash them when I have a day’s worth. I wash them in a small Rubbermaid bin and rinse them under running water. That’s a lot of water, even if I have it just above a trickle, but I’m not entirely comfortable rinsing them in a second tub of clean water because I know that the water will be more soapy as I rinse the last dish. I do know that I could collect the rinse water and use it for watering my plants, but that’s still only a tiny solution since I don’t water daily. Since the water will have a trace of dish soap, it wouldn’t be a good medium for dyeing yarn, either. Washing clothes? Perhaps.

I’m still using the laundry room here, but also have a bucket and (new) plunger for when I wash my non-work clothes and my hand-knit socks. I also have a Laundry Alternative Spin Dryer and that really makes a huge difference in the length of drying time. For the most part, I’m fine with washing my clothing by hand (except the work clothes), so I think that part is set.

I’ve also been spending some time reading articles and watching videos on various repairs that might be needed. Replacing a roof is certainly not something that I want to do, but I know that I would be able to. That goes for a lot of other repairs that could come up. This is one area that I am forever grateful to my parents because they involved me in household and vehicle repairs.

As I continue to set money aside and build up stock for the shops, I also think about the people I’ll be visiting. There are so many out there who I want to sit down with and talk about whatever comes up, knit a few rows, spin a couple ounces, or whatever else we feel like doing. There are some who have shown support and faith in me throughout the years and I am looking forward to hugging them in person and telling them how very important they are to me. While seeing the country is a great thing, it is the people who will make this all the more amazing.

Hesitations

Even though my progress through the house-cleaning has been slow lately, I can see more clear spaces and organization. I even find myself annoyed when I leave fabric or yarn where it shouldn’t be (which will be a great thing once I’m in a tiny space). I’ve gotten a few bins here and there and have been figuring out what items will go into them, thinking about how many toiletries I’ll really need, and even whittling down my cleaning supplies (which wasn’t a huge amount to begin with). I think I figured out how I’ll still make my own laundry soap on the road, but I still have to try it out to make sure it will work and I’ve been messing around with some cleaning techniques to see what works best, keeping in mind how small a space I will be in. I’ve also been taking pretty hard looks at all the things I have and really pushing myself to choose what is important. That Barbie that I got for my thirteenth birthday didn’t make the cut. The moccasins that Brianna wore when she first started walking are definitely staying. Some items are now in a box because, even though they’ve been packed away for years, I still can’t decide whether or not to get rid of them. I’ll open the box every few weeks until I decide.

In the meantime, plans to move to Leicester are still on the menu. As Brianna clears out her room in preparation to move back to Ohio, I do my best not to give her things just so that I don’t have them anymore. She has some basics for setting up a home of her own (even though she will be rooming with a friend until she gets her own place), but no more than I gave to Anthony when he set up his own place. A few pans & pots, some bake-ware, and miscellaneous things. And yet, I find myself wanting to give her more, just like when I wanted to give more to Anthony.

I watched TINY: A Story About Living Small the other night and it brought up feelings of wanting my own land again. And reminded me that I have had a few moments over the last couple of weeks when I thought about how crazy my plan seems. There will be so many things that I have wanted over the years and they will be pushed off even longer. Like a tiny house that I built myself and a garden with veggies & herbs. Granted, I can still grow these things in pots while I’m on the road (as long as I secure them while I’m driving), but it’s not quite the same as walking out your door and sipping tea while you enjoy the growing things around you. Some things won’t do well in flowerpots, either, like snowdrops, so I can’t have them. Would it be worth it to throw the plan out the window, then? Should I stay where I am instead? Should I just forget about all of this and settle down somewhere?

Rose LeavesI thought pretty hard about it and the answer is no. I know that I will have days when I’m questioning my decision again and again. I know that I may have some regrets about living such an uncertain life. After all, my element is Earth, not Air. But… I really don’t see any other way to see the people I want to visit and to visit the places I want to see.  And, for the first time in my life, I’m making choices that don’t involve someone else. My kids are grown and my responsibilities at this point are to my cats and my customers. And I believe good things will come of this choice.

And, as strange as it seems, I’m looking forward to seeing just how tiny a budget I can live on. I’m also looking forward to dyeing yarn over an outdoor fire in the middle of the woods or under the desert sky. I’m looking forward to visiting with my family (finally) and meeting all the people I haven’t met yet. Am I worried about things? You bet! But I’m also doing what I can to be prepared for it all.

Memory Lane and New Paths

Now that the issue with Brianna’s school has been settled, it’s time to focus again on my plans as well as work on a few projects I have going. One of those projects is a story of my childhood that I intend to share with my dad since he didn’t know me while I was growing up. While I’m typing away on this memory or that, it occurred to me that I can visit some of these places once I’m on the road. Not all of them, of course, but some. And so, I spent some time looking over Google maps in an attempt at locating a few places.

Mancos, Colorado was pretty easy to find and, if I go there, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to find my way from the school to the apartment building we lived in (if it’s still standing). Valentine, Texas is so small that I could probably drive on every street in just a few minutes, but I wouldn’t really know what places to look for (I think I’m going to have to ask a few family members about that one). Van Horn, Texas, of course, will be pretty easy to find and I’d have my dad to show me around the place and point out important spots. Luray, Tennessee is going to be a little more challenging since all the street names got changed about twenty years ago. Even so, it’s possible that if I went to the general store (or the library) and asked a few questions, that someone might remember where Mr. McCall lived and maybe even guide me to the right road.

It’s exciting to think about things like this and knowing that I’ll be there, taking pictures and writing about it, and sharing it with you all. Between the childhood memories, the friends I’ve been wanting to meet, and the various fiber shows and such, I will have a lot to share.

Sunrise

In the meantime, I’m still downsizing everything and making hard decisions about what I want to bring with me and what will be left behind. I’m getting closer and closer to having everything I own fit into only one room in the apartment. Granted, it’s still spread out between the various rooms, but as I clear out more items I can see how they will fit into place once I’m ready. Business equipment, clothing, trinkets, and various keepsakes are all being culled and then culled again. It’s a freeing process that has helped me to take a hard look at myself and the person I have been over the years as well as the person I want to become in the future.

There is a part of me that longs to head out right now. To get myself onto the open road and just see where it takes me. I still don’t have a specific plan for the route I’ll be taking, but that will be part of the fun. I know, though, that I need to plan this out carefully. Not the direction and route, but the RV and the renovation. I need to make sure that the things I bring are really necessary and that the things I leave behind are really not going to be missed.

For now, I hope that you are all having a good day and that you are all feeling warm and safe.

Cleaning out

Well, I did say that the posts would likely be scattered.

I’ve been going through my drawers and cabinets trying to figure out what I’ll really want to bring with me. Stacks of blankets? I might need those no matter where I spend my winters and they can be laid out flat under the mattress for storage. Fifty billion t-shirts? I’ll have to sort through those and pick out my favorites. Two pie pans? I don’t use those for anything besides the occasional package of cinnamon rolls. And I doubt I’ll be making those on the road. Baking dishes, a million jelly-jar glasses, a thousand coffee mugs… I don’t need all of these. Granted, I won’t just take one of everything with me, but it will certainly be pared down significantly. I think that, by doing this now, it will give me more time to really figure out what is needed, what will go into storage, and what will be sent to the thrift store. By getting rid of a lot of this now, it has the added benefit of making my next move a lot easier.

I also need a workstation. After embroidering several items, it’s pretty clear that the desk is just not going to cut it. I’ll most likely end up making one to suit my needs since I am pretty sure I won’t be able to fit one through the door of the motor home. Heck, I’d probably have a hard time fitting one through my front door and that’s a standard one.

100_0037My main concern is really for the cats. I know that they are doing fine in this apartment, but even the big RVs are about one third the size of this place. Will being able to go outdoors on harnesses be enough? Will the travel stress them out too much? I can’t be sure, but I see that others have brought their cats on the road and all seems to be fine. I’ll just have to make sure to pay close attention and do what I can to head off any issues before they start. Another concern is for the food. Part of me thinks that a small freezer would be beneficial to keep enough fruits and veggies on hand. I will have to research the amperage and such to be sure that it will suffice, though.

The funny thing is that I am ready to head out now even though I’m nowhere near ready to buy the RV. Each day I have more items to add to The Raven’s Cauldron and I’m about to order more yarn for Alina Shea Creations (gradient skeins!). Each sale is a mini celebration since I know that it will bring me just a little closer to this goal. And, as long as I stay focused, I know that it will just be a matter of time.

In the meantime… this might sound pretty silly to some of you, but the other day when I was on the phone with my son, it occurred to me that I will not only get to visit with my customers and friends, but that I will also be able to visit places I’ve always wanted to see. Crazy, right? It took me a while to figure that one out.

For now, I will keep making things for the shops and I’ll keep downsizing all the clutter. I hope you’re all having a fabulous evening!

Simple preparations

I gave away seven pots of plants yesterday. No, not plants of pot. I had seven flowerpots full of plants that now have a new home. I chose very carefully which ones I’ll keep for myself and gave away the rest. A very cool young woman (J) came by and picked up the mini-orange tree, pineapple plant, ficus & evergreen trees, several African violets, the spider plants, and several cuttings from the cereus and Christmas cactus. J will be creating a terrarium with these plants to fill a large spot in her home. What I have left are the coffee plant, the original Christmas cactus and cereus, peppermint, and all the mini orchids and air plants. Eventually the orchids will be mounted in a wall hanging (most likely cork) so that they can happily decorate the spaces in the motor home. I’ll be rearranging the air plants pretty soon and they will stay on the driftwood that was a gift from a friend and the cholla branches my dad sent to me.

8395151770_f12e177e24_z (1) Why did I choose to rehome the ones I did? Well, the pineapple and miniature orange have sharp bits that might not be great in small spaces and the cats nibble on the other plants unless I keep them on a high shelf. In such a small space, I really don’t think that will work well. I’ll admit that it was oddly refreshing to see all that empty space in my room. I know that I will eventually buy a few more plants, but I’ll be very careful about the choosing. It will most likely be herbs and such, but that’s about it.

I measured out a space in the apartment that sort of represents the interior of a 30 foot RV and, since it’s mostly empty, it seems really big. I know that, once I move the yarn equipment over and rearrange a few things, the space will seem very small, but at least I’ll have a visual now.

I’m in the process of making a lot of cool items for the new shop and I’ve decided that a large portion of the profits will go toward the cost of the motor home. I’ll buy more supplies, of course, and add new items to the shop, but the sooner I can locate and purchase the RV, the sooner I can start renovating it so that I can move in. The renovations won’t be easy, but I don’t think they’ll be too difficult, either. A small list of what I plan to do is:

  • remove almost all the furniture (table, couch & chairs, beds)
  • possibly add more/larger windows
  • add a stronger fan for the stove exhaust (the dye pots tend to get really steamy)
  • build shelves & extra cabinets
  • figure out how to mount the skein winder & swift (I’ll only bring one of each on the road)
  • mount the warping board (I use that to make the striping yarn)
  • figure a safe way to secure the spinning wheel (possibly velcro straps on one wall)
  • install hooks to hang the yarn rack for drying
  • add a work table for making the candles and such
  • mount the embroidery machine (possibly not, since it might be better to put it away while I use the table)
  • mount a spool rack (with elastic bands to keep the spools from bouncing off while on the road)
  • install a twin futon (I assume that I need to secure it to the floor) and the drawers underneath
  • possibly add a shelf that runs the length of the RV for the cats to run around on
  • install a cat tree (secured to floor & ceiling) with extra scratch surfaces
  • install the water filter & distiller (so I can even use creek water)
  • install solar panels
  • paint the whole interior

This is just a small list so far. I’ll still need to figure out a safe place for the yarns & dyes, the supplies for the embroidery, supplies for candle making, and all the other business stuff such as shipping bags/boxes, labels, printer and all that. When I write it all out, it seems a little daunting, but I believe I can do it.

For now, I’ll just keep paring down the household items and decide which ones will go into storage and which ones will come with me. Eventually I’ll settle down, I think, and I’ll want some of the things that I won’t be taking with me. For example, all the photo albums & kids’ things. I figure that a storage unit somewhere in the middle section of the country would be best since I could reach it relatively easily (in case the winder breaks and I need the other one or something like that).

I’m also reading several full-time RVer blogs and learning all that I can about being on the road. Postal mail, insurance, taxes on the stuff I sell (that alone almost stopped me from doing this), and so much more. At this point, I’ll take almost any suggestions and information so that I’m more prepared once I actually hit the road.

I feel almost as if I’m putting more energy into this than I need to at this point, but the ideas are popping into my head almost every moment. And that is a really good thing.

To travel is to take a journey into yourself. ~ Danny Kaye