Second night in the Treehouse

December 31, 2016 ~ Saturday

2p Morning Pages ~ Ecusta Brewing Co., Brevard, NC

I only wrote one page yesterday, but I did write. We talked about how hard it is to live a real life when we are together. We just want to spend time with each other, because we see each other so infrequently.

But if we want to make real life work, we have to do what we have to do. Writing is what I have to do, so here I am, doing it, event though I would rather be enjoying his company.

We slept in the car again last night. I left the car running all night long. It was overly warm with the heat on. There were ice pools behind my tail pipes this morning.

I ran around with no pants on again. I know he likes looking at my tush. And I love showing it to him.

We had to leave the Treehouse early, as the REI Garage Sale started at 9a. We arrived about quarter after. I got a single hammock – half price, for $35. I really wanted to hammock, but I wanted a double, so Edward and I could lie together. But if/when will we be actually doing that? A single I can use right away and often, so I got it.

It was a luxury item I wanted to buy for myself, and now I didn’t have to pay full price.

There were other things I wanted, but I restrained myself. No sense in spending money needlessly. The other item I most could use was a smaller tent. But I had no idea what I was looking for, or what would be the right fit for me.

First night at the Treehouse

December 30, 2016 ~ Friday

9a Morning Pages ~ Above the Fray Treehouse, Black Mountain, NC

12:30p The Southern Kitchen & Bar now. lol The date and location were all I got down before. We were at the Treehouse, but sitting in the car. Edward had served us some coffee and had gone down with our cups to check on its progress. I thought I would take the opportunity to write. But he showed back up with the hot, strong coffee, and my attention was stolen.

The Treehouse is absolutely cute with an amazing view. We were greeted by a wind advisory last night. It was far too windy and frigid to stay on the deck, so we set ourselves up in the cars. We unloaded the back of my car and spread out the sleeping bags and blankets to create our sleeping area. We put up the reflectix window shades and insulators as well, so Edward got to see what my boondocking was like.

He woke up stiff and sore and cold this morning. It was 27* and still very windy. I turned the car on and warmed us up nicely. We were able to sleep next to each other under the blankets he brought for us. One is fuzzy and soft and so cozy, so we put that one over us first. We had three plus bottles of wine with only turkey sandwiches for dinner, so I slept too late and woke up hungover.

I tried some wine to loosen the grip, but to no avail. I am only just now starting to feel somewhat better.

Maybe I can pick up writing full time?

December 29, 2016 ~ Thursday

6:30a Morning Pages ~ Avery Creek Camp, Pisgah National Forest

I have an appointment with what I would call an intake counselor at the Sharing House today. It is a Christian ministry serving the poor. I took my hot shower there yesterday. They help with food and clothing too, as well as financial assistance for needy families. Unlike The Source, it is separate from the soup kitchen, which is called Bread of Life. They do not have a laundry service.

The woman at the front desk was okay. She wasn’t rude, but she also wasn’t warm or friendly. She asked me questions like, “Do you qualify for food stamps?”, like I should know the system. It wasn’t that she was looking down on me exactly, but I certainly was not respected as a peer.

I am curious how this process will work today. I would rather not give too much information about myself; certainly not my banking data. I’d like to volunteer one day a week in exchange for receiving services, both because I feel it is the right thing to do and because it will give me something to do one day a week, and maybe help me meet people.

I want to keep up my morning pages while Edward is here, and I want to keep reading the book he gave me. I want to be ready to literally start writing when he leaves on January 2nd. I want to have a rough idea, and I want to start running with it. Maybe I won’t have to get a job. Maybe I can just pick up writing full time.

Edward and I have talked about me starting a fee-based subscription service to help me support myself. I could sell goods with my photography on them, like mugs, notepads, t-shirts, etc. I would need to sell a lot of trinkets to make $1500 every month, which is what I will need through the month of April to live simply here and maintain my obligations back in Spokane.

A subscription service seems more doable, but what would I offer? A photo and life lesson from the road?

I keep thinking about the guy who wrote letters from the Universe. He had an email list, and every Monday he would write a letter from the Universe, an inspirational blurb. I think his first product was a collection of these teachings in tape form. Eventually he had a book deal. But it all started with his little Monday meme by email.

I could surely do the same. I could collect email addresses from my blog and do a special blast for them. I could offer my trinkets for sale here and there, especially for holidays coming up, like Valentine’s Day. I could write a note from the road each week, about simple living, slow food, chasing your dreams, being near nature, finding what is important in life, being a woman? Don’t I need to narrow my focus in order to be good? Relevant?

Edward put it best last night. Don’t think about what people will and will not buy. Just put yourself out there. You would be surprised what people will spend their money on.

I did play around with my blog last night. I mean yesterday, at the library. I changed the theme, and the About Me tab appears again. I tried to play with the header image too, but my photo uploads kept stalling out. I will have to go back and try again. I need to remember what General Patton said – “A good plan, violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” It is not lost on me that Poet for Hire was found on the corner of Biltmore and Patton.

The sun is coming up, and gray light is yawning into the woods. Soon I will be able to turn my overhead light off. I am sipping on cold coffee this morning, a combination of the free cup I got at the Citgo gas station yesterday and the free cup I got at the soup kitchen, poured together. I saved three bucks doing this!

I will miss my time in the coffee shop though. I really love those places. But it is only for today. Still, at three dollars each day, I would be spending ninety dollars over the month. That seems like a lot of money. But is it not really an investment? Keeps me writing and reading, and keeps the local economy strong? I’ll have to think this one through.

I wonder what time the Phoenix opens? Their coffee is only two dollars, it is served in a real mug, and I get refills. I wonder if I could offer them some service in exchange for coffee and a writing table. The place stays pretty quiet until the live music starts in the evening.

The beginning of a new beginning

December 28, 2016 ~ Wednesday

7:45a Morning Pages ~ Appalachian Coffee Co., Brevard, NC

I had a “late” start this morning. I was up talking with Edward until well after midnight, and I slept until about 6:30a. I don’t feel half bad either. I did not over-drink last night, but I still expected the late hour to bother me. I feel only the soreness that accompanies me these days due to my fall, and the typical fuzzy head that is with me before my proper coffee infusion.

The conversation with Edward was difficult, and I could hear him become strained by it. I am trying to start “telling the story of my insides with my words”. I fail a lot, but I want to keep trying. I want to honor the woman /girl inside and let her know that what she has to give and say is valued.

I am hurt that Edward did not want more time with me. We have had zero private time since the middle of October, and we don’t know when we will see each other again. I thought he would be more anxious to be with me.

I told him – There was a time when you couldn’t wait to take my call. You couldn’t wait to see me. You would move heaven and earth to spend just a few more hours with me. You would choose to miss your flight so that we could have dinner together.

Now, you choose dog-sitting for your mother over getting on the road to see me quickly. And you aren’t flying back until the 7th, but you won’t be spending any extra time with me. It hurts to know that the anxious desire to be with me has left you.

Is this the beginning of the end, or the beginning of a new beginning? I know my feelings are shifting. I don’t need him to try to “win” me anymore. I am accepting responsibility for our relationship health and letting him in. And it feels like now he is pulling away.

Maybe it really is not possible to have passion forever. Maybe the passion stage always fades. If so, I will never find what I am yearning for by running from one man to another. The beginning may be sweet, but it will always fade.

Maybe my challenge now is to find value in the other stages. How will I live if he is no longer crazy about me? How can I take that?

He says he feels like nothing he does is ever good enough. He is trying to please everyone and ends up pleasing no one. I can see why he would feel that way. And I feel badly for him. But I won’t stand back and allow myself to get the short end of the stick by being the only person not demanding my fair share of his attention.

Look at me, all twisted up over my man, when I have so many other pressing life issues to work out. But we have this holiday coming up, and we get to spend it together. I want to be in the right frame of mind to make the most of this time. I don’t know if or when the next opportunity might grace us.

So what are my goals for this visit? I don’t want him to have to apologize for anything. I want him to be warm, comfortable, and well fed. And I want to show him where the next chapter of our lives is written. I hope he will love it as much as I do.

What are my own goals for 2017?

My resolution remains to change my relationship with alcohol. This is the third year of this resolution, and I get better each time around. This year is my year. The dream me is not a drinker.

1:30p Edward called, so I delayed completion of my morning pages until now. After we talked, I got down to business. I made the appointments for my tires and oil change. I went to the library. I need residency to get a card, but I don’t need a card to access services besides checking out books. I renewed my tabs and will have Mom pick them up and send them to me.I balanced my bank account and budget, and I know just how long I have to float.

I found and accessed outreach services, so I took a free shower – which felt great! And I had a free hot meal, which was good too. Having these at my disposal will help me stretch my resources even further. Now, if I can stop buying alcohol, I can really make some headway. Ironic that I know how to be “homeless” because I used to care for them.

I am so proud of myself! I am actually doing this. I am changing my life and chasing my dreams. I am no longer “on vacation”, so to speak. Walkabout is complete. Time to get down and dirty with establishing my new lifestyle.

I wish I were hiking today. It is an absolutely beautiful day. Sunny and 46*. Feels more like 60*. But I need to focus on making the rest of my life work right now. I have five days of play coming with my Edward tomorrow! 🙂

Walkabout: 69 Days | 20 States | 10,641 Miles

December 27, 2016 ~ Tuesday

5a Morning Pages ~ Avery Creek Camp, Brevard, North Carolina

My #walkabout #roadtrip is concluded. What’s left for today and tomorrow are the reflections.

Instead of taking the trip in two parts over two days, I decided to drive straight through. It was a tough ten hours, but not a bad drive overall. I wanted the extra day to tend to business here, and I wanted to see what the actual drive to Vero would feel like. It is not as convenient as I imagined. I will not be taking that drive every month. Maybe every other month would work, and at least once a quarter. I would want at least five days, if not a full week, as one full day is lost to travel, and too tight of a turnaround would be oh so exhausting. This is good to know, and I’m glad I took the drive in one stretch to find out.

I have some business to conduct today. The priority is to visit the college – if any staff are present. This is a long shot, as many college campuses close down the week between Christmas and New Year. But I will swing by to see. I want to find out if there are any programs for 40-something women who are homeless, unemployed and without a degree. Ginger got into such a program in WA. She was considered “unemployable” and enrolled for free.

My next step is to figure out how to register my car. Can I? I might need an address to do so. I may actually need to renew my WA tabs right now, until I get established in an apartment here.

Then I need to rent a post office box, so that I can send and receive mail. This will be important to getting established without an apartment right away.

And lastly, I need to see what is required to obtain a library card. I will probably be spending lots of time at the library, and a card gives me convenient access to all of their services, which may or may not be extensive. All of this should not take up too much time.

Then I need to tally my expenses and finalize my trip ledger. I am anxious to see how it all shook out, and where that leaves me. Then I need to run my bills and budget with the lease buyout and pay down my Amex. Considering another $600 for new brakes and rotors, how much time can I float? I need to get an oil change and rotate my tires too.

It feels good to be getting down to business. I have deeply enjoyed my walkabout, and I stayed out long enough to be ready for it to be over. I had a nice mix of relaxation and adventure, staying out on my own and staying in to see friends and family. I traveled 10,641 miles. I would note here how many states I traveled through, but internet service is too spotty to bring up a U.S. map. (20 states!)

I’m not anxious to get into an apartment. I really do love camping, the minimalist lifestyle, and being out in nature. If there was a way, I would just keep camping. I would need a shower and laundry facilities from time to time. I’m sure after a while this would wear on me, and I would be ready to go back to apartment/house living.

Besides, if I intend to share space with Edward, we will need a home. I am excited that he is actually considering the move here. He is starting to research career opportunities, cost of living, etc. He has always called himself the “blue sheep” of the family, as he favors the Carolina sports teams. He says, wouldn’t it be ironic if he actually ended up living here? This location opens up the entire eastern half of the United States for travel. It really is quite a remarkable opportunity for us as a couple.

And I think I am ready to be a couple again. He has shown himself trustworthy over these last several months, not over-drinking and getting stupid. (In fact, he has done a better job than I have.) He is also making an effort to be more dependable and to follow through on his word. We have talked about the lack of romance and how I want more love out of making love.

Instead of standing back, observing, and assessing our suitability, I am becoming more active in shaping what our relationship looks like. That is a funny statement. My non-activity has also been shaping our relationship, just in a different way.

Edward really is a good man. He is so willing to learn and grow. He gives generously and showers his attention on those he loves. He is honest and truthful and respectful. He has said it so many times, and I think I may believe him – we are not perfect people, but we are perfect for each other. I can hardly wait to start the rest of my life with him.

8a From You’ve got a book in you by Elizabeth Sims:

Quote from General George S. Patton – “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”

Question: What is the Title of your book? A working title…

What would be the working title of my book? What is the promise? What is the main point I want to communicate? Do I know this now, or will I discover my message as I write? Is travel part of the title?

Messy Hair! Messy Hair! I love it. The title of my memoir will be Messy Hair. 🙂

Question: What would the first sentence of my book be?

I’m a lifetime failure at napping. As a child, I would lie quietly, counting the passing moments, trying to determine how long was long enough. If I came out of my room too soon, Mom would send me back, declaring that I had not napped. So I waited impatiently, and when it felt that eternity had passed, I would tip my head upside down on my pillow and twist it left and right. Messy hair meant I had a nap, right? I thought it made my ruse more convincible. My napping acumen has never improved.

5:30p I was debating whether to visit the Phoenix tonight to celebrate the completion of my walkabout, and I had all but decided to stay at camp. Then I caught up with my Edward, and he informed me that tonight is open mic night, and I thought, “Oh hell! Then I have to go!”

I’m here with coffee, and I’m so glad I am. I just found out it’s Carolyn’s birthday! It’s going to be a homemade celebration, and I will share my journey as my gift.

7p I’ve made it this far! The coffee helped. I also had the crab hushpuppies, which I really enjoyed last time. Well drinks are only $4 tonight, so I am having a vodka and soda, thinking of Auntie Kandee. I am trying to extend my wakefulness and my budget.

I was told that Carolyn wanted nothing store bought for her birthday – handmade gifts only. I thought of what I might have to gift her, and I thought of the wax art piece from Aunt Teresa. It reminds me of a phoenix bird. I…

It will be hard to part with it, but it is better to give than to receive. I hope it will mean as much to her as it has to me. I took a photo of it, so I can remember just what it looks like. I love it. There has to be a reason I feel inspired to give it away. I am going to trust my instincts and just do it.

I feel so happy and a sense of loss at the same time, like when I gave my baby Bible away. That gesture became a miracle. I can hope for a fraction of the same sentiment with this gift. No matter how it is received, even it if is just passed along, I choose to believe it will find its happy note.

But the more I look at it, the more I do not want to let it go. What if it means nothing to her? What if my cousin’s work ends up in the trash heap instead of being adored on my own wall? Why would I give something so precious to a practical stranger???

Walkabout: Day 68, Moving on

December 26, 2016 ~ Monday

5:45a Morning Pages ~ last morning at Jim’s/Vero Beach, FL

I will be leaving Vero today. While I have enjoyed my visit, I am ready to move on. The kids have been leaning on me for a lot of things, and I’ve had only a couple of days out of the last eighteen or so to myself. Part of that is my own desire for bonding – with Grayson and with Julia. Part is my ease and accessibility. In either case, I have done what I have come to do, and now it is time to go, but not too far.

I will meet Edward near Asheville on Thursday. I don’t know why we need to wait until Thursday, but that’s the deal. He got us a treehouse on Airbnb! It’s one of two on the 34 acres of land, very secluded with gorgeous views. Check in is at 1p Thursday, and we check out on Monday. That gives us four nights and five days to talk about the rest of our lives.

He has a case of wine from Pop for us to share. I will show him around Asheville, explore the city, do some hiking in the land of waterfalls, and we will celebrate the New Year at the Phoenix in Brevard. I hope he loves it as much as I do.

I watched Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel last night with the ladies. It made me sad. I realized that the romance has gone out of our relationship. Instead of holding and carrying this inside, I “let my voice tell the story of my insides”, like the Love Warrior.

I need to start taking more responsibility for how our relationship goes, especially if I expect Edward to start taking more responsibility for providing for us. We need to become better partners.

Christmas Day was a mixed bag. I didn’t sleep well the night before, so I rose still tired and stayed tired pretty much the rest of the day.

I did make the beach for sunrise. I got some great pics and took in the beauty, blinding beauty of the sun and the cool, gritty grounding of the sand. I went in my new Christmas pajamas and sat myself right down on the sand and didn’t care a lick about what people were thinking or whether I was getting dirty.

It felt so good to be out there, and I was reminded of the vultures sunning themselves in the morning, wings spread wide to welcome the new day. I believe sunrise holds a special power for me. I would like to do some research on this.

I feel a little anxious and not much like writing. My shoulder is still very sore from my fall, and sitting with my shoulders rounded does not help at all.

I reset the car somewhat last night while I was at the park talking to Edward. I broke down the kennel and moved things around to prepare for the next three nights of sleeping. It felt good. I had haphazardly tossed things about since being in Vero and having to cart the kids around from time to time. It felt good to have things orderly again. I still need to load in my belongings from the bedroom here, but that should be relatively easy.

I will work through my finances over the next couple of days too, to see just where I stand coming into the new year. I think I am better off than I think I am.

I did not see Isabella and Drake again after Papa Bob’s service and celebration. I thought I would, but I just didn’t work it out. I’m disappointed about that. There are a number of people I had wanted to see, and that is my regret from my time in Vero.

At the same time, I know I spent each day exactly the way I needed to, so I can’t be too hard on myself. I have eaten my fill over the last couple of days too! I am anxious and happy to get back to my simple diet, though I have deeply enjoyed the abundance of rich food.

Speaking of food, I need to develop a food plan for when Edward and I are together. He is not accustomed to such sparse eating, and it’s hard to think of meals on the fly when you are roughing it. It would be best if I did some shopping for us and was prepared for his arrival I have plenty of coffee and tea.

I am really looking forward to 2017 and our new lives. Moving back to the east coast makes sense in so many ways, though I will surely miss the Pacific Northwest. I think Justice will be happy to settle down a bit too.

Will I ever settle down? I have been in Vero not even three weeks, and I already feel antsy to move around again. Will I always have that wanderlust, that nomad spirit? Or will I have gotten my fill with this walkabout? Will I always sabotage my chances for a real home and real connections? “No one has ever said they regretted spending so much time loving someone.” ~A Hallmark Christmas

Walkabout: Day 66, You are your own shepherd

December 24, 2016 ~ Saturday

6:30a Morning Pages ~ Vero Beach, FL @ Jim Baird’s house

It is Christmas Eve. It sure has not felt like Christmas. Strange. I thought without the duties and responsibilities that usually hand over my head that I would relax more into the Christmas spirit and joy of the season. But I have not. In fact, it was a challenge just getting gifts to my heartstrings, and that felt rushed and like a chore. But all have theirs, and we are ready to celebrate.

The timing of baby Grayson did make things challenging, and camping an hour outside of Vero did not make things any easier. I’m just grateful to have accomplished what I did. I wish I had gotten my Christmas cards together and out, but perhaps we can work back on that tradition next year.

I will be back with the kids today. Cameron has invited to take me out to lunch with Julia. We were going to go to Lin’s Garden, but Julia doesn’t like Asian food. At first I was disappointed, and thinking she probably would hardly eat anyway. But then I remembered being disappointed in the food last time, and the online reviews echo that sentiment.

They have also asked me to watch Grayson after lunch, so they can finish Christmas shopping. I have mixed feelings about this. I am happy to help, and I want to spend as much time with Grayson as I can. But I feel a bit used as well. I don’t think that is really the case. I think they are just two young parents who are overwhelmed at how to juggle the new responsibility, and I have told them I am here to help.

I couldn’t sleep after Cameron called last night, so I did a little more research on Vulture. The vultures at camp were not turkey vultures, as turkey vultures have red heads. The ones at my camp had black heads.

Vultures never kill, and they do not eat their own kind, as in other dead birds. I am fascinated at these ugly/majestic creatures.

I opened myself to whatever message Vulture wanted to bring me. I reminded myself that I will not progress by intellectually trying to figure it out / understand it. Instead, I need to just hold the idea in my mind, and wait for the answer to come.

I had another dream about Edward cheating on me last night. The girl’s name was Jennifer. The emotions I felt were crazy vivid – so much rage! I wanted to hurt him, and I tried. But in the dream, I was weak in my striking, like the force was not with me to harm him, even though I felt murderous and fully justified. Where is this coming from???

Made my way into the kitchen to share a cup of coffee with Jim. It feels right that I do so, as he has put me up, and I retire too early for conversation in the evening. I did have a chance to visit with Karen last night, and to meet the grandkids Trevor, Paisley, and Maddox.

8:15a Jim struck up a conversation about my walkabout, and we have been visiting since.

Any time I rationally outline my relationship with Edward, it seems the only logical choice is to leave him. And yet, deep in my heart, I do not want to accept that. I want to have my fantasy be real.

I have been invited to Christmas Eve dinner here with Jim and his family – steaks! I am honored and excited. I will definitely need to get back to working out when I leave Vero on Monday.

I also need to ask about doing laundry tonight. I’m sure Jim will be fine with it, I just need to ask. He is a good man, and I have always appreciated him.

My cousin, Dan, gave me some words of wisdom: “Any path that appears to have been set before you is merely the footprints of those who have already been. There is no future. There is no tomorrow. There is no path… There is only the here and now and the decisions you make and choices you take. You are your own shepherd, and you are responsible for ONLY what you say and do.

“Any who flock or follow do so of their own accord and should be counted as nothing more than companions on the journey. They are on a journey of their own, and every one of them have their own choices and decisions to make. And make no mistake… Everyone has an agenda… And most will, to some degree, try and influence or sway your own decisions to suit them.”

Wos. From the guy that is supposedly f’d up in the head and in life. Reminds me of Glenna in Love Warrior, and her perspective of being a canary, recognizing the toxic reality of what everyone else thinks is everyday living.

I need to dig out a change of clothes and get myself cleaned up. It is Christmas Eve!, and I can choose how to feel about this day and my companions. 🙂