Fall Reflecting

As fall keeps pushing forward, I begin reflecting. As I get older, it seems I am doing a lot more of that. I feel as though we hit this high point at some point in our lives. Maybe it was around 40 when I first noticed it. I am not sure when it started. It could have  when I first gave birth to my oldest son. They date you, ya know? Who knows. All I can say now is, why worry so much?

We all get so busy running from school events, sports, work around the house…you know…when we are trying so hard to keep up with those around us. The ones who come to our homes, rating us, looking at the dirty dishes in the sink, laundry on the utility room floor, shaking their heads and talking behind our backs… We worry about what they are thinking, as we welcome them inside. But we still welcome them in. 

Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Now, I am not saying the answer is to not open our doors. What I am saying is, why do we stress ourselves out to try to keep up with others?

I spent 20 married years doing this to myself. All I did was worry. The pressure was unbearable! I had family by marriage, that always seemed to have everything going for them. No matter what, the brass was shining, the glass was spotless and the white carpet was always freshly vacuumed when we went to visit them. So, I naturally felt as though the same was expected of me. We both had children, so I couldn’t use that as an excuse for my not-so-perfect housekeeping skills. Not only that, but both parents worked full-time jobs. Talk about making someone feel inadequate! To top it off, money never seemed to be an object for them and the same was always expected of us. 

Holiday’s were pure hell for me. There were many years I cannot even remember, because by the time I finished making my own wrapping paper, countless batches of cookies, candy, popcorn and cranberries strung by hand on the tree and the mantle, the perfect tree….you name it. My hero was Martha Stewart and I was determined to follow her like an instruction manual, but I had no elves to help me. 

All of this began taking me down a road I didn’t want to walk any longer. I felt like I was losing myself. What was I anyway? Who was I? I had no idea, but what I did know was, I didn’t like this person anymore.

Changes were coming……


A First Trip – Standing Rock, ND

While I was working away on the inside of this gal of ours, I began seeing more and more about the happenings in Cannonball, ND.  I will not get into the story of the #NoDAPL a whole lot, since you can Google it and get more info than I can give you in a full days work.  So if you are not familiar, please check out some of the links I will post at the bottom.

Now, I never been a huge risk taker.  Or at least not in my previous life…long pre-divorce story.  But anyway, to post my name and contact info on a Facebook group ride-share page, was pretty out of my norm.  Something just pulled me in.  I was seeing such a huge injustice to fellow humans.  I couldn’t just sit here and not do something.  My heart kept telling me I had to go.  My posting was answered and before I knew it, a stranger I had never met before in my life, was heading to KY, to hop in this crazy van with me and drive for two days.  We knew one thing we had in common.  We both felt the calling to be there to defend the water and to stand with the original people of this land.

First stop, oil change and a full once-over to make sure we were good to go.  Believe it or not, everything seemed very sound!  So Jeff and I packed her up with easy to heat food, water, cold weather sleeping bag, personal needs, propane stove, heater and cans of fuel.

The drive was a windy one!  We felt as though we were being whisked in on some magic hippy carpet in the sky.  Sleeping in truck stop parking lots at night and driving all day, our last stop was a TA, where we took our last, long hot showers.  It would be two weeks before we saw another one.

It took us two days, but we were finally there. I knew this was going to be life changing, but I had no idea just how much.  As we pulled into the main drive of Oceti Sakowin, I couldn’t breathe.  Tears immediately filled my eyes and I was overwhelmed with emotions. It was the flags.  The sun was low in the sky and the colors! The unity of all these tribes, all for the protection of the water.  Some of these tribes had been at odds with each forever, but in this, they found a common ground.

It took us a few days to get oriented, but once we felt comfortable with the traditions and customs, we jumped right in. 

My travelling companion stayed at camp and worked on donations, kitchen work and spent tons of time picking up trash. I ventured out for two demonstrations and got to witness the frontlines. 

I have always been an advocate for our planet and all of its inhabitants. Two and four-legged. Winged and those with fins. It’s been in me since birth and I don’t see that ever changing. There have been times in my life when I have become distracted with everyday life, but I always circle back.

We were at Standing Rock for the national day of protest, when people were asked to stand up all over the world. I met some of the most amazing people that day.  We piled so many of us in a jeep and drove into Mandan and Bismarck, where we stood up for the protection of the water.

As for this van, it was perfect to us! It kept us safe from the crazy wind and cold, where one night hit a low of just 17 degrees. A small propane heater took the edge off, but some insulating will be in order. Also, a small wood burning stove will fit perfectly where the refrigerator sat.

We spent two weeks at camp and neither of us will ever be the same. In some ways it changed me for the better, but in others, not so much.  My fear and distrust of law enforcement has made me so paronoid and broken.  I know I will never trust a person in uniform again. It seems to be a sign of the times though.  

While the first trip didn’t include both Jeff and I, it was a necessary trip and an awesome one to say was the first.

Our Groovy Wheels

If you happen to know Jeff and I at all, you already know, we are avid flea market and yardsale junkies. We have found all sorts of fun, useful and sometimes shocking items. However, this find is the best one to date.

Now… don’t judge just yet. We might not be so purty, but just wait.

Paint was literally falling off of her, but rust really didn’t seem to be a problem. She’s a 1989, Chevy hightop conversion, complete with sink, fridge, toilet, two sleeping spaces, microwave, and plenty of drawers and cabinet space. At least for a van! The sign on the window said, $1,800!


You can see the body rust at the bottom in this picture.

wp-image-1441935199We had a feeling we wouldn’t be lucky enough to find everything in working order. We learned that from this RV.  But mechanically, she had a lot of work done already and it seemed that she was just sitting there, waiting for us to come snag her up and work our magic.

The main body, needed some work just beneath the water hook up and with the help from our awesome neighbor, Jeff was able to fix it up rather nicely.  Considering the fact that he had no previous bondo experience at all, I am pretty proud of him!

Then the real fun began. After tons of sanding, two coats of primer, a coat of white, then two coats of the final colors and BOOM!

Of course, this is still just getting started.


Note the fridge. Yep…we didn’t think it worked.


After Bondo and body touches.

While waiting for our colorful, whimsical, politically charged stickers to come.  I began the inside work.

We discovered a lot of things would need to be removed.  The gas lines were all found to be not up to code and in order to make it work, lots of money would be necessary. So, being that we are rather thrifty folks, we ripped them all out and recycled the copper lines.  We will be adding solar and maybe a small wind turbine, as well as a mini woodburning stove where the fridge once was, so power will not be an issue. 

While attempting to test everything, we found water line under the sink, was leaking. Not only had it leaked, but it had ruined the cabinet. No worries! My dad and mom are pretty handy.

We ripped out all the ruined, dry rotted wood and replaced it with new pieces.

After putting it all back together again and fixing the lines, my part began. We had found a super cool afgan at a yardsale and the color combo was my inspiration. I blocked and painted each panel, trim piece, cabinet door and drawer to match it. Days and days later….

Note that adorable afghan? $5!!!

Now it was time to shop for carpet. We envisioned a nice, deep, brightly colored shag. Ha! Not easy to find in this day and age. If I had a time machine, I would go back to the ’70’s, when I picked out the crazy carpet for my bedroom. But alas, no machine.  So we hit the Pottery Barn outlet store and BINGO! We found this deep, wool, area rug. Bright purple! 


I had also found an adorable, pieced together, polyester blanket. It needed a lot of work, so I decided if chopped up, it would make the perfect fabric covering for the valances above the windows.

















Then the stickers came! Our plan is to cover the top with stickers to reflect ourselves, our travels and the things we love. This part, along with most of this baby, will be a work in progress until the day the wheels fall off.

Yup, you can guess one of the favs here. “Heavily Medicated for Your Safety”.




Tomorrow, I will fill all of you in on the first road trip it went on. Standing Rock,  ND…….


The Wrong Way to Handle a Depressive Episode 

Depression and anxiety seem to go hand in hand. Not that I am an expert, or anything like that. I just know, because of my first-hand experiences.
Without getting too personal, or maybe i will. We willl just have to wait and see… I will attempt to enlighten you on what it’s like to be inside of this shell of mine.

As I have said before, I have always struggled..all the way back to my first emotion filled memories of middle school.

But, it wasn’t until I had been through a divorce and later a very tormaltuous relationship, when my body suddenly began deteriating. The stresses I had been experiencing were eating away at me. All of this was after I had already been told, on multiple occasions, that I most likely suffer from clinical depression with acute anxiety.  Bad enough that medication will be needed for the rest of my exisitance.  “Joy, oh joy. I’m officially a nutcase.” I thought to myself on an almost daily basis.

These dark days seemed to plaque me more and more every day and at one point, I landed myself in a gown, at a check-in desk of a state run, mental health facility. Right in the middle of  bedtime rituals…meds and vital checking time for all.  I did not ask to be brought here
Oh no I did not!! I didn’t do anything to try to be there.  It just happened. I didn’t swallow a bottle of pills, suck on my vehicles exhast, or stick my head in the oven. I was just desperate for someone to listen to me. I tried to get help at our local facility, but was turned away due to no space.

Photo by, Ben Anderson.

I had been injured on the job. My back was a mess, but like most government bureaus, they did everything they could to make sure I didn’t get any help on their dime. Somehow, it was ‘pre-existing’, leaving me with no pay for my basic needs. At the same time, my relationship was failing and he walked out on me. I hit bottom. Again.

My family became concerned about me and took me to see my family doctor. Not knowing exactly what would happen, he advised me to go straight to the ER and tell them how I was feeling. So I did. I told them I didn’t care if a bus was heading towards me, I wouldn’t move. It only took a few moments and I was ‘pink slipped’.

If you have never heard of this term before, let me just tell you something…… it sucks!  I went from being treated with respect and concern, to being a number in line, in a facility one step above a prison ward. Without naming this facility, I will just say, it’s in central Ohio and is the main one under and unisured patients are held. Which, by the way, happens to be most American’s.

It was almost bedtime, the place was full of activity. People were walking around crying, asking to use the phone, sitting in front of a community tv, and waiting in line to have their basic vitals checked.  All before slamming down the capsule and tablet cocktail the on-duty nurse practitioner had decided to try on their fragile minds and bodies.

Finally things began to slightly settle down and I sat in a tiny office with a nurse, where I was instructed to sign papers, saying I was voluntarily committing myself and that I was agreeing to be held for 72 hours.  The weekend, not included. If I refused, I could be held for up to 90 days. I was terrified.

The very first night, my bedtime cocktail was four Tylenol’s, an Ambien and something else to ‘help me relax’.  All on an empty stomach.  By 3:00 am, I woke up from a vicious dream, where I was being speared in the belly with a red hot sword. I was dying. I couldn’t have been so lucky, as my pain continued once I was fully awake. The nurses station was just outside of my door, so I hobbled out, bent over from the invisable rod sticking out of my gut. 

Two packets of goldfish crackers and about 20 minutes later,  I wandered back to bed and finally dozed off to
the sounds of my snoring roommate and someone sobbing down the hallway.
The next morning, after the routine vital checks and meds were handed out, we were lined up like cattle.  Apparently, I was about to enjoy my first meal and it shouldn’t have shocked me…but it still did.  I guess I had a few pounds to lose anyway.

After heading back to my room, I was quickly hit up by a tall, gloomy man with a clipboard. Now what? Funny. I hadn’t even been there for 24 hours and this guy was already telling me what my portion of the stay would cost me. That is, if they decided I would be allowed to go home after my legally, binding 72 hours…minus the weekend again. I immediately broke out into a laugh that most likely made those who heard me, wonder if i was in the wrong wing.  They wouldn’t get a dime out of me, because I didnt ask for this!

I was told later in the day that I could have visitors, so my parents and my son’s brought me at least one of my meals each day. I don’t know what I would’ve done without my family. It was a 40 minute drive for them and I know it wasn’t in a convenient place. I wasn’t quite sure where I was, as I had been driven there by squad in the dark. 

We were not allowed to go outside at all. Dark brown, or maybe it was black, lattice covered filty, dirty plexiglass in place of small windows in each dingy room.   I could tell it was a beautiful, fall day outside and I would take my time at meals. It was the only window in the whole place, that wasn’t covered, allowing some sun to shine in on me.  When asked if there were a place we could sit outside, I was told a teenager tried to escape by jumping the fence, so no one was allowed outside anymore.  Didn’t they realize what sitting in the sun can do for a “flower child”?


“Trapped Flower” by Chechulia

I quickly figured out that no one would be able to get me out of this situation, so I might as well make the best of it. I began getting to know those around me. A young, slightly overweight girl of about 30, came walking up to me and asked me if I was her mom. She had big tears streaming down her face and my heart immediantly dropped to the toes of my hospital socks.  I gave her a huge hug and told her I wasn’t, but I would be more than happy to be her friend.  Turns out, she was living in a group home since her mother had passed away.  She was worried about her little dog the whole time and loved talking about him.  But when things quieted down, she would again be walking the hallway, asking everyone for her mom.

I am an empath and to be in this place, was like pure hell to me.  It reaked havoc on my body, mind and soul. I could feel the pain and misery everyone around me had radiating from them. They all had such gut wrenching stories. Each had either attempted suicide or were suicidal. 

Now, you would think there would be doctor’s on site, right? Wrong. I met with a nurse practitioner,  who changed up my medication and talked to me three times total. Not once did she spend more than fifteen minutes with me. After all, I was forced to be an inpatient, why was this it?

Instead of being helped to heal, I felt as though I was being punished. Punished for breaking down and being human.

The terms of my release were that I go for counseling and it was already set up for me. I followed orders, because there was no way on this earth, I would ever be forced to return to that place.  On my first encounter with my new counsellor,  after I told him everything I had gone through over the past years and what I  was still going through,  he actually told me he was surprised I hadn’t already killed myself. Wow. Now that was interesting!
I completed my time and finally wrapped up my case with the Ohio BWC, but the time I spent hospitalized, were the days I will never forget, for this is what I learned from my experience…. If i am ever so desperate again, I will not ask for a doctor’s help.  I know what all of you are thinking. At least those of you, who are still with here with me.  I am being rather irresponsible by telling anyone to not ask for help, just do whatever and end it all. That is not what I am saying, but what I am saying is this…. We need better mental healthcare in this country!  If my story doesn’t convince you, you are not listening. 

Right now, health care is at the top of a long list of issues being discussed by this new administration. If we don’t look at our mental health as being just as important as our
physical health, we will be dropping the ball! Please, I am asking you just this one, simple request. Please learn more about healthcare in this country…..all aspects of it, and contact those in your home towns. Hold them accountable for the health of all of us and not just the top few.

The Fungus Among Us

Mushrooms….The Root of All Life.

Chicken of the Woods. Super decadent! Resembles chicken in texture and can add a heartiness to soups and stews.

Over the past few years, I have become fascinated with mushrooms. I am not sure what sparked it, as I have never even liked them in my food. If I come across one unknowingly, my mouth immediately figures it out and it rejects its rubbery texture and overly earthy flavor. Honestly, it is not for the lack of attempts, as I have tried just about every one I have encountered with an open mind.  

This interesting fungi is edible, but must be cooked properly. Be sure you do plenty of homework before you partake in these guys.

Living here in a very moist part of thIe country, we have a plethora of fungus flora. Being that I am a rather clumsy person, who will twist an ankle on a whim, I watch my feet….constantly….so I rarely miss a beat when it comes to these luscious beauties. 

The lovely chanterelle. Very edible and are abundant here in northern Ky.

Now, I am not going to try to regurgitate the facts, or at least as far as science knows at this point in time. There are tons of things we don’t know about the lives of these amazing fungui, as well as plenty already out there for you to discover. One thing we DO know is, life on earth wouldn’t be what it is without them. They live off of dead and dying life. Pretty simple, huh? Their roots are now thought to be able to communicate with other vegetation on growing on the forest floor. They are a support system for all of life, by breaking down and digesting dead leaves and grasses, trees and branches that fall to the ground, they contribute nutrients for everything around them.

Some of the pictures I have shared here, are of edible mushrooms, while others…. not so much. Please do plenty of research before you delve in!! And don’t forget this! When you go foraging for wild mushrooms, please practice responsible harvesting. Do not take the whole thing, or else you will be depleating them from nature. Also, carry them out of the woods in a bag with holes, such as an onion sack. This will allow the spores to spread as you pass through. And I should have to say this but, please only take what you need.

For more information, here are a couple of helpful pages to check out. Also, there are many groups out there on social media. Just before to double check before you dive in.



This Old RV

​Okay, so to get back to this old RV…..


We removed the front seats to give us more storage space. A small, plastic set of drawers on the right, hide behind curtains i made from thrift store clothes. The fold down bed up top, serves as even more storage.

It’s adorable. Or at least it was when we first got ourselves set up. Spent a grand on a composting toilet, and while it has been pretty handy, it doesn’t fulfill all of my needs…to put it lightly. 

Quickly, we figured out, the hot water heater and oven didn’t work. The fridge won’t cool below 50 degrees in the summer. The microwave, original and built in, making it harder to replace, won’t even pop a bag of popcorn without burning it halfway through. It takes longer to heat up a cup of water, than it does to just put it in a tea pot on the propane stovetop. Of course, we didn’t have that right off the bat either, because we quickly figured out all of our propane was leaking out and we were basically sitting on a time bomb. Good thing no one tossed a match under us! We had to replace pieces and parts of our lines, buy an external 100 lb tank and replace our regulator….just in order to be able to use the stove top. While it does have a working, propane furnace, we opted to use two small space heaters, per the advice of those living here, too. Another awesome thing? People who have been living this way for years, who offer so much helpful advice. There has certainly been a learning curve here! One thing we have discovered on our own? Life without an electric blanket wouldn’t be a life worth living. 

My best friend, chillin’ in our ‘bedroom’. Handmade blanket I created with a serger and old sweaters.

We soon found out, the hot water heater was not going to be an easy task to replace either. Oh the joys of an old…or shall I say, “vintage” RV? So in order to wash our dishes, I run a pot of water through my coffee maker. This was all in our first summer and fall. Next came winter, when the water is turned off in the park. Jugging it from the main office and shower house, became common place and we learned what it was like for our ancestors. 
Learning to be resourceful, has become a necessary thing, but our carbon footprint left behind, will be tiny baby steps.

However, there are leaks and while we have tried to keep up with them, the walls most likely contain a crap ton of mold…adding fuel to my already fragile health. So yes, while this is a bit “romantic”, there are downfalls. Big ones.

Jeff seals the roof to get ready for winter.

We have had a blast when it comes to decorating though. While others are shopping the Pottery Barn, we hit the local flea market almost every weekend. It’s fun, cheap entertainment and you never know what you are going to come home with! Currently, we have a three and a half foot tall giraffe, as well as a bartending parrot, who welcome passersby. They also being a smile to my face everyday. We have a collection of buddhas, candles and all sorts of welcoming characters. It’s all rather tongue-in-cheek and is the equivalence of thumbing our noses at societies trappings. That need to be better than those around you, to have the greenest grass, the biggest house, the most expensive car, the designer clothes….the list goes on and on.

This is where we spend our weekend evenings, weather permitting. Dad made us this awesome rotating grill top!

We live simply, so that others may simply live….

Current Events

I feel as though it is necessary for me to stop here and take a moment to touch on my feelings about some of our current events we have brewing around at this moment in time. 

I know, I know…many of you are already well aware of my political take on things. I have been and always WILL be a Berner, or for those not in-the-know, a Bernie Sanders supporter. I was sure our younger generation would step up and vote for this man on election day in masses, but somehow, it didn’t happen as we all had planned. We all know where things have gone since then.

We were so fortunate to be able to see my hero.

Over the last year or so, I was fortunate to see Bernie in person at a rally in Lexington, KY, spent two weeks in Cannonball, ND, where I stood next to the original people of this country in their fight against the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline), travelled across the country with my man, enjoying what we can of this beautiful land and began thinking a lot more about this blue orb we all share. My take on all of this boils down to something relatively simple. Love, kindness, tolerance and equality are some of the most important things we need in all of our lives.

It is all about the water, basic human rights and broken treaties.

The last several years have taken their toll on me and the shell that my soul walks around in. After injuring my back on the job, in December of 2011, my life as I knew it, fell apart. I had only been on my own, in what I now call my new life, since 2008, at which time, I needed a change. That’s putting it simply, but I will get into that another day. My shell gave up in August of 2012 and I have been nursing this ever since. I’m not a very good nurse either, by the way. I haven’t allowed my physical body to repair itself and now, in the year 2017, I am broken, weak and unable to heal. The stress of feeling helpless, useless and a waste of all resources, has driven me to become reclusive and socially an outcast. Not that I mind dropping out of what we all know as, “society”. It has become a dream of mine over the last several years and I must admit, I believe this has been in me my entire life; however, actually doing it has been a bit brutal. 

I am a “flower child”, as one of my doctors told me the other day. I have always thought of myself as a daisy. Able to grow anywhere, lover of the sun, simple and low maintenance, will grow on a rock, if that’s all she has. I wear it all on my sleeve and there’s nothing to hide. But of course, this wasn’t exactly what she meant, when she called me that.

Saging away the negativity and hate.

You see, living here in a “red state”, has brought about a crap ton of issues for me. Especially as a Berner. I have had dually pick-up trucks intentionally pull right in front of me on the road, just to spew black smoke from their smoke stacks, while sporting a “Friends of Coal” license plate and those annoying “Make America Great Again” stickers. Yeah, I still have my Bernie stickers on my old van. I leave them there, just to say, “Hey, you can’t blame me!” Currently, one of my neighbors thinks it’s funny to fly a Confederate flag. These are just a couple of examples. I can’t say it has been all bad here though. Our next door neighbors have become family to us, the creek we walk our dogs along, has been a blessing and the woods behind our place, is just gorgeous. We watch deer, turkey, fox, owls, bats, squirrels, and just about anything else that happensto come along. So this is a lifesaver, to say the least. 
We look at each other all the time and say, “This would be a great place, if not for humans.”. I hate feeling this way, but since this newly appointed administration first began campaigning, it has opened my eyes to things I never wanted to see. I thought this country had begun to slowly take forward steps, but apparently, it was lying in wait….looking for the perfect opportunity to raise its ugly head and say, “Hey!! Look at me!! Being a white supremacist, racist skin head, KKK sheet wearing nutjob, is now perfectly acceptable! Let me show you my ass while we are at it!” The only plus side I can think of is, at least I know who I want to be around now and with these folks wearing it all over themselves, it’s pretty easy to stay distant. 

The down side for me is, I am just an old, white woman. To some, it is assumed my life is easy, but this is just simply not true. There’s another factor most seem to forget. I am poor. I am a part of the family of invisable transients. Most of us, who are fighting for everything we have, live in campgrounds, under bridges, in encampments in parks and on public lands. A lot of us are waiting for our day in court, where we are finally able to prove to those in charge, that we need help, due to our illnesses. For most, this can take up to 2 years and that is only after you have been unable to work for one year, have applied for benefits and have been denied. You then have to get an attorney to help you fight for your right, as an American citizen. The sad thing is, you have to live with nothing until then. We are waiting out the system and are truly in need. What amazes me is these things are happening in what some say, is the greatest country in the nation. This is happening in every state in this country! 

Now, I am not sharing this to make anymore feel sorry for me. You will NEVER see me starting a “GoFundMe” page, asking for handouts. I rarely accept any sort of help and to be honest, it makes me feel guilty. I am sharing this to bring awareness to those, who are oblivious to what the less fortunate go through. I am not here to say my life is harder than anyone else. I will not sit here and try to pretend things are as bad as they can get. We have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, access to clean water and comfort when the temps are either single or triple digits. I am here in hopes that you, as a reader, will take something from this that inspires you to help those around you, be more compassionate towards others, and just love each other for all of our imperfections.

That is my wish for you today.