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Maiden Voyage: Camelot October 6, 2015

The second leg of my debut as a solo RVer had initially envisioned a visit to Lexington, Kentucky, but plans changed and on Monday, the morning of September 28th, Louise and I headed south.

As we did, I thought (just as I am thinking right now) that I feel somehow awkward – kookie-strange and weird – anthropomorphizing a mechanical vehicular means of transportation (ie: an ‘inanimate object’) as if it were human.

Growing up with a FoMoCo engineer as my dad, such tomfoolery was not warmly embraced… although neither were we a dull sort, but none of our several vehicles had names beyond manufacturer, make and model.

Thus my grandfather (my mom’s dad) drove a ’49 Ford Sedan and called it , simply. the Ford.

1949 Ford Sedan: My grandpa and grandma bought one of these new the year that I was born, and it was the first car I ever "drove," sitting on grandpa's lap, when I was 4 or 5...
1949 Ford Sedan: My grandpa and grandma bought one of these new the year that I was born, and it was the first car I ever “drove,” sitting on grandpa’s lap, when I was 4 or 5.  Photo courtesy AlfvanBeem – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Commons

My dad’s auto of choice was a ’57 Thunderbird.

I remember riding in my dad's 1957 Thunderbird. Wow... would I love to have a ride in it now...!!! ~Image courtesy Auto Trader Classics

I remember riding in my dad’s 1957 T-Bird. Wow… would I love to have a ride in it now…!!! ~Image courtesy Auto Trader Classics

But neither of these automobiles ever had any people-flavored nicknames, and growing up with this (unspoken, inculcated, memetic) predisposition tends to amplify it as ‘the norm’ – which of course it is neither normal nor abnormal for one to give a pet-name to a car, toaster, poodle, pony or computer… <smile>, but simply a mannerism of expressing a dimension of one’s own personal countenance.

And in the ‘why & wherefore’ of all-things-considered, boiling it all down to one (spectacular <smile>) reason for doing the dance I’ve begun, it is to explore those dimensions of ‘me’ that I intuitively know to exist but that have, for the past half-century, played second-fiddle to doing certain — like being a mom and having a career — and that now there are some other things that I would like to do.

Thus in the hopes of inspiring this ‘new and improved’ state of creativity in myself, I am purposefully doing things that are NOT ‘normal’ for me… like dubbing my 2002 Great West Van as Louise -and- giving myself permission to totally ‘go with the flow’, change plans mid-stream and even tell someone off without feeling even a teeny niggle of second-guessing guilt…!!!

Because the circumstances that culminated as my revised route could have caused me anguish. For one thing, I put a lot of thoughtful energy into formulating any plans I make, and this trip certainly was no exception. And there were others who were half-counting on me to be in Lexington for a day or two. So when events went counter to what I’d envisioned, it was unsettling to have to re-make plans midstream… Especially when, from my perspective, there was no ‘good’ reason that the change had to happen and was simply the result of a professional colleague doing something quite mean-spirited.

And usually, when I encounter stuff like this I tend to just let it go.. brush the dust from my sandals and move on.  This time, however, as my friend Vicki (with whom I was backyard boondocking)  became aware of what had transpired being a forthright advocate of justice for all, she said to me: “So… did you call her on it…???”

Thus I shed my political-correctness and told the unpleasant woman to go bag it… and bottom line, it felt good <smile>, kinda like I started resonating in harmony with a new frequency <smile> as I re-thought travel plans for the balance of my first roadtrip.

Bidding Vicki a fond fare-thee-well mid-Monday-morning, the drive from St. Louis to Poplar Bluff seemed a reasonable distance (150 miles) to travel in one day and I wanted to get comfortably settled into a site before dark so I could just kick-back, relax and the enjoy comforts of my roving home.

As I got closer to Poplar Bluff I googled RV parks, looking for one with WIFI and full hook-ups, and a place called Camelot RV Campground was right on my path

And I must say, I believe that King Arthur himself would have appreciated the comfortable accommodations I found there. I mean, the woman at the front desk was friendly and attentive. Registration was quick, instructions on how to connect with campground WIFI were explicit, and directions to my site, #17, and how to exit in the morning were drawn-out for me on a map.

Settling in to a site takes a bit of doing. First, you park as level as possible. Then you go around the vehicle unlocking the lockers that have the stuff you need to hook-up. All of which, really, is pretty simple – once you know how. And it is not a steep learning curve <grin>.

But it does take some thinking and developing a process that works to make sure certain things get done, like plugging in to shore power, turning the propane on, connecting the tank-dump (sewage and gray water) line to the in-ground receptacle and opening the valves to let stuff flow.

Also, if the campground has cable TV, you hook-up your coaxial. And Camelot did indeed offer this free amenity, but I was coaxial-less <smile>… and even if I had thought to bring one along, probably wouldn’t have taken the time to figure out how it works… because there are a lot of various coaxial connector boxes and disconnected cables inside one of the aft cabinets which I know somehow relate to the TV installed overhead in the cab of the van, but at the moment I have nary a clue about what is supposed to connect where in order to get the TV to work…!!!

Which is not a big deal for me really, as I have no television (cable, satellite, public air waves) at home. Paid subscriptions just got too expensive for my pension-budget, and once the public airwaves went digital, my entertainment and news have all come through the Internet. Thus my keen interest to overnight at a campground with WIFI… (aka: I LOVE Netflix) and this proved to be my only disappointment.

Connectivity was intermittent and slow., making it impossible to watch even a 3-min Youtube, although I was able to get some email sent — but even that was touch and go. Had I planned on staying more than overnight at the park, I would have had to ask if this was the norm, or if something was amiss. But since I was ready for an early beddtime, it didn’t seem worth the effort.

What did seem worth the effort — and resulted in one of the most sublime moments of pure indulgence – was waking-up from an evening nap and cooking brown rice at midnight without thought or concern to whether my late-night movements were disruptive to my sleeping son or daughter who rise early to go to work…

Thus I listened to the radio, turned lights on and off, washed dishes and did whatever I wished in the privacy of my own little gypsy cabana… and abiding the principle that “my liberty to swing my arm freely ends where your nose begins” with respect for others camped nearby, I could just simply be myself….

Wow… What a hoot…!!!

7am breakfast of brown rice, scrambled egg and fruit juice kicked-off my departure routine. Then, after the kitchen was tidied and my bed made (all of which took maybe 10-min.) the 3-way refrig which had been running on shore power since I checked in, had to be switched off because I have not yet had the ‘coach battery recharge while driving’ issue redressed. Thus on this trip, while in transit I used a standard ice-chest when shore power was not available… which was most of the time.

Then the roof a/c and/or exhaust fan(s)  are shut down, turned off, curtains are un-snapped from front and side windows, decorative items (like my Mickey & Minnie Mouse Chinese Lantern that hangs above my aft table when I’m not tooling down the road)) and various electronics are stowed with items essential to navigating the day’s journey provisioned for easy access from the driver’s seat.

Outside, as electricity and sewer lines are disconnected, cleaned and stowed, lockers must be closed and locked, tire pressure and fluid levels checked, and a walk-around of the vehicle, making sure to bend over and look underneath and cast an eye to what’s going on up-top, confirms that everything looks the way it should.

Most time consuming of my exit protocol was flushing the black-water tank… which had (as I am told many RVs do) a bit of a nasty odor which we first noticed when the kids and I drove Louise home after purchase.

Son Adam substantially mitigated this problem en-route by pouring a bag of ice down the commode. And then, after we got home, daughter Shawna and I took Louise to a local park for a picnic, and while we were there we dumped the tanks… which I hoped would completely resolved the issue.

Alas, it did not. The annoying odor, though less intense, persisted. And so this time I was determined to give the tank a really thorough flush, pouring whole buckets of water into the toilet with the trap propped open, so that any residual sludge would gush through the system and out the drain. And for all of the rest of my journey home, the offensive odor ceased to exist…!!!!

And so you have the highlights of my first solo night in an RV park… 72 hours into my debut adventure with several more days yet to go. Thanks for the pleasure of your virtual ride-along company… and if you’d like to know more about what I do beyond roving in Louise, I am proud to share the happy news that I am again in print with The Municipal… in the October 2015 edition, find me on pages 24-26.

Until next time and the story of the third leg of my first adventure as a Home Ranger…… (((hugs))) and happy travels to all… ~Christine

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Casting out demons… June 20, 2014

Sometimes, to empower peace, we have to evict demon-people from our lives.

It takes a lot for me to arrive at such a decision. ‘Slow to anger’ is my routine life.

Still, in the course of human events it sometimes becomes necessary for one person to renounce all affiliation with another. To impel such a decision, decency and respect requires a declaration.

Such is not an easy thing to do because the self-evident truth is that all of us are created equal with a magnificent duty to walk in compassion and behave with grace… to eschew calamity, forgive, forget and to be an ever abounding energy of love and peace.

So how does one lovingly, with humility, dignity, respect and understanding, formalize such a disassociation without doing unto this other what one does not want done by another to self?

Is it enough to simply say ‘over and out’ and move on…???

Though my experience is blissfully limited in this arena, I have (sadly) stood at this crossroad a couple of times. And in my book of life, being bullied by someone is not an option. Beyond the fact that it pains me personally, the gravitational flux of this self-induced psychogenic (psychotic) resonance hurts the whole of humanity… always and most adamantly in the namesake of ‘doing good’.

So how do we — aka: those of us who (supposedly) ‘know better’ — put a permanent end to such (covert) brutality…??? Because I assure you, my friend, that peace will only reign supreme in the material world when it lives and breathes in our hearts.

So what can we or should we do when we encounter (narcissistic, myopic, irrational, adversarial, arrogant) people who are possessed of a demon to terrorize, manipulate, back-stab and stir shit…???

As nations, we declare war on them. But I have truck with this approach as it flys in the face of doing unto others what we would want done to us, aka: we become the pot calling the kettle black.

So if I was being a bully and claiming that my terrorizing aggrandizement was somehow justified because of the ‘evil’ being done by someone else, I would want someone to respectfully inform me that my (bullying) actions were inappropriate and counter-productive. I would want them to (politely yet emphatically) point out that there is no justification for nastyness… None… Not ever… zero, zip, zilch….

And if subsequent to this honest and open dialog my (alleged) bullying continued, then I would want the irate accuser to disassociate from me and hope that he or she would purposefully shun me and leave me in peace to experience the joys or woes of my own ‘what comes around goes around’ karma as I brushed the dust from my sandals and moved on.

Thus I do hereby officially, formally and forevermore renounce affiliation with and banish from my life a particular person who knows who he is and whose name I shall nevermore speak.

Peace be unto you and me… (((hugs))) ~Christine

 

enemies February 23, 2012

 The following came to my Inbox compliments of Simon Black, author of Soverign Man, who (if you take what he says at face value) makes a good living out of telling people what’s wrong with government, the economy, health care, the media, banking and finance, foreign policy, etc., etc., and so on… and then selling them his version of ‘the answer’.

Please, do observe:

The war you won’t hear about in the media

There’s a war going on that you’ll never hear about on the nightly news.

This war poses, by far, the largest immediate threat to you, your family and your future well-being.

And provided you take no action to protect yourself, this war could very well alter the quality of your life forever.

But this war is not being fought against some unseen enemy on the far side of the globe.

This war, dear reader, is being fought against you.

You are the enemy.

Your way of life is the enemy. And your belief in your freedom to live that life as you see fit is in the cross hairs of a government desperate to maintain the status quo.

Your freedom is being destroyed. But it’s happening slowly so as not to stir the masses hypnotized by their TV and video game lifestyle.

During the collapse of an empire, freedom doesn’t disappear in a blink. As we can all see by the events around us, it disappears very slowly. Little by little, laws are enacted that remove it.

One day, there’s nothing left.

That’s the point at which people will wake up and start to freak out.

The goal of this message is to make sure YOU are not one of those people.

[sales pitch removed]

To your sovereign freedom,

Simon Black

Word-crafted rhetoric, homed to an invisibly transparent purpose, parsed with precision pronouncements all pitching to do one job: Sell a product.

Simon has something he wants you (anybody, somebody) to purchase. He wants to trade something he has for something you’ve got. 

His singularity is motivating you to ‘buy’ and he is using every manner of logic and persuasive (gravitational) cunning to pull you across his event horizon, punctuating each participle to stress every adverb that will help close the deal. 

Such is the distilled essence of all that we call ‘capitolism’, which — some would say — is the backbone of healthy free-market economies and the bedrock of global prosperity and peace. So, we wonder, why does Simon chronically tell us ‘how bad things are’ and blast us with info about why things are not working, and then offer to ‘sell’ us his ready-made solution for precluding such woes lest they befall us, ‘the enemy’, ourselves. 

That is, if Simon really does have a solution — a better way of doing things than free-market exchange — why isn’t he giving (yes giving) all of us a free lesson in the subject-matter. Why isn’t he — having (supposedly) found ‘the way to a better life’ — explaining this passage, step-by-step; handing out ‘maps’ out of the goodness of his heart? 

Does it matter…???

What do you think… Lemme know. 

“America: Love it or fix it…”

(((hugs)))

 

BirthDays March 2, 2011

If I had gone to our state capitol today, in the hopes of addressing the membership of one of the various legislative committees who are considering bills which — in my self-esteemed wisdom — deserve critical attention, then I would not have shared breakfast and conversation with my daughter. Reason enough, it could rightly be said, for not going. But the issue to me is bigger than that.

Today, I am 62.

Thus, in my self-esteemed wisdom applied to me, I have arrived at a new benchmark. The beginning of a time in space where I get to more freely choose those things that will fill my present moments. And, with my children now predominately at the helms fo their own lives, my business obligations all satisfied, a comfortable roof over my head, a reliable vehicle to drive and the benevolence of a tidy Social Security pension, the expanses of what I may if I wish to do with my time are, perhaps for the first real time since I was twelve, seemingly limitless.

This is an odd and wonderous place to be, the liberating sensations of which wash over me like warm effervescent tides of sunshine and smiles.  It is a lovely place of mind to simply be. No ‘pressure’ of any great magnitude to ‘get things done’. Not that there isn’t a ‘to-do’ list — which I know is a double negative, but serves the point well. Because there is and will always be a to-do list. Its rigors, whether consciously chosen or memetically engendered, are assigned from our first breath of life.

Knowing this, when posed with a meaningful and substantive equation to resolve — such as ‘what do I want to do with the rest of my life?’ — my solution is simple. I ask myself “What will I be doing the day after all the ‘problems’ are resolved?” And of course the operative ‘problems’, generally speaking, constiute a whole lot of different things and are usually respective of the circumstances immersing my moment-to-moment reality.

At one time in my life, for about ten years, the ‘problem’ was how to steward our family resources to make sure all the bills got paid, that we had a comfortable home, reliable transportation, nutritious food and suitable clothing while homeschooling four children and being the (hopefully) loving spouse of a disabled person.  That decade resounded with a series of life-quaking problems, such as arriving home from work one day to find all four of our children (then ages 9, 7, 5 and 3) ‘missing’ from our home and yard while their dad slept on the couch and, when awakened, had no idea where they were.

It was a revelation for me to come to grips at that moment with the inhibiting constraints of my husband’s disablilty.  The ‘problem’ was real and huge. That instant of cognition added a heaping of ‘new tasks’ to my to-do list, some immediate and many long-term.

Thankfully, the children were quickly found playing at a neighbor’s. And I resolved in that moment for everyone’s sake that my husband — whose dysfunction is predominantly cognitive — must never be left alone with reponsibility for our children ever again. Thus, until we divorced some years later (by that time our eldest was 18 and our youngest was 12) I was effectively a single-parent ‘head of household’ for a family of six. And trust me, there were many problems.

But always there was this vision of what life would be like ‘after’ all the problems were resolved, and a yearning for some sort of blissful meadow of contentment to prevail in my life and, to whatever degree it is in my power to affect it, in the lives of all others… all of which comes with its own set of problems. Such as, for example, the crossroads I am camped at now: Taking stock. Inventorying my ‘to do’ list. Assessing what is (and what is not) truly important to me… Asking myself, somewhat obsessively, ‘what do I want to do with my time now that I am more free than I have ever been as an adult to make the choice…??? 

And the truth of the matter is that I just don’t know yet…

What I do know is that I don’t want the rest of my life to be a recurring processional of things I have already done, which brings me back to the legislative hearings I did not attend. For better or worse I have been doing my bit as a ‘good citizen’ to uphold my civic duties for over forty years. And, respectfully, over the passage of time I have done this with increasing vigor. But now I have arrived at a break-point and before I take another step forward I need to assimilate, digest and ponder which direction I really want to go…

Which is exactly what I am doing and, as with the choice I made this morning, this path of ‘not’ doing is feeling pretty good…. except for the part of me that still feels a duty to share what I’ve learned about all of this stuff over the course of the last 62 years, in the hopes of making life better, easier, simpler and more satisfying for everyone, every day.  So I’ll have to see what I can do about that… (((hugs)))

 

Teapot Party January 24, 2011

I have started another blog to address specifically those topics near and dear to the hearts of the Teapoters I’ve met to date… not that all of the topics addressed on gocannabis.wordpress.com are near and dear to the motivation of each or all of the respective civic-activists who have flocked together under the Teapot Party banner raised by Willie Nelson, yet whether their respective dedication is to industrial hemp, environmental health, economic well-being, medicinal cannabis, religious freedom, social justice, civic effectiveness, prison reform or the simple liberty to raise a glass of beer in a public place and toast a musician they adore, there is a among us a unifying theme about cannabis-hemp: Legalize It, Regulate It, Tax It.

Legalize it by removing it from the Federal Drug Schedule, subjected to no more regulatory scrutiny than are the tomato plants, cucumbers, mint, basil or corn routinely grown in grandpa’s garden or grandma’s backyard.

Regulate it the same way that asprin and beer are regulated in the commercial marketplace. Draw a clear distinction between ‘personal private’ cultivation/consumption, from which government is prohibited to intervene, and industrial applications, including pharmaceuticles, nutritional products, foods, health and body care products, building materials, etc., etc., and so on which are marketed to the general public and which it is the duty of government to regulate all such commercial/industrial activity for the benefit of the collaborative and colletive ‘we the people’.  

Tax it the same way that all commercial goods and services are taxed or not taxed.

In other words, stop making such a big deal about it. Get over it. Get it done and get on with convening global peace. 

The handwriting is on the wall about this, folks. Yet the single question remains: Are we ready to shed our fears and inhibitions? Are we willing to make a unified stand for what is right?

Read the data. Do some research. Learn. Think. What makes practical good sense…? What decision takes us in a truly ‘new’ direction…? Which choice holds the promise of delivering the greatest benefit (at the smallest price tag) to the people we hold dear? And beyond that, to everyone…

How do we stop re-inculcating the animosity that has stagnated progress on this issue…? We fuel every action with vigor for ‘growing’ Global Peace and Prosperity in our own backyards, with a hometown get-er-done ‘barn building spirit’ plan for action at the local level… knowing that as we do this work we are at the same time weaving together a network of change, simultaneously remaking national dispositions by atrition and due process.

Sincerely, I hope you (yes, YOU…!!!) will get involved. Visit gocannabis.wordpress.com to learn more.  ~Christine

 

Teapot Meetup January 15, 2011

Teapot Party logoTeapot Party Meetup, January 15, 2011, Shirley, AR
5 people attending

We discussed “Tax It, Regulate It, Legalize It” as a ‘purpose’ and agreed that though we very much like the phrase, it is more of a motto or tag-line than a ‘purpose’ as it does not answer the question “Why are we doing this?”

We discussed the various reasons that each of us is doing this civic-activism work. Our individual responses ranged from ‘disgust with the absurdity of current drug law’ to ‘concern about the huge number of people in prisons’ to ‘the stigma and fear associated with pot are jeopardizing our freedom of speech’ to ‘I would like to grow hemp for industrial purposes’.

There was, however, one common idea we all agreed to: That the prohibition of cannabis-hemp by our own government is a violation of our Constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom from intervention by government into our private affairs. In this light, our unified purpose is to ensure and safeguard our own liberty.

With regard to local action, it was unanimously agreed that we support and endorse the enactment of medical cannabis legislation by the Arkansas General Assembly which is currently in session.

We discussed ways to show this support and one idea we all agreed to was that a pro-cannabis/hemp rally on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol could really put this issue over the top… and that it would take the collaboration of a lot of people to make this happen.

We also agreed that such a rally would be futile and could actually work against the med-cannabis effort unless the turn-out was at least a thousand people… and that though there are 10’s of thousands of people in Arkansas who support the idea of med-cannabis, getting them to turn out in droves or make any kind of public statement is, because of the stigma associated with marijuana, pretty much like pulling teeth.

We briefly touched on candidate endorsements, fundraising and the need for a cohesive information-sharing network throughout our state, but felt strongly that this group effort is still in the fledgling stage; that effectively, there is as yet no real ‘on the ground’ organization because people who were previously unknown to each other have just started getting acquainted, and that it will take some time to develop local and regional structure before we are ready to do much of anything else.

We decided to share these comments with other activists and see what they think. Several of us will attend one or more Teapot Party Meetups on the 18th and these comments will be posted to various forums and lists with hopes of response.  YOUR ideas and suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

 

Fools rush in… January 10, 2011

In reading what follows, you may think me a fool to believe and behave the way I have chosen. And that’s okay. Because my behavior is my choice — given I am cognizantly mature and physio-psycho-logically healthy. But the thing is, if we (individuals) really want things to change in the world around us, we’ve got to devote 100% of our conscious attention to ‘living the way we believe life ought to be lived’ in the present-tense.

Thus this morning when a very polite and professional young woman called to enquire if I had received the packet of materials from the company she worked for, and we exchanged pleasantries about whether I’d read same and what my thoughts were on the product she offered (which I note for the record is a service related to ’emergency health care’, specifically being a type of insurance that would cover certain costs associated with said emergency health care services), as the conversation unfolded and she, being very good at ‘sticking to the script’ of her telemarketing routine, went for the ‘close’ line — wherein the seller points a question intended to provoke a ‘buy’ response — and I responded, very casually, that I did not buy any ‘insurance product’ unless it was somehow mandated, ie: to get car tags, and this because I see insurance as a ‘bet against myself’ wherein in order for me to ‘win’, first I gotta ‘lose’.

Also that I had decided that if I was going to play “what if?” about my future, that I would limit myself to what if-ing about those things that I do actually want… and that respectfully, and no offense intended, but that I do not wish to have need for ’emergency’ health care services, and therefore I was simply not interested to purchase the product she offered.

I also confided to this lovely young woman that I did not think it was right that folks such as those she works for, have to go out beating the bushes to generate income to pay the salaries and maintain the equipment needed to provide ’emergency’ health care services. I said, that I firmly believed that all such costs should be covered by some sort of community action policy… that we (the people) should take care of our own.

And if this young woman happens to read this, I want to thank her for her patient listening. And I also want to advise her that I purposefully planted a ‘meme’ in her thought process which I hope she will contemplate and chat about with friends. Because I intentionally and willfully seeded her consciousness with a ‘different’ idea about ‘normal’ and ‘good’ and ‘how things work’ than that of the paradigm she was pitching… and that she then was thus endorsing… and participating with, and replicating, and handing down to her children one by one.

I’d really like to provoke people to thinking that there is ‘a better way’… that by working together (aka: NOT ‘competing’) collaboratively, there is no mountain too high for a unified ‘us’ to climb… and still, if ‘we the people’ want things in the macrocosm to change, we’ve first got to change them at the microscopic level of introspection.

This is simply ‘the way’ the system works… Or at least, it is how I comprehend it.