An Elderly Possum, a Deaf Labrador and a Giant Mastiff in One Gig.  Guess Which One is My Favorite!


Hi!  My name is Ms. P!  What’s your name?

When I initially talked to this pet owner, who lives east of Indianapolis, she somehow ‘forgot’ to tell me about the 0’possum who lives in the master bathroom.  As I was taking my first tour of the house and meeting Levi, the 165# Mastiff with a head as big as a watermelon and Betty, the 16-year-old deaf black Lab, the homeowner and I were in the master bedroom where the dog beds are.   ‘Samantha’ casually asked if our mutual friend and the source of this gig’s referral, had mentioned anything about a possum.  “No, why?”  “Well, because I have one who lives in this bathroom.”

We went in, me behind Samantha, and opened the lid to a box where I see the head (kinda cute, actually) of a possum nestled in a nest of towels.  She tells me that Ms. Possum comes out once a day to eat (people food), drink, poop and pee…and then goes back in to nest.  Ms. P was a rescue possum who has a bum leg and can’t walk well.  I bravely said that I had no issues with pet-sitting a possum.


I see you.  You see me.  That’s all it’s ever going to be.

I arrived Wednesday afternoon of this week to start this gig.  Levi the Mastiff is massive and a weenie at the same time.  He wouldn’t come near me when I first visited.  On Wednesday—my first day here—he ran from me and wouldn’t eat any food.  When I opened the master bedroom door that goes to the deck to let both dogs out before the onset of the huge brewing storm coming in from the west, I wanted them to do their business before the storm.


Betty, the sweetie, hasn’t left the bedroom one time except to be coaxed outside to pee/poop.  She misses her Mom.

Well, Betty the deaf Lab wouldn’t budge and showed no interest in going outside to pee.  I went back to the written instructions that I took on my initial visit and saw that there were leashes in the garage.  I cautiously put a leash on her and coaxed her to go outside, down the steps where she pooped and peed right at the bottom of the steps and came immediately back in.  She showed no interest in eating any dinner from her bowl.


Like I said–> You stay away from me, I’ll stay away from you.



Once Levi got outside, he WOULD NOT COME BACK IN!!  He also barked at me with his deep scary voice (which belied the softie that he really is) and let me know that he would be in charge of this new relationship of ours.  The rain clouds got closer and then started dumping their torrents.  Still Levi remained determined that he wouldn’t come in because that’s what I wanted him to do.

There is Door A in the master bedroom.  I rediscovered Door B coming from the family room.  Both open to the back deck.  I came up with a plan.  [Rain, lightening, thunder!]  I decided to lure him in by laying treats in a path coming into the open-doored bedroom—Door A—and then when I saw that he was in the bedroom (by peering sneakily from Door B) I ran through the rain to Door A and close Levi in from the outside and then run back to Door B and close us all in.   He sensed a trick and as soon as he knew that I was running through the rain to close Door A, he ran quickly back out into the storm.  We did this dance a bunch of times.  Of course, we were both soaked [Rain, lightening, thunder, storm warnings on TV!]


Yummy dinner.  You cook almost as well as my Mom!

I took a break from this extremely fun game to feed Ms. P.  I warmed up the zucchini, summer squash and chicken that her Mom left for Dinner #1, sprinkled the requisite cheese on top, added a dollop of yogurt and put it on the bathroom floor in front of the box.  I closed the door fully intending to not watch.  But then I realized that I of course WANTED to see her eating, so I cracked the door and there she was in all her glory, eating her nutritious dinner.  She was about three times bigger than I had imagined from just seeing her face.  She was really quite cute (and still is).  After she finished her meal, she went back into the cave.  Easy.


You will not win.  I am smarter than you!

Back to Levi.  I had to come up with Plan B.  I decided to entice him into Door B with a trail of treats and then run from Door A to Door B to close him in. (Mind you, he watched me from the outside through the open door of whichever room I was in.)  Several attempts failed.  He sensed my plan every time and ran back out and ran past me after snarfing up as many treats as he could in the shortest amount of time, acting deathly afraid of me.  I was soaking wet and cold.  I decided that I was tired of being outsmarted by this giant dog.  I had to think even smarter.

I made a longer line of treats and broke them into smaller pieces and made the line go through the family room to the kitchen and into the dining room.  I also turned on the TV to make noise so he couldn’t hear me coming.  This plan worked!!  When I closed Door B behind him, I ran quickly over the deck back to Door A and closed us in!!  I was so proud.  He was mad, but still avoided me at all cost.


Tonight’s dinner includes a scrambled egg!  YUM!

Ms. Possum ate with fervor.  Neither Levi nor Betty ate any dinner.  Betty is old, so I put hands-full of the dry food in front of her.  I never saw her eat it, but the little piles kept disappearing.  Since Levi didn’t touch his four cups of food, I decided to put his bowl into the bedroom so he could eat when he got hungry in the night.  Sigh.  What is wrong with me?

I got little sleep that night.  Both dogs were restless and switched dog beds often.  The laminate floor allowed me to hear each dog claw with each step.  At some point in the dark of night, Levi decided he would eat some food.  Oh. My. God.  I can’t even describe the cacophony of sound coming from that direction.  Let’s just say he is not a dainty eater:  It sounded something like rocks being ground up in a metal blender.  When he finished, I tried to go back to sleep—to no avail.  I watched some granddaughter videos on my phone for a while and eventually slept again.

Both dogs were up way before my alarm, just walking around the room.  It was light out, so I opened the door and both dogs went out.  Only Betty came back in of course.  I had to do the treat dance many times again to entice Levi into the house.  Once I corralled him, I was able to go to work.  This has been our pattern each time he is outside.  It is now Friday evening and he is trying really hard to get close to me.  I’m sitting on the deck writing and he walks by me, maybe three feet away.  When he is close I have to hold absolutely still.  If I talk or move, he jumps like he has just been electrically shocked and runs away.  I can tell he is a sweetie.  He wants to love me, but he just can’t trust me.

I am getting ready to pack it up for the night.  He’s been walking in and out, in and out of both doors which I just leave open (fortunately it’s summer and not winter!).  I’m getting ready to leave a long treat trail.  I hope he falls for the treat trick the first time tonight.

I am here until Sunday.  Maybe we’ll be friends by then, maybe we won’t.  Clearly, Ms. Possum and I have no issues, however.  She eats on time, she pees on time and she goes back to bed without any complaints.  She is my favorite!

P.S. Levi and I spent at least 30 minutes going from door to door, me on the inside, he on the outside.  He absolutely knew the plan.  He was determined to not let me win.  Exasperated, I finally closed both doors, leaving him outside to let him think about what he ultimately wanted.  Said the social worker.  HAHA.

Later I opened Door B and sat and watched TV in the family room.  Levi eventually came into the kitchen to inhale all the snacks and I stealthily closed Door B behind him.  Now he is lying on the floor beside me.  He really wants to like me.  But if I move when he approaches, he freaks and runs.  Poor baby.

That Day My Two Tubs of Family Photos Fell Out of My Car and I Drove Off Without Knowing It

The secluded property with two houses at Eagle Creek Reservoir was my first dog-sitting gig and also will be close to my last.  I spent many weeks and much time in both houses, caring for one, two or three dogs depending on who was home and who was vacationing.  I grew to love the koi pond, the gardens, and the winds in the trees.  I saw whooping cranes, hawks, pileated woodpeckers and got serenaded many evenings by great horned owls.  The place began to feel like home to me, so the day I left for the last time, I felt sad and nostalgic.


Sweet Ted and I went for daily walks through the neighborhood.  Except for that one night when he didn’t want to go.  I have two scars attesting to that night.

Ted Turner sat on my lap as we watched the huge, colorful koi swimming peacefully beneath the gurgling waterfall.  In the last three weeks, the cherry trees, the Korean Spice bushes, the lilacs, the Lilies of the Valley all bloomed and filled the air with sweet, pungent aromas.  Each blooming helped ease my discomfort living through the first spring of having none of my own gardens to enjoy.

When I was packed up and the house was cleaned, I put Ted in his crate, locked the door behind me and drove off.  Without a home of my own, I clearly become attached to the homes I stay in and the pets that I care for.  After some minutes, I pulled off the road and texted the three adults who lived on the property (and were due home from the airport any minute) thanking them for trusting me with their homes and animal family members.  I was feeling a tad dramatic.  As I was pulling out, I looked in the rear view mirror of my Forester SUV and the view was a bit too clear.  I realized that I wasn’t looking through glass, but straight out the back of the car.

I parked, got out to figure out what was going on and saw that not only was the door up, but there were big empty holes where tubs had just been wedged in for the move to my next location.  I now remembered a clatter when I went up a hill at some point and at that moment I assumed that the tubs had just shifted toward the back.  Now I saw that I had lost several containers of somethings!  Oh. My. God.  What on earth was wrong with me?  I can’t seem to save myself from myself.

Now I realized that I had to go back to the house, desperately hoping that the things had fallen out in the slightly sloped driveway and that the owners had not yet gotten home from the airport.  As I drove down the street, as much as I would have liked to see them, I was chanting, “Please don’t be home, please don’t be home.”  And…….the garage door was up and they were all taking bags out of the car.  I’m almost past any ability to feel embarrassed about my life’s ridiculous turns, but I drove up and said through my rolled-down window, “I’m BACK!”  They all laughed.

I asked if they had seen any tubs in the driveway and they said no, but there were several tubs beside the road out at  56th street!!  They said one tub looked like there were shoes in it.  They had even commented to each other that they looked like my tubs, but had no reason to suspect that they would be mine.  (I guess they don’t know me very well.)  I thanked them—again—and drove quickly to see what remained of my belongings.

And, yes, there beside the stop sign on the sloped road getting on to 56th street were three tubs laid carefully in the grass.  Someone had obviously picked them up from the road and placed them out of harm’s way.  And believe it or not, two of the three tubs were my FAMILY PICTURES!!  Those tubs were completely intact.  The other tub was a now busted up tub–in it the only shoes that I have left to my name.  By the shape of everything, I am guessing that my guardian angel picked up the strewn-in-the-road shoes and put them carefully into the broken tub, and carefully placed them, together with the picture tubs, under the stop sign.  Somehow when crazy stuff happens to me, there always seems to be an angel protecting me and allowing the outcomes to not be the worst case scenarios.

So there are two possibilities of what could have happened.  I am choosing to believe that I did not drive away with the back door up on my Forester SUV.  I was distracted, but I will not believe that I could have done such a stupid thing.  More than likely, the door was not latched and when I stopped on the sloped incline, the tubs fell back and the door flew open.  What I thought was a loud shifting backwards of tubs was actually a loud falling-out-of-the-car of tubs.  Sigh.

So today is Mother’s Day.  I moved back home to Indiana on Mother’s Day 27 years ago with two little girls.  Six weeks from today, on Father’s Day, I will be driving away from our family reunion with my sister Julie heading out for our cross-country adventure, ending up in Oakland, California where I will be reunited with those same little girls and I will move in to my new digs on July 1st.  At that point, I will have been on this nomadic adventure for 11.5 months.

Stay tuned.  I have some exciting things happening this week.  Wild animals are involved.




Exciting News: My World has Shifted and It’s Definitely Leaning West!!

Life as a nomad had become a bit staid, even routine.  In the past weeks, I found myself with nothing to share.  No ghosts in the vents, no dogs eating chickens, no big personal insights, no car getting stolen.  I’ve had a couple of jobs in repeat homes and have stayed with dear friends for a while in their home.  We all have started calling this place my “home” as I feel that welcome and comfortable here.  Their two dogs hang out on my bed with me and greet me at the door as a household member now.  This part of being a nomad is clearly fulfilling the 4th goal of cementing friendships before I leave the state.

Two gigs got cancelled, one due to a loss of a job (thus they couldn’t afford the planned vacation) and the other due to a marital separation.  Both are sad situations, but left me with holes in my nomad calendar.   This is ending up being a great thing, because I get to spend more time with friends before I…

…MOVE TO CALIFORNIA AT THE END OF JUNE!  That’s right!  This June!  In 2.5 months, I’m heading to the West Coast.  Am I excited?!  Can you tell?  Here’s what happened:

On the Friday before our 2-week Spring Break, my school district offered a monetary incentive (via email) for retirement-eligible employees to retire at the end of this school year.  Previously, I have had to wait until I can collect Social Security payments at the beginning of 2017 (and other financial reasons) before I could quit my job and move to Oakland.  This incentive will allow me to make the move earlier than planned!

After conferring with everyone affected, I quickly decided this could work!  I arrived in Oakland on Tuesday morning of Spring Break knowing that I would finally be moving there sooner rather than later.

So, I haven’t shared with many people where I will be living in Oakland. I will be buying a condo in a new co-housing community named Phoenix Commons.  I like to describe co-housing as a combination of a commune and a condo.  I will later write more about this community of which I have been an active member for over 2 years.  Members have just moved in to the new building and I was able to stay in the guest suite for the 10 days I was in town.  I will tell you more about Phoenix Commons, located in an interesting section of Oakland called Jingletown, in future posts.

THIS is what is pulling me to Oakland.

But the most exciting part of my move to Oakland is getting to be near my two daughters, my son-in-law and my darling 18-month old granddaughter!  I was able to spend a lot of time with all of them while there and I can’t believe I’ll be there so soon.  Being reunited with my family has been my guiding star for the past 5-6 years of this process.

So, yes, my world has shifted and I am westward bound!  I have too many things to accomplish in too little time.  But I work well under pressure.  I’ll keep you posted.

Dog Fight in the Middle of the Night—On My Pillow


Ventura the Rascal

Ventura is known as the rascal, a real feisty little doggie.  He is a people-food fiend.   He can sometimes be a bully to his ‘brother’ Ted and ‘sister’ Twiggy.   They tell me that he doesn’t like a lot of people.  However, Ventura and I get along really great—especially when I’m not eating and he’s not begging and pushing past every barrier to get to my food.  Ventura loves to lick.  He licks my face ceaselessly.  He licks my clothes.  He licks my hands and fingers.   His ‘love’ is boundless.

Thus, I was not prepared when Ventura’s Dark Side unceremoniously came bursting out.  Maybe because I WAS ASLEEP!

Twiggy, Ace me

Hangin’ close!

Stepping back for a minute, I often don’t know about all the pets’ habits of the animals that I care for.  When I stayed here last summer, at least two of the three dogs slept with me on my full bed, but I don’t think I was ever told if that was acceptable or not.  They jumped on; I let them stay.  Animals are very good about letting me know their habits.  If they come in and make a bee-line straight to the treat jar, I figure they get a treat when they come in, so I give them one.  Like that.

Twiggy on pillow

Seriously?!  She loves sleeping on my pillow!

So one night last week, Ventura and big sis, Twiggy, were both sleeping on my full-sized bed.  Some nights, they sandwich me in, each on one side of me—as close as they can get.   Twiggy is a real snuggler and can’t get close enough to me.  I have often found her lying across the top of my pillow when I wake up.  One weekend morning when I went back to bed after their early morning outdoor jaunt, I put a pillow over my head—which Twiggy promptly sat her WHOLE BODY on top of!!

So, back to the story, one night I slightly remembered Twiggy jumping from the bed in the middle of the night.  Ventura had me all to himself.  Around 3am, Twiggy jumped up to rejoin us and Ventura was having none of that!  A dog fight ensued. A real barking, feuding, biting fight on top of me.  I sat up, yelling STOP!  STOP!  STOP!  They moved on to my pillow.  I tried to put the pillow between them.  Fail.  BARK, SCREAM, YELP!  I put my hand in the mix, trying to pry them apart.  I finally separated them and after determining none of us were bleeding, I put Ventura out of the bedroom and closed the door.  A lesson learned for him.

Little did I know Ventura was not about to learn any lessons that night.  He whimpered and howled and barked.  I was determined to stay firm and wait him out, even though I had an early morning meeting.  After about 20 minutes, I gave up and came out of the bedroom—only to step in a big puddle of warm pee.  Poor thing had been traumatized by his banishment.  After cleaning that up, I went back to bed, leaving the door open, but the adrenaline was still flowing and I couldn’t sleep.

I went to the living area and turned on the TV.  The temperature at this house seems to be set a bit higher than others, and the thermostat didn’t seem to show any display, even after I pushed some buttons.  [I later figured out that that wall appliance wasn’t even the thermostat at all,  after I saw the real thermostat on another wall.]  So I picked up a remote control that had up and down buttons, thinking this might control the temperature.  [This is a very tech-savvy property.]  I pressed what looked like an ON button and then a MENU button and probably a third button and SWOOSH! . . . the fireplace had a magnificent fire in it!  At 4am.   And I hadn’t lit it.  HAHAHA!

ace closeup

Ventura–while I am eating anything.

I laughed out loud.  Ridiculous.  I felt stupid and nutty and carefree!   This is one of those special moments when I just love being a nomad.  The world around me is slightly askew.  I’m always slightly on edge.  Nothing in my home life is extremely familiar.   I’m always searching for something: a sharp knife, a bigger mug for my tea, a towel, an electrical outlet closer to the bed, a remote control that I can manage, a light switch, a thermostat.

In the moment of searching the unfamiliar, my mind invariably asks, Where, Who, What, Why?  Intrigued, questioning, wondering, observing, living.

Simply put:  A dog fight on my pillow in the middle of the night  lets me know I’m truly living.

“It’s not in the life, it’s in the living.”
― Raheel Farooq








Month in the Woods: Mini-Crisis Rescues

I had my mettle slightly tested this first week of a month-long gig taking care of two/three dogs and a feral/friendly outdoor cat.  Well, I didn’t really have my mettle tested, but I found out that I could have had my mettle tested.

So here’s the story.  I have returned to the second home where I stayed on my Great Adventure.  Last July, this setting offered me respite to stop and breathe after the whirlwind of selling and leaving my home.  It’s a very private property surrounded by trees and nature.  There is a main house where Husband and Wife live with doggie Ted and a smaller house where Mother lives with two doggies Twiggy  & Ventura (names always changed to protect their privacy) with Kitty outside.

Wife and her Mother are vacationing and I am living in the smaller home with two doggies and when Husband leaves on business trips, I am also taking care of third doggie, Ted.  Slighty complicated, but that’s the setting.  [I will post more about Ted, Twiggy and Ventura later!]

Kittie1I feed Kitty twice each day on the front porch.  (He sleeps in a heated kitty house but loves being outside during the day.)  He is always there waiting for food and is an affectionate cat.  I arrived here Tuesday evening and on Friday morning Kitty was not there for breakfast.  Kitty is ALWAYS there for breakfast.  I texted Husband who said he would look for him and I left for work.

We texted later and it seemed that Kitty had gotten into a skirmish of some sort and he was lethargic and skittish and there was too much cat hair on the porch.  For the next two days we texted coordination of care for Kitty as we watched over him and kept him in the warmer garage at night.  A trap was put out the first night to see if a raccoon was the culprit, etc.  [He’s fine now but needed some watching and TLC for a bit!] Kittie2

I did become aware that if Husband had not been home, I would have had to step up and assume total responsibility of care.  It’s one thing to write down veterinarian information on my form, but it’s another thing altogether to have to deal with a medical crisis with someone else’s pet.  I hope I will never have to call in to work for a pet emergency.  But this brought the possibility closer to reality.

Then as that mini-crisis ended, I was cooking dinner last night and the smoke alarm started beeping.  No big deal.  I waved a towel at it; put a lid on the pot.  Beep…beep… beep.  Sigh.  Got a chair.  I’d never seen this kind of alarm before.  Beep.  I found the button to push to reset; it was disguised, but I found it and pushed it…several times.  Beep.  I tried to pry the cover off.  I couldn’t twist it, I couldn’t pry it.  I didn’t want to break it.  Beep.  I waited.  Beep.  Waited some more.  Beep.  Stood on the chair and tried everything again.  Beep.  I knew the inevitable had arrived.  Beep.  I had to do what I HATE to do.  I had to ask for help from a man—the Husband.  Something I had to do rarely—well, somewhat rarely—in the 26 years I lived as a single female homeowner.  Beep.

But I felt embarrassed.  I texted Husband—again—who of course texted back to wave a towel and push the button.  Sigh.  Beep.  He didn’t understand that I wouldn’t have contacted him if I hadn’t already done those things.  Beep.  He came over and pushed the camouflaged button and realized that it wasn’t working well (the battery had just been changed one week before).  He twisted it off (Hrmph!) and took it with him to take apart.

So, the question remains:  what would I have done had Husband not been in residence?  I would have had to keep working on it until I figured out how to get it off the ceiling even if it meant breaking it.  I wasn’t prepared to break the alarm knowing that he was home.   Again, as embarrassing as it was for me, I was very happy to have back-up in both of these two situations. sunset4

P.S.  I’ll post more on doggie antics later.

P.S.S.  This was this morning’s sunrise when doggies didn’t want me to sleep in.

P.S.S.S.  That is Twiggy in the driveway—after she sat on my head while I was in bed. Literally.  HA!


Ghost in the Vents

Penny thinks that I brought the ghost with me.  Why?  Because her doggie, Rowdy, was not obsessed with the heat vents before I came to stay with her and her husband at the beginning of January.  No one minds, mind you.  The mystery is thrilling…at least to me.  Penny and Norm (fake names, of course) are mildly amused and confused.

Rowdy is a slightly quirky Chihuahua who was thrown over the shelter fence and who retained some physical injuries and some peculiar personality traits.   About a week after I arrived for my month-long stay with my good friends, Rowdy started growling at the living room heat vent.

J;yoti bodieThere is a fabulous table made from an old suitcase in front of the living room vent and Rowdy kept going around the suitcase, side to side, and growling.  I laid on the floor and watched in amazement.  He even sat and looked THROUGH the suitcase and stared in the direction of the vent and shook in seeming fear.  What was going on?!Bodie staring at vent beside suitcase

In the upcoming days Rowdy’s fears extended to the vents in ‘my’ bathroom.  In fact, his fears intensified.  He now was clearly afraid to go near the bathroom vent.  He obsessed over it for hours at a time.  He growled.  He barked.  He kept guard.  He sometimes went to the two vents in my attached bedroom vents as well.

bodie purple drapesWe three adults were left to theorize.  What the hell was going on?

Penny and Norm thought that he didn’t like the air coming out.  I shot that theory down quickly as Rowdy freaked out and shook even when the fan wasn’t on.  Was it an animal in the crawl space?  Was it an animal in the vent? Was it a dead animal that smelled?

Penny took the vent cover off several times to see if there was actually something there to see or hear or smell.  Nothing.vent cover off

The answer that made the most sense to me was a GHOST in the vent!  Rowdy went to a total of six different vents around the house.  He obsessed on different vents on different days.  Some days the ghost was living elsewhere and Rowdy didn’t pay any attention to any vents in this house.  And then BAM!  OMG!  WHAT’S IN THE VENT!?  Bark, Bark, Bark!

bathroomBodie barking-PAXP-deijEI’m leaving my gracious hosts and pets (Rowdy has an elderly brother) on Tuesday to go to a month-long, dog-sitting gig.   Penny thinks that the ghost will go away because it arrived with me when I arrived.  She has no basis for her theory.  Nor do I have basis for my theory of a ghost at all.  But I ask you, dear reader…do you, by chance, have a better theory?

That Day My Car Got Stolen (With All My Lifetime of Photos in the Back)

All of my photos fit into three big tubs when I packed up and moved out of my house last July.  I stored the tubs in my 10’ X 10’ storage unit (where all of the possessions that I still own are stored) until I had the time to digitize all of them.  I then plan to dispose of them all.  Yes, you heard me.  I must get rid of my photos (as I did most of my other possessions) because I plan to live in a very small place when I move to Oakland California in a year or so.

In December I picked up the tubs because I had planned to start digitizing the photos over winter break while at my sister’s house.  It never happened.  So the photo tubs are still in the back of my Forester—waiting for another chance to tackle such a huge task.

car photosOne day I took a sharp turn with my car and one tub fell off of another tub and the lid detached, strewing our family’s life memories all over the back of the car.  They had previously been in neat rows and stacks and piles.  I didn’t immediately clean up the mess because it was too cold outside.  On Saturday, I bundled up and cleaned up the wreckage.  I couldn’t remake the neat stacks, but I was able to close the lid on the tub.

That evening, Penny (name changed as usual), the friend with whom I’m staying, was making a curry for us to eat this week, and I went out to buy paneer at an Indian grocery store.  When I pulled up right in front of the door at 8:30pm, no other car was in the parking lot.  I bought a package of paneer and some garbanzo beans, spoke with the owner for a couple of minutes and walked out the door.  And then the shock came.  My car was not there!  In its place was a big red truck.

My feet were planted on the parking lot blacktop as thoughts raced through my mind.  All of my life’s pictures—gone.  My file container with all of my important papers—gone.  My tub of shoes—gone.  A tub of jackets—gone.  MY CAR!!—GONE!!

I stood there unable to move.  How could this have happened?!  I was just in the store for a few minutes.  Maybe I forgot to lock the doors before I went into the store?  I always lock my car when I get out!  How could this have happened so quickly?

I tried to stay calm but my heart started racing.  Having a car stolen makes life miserable.  Having a car stolen with so many personal items in the car will make my life miserable for a long while.  I kept pushing the the unlock button on the fob, hoping to hear a sound.  I heard nothing.  I felt crushed.  The emotion of what the next few days were going to entail started to overwhelm me.

Then I pushed the lock button, just pushing buttons, not thinking it would do any good, but just mindlessly pushing things to hope for a miracle.  And then the miracle happened!  I heard a beep!  I pushed the lock button and then the unlock button again and I heard the beep again.  I followed the sound, walking around the building to another side.  There was my car!!  All by itself—in front of the OTHER door of the store.

Sigh.  When I had paid for my items, I saw a door and went out the door.  Who would have guessed that such a small store would have doors on two sides of the building?

Obviously not me.

Tetherless: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

sunset3As a single person for 26 years now, I have come to realize that the inner dialogue of a single person is different from that of a coupled person.  As a member of a couple, my inner dialogue as I traveled daily from experience to experience was how I was going to share this experience with my partner.  I couldn’t wait to share and my inner dialogue was deciding what to share, what not to share, how to share, and could I put a comedic slant on it, etc.  Mind you, I did not realize that this inner dialogue existed until I no longer had a partner with whom to share my experiences at the end of the day. The present moment was always backed up with the anticipation of the relating of that moment.

covered bridgeSo, many experiences, while coupled, had a three-stage life:  1. The experience itself, 2. The thought about the telling of the experience to ‘the other’, and, 3. The telling about the experience to ‘the other.’  So when one abruptly becomes uncoupled through divorce or death or tragedy, we are left with only the first stage of an experience—which is just the experience itself. This is clearly not a bad thing, but is absolutely a huge adjustment.

A similar situation might be people who must take pictures of each experience to prolong the experience rather than just live it in the moment.  Without a picture, many people feel that an experience has not been validated and is somehow lessened in value.

And now that we have Facebook, no one ever needs to be uncoupled again.  Everyone who chooses to can share every aspect of their lives, slanted in any way they choose, with everyone in the world if they choose.  That’s how much some people are uncomfortable just living in the solitary present moment.  [But Facebook sharing is a whole different topic of its own!]

yellow treesSo back to tetherless.  Two days after this word came to my mind while driving on a road trip (I seriously doubt that I’d ever used it in my life) it was used in the book I was reading in a negative sense.  A chapter ended: Tetherless. Weak.  Those two words—Tetherless. Weak.  Hmmm.  And here I was…feeling so positive about feeling tetherless.  So I had to think some more.

Even uncoupled we are still tethered to our homes. We leave them each morning, feeling sure that they will welcome us each evening, providing safety and shelter. No matter how far we travel we remain tethered by an existential cord back to our ‘place.’

I no longer have that cord.  So as I drive down each road, I feel existentially tetherless.  I’m uncoupled and without a home of my own. My car is my only ‘home.’ It’s quite a liberating feeling.

sierra on brushI especially feel it when I am traveling from one house to the next house.  At those moments, I am literally without a roof over my head; I belong nowhere. I feel loosely connected to the earth and to the skies, but nothing pulls me forward or backward or right or left.

Tetherless. Not a bad thing. Not necessarily a good thing. Just a present moment thing.

Confessions of a Nomad: Part 1

So far I’m accumulating three categories for these blog confessionals:

  1. Stupid stuff I’ve done;
  2. Things I’ve left at peoples’ houses;
  3. Any other random things I choose to add.

I started out with a pretty good record of not leaving stuff at places I’ve stayed, although in the very second house where I dog-sat, I left my phone charger cord and some food in the fridge.  Because the third house I was staying in was in a completely opposite side of town, I had to arrange a rendezvous in a shopping center with a relative of the owner.  I resolved to be more careful, so I did better for a long time.

Recently, however, I’ve lost my mind.

boot6When I left Poppy’s after 6 weeks she texted me and said she knew I’d be back soon, as I had left my COMPUTER!  Then a few days later I got out my gray boots to wear and found only one.  I contacted Poppy who did find the other one under my bed, and I went to pick it up.  Since that time, I can’t find both in my car in any of my tubs. Isn’t my one gray boot cute? Sigh! I hope I still have both of them. Somewhere.

I got a text from my surgery friend where I most recently stayed and she told me that she found my black Skechers under her dining room table. OK. At least she lives fairly close to work when I get back to Indiana. (I’m still at Sister Julie’s in Ohio and headed to my niece’s house in Michigan tomorrow.)

I went to Trader Joe’s and bought stuff for Christmas  at Julie’s who lives in Ohio while I was still in Indy and left it in Poppy’s refrigerator:  Sushi, Fresh Green Bean Almondine, Guacamole. Bummer. I hope they were able to enjoy it.

When I left Brother Tom’s house on a Sunday after spending time with his family’s Christmas celebrations and while on my way to Brother Mike’s farm, I realized I left my only phone charger plugged in in Tom’s kitchen.  For 2 days at Mike’s I made due with only my car charger.

On Tuesday I bought a new charger on my way to Poppy’s house where I stayed over night for one night to see Morgana who was in town from Los Angeles! I left my new charger plugged into the wall when I left her house and had to buy a new one on Wednesday (less than 24 hours after I bought the last one) on the way to Julie’s house. Doofus brain.

Under the random category, I’ve lost two bras somewhere.  I miss the black one.

Also under the same category, I peed behind the Broad Ripple Art Center one evening and I’m pretty sure no one saw me.  Crusty the dog also peed there.  So, what’s the big deal?

Life at Full Throttle?

Mikes Christmas treeBrother Mike read all 20+ of my blog posts at the same time sitting beside me in his family room.  When he finished, I asked him what he thought.  Well, you are homeless and you feel free.

I had nothing to say back.  I sat in silent contemplation, deciding maybe I needed to stop writing.  After a few minutes, I realized that Mike clearly had boiled down my experience to its essence.   However, I need a few more words.  So, I allowed myself to once again feel the intense sense of freedom and happiness when I hit the road as I left his wonderful homestead.

Sometimes as I drive on road trips, I burst out in laughter.  Sometimes I break out in song. I often catch myself grinning. Areas that I’ve traveled by a hundred times look brand new to me. The world seems to sparkle a bit brighter.

So, when I was at a dinner party two nights ago, I was talking to a good friend and I heard myself say that I was happier than any time in my life, I was surprised that I instantaneously wanted to also throw up—that I felt like I had just become a huge cliché. I simultaneously heard a 16-year-old girl talking to her girlfriends giddily KNOWING that she would marry her current boyfriend. I heard a 21-year-old girl/woman swooningly about to marry her young love. I heard a new mother who was overwhelmed having just birthed her new baby. I heard a 40-year-old woman who had FINALLY found true love in her third husband. Yuck!

What was happening to me? What in the hell was I THINKING and/or FEELING?! Of course I wasn’t the happiest that I had ever been in my entire life? I have lived a pretty darn good life.

Fortunately I was talking to a centered, thoughtful friend who immediately provided a different perspective. He said that he thinks that I am experienced and old (mature) enough to truly appreciate what a lack of great responsibility means. I agreed. Today, my sister, Julie, just told me she thinks that I am so happy because I always live my life full-throttle regardless of circumstances and I am getting an opportunity to truly go for it. I’ll have to think about that one a bit more.

I have always been amazed that each person’s new, latest lover and/or mate is SO much better than the last one.  But, of course, that HAS to be true.  Why wouldn’t that be true? Why would anyone fall in love with someone who wasn’t better/funnier/nicer than the last husband/wife/lover?

We should always demand more of life as we get older and more experienced. Life is here for us to live. Sometimes we don’t have choices and it is dealt to us and we make the best of it. But, for goodness sake, if you have choices, and you don’t go for it and live it to the fullest, then that’s on you!

So, I’ve done a 180 and decided that, yes, I indeed AM the happiest I have ever been in my life!  Maybe I WAS really happy walking through the streets of Marrakech, Morroco. Maybe I WAS extremely happy sitting on the rocks watching and listening to the crashing waves in Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine. Maybe I was ecstatically happy watching the sun rise over Mt. Everest in Nepal. Whatever. That was then. This is now. The future’s never coming and the past has never been.

I am loving life.  ‘Nuf said.

Merry Christmas!