Extreme Minimalism

Pushing on with my plan to travel the back roads throughout the United States. I have been purging and purging and purging some more deciding what I absolutely must possess to survive living in a cargo van. I have always said when packing for a trip that I am not leaving the planet. So if I find myself without some vital necessity I could always go buy it. Don’t panic. Still I find myself experiencing stress right now. Maybe it’s just nervous anticipation since I have yet to head out on my own to a destination other than a hotel or someone’s home. I wonder if I will get too cold. I wonder if I will finally get the all stuff I am keeping loaded into my van. Too much wondering. Focus on doing! Friday September 29 is the deadline I set to get on the road.

Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic!!!



Whoa. Wait. What?!!!

Something happened between the time of my last blog entry and now. It has been six years! Feels like a whole lot more than that.

First thing that happened was I got a job. So of course all of my self employment endeavors came to an end… at least put on hold. I did work on the bee hive but that had to fold as well since my job required me to relocate.

Fast forward to the present. I have retired, sold my house, bought a cargo van, and plan to live as a vagabond. I am not interested in living in one place or being tied to home maintenance. I wish to travel around the country on back roads, visit family and friends, and enjoy all the natural wonders that exist out there. Come along with me as I continue to follow my heart and explore whatever this world has to offer.

Pondering the day

Today is my birthday. It has been very nice. People on Facebook are reminded of the day and wish me well. Old friends out of the blue call me up or e-mail me and surprise me with their thoughts of happiness. A simple gift of a piece of chocolate cake from my roommate.  What could be better? Life is good. I am content.

I get to do whatever I want. How many people in this world get to say that? I thrill over just being able to sit here writing my blog and listen to Pandora with headphones on my head. Music is such a wonderful gift. Crash Test Dummies, Jerry Garcia, David Grisman (Grateful Dawg), Maria Callas, and Patti Smith. Don’t forget to sing along.

I just got back from a trip across the country to visit my brother who I haven’t seen for over 15 years. Surprised the shit out of him! It was great. And I got to see his three sons, my nephews, as well. We are all getting old. Life goes on regardless of what choices you make or opportunities you let slip by. I am trying my best to not let opportunities get away.

We are here to leave a mark on the world.

It’s all about the bees

Honey bees are very interesting creatures. They are a matriarchal society and extremely organized. The reason I am discussing them is I am officially becoming a beekeeper, otherwise known as apiarist. I did some research and took a beekeeping class from Paul Cronshaw (“The Beeman”) at Fairview Gardens ( http://www.fairviewgardens.org/). Next step: build a beehive. The plans for building the highly popular 10-frame Langstroth Beehive are readily available online at The Bee Source (http://www.beesource.com/). I bought a 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ sheet of plywood last night and will start cutting the boards for the hive today. I’m so excited!

Honey bees do wonderful things for us. Did you realize that without these workers we would suffer a serious food shortage? Their top job is to pollinate plants many of which are the plants that produce our fruits, vegetables, nuts, wine grapes, hops for beer, etc. And recently several perils are affecting the mere existence of the honeybee. Their numbers have been dwindling. Many things have been identified as killers of the bees so beekeepers are becoming more and more vital to the survival of the honeybee and as stewards to the survival of U.S. agriculture. Beekeepers can travel across the country with their hives to service crops in need of pollination. ROAD TRIP!!!

Now about honey. Some people say that taking honey from a beehive is stealing from the bees. In the purest sense, this is true. But bees who live in southern California rarely need to depend on stores of honey for survival since normally there are  nectar bearing flowers available to them year round. This is especially true for the urban bee with households maintaining flower gardens in their yards. So honey is a big perk for beekeepers.

Another direct product from the bee is beeswax. Did you know that burning beeswax candles produce no soot? And it’s great for polishing wood… and surf boards. Actually, the list of uses for beeswax is HUGE! I will have to develop the list for myself as my wax stash grows.

Enough blogging. I must begin building. I will post photos to document my progress in future posts. Sign up for your very own bottle of pure, organic honey real soon.

Self employment here I come

I better get cracking on launching my business. Being unemployed I cannot use the excuse that I have no time. I applied for an Etsy account and did a few things to set up my store but mostly have been spending lots of my time researching and reading all sorts of online information about starting a business. Etsy has a tremendous online source of information and various methods of support. After all, if the Etsy stores are successful then Etsy is successful as well. But I am feeling frozen in my efforts. This is all new to me and I suppose I am afraid of failure. Classic, right? So I have an appointment to meet and discuss my business plans with someone from SCORE counseling. SCORE (http://www.score.org) is “a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed” according to their website. Maybe with some hand-holding I can get past my fear and jump into the task at hand. Discipline versus procrastination.

The desire is to be sole proprietor of my own company and spend my days doing the kind of work that I enjoy. I have a few ideas for what I would like to pursue as a business besides selling my handcrafted jewelry. Starting a small farm on my property is another. When I eventually move onto the property to live full time I hope to add chickens, goats, sheep, possibly alpacas, and a fish pond for talapia. I could still continue my jewelry business and expand into fiber arts thanks to the generosity of my four-legged friends. Wish me luck or, better still, kick me in the butt and say “get cracking!”

Back to the 9.1%

The new job just ended. It was NOT a good fit for me and apparently for the owner . I am not a willing victim. I have a problem with lack of respect from an employer and do not buy into the concept that anyone is better than anyone else in this universe. I witnessed so much drama and verbal attacks on several employees in the short time I was at this job and it sickened me. People are frozen in fear and walking on eggshells. Job safety conditions are also a serious concern for me and the company uses a lot of high health-risk acids and solvents but behaves as though they are using very small quantities. No thank you. Life is too short. I’m sorry to leave my coworkers because they are all wonderful and good people. I wish them all the best.

Recently transitioned from the 9.1% unemployed

Well it finally happened. I found a job a few weeks ago and have been earning a decent hourly wage again. The job is located such that I can live in my house and only commute a mere 15 miles to get there.  I’m doing process engineering as usual and learning new things. I am adjusting to change once more as when I became unemployed. It is interesting how one might expect to feel relief finding a full time job after 7 months but I notice I am more stressed as there is no guarantee this job will last.  My previous job only lasted 6 months and I keep taking major pay cuts. That means the money does not do much for shoring up my financial position for the future when I become unemployed again. Let us not forget the lack of health insurance. I am not yet old enough to retire but what does that mean? If you do not have a job you can call it whatever you want. Money becomes more and more scarce and as you become older that situation gets more difficult to alter. Therefore, I continue to pursue my plans to “employ” myself for myself and work on getting my jewelry business off the ground and get my fruit trees and other potential crops in the ground. That should at least help prevent going without food.

Favorite position in my house -- Looking out the back windows with feet up on the coffee table

New exercise for women

Ladies, I must share my new exercise for eliminating that unsightly underarm flab. It involves a very simple piece of equipment called a telescoping pole saw. If you use this saw only five to ten minutes a day about three days per week on tree branches of no less than three inches in diameter and well up over your head, you will begin to notice a difference in your underarm flab. You will also notice a lot of other things involving your body but a little Extra Strength Tylenol will take care of that. Now that my trees are trimmed I will have to volunteer my services to neighbors to keep up this exercise program. Please contact me through my blog. I feel the flab returning.

Pile of trimmed tree branches now in my backyard