A blog about living outside, first in my car, then in tents.

Bad health trumps another offer of help

On Monday, an acquaintance from the years I was on the board of the fire station heard about my situation and invited me over to the tiny 1940s one-bedroom settlement house she recently started renting. Also in dire straits, she generously offered me use of the shower, kitchen and living room in exchange for contributing to propane and other ways I might help. The next day I spent about three hours there, doing laundry, cooking a meal, reading and playing with her ferret-like miniature Dachshund. (My dogs stayed in the car under shade because although K has five acres, other close-in neighbors have animals that I figured my dogs would chase. And just a...
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“What happened to all that money you had?”

“What happened to all that money you had?”
It stands to reason that that question, although unasked, is likely in the minds of people out here who have known me a few years. I never hid, although I did not often mention, that I came into money when my parents died in 2002 and 2003. Three answers. One: I lived on it for about eight years. Two: Most went into the house. Three: Some went (rather compulsively because it made me feel good) into buying pretty things. The inheritance was released in dribs and drabs over six years, so there was never enough at any given point to invest and live on. I do wish it had all come at once; I...
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It’s A Howl!

It’s A Howl!
I think dogs howl together and with other nearby dogs (or sirens) as a way to express and even vent their exuberance for life. When I had a third dog, Thor, and lived in the house, for a year or so all the dogs in the neighborhood would join in an amiable howl every day at dusk. It was like they were socializing, checking in on how their day had gone. “I went for a walk all the way to the top of the hill!” one would say. “I got a bone for breakfast!” another would announce. At the end, the yips become synchronized: Carlos will bark then listen, Dwyn will listen then bark....
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13 Painless Ways to Help Someone Living in Their Car

You find out an acquaintance or friend is homeless. You want to help but don’t know how. And, admit it, you don’t really want to get involved. People’s strong emotions make you uncomfortable. You do not want to get mixed up with someone who might have problems that are bigger than you can fix. I know. While not admirable reactions, they are understandable. I had them, too, when I was more fortunate. So here are low-involvement ways of helping with basic needs while also preserving the homeless person’s dignity. FOOD Getting food is not the only problem for the homeless. Storing it, cooling it, and cooking it can be more difficult. Solutions: 1. Loan...
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Kicked Out of a Thrift Store

I woke up feeling SO GOOD! Better than I have, it seemed, in years! It lasted about four hours. I was going to go to camping stores to research equipment options for surviving the heavy summer rains, to then put on my wish list. On the way to REI I stopped at a thrift store to look for non-Teflon skillets. I’d been there before and knew it was nicely organized, clean and had great deals. When I entered, the clothes racks lured me over to look for skirts. My pants and skirts are now large enough that I frequently hitch them up, and any smaller clothes I might still possess are buried in storage....
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And still …

And still …
Despite sleeping well in a real bed, I woke up hurting, and four hours later I am exhausted. This time, it is easier to guess the pain’s source: there might have been corn starch in that delicious chocolate cream pie I discovered at a local restaurant. Plus, coffee. Plus, Friday night’s shot of Bailey’s and whiskey both probably have caramel coloring, which is made from either wheat or corn, both of which give me soft tissue inflammation. Harder to figure out is why my stomach is upset after our breakfast of eggs, onion and garlic. Once again “safe” foods seem to cause me mysterious problems.
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Lap of Luxury

Lap of Luxury
May I never rail against desert sprawl development again. Central air conditioning (no moldy swamp cooler!), refrigerators, freezers, hot water at the tap, outdoor furniture, hoses and buckets, washers and dryers, and wifi all over the house. I’ve always been grateful for what I have. In the years I saw losing my home coming, I frequently thanked god for things we take for granted: water, roofs, porches, sunshine, flowers, libraries, paved streets, art and beauty of all kinds, etc. But after seven weeks of car living, I am particularly grateful for this overnight visit to a friend’s house in a desert suburb.
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