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Out on the Limb

Global Blogging

Friday, April 29, 2005

Good news! Nikalai is coming to Seattle!

I have followed Nikalai's adventures for several months... before he got the job on a cruise ship. Now I have heard that the Sapphire Princess will be in the Seattle port in a couple of weeks. He has invited me to pop over to say hello, which I certainly plan to do.

nikalai.com is permanently linked under "Romania".

Here is a link to a live cam from the bridge of the Sapphire Princess; and more details about SP, such as the "Hearts and Minds wedding chapel with cruise industry's only wedding-at-sea program where passengers can be married by the ship's captain."

But the ship and all its glitz and frills are just things. And things are not nearly as fascinating or worthy as people. Nikalai is a personable and positive-thinking young man who takes responsibility for his destiny. We were just talking about positive thinking at spyder_z, my new Malaysian link, and at My Meandering Thoughts blogged by KL, a faithful reader of Out on the Limb.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I am very fortunate to be a part of the global community.
posted by Deb, 8:40 PM | link | 2 comments |

RV Show

We are headed for our 1st RV show this weekend. We hope to do more than look at mobile homes. I've been wondering what the chemical alternative is for our black water holding tank. We certainly don't want to add to the destruction of our waterways with yet more harmful chemicals. yuck.

Sea-Zyme looks promising. I'll have to ask my friends at RVforum what's what.

See you on the other wide of the week-end!
posted by Deb, 7:20 PM | link | 0 comments |


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

When we moved to our home in 1989, I bought a tiny Gasteria plant as a housewarming gift to myself. Last year, Gasteria suffered a near-death experience from too much lovin. The culprit?...excessive H2O. The root system rotted.

Isn't it interesting that the plant thrived until we come to the time in our life to move from this place we have called home for almost 16 years?

When I lifted Gasteria from her own earthen home, I discovered a couple of tiny shreds of new-life roots. I have re-planted those roots, and Gasteria is resting on my kitchen windowsill.

I hope she makes it.

I'll put the planter up for sale at a sister site to "Out on the Limb" after graduation ceremonies in June. Pretty much...everything is on hold until then.
posted by Deb, 8:31 PM | link | 1 comments |


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

In my quest to explore green options, I've come across a couple of good links I wanted to share:

1) Vivavi
"Vivavi is the definitive eco-modern lifestyle brand uniting modern living with environmental consciousness."
2) City Hippy
"The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life."
City Hippy interviewed the founder of Vivavi, Josh Dorfman, who has this to say:
"...always remember that you’'re a trailblazer and an inspiration. As a green entrepreneur you touch the lives of many people who you don’'t know and may never meet. They'’re rooting for you to succeed and your success gives them the confidence to pursue their own dreams."
Thanks for being trailblazers, guys.
Speaking of links...there has been a bit of trouble brewing in Belize lately. You can follow what little news there is from Simone's and Karen's blogs.
posted by Deb, 7:39 PM | link | 1 comments |

Matters of the Heart

Monday, April 25, 2005

CAT1002 smitty eyesautumn droplets LEA 1001Alpaca Sky HOF1003SUN1001 SJ sunset

Enya / Only Time / A Day Without Rain
Dear Earth,

I have been aware for some time that Your systems are malfunctioning. I am writing to tell You I will do all possible to help You regain Your health.

It grieves me that many of my fellow Earthlings are either blissfully unaware or in denial about the serious life-threatening condition of Your Soul. Some say global warming is fiction. I can see that this false claim is promoted by corporate interests. A simple yet thorough look at You reveals the truth of Your struggle.

Many easy remedies are available to people to help You heal. But the love of money and the comfort money buys is hindering progress. Your serious condition is not so much a matter of the intellect as it is a matter of the heart.

Can we as a species rise above our fear of poverty and the fear of change? Can we pause long enough to notice that fertility rates are dropping worldwide? Must we take the tigers down with us?...the whales?...the web of life? Will our waterways become modern day tar pits? Will our comforts evaporate like a desert mirage as Your Life supporting systems falter? Will future generation(s) of humans be forced to imagine your former glory?

Will respect for You, who sustains us, prevail?

Only time will tell. I know that our foolishness is of little concern to You, Earth, as You will continue to seek balance in every facet of Your Being. It is we who need to learn balance by observing the infinite lessons You have made available.

I give to You my heart and trust that the wisdom of your teachings will prevail. Thank you for giving us this chance today to do the right thing.

With kind regards,
This post is in cooperation with Progressive Blogger Union, PBU17

If you are in agreement with the above letter, please continue to speak out against Rapture, supporters of Rapture, and the false God they worship. If you are unfamiliar with Rapture, I beg you to investigate because the lunacy of Rapture is a serious hinderance to maintaining the natural world that God (by whatever name) created.
posted by Deb, 12:15 PM | link | 3 comments |

Going to China!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

No, not us. Son #1 leaves in less than 2 weeks!

He is scrambling to get ready. "You must blog" I tell him. That's it. That's my words of wisdom to my eldest. Blog.

I would gladly give him Mother Favorites as advice, but he is tone death to such words.

I want to hug him from here to....China.
posted by Deb, 9:28 PM | link | 1 comments |

Mowing Season

Saturday, April 23, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Under the red delicious apple tree...
posted by Deb, 5:16 PM | link | 2 comments |

Push and Pull

Friday, April 22, 2005

I mentioned yesterday that I might try to describe the "how and why" my husband and I plan to sell this beautiful spot on Earth to live in a mobile home.

The Push
overworked and underpaid
limited health care is the only benefit my employers pay
too much yard for too many years
our commute to work takes two hours each day

The Pull
new horizonsand a change of pace
the plan is to slow down and enjoy the moment
meeting people out and about
let's learn to live simply and wisely for Earth's sake

posted by Deb, 8:17 PM | link | 2 comments |

Baseball !

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I finally got to a baseball game! Yes, there is son #3 wearing uniform #3. The backdrop for the baseball diamond is the beautiful Cascade Mountains.The boys won, 11-1. It was a slow rather uneventful game, and very relaxing. The fat laden hotdogs smelled great. The ump asked who had the peanuts. I wished I had a cell phone so I could phone to my audio blog. Ahhhh...the sounds of baseball are the best.


How and why can I ever sell my little spot in this rich landscape?
I'll tell you more tomorrow, I think.
Oh...I didn't have the hotdog. I went home and had a vege samosa for dinner.
posted by Deb, 9:00 PM | link | 5 comments |

Doing The Combo

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I have been searching for blogs using keywords like vagabond and nomad. I want to read how others manage to do what my husband and I are planning...the work and travel combo. And so I landed at the Pixie Vagabond.

Pixie wanted to sell used books to finance living and roaming in an RV. The thing is, I can't find any entries past September 2003. What happened to her? Did she say goodbye to her readers? Is her soul withering behind the counter of a Taco Bell? She describes her fears:
"In the early hours of the morning I remembered to remind myself that I am not, in fact, stupid. I'm not perfect, and I'm not stupid. And everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately I couldn't remember any famous people quotes about how they failed a gazillion times and their wives left them and they were eating their last piece of mouldy bread when they hit the big time, at which point they gave their ex-wives the finger and remarried eighteen year olds who looked like Pam Anderson when she was still 100% organic. But I do remember thinking that perhaps if I start slow, small, maybe I have a chance. My losses will be smaller and I can find out what works before dumping the last of my coin. I have been so terrified, so driven by the fear that poverty is chasing my heels and that to slow down is only to delay the inevitable. But it doesn't have to be that way."
So I have sent an e-mail to Pixie. The e-mail address is 2 years old. Subject reads "Taco Bell or what?" I hope I get to hear the end of the story...

I found pixie at the Globe of Blogs, which I prefer to call "Globs". It's a busy place. I plug "nomad" into their search engine, and I see this nugget from Little Nomad
"Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself!"
My "nomad" search also brings me to Synaptic Waste. Synaptic is having a difficult day today:
"I had the brilliant notion to join a friend for his regular gym workout on Saturday. It was pecs, triceps and abs day.

The fact that I can no longer lift my arms above stomach level is a decent indication that I went a tad too far in my first weight workout in years. The fact that I can no longer wear pullover shirts, style my hair or carry a stapler without fits of whimpering is a constant reality check that one should take these things slowly. Putting on clothing brings me near tears and I'm faced with the same problem when it comes time to take them off at night. I'm seriously considering just wearing this set of clothes for the rest of the week.

With such a kick ass, tough-as-nails workout I'd feel like a total stud if I weren't spending so much time whining like a girl."
Haha...poor Synaptic! All of life is an adventure. As my husband and I work to become nomads in the next few months, who knows what adventures will arise. 1-1/2 weeks before we go to the RV show in Puyallup! Somewhere out there is a new home for us. Of course, we won't be buying until this home sells; and we won't be putting this home on the market until late June or July, I think. So for now, tell stories birth beauties!
posted by Deb, 5:02 PM | link | 1 comments |


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I feel rotten. lousy and rotten. My youngest, who is now 18, had a baseball game today, and I missed it because I forgot to look at the schedule.
Most of his games are in the early afternoon...too early for me to escape my cubicle. The team has been playing off and on for a few weeks now, with many games cancelled due to rain. Until today, all the games have been either too far away for me to get to in time from work; or too early because I am still in the busy season. I could have made this one, and it is an absolutely gorgeous warm sunny day.

I think I'll go crawl into a hole somewhere now.
posted by Deb, 7:01 PM | link | 4 comments |

Sliding Off The Lily Pad

Monday, April 18, 2005

I see our front-doorstep frog has slid off the lily pad. My youngest son placed the frog by the door a couple of years ago. The battery-powered frog has a motion sensor; and the frog lets loose with a loud (AUDIO BLOG PENDING) when the motion detector is triggered.

The first time I encountered Mr. Frog, I nearly jumped out of my skin. That is exactly the reaction my son was seeking, of course! Goodbye Mr. Frog.

HELP!! Can anyone help me get a .wav file from Windows Media Player to my new audio clip which is currently in draft status? I sure would appreciate it. Thanks.
posted by Deb, 5:58 PM | link | 3 comments |

Stepping Stones to Nomadness

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My friend from My Meandering Thoughts invited me over for tea, as long as I bring the cookies. I'm bringing jalebis. Yumm!! When I lived in Chicago, I would indulge the family with this treat a few times a year. Enjoy!

I love experiencing different places, cultures, foods, etc. I started thinking about a few of the milestones in my life that may have contributed to my nomadness. ("nomad-ness"...not "no-madness" :)

Age 2 mos: My parents are forced to move as flood waters from the Delaware River invade our apartment. According to my mother, I laughed heartily throughout that adventure.

Age 3: We move from New Jersey to Florida. I am overwhelmed with the vastness of the world. And NO WAY could the Easter Bunny cover that territory in one night.

Pre-Teen: My father begins traveling as part of his job requirement. The family tags along to various parts of the U.S. each summer. I begin to have a greater awareness and appreciation for various cultures.

Young Adult: I marry a man who shares my sense of adventure. We move from Florida to Chicago. (Oops! I forget to take into account various other personality traits...)

Young Mother: Three sons and 7 years later, we move from Chicago to Washington State. I love it here, and put down some roots so that the boys learn to nourish and value friendships. Husband #1 becomes a casualty of my youthful ignorance.

Now: The youngest son is graduating High School in a few weeks, and my roots are retracting like cat claws. It's a good thing husband #2 shares my sense of adventure.
posted by Deb, 2:12 PM | link | 1 comments |

Clue - At The Beach

Saturday, April 16, 2005

This is a picture of the Sand Dragon letter shortly after I found it on a west coast beach in December 2003.

As a child growing up by the Atlantic Ocean, I had fantasized about finding the proverbial letter in a bottle. Although this letter was not in a bottle, I feel very fortunate to have found it.

It was a cold rainy day. My husband and I were the only ones on the beach. As you can see in the picture, the letter was written on school paper. Perhaps that is what prompted me to pick it up. The paper was folded into quarters, and it was so wet I had to be quite careful opening it. The letter begins:

"Two summers ago I built a dragon out of sand..."
posted by Deb, 5:18 PM | link | 2 comments |

Building a New Life

Friday, April 15, 2005

I know which way is up, and I know an exit when I see one.
With your help, I can get from here to there.
posted by Deb, 8:01 PM | link | 2 comments |

Clue - Birth Beauties

This is a snippet of a letter I found on a beach a couple of years ago. The story on the letter was about sand dragons....and thus was born my digital images business "Sand Dragon Images".

The writer's identity is a mystery! There are clues on the letter, though. When my husband and I get on the road, part of our quest will be to seek the mystery writer and thank that person for their inspiration.
posted by Deb, 4:49 AM | link | 1 comments |

RV Forum Community

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

We have joined a very helpful online forum for RVers. We have so many questions; and I know that some questions I wouldn't even know to ask! The subject of sway bars would be a good example of what I don't know to ask about. At RV Forum Community, many people are ready and willing to lend a hand.

Which reminds me...although the forum is free, and people give of their time willingly, I know that there are costs involved with running the forum. I will gladly contribute to this valuable resouce of knowledge from the experienced RVers.

I love computers. I wouldn't dream of leaving it behind!
Other progress today included looking up info at lunchtime on our current dream truck...the GMC C4500. Yowee! We hauled 2 boxes of rummage to work with us, only to get to the drop-off site 4 minutes too late. We bought a CD case to conserve space. (We currently keep our music CD's in the little boxes they come in.) And I visited my new friends at RV Forum Community. I'm a happy camper today! Well...a happy wannabe camper, anyway.
posted by Deb, 6:55 PM | link | 1 comments |

Buck Almighty

Sunday, April 10, 2005

You know Buck Almighty, don't you? He's the dude who will rule your life, if you let him. I've had a couple of close calls with being really rich. But those are stories for another today.

Today's question is: How the heck are we going to make money while being fulltime RVers? Here are some of the solutions I'm toying with:

Sand Dragon Images Sales:
  • Deltiology (see definition in comments)
  • High quality digital prints using archival ink (good for longer than you will live)
  • Cafe Press products. I have ideas. I'm just not there yet.

  • Dream analysis. I'm good at this one since I dream in color nightly and have wheelbarrow loads of opinions on the dream process and the subconscious mind. I have no special training; but I don't need any in this realm. I have often thought my waking world is more surreal than my dream world.
  • Take your dog(s) out for a day in the park! Is your dog having a birthday? I can make a Flip Album CD of the event.
  • Wash your windows (1st floor only).
  • Take the elderly to run errands, although I wouldn't feel right about charging for this service.

Traditional Jobs:
  • Campground & State Park attendants / Housesitting / see The Caretaker Gazette and Housesit.org. Housesitting sounds ideal. We won't even need to disturb your house! I'm bonded. Pick me, pick me!
  • Seasonal jobs...maybe. I'm not sure how long we will be willing to stay in one location. See Cool Works
  • Temporary jobs geared for RV people: Workamper.com and Workers on Wheels
Got any other ideas...?
posted by Deb, 8:08 PM | link | 1 comments |

Boonies, Part 2

I will be sad to leave home (see post below) but it appears that I'm saying goodbye in stages.

Goodbye springtime cherry blossoms! Goodbye honking geese flying north!

Canada Geese
Originally uploaded by zebble.
And then I cheer myself by knowing I will have exciting new adventures ahead. Some of my new adventures will be not-so-fun, but that's life.

The house is 1,000 square feet and is considered small. It is a 2 bedroom and 1 bath.

I spent 7 years living IN Chicago (near Wrigley Field). I feel much safer here. My post about neighbors was a little deceptive I think. I should clarify: We have neighbors, but they are not close enough that I must listen to their choice of music!

To the west, a large blackberry field separates us. At least one bear is known to feed on the blackberries in summer. He has never given us cause for alarm, and I've only seen him once. Usually, I just see his "deposits".

To the east, the neighbors keep a few cattle. Their house is in shouting distance and sits just on the other side of the backyard property line. I'll get a picture for y'all later today.

We live in a valley. There is one way in and one way out. Anyone stupid enough to commit a crime will be trapped like a rat in a sewer. Feeling safe here took a little time because I was used to city life. Gradually, I came to feel safer here than anywhere I have ever lived.
posted by Deb, 8:28 AM | link | 0 comments |

Boondocks (the boonies)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

This is the home we will be leaving in the not-so-distant future. The view is looking north; and the picture was taken from the back yard fenceline. You see grass. I see kids playing catch.

The tallest tree in this picture is not the tallest on the property. We are in the boonies...several miles away from the nearest general store.

It's not that we don't like people. We do!! But I never really wanted a home with neighbors too close. They can be quite....uh....annoying.

That's part of the reason we want to boondock in the RV as much as possible. I do enjoy peace and quiet. Having solar panels on the RV will also help keep the peace and quiet. Right now we are looking at buying Noah's package from RV Solar Electric (reference from Tioga and George).
posted by Deb, 7:13 PM | link | 1 comments |

On the One Hand...

Friday, April 08, 2005

KL, from My Meandering Thoughts, had the following questions about my previous post titled "Pros and Cons". She says:
"What about the fuel cost and maintenance cost between the two? Perhaps if you take these two into considerations and think about long terms, you might find that one is being cheaper than the other. Also, do you really have to put up such an elaborate tent while selling cards? You can just put a folding table and some folding chairs. And, I think you can usually put those inside a RV. Can't you?"
Thank you for the feedback, KL. Your comments help me think things through and put my plans to paper.

Fuel is a huge consideration. I currently commute 2 hours daily. This current necessity is simply unacceptable. Global warming is fact, not fiction as some would have us believe. The war in Iraq is about oil, and people are dying unnecessarily because of petroleum habits. My planned changes are, in part, a large step in the right direction towards the way my husband and I utilize energy. I’m hedging my bets on biodiesel...a renewable resource that burns clean (I’m told). See my biodiesel links for more info.

Please note that in my previous post I stated that “a portion of our bills” will be paid by selling prints on the weekends. The other portion will need to be gained by working temporary jobs...and least for starters. This will require an extra vehicle so that it is possible for my husband to work one job while I work another. Vehicles in either plan still need to have diesel engines so that we can use biodiesel fuel. So let’s look closer at the 2 options, taking both fuel and maintenance into consideration.

Plan A – RV home (with engine) towing a small gasoline-powered vehicle (2nd engine)
Plan B – 5th Wheel home being towed by a 1-ton pick-up (diesel engine)

Fuel considerations:
Both Plan A and B will require approximately the same quantity of fuel because we will be living in as small of a home as we can manage, whether it be RV or a 5th wheel. We will limit ourselves to as little belongings as possible with either home. Possibly, Plan A would weigh less because a small car weighs less than a 1-ton truck. But a small car would not have a diesel engine, and that "small" detail is contrary to our desire to be powered with vegetable oil.

On the other hand, the RV probably weighs more than the 5th wheel due to having an engine. This presumed extra weight would make up the difference of the car being lighter than the truck. Plan A weight = Plan B weight. Therefore, Plan B would be the more energy-conscious choice because biodiesel can be used exclusively.

Maintenance considerations:
Plan A with 2 engines will require less maintenance than Plan B with one engine.

A 10’x10’ canopy seems to be the standard size. It has 2 primary purposes which I don’t think we can logically do without. The canopy will keep the rain off my products; and it will keep the sun from reducing me to a crispy flake. The canopy we have already purchased weighs 50 lbs. and packs fairly tightly...looking like about 4 rolled sleeping bags placed end to end. So, yes...you are correct that hauling the weekend stuff to the vendor site could be done with any of the vehicles.

I’d love it if we could figure out a way to exist with the RV only; but we don’t enjoy the financial freedom to retire. We could easily corner ourselves into a financial nightmare if our week-end sales don't quite pay the bills and we then find ourselves with inadequate transportation to remain employed with temporary agencies. 30’ RV’s don’t do well downtown where the jobs are. Remaining employable is vital to our welfare. We are not getting any younger!

I’m very excited about biodiesel. Believe me...I will be placing LARGE SIGNS on our home and truck announcing this alternative energy source. Helping others see that these changes are possible is one of the reasons I’m blogging about this life adventure. Oh, and did I mention we are going solar?
Thanks again, KL, for your input. Many thanks also go to The Adventures of Tioga and George for the excellent information and advice we receive on a variety of topics.
posted by Deb, 5:53 PM | link | 3 comments |

Pros and Cons

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

RV vs. 5th Wheel. There are many good articles listing various pros and cons for consideration. Right now, it looks like we will purchase a 5th wheel similar to the one below:


We started out thinking that an RV would be our choice. Primarily, I liked the idea of not having to hassle with hooking and unhooking the truck needed for a 5th. It also sounded much more comfortable to be in our house while traveling, instead of watching it bop along behind us.

However, we plan on paying a portion of our bills by selling prints and postcards at weekend craft shows. This means we need to haul to outdoor shows:
the product
the canopy (10' x 10')
lawn chairs
and whatever Whisper needs for a day of people watching and ass sniffing.

Undoubtedly, the RV will not always be able to pull right up to the vendor spot allocated. So....if we buy an RV, we would need to also buy a rig to tow. With that set-up, we have the expense of two engines to maintain. Buying a 5th wheel means one engine. Also, I've heard that the resale value is a bit higher for a fifth wheel, although I imagine the depreciation rate would be high for both types.

So that's our logic. What do you think?
posted by Deb, 7:01 PM | link | 2 comments |

Oops !

Monday, April 04, 2005

To those of you who may have visited while that horrible gun-toting picture was posted...I'm sorry! That was NOT a picture of me; and I'm not the photographer either. I was using that picture to make a statement at another blog, and it wound up here by accident. Naturally, Blogger was down for a bit so that I couldn't delete it!

That's the way it goes when I'm living out on the limb. Never a dull moment around here!
posted by Deb, 7:46 AM | link | 0 comments |


Sunday, April 03, 2005

I am in the midst of re-organizing my link lists. Please excuse the mess.

I also usually say "please excuse the mess" when a guest walks into my house. I have fantasies that when we begin living fulltime in the 5th wheel, all will become organized...and remain that way out of necessity. Am I delusional?

The "Clutter" picture from rollerboogie says it all: "What are you afraid to let go of?"

psychic clutter buster
Originally uploaded by rollerboogie.
posted by Deb, 7:36 PM | link | 0 comments |

What Will We Become?

Friday, April 01, 2005

When we are fulltimers, what do we call ourselves...besides "fulltimers"?
I notice that Tioga and George refer to themselves as vagabonds.

Vagabond: n. 1) A person without a permanent home who moves from place to place. 2) A vagrant; a tramp. 3) A wanderer; a rover.

How about "gypsy"..."One inclined to a nomadic, unconventional way of life." Unconventional sounds good. We haven't gotten TV reception in this house since the mid 90's. That's pretty unconventional, I think. On the road, we will once again have TV reception because we will have a satellite....a necessity for the computer.

I think the word "nomad" suits us best: 1) A member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land. 2) A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer.

The word "nomad" has a simple earthy feeling to it. I don't plan on grazing, though. Being nomadic is a daily reminder of how little we really need in this world. Life is not about grasping for more stuff. Tread lightly. Let Earth begin to heal.

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posted by Deb, 7:05 PM | link | 2 comments |