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My, my; how two weeks can disappear when your eviction from one dwelling leads to van-dwelling til a new dwelling is miraculously found but none too easily won. Having faced the physical challenges, undergone the testing of our faith & confronted the philosophical conundrums; here we happily & unapologetically are.
café table w/coffee

If coffee’s my lifeblood, perhaps the internet’s my life force.. It went away soon after I posted “Simplicity isn’t simple” & my time til it did was spent looking for a home. Of course, none of those leads directly led to where we live. Speaking of where we live (what an excellent if simple phrase indeed), my time since has been spent making it a home.

Not to be too punny but that would admittedly be an easier process if we had anything to spend. My favorite part of any move is the opportunity to be rid of yet more baggage. That continued purging is slowing the settling in but will be well worth it in the end. Hopefully, by the time things are sorted, there’ll even be something to put them in or on.

Back to the Simplicity post & its amazing comments to which I was unable to reply — til now: Seldom have I felt quite so understood, much less supported. Truth be told, I hadn’t even realized just how much I needed the catharsis your comments proved to be. I wasn’t looking for sympathy & your empathetic replies show that you know that.

Omyword! wrote (amidst more):

How dare someone imply that I am selfish to not pursue wealth. I’d like to know their ulterior motives (i.e. sell me real estate or something else OR…support their own ideology). I am closer to other human beings right now than I EVER was when I was working 12 hour days to make money so I could live in a fucking secured, gated community condo. Blech.

The once friend offering gems of wisdon’t does indeed sell real estate. His suggestion that the need to budget “doesn’t allow you to do much for those around” is both preposterous & insulting. Who’s to say what little change we have to give someone in need is any less a gift. Do those with more to give actually give more? Go ahead, just try to put a value on my time. That fact that I always have & will give of myself is unchanged by my financial state.

Sheryl wrote:

The richest person in the world could also be the poorest person. Joy comes from living your life to the fullest, following your dreams, being who God intends you to be. Some people are meant to live in a nice home while others are meant to live in a hut but both can be equally happy and successful.

Allowing that it’s a nice hut.. Seriously, though, all the trappings of success cannot overcome any inner lack but success of being can overwhelm external lack. My grandparents allowed me to pick out the charm for a necklace they were buying me when I was significantly younger than now & I chose “Spoiled Rotten.” As contradictory as that may seem to who I claim to be, think again for it was love I was spoiled by.

Rhodester wrote (amidst more):

The place we’re moving into is about 300 square feet.. it has a bed, a table with two chairs and a patio.. and we couldn’t be happier about it. I think that happiness and contentment is worth more than all those material things. Call me selfish.

If only it were the lack of square footage that were the exaggeration here — writers can’t help but be colorful in their descriptions — but it’s the bed. While I admittedly would like an actual bed, at least I don’t have to walk around foam padding. Not only is happiness worth far more than anything material but even the happiest of people are not necessarily content. We count ourselves blessed. Even as we look forward to a few niceties along the way, we are wholly content with the waiting & what we’re waiting with.

René wrote (amidst more):

Funny, I was just wondering today, why you ended up living there, surrounded by so many people like him? I hate Southern California… Please, keep creating, connecting with others and making us all laugh and think. The world needs more people like you — not more Mercedes driving bimbos who think that they’re making the world a better place by disposing of their cash on some bullshit carbon credits or an annual holiday donation to the local homeless shelter.

Being California kids & in love with the ocean, we had little choice in the matter but it is interesting that we’ve ended up in the desert. Now that we’re surrounded by far fewer bimbos & in a place of incredible energy, both creation & connection are ripe for the picking. We have no greater desire than to make others, as well as ourselves, laugh & think so cannot thank you enough for the encouragement!

Lorna wrote (amidst more):

First of all, I love the Walrus/Carpenter lead-in. There’s nothing quite so mind-clearing as a few hours spent with Lewis Carroll. .. I’ll be thinking of you this week as you take step number 793,621 in your journey.

Lewis Carroll always has been a favored source for both perspectives & consequences, not to mention perspectives on consequences. It’s not always clear what’s safe to eat or drink nor what side of the looking glass I’m on yet I’d rather take the journey — even if it’s down the rabbit hole — than stare in the mirror. What do I win on the millionth step? The discovery of what or if will make it worth the taking.

Maureen wrote:

I don’t write as eloquently as both of you, nor necessarily those that have commented before me. I wish you both the best of luck/happiness/good fortune (in whatever form it takes) in your move.

Eloquence, smelloquence; but thank you. :razz: The smell of insincere eloquence is quite rank but sincerity takes on an eloquence of its own. Your wishes are the stuff that sustains us. Granted, there’s still a need for some sustenance of nutritional value but, no worries, that’ll come too with a little good fortune. Simply having such a dynamic cheering section, as found herein, makes everything possible.

“When we realize that the best we have to bring to any situation is being just who we are, we relax.”
~ Anne Wilson Schaef ~


I have a deep-seated ambivalence toward home. Those who’ve peopled my homes have for the most part been a bit of heaven on Earth which is what I think home essentially is when achieved. Yet, home is also something I strove to survive. My grandparents provided my first home & they continue to be the closest thing to the ideal of home I’ve ever known.

“I have been very happy with my homes, but homes really are no more than the people who live in them.”
~ Nancy Reagan ~

The best thing I can say about my so-called hometown is that it helped create my desire to travel. I will admit, though, that being from a small town kept the limits I was determined to push within the realm of survivability. Being a California girl is a state (HA) of which I’m both proud & thankful as, despite the Central Valley‘s failings, it is right between the ocean & mountains.

“Home is where you hang your head.”
~ Groucho Marx ~

Having felt more at home away from many of the houses that served the purpose, it’s not surprising I’ve made a practice of creating home wherever I go. Perhaps growing up in a specific house that serves as home creates more likelihood to equate house & home. What’s particularly sad is when the two get confused; a container’s true value comes from what it holds. House-keeping is not the same as home-making.

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
~ Matsuo Basho ~

There was a family home that not only proved my escape & salvation but which provided the type of tangible memories I’ve always imagined typical of childhood. Recently discovering it will be sold was difficult in both fact & timing, given the odyssey of homelessness I’ve been on for a year. The loss of what was essentially my childhood home may enhance my appreciation for having a home but does nothing to increase my interest in what form it takes.

the family cabin
“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.”
~ Christian Morgenstern ~

What has been missing for the past year is a safe haven. No longer having the Camp Nelson home pictured above certainly increases that lack since it was the first haven I knew; it taught me a place can be as nurturing as its people. Sadly, I hadn’t been there for two years & no longer being able to spend time in my home away from home made having my own haven yet more important while it remained nearly impossible.

“Oh! be he king or subject, he’s most blest,
who in his home finds happiness and peace.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Iphigenia in Tauris” ~

Not only is it the people that make a house a home but houses & homes alike are extensions of their people. A house that requires more energy than it fosters can never be a nurturing home. The energy of a home is reciprocal. My own limited energy is only in balance with a smaller space to maintain but it also needs to be a space I can make my own. The studio apartment that just became RhodesTer‘s & mine through a dark comedy of errors is likely the best fit I’ve ever had.

“I long, as does every human being,
to be at home wherever I find myself.”

~ Maya Angelou ~

Just like with so much else, it truly is the quality of a space not the quantity of space that counts. There are many who believe quantity lends quality & it may justifiably go together for some. Yet, it’s people of the UTMOST quality that seem to have — or is it need? — the least quantity. Jim & René have a space akin to our new one only theirs is mobile. Lisa, her man & her cat are on a similar odyssey to the one we’ve hopefully now ended. Julie & her family are facing the very situation that led to our year-long homelessness.

“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever come to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.”
~ Vincent van Gogh ~

Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate a beautiful house. Old homes seem practically alive to me & architecture is a passion since I love artistry in all its forms. The history of that Camp Nelson home lent to its significance, various homes growing up provided irreplaceable spaces within them & the one houseour Ashland home ever owned was exactly what I needed at the time. Of course, having a house convinced my hunny & I that we never wanted one again yet we did both enjoy & need that one while we had it. Everyone’s life, in its various seasons, will have & be able to support different ideals. I will forever be grateful I had an opportunity to design a home:

“Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.”
~ Charles Dickens ~

One of my earliest homes was in a stairwell; the adjoining bedroom was almost beside the point. There was the corner which held the kitchen table in Camp Nelson, lost to a remodel three decades ago, that I would’ve gladly camped out in indefinitely & practically did. There’ve even been wee spaces in odd places; a picnic table outside the math building in highschool, a bench not too far from the coffee in the college quad, a creek bed in Camp Nelson, a meadow in the foothills, inside the circle made by the branches of a Weeping Willow & a funky studio in Palm Springs.

Home is where you feel at home..


“The time has come,” the Walrus said.. but let’s leave shoes, ships & such aside for now. For us, it’s time to make the impending move. We do feel a bit like oysters to our friend-turned-landlord’s walrus, especially as he’ll be visiting this strip of sand shortly. Finding our own wee shell is quite the challenge due to failed credit born of wanderlust & other anti-societal choices.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

It’s interesting how struggling financially causes some people to assume laziness when in fact we’ve oft had to work harder than the average Joe or Jane. Some of the hardest workers I’ve known are also the poorest. Those of you who’ve made a decision for personal reasons despite the financial ramifications will understand. Our walrus informed me that being poor is a choice; we wouldn’t be poor, edible oysters if only we’d not settled for edibility.

To be fair, since I appreciate both honesty & opinions from all, I considered his claim. Lo & behold, there was a choice that set me on this path. At the age of 18, I abandoned my plan to nanny in New York as a way out of my multi-repressed hometown. I instead made the unthinkable choice to stay in a town I’d already run away from multiple times in order to work with Youth for Christ.

When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.Not only was I offering peer counseling & doing public speaking for free, I ended up with three jobs to support the habit. I had all those jobs when I met RhodesTer & would not have met him if I hadn’t made that choice to be poor three years earlier. Worse yet, as we came to realize we couldn’t imagine life without each other, I lured him down my potentially penniless path by admitting I would rather be poor & happy in lieu of a less than happy alternative.

Here’s the thing: I’d make choice after choice again.. So, while walruses may see me as fodder unless I’m building sandcastles, it’s just a cozy shell I’m after. This friend of ours may have failed miserably to see — much less accept — us for who we are yet was actually well-intentioned. Thus, he’s admittedly not so much the Walrus perhaps as the Carpenter which may explain why he believes no-one could actually want to simplify their lives.

Being in Real Estate, that’s an understandable if limited view. I’d explained to him via e-mail, “We’ve purposely stripped away anything that won’t support a life that is equally sustainable and enjoyable.” He replied, “The only reason you’ve purposely stripped away anything is because you’ve had too not because you’ve wanted too.” However, home-making is a lifestyle & it’s simply not one I’m interested in; maintaining a house is not how I want to expend my energy.

“Purchasing a home is not the act of a pessimist,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “But it is the act of a dweeb. Sure, renting costs more over time than owning, but do you want to spend your weekends cleaning out leaf gutters and fixing the garage-door opener, or do you want to be happy? Life is way too short, people. Loosen up.”

Okay, okay, my source is The Onion but the key to satire is its underlying truth. My mum (she’s one of my best friends as well) pointed out that, while I create a home wherever I am, house-keeping is definitely not for me. A person’s belongings & surroundings are an extension of self. This, of course, is why so many literally try to build themselves up materially. Yet, each & every thing we own or keep near us is also an expenditure of energy.

If you’re the type of carpenter that’s more concerned with the lemonade stand than the lemonade, our legitimate desire for simplified living will likely never make sense to you. The most misunderstood aspect of such a choice is that desiring simplicity is not an intention to stay poor. It is instead a determination to spend our money on experiences & those in need rather than our lifestyle.

Our carpenter friend cites “a friend that never made much money. Maybe she’d make $10,000 – $12,000 a year and that was a good year.  She always lived in a small studio apartment with very little and drove a very used car. I’ve been working with her and helping her over the years to do more then she has allowed herself. She use to say the same thing, “I just like to live simple…I don’t need much…blah, blah, blah.” Just last week she told me that although she was serious and believed her statement back then, she really likes the life she now has and she is so thankful for the change. She now owns two rental properties, gets paychecks of $9,000 (as she said, about what she use to get in a year), drives a Mercedes (not that everyone has too or wants too but it’s nice if you do and can), has the freedom to pursue her true passions of acting and ministry, etc., etc., etc. One other thing she said is that she now thinks it was incredibly selfish to think the way she did. By being able to make money she can do more for those around her. By only living for herself on a very small budget is selfish because that doesn’t allow you to do much for those around. I think she has a point. Last week she just called me to say thank you for the change in her life.”

While we are very happy for her & glad his tutelage proved something she wanted, hers is no more a style of life that appeals to us than her carpenter’s is. Both acting & ministry have been significant aspects of our lives as well but RhodesTer is working toward writing multiple roles rather than play one at a time while I continue to share myself with anyone who needs an ear, shoulder or piece of my ever-present silver jewelry. Most recently, I was able to impart myself to my cousin’s teenage daughter with a ring I regularly wore. Most of what I own has been with the understanding that it’s just until I meet its next owner.

Ultimately, we want nothing more than to make the most of whatever lemons come our way & will continue to work hard at juicing (no milking — milk is meant for foam — besides, lemons = juice) every opportunity that arises. Not once have we opted for an easy way out, much less ever doing less, but find that it’s not work per se when it supports what you love & nothing extraneous. We may be small fish, or oysters, in a large pond but are working hard to sort a shell we can call home. As of our once-friend’s impending visit, come hell or high water, we’ll be moving into something & are simply striving at this point to not waste our meager funds on a motel.

“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
~ Elbert Hubbard ~