Friday, September 30, 2011

Breathe Owl Breathe

Wow, I feel great today. Went to a street fair with some friends last night, met a few new people and just riding that wave of good feeling.

The weekend is actually wide open, with no plans, and that’s ok today! I have the energy (right now) to really clean the apartment.

I have an appointment at noon on Saturday with my realtor to look at two houses. Both are in awesome locations.

Keeping this weekend nice and simple, with Ecstatic Dance on Sunday morning.

This weekend is probably the last of the good weather for the summer.
As I look back over the past few months, I have had my ups and downs, but mostly it has been good, even though I have just been floating though.
breathe owl breathe I wish I was swimming

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cool babies. Strange, but not a stranger. I'm an ordinary guy

So the 28 year old would like to have Happy Hour with me on Monday.  I’ll try not to be the creepy old guy staring at her from across the table… gotta play it cool, Daddy.

I sent in a request to my realtor for some more info on a house today. The house is right next door to a Facebook friend of mine. Could be fun. I might talk a walk through the house on Friday.

Ecstatic Dance was last night, and again I felt the need to express sadness. This time with a manic dancing that was more of just running in place double time to the music with my eyes closed. Twice I felt a hand on my chest, trying to calm me down. While I truly appreciated their thoughtfulness, whatever was being worked out needed to do so. At the end of the dance, people were talking about dancing on the edge. I shared that my edge has been a dark abyss for the last few years and I desperately want to find the opposite edge of lightness and that perhaps I need to find the middle first. A fellow that I see frequently at Dance came up to me afterwards and we had a great conversation about our paths in life. I shared with him that I am a widower.

ARGH! This should be a fun post! Filled with lust for the young hottie that wants to have drinks with me on Monday!  Come on, if middle aged Demi Moore can get a young guy like Ashton Kutcher…..
"Burning Down the House" is a song by New Wave band Talking Heads

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thank you for letting me be myself

It seems Sly Stone is a vandweller, but not a very mobile or stealthy one.

Sly & the Family Stone is on regular rotation on my iPhone. There is a new band from Brooklyn, NY named Brian J and the Pimps of Joytime  that has some of Sly’s funk slathered on them.  Their live show is amazing.

So I bit the bullet and yesterday afternoon I got myself pre-approved for a home loan. I qualified for quite a bit more than I thought I would. Now the hard part starts. Since I will be looking at a couple of levels up from where I started, I can afford to be a bit more particular on what I intend to buy. I'm excited and frightened, but willing to move forward.

My attitude and happiness is riding high, with what feels like forward movement in my life. That stagnant feeling of quiet desperation just waiting for time to pass by has been quelled for the moment. 

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

quiet star-filled nights

Hiking with my in-laws for the last 3 days. It was challenging and humbling for this 43 year old. My pack weighed about 25 pounds, and the steep trails really wore me out. My backpack is an Osprey Atmos 65 that I bought from I love it. The back mesh support kept me from overheating, and the pack itself held all I needed, and rode easy on my hips. Drinking fresh spring water (we filtered it through a MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter) was wonderful!

The quiet moments around the campfire with my brother-in-law were most cherished. When we have time to talk, it’s like I am able to hear my wife’s voice come through him. He is a great sounding board for ideas and he brings up the thoughtful questions and gentle prodding of the nitty-gritty of the discussion just like his sister did. I am very thankful for him. And it’s painful at the same time.

My Mother-in-Law didn’t join us on the hike, but I was also able to have some private time with her to discuss a permanent memorial for her daughter’s ashes. I wasn’t able to hold it together very well, but as the tears rolled down, we were able to talk about a final resting place for my wife.

My Father-in-law and Sister-in-law also were invaluable this weekend in some deep conversation with thoughtful insights. They truly are Good Family and I am grateful for them.

I am holding fast to my plan of getting a mortgage with the intention of getting a house large enough for 2 roommates.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hiking with a Sentimental Heart

Setting off for a 3 day weekend (no post on Monday) for a backpacking trip up in the mountains with my in-laws.  I have a nice new Osprey Atmos 65 backpack. Awesome pack with maximum airflow for the back. I haven’t really loaded it with any weight before this trip, so I will get quite the workout with it over the weekend. I’m a bit worried I won’t be able to keep up, as I am out of shape and not used to carrying much weight. I usually use a large MountainSmith  Day Classic Lumbar bag ( a fanny pack style) that I love for day hikes.

It will be an emotional weekend, so I will have an old-man hanky in my pocket. I expect to get razzed a little bit from my Father-in-Law about some of the Facebook and YouTube posts and pictures that show me out and about with friends, including a few women. Both he and my Mother-in-Law have given me gentle permission and encouragement to start 
dating. I am very thankful for them. They have become my second set of parents, and I value and love their support.

I am also set on calling the mortgage broker when I get back. No, I am not really going to mortgage myself to the hilt, but I am going to try to get a substantial loan that would be covered by a couple of roommates, but still easily covered by myself if I choose to live alone. This size of a house would also be positive if I ever find another partner. We could either live in the home together or rent it out completely. 

I really feel like I have turned a corner in my mental stability. I am positive and upbeat. My sentimental heart isn’t battered and bruised anymore. Trying to look forward for the possibility of being referenced as part of a She & Him

Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What can stop me now?

I’ve made it to number FIVE 

Number Five=Select Solution.

I’m doing it.

I have intention to call my mortgage person next week after the backpacking trip.

I will try to get pre-approved for the largest loan possible and mortgage myself to the hilt for the next 30 years. Yup. That’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it. I would still retain my nest egg that would cover about 75% of the loan if I needed to suddenly refinance for a lower monthly rate. That size of a mortgage would allow me to buy a home already remodeled with a square footage that would allow me to have a couple of roommates. The roommates would cover ~90% of the monthly mortgage so I can still put a substantial amount into savings.  This gives me the safety net of a home base that my personality type needs. This also will provide the boost to my self-esteem with stability and maintaining part of the “status quo”.  

Ok. Intention is set. Procrastination needs to be kept at bay. Self-pity needs to be kept in check. Motivation comes to the forefront to implement my dreams.  

Damn it, Jim! I sound like a self-help motivational seminar…….I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

Mcfadden And Whitehead - Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Satisfied Mind

So the fascinating young woman from last weekend emailed me back. Maybe we will have a Happy Hour next week. She had actually brought up the idea of VanDwelling in one of our conversations and I would like to find out more of her ideas. I think she is leaning towards the style of van living experience.  I would rather have the Chinook style like Glenn. Don’t let my mind wander too far into fantasyland with this youngster, as it could be great to share a van for a while with her……  

But on the slower side, I also had dinner #4 with the Blind Date woman. We had a meal at our mutual friend’s home. It was quite nice, and she has some very attractive qualities but there is still no spark. It would be great to maintain a friendship with her, but we definitely need to have a talk about expectations.

So I have been struggling with future plans. The small Van/RV market seems to be hyper inflated right now as more people are losing their homes. Some of the used vans I see are significantly higher in price than two years ago. The gas prices have reached $3.99/gal in some parts of town and I fear they will continue the upward climb making a small RV drink a small fortune each month.

Buying a small house in this city does not seem to be an option, unless I move to the far outskirts in the less desirable areas. I have even looked further out of the city, and the country homes with a decent amount of land are priced out of my range, and the 40+ miles to work is significant at $3.99/gallon

I feel like I need to take advantage of these low mortgage interest rates as these are literally the lowest rates ever. But if I wait until spring 2012, maybe all the foreclosure homes will finally hit the market and push the home prices lower. Hard to imagine the prices going much lower though.

Why can’t I be satisfied with where I am right now? 

Porter Wagoner - A Satisfied Mind

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Change Your Mind- Nothing Ever Stays The Same

I feel like I am at a crossroads. 

I need to make up my mind on what direction I would like my life to go.

I no longer feel I am getting maximum benefit from going to grief support groups, young widow/ers dinner gatherings, and general death related events. I say this now, but I was crying in the car this morning over a faint and distant memory of my wife.

This weekend, I get to spend 3 days with my Father-in-law and Brother-in-law on a 2 night backpacking trip. I am going to try and use this time to discuss a few things with them. Next month will be three years since my wife passed away. I would like to finally do something with her ashes. The ashes have been sitting in my front room all this time, and I know the family would like to have a permanent spot for her.

I am ready for this this closure now. It feels like I have opened and explored my feelings more in the last three years than in my entire life. I am ready to explode. I can’t have my old life back. I need to find myself in this new space with focus. A Sharp and New Man. 

Sharpe And Numan / Automatic / Change Your Mind

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fascinated by the way you make me feel

The Friday night Oktoberfest was a blast!  Went with a friend, who brought along a charming young single woman we went roller skating with a few weeks ago. We met up with a larger group of friends and there was much Schnitzel, Biergarten trips, and Chicken Dances to go around for everyone. The young woman and I became quite the team for the evening, with great conversation and dancing. Apparently the group was taking bets on what would be for breakfast for the two of us the next day.  Ay, there’s the rub…..this woman is almost young enough to be my daughter. I am fascinated by her.

On the way back, my friend unintentionally (?) managed to get dropped off home first, leaving the young woman and myself alone in the car. I kept it above board and light, but with definite clues to wanting to continue another day. 

And all of that didn’t keep me from going out to a nightclub Saturday night though! There was an event that someone puts together every once in a while that pulls in all the mid-late 80’s club kids from the downtown dance scene. The group is lots of fun, and we catch up on the last 20-25 years of our lives. There were lots of couples at the nightclub that had been married 20+ years with kids and the whole 9 yards. A few couples brought their children that were over 21!  It really brought me back to reality with the young woman from the previous night.

I was so tired Sunday morning I missed Ecstatic Dance. I was also slightly depressed. I literally laid in bed most of the day, and didn’t get up until 2:30 PM. I was dreading the remainder of the day, as I was going to a Young Widows and Widowers dinner group. I keep telling myself to stop going to these dinners, but I keep showing up. Middle-aged, slightly over-weight widower with no Passion and Purpose...I can feel sorry for myself sometimes, right?

I need to get ready for my 3-day backpacking trip this coming weekend!

Company B "Facinated"

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Man and a Woman, Holding each other tight, with a twist of Lime

 Heading to a beer festival tonight. I don’t like beer. But I like getting out of the house and having fun with friends. 

Yesterday I posted about my activity level tied into my sense of happiness. The more I ponder it, the truer it becomes. The long grieving darkness had me cocooned in my misery for a long time. It was with the help of my Shrink that encouraged me to get out of the house and do something, anything. Just get away from the house with all the physical memories in every corner.

I have heard of widows/widowers getting rid of every single piece of furniture and household item that they shared with their loved one, keeping only pictures and small mementos that can be hidden away in boxes or closets. I felt like I did a lot of that when I moved. I got rid of probably 90% of our household items. Most of the stuff I got rid of didn’t have much emotional attachment to begin with, so the remaining items are heavy with emotions. I include our bed in this group. I sleep on her side of the bed now. I have only been using her favorite sheets for the last 3 years. The mattress pad has stains from …..well ...stains.... The bedframe is a great antique piece we found dirt cheap on the last day of an estate sale during our first few months of marriage.

Trying to move forward, I was dating a woman for 6 months, so we were staying overnight at each other’s homes.  I’ve written about this woman in previous posts,  how she reminded me too much of my wife. When she stayed over, she slept on my wife’s side of the bed. It was such  conflicting emotions of happiness, fear, grief, betrayal, comfort, guilt……Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to have another healthy relationship.

Maybe I need a new bed. Or at least a new mattress pad and some sheets.

Lime's Greatest Hits 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sailing Stormy Waters, to be With You, To be Free

Went sailing last night with a group of friends. First time on a sailboat. It was totally fun. Jibe, Tack, Port, Starboard…. it was a blast. It was a “Cutter” style sailboat.

The Captain of the fine vessel is the son-in-law of my shrink. There is a long story in there, that I may share someday. Great guy, and someone who I would like to know better.

He talked about some of the other boats at the marina, and pointed out several where the captain lives full time on the boat. Some of these boats were quite small, and I doubt there was much of a kitchen galley. I have also heard of many homeless living on the river with no moorage, literally throwing anchor permanently near the riverbank and using a small inflatable to ferry to their car each day. Sounds rough, but apparently these people feel much safer sleeping on the water, than in their vehicles. Probably pretty darn cold at night though.

Tonight I am heading out for some live band karaoke. A group of middle-aged rockers put together a band that has about 200 popular songs they know and will back up any singer that throws money in the tip jar. It’s a lot of fun, and a completely different experience from a regular karaoke bar. These guys are road tested professionals, and can make even the crappiest singer sound like a rock star.

My attitude is picking up again, probably because I am scheduling fun events every night. I am becoming more aware of the more down time I have, the more down my mood becomes. I need to be more proactive in scheduling events for myself. My sanity depends on it!

Rod Stewart

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How's about a date

When the Billy Idol song “Eyes Without a Face” came out in 1984, it sounded like he was saying “how’s about a date”.

I’ve been dating a few women since my wife’s death. I had actually found myself in a 6 month relationship with an incredible woman that would have made a wonderful partner. I mean wonderful like a long term marriage type partner. But I wasn’t ready. And it was more than that. She had way too many similarities to my wife. I felt myself falling into the trap of expecting her to have the same thought processes and life attitudes as my wife. A completely unfair and horrible expectation on my part, and instead of working through my issues, I ended the relationship instead.

Hrmph. So much for trying to be a self-aware human. What a putz.

So I’ve been trying to date different women. No hanky-panky, just honest getting-to-know-you style dating.  There have been a few nice people, but no spark. Most of the women I meet have done this dating thing for quite a while, so their approach is very weary and reserved which makes for a rather boring date if I end up being the talkative one, trying to pull tiny bits of interesting information from them.

I have a date next week with someone I have been interested in for over 2 years.  I will try to be mellow about it. And it’s weeks away….

I wonder how RV living and the dating scene work together?

And just for the record? I never liked the song.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big Hollow Man

Walking in the valley of decision….Is it really a goal to find myself out on the open road, or is it a desire to run away from life? The allure of travel and seeing new sights every week would seem to push responsibility away. 
How do I make that decision of what is best? I read blogs like The Adventures of Tioga and George  and want to leave for the road immediately. Spending time with friends and family that are scattered across the country or taking them along the road with me for a week sounds very appealing. 

I want to fill this hollow void. But the fullness needs to be with honesty.
Danielle Dax Big Hollow Man

Monday, September 12, 2011

Step it Up

1)    Define the Problem
2)    Gather Information
3)    Identify Potential Solutions
4)   Analyze Potential Solutions
5)    Select Solution
6)    Implement Solution
7)    Lessons Learned

Seems simple, doesn’t it?

 Most of us get stuck on steps 5 or 6. Most of us don’t do a thorough enough job on step 1 either….step 3 is the one I spend the most time on, researching every possible variable minutiae of detail.

What step are you stuck on?

What has helped you move forward on a step?

Friday, September 9, 2011

And I'm running so hard to find it

My obsession with vandwelling seems to be rooted in self-actualization. Trying to dig down and find the real me. I’m not talking about hedonistic wild abandonment, but rather quiet introspection and self-acceptance. Getting to know myself. When removed from the standard race of daily existence, what would fill that void? Yeah, you guessed it. I’m hoping it will be filled with the elusive butterfly of Passion and Purpose. It will not harm me to know myself, would it?

I really like Glenn’s approach to RV living. He bought his vehicle first, before he did anything rash. He slowly moved things into the vehicle while still maintaining his apartment, and kept his daily routine for work the same. I really like this slow and intentional advance into the lifestyle.

What do I hope to gain by exploring this way of life? What am I giving up?

Giving up a solidly middleclass lifestyle for vandwelling seems foolish. Most full-time RVers  are retired, with income arriving in the bank account every month from somewhere. I’m contemplating living off of retirement money a good 20-25 years before I should. But I’m not talking about being on the road forever (at this point, anyway) just a year or two.

Push my boundaries! Explore my emotional surroundings! Perchance to Dream!

Is this natural for a 43 year old single guy to go through? I don’t know. I’ve played the straight game for so long, always by the rule book, maybe this is my time. I can always re-join the race, right?

Information Society Running

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Release Yourself

I don’t really want to start skipping days posting to this blog.  I suppose I will eventually, but I want to keep daily workday posting up as long as possible. I think I posted last Sunday, so maybe I can skip one?

We are all searching for fulfillment. It’s a human condition struggle. Some people are just more aware of non-fulfillment than others.

I find it interesting that my writing has been so negative, and angst-ridden. In face-to-face contact I am usually described as cheerful and upbeat, usually wearing a smile. The smile hides the pain, I guess.

I have a second date tomorrow night. The woman is very nice, educated, pretty and very pleasant. Maybe the second date will show more of her fun, talkative, and spontaneous side. I’m not a high-speed talker, and I felt I was having difficulty encouraging her to engage with the conversation on the first date.

Rambling, non-focused, scattered, lost. These are my thoughts today. I need some type of release

Aleem  Release Yourself

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No Purpose, No Path, No Passion, No Woman, No Cry

Finding the Path. Where does the first step begin? Clouded by the mundane necessities of life, fear keeps me rooted in unfertile soil. Fertile enough to spread a few spindly branches and leaves up towards the Sun, but not fertile enough to bloom.

The prison of my possessions keeps my shallow roots firmly stuck. Where is my Passion and Purpose?

I see my Shrink today so I can work some things out with her. And there is Ecstatic Dance tonight as well. Maybe I can sweat the frustration out.

As the Good Bob Marley used to sing:

Good friends we have, oh, good friends we've lost
Along the way
In this great future,
You can't forget your past
So dry your tears, I say………..
.........Everything’s gonna be alright

Bob Marley- Three Little Birds

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Won't you take me to

It feels good to be busy. On those days when I feel the most down, I am also the most sedate. Keep me moving, Keep me groovin’ with some energy, and I feel on top of the world. Why don’t I keep my social calendar busier, knowing that my physical and mental health would be the better for it?  I can’t complain that people don’t call me to invite me to events, when I don’t call them and invite them to something  I’ve planned. My happiness is my responsibility. I gotta move on with this life.

And there it is.

My Homework for growth.

When have I ever planned something on my own? My wife and I entertained all the time with dinner parties and swimming pool BBQ’s but it was my wife who made all the plans and contacted the guests.
It’s time that I created an event on my own. This would be growth. This would be facing some social anxiety fears. This would be empowering to my sense of friendships.

This would also be very hard for me to do.

It doesn’t need to be anything big. It can just be calling up a few people to meet for Happy Hour somewhere.

What is my hesitation?

I could talk about it, talk about it, talk about it. But where is the action for these thoughts?
Funky Town Lipps Inc

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trail Mix, Water and the the Summit

Well, my plans of a leisurely uneventful 3-day weekend didn't materialize. After setting up the van for some overnight trekking for the weekend, I had a wild hair to go dancing at the last minute on Friday night. I went by myself, with the intention of just staying in a corner and being the creepy old guy that doesn't interact with anyone the whole night. That didn't work out so well. There was a group of women that dragged me into their circle, and plied me with drinks all night. Long story short, we had a blast, closed down the bar, and walked uptown to a late-night diner for some food. I finally parted ways with them (purposefully not asking for phone numbers) about 4:00 AM and got back to the mini-van and slept downtown in the comfort of my sleeping bag. I was too inebriated to drive anyway.

Saturday morning came pounding in with force, and I drove home and promptly fell back asleep in my bed, finally feeling a bit better around noon. Finally got myself a haircut (will continue to grow it out longer) and had dinner with a friend. I was even talked into roller-skating, despite my woozy off-kilter equilibrium deficiency from the hangover. Skating was such an incredible rush! It was quite difficult the first half-hour or so, but I got the groove back fairly quickly. It was reassuring to hear that the best music to roller skate to is still a good funky-soul beat. It was quite a workout too! I kept waiting for an All-Skate in the Reverse Direction to give my left leg a workout to match my right, but alas, it never happened. I will definitely go again, maybe even next week! Besides, I need to learn to skate this “Rexing” style to keep up with my friend. Not bad for a bunch of fortysomethings!

I was very tired after skating and I hadn't prepared a backpack for a hike the next morning, so I slept in my apartment.

Sunday was going to be a nice little hike with a group of 5 people. We had randomly picked a hike that was rated “Difficult”, and it was only a 9 mile long loop, and offered spectacular views with the last 4 miles rated as “easy”. Sounded Perfect! We had a late start, but hit the trailhead at 10:00 AM.
The first 1.5 miles of this hike gains 1400 feet. Yes. That's not a misprint. It was more of a scramble than a hike. Climbing beautiful scenery, searching for hand-holds, sliding on dry loose pebbles, we were soaked with sweat by the time we reached the summit 3 miles in. And then forward on the trail. Downward. It was so steep going down, we kept about 10 feet between us. Everyone was slipping. Two of our party were inexperienced, and I had visions of needing Search and Rescue. One person only brought 16 oz of water! It was definitely one of the hardest hikes I had ever been on. We were exhausted by the time we descended to the other side of the loop. It was then we realized we had 4 more miles of “moderate” trail back to the car. No easy task when you are exhausted. It was up and down all the way. None of us brought enough water, but we were able to nibble on Thimbleberries and Huckleberries all the way up and down the trail! Delicious! It was an incredible sense of personal accomplishment for all of us. I will definitely be returning to this hike with more preperation and no rollerskating the night before!

Today I am sore, happy, content, and feeling good about my life.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Double Wide and Twice as Poor.

Wow, I was seriously contemplating buying a double wide mobile home for a short while yesterday.

Lord Help Me.

I lived in a double wide for 5 years after high school. It wasn’t horrible, but quite nice in some aspects. It was in one of the nicest and safest parks in the entire metro area.  The park is actually a city, with its own mayor, city council, etc. It was incorporated as a city back in the 1970’s. It is very well run and also has the cheapest lot fee in the whole area.  The lot fee is only $450 a month with water, sewer and garbage paid for out of the lot fee. Most of the other parks in this area are $500-$700 per month, no utilities included. The park has a newer double wide available for only $20,000.  That means for only about $600 a month (lot fee and electric), I could have 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and very little yard work.

I’ve lived in the park before, so what’s the catch?  I could list a bunch of negatives, but let’s leave it as “It’s just not my style”. 

So this is a 3-day weekend, and I have no plans other than a few things on Saturday. Tonight I am going to set up the bed in the mini-van, pack a few clothes and some food, and wander the city nightlife, and then park in a neighborhood and sleep for the night. The temperature is only getting down to 60F tonight, with a high of 85F tomorrow. So it could be rather warm. I will take the laptop and wake up early and have a nice stroll down the avenue in search of coffee and breakfast.

If things work out, I will stay in the mini-van all weekend. I will be easy on myself and still shower in the apartment, but will try to stay out as much as possible. If it gets too hot, I will head for the higher elevation in the mountains.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Hippie Dance Church was quite humbling last night. I was reminded to Breathe, and to be conscious of time passing. At the end of the dance I shared some personal information for the first time. I shared of my wife’s death, and the darkness of the first year, when I needed to force myself to consciously breathe in and out.  It just seemed easier not to breathe, since time seemed to stop anyway. Life is much more filled with joy now. I can see a brighter future nowadays, filled with love and compassion ahead.

I went out for food afterwards with some of the regulars that I know from the other location we dance at on Sunday mornings. It was nice to connect with these people. They feel real.

I probably won’t do anything this upcoming 3-day weekend. I have some plans for a haircut and roller-skating Saturday, but that’s about it.  Yes, I said Roller-Skating. As in 4 wheels per shoe. It’s madness I tell ya! Maybe I’ll get lucky when it’s time for the Couples Skate in the Reverse Direction!

This was the song that seemed to be playing the most often during couples skate when I was a kid. Funny, since I think it is about the ending of a relationship