To Plant…or Not To Plant! –A Nomad in Limbo

The hardest thing about sitting still for long, is being at-odds with two sides of myself.  To plant…or not to plant a garden.  With Spring in the air, it’s impossible to resist sprinkling a few seeds about…just to watch them grow…for as long as I am here in this one place.

No, I realize, I cannot take a garden with me when we do actually pull our Mermaid Mansion on down the road.  But I can at least enjoy the fruits of my labor while enjoying this island life for a little while longer.  –Or until our old vintage relic-of-a-tiny-home-on-wheels is ready to roll.  She still has a ways to go, and her tires are pretty lifeless; so new rubber is tops on our list of To-Do’s…when it comes to setting our nomadic spirits free once again.

For now…here I sit, writing a few words and thoughts; struggling still with two extremely different sides of me.  In the meant-time, when I’m not writing, chances are I’ll be out back…digging and planting the ‘bit of earth’ I’ve been Blessed to call mine…for now.  Never mind that it is only borrowed.

Do any of us ever really own the land on-which we sit…live…or garden?  I know we cannot take it with us when we go.  But we can sure enjoy the smell of soil on our hands, sifting through our fingers, and the scent of sweet blossoms before they bear fruit.  I can only live in the moment and enjoy what life has brought my way.  And when we do ‘set sail’, and Mermaid Mansion is bumping down the highway…to destinations unknown, I’ll gaze out the window…with the scenery zipping by, and I’ll embrace that moment with every ounce of my being.  –Ever-so grateful for the change it will bring.

*Embrace every moment*  **Live for today!**

 

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Life After Forty — Breaking The Mold of Average

Starting Your Career After 40 —

I’ve been thinking a lot about our music today.  I guess, in all reality, I think a lot about it each and every day; even in my dreams.  Even though, by societies mold, I might be considered a bit past my prime to get my musical career off the ground, music is still inside…the songs keep coming.

In my dreams…when I’m awake, in the early morning hours, the rare quiet times throughout the day…even when I’m driving, a song is always on my horizon of thoughts.  So…in my heart, I know, He is giving me his Blessing to keep at it.  –As long as you still believe, the music is always there.

But I’m the kind of person–what most folks don’t realize–who doesn’t like to be restricted by labels or molds.  If-ever anyone says I can’t do something, or they come across as unbelievers of my dreams (i.e. our musical ambitions), then I make it a point to prove them wrong.  It may take a little time to situate myself, but I’ll eventually have my day in the sun.

Still, I feel I’ve learned a lesson by these types of occurrences, and certain people who I’ve come in contact with over the years, whether good or bad.  I’ve discovered that some folks feel uncomfortable with anyone who doesn’t blend in with the mold of normalcy.  –Something I’ve never been any good at!

For me, anything worth dreaming is certainly worth the rugged climb or a few hurdles of nay-sayers, trying to build themselves up…by bringing someone else down (I know we’ve all had these kinds of encounters).  Besides, anyone who’s anybody knows–if you allow your dreams to be corralled into the mold other’s deem fitting for you, you’ll never get anywhere but right where they wish for you to stay.  I for one, choose to break the mold of the norm, and prove these small thinkers wrong.  A life worth living is certainly worth jumping over a few hurdles to get there!

*Never let anyone keep you down*

 

Boycotting the Power Grid

Our power was shut off today–just like that!  With the flip of a switch (or whatever they do to shut off power) everything went quiet.  Baby was watching Veggietales on VHS (Yes…!  We still watch those.  :  )P  ) and all-of-a-sudden, a quiet click…and silence.  She looked at me, and I just thought for a moment we had overloaded the breaker.  Then I realized, we were only running one little T.V. and the fridge.  That wouldn’t cause a shut down.

Then…I remembered that pink paper that had arrived in the mail about a week or so ago; the one that said we needed to pay our bill by such-and-such date, or ZAP!  –We’d be cut off.  Ooops!  Guess I forgot to note that little ‘pink slip’.  So…I located the oh-so-colorful notice, and…sure-enough, the last day to pay was…(YIKES) yesterday!  ‘Guess that might have had something to do with our lack of power.  :  /

In an instant, I was on the phone with a ‘robot customer service rep’; giving away most of the money we had left.   I was told our power would be back on between “…two hours time and midnight tonight.”  Oh well…!  Those are the breaks when you forget to pay the power piper.

Which brings me back to the instant after our power went off.  Most folks would feel quite defeated, upset, perhaps even come unglued.  Me…?  I felt a calmness, a peaceful feeling of quiet and comfort at the absence of that hum of being on the grid of power.  The feeling I had was akin to having a huge boulder (the burden of bills) being lifted off of my shoulders.  I sighed a relief in that very moment.

Explaining the sudden interruption of cartoons to my little-one took some persuading, but soon…we were outside, playing in the yard…rummaging around in Peniki.  I was wishing we were still living and traveling in our old hippie van.  I love that van…more than I’ve ever loved any material object!  I’m not sure why, other than she has saved us from homelessness several times.  She has hosted many afternoons of laughter, even a few tears, and reading in the quiet comforts of her fold down bed; the dim light powered by Mother Nature, and solar power (off the grid!).

I thought today, after the power shut down, about just how vulnerable we all are!  How we rely so completely on the grid of power, the water department, the gas company…and any others we succumb to on a monthly basis.  It makes me miss our vagabond days in Peniki, that much more.  I know it’s the wave of the future, going solar and such.  For a while now, I’ve felt there would be a paradigm shift towards a freer alternative to working to pay bills…just to work to pay bills…just to work, to pay bills.  It’s an endless cycle.  We all get snared.

Even still, I can’t stop thinking about how I responded to the cutting off of our power today.  It was a reality check, if-you-will.  –An insight into true freedom…and independence from working just to pay for stuff we really weren’t meant to have in the first place.  We’ve all gone soft!  And been forced to rely on something, for the sake of the vicious cycle.

Like the Native Americans, or natives of any land, we weren’t meant to live on the grid, get our pre-packaged food from the stores, pay others to build our homes…caravans…whatever abode we choose.  We, as able-bodied humans, were given all the necessary skills to nurture, so we…ourselves, could rely on we…ourselves. 

Though we are now backed into a corner, most of us.  Not only do we need gasoline to fuel our vehicles, but we also buy so many things that are manmade of artificial ingredients (plastic, instead of paper, driving instead of riding a bike (which is also made of plastics and such), or better-yet, going back to the horse and caravan (buggie) days.  I realize how much I alone, have contributed to the endless cycle of spinning our wheels to go nowhere but to work…to pay bills we were never really meant to have.

So, in a nutshell: I’m thinking even more now than ever before, about getting off the grid.  Instead of paying a monthly electric bill, have solar and wind power…along with sufficient batteries for power.  –Relying on natural burning fuel (propane canisters) for heat, cooking, and hot water.  –Using candles, oil lamps, and battery lighting to light our place after dark.

I know…!  Not quite off the grid, because we’d still be relying on plastics, artificial fuels and such.  Still, I know which way I’d like to go with being independent of utilities companies and bills.  I’m quite sure, in our day and age, it wouldn’t be allowed.  As the Good Book says, Man will dominate man to his own injury (to paraphrase).

As for me, I’ll take the ‘rough road’ any day.  I somehow feel, the path less taken is much more worth the effort and opposition I am likely to face along the way.  And I’ll take the peace and quiet of off-grid living, and the time (which no amount of money can buy back) I will have with my family…instead of working endless hours–a lifetime– to pay for the ‘so called’ easy life.  Nah..!  Not for meAnd I know I’m not alone on this.  The world is coming around.  I see it coming–soon…soon.

 

Land-Locked on Seaweed Island

One things for sure–us Nomadic Spirits rarely enjoy sitting still for long. There’s always someplace else calling us there…anywhere…any time of day, night…year. Sitting still is really getting this little ‘woman with wanderlust‘ to feeling low. But I keep telling myself, it’s for the good of remodeling our caravan home–Mermaid Mansion. She’s coming about quite nicely, I must admit to myself. Being stationary has had its ups; that’s for sure!

Though, on the other hand, it’s had its ‘downs’ as well. Such is life! And I know I’m babbling like a flooded brook, but sometimes this is my only outlet to shake the thoughts out of my crowded head: releasing it all out into the world for complete strangers–perhaps some friends–to read.

I write…! That’s what I do, And lately, I’ve been seriously working on photography. This month, I was ecstatic to have one of my nature shots featured in Galveston Monthly Magazine. I’ve since submitted more photos for consideration; I enjoyed it so much! It’s kinda got me hooked now, on sharing my photos and taking new and interesting photos of whatever I feel might be eye-catching.

So, I guess sitting still isn’t so bad after all! There are so many things I love about living on an island, but the seaweed is getting quite old; mounded up as high as the seawall, and smoldering to a terrible stink for locals and visitors (Poor visitors who actually spent money to get here!) to smell when we get anywhere near the beach. : / Though, on the bright side, I know it is just Mother Nature’s and Mother Ocean’s way of teaming up to cure all that man has made sick about the earth and ocean. I’m hoping we all don’t get burped right off the globe some day! It could happen!

And my garden, thanks to the very earth-friendly seaweed, has never been better! I swear–I’ve yet to see taller, healthier tomato plants…ever! Especially not in my own garden. But this year, after having lavished plenty of seaweed and compost on my bare garden patch last winter, my little caravan kitchen garden is super productive.

So, like any Gypsy-at-heart, Nomadic wanderer, I am beginning to preserve my Blessings from Mother Earth…and Mother Ocean (seaweed). After all, I must be ready with an abundance of provisions, for the day we hit the road. To where we go, could be anyone’s guess! The journey is always the best part.

But that leaves us with one more dilemma–whether to go by land…or by sea. I think I hear the ‘clanking of the mast’, the whipping of the sails, and a whisper from the wind…calling my name from somewhere afar!

*Where does a woman with Wanderlust go…?  Everywhere her heart leads.*

Thoughts on Being a Gypsy

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It seems to me that there’s been a spike in popularity when it comes to folks wanting to mimic the Gipsy way of life. Well, let me just say; it looks pretty and all (the clothing styles, the caravans painted bright exotic colors) from the outside looking in, but in reality, it’s a very hard-fought way of life. I cannot claim to be a Gipsy by origin , though we’ve been referred to as-such many times (hence the name Gypsy Vin Rose).

I can however, resonate with the way of life: moving often, though not as often as one might like, for lack of money (no residual income or retirement to keep us going); doing anything…everything to make a living (which often includes salvaging items from curbsides to sell…or selling aluminum/metal, thus saving it from the landfills); playing music for measly tips and meager offerings of passersby…but performing or playing for the love of music; living in a trailer (though many frown-down their noses at such living arrangements); shying away from many situations where crowds or socializing is involved (most Gypsies like to keep to themselves); overcoming the pressures to conform to societal molds; persecution for not being, or living, like everyone else; homeschooling of children, to keep them from the influences of others; being seen as outcasts by many mainstreamers, though they all want to act like Gypsies.

I could go on and on, when it comes to how actually living like…or being a Gipsy is different from just saying you are a Gypsy. Most folks are just full of a lot of hot air, though very few want to make the sacrifices or give up their luxury autos or 2 story brick monstrosities, nor do they want to scrounge for a living or live small in a trailer. They do, however, have no problem with saying they are Gipsy and dressing the part for their own image-appeal.

One thing that comes to my mind when I do see so many trying to play the part is: if you’re going to talk about it…try being about it. It’s not an easy way of life when you don’t have thousands to spend on travel, and you feel the need to keep on the move to avoid persecution. That is the Gipsy way of life.

I just wanted to share. Agree or disagree. It is….what it is.

Blessings & .V..

Going Inland

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So…we went inland for the Easter holiday, to see family in La Porte.  Funny how we’ve blended into the weave of fellow IBC’s (Islanders by Choice) here on our Gulf Coastal Island home.  Even still, we long for the water, the rocking back and forth of our sailboat, the clinking of the masts in the wind.  We visited with a local marina the day after Easter, after we got back to the island from a second trip to La Porte in two days because Nico left his phone at his Mom’s the day before.  I have to admit, that day was a good one: lunching with Nico’s dad (the baby’s only living Grandpa), the lolly-gag-of-a-drive back to the island, the visit to the marina…and the smell of the water…down along the slips.

My wanderlust is really getting to me these days, and I miss our sailboat more and more.  If not this year, since we just can’t bring ourselves to sell our old girl, I think next year we’ll certainly be bringing our boat to her new island home.  For now, Nico and I are still working on new tunes for Gypsy Vin Rose, and getting ready to start touring…again.  Gigs…?  Well, that’s another story.  If only we could get around the little problem of ‘no sitter’ and no room for another passenger (Grandma) in the Peniki van, we’d be good to go.

For now, I continue to write songs, and work on getting my voice back after a long battle with the crud.  Honing my mandolin skills, while continuing to remodel our old Gypsy Caravan and Island home Mermaid Mansion is the way I’ve been spending my days lately.  That…and going to the beach almost every day, if we’re not biking to Nixi’s favorite play park, has become our Island way-of-life.  I can’t complain, though I sure do miss the smell of our boat, and the cold spray of water splashing up onto the deck as we cut through the waves…sailing into the sunset.

I guess you could say I’m kind of ‘sea sick’, though in an entirely different way.  I miss the water, instead of being sick from it.  :  )  So for now, I’ll just remember-when, and continue to work on decorating Mermaid Mansion.  This week…I’m sewing new couch cushions.  And I must admit, I am so very proud of the way our old caravan is ‘coming about’!  Next up…sewing a custom quilt for Nixi.  I have the kewlest Hippie Van fabric I bought from Ebay, which I’ll pair with a flower child sort-of print.  I can hardly wait to see how it turns out!  I’ll post pics for anyone who wants to see how it all comes together.

For now, I think I’ll get back to my stitch-witchery, and making my vintage trailer a comfortable island home.  Cheers to all who read my scribblings, and Blessings to those of you who comment.  :  )  And…Fair Winds to all you salty Sailors and deep-sea Pirates out there.  May you find true happiness…just over the horizon.

.V..

Cap'n Nico

Cap’n Nico

Nixi Down Below in the Galley

Nixi Down Below in the Galley

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Getting Underway

Getting Underway

Relaxing Down Below With Some Cartoons

Relaxing Down Below With Some Cartoons

Sunset Sails

Sunset Sails

Me at the Helm = Bliss!

Me at the Helm = Bliss!

 

Singers…Songwriters…and Dreams

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No matter where I go, there’s always a song in my head.  Sometimes it’s one of the songs my husband and I have already written and composed for our Indie duo Gypsy Vin Rose, but more-often-than-not, it’s an entirely new tune that comes to me at any time of day, no matter what I’m doing.  Many times, I dream these new songs – just small tidbits for me to go on – and if I’m lucky enough to salvage a clip when I wake up, I will quickly make a recording (no matter how bad it sounds in the early morning hours), scribbling down any lyrics I can recall.  With time and effort, a lot of tweaking too, I will have a new song if I dedicate what is needed to my craft…for such an accomplishment to ever be heard by others.

Facing all the restrictions of a next-to-nothing recording budget, a toddler screaming her own verse in the background while we try to practice, the lack of equipment and zero time to dedicate to our craft (because we are still keeping afloat with a regular job). I often feel helpless as I see our dreams falling by the wayside.  Still, the songs in my head won’t let me give up – the dreams I dream won’t let me quit on Gypsy Vin Rose.  The fire is still there inside of me…on a low, but steady, flame.

Last night I dreamt of Bob Marley, he didn’t speak, but I could hear him anyway.  I knew his thoughts…I knew his feelings.  He wanted me to keep with it, he wanted to help.  I just wanted to be where ever he was, but he somehow just kept disappearing.  I searched, but he was gone…and I felt alone…desperate to find him once more.  I’m not sure what to make of that dream, but I enjoyed being where I was; lost somewhere in the dream realm.

I believe that dreams are symbolic; never meaning what most people might think they represent.  I know last night’s dream doesn’t mean I’m thirsting for the man himself, but…rather the music and the freedom of expression for which he sang, for which he stood.  He was a good man, I believe.  I wish I could’ve known him.

Still, there are dreams like this one…that keep me going, when it comes to the songs I write and compose.  I remember past performances, when I was flying solo as an artist, before I met Nico…my husband and the other half to Gypsy Vin Rose.  I always felt more alive…more like ‘me’, on the stage; even if I was mostly singing the songs of other artists.  But I was never prepared at the right time; and most artists know…timing is everything, talent is a must, but luck plays a very big role as well.  The time I had a radio interview, but no CD’s ready to offer, always comes to mind when I think of being prepared for anything…everything in music.

I also think back to the time I met a big-time Sony Record Producer backstage at one of my musician friend’s concerts.  The producer – his name was Rob – asked me for a demo, but like always…I wasn’t prepared.  But he was a very nice man…and he thought I had the look, the image, so he offered me his business card, scribbled some contact information on the back – confessing that he never does business when he’s drinking – and we parted ways.  I guess most folks might think I’d never hear from him again, but I did.  The sad thing was that we just kept playing phone tag, until…I guess he just gave up on me.  It just wasn’t meant to be at that time, is all I keep telling myself.

Deep within my very being, I know I should never give up, no matter if I am on-up-there in years now, no matter if all the odds seem to be stacked against me…and GVR.  I look to the bright side, forever the optimist, and cling to the fact that I have been able to pick up the mandolin at my age, and actually learn to play it; composing my own songs after barely a few months of playing.  That, to me, is reassuring!  Knowing, already, that when it comes to recording our songs…we have that down too, since Nico discovered when he recorded his instrumental composition of The Journey in our van, that Hippie Van Studios has great acoustical sound…and no toddler screaming in the background.

The dream keeps the music alive with us…within me, the songs just keep playing in my head, and my heart still races at the thought of being up on stage…performing once again.  But, I have to admit that the best part of that waking-dream is…I know the next time I am up on stage using the talent that He has given, I’ll finally be singing and playing…my very own tune.