Monday, May 30, 2011

My Soapbox - Skip if you don't like...

 If the environment and other push button topics are on your avoid radar, please skip and we will soon return to our regularly broadcasted selection of van and mundane life issues, BUT if it is on your radar, keep reading:

Okay so I was sitting here today watching my roommate eat chicken. I have been meat free for over 2 months. I quit counting but it was logged on the blog. Its just become a way of life and I like it and should I get another roommate, I prefer the herbivore variety. Anyways, a friend sent me a link to PETA and I am normally not a fan of their work, their track record, general bashing of all breeders and far to graphic scenes geared at children. BUT I was very surprised when I clicked the link in my email to their blog asking me to help promote the PETA 360 plan. Well, I signed it and hopefully it makes a difference to someone somewhere particularly as a horse lover (and having worked for a farm that raced thoroughbreds).

What is it: It basically asks for the horse racing industry to pay 360 dollars per entry fee and registration to a retirement fund for horses. I agree. Greyhounds should as well but less money. According to the article (which I haven't verified for myself) there are 30,000 Thoroughbred colts and fillies produced each year and a given studding with one famous stallion is 150,000 who in one season bred 100 mares. Now given those stats in addition to a poor economy and from friends and family members, you can easily pick up a sound, younger well trained horse for nearly free. Why are so many baby horses being churned out? And why is it so much to ask for them to fork over a few more dollars? There is no shortage of horses but yet tracks are closing or losing money more and more. So why isn't there a general decline of horses being born to reflect this? I get it, if the economy was better, and more people watched horse races, then I could see these numbers. But really, let me borrow a quote from Avatar, "this is sad, so sad."

In addition, now that horse slaughter is illegal in the US, they just ship them overseas for a crueler death and longer ride. The horse in the ad (its not incredibly graphic but the point is well made) is related to Eight Bells and was sold to a slaughterhouse in Japan. I can't imagine what that horse went through to get there, then put on a ship and taken to Japan. Would they have not saved money to simply humanely put this horse out of its misery? Adding to the fact that a HORSE that GIVES SO MUCH should be entitled to a decent retirement in a field somewhere and if that isn't doable, then there are darn well too many being born and too much greed in the industry.

When cats and dogs retire from hobby breeders, they either go to a home to be a lavished pet where they don't compete for attention or they stay in the original environment, aren't horses entitled to the same? If not, why not?

Anyways, here is the link to sign if you feel inclined. I don't typically support PETA but this is an issue we can agree on: along with vegetarian (sorry haven't gotten to the vegan part), no fur, leather or animal experimentation or circuses. Guess that makes me a flaming liberal that still agrees with gun rights (and responsible hunting for those so inclined but not the mass gun dogs being produced, although I support responsible breeding and since mill isn't a definable thing, lets say a breeder should know their animals, where their pups or kits or whatever end up and have a clue who they are selling too besides vet care, healthy diet, clean area, cage free, and do a check on prospective homes before sale, AND provide a health guarantee and take back option).

And while I was over at PETA, take a look at the shelter checklist. Its actually right on the marker and I would expect no different (minus the cages) from anyone with animals as pets, breeders or simply pet sitting for someone. Too many shelters are dirty, managed poorly and don't take care of their animals. The only thing  I disagree with on the shelter checklist is to take any animal in in any condition. No kill shelters are needed just as much as the county pound. But both should be making ALL efforts including use of volunteers, low cost clinics ect to ensure every possible adoption is made and if not, use of trades to places where adoption is most likely, willing to do out of town adoptions, and not adopting animals from other countries brought into our pounds for adoption when we have too many animals needing homes now. Healthy animals, good potential home checking, clean kennels and an active volunteer/foster base is so important. I am particularly fond of Best Friends Animal Society and their stance on Pit Bulls. Punish the Deed, not the breed as the saying goes.

And one more thing: I don't play Frontierville on facebook because you have to club rattlesnakes. If children are doing this, where do lines get drawn? I don't find the beating of any animal ethical or responsible nor any games promoting slaughterhouses or animal fighting/abuse. Yep that includes the one on Android market which makes me sad because I love the Android marketplace and was considering buying an android device but for now I will stay with my Nokia E71 running the Ovi store and the Symbian OS. Its like iphone meets blackberry and doesn't include cruelty in its app selection.

So with that said and I am now off my soapbox: I don't take any liability for PETA nor do I endorse many of their practices or campaigns, nor do I endorse their possible connections to this and that.
There is good and bad in everything and as it stands, PETA has the money (but they won't be getting mine because I want to see where my money goes), and I take these issues to heart so I will sign my name proudly if it saves even one animal, so be it and it didn't cost me a penny. Believe you me, if the opportunity presented itself to lobby congress and the President for that matter, I would do it and put my money where my mouth is, and heck, someday I may. Its in the dream category for right now. I will stick to being eco friendly in my van (and even riding a bike around and parking the van like a house to save gas) and writing letters, sending emails and attending rallies to make my points loud and clear.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This city is growing on me. I give it credits for a nice bus system albeit kind of long getting to and from. But it seems to run on time, there is a mixed bag of folks some good and some not so much. There is definitely a mixed culture here that ranges in crazy teens to quiet adults. I am looking for a new vehicle asap but this will work for now... I do need to get some of my homework done but I don't want to unpack everything. I don't think I need my laptop for school notes but I am taking an online class that I will need it for and will get a smaller ipad holder for it. I shouldn't need to lug this much to school Everytime books wise. I got off through bus near the mall and got a wheely book bag that's good for school. No backpack here, let gravity do it. I just knew my hobo bag wasn't going to pull it off. Its cool going to school by a mall and living by one. And the having some random dude try to pick me up, that was odd. But he was cool. If I see him again, I will leave him my phone number. I like to people watch. So that's it for now...
So my roommate sprayed Febreeze and I couldnt breathe, I am so glad to be out of there. He is a nice dude but in his own little world.
I am riding the bus to school today. Its cheaper, greener and without a job at the moment, I am not in a hurry.
I also have decided a trailer and SUV is the way to go. I will be out west for a while and so having a vehicle that can handle the mountains and a little off road is nice. The trailer can house the cats and will be small with a shower, bed, stove and eating area. It can even be tucked in a backyard. The SUV will allow camping and towing as needed. That's the plan And seems the most affordable option. The trailer should last awhile and the tow vehicle a few as well. Call it a cheap house investment that moves. And given my luck with vehicles, that's why I like the trailer idea plus a petsitter can watch the cats while I work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I don't know what it is in this apartment, but its not working for me. I can't breathe, so I packed. I may offer if I can't get my money back to sleep in the van and come in for showers so its not long term exposure. Febreeze, incense, o cant sleep and my chest hurts and more than that, I miss my van with the fresh air and open skies. The location of all things right here is nice, but bah, its not worth my lungs.
So I picked up a rental room and have been here for several nights. I can't sleep because I a, sneezing and choking. The neighbors apartment apparently has mold. I can smell it if the window is closed in my room or when I turn the ac on. I don't know if its the filter or used furniture.
I opted for floor sleeping like I always have because he wanted me to get some used futon that needs cleaned from a storage sale. The couch has a broken leg and he still has half the closet. The room is tiny and well, I want to kick myself for this. I can't sleep with the allergy problem and that's going to make the bipolar rear its ugly head. Also, trying to feed meat to a vegetarian gets old really fast. He doesn't rise until well into the evening so I can't even talk. Not sure how I want to do this. I need to move again but classes start tomorrow. I breathe better w window open but its to hot during the daytime for that.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In vandwelling, there is no such thing as easy, you learn to take your time and expect to wait.
You learn to be creative like washing your hair in some rather strange places or creating some interesting ways to fix a basic dish. Grocery shopping is done with cans and things that won't explode in the heat or need refrigerated because running a fridge is to much electricity and ice gets expensive besides a pond in the cooler the next morning.
You learn one bed roll isn't enough padding, that your sleeping bag needs to be able to handle below zero and still be cozy when its 80.
You quickly realize all that stuff you brought and never use is merely that, stuff. It goes to the goodwill fate has you parked from.
Stacking tubs and bags sounds great and looks pretty until you see it on the floor. And trust me, you will get your load tested regularly. You will meet many fine folks and then you will want to run from others.
But hey, you have wheels, choose your neighbors or choose to have none.
And most important, you will learn to not panic, to be creative and be social and stealth rolled into one. You will go through a gamut of emotions, have worries the first few nights parked, and learn to truly trust the bird in your ear.
Enjoy your experience, this has been mine and I love every moment of it, even if things don't always go as expected, this is life and one in a van, well, its an adventure, live it and see where the road takes you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ork out.
lan to site see tomorrow around the area if its nice.
I think once I get a system and with 2 classes on one day, so city only once a week, things will w
comfortable and its been 7 days now. I felt congested and road rage in the city so I opted out of the city and headed west to Picachu for the night. I p
re, still have food and got water last night although I will be adding a few more igloo jugs as water seems more distant to get for free.
So I am still
I don't feel inclined to buy and tend to be neat and orderly because in a minivan its a requirement.
I did laundry today in Benson az so I am stocked the
I should be able to afford gas and repairs for now.
Overall though vandwelling is awesome and I am enjoying it, the privacy, the ease of pace and how
And I can say with certainty there is a lack of places to park. I am working on that albeit I only have class once a week and lack a technical address so
affic and heat together wow. People are in a hurry to get nowhere. Now granted, its a big city but I am truly alone here, the big girl on her own Lol,..
king lot. The yellows change to fast, cameras everywhere and waffle house is even somewhat unfriendly. In short, I am ready to go back to Taos NM. The tr
own I remember from a few years ago. They remind me of Washington dc. A lot of traffic, shucks, there are times I forget whether I am driving or in a par
tered for classes. The first is that I am not that impressed with Tucson. Sure there are some absolutely great people but this town of tucson isn't the t
I haven't written a blog in a few minutes and I haven't gotten to uploading pics although I will soon.
I wanted to share some insite now that I am regis

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Still on lunch Lol,.. Working on some undone projects and found an entire book of stamps I didn't even know I had. The internet is my friend bc I am horrible with snail mail. But alas a few things must be done this way so I shall...
Last night while parked I saw a wolf and a fox, and today I have been watching birds at a park in KS called Chateaus Island. I couldn't find a rest stop so I opted for this. Pretty nifty spot. I am sitting in the slider section of the van, door open enjoying the breeze.
I have also gotten rid of more stuff or consolidated some and chucked others since this spot has a dumpster. There are precious few places where a full Bag can go.
I took the cardboard out of the rolls which fit 8 rolls where 4 would go, reorganized the clothes and kitchen areas and now with just the kitchen area left, it looks good.
I am somewhere before laCruces NM @ a casino rest stop on a reservation. Really cheap gas which was awesome. I filled up for 40 dollars. to bad I don't have 2 tanks to fill up but then again the weight would create less gas mileage so its probably close in a cost comparison. I slept at walmart in Taos and it was nice there as well, I counted 9 different camping vehicles ranging from a honda crv with a sheet and bed behind the passenger seat to a truck camper. Very neat environment.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tonight I am in NM. I left Pueblo after a wonderful time and then filled up and drove some mountains. Some of those climbs are really steep and there are several cute towns. I opted for a larger one and am now shutting down for the night.
I came to visit a good friend of mine from my breeding days and got to meet my girl Ajahs grandkits and they are beyond adorable. Ajah only had one girl in her career and I showed her and placed her with a friend so she could have kittens. When she is done, both her and her father will be fixed and continue their show careers with me. The boy was imported from a long way out and is very special. For the breeders privacy and the scope of this blog, I will leave out names. Its simply been a wonderful trip and I have enjoyed overnighting with 4 gorgeous kits and my girl who still remembers me after a year.
I am out in the country of CO and getting here was an adventure with some real hills, I have the power but need a Jeep 4 x 4 to handle it in bad weather.
I still want a Jeep or Landrover to enjoy the backwoods of the west but not to far, just to visit the smaller communities.
I will be looking for a 4 wd vehicle or all wheel drive for better clearance. Having a trailer on the tight hills would be no fun so I just don't know yet what to look for.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This lovely morning I find myself in CO. The sunrise this morning was lovely. I pulled into this spot at 6 pm yesterday, cooked up some mushroom soup with rice, ate some strawberries and a good dose of tea.
I am going to do laundry today in Lamar and then onto Pueblo to visit a dear friend.
Also, still vegetarian and boy was that reaffirmed on 50 when I passed those feedlots and the Tyson plant. Add watching the trucks unload and head up to the ramp. Now followed by several mom cows with their babes innocently lulling in the grass. I just can't imagine what they go through to get to the plate from factory farm to factory plant. I feel much better for the kosher and halal killed animals than standard factory although I prefer to see the cows alive with expression eating grass as nature intended.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I will be uploading some pics @ my next stop. For the most part, gas hasn't been over 4 dollars and I have been driving more conservative to save it. I drove quickly through muggyville but its cooler here which is nice. Its just pretty now... Blue skies, small towns, a few cows here and there, prairies, and a great view for miles. The weather is cool but not cold and not to much traffic at the moment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I started out today and @ the gas station somehow lost my gas cap and the nice lady had a leftover one, which she gave too me. I need a new air filter as well but that's tomorrow. I can only do one thing a a time. But I left at 1017 pm and have been driving a few hours now save for a stop to which my porte pot came in handy. I am somewhere in indiana heading for indi.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So tonight I decided one more pizza and night with the cats and then onward tomorrow after breakfast. I just stocked my food reorganized the van again and will be on my way tomorrow, procrastination is my specialty afterall.
I am heading out today, I decided to stick to my usual second shift driving schedule, some daytime, some night. Finding parking for the day when its warmer and easier to blend in seems more like common sense. I am planning on driving 4 to 8 hrs tonight so I should make IL tonight. Then I can make my resume tomorrow and work on some projects.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Well tomorrow is take off day as planned. I am just about ready, spent some time with family, saw some movies and will be heading out very soon. I figure tomorrow @ noon is time to go. I am heading to visit my brother an hour and a half from here and then hopefully to IN by evening. I am hoping to get to warmer areas with less humidity so I can dry out the van and seal the leak if I can't get to it tomorrow, which depends on whether tonight.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I took a shower and was working on getting my stuff loaded into the van to do laundry and do a trash run before final take off. There is a serious leak coming in from my rear hatch at the top seam that connects to the van. I guess a few more things need taken out so that area isn't in use. I put a small litterbox, unused, to collect the water. I am glad my Rubbermaid tote had the lid on and that I opted to keep my clothes in it. this could be a blessing though since the bike now gets the rear, its easy to take out and clean the area. Boy I can't wait to get this fixed.
I came home to help out and even though Tippy is owned by a family member, I payed for her spay, have walked her and looked after her and don't mind that part but It sure isn't appreciated along with tending the other pets. I am rolling out for sure tomorrow and I realize I have said that here plenty but now I am annoyed, not a negative note but its time to roll. So much for mothers day...

Friday, May 6, 2011

I just took the bike out for a spin. I can walk miles but biking is another story. I will be attempting to bike daily to at least a few miles to get my heart rate up. I loved biking when I was younger but then I crashed in a ditch due to a driver not paying attention, so I am trying to get over my issue with this and enjoy my bike again. I want to also try rock climbing as it looks like fun but I am afraid of heights. I want to see the mountains in their glory and the world with as many views as possible,
I am heading out Monday for Indianapolis IN. Then St Louis MO. If anyone knows any star attractions in the area worth seeing, I would be real appreciative for any pointers.
Good quiet parking spots are also appreciated.
Tippy is doing well, returning with all the spit and vinegar as she had before since her spay yesterday. That's good and not so good...
I went and saw Hanna last night and it was good, but could have been better, lots of running and odd camera angles. The lady that played the CIA angel did a wonderful job as she did in Queen Elizabeth. She has an aura of being in charge which worked well with this roll.
I also got several things organized and packed in the van so I can sleep comfortably, but the bike is still a challenge so I am still working on those details but I still need to go through my clothes which may consolidate a few more things.
The organizers have been priceless and so are ziplock bags.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I am sitting at a mall in ohio waiting for Hanna to start. Its been a month since I went to see one and I have wanted to see this for a while and for once its not raining, I also wanted to do some housekeeping and reorganize a few things as the bed area in van feels crowded. I went to do the house sitting gig before returning home today to see my cats and get a feel for the van and the layout. Now that things have been in here, there are a few things that aren't going that I would like to drop at some local shops. I haven't put the bike in here yet which I will really want and that will occur tomorrow.
Today was gorgeous, I took my pup in for her spay. She is sleeping comfortably where the cats are albeit she is on pain meds as well.
I am actually starting to like my van layout as things I thought I would need I don't and I haven't found any new needs at the moment.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nothing like a boiled potato, apple, carrots and black beans over rice in a mayo sauce with garlic for flavor. Also, in my vegetarian quest I have settled on lacto ovo as my style. I love dairy particularly milk. I don't eat eggs by themselves and I don't cook with them as they don't agree with me, but eggs are used in noodles and cookies, bread and pancakes ect. Milk is in cream of celery and mushroom. So I gave up meat and seafood and that's where I sit now. I buy only organic milk from pasture fed cows. I actually don't like the smell of meat anymore and I look forward to fruits and veggies. So this is the tale of one lazy vegetarian if you will. I may share more of my boil in the pot recipes as we go and further substitutions away from eggs and dairy. One big one has been bread to potatoes. I can make a potato several ways perhaps more than bread and love it.
Wow today is another busy day. I am house sitting for someone and they have tons of cans to be smashed. Its a lot of work. I am trying to get the house nice and clean. I got a 2L of diet coke to go with and I am cleaning the van again. Its all looking quite nice.
I will take a picture of the van once I get it cleaned yet again. Being organized is so important.