Archive | travel

where’d it all go?

Every year I look at the things I bought, most of them were just to make myself happy.  Sometimes they were to replace things that I couldn’t live without, a lot of them were to fix or create other things. Since I buy very few actually NEW things, and almost always from Amazon or Ebay,  it is easy to see what I bought.  Everything else I acquire is from thrift shops or rarely Craigslist. Surprisingly this year, a lot of things I purchased were ones I really didn’t need but thought I did at the time. I also bought a lot of ‘just in case’ things which I apparently don’t need either.  Yeah this was a bad year in comparison to other years, I mostly blame the very bad job that I had, I was spending the extra pay wastefully, probably just to keep from killing people at work. I also took up backpacking\hiking and bought a ‘new’ car which led me down a path to acquire appropriate accessories.

I kept trying used hiking clothing made of all the new and improved fabrics for hiking clothing and finally threw in the towel and redonated the entire lot. I just can’t wear anything made of polyester next to my skin. I bit the bullet and bought a merino t-shirt (although I found a $50 shirt for $20!) I can’t wear it in summer as they claim, but it’s fine for the rest of the year. I will usually only buy clothes on ebay after I have failed to find something I really want in thrift shops. At $50 this Aran Merino hoodie was probably the most expensive item of clothing I bought this year, I also picked up some merino lounge pants and a lightweight merino hoodie at $20 each, both needing light repairs – I write all the woolen purchases off as ‘heating’ expenses. I didn’t buy as MUCH yarn this year as other years, though I did stop knitting in the summer when the weather got sticky. I am going to TRY to use up the yarn cache under the bed, including sweaters I bought specifically to unravel for their yarn.  I wasted at least $60 buying ‘hiking’ socks which I loathe, so I finally mastered knitting my own socks. I may have to add to my needle collection next year, and move onto other things.

This year I replaced the Microwave, the Tea kettle, my watch and finally the Bluray player which had died over a year ago, it was either replace it or sell the last of the bluray discs. On the bright side I have sold off so much of my media collection I am down to just the stuff I really love. I did end up rebuying a few discs I had already sold off.  But I rarely buy them new unless they are as cheap as used.

After going 5 days without power I FINALLY ordered the Mr Heater, which had been sitting on my wishlist for like 3 years. It would have been $20 cheaper if I had picked it up in summer, but I was playing chicken with the climate. Hopefully I won’t actually NEED to unbox it . . . ever. I also picked up a butane stove which I am using regularly instead of the hotplate. It takes way less energy and fits nicely in the cupboard. 

From Craigslist I picked up a dehydrator for less than half price, I was getting a little sick of throwing squash into the compost pile because I wasn’t eating it fast enough. It is also one of those things that if I don’t use it next year I can resell it. I also aquired a couple of roof storage boxes for $25 each for my car, (I miss my truck) I know I only need ONE, but I am hoping to sell one in the spring and cover the cost of both. I also got a kiddie bike trailer for $20 with the intention of taking the dog for a long bike ride… when I am in physical condition for a long bike ride. And I bought a bike rack for the back of the car which I bought new because it was as cheap as used. I STILL need to get a roof rack if I ever want to use the $$$ canoe which is still hanging from the ceiling, although I have seen people simply padding the roof with pool noodles.

The Subaru Forester was probably the biggest expense of the year, though selling the truck covered the actual cost. It does free us up to go traveling, we managed to hike a lot of different places this year. I have intentions of doing a bit of camping or at least CAR camping so I can see the rest of the state. Her K9-SportSak was probably the most used purchase this year..and one of the most expensive at $79, well worth every penny. I did drop a significant amount on a Ultra lightweight backpack that I had my heart set on, though I did some horse trading to get it paid for; it should last me a good long while.

I was a little aghast at the volume of small bits of crap I bought  off ebay this year, I really need to stop doing that. I only bought a handful of physical books to add to the book case (we won’t discuss my audiobook addiction today) I try to keep even those purchases within reason. I did treat myself to a $100 set of Signed James Morrow books, which I see as more of an investment . . . albeit one that brings me joy.


boxes Trying to come up with the logistics for moving all my crap. I am loathe to rent a box truck, not because of the expense i’m sure it would be cheaper than many trips with my truck, it’s not even the driving, the largest truck i’ve driven has been a 28ft Pensky through Boston no less….it’s really just the size differential- my new street is a dead end and not one with a large cul de sack, it’s the sort where you have to pull into someone’s driveway to turn around. And to make it interesting there are two large hemlocks drapped over either side of the driveway, getting something LARGER than my own beast into it first time sounds like challenging fate…..I can just envision pulling down a power cable accidentally. Then there is the unloading alone…if i bring up a single load in the pickup, since I loaded it myself, I know i can unload it myself and then get back on the road with an empty truck, a box truck is really a two person operation.

bluedishes1 Yes I have friends who have offered to help and I may press gang them into service to move the cats but simply getting more than one person available at the same time as another one, to drive two states away,  is flat out impossible. A nice compromise would be to rent a trailer, but we come back to threading the needle of the driveway with it.

Right now my intention is to start moving something every time I go up and see what that does for me….I am thinking not very much right now… problem with a sideless pickup truck is you can’t pile things up very high. Great if you have furniture, not so great if everything is boxable.

I started boxing the kitchen last night. It is kinda surprising to pull everything out from their hiding place in the cabinets. I guess i have been picking up blue pieces for 35 years now and I didn’t realize i had so much… and I refuse to abandon a going collection just when it’s getting good, I’ve given up way too much as it is. I almost thought I had scrounged too much bubble wrap but no, no you can never have TOO much bubble wrap. What takes up one shelf in a cupboard, out of sight out of mind, took up four boxes and a couple of trash bags of bubbles. SOMEONE in Portland is going to be very happy with my empty packing boxes when i unload. The metal bakeware on the other hand won’t take much bubble wrap, most of it was all banged up when I bought it to begin with. I will leave the few plates i use everyday for last packed/first unpacked, the nice breakable porcelain can stay boxed until I have actually put everything away and bought a dinner table.

Just piling the boxes up in the house is also a pain in the ass, any cardboard within 12″ of the floor is indistinguishable from a scratching post.  And until the floors get painted in the new house, I won’t be able to pile them up there either.  That doesn’t leave much to transport, at least until the back porch gets built.  I guess i will start with what can go in the goofy little garden shed. – the wooden storm windows and shutters i have been hoarding for a glass greenhouse that may never get built.  Bicycles, and any gardening equipment that i haven’t given away as yet…. i wonder if i can get some of it back?  I didn’t realize i was buying a garden with a house attached to it.

. . . . 200 miles later

maineIt stopped snowing last week and everything melted just  like a bit of Mud Season in the middle of January. I put my last 50 bucks in the gas tank and went to Biddeford yesterday… I actually made a special trip back to the house to get my camera….pointless really, as i never even took it out of the case. Winter in New England is one thing, but when it’s all meltly and muddy, it’s just all bad.

Long story short I was a little unimpressed with downtown biddeford. We are conditioned to think of coastal maine as nicely appointed and picturesque, but in spots it is rather squallid. Just like anywhere, some parts are nicer than other parts. The downdown is not someplace I want to live. Actually Biddeford looks a lot like, Lowell and Manchester in the Merrimack Valley…. mixed use, light industrial chockoblock with tenaments and more multifamilies made from old single families…you have to get away from the downtown to find single family house lots, but it doesn’t last long before you run face first into stripmall syndrome. Saco’s downtown is a little more retro-quaint, and it rolls immediately into larger houses on bigger lots in better condition…the way it is told to me, is that the French Catholic mill workers lived in Biddeford, and the Protestant mill owners in Saco…Post  the 21st century economic crash, Biddeford with all its cheap retail, industrial space etc……is attracting the young and progressive, artistic, and creative……so you have cutting edge chefs taking over ancient diners and craft brewers setting up shot in brick mills. All signs of trending gentrification, but there is still a revolving door on the court house for the meth heads.

Biddeford is a hard place to love…the houses and streets are way too close together in the downtown, i’m sick of listening to my tenants stomp up the stairs like Colonel Hathi ….i don’t need to see or hear my neighbors…well…anything. I have extended my Zillow house search to a wider area including Saco, further inland wooded areas. I still like the central location the mouth of the Saco River offers me..but i don’t want to trade one squalid municipality for another.    The ‘town’ is being progressive in its thinking and actions so that’s still attracting me. I really shouldn’t judge…nothing in New England looks good when it’s all covered in mud and slush. By the time i get to go house shopping with a checkbook, the world should look a lot better.Biddeford

Essentially i have thrown out nearly all of my house shopping criteria that i started with:  I still need a garage/barn or outbuilding, screened in porch, a room with a door for an office, a guest room, a south facing roof for the solar electric and a little bit of yard for a garden.   When i started i didn’t want much more than that, because i didn’t want to buy more property than i could conceivably take care of.  I wanted to be closer to the downtown than further in the burbs, but now the burbs are looking a lot better. Downtown Greeenfield, and even Downtown Methuen, aren’t downtown Biddeford…I’ve been spoiled, i have had my little island on a hillside in the middle of the city…where most people in my neighborhood have only a driveway strip between them and their neighbors clothesline.

Here to Biddeford was the first 72 miles,   I came home by way of Goffstown, NH…to check on my friend with the wolf hybrids who has an arm in a sling for the rest of the week.  There’s a slim chance that in a few years she may have to relocate with the wolves to a more hassle free environment.   That idea is sticking inside my head like bubble gum on a carpet, a house with a few unbuildable acres is not a hard thing to find in Maine, not even for a moderate price.  There’s a house in Saco that fits nearly all the criteria right now…i wonder how the neighbors would feel about hearing wolves at night?



2013-11-08 10.31.06

I lost a day in there somewhere, not sure which one. I spent all day Saturday thinking it was Friday, not that there is much difference for me, but its nice to keep track of these things. Of course when i DID go out to check the mail, i found this waiting for me….at least it had a note. The kitten inside is too old to socialize UNLESS, its the only cat you have to work with and even then, it will never be a cat someone will adopt on purpose. The best and only thing i can do for it, is fix it and put it back in the yard where it was trapped. They will continue to feed it, but right now they are trying to trap its mother and sibling. They better get it done before next Monday which is a clinic day for me, i will get it fixed and then it goes back. the Damn thing has screamed every night for three days. Causing me to wake with a migraine.

1441424_10152167510270312_362306630_n I am making headway with the other two borders, Buttons is very social right now, though her brother Inky is only hand tamed, if you put him on the ground he finds himself a hideyhole for the rest of the day. On the bright side some friends in Maine are looking to adopt them, which will be quite nice.

I will probably have to borrow a car to deliver them as my transmission is giving me grief, which leads me back to the ‘why isn’t my house up for sale yet’ part of my rant. While one of the voices in my head is still bundled up under a duvet refusing to come out until there is a status change, I had been keeping the other one busy with a puzzle of how to juggle cats to keep a small house guest ready on a long term basis, it still has no answer which tells me there is something fundamentally wrong with the question. Until today.

Yes i am finally enjoying the odd hot shower and a median room temperature that isn’t unbearable, but i still have other bills to pay and the truck will need some attention… i need to get the damn house on the market. Which means i need to get Himself to stop dicking around with my life. If he wants to fuck around and spend money, he shouldn’t be wasting it inside apartments but working on updating the smoke detectors and other general quick fixes. So the louder of the two voices has been writing an email to Himself…CCd to the lawyer of course.

1395967_10152167503090312_393965444_n The bitch of it is, that i don’t WANT to go ranting at that bastard, he’s a whiney bitch who will always find someway to diminish and belittle me for my ideas, and as anyone knows arguing with a stupid person is futile. What i fear is that he will use my objections to continue this stalling pattern. Fuck , i don’t know what will happen, i can only say it wont be good and i can only hope it will be forward momentum. At least SOME momentum will be a change.

1463951_10152169736630312_1841375439_nMeanwhile i still can’t hear well out of the right side of my head and it does make me prone to want to nap more. A head cold has settled in nicely, and I have already eaten all the drugs in the house and need to wait until the bills are paid before i buy anymore. i did run out for a very tall coffee which i can split into about 4 mochas..its either that of keep napping.

And just when i have rolled myself up in a nice fat duvet of self pity i saw a spanish kid selling papers in front of the coffee shop with his hands jammed in his pants. So i gave him my fingerless work gloves, all the better to make change with. I had another pair in my backpack i use for rowing. But i am getting sick to my ass of seeing these kids peddling papers and NOT having proper winter clothing. What the fuck is wrong with these hispanics…and yes i am becoming more biased as i get older…these are 2nd and 3rd generation folk and i NEVER see their kids in proper New England clothing. White kids on the other hand are usually dressed appropriately for the weather EXCEPT for teenage girls who never dress for the cold, regardless of their culture. But that kid will probably work longer and harder today than i will. All i will get done as some fiddly inventory packaging and laundry, what the fuck do i have to complain about?

wee beastie

weebeastie1I finally decided to sell the Wee beastie…. really i should have sold her years ago, i had stopped using her and put her in the carriage house two trucks ago. Where I live going camping means north, north means hills, most of the trucks i have owned did not enjoy pulling even the smallest of weight 1100 lbs so in deference to protecting my vehicles I stopped using her for actual travel. Once I got into the animal rescue, my options for travel diminished entirely. Both of the voices in my head agreed on keeping her in the carriage house and not selling her JUST YET… She was my insurance so that if my brother managed to boot me out of the building I would always have a place to sleep.


In order to take her with me to Greenfield I would have to register her, not expensive, but once i got there i would have to have a garage just for her. Now most folks would just say, put her in the yard…well this is New England …any vehicle put up on blocks in a yard will nearly never survive a couple of winters. I feel about the Wee Beastie the same way i feel about all vintage items, I am entrusted with keeping her in good condition as long as i have her.


She is a vintage 1976 Scotty Gaucho in near mint condition..i over paid for her when i bought her 15 years ago. Misusing her even not storing her correctly will diminish her value and cause irreparable damage. So she is going on the market. Last night I reached out to the Scotty Collectors group and got a few nibbles this morning. My first step is to get one of them to come see her and give me a ball park price to put on her. I DO NOT want to put her on craigstlist. I will get a better price from a collector and i want her to go to someone who understands she is vintage and get her out on the road and get some use.

I did use her a few times..but to be fair i used her the most as a writing studio running the electrics into the house.  Not having a bathroom in it is a big drawback for me. but not for someone who takes it to camp grounds.  So essentially she no longer fits my lifestyle and knowing that i will be buying a house i can’t be kicked out of,  i can let go of my fears of becoming a bag lady sleeping in a cardboard box.

Besides my idea of camping these days is ultralight, a bike, a canoe and a tent.   I am hoping to get a few thousand for her, that should tide me over until i sell the house.  AND alleviate me of  more of the stuff stored in the Carriage house…what will be left in there will be a dozen bikes and the jon boat…and as much of the shelving wood as i can grab before my brother gets to it.


My old faithful coleman cooler

coleman cooler To divert myself from my own problems, i am working on someone else's. A friend of mine who rescues wildlife and wolf/dog hybrids has a chance to rescue one that is in east bumfuck US...Kansas...i KNOW! middle freaking america where i NEVER go..sorry america but if i get away from a coastline i get vertigo..regardless there is a good chance he can be transported at least half way which would be Columbus OHio which i COULD deal with since it's just far enough to run back to West Virginia or Pennsylvania if i get Dizzy. Needless to say I am going on this road trip if it kills me, i finally found temporary accommodations for the dogs and the kittens..the kid upstairs will take the kittens in their cage..yeah..i dont' expect them to spend much time in their cage either...and someone who wants me to do a serious favor for them offered to take at least ONE dog..i may be able to get them to take the little one two.. what's a chihuahua between friends right? The rest of the circus can wreck my house again, i don't care. Animal Control will come in and make sure no one has lit fire to the bed. But i only expect to be gone 48-72 hours unless there is BAIL we have seen even if someone DIES i am usually back in two days. Which brings me back to OLD faithful - a little red coleman cooler I bought in college... i never take a road trip without her. I probably should have started making the mileage on her..but it's about 30 years too late. As it is, some of the vinyl and paper stickers have given up the ghost only the old technology of water activated decals have remained intact. Having the level of OCD that i have, i immediately went online and ordered a few to replace them. I don't mind the rust acne, that's part of the patina..but two bottom corners are ruptured so THAT i have to fix. coleman cooler Times like this i DO LOVE the internet. Like nearly all major name brands there are fan clubs and collectors out took me all of 5 minutes (which is a fucking long time in Internet speak) to find the Coleman Collectors forum. I am still reading through the posts and there isn't too much how too about this sort of injury. Since her interior is in great shape, she can still do her job. I have a newer HUGE steel belted that i use on large scale emergencies, (usually it holds book deodorizer for sale) but I would prefer to keep on using this red one as long as i can, hinges, handles and latches are all replaceable...from what i read even if the lining is fakakta (yiddish for fucked up) you can gut it and use it to store lanterns..or so they say. The corner on the other hand is a problem. its a little rusty in there, so i banged on it and shook out the rust. I will run some oxalic acid bath through it and get as much rust out as possible before i try to seal it. and the sealing it is going to be an experiment it has no marks about what sort of plastic it is made with. some adhesives just don't adhere to plastic..but there is such a thing as PLASTIC WELDING..go figure.. I am now reading through INSTRUCTABLES about plastic welding techniques. I don't need to get it fixed before the roadtrip..i don't expect it to be flooded out..though with my trips you never know...but i will put it on my list of projects to work on in winter time. for the roadtrip, all she got was a magic eraser scrub down, inside and out, and in a few minutes i will armor-all her exterior. Which i advise for plastics and electronics..useful stuff, that silicon spray stuff. I will post more about the road trip..i am the official documentarian of the thing - i am bringing all my cameras, cables and a shit load of batteries. We need to turn this into a fundraising event for the Wolf Adventure I am not shitting you THAT's what the wildlife rescue is called.

more iphone tricks

I haven’t PLAYED with my phone in a while…i spent a few hours blowing up my data plan on that weekend from hell. so i had to alter my plan until next month…and i have the feeling i may leave it that way..there are too many times i  have to worry about bumping the ceiling. we’ll see, right now i still have no idea where next months bill money  will come from. the census sent me a note saying try again in 6 months. yatta yatta yatta…

this image is a combination of about 4 different apps, though nearly ALL photo or social apps give you the option of accessing the camera FROM the app, I like to use the Camera+ app for shooting. then I used an app called PIC STITCH to create the triptych – it has a LOT more framing options….then i used an app called OVER to apply the captions. Then I opened it in INSTAGRAM and applied one of its shitty filters…i don’t GET instragram though i keep playing with it. The only conclusion i have ever come to is that people want to apply shitty filters to their shitty camera phone pictures so they can say ‘i meant to do that.’

I know it was a lot of work for what is essentially a throwaway image, but once i DO something i keep it in the back of my brain for when i actually NEED IT.

Another app I picked up recently is called POSTCARD ON THE RUN…i had tried a bunch of image to postcard methods last year, and this one seems to be a happy medium. The app is free, the cards are 1.49 full color bleed and shipped. you have half the back to add text, you can add SMELL for .50 which is odd. not bad. if you were somewhere and you bought and mailed one it would cost that.. IF one still sends cards.and if you just wanted to print a 4×6 snapshot it would cost about .39. I’m gonna keep all these apps on the phone – who knows i could go on vacation again.


go fish

I have slowly become fascinated with all those folks who are preparing for disaster and zombie revolutions…i suppose none of us can be completely complacent anymore..we all watch the Katrina Fema fuckup live on was enough to make anyone put a little bug out bag in the corner. Interesting thing about the internet is that it shines a light on all the sects in the universe… so if you want to peek at an alternate universe you can. There are hundreds of ready made emergency kits, 72 hour disaster kits, family food caches…it all smacks of a cross between the Whole Earth Catalog and the Scientific American built fall out shelter. Apparently there is a cottage industry on the net and ebay of putting together disaster kits and selling them to other terrified people.

I wasn’t THAT paranoid..and i’m still not really..but i did notice that since i carry a bunch of ‘preparedness’ crap with me already..and it does get used from time to time..”do you have a knife?” “do you have an asprin”, “do you have a rope, bungee cord, trashbag, bandaid, tweezers”…it goes on. Am ‘I’ just one of those people one expects to have these things?
First i put together a little tool/first aid kit for the bike…then when is started going out in the boat, i needed a bigger more elaborate bunch of ‘just-in-case-crap’. Then i put together a couple of bucks for the back of the truck, with graffiti removal supplies..then another which is just trash removal stuff, bags and gloves and such…i really like putting kits must be a thing.

Last year, I decided I wanted a go bag that wasn’t my regular bag with extra stuff crammed in. I have studied all the lists for what SHOULD go in a bag..and i decided that everyone has their opinion and the ready mades aren’t worth the money. A custom made one is much better for anyone. I don’t live any sort of lifestyle that would put me in harms way or demand emergency preparedness at all instead of doing it all at once..which i couldn’t afford on my best day, i just buy about one thing a month for it. I started with a used red Jansport from ebay, and now it has a red nylon shaving kit bag for first aid stuff. At one ‘thing’ a month, I picked up a hand crank solar powered radio, a handcranked flashlight, some glow sticks, bandages, scissors, thermal blankets (why DO they call those blankets?) hand warmers etc..
Most of the crap i already had in house, i just had to rearrange it to be in the same place.

I also need a first aid kit to keep in the truck when we do rail trail events or CERT mobilizations, and whatnot..So I can just start dragging this backpack around instead of leaving it in a corner. My personal idea is to have graduated ‘kits’ combine the red backpack, with the small green duffle that has the crowbar, work gloves, rope etc.. combine those with the BIG blue duffle which has the tent, and folding chair etc.. if i ever get evicted i should be okay for 72 hours. I am not in a position to do the same for my roommates…without the regular paycheck it’s hard enough for me to keep 72 hours worth of food around the house, than have that much leftover to ‘store’. today I got a box of flexible band aids…hmm i may need a box of those for my everyday bag.

as seen on TV

okay okay…i know this was a waste of money even before i watch this really damning video..but seriously i wanted one… i wanted to play with it. Due to overexposure on daytime and midnight tv, i guess everyone else wants one too…i chalk it up to fear…all of a sudden our world is filled with people scooping up RFID information….and this little bugger is all we have to protect us. Yeah right.
well for me, it does what it says on the holds all the items i had in my wallet on the day i bought it. But there is only room for 10 ‘card’ items and nothing else. my cranky litttle leather wallet holds all these items plus as many business cards i can slide in before it fails to fold. I will most likely go back to my leather wallet. but I do like the feel of this little fucker…it is ever so close to the traditional cigarette case in tactile feel. I’m wondering what else i can use it for, post it notes, mini moleskines? business cards, sd cards, condoms? i think i will make an experiment out of it.

I don’t actually carry cash well not as a habit so i don’t have as many demands on this box as the fella in the video.

ed. I gave up and gave it away to someone who was tickled with it.

points and lines

I am outting my new project…i am deep enough into it to know there is no danger of anyone else stealing the’s too fucking complex for a sane person to take on. I am working on a Directory of NH Rail Trails, your brain..even my brain said..well all that information is on the internet right? well sort of kinda of almost.. It’s taken me about 30 hours to collate just a LIST..just a list mind you of municipalities containing trail segments, that’s not even collating all the start and end points, parking, access and trail advocate contact as you can see, i’m not worried that someone will beat me to it. Most of my contacts inside the universe of NH Rail Trails are waiting patiently for me to finish my work. Everyone has SOME information, and the information floating around the internet is derivative from an incomplete database. Lucky for everyone involved my boss is paying me to do it. It started with a week of brain work trying to wrap my head around how the data set should be collected , sorted and then formatted. I can now see it in my head, and I’m pretty right with it. Now I can hear you say aren’t OFFline references outdated? well perhaps…so this reference work will be available in a few different e-versions, Kindle, Epub, PDF etc and a POD paper version that will be updated constantly. i’m haven’t gotten right with the idea of making it an active online website..just yet because then it will suffer the same fate as the ones already online, derivative extracts will be stolen and replicated all over the net but because they are not being constantly updated they will all contain varying amounts of inaccurate data. As it stands I still need to work out how a map will be integrated with my directory. Baby steps. First define the scope of the data, collate and produce what i have, then wait for everyone to send me corrections and call me an idiot. so far so good.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes