Off-Leash

 

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Today our RV park had a Mardi Gras parade.  Industrious participants decorated a pickup truck in purple tissue paper and a million beaded necklaces.  Costumed revelers sat in the truck bed (one lovely lady donned a chicken hat) as the truck blasted its horn and played music while riding up and down rows of RVs. Candy and beads were tossed to the crowd.  Dawny picked up a few necklaces … ain’t she perty!!!

Dawny and I stuck to the rear of the parade, as there were lots of doggies there, and Dawny… well, Dawny continues to think she is boss of the world.  One four-legged participant, Bella (a dachshund-yorkie mix), trotted along  in the middle of the crowd as if she were the Queen, dressed in a glamorous outfit with an assortment of glittery beads and other bejeweled items.  She was magnificent.  I cast my primary vote for her:  Queen Bella!

People danced to the music and blossomed in their costumed glory.  It was a really sweet time.

After the parade, I attended the party of el Capitan and his lovely first mate.  As noted in my post of November 1, 2015 (“I Have a Friend”), el Capitan bought a new-used sailboat recently.  This pre-launch party celebrated all of the effort that has gone into making his ship seaworthy, strong, and beautiful.  Ah, dreamers.  Where would we be without dreamers?

A week or so ago, a gentleman we often encounter on our walks commented that Dawny would probably be happier if she were off-leash.  Yes, he is absolutely right.  But that is not her world now, at least not literally.

It’s mine.

And it is the world of those around me.

I look around at so many of my friends, my neighbors, and I see people who are living outside of the box.  Many are retirees who are getting the most out of their lives and doing so on their terms.  I suspect that’s how many of them lived their lives prior to retirement, while others may be late bloomers.

Not all are of retirement age.  Some are finding ways to earn a living and travel in their homes on wheels, making ends meet in one fashion or another.

All look pretty off-leash to me.  Dreamers, taking charge, making it real.  Put strands of Mardi Gras beads around their neck, a silly hat on their head, and it looks absolutely natural.  Year round.

Would that we all could be so free.  So celebratory.  Always.

Countdown

Countdown to a real book!

In early December I posted that I was feeling strangely excited about arriving at our winter RV home this year.  Now I know why.  Actually, I figured it out shortly after our arrival.

Last winter I met a wonderful couple, Joy and Tony (names I gave them for their blog posts).  I wrote two posts devoted to them (Boxes, Both Miraculous and Mundane, March 6, 2015, and the poem Old Friend, March 14, 2015).  They are here this winter, too, and Joy and I have made a book together.  It is a novella, accounting one woman’s courageous and inspiring life journey.  It is her journey.

We started working on the story the day after my arrival.  We both knew it was right.  The project, the timing, and each other.  Because I love story telling, and she had more story to tell.

Even before setting out on my RV adventure, I had hopes that maybe, perhaps, hopefully, God-willing I would be able to write something like a book at some point.  (I also wanted to relearn the guitar, but that went nowhere!)  A friend of mine made me aware of Kindle self-publishing some time ago, and it made a lot of sense.  It puts the power into the hands of the primary players (the authors) rather than the archaic, convoluted, tortuous maze authors often have to navigate in the traditional publishing world.

Anyone can write and upload a book to Kindle.  The audience is worldwide.  What more can you ask for?  Well, marketing for one thing.  With a self-published book, the marketing is largely up to the author, and social media is a key element.

I have avoided Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever else is out there so far.  As a fine, upstanding, stalwart citizen of IHVU (Introverted Hermits Vaguely United), I get exhausted and frazzled by too much social interaction.  The mere idea of keeping up with tweets and friends-who-I’ve-never-met-and-never-will-meet and whatever else the multitudes have to offer and to take, makes me want to crawl way deeper into my cave.  Well, that’s a great place to think.  And write.  But not to experience.  And not to share.

I created Aging on Wheels before I set out on my journey in mid-2014 with the long range goal that if I did manage to come up with a book, I could perhaps promote it here, on my very own blog.  Meanwhile, the blog took on a life of its own, becoming a friend in a way.  A journal, a diary, a place to share my thoughts and practice my writing.  A place to record the meeting of new friends, reconnections with old friends, and to chatter about some of the things I suspect we all have in common.  As a solo traveler, even an introvert likes to chatter to someone other than the dog sometimes.

It’s odd, but although the blog is out there for the whole world to see, should anyone in the world choose to look, it has felt like a safe place.  I think that is largely due to the kindness of my visitors, who give me space, consideration, and love.

In the vastness of the cyber-universe, there aren’t a lot of people who follow Aging on Wheels.  But please know that I am grateful for all of you who do.  I am particularly thankful for those of you who have expressed appreciation for my writing and for those who have encouraged me to continue.  Most of all, I deeply appreciate all of you who are and who have become friends.

So, to all of my readers here, please pardon my blatant plug for this upcoming book.  I do hope some of you will read it and enjoy it once it is published.  If any of you feel moved to provide a review of the book, that would be truly helpful, too, since reviews help the book rank higher in search lists.  It should be released by the end of the month.  And, trust me, I will keep you posted on the exact date, title, and other details!

Meanwhile, I am busy studying the finer points of formatting for Kindle and how to download a product that my friend and I will be able to be proud of.  It turns out that the process isn’t totally simple and brainless.  But it’s a wonderful challenge, and it feels like a terrific beginning.

It’s pretty nifty getting to enjoy new beginnings at this stage of life. :)

Hibernatin’

I know.  To anyone stumbling across this post as they sit in their bunny slippers and fluffy bathrobe, furnace cranked up high, sipping their coffee and gazing out at the snow-covered expanse that was once their yard… forgive me.   How dare this bear talk about hibernating while basking in a Florida winter!

Out the window of my little house I see an expanse of RVs, palm trees, and beautiful live oaks draped in spanish moss.  Some of my neighbors stay for months, some for just a night.  A very few are here year-round.

People, often with their doggies, walk around our little park throughout the day, enjoying the Sandhill Cranes who weave in and out of the RV sites and the many other birds who frequent the swampy land on our borders.  We have a wood stork as a regular neighbor this year!

If it makes our more northerly friends feel better, on a few mornings, I have had to wear my mittens.  Dawny is relieved to report, though, that she has not been forced into her sweater.

Nearly every day people meet at the activity center to share something–dancing, crafting, whittling, yoga, coffee, cards, a home-cooked meal.  They visit, they make friends.  Friday night jam sessions are wildly popular again this year and special parties for special events draw celebratory crowds, as well.

Dawny and I mostly stick to our walks and short visits, then go back into our little house.  And watch the world.

It’s a great place to hibernate.  For whatever time is needed.  Then to move along.  When ready.  To face the spring.

(For anyone looking for a friendly, charming park in central Florida, stop by the Sumter Oaks RV Park near Bushnell.  It is one of the parks run by the Escapees RV Club.  Here is a link to the main site where you can find out more about Sumter Oaks and the other Escapees Rainbow parks:  www.escapees.com)