Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Reflections

Once a year, people celebrate the New Year.

For me, it's been a massive change in my life and my circumstances since last year.

Last year, i was in Michigan, struggling to keep enough propane on hand to keep me and the pups warm. I also had alternative heating on hand since I only had one propane tank and it usually ran out when propane filling stations were closed.

I dealt with blizzards and below zero temperatures in a 3 season trailer not hooked up to water or electric. I had plenty of hot coffee and hot food on hand, lots of blankets thanks to the generous people of grand rapids.

I left everyone I knew and traveled across the US to the southwestern desert.

I'm no longer spending $150 a month on propane and lamp fuel. The night time temperatures are higher now than the daily high temperatures i was dealing with up north. Water doesn't freeze in the bottle if the jug is left on the floor. I'm not risking frost bite daily if my gloves get wet.

I'm still broke most days. The van always seems to need something, old vans usually do.

My belly is full, I've books to read, people to talk to when i want. Life isn't so bad.

If you don't like how your life is, you can change it. I did.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cleaning In A Van Or A RV

Many of us choose to travel extensively or live full time in either a rv or a van. Space is at a premium.

So how do you live in micro space and still remain clean? It's easier than you think to have a clean environment inside and out.

The beauty of this way of cleaning is two-fold...things are cleaner and it's non toxic for the environment.

I learned this style of cleaning from my grandmother when I was young. Throw out those nasty chemicals with all the overpowering scents. Clean doesn't smell bad. There is no need for heavy odors to mask dirty spaces.

Three items will clean everything in your van or rv: vinegar, baking soda, and a good dishsoap.

Baking soda removes dirt, grime, grease. Simply wet the item to be cleaned, sprinkle baking soda on it, and use your fingers to scrub.

Add a handful of baking soda in the wash cycle of your laundry. Not only will your clothes be cleaner, but it also removes smell.

For those with sensitive skin, replace your soap and shampoo with baking soda. Both your skin and your hair will thank you.

Put vinegar in your laundry rinse cycle. It removes soap residue. Your clothes will come out cleaner and fluffy. Any smell will disappear when clothes are dry.

Apple cider vinegar and water is the best rinse I've ever found for clean, shiny hair.

Vinegar water is the best way to clean both the inside and outside of windows. It's better to clean windows on a cloudy day.

I've used vinegar in my vehicle's carpet after spilling coffee with cream, sugar, and vanilla in it. It removed all trace. You simply put a paper towel on area, pour vinegar on it. Let it set for about fifteen minutes. Wipe up vinegar and coffee residue. Repeat until there is no stain. Put paper towel on it and step on it to absorb any moisture.

I use baking soda to scrub any stainless steel including rv sinks. Rinse well and apply slight amount of either olive oil or coconut oil and the sinks will gleam.

I don't use dishsoap on my dishes. I heat some water to boil in my coffee pot. I use hot water with some Apple cider vinegar in it. Rinse, wipe, put away.

Any sponges and dish cloths are soaked in hot water with vinegar. Wring out well and let air dry.

Mold or mildew can be thoroughly cleaned by first scrubbing with baking soda, then rinsed with vinegar water.

Why do these tips work? Any germs will function within a specific ph range. Baking soda and vinegar are at oposite ends of the ph range. By changing the acidity or alkalinity, the bacteria and virus cannot live.

This includes the common cold. By using either boiling water, freezing pillows and bedding, using vinegar and baking soda in the wash, you kill the virus. Viruses can live 72 hours on a surface...that cold that hangs on and on does so because many have forgotten what our grandmothers knew. Instead of the hand sanitizer many use, we'd benefit better from a simple vinegar water spray.

Dishsoap does have a use, but not its traditional one. It is amazing for getting rid of grease.

I know many consider cleaning to be unskilled labor. There really is a science to it. It's time to throw off some of our "progress" and return to some of the sound ideas about environment and cleaning.

These tips will also work well for those people who choose a more traditional space.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Day That Shall Live In Infamy

Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I've lived in Hawaii, and visited near Pearl Harbor. The memorial is visible from the shore. There is an oil bubble that keeps coming up still.

I can imagine the shock and horror of that day. I well remember the reaction to 9/11. I was in shock, but I managed to get several things done that day while still clinging to the news reports. All conversations that day turned to the news and what was happening, what did we know.

As I watch all the current news regarding the middle east and the hype, I wonder if people have really looked at our past for the rich lessons it offers. Victory gardens, posters about Loose Lips Sink Ships, backyard chickens, national pride, patriotism. Are we doomed to repeat our past with more Gold Star mothers?

Are we watching news...or propaganda? Sometimes I really don't know. Follow the money, always follow the money.

Please don't misunderstand, should there be an attack or invasion on American soil, I'm solidly on our side. In these days of media manipulation I'm starting to ask questions, I'm seeing parallels that go back much farther than WW2.

Rather than blindly react, let's all start asking some questions, verifying sources,
And on This Day That Shall Live In Infamy, let's take a moment to remember and commemorate all those who died and those who served so that we have the right to discuss these things.