Monthly Archives: April 2013

April 30, 2013

April 30

I had dinner with Eileen (Sterling; friend since about 1970; recent falling out) last night; then, I stayed at her house last night. I will probably stay tonight, too.

Yesterday afternoon, Eileen drove us up to Matilija Canyon to Burton’s house (he used to be married to old friend, Rain; I’ve never met him before). We went to the creek behind his house and walked down creek to a beautiful, private swimming hole. No other access to it except through private property. We took off our clothes and went for a swim. Wonderful! Eileen saw a snake in the water.

We saw a beautiful, brightly colored bird up by Burton’s: it was black, white and bright orange. Black-headed Grosbeak? Tanager?

I am seeking the impersonal, universal (cosmic) view rather than the personal perspective. Ever since I was born (and certainly during my 37 years of mothering), I have HAD TO have a personal, intimate view of everything and everyone. It’s almost a requirement of motherhood.

Some essayists in Season of Adventure: Traveling Tales and Outdoor Journeys of Women Over 50 (edited by Jean Gould) speak directly of this bondage of women/mothers and of the liberation that CAN follow, if women will only let themselves be free and let go of their total dedication to (usually familial) relationships.

Relationships can still prosper and thrive, even with a loosening of the ties (I want to say “apron strings”). I am aware that for some women the life of intense relatedness to and interaction with family IS liberating. These women have no desire to let that go; being defined primarily by their relationships to children and grandchildren is the ultimate satisfaction for these women.

I believe that many women (distinct from those mentioned above), rather than truly enjoying family relationships, are addicted to the power that being a mother and grandmother gives them. Their heavy-handedness (whether obvious or disguised) and subtle manipulation of their children (and grandchildren) throughout their lives is a dead giveaway. These are the controlling mothers who never let go. These women fear and reject detaching themselves from their families; they are unwilling and perhaps unable to strike out on their own and find a new, independent LIFE OF THEIR OWN once their children have grown up. They never achieve a life that is not connected to or defined by their role as a mother.

I have been liberated by my children’s distancing themselves from me. Megan has rejected me recently because of serious problems between us and because of the dictates of her new in-laws (Jeremy’s family). Seth has chosen a life closer to his wife’s family. And Anya and Alon live a very private life that excludes most family members in favor of close friends. Thanks to their choices, I have been able to find myself and create my own authentic life. It’s a life that has “ME” stamped all over it. Here are the quotes which champion such a life:

“If too many men… spend their lives fighting battles for turf and dominion over rival clans, too many women spend too much of their lives defining themselves in relation to others… When I married, I slipped into the family I would help create and became wife and mother for nearly thirty years. But I could feel a shift even as I was making my vows on my wedding day. When the veil was lifted, I felt I had lost my liberty. My attempt to maintain my individual freedom within family life became a daily struggle. Like so many wives and mothers before me, I gradually sacrificed my own will for what I thought was the good of the family. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t grasp how to right it.

“In order to five my life meaning, I defined myself as both heart and anchor of my family” (p. 116-117). ~~from NanaWatkins’ “Writing the Wind”

“I found that we live in different selves, each following its own path throughout our lifetime: the visible one, and the invisible unfolding of the dreamer. They also have their own calendars, and while rearing a family and pursuing my career as a professor, the dreamer went underground. It was only when my children reached adolescence that I returned to my earlier interest and began to write poetry as well as to keep a journal” (p. 207). ~~from Marguerite Guzman Bouvard’s “In Search of the Blue-Footed Booby”

“… I am thinking that the river is like a feminine force, flowing softly, yet firmly, around me. I can easily identify with the flowing motion, always moving on, yet definable in its own right. It is constantly in a state of change. Motion is its very essence. I love liquid and swimming and water” (p. 123). ~~ again, from Nana Watkins’  “Writing the Wind”

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“Women born prior to 1945 were supposed to be reined in by the ‘Goldilocks factor,’ the ‘Red Riding Hood lesson.’ And so on…  And certainly, women over a certain age–shall we say fifty?–had no authority to wander the world, to wear bathing suits, to ride camels.

“Something about my independent nature can rankle others.

“Ah, labels: old, civilized, or–and here it is–‘feminine.’ Definitions of these concepts are complex, personal and highly charged. The point is that none of us is one-dimensional: we can be and are adventurous and cautious, brave and frightened, rebellious and conforming, old and young, and even feminine and masculine at the same time. The truth is that most women over fifty are active, healthy and self-supporting” (p. x-xi).

“The truth is that as we map new territory outdoors and indoors, most of us accommodate, sometimes can even honor, the aging process. In the end, however, although relationship with self and other may set a context for these essays, I think the primary connection put forth by writers in this anthology is with nature. Where, each woman asks, is her place among natural phenomena?

“This collection informs its readers about nature as a way of life, as a means to travel, and as physical sport… For all, such exploration facilitates renewal and discovery, as if, in fact, we need such experiences to remember who we are and can be.

“So. We ride horses, swim, climb mountains, garden, sail, canoe, walk in the wind, report from the Sahara, play tennis at home, go with others to the Amazon or to Guyana, climb Indian ruins, have fun with grandchildren or learn to climb ropes. We are confident and curious and lively. We are bold and brave. We accept risk as part of living, seeking it out. Outdoor adventure surely is its own reward. Yet,in the middle or late-middle or close-to-the-end of our lives, our perspective lets us know what has value. We are not fearless. And that’s the human thing: we are at home with our lives and know that vulnerability does not signal weakness of character” (p. xii). ~~ from Gould’s introduction

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April 29, 2013

April 27

I always come to the Ojai Library and get online. Everyday, I recharge my computer, cell phone and iPod here. Today the WiFi is running EXTRA slow (it’s usually very slow). So frustrating!

My social defenses: have my iPod connected to my earphones; plead “shyness” and be mellow (peaceful, relaxed); less ego and don’t seek acknowledgement or applause.

Excess ego, rather than actually helping a person, is a terrible burden. For most of my life, I have avoided bolstering up others’ egos (especially men’s egos). I think I was angry and jealous. I wanted MY ego to get more validation. Now, I can leg go of all that since I recognize the negative personal toll of having a too-big ego.

I have about $5 left for the next few days (the end of April). Today I bought tea at Rainbow Bridge ($1.25), picked an orange off a tree while walking and hitching into town and I found another nice orange on the ground. A stand outside someone’s house had huge, ripe avocados. No payment wanted apparently (no jar, no sign): I took one. The Earth is good to us.

I pasted this on Facebook and sent it to Seth today:

“We are visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” ~~Australian Aboriginal Proverb

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In Daniel Klein’s book (TRAVELS WITH EPICURUS), he quoted someone (Sophocles?) who said play has something of the divine in it, but competitive play loses that divine connection. The Ojai Tennis Tournament is on now. I was a linesman at The Ojai long ago (probably in the early ’70s).

Local “Gypsies” who travel from town-to-town: Been there, done that. I’d be tempted to hang out with these young people, but I’ve done that (years on-the-streets [not homeless though] in Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara, California in the 1970s and ’80s). I had so many boyfriends from that scene: Danny (Berkeley), Paul Field and Richard Ray Stalker (Santa Cruz), Mark Edwards (Santa Barbara) and others.

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This morning I hitched a ride from the East End into downtown Ojai (c. 5 miles) from “Dawn” who is a director and writer. I asked her how she got so far (considering the discrimination against women in the film and TV industry). She said Oprah Winfrey hired her for a project years ago, and that gave her lots of status. I told her about my life. A good ride!

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April 29

I moved camp this morning! Always exciting. I have been in that spot, pestering and amusing the local rats, birds, ants and others, since April 1. Time to go.

It took about three minutes to take down my wonderful Big Agnes tent. It packs up real easily (getting it into bag is simple), and it’s small and light (under 3 lbs.). Wonderful!

I left everything (tent, sleeping bags, mat, and all my other stuff [most of which I will give away before leaving May 11] at Cliff’s Airstream trailer [at the Heitz’s place on Casa de Paz]). Today I will have dinner with Eileen (she picked me up hitching yesterday, and we have renewed our friendship). Then I’ll go get tent and put it up down at the beginning of the trail (near Thacher School and on their property, I believe). Wednesday, May 1, I will go camp at Chuck’s in Ventura for a few days: easier to get my Ventura business done from his base, and a good change. Plus, I love Chuck–my new, adopted nephew–and he’s maximum fun to be around.

Things are starting to go fast now. I said goodbye to my camp and all my neighbors. I am glad they can have the place to themselves now. I stopped smoking pot: I was getting so used to it that it hardly affected me anymore (but I know it’s not too good for my lungs). I’m getting all my couches lined up. Figuring out buses, etc. I even have a couch up in Inuvik near the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories. Yea!

I have a sudden, unexpected awareness (discovery) of myself as a really GOOD person. It’s strange. It’s as if I have finally given up everything except my spiritual evolution. And I long to meet really GOOD people. I have only met a few in my life, and that’s because I wasn’t a really good person yet (or I hadn’t sought to be one).

Maybe this is the first time I have been aware of wanting to be a really good person. I feel like that quest is enough; it’s a good goal, and it can stand alone as the main goal of my life. Curiously (perhaps), my “mission” of a.) choosing a life of hedonism, b.) putting Me First, and c.) taking the easy way, do not in any way conflict (in my own mind [the only place it really counts]) with this solitary goal of being a really GOOD person.

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Today I hitched a ride into town from “Chris” whose six-year-old son has always loved Japan and things Japanese (like sushi). “He must have been Japanese in his former life,” said Chris. Wow!

In a previous life (my last one as a human?), I was a Gypsy. I have memories and long for those happy days. It is possible that the happy times I remember were followed by unhappy times of persecution (even WW II concentration camp incarceration).

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Reading a wonderful book, edited by Jean Gould, Season of Adventure: Traveling Tales and Outdoor Journeys of Women Over 50 (1996). Here are a few quotes from it:

(p. 99) “Bette Jane of large heart and spirit was bound for adventure; bound and determined. Had she been a child of the privileged class, perhaps she wouldn’t have found the strength or courage to take on such a challenge virtually alone, but she was not. Self-reliant and well tested by life, she was a woman who accepted no obstacle once her mind was clearly set on a goal, something worth doing.” (Bette Jane was the captain of a 38-foot sailboat “crewed by her two kids, a neighbor’s son and a cat,” and they were off on a long cruise.) ~~from “Captain Mom’s Caribbean Joy Ride” by Jean Hand Triol

(p. xi) “Or is it true that women, older women, define themselves primarily by human relationship, as psychologists hypothesize? I wonder. That may be one way of defining the self. Today, I think we are also what we do and have grown less willing to be shaped by others for their use. We have new relationships with our bodies and have learned or are learning to value them for how they work, as well as how they may appear to others. The truth is that as we map new territory outdoors and indoors, most of us accommodate, sometimes even honor, the aging process.” ~~ from the introduction by Jean Gould

(p. 41) “A child of protective middle-aged parents, I was raised more timid than gutsy. I took school work seriously enough to become a good–though not great–student. It never occurred to me to sign up for sports, and I looked forward to trips to the Cape* with my mother for nothing more strenuous than shopping and beaching.” ~~ “Learning the Ropes” by Betsy Aldrich Garland (*My family and I also went to Cape Cod every summer. We’d rent a cottage,. Sometimes Dad would return to the City for the week and go to work, and it would just be Mom and me at the beach.)

(p. 47-48) “In mastering the high ropes, I knew, perhaps for the first time, that I could do whatever I needed to do to be true to my deepest self. Perhaps I had strayed outside the norm by being one of the first clergy wives to file for divorce, but I had not understood the significance of what I had done then. I could buy flowers for myself, whenever I wanted them.

“I learned then that I have a deep well of personal strength from which I can draw living water when needed.

“Life, in all its fullness, has tested me many times since.

“But over the years, I have learned to do what needs to be done, to focus on where I am going, to drink deeply. My experience in the air has helped me to become grounded, knowing how and when to hold on tightly, take one step at a time, trust the people around me, stay alert, do my best.

“I have stepped out onto another high wire. I am both excited and afraid: security seems an almost insurmountable distance away.

“Yet I trust that I will arrive safely. I also believe that overlooked opportunities will surface and that my life, while changing, will be more freeing and fulfilling than ever. I believe in myself and my visions of new challenges and high achievements.

“I am ready for almost everything. I have learned the ropes.” ~~ also from Garland’s essay (she completed the high ropes course at a camp where she was a middle-aged counselor for high school students)

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My new computer teacher, Janice, has been helping me a lot at the Ojai Library.

I was down to about $20 for the last two weeks of this month. I budgeted it out, and these last few days, I have been just eating very little (yesterday: a few oranges, avocados, and green tea with milk and honey). I find this amount of food very satisfactory and satisfying.

I pick the oranges (free) on my walks toward town (before/while hitching) every day. And the other day, I found some big, delicious, RIPE avocados being sold (3 for $1) in front of a house on Grand Avenue (I walk past there every morning). I didn’t leave any money for the avocados, but the people who own that house won’t notice or care (they seem to be well off). Today I didn’t take an avocado (didn’t want to pay, and had already taken two during the last two days); then, at Rainbow Bridge this morning, Dale (new acquaintance: Suza Francina recently introduced us) offered me half an avocado. And yesterday, Eileen asked me to have dinner with her this afternoon.

When camping, I usually don’t eat after 3 pm. Suits me fine; I don’t get hungry, and I don’t have to get up so often during the night to pee.

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I raised my kids in trailers, hotels, and tents; we moved as often as possible. We always had tarot cards around, and I read tarot cards on the street in Santa Cruz, California for a while. I was very into astrology. I was a Gypsy-Hippie mother.

April 26, 2013

April 24

Funny thing: yesterday I realized that Thacher School no longer uses the phrase “faculty wife” for the wives of (male) teachers. Back then, they didn’t have female students OR teachers. Times have changed! Now I bet they hire mostly couples, both of whom can teach there.

More wonderful stuff from Daniel Klein’s book, Travels With Epicurus:

On mysticism: Klein is an atheist (or agnostic?) who wishes for a mystical experience (p. 146).

On Zen Buddhist Mindfulness (p. 150).

(P. 88) On sex: “Sex exposes unnecessary and insatiable needs that bare vulnerabilities and provoke anxieties. Note: ~~~Sadly, but undeniably, sex has this unfortunate effect on me… to the extent that I think that I will never have (in this lifetime) a successful, sexual, loving relationship. The initial pleasures inevitably turn fowl. It’s all about my evolution. “Evolution is preparing a surprise,” sing Gogol Bordello. What could it be?

(P. 54) On leisure: Someone (?) said work should be leisure, should be play.

(P. 143) Hinduism’s 4 stages of life: student; householder; forest dweller or hermit in semi-retirement; the renounced one.

(P. 147) In Hinduism, the renounced ones (people in old old age) “are wandering hermits, living without shelter or possessions.” They eat when people give them food.

(P.148) Play is divine.

(P. 154) Kiss the joy as it flies…. Don’t try to hold onto mystical experiences.

(P. 158) People are unwilling to downgrade their living accommodations and general lifestyle in order to live on less money. Note: ~~I love my lifestyle which is all about downward mobility and simple living!

(P. 155) Thomas Merton: Take more time; cover less ground.

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Someday I will live in a state of constant joy, and that will mean I am always with and always aware of being with and (literally and figuratively) connected to My Beloved.

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April 25: full moon

Yesterday I got new (thrift shop) clothes; washed and dried my two sleeping bags, backpack, and a few clothes; went over to the gym and used lice shampoo on my hair and body. I felt much better afterward, and I could sleep last night. Having body bugs makes me nervous and of course itchy.

I still think I have baby ticks (from a “tick ball” of tick larvae that I must have bumped into) on me. I can feel them crawling around on me at night. I also had one BIG tick the day before yesterday; he hadn’t yet become attached, and I just flicked him off.

After being in the same spot for three weeks, camp life is becoming routine. The local wildlife are getting a bit more relaxed around me (not much), although I know I cramp their style. The ants alone have been seriously disturbed by my presence.

Last night some animal let out a loud “Hissing” (but with mouth open [what’s that sound called?]) sound right outside my tent. Yesterday afternoon was overcast and a little rainy; I had the tent fly mostly closed. I don’t know what it was, but I think I surprised and scared it. I think that scary sound was a warning. I just stayed very quiet; it went away, whatever it was.

As Jake MacDonald says in his book, In Bear Country: Adventures among North America’s Largest Predators (2009), most people think that a wild animal is waiting behind every bush to attack and kill them. I know I used to think that. It’s not at all true, but predators exist, and we have to be careful out there.

I am doing the “renouncement” part of life: old age. I really have renounced a lot. Or perhaps I’ve just renounced a few things: house, possessions, car, etc. I’ve held onto a lot of mental and emotional things. I am more ready everyday for serious spiritual questioning and contemplative meditation. I am much more at peace suddenly. Half my hair has fallen out (or so it seems), and it’s thinner. I used to have very thick, coarse hair. My libido (off-and-on-again for my whole life) is really subsiding, and my passions are much more under my control. I like this stage of life.

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People put down Beatrice Potter for her whimsical, anthropomorphized animals. But when I’m in the woods for long periods of time, I communicate with nature/Earth/the trees and animals and birds, etc. ALL THE TIME. Under these conditions, I do tend to think of them as “like me” or “one of my crowd” and not “Others.” They are my intimates and “friends” of some sort.

Dr. Seema Raheel, from Greece (worked in Haiti and Afghanistan), says women in other countries wipe the grease/oil from cooked rice (and other foods) on their bodies.

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April 26

Just two weeks until I leave on the next trip. Long Beach, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, back to Vancouver, bus up to Fort Nelson, buses on to Whitehorse and Dawson City, then into Alaska: Tok and Fairbanks. Down to Denali and then to Anchorage.

Camping is going well. Sleeping well. Losing fear. Weather good. Appreciating what Ojai (town) has to offer: mostly great food.

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In the book In Bear Country, Jake MacDonald extols the beauties and pleasures of slow travel, (i.e., travel by train [or bus] rather than by air). Here’s part of his chapter “Land of the Snow Walker” on polar bears, about getting up to Churchill, Manitoba (Canada) to see the polar bears:

“…air travel has become a form of fax transmission for humans. You feed your body into the machine and pop out at the other end. It might be cheaper and easier, but it’s Faust’s bargain. Travelling north by train is slow, but it’s the only way to absorb the enormous swath of wilderness between the southern prairies and the northern coastal barrens where the polar bears live. When you ride the train, overturning the efficiencies of air travel by more or less doing nothing for two days–reading a novel, going for lunch, having a nap, reading some more, sitting in the silence of your roomette, and looking out the window at the great forests rolling by, then, finally, around five in the afternoon, when the autumn light is fading and the woods are growing dark, adjourning to the bar car and having a beer with the trappers and miners and gabby eccentrics who are always in good supply on any backwoods train–you have a much better chance of experiencing those interesting moments that used to be called life. The highest praise you can give an air journey is to say that you didn’t have to talk to your seatmate and nothing happened. A train journey feels random and social and unpredictable, as travel is supposed to be”  (p. 189-190).

I love this. I really believe in trains and buses. They suit me. The people who ride them usually suit me. My journeys aren’t always stellar; sometimes the group on board doesn’t mesh. Sometimes though there’s magic on the bus and on the train. Amazing views; stops in the middle of the night (on the bus), when we all stumble into a little store, half-awake, cursing the freezing temperatures perhaps.

Sometimes the police or the border patrol will come on the bus and check everyone out. Are you a US citizen? Sometimes they will haul someone off the bus, usually someone who has little luggage and has been keeping a low profile during the journey.

April 23, 2013

April 22

We child travellers, ones who crossing the seas and went to foreign countries as children, experience everything–unusual things–as normal. We saw so much when we were so young. I feel like I have much greater awareness and tolerance of and love for diversity because of my travels as a child.

We child travellers take lots of luxuries for granted. Even if, like me, we traveled second (or “tourist”) class.

I think the character Sherlock Holmes is a psychic Aspie. I love this character. The new movies with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law are great. And now I’m watching BBC TV episodes with Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson and some gorgeous, amazing guy as Sherlock.

Wikipedia:

Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. Six episodes, broadcast since 2010, have been produced, with three further episodes in production since March 2013.

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Caffeine gives me high blood pressure! Damn. I just love it! Oh, well, I also love tea.

These lice are bothering me. What if people see them crawling around in my hair? Ah, the worries! Every wild animal (i.e., animals living outdoors) must be beset by bugs all the time. I want to experience what they feel, but it’s not easy for me.

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April 23

Reading a wonderful book by Daniel Klein (age 73) Travels With Epicurus. James (from Massachusetts) goes to the Greek island of Hydra to learn about growing old. He accepts old age and doesn’t want to pursue staying “forever young.” I agree and just LOVE this book. Some quotes:

First and foremost, Klein advocates self-interest and the pursuit of pleasure. He is not alone in saying this. Epicurus also said this. Epicurus’ pleasures did not include rich, expensive meals; he preferred simplicity (a plate of lentils).

William James (in Klein, p. 116): “Sobriety diminishes, discriminates and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes.”

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Camus, in “The Myth of Sisyphus,” “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide” (p. 112 in Klein).

“(Soren) Kierkegaard pulled no punches when he challenged us to take philosophical and spiritual risks; he famously wrote, ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.’ ”

After I tried (seriously, not a “cry for help”) to commit suicide on Oct. 6, 1975, I was put into a state mental institution (Napa State Hospital) for 8 weeks. I have since read the transcript of my intake meeting at the Hospital. I was totally out-of-it, completely “insane.”

Looking back on that period, I realize that my TOTAL DISORIENTATION was one of the most positive experiences of my life. It was the daring Kierkegaard describes: I had totally lost my footing. Usually, keeping my footing–staying sane, or, at least, appearing sane–is the main focus of my life. Accidentally (not intentionally), I lost my grip. The best possible accident! Sanity is highly over-rated (who said that?).

“The best remedy for anger is delay.” ~Seneca (p. 119 in Klein)

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Leave behind politics and commerce (p. 16). Epicurus: “We must free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics”–Epicurus advocates not “dedicating our lives to business,” but rather embracing his “brand of existential freedom–…absolutely necessary for a happy life” (p. 17).

Epicurus believed in self-interest. “Some Athenians saw Epicurus and his ideas as a threat to social stability. A philosophy that set personal pleasure as life’s highest goal and that openly advocated self-interest could dissolve the glue that held the republic together: altruism” (p. 11).”But Epicurus and his followers could not have cared less what these detractors thought.”

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“…Epicurus much preferred tranquil pleasures to wild ones” (p. 12). He had prostitutes and market women at his Garden parties “where they were treated as equals in philosophical discussions.”

“…Epicureanism espoused and practiced a radical egalitarianism of both gender and social class” (p. 12).

Eva Hoffman, in her book-length essay Time, “illustrates how the experience of time varies from culture to culture and from one period to another in a particular culture” (p. 42 in Klein).

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“In today’s terms, Epicurus would advocate a kind of sixties, getting-by-on-nothing lifestyle–one that, for better or for worse, few of us were willing to fully embrace to attain perfect freedom when we were younger” (p. 17).

“Epicurus would have us scale down and taste the sweetness of this freedom” (p. 27).

For Epicurus, “…the height of true friendship was to be accepted and loved for who one was, not what station in life one had achieved” (p. 31).

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“And Plato’s successor, that world champion of pleasure, Epicurus, believed in a simple yet elegant connection between learning and happiness: the entire purpose of education was to attune the mind and senses to the pleasures of life” (p. 54).

Plato wrote: “What, then, is the right way of living? Life must be lived as play” (p. 62).

“In his popular political essay ‘In Praise of Idleness,’ the twentieth century British philosopher Bertrand Russell chides us for failing to use our free time for, of all things, fun: ‘It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.’ ”

This (above) is so true! I began getting SSI (disability money from the government) when I was thirty-years-old. It took me about ten years to know how to live without people (parents, husband, teachers, bosses, and other “authority figures”) telling me what to do.

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My play is camping and travel.

I practice simplicity.

No striving–contentment–is what I learned during my 6-week mystical experience at age 51 “with” Jeremy Birkhead in Ventura.

Minimalism = peace, when one’s focus (Aspie) is details.

18th century German philosopher Johann Hamann said that “work is easy, but true idleness takes courage and fortitude” (p. 68).

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Jean-Paul Sartre used the word “authenticity” to describe in complete faithfulness to oneself (“to thine own self be true”) (p. 89).

Yesterday, I hitchhiked a ride back up to the East End from “David,” who thanked me when he let me out at the start of the Horn Canyon trail. “You are performing a service,” he said, “by letting people know about your unusual lifestyle.”

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Beautiful weather! 70s during the day; 50s at night. Warm, sunny weather makes me feel that life is good; it’s very life-affirming and self-affirming.

The Fool tarot card is best described through Joseph Campbell’s  statement: “Follow your bliss.” That’s what The Fool is doing.

April 22, 2013

April 20

My rituals (autistic) are: doodling with my fingernails; praying/talking to my spirit guides and Pachamama; mornings at cafes for tea or coffee.

I am working on emotional control.

The public me is the Chicken: Year of the Chicken. The private me is the Dragon: Day of the Dragon.

Nature is magical, mystical. It’s a totally different world than the “downtown” world of humans. I feel I may have a mentor now, but I don’t know if s/he is a spirit or a human or an animal…

Yesterday I bought some raw seafood mix (octopus, mussels, etc.). I soaked them in lime juice overnight, and this morning, they were great!

Spring! Everyday it gets warmer.

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April 21

Taurus begins. Myles will be born soon.

Do you know your local Gypsies? This is a good question for many people. The local homeless people–often youngsters in their teens or twenties (some runaways)–are usually shunned by the local “citizens.” They see them as unruly, disobedient outsiders. People who have left the status quo and the rules of polite society behind. And that is exactly who they are. Just like us Travelling Gypsies.

Ride from Jim Churchill this morning on Grand Avenue. I have known him casually since the 1970s. He’s from a wealthy family on Thacher Rd. Mother’s Jewish/father’s the Churchill. Jim’s a local rancher: Pixie oranges. he asked me about my recent trip, and we talked for a minute about Haiti. My sympathies are always with the poor and any people who are persecuted and abused by more privileged people: like the Haitians. Jim almost (?) seemed to say it was their own fault (because of their “generations” of poverty and no education). Did I read him wrong on this? Do the rich people (especially those who have always been rich) really have no opportunity to understand the poor? Are they actually so totally shut down and isolated that they never even get to know poor people? So many of theses people pass me by when I am hitchhiking on Grand Avenue. One of their own said, in response to my complaints about the excess of money in the Ojai Valley during the past few decades, these wealthy emigrants (eg. from Los Angles) are closed down, shut down. They certainly can’t or don’t want to respond to a person who needs help. I stood hitching the other day–it was dark and chilly, after days of rain–for at least 20 minutes while the expensive cars of the rich passed me by, many without a look.

My practice now it to let it all go: I learned to hate the rich (with rather good reason, on the face of it) from Dad. But looking at the bigger, more “spiritual” picture, I see that everyone is on a difficult path and deserves compassion and forgiveness. I am putting down this burden that I have been carrying for much of my life.

Another burden I am dropping is something I just became aware of yesterday. I have been carrying on a conversation with myself and ascribing the “answering” (i.e., not me) role to Others. It’s all been me. The recognized Me side of the conversation has been something like this: “I am a wonderful person. I am the equal of anyone.” The Other (supposedly Not Me) side has gone like this: “You are less than me because you are poor (or some other ridiculous reason people do in fact often give for being supposedly superior to others). I don’t know why I have so relentlessly pursued and been faithful to this inner dialogue. But now that I have identified it as ALL ME (I am BOTH voices: the loyal-to-self and the critical), I can drop this ridiculous grumbling and fighting. I am free of it!

I think many/most of us take on these “righteous” causes that our parents instill in us. I superficially had many gripes against Dad; he could be a perfect beast. But Dad also had many wonderful qualities, and he was very good to me. So, of course I adopted some–or at least very flagrantly one: the protest against the rich–of his favorite causes.

I felt very sorry for Dad, even if at the time, I didn’t recognize it as such. He was hated for being “the enemy”–a German in America post-WW II. He had only an eighth-grade education. But Dad could work the socks off anyone in our middle class neighborhood. Overall, a good man who became bitter. He held the usual prejudices of his social/economic class: hatred of many people (including Jews). Ugh! I can’t tell you how this rankled me. It seemed to justify the hatred of his American contemporaries. But prejudice of any kind is not justified by anything done by the object of the prejudice.

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The role of strong Gypsy men (like my immigrant–not Gypsy–adoptive father, Karl John) is to protect women WITHOUT PUTTING WOMEN IN LIMITED ROLES OR RESTRICTING THEIR FREEDOM. Women must have the opportunities to do whatever they want, including having their own money, an education, and time and space to BE THEMSELVES, as individuals (and not just servants of the males and the family).

Good Gypsy men fully support women in their pursuits (of the above and other freedoms) and give them full protection and support when in dangerous or threatening situations (especially when these situations involve other men, whether these men are Gypsies or gadje [outsiders]).

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April 22

Old Boggie shows up on Llamas Eve in England. The upper classes don’t believe in these things anymore, but the lower classes do.

We are getting too used to comfort here in the US (and in many other countries/places). In The Wild Places (2007) by Robert MacFarlane, the author writes about “greed for profit on the part of the landowners” in Scotland years ago (pg. 91). They cleared people and trees off the land in order to graze sheep.

On pg. 123, MacFarlane urges “caution against romanticism and blitheness” when we deal with the land and its wildness. On pg. 92, he writes: “The wood and the wild are connected, too, because as the forest has decline, so too has the world’s wildness.”

On pg. 98, MacFarlane says, ” Woods have always been places of inbetweenness, somewhere one might slip from one world to another, or one time to a former….”

And (same page), “There is no mystery in this association of woods and otherworlds, for as anyone who has walked in woods knows, they are places of correspondence, of call and answer.”

Pg. 99: “Stories of how Chinese woodsmen of the T’ang and S’ung dynasties–in obedience to the Taoist philosophy of a continuity of nature between human and other species–would bow to the trees which they felled, and offer a promise tat the trees would be used well, in buildings that would dignify the wood once it had become timber.”

Auden (MacFarlane tells us) wrote in 1953, “A culture is no better than its woods.” And MacFarlane quotes the Scottish novelist and poet Nan Shepherd:

No one knows the mountain completely who has not slept on it. As one slips over into sleep, the mind grows limpid; the body melts; perception alone remains. These moments of quiescent perceptiveness before sleep are among the most rewarding of the day. I am emptied of preoccupation, there is nothing between me and the earth and sky.

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On pg. 146 of The Wild Places, MacFarlane writes about “some selfish love of asperity*… my inner Scot” he says, “was telling me I should leave the cottage and spend the night out in the sea storm.”

*Here is one meaning of Asperity (the one he meant):

Roughness or harshness, as of surface, sound, or climate: the asperity of northern winters.
Severity; rigor.
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I certainly have that “inner Scot” and the love of asperity.
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I took a quiz yesterday to see just how much Asperger Syndrome I have. One question was about sci-fi and fantasy (eg. “do you love…?”). I said NO! Later, I realized that my strong, vibrant sense of magic, mysticism and spirituality is what some people would call “sci-fi and fantasy”! Weird.
Another question on the quiz had to do with seeing the details vs. seeing the big picture. I said I usually see the whole or big picture, but I suspect that I am at first glance at a scene overwhelmed by millions of details (as is Sherlock Holmes). It takes me a long time (if I stay in a place, it could be months) to notice many of these details; they appear slowly, one by one. I think that I TRY to see the whole picture because from the very beginning of life, this was expected of me; pressure was on to appear “normal” and “smart” which meant seeing the big picture. As an Aspie in an NT world, I tried to conform, and I tried to affirm my perception of the whole. But I don’t think that is actually what is naturally going on in my brain. I think I see details.
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MacFarlane (pg. 9-10), in a criticism of Britain’s lack of wild places, writes about all the millions of cars on the roads there. “The roads,” he says, “have become new mobile civilisations in themselves: during rush-hours, the car-borne population across Britain and Ireland is estimated to exceed the resident population of central London.”
“Wildness…is an expression of independence from human direction, and wild land can be said to be self-willed land. Land that proceeds according to its own laws and principles, land whose habits–the growth of its trees, the movements of its creatures, the free descent of its streams through its rocks–are of its own devising and own execution. Land that, as the contemporary definition of wild continues, ‘acts or moves freely without restraint; is unconfined, unrestricted.’ ” (pg. 30)
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The rhythm of my Ojai days: wake up. leave tent. walk down Horn Canyon trail, down McAndrew Rd. to Grand Ave. or down Thacher Rd. hitchhike into town. go get tea or coffee at a cafe. get online at cafe or at library (opens at 10 am most days). eat. go to the trolley stop near Diaz Bakery (Panaderia). take trolley ($.25) up to Grand Av. and Gridley Rd. hitchhike up to Thacher School. walk to camp. watch something (Jeeves and Wooster) on my computer. go into tent before dusk. sleep after dark.
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Aspie girls are pretenders, fakes. We (and the male Aspies) HAVE to do this in order to appear to fit into NT society. It’s so easy to overlook Aspie women as anything other than “normal” because ALL or most women (in my society at any rate) pretend. It’s how we get things done. Sometimes, we have to pretend and be devious (it’s a male-dominated society, after all). Sometimes, it’s just playing a little, fun game, being cute and funny.
Aspie girls–like me–only truly “come out” at meetings with other Aspies. That’s when my truest self is able to shine through.
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Ego is the worst of my “sins.” And the hardest to eradicate. But I’m working on it.
Truly bad (dare I say evil?) people are largely invisible. They also hide, but for a totally different reason than Aspie girls or people trying to overcome their sins (like ego). They hide in order to do bad things.
The real danger with bad people is the danger they pose when they form groups (cults) for the purpose of doing evil. These people are only one–but the worst–part of the “criminal classes.” Dad knew of these classes; he was undoubtedly exposed to them throughout his life, perhaps as a poor child (out on the street, selling newspapers in Berlin), as a hated immigrant, perhaps as a gay man (was Dad gay?), and later as a very hated German (post-WW II).
We hitchhikers are often exposed to bad people. I have fortunately not been seriously hurt by them.
I know I am a good person. And so I know that my Soulmate, my True Love, must also be a good person.

April 17, 2013

April 15

“Homeless” is a word that’s only used by sedentary people to whom THE HOUSE (an unmovable structure) is the greatest possession they have. For such people, having a house is desirable above all things. We (Travellers) don’t feel the same way. We are all around you, but you don’t even see us. I am not talking about the poor, “homeless,” local people who sleep on the streets. We are the Others; we hide in your midst. And we have always been there. The Gypsies and nomads among the settled people.

I posted that (above) on Facebook today.

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I was writing haiku (17 syllable, Japanese poetry) in my tent last evening. I was watching nature. I was chilly, and the tent was damp. I was stoned. My computer wouldn’t turn on. I was taking photos of wet spider webs. It was all desperation and funny.

I played Dan Fogelberg’s great Kentucky Derby song this morning. “Run For the Roses” is a classic. Good on ya, Dan!

Like any good IT-Crowd-person, I walk around all the time now with my iPod on. I don’t have to listen to any shit from the people around me or say “hi” or anything. I stay in my own little world, and I just have fun!

Have lots of older (my age) Aspies gotten bitter and cynical because of being an outcast and not understanding that they are Aspies/Geeks/IT Crowd?? Now, every Aspie, practically, in the US anyway, has grand opportunities to find their crowd. Being a geek/nerd has its own status, and we recognize our overwhelming presence in the IT field. It’s so awesome. Thank god I didn’t get bitter and cynical before finding my crowd among the Aspies, Geeks, and IT-ers. It’s SO AWESOME being part of this crowd; I love it! It’s like now I have a whole new social life. Or it’s like now I HAVE a social life.

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April 16

The people here in Ojai are friendly but mistrusting of anyone “different.” As Gogol Bordello sing: “(I) never did fit the frame invented by the gringo.”

Travellers are a loose fellowship, not a tight group. A Traveller’s life is work! People imagine that it’s all fun and games. Wow, is that a romanticized notion. My last five-month trip was lots of work and stressful; after a month camping out I am finally recovering. Resting. This is my “vacation.”
For tourists–people who have lives (homes, cars, etc.) to return to, travel is the vacation; it’s fun and easy. Very different from Travellers.

There won’t be many Gypsies in Alaska. California is full of Travellers (Gypsies), immigrants (some on the move or recently arrived), and other nomadic people.

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My tent is my spirit dwelling, my retreat. It’s a beautiful place to be, a tent. It’s been very cold and damp in my tent for the past three days. I can’t sleep some nights because the ground is so hard and rocky (even with my pad). Some man makes a loud cough every time he passes the path that leads to my (hidden) tent. Does he know I’m there? Is it a warning (of what?)? Is it a friendly hello? Is it chance? Will he steal my tent ($260)? Ah, I’m worrying; it does no good to worry.

Saw a dozen wild turkeys as I walked down Thacher Road this morning. Two of the males had their tail feathers up and were courting. It was a very beautiful sight.

I wear my T-shirt for a week or so and then buy a new (used) one at a thrift shop ($2) and throw or give away the old one. Very easy. Showers twice a week or so.

Following Baudelaire’s advice (stay drunk…on whatever!), I bought a $3 bottle of wine at Star Market here in town yesterday (not as good as Trader Joe’s $3 wine). I drank a little at my cold, cold camp; then, I brought a little (water) bottle of it to town today. It doesn’t keep me warm, it just takes my mind off the weather. I can’t drink much of it at one time (as usual); I get sick if I do. It’s fun to drink it secretly here at the Ojai Library while munching on raw brocolli.

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After Alaska, I want to go to Ireland, Scotland, England and Spain.

I posted this on FB today:

Southern California is rich with nomads, Gypsies, immigrants (new, old and on-the-road), and other nomadic Americans (truckers, musicians, kids learning the ropes of the road, etc.). It’s a real fertile place for Travellers to hang for awhile in between trips. I love it because the weather is almost always great for camping, and masses of poor people mingle with the rich and famous in a pretty generally peaceful stew.

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April 17

Sam is 10-years-old today! He is my Darling! But I am LETTING IT GO. “It” being Megan and the whole situation with Megan. She is having a hard time and blaming me for everything. Best to just let it go for now. Someday, Sam and I will get back together again. I will tell him the truth. (Meg and Jeramy and Jeramy’s family have lied to him about many things.)

Here’s what I posted on Facebook today:

“Homeless,” as I use the word, is not a metaphor for anything. I am talking about ACTUAL PEOPLE who don’t live in permanent, solid structures (what sedentary people insist are the only real homes). People like me, who do not live in settlements (and who adamantly do not want to live in houses) are called “homeless.” WE HAVE HOMES; you don’t recognize them as such. We are always moving in and out of your towns, but you don’t notice us; we try to blend in. We try to avoid your condemnation. (Note: By “you,” I mean the general public.) The Poor = a whole different group than the HOMELESS people I am talking about.
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Money’s dwindling. Asked Seth for a small loan ($25 or $50) to get me through the month. Hanging out at cafes is expensive!

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April 19

I love the “Avatar” (movie) image of riding my dragon. I imagine my “dragon” to be my Soulmate.

My Soul, inner (private, individual) world: Naco (Spanish). Hillbilly. Nature-lover. “Honey Boo Boo” (TV show about Redneck family). “Avatar” (movie). Yang.

My Heart, outer (social, public) world: Harry Potter (books/movies). Addams Family (cartoon/movies). Jeeves and Wooster (books/TV series). Fresa (Spanish = “strawberry-eaters”; preppies; elites; privileged classes. Yin. Technomad.

My Enneagram is #4. The Romantic. The “wings” or leanings to one side or the other are, on one side: Bohemians (the Honey Boo Boo side of me). And on the other side: Aristocrats (the Jeeves and Wooster side of me).

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I love my late afternoon/early evening pot-smoking sessions at camp. I relax and just look around me, being In-the-Now. I like how pot lets me think less and relax more. This is wonderful for observing nature.

I was telling my adopted nephew, Chuck (Hillman), at Patagonia today (morning coffee): I am not a thinker. (He is.) I prefer to feel, be intuitive and mystical, and just be grounded in my senses (smelling and looking at and listening to what’s around me).

April 10, 2013

April 9

Some little animal got killed outside my tent during the night. A mouse perhaps. I could hear it squeaking for a while. Was it an owl? Silent… Were those wings flapping that I heard?

I am seeking two kinds of teachers: spiritual and those who can teach me more about nature (eg. my new friend, Katie, will teach me about Alaskan wildlife, plants, and camping up there).

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April 10

Good dreams lately: last night I was in a place (a town/city) that I loved. I said, “I love EVERYTHING about this place!” I called it Paris in my dream. I also was with a big, male dog whom I loved.

My dreams last night were very pleasant: the people around me LOVED me! Including a guy! We were all having lots of fun together.

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UPCOMING TRAVEL

I bought my ticket to Seattle for May 14.

I will fly out of Seattle to Anchorage a few days later.

I will stay in Anchorage for a little while (?); I will go up to Denali (area); I will go to Fairbanks.

That’s all I have for now. As Anya says, it’s the start of another adventure. Yes!

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April 11

Ojai days: wake up around dawn in the Canyon (after a night of animals racing around my tent); walk one or two miles down the Canyon and toward town; pick oranges off trees; hitch ride 5 miles into Ojai; go immediately to a cafe for coffee, internet, socializing, newspapers (two days a week, go to gym first for shower and little workout). Wander around, and then go back up the Canyon in the (early) afternoon to observe wildlife/nature and smoke pot (legally, of course!). In my tent/bed before dusk, giving night animals space.

Two nights ago a big animal approached my camp. Bear? I sang a little song, and it retreated. All last night, some animal (rat?) ran around my tent feverishly, trying, I think, to scare me away. I had thought it was an animal killing mice (I could hear squeaking intermittently). But now, remembering a big rat trying to scare me off at my camp at the Canyon mouth, I think that’s what it is. It runs at my tent! Funny, but I hope I’m not disturbing its life too much.

Out in the woods, I am living with other species: trees, bugs, mammals, etc. In town, I am living exclusively with other humans. The woods = magic. My tent = my dream castle.

I sit at my tent in the late afternoon, listening for rattlesnakes that might approach me (unaware that I’m there). I don’t want a rattler to be caught suddenly a foot away from me; I think it would be scared and may bite me.

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Ayahuasca: consciousness of my dreamlife. The shaman’s “helpers” tried to keep us awake (and, hence, conscious).

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April 12

Not everyone with money has class. And not everyone with class has money.
What is “class” when the word is used in this way? It doesn’t mean social class.
Class is a kind of sensitivity to life in general, to beauty, to the inner-life, to meaning.
A person doesn’t NEED money to enjoy the pleasures of having class.
Class is not crass or ugly or brutish. It’s also not effete, selfish, greedy, maudlin, or precious. It’s a down-to-earth, real appreciation of the fineness of life. It’s a respect for all life.

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Went to the Ventura (County?) transfer station (dump) the other day with Chuck (Hillman). Amazing place. Like a cathedral. Huge, high roof with water sprinklers keeping the dust down and the fire-danger low (I suppose). Seagulls (I saw at least 8) up in the rafters and flying over the whole building (which was not that big, so I suppose this was just a Ventura City dump and not for the whole county).

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I have always belonged to “disreputable” social groups. Those with low social status. Women. Orphaned at birth. Adoptee. Family bastard (to my birth-families). Germans in the USA, immediately post-WW II. Autistic (though I diddn’t know this until the 1990s): I guess (??) I knew something was different about me.

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April 13

Absolutely tossing and turning all night long (had some good dreams amidst the tossing though). Couldn’t find that “sweet spot” on the rocky floor of my tent. Wild things (rats??) jumping out of trees by my tent and running around, scratching through the leaves like maniacs all night.

I love that period when I return to my tent in the afternoon, just sitting around watching the life around me. I smoke pot and maybe watch some shows that were downloaded onto my computer by CSer in San Antonio.

Cliff (lives at the Heitz’ place on Casa de Paz (road) keeps giving me rides to town and let me put my stuff (extra tent, etc.) in the Airstream trailer on the property so yesterday I gave him a bottle of (cheap) wine.

Met up with Premila yesterday at Target (store at the Ventura mall). She is so wonderful. Just like a sister to me! She’s off to India next week to find a wife for Keesan (older son). Then, she’s going back in Nov/Dec/Jan. I may just be able to meet her there in Dec. That would be such a blast!

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April 14

In one month from today, I fly up to Seattle. Exciting.

Woke up to rain. Soft rain, but steady and it had been going on for several hours. My tent stayed dry. Now it’s noon, and the rain has pretty much stopped. Still overcast.

Aspie girls are rare (or else just harder to identify than Aspie boys). I think Aspie girls make good “courtesans” (i.e., lovers). This is because we can detach.

I think being an Aspie sometimes (or perhaps all the time0 makes me act without thinking. Spontaneously.

Watching the British cable TV show (probably ancient by now), “The IT Crowd.” Love it because it’s about a bunch of Aspies. Like “The Big Bang Theory” on American cable TV (which I also loved). I also used to love “Third Rock From the Sun” which was about aliens, but to me they seemed very Aspie.

Sherlock Holmes in the British cable TV show of that name was called a psychopath in one early episode. He responded: “I’m a high-functioning sociopath.” This is funny partly because we Aspie are (now) called “high- functioning autistics” rather than Aspies (the term Asperger Syndrome has recently been eliminated from the physicians diagnostic desk manual). “High-functioning autism” has been a term for a long time; it co-existed with the term “Asperger Syndrome.”