Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.

~Wendy

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finding My True North (Exploration #6 - ENGL100 SMCC Spring 2012)

Not one of my better papers. This topic was for some reason difficult for me to pin down, so this paper rambled all over the place and reads very much like the shitty first draft that it is. Usually my papers are edited 2 or 3 times before any one sees them, this one is unedited and just exactly as it popped out of my head. Out of character for me I wrote this paper the morning it was due so there was no time to edit before turning it in. Oh well. At least I got my history research paper finished.






Wendy C. Allen
English 100-15
Dan Clarke
Exploration #6: Our Moral Selves
April 18, 2012

Finding My True North
                                                        
I had never heard the term "moral compass" before this assignment. An assignment to analyze our moral selves and write about the one characteristic to which our moral compass points to. It is an interesting concept and made me think more in depth to what this assignment actually means. I am a exceptionally complex and extremely multi faceted person, from an overly eventful life, with an unfortunate inability to hide from constant media spotlight, a more colorful than normal background, and everyone who has ever even heard mention of me, even in passing, has an opinion about who they think I “really” am, and what the morals I stand for actually are. I just went and Googled myself to see what folks say about my moral characteristic, to help me decide what I should write about, and Google gives back over 10,000 search results on discussions of people debating about me, my life, and just exactly who and what I am and boy are there some real doozies out there. I would have to say there are several moral characteristics which are used to describe me, depending on the situation and who is doing the describing. I could pick any one of them and find personal meaning for it. But to find the one characteristic which I feel is the driving force behind the rest, is not so easy to do. A moral compass? I have to ask, what does a compass do? A compass guides. It points in one direction and one direction only. There are many points on the compass and each contributes to its use, but no matter which point you are looking at, the arrow only ever points one way: North. So now I have to ask myself,  of all the many moral characteristics that meld into my personality, which one is the one which guides the rest?

Looking to personal acquaintances rather than fans, I don't have to think very hard to find the characteristics that others tell me I have: loyalty, devotion, faithfulness; words they say with disgust. They shake their heads, wag an angry index finger and roll their eyes. They add adjectives to these characteristics: too loyal, blind devotion, unreasonable faithfulness, paired with the accusation that I am wasting my youth by staying with a man 30 years my elder, whom for the past 8 years has little memory of our first 17 years together. Our culture is one that exists outside the norm, and few are there who understand the way our people live. I spent 25 years with a man, older then my father. People balk when they hear the years, “But you don’t look that old.” Well, I’m older then I look, but not as old as you’d think, I was given to him when I was 12. The choice was not mine. I had no say in the matter.

Loyalty, faithfulness, devotion: they are qualities I have, but are they the point North of my moral compass? I think not. Compassion: pity aroused by the distress of others, with the desire to help them. Compassion, teamed with love, creates loyalty, faithfulness, and devotion. Some would add lust to the mix, saying there can be no love without lust first, but this way of thinking comes from a culture that marries for emotion and passion, and does not apply to either Gypsy or Mormon cultures. Relationships built on love, crumble over time, because lust came before love, passion was the driving force, and when lust faded and passion died, love had no legs to stand on. The result is divorce. Love in an emotion easily taught. You can learn to love anyone. Relationships built on compassion and respect for each other, have a firm foundation on which love can take and grow later on.  Where’s my proof? Well, how many people do you know who are celebrating their silver anniversary this year? This is why divorce is very rare among Traveller Gypsies and among Mormons, of which we are both.

What is seen on the surface as blind devotion and unreasonable faithfulness, is underneath really compassion. But besides my devotion to a man now in his 70s, how is compassion my true North? One has only to count the cats. Eighty-four. Or the dogs. Sixteen. I stopped counting the birds when the total reached 500. We could go on counting my pets, the horses, the goats, the rabbits, the turtles, the fish, but you get the idea, so no need to go on.  Perhaps I should mention I run an animal shelter? I am the owner and founder of The Pidgie Fund, a no kill animal rescue. I take the extreme cases: blind-deaf cats, man-eating dogs, wild horses that find no greater delight than trampling humans into the ground; too old, too mean, too sick for anything but euthanization, they get brought to me, be they pets, strays, farm animals, or wild animals hit by cars. The cats are what most people notice first. Everything else they rationalize as “Oh, well, it’s a farm...”, but the cats, armies of them, people have a hard time with seeing that many cats. First thing they want to know is: “Do your cats keep having kittens is that why there are so many?” No, first thing that happens to each new arrival is to get spayed or neutered; no, there are just that many people who didn’t know kittens grew up to be cats. Some people call it Florence Nightingale Syndrome, for I have an innate inability to see anyone or anything sick or hungry, and not help. But then, that does not explain the vegetarianism, my long standing fight against Proctor and Gamble; I am EelKat after all, Voice of the Voiceless, founder of the P&G Boycott, you know: the little girl who so many years ago was on every newspaper and tv station because I went one on one, head to head with America’s biggest corporation, in an all out vendeta to shut down animal test labs, and got the words “Not tested on animals” put on your bottle of shampoo. Google me. Long before the likes of PETA and Greenpeace, there was just me. I’m not just “a” animal rights activist, I am THE animal rights activist who got it all started. I am the single most famous animal rights activist in the world, and you can not explain that away with “Oh she lives on a farm” or “Florance Nightingale Syndrome.”

“How did you get like this?” It’s been asked to me several times, often by reporters, wondering what I’m planning to do to Proctor and Gamble next, and which company will be the next to be targeted by the Voice of the Voiceless. I don’t even have to think about the answer; I already know it. Her name was Eva Viola Atwater. She was a Native American. Some records say she was Kickapoo, others say Micmac. Orphaned at age 3, no one really knew much about her family, other then she was a “red skinned savage”.  Raised by the Shakers in the 1920s, she lived in abusive foster care, told she was worthless due to her race, seen as free labour to do the hardest dirtiest tasks of the Shaker Village at Sabbathday Lake, Maine. If you go to the village today, which is now a living history museum, look at the old photos on the wall, and notice the little girl, the scullery maid hard at work scrubbing clothes at the washboard - that’s her, that’s Little Eva, scrubbing till her fingers bleed, then locked in a closet each night without supper to punish her for being born “red as the devil”.

As a teenager, Eva ran away, hitch-hiked to Portland, joined the Seventh Day Adventist church, and married the get-away driver of Honeyfitz Kennedy’s rum-running gang. Her young adult years were spent in terror of an abusive husband. In the 1960s her freedom came when he divorced her, took her 12 children, married another woman, and left Eva, literally on a road side in the middle of a desert in Utah. Eva spent the next several months, walking back to Maine, stopping in all 48 states along the way, discovered Jesus, took a trip to the brand new state known as Hawaii, discovered Huna, took another trip to Alaska, started tracing her Native American roots, then flew to Japan and made her way East to West, through Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia, Germany, Holland, and dozens of others. When I meet Eva in around 1983, she was in her late 60s and lived in a giant Victorian mansion in Biddeford, Maine. Eva, was Maine’s Crazy Cat Woman, famous throughout the Greater Portland Area for being decked out in outlandish flowing South Pacific robes, flying down the street on roller skates while pushing an 1800s baby pram, with cats, not babies, riding inside, her trusty broomstick slung over her back, and singing America the Beautiful. Her house was decorated for Halloween, all year round, complete with jack-o-lanterns in every window. She’d greet you on the veranda with a black cat in one arm and a broom in the other. Her shrill laughter sent children running. No one dared go near the creepy old mansion. Locals were terrified of her, and called her a witch. I called her Grammy.

What people did not see, was that Grammy liked to put on a show, and the pumpkins, black cats, baby pram, and broomsticks were all the act of a carnival clown. Grammy’s early life, overshadowed with many years of neglect and abuse had taught her to see the world, through the eyes of compassion. A closer look inside that baby pram, revealed more than cats enjoying a ride, but also food to hand out to the homeless. The cats were more then just there for the ride, many of the homeless had lost pets when they lost their homes, and hugging cats is often desired more than food. The roller skates got her on her daily “walks” from Biddeford to Portland faster. The long flowing robes, hid the many coin purses, used to fill all the expired parking meters of downtown Portland. And the broom? Eva stopped at every door step along the way, to sweep it clean. The song? She had seen the world and it was beautiful, but here back home was so much suffering and sadness, people starving in the streets, with nothing to hope for. While her ways were bizarre there was a method to her madness: “I was the mother to many, the friend to all, I want to share the joy, and make you smile.” Making people smile, bringing a little joy into their otherwise dreary day, was why she did the things she did. Because of her actions and her spending so much time with the homeless, people often said of her “That’s that crazy homeless cat woman.” By the non-homeless, she was often criticized had rocks thrown at her, more then once put in the hospital, and was several times beaten up by good upstanding citizens who “don’t want your kind around here - go get a job you filthy bum”. She was not, as they had falsely judged, either jobless or homeless. They didn’t know she went home each night to one of the biggest sea captain mansions in Biddeford, that she had a job careing for elderly in nursing homes, or that when not putting on her clown act show to entertain the homeless of Portland, she looked just as normal as you or I. She often remarked at how surprised she was, by the differance in how people treated her, the exact same people, did not recognize her as the same person, when all that had changed was the addition of a baby pram full of cats and a pair of roller skates. “It’s pitiful, that they have such a lack of compasion and judge a person only by her clothes.” Compassion for others motived everything she did.

It is from Grammy Eva, that I learned compassion for everyone, regardless age, race, gender, religion, health, lifestyle, income, social status, or species. Everyone deserves a second chance. Everything has the right to live. Through her combining Adventism with Huna, and Native American traditions, Grammy Eva taught me to love and respect life: humans, animals, plants, water, all of it. Compassion for everything and everyone; to live and to let live.

People seem to think, it’s easy for me to live my life. It is not. Sometimes I struggle with the life I have chosen. Becoming famous so young and not being able to cope with paparazzi resulted in 27 years of agoraphobia. Even today, I miss out on many social activities, things I would like to attend, parties, dances, and clubs here at the college are things I would like to join, but responsibilities to those in my care, stand in the way. Here in college there two guys, both very shy, both put a great deal of effort in getting up the courage to talk to me, both acting on the idea that maybe they have a chance with me, both trying to convince why I should leave Ben and go out on dates with them, see what life could be like, they say. Both are easy to talk to, both have interests in common with mine, both refuse to believe that I speak the truth when I say they haven’t got a chance with me, and both are setting themselves up for a broken heart. Were I not with Ben, yes, I would go out with either of these men, but the fact remains, I am with Ben, I’ve been with him for 25 years, and you don’t throw away a person, because their brain stopped working and they forgot, who they are, and who their family is. Had I not compassion, I could as friends suggest, toss him aside, give up on him, abandon him, leave him alone in his hour of need, and just go off and have myself a good time. My friends see, what they term as blind devotion, but they only know the man they see now, old frail, weak, and not alway recognizing those he once knew. They don’t know the man he was, the man I remember, the man I spent 25 years with. The animals take up so much time; it takes me 4 hours every day, just to fill the feed dishes and water bowls. The letters of protest to corporate giants, senators, and governors take hours to write, edit and format, not to mention the articles and newsletters that come with running the world’s largest professional boycott group. You think it’s easy fighting a mega-billion monopoly giant like Proctor and Gamble? It’s stressful and time consuming, and emotionally and physically draining.

Is it worth it, what I’ve had to give up in order to fight every corporation running an animal test lab? In the early 1980’s when Avon contacted me and told me, based on my efforts, they were shutting down their animals labs, and became the first company to start using my requested phrase “Not tested on animals” on their beauty products, yeah, I’d say that was worth it. Millions of lives are being saved every year because of it. When reporters ask when I plan to stop? I’ve been doing this for over 30 years now, I can keep right on going for another 30 more and 30 more after that. I won’t stop until they stop killing 14million cats and dogs they buy from vets, shelters and pounds each year. Think your cat dying of cancer got peacefully put to sleep at the vet? Think again! If you didn’t ask for her body back, she’s still alive and being tortured at Proctor and Gamble’s test labs, and when she finally dies of starvation, she’ll be ground up and listed as “animal by-product” on the label Iams cat food. When I was 10 years old, they killed my dog and I will never stop as long as there are children in America putting up lost pet posters, and crying themselves to sleep wondering why Fluffy can’t come. Is it worth it, the huge amounts of time and money it takes run a no-kill animal shelter? Yes, it is. These animals have nothing to give, but unconditional love, they just needed someone to give them a second chance. And today, there are others, no-kill animal shelters can be found in every state now. I’ve inspired people. That’s a great feeling. Is it worth it, to remain with a man whose memories are fleeting? I’ve spent 3/4 of my life with this man, who was never anything but kindness to me; and now he needs me, he has no one else.

Everything I do centers around helping the weak from being taken advantage of by the strong.I could not do any of the things I do, without great store of compassion, and so I believe it is compassion that is the True North of my personal moral compass guiding me through life.








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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat



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