I love the different expressions on our cats faces. All 16 of them. Love and Loss

I love the different expressions on our cats faces.

Every morning I am greeted with sweet meows, funny cat running, and the ones that walk right in front of me and then fall down all dramatically. I must always watch where I walk, because there are a couple that I swear are trying to trip me, so they can laugh while I’m on the ground.

I may be the crazy cat lady right now, but I’m ok with that. I’ve raised all but four of the cats you see in the video following. It’s also heartbreaking sometimes.

I keep a spreadsheet of them all because I administer all of their shots, and flea/tick treatment. But some days it’s sad because I go in to do my treatments, and update the chart, and I see so many that aren’t with us for now.

Let me explain why, in a real world visual.

I love the different expressions on our cats faces. All 16 of them. Love and Loss

I don’t “own” the cats, I feed, and take care of them and the property where they are located. They have heated houses, a barn, and a heated garage they go into. I have a couple of very bonded females (Bubbles and Millie), and they will sleep together in one of the houses.

One year I came out to work, and was setting up the mower, after I had fed everyone, and a young adolescent named Starsky wasn’t greeting me. He was about 6 months old. But I had bonded with that cat like we had known each other in another life time. I was able to teach him to give me a high five on command, along with a few other tricks, very early on in his first few months of birth. He was very in tune with me and we were just an item. (Though I love them all).

Shortly after that, we started having quite a bit of predation from bobcats. And I think Starsky went by that way. I drove around 180 acres and searched in the woods, calling and crying for him all day.

I was heartbroken for what seemed like forever and ever. I shut down a little, and all my other cats started to notice, and they tried their best in cat meows, and loves, that they understood my pain.

I talk about loss because it’s inevitable. These are “barn cats”, but not your average barn cats. Some may ask, “but why can’t you keep them from dying?” The answer is simple, we vet them, get them shots, wormer, have warm places to sleep, but they are allowed to discover their own lives and create a little “pack” of their own. They are happy being “free”. But with freedom, comes nature. Luckily it stopped shortly after and I have been so thankful.

We keep one female open, and it’s very interesting how Tomcats arrive from nowhere, in the middle of nowhere when she comes in season. Last years Tom, bless his heart, was the most feral cat I have ever seen. I watched him catch a full grown rabbit one morning and eat the whole thing.

He started to come around more often, and I was feeding him, and he was becoming more calm. He wouldn’t let me get very close, but wouldn’t run off anymore. As I watched his progression, I realized he was very old, and had many battle scars.

One morning I went out to feed everyone and he was laying on our back patio furniture, which was very uncommon for him. As I looked closer I realized he was coming to his end of life. He felt safe enough to come here with all of our others, and die. I fed him what he would eat, but I found him gone, and buried him.

Why didn’t I take him to the vet? Because he had been wild his ENTIRE life. To cause him stress in his final days, by live trapping him, taking him into a vets office where he would be terrified, and then subsequently having him euthanized in what would have been a scary and unfamiliar place for him, seemed barbaric. Why take a wild animal out of his comfort zone, just so it could make his final days miserable? No, I won’t. So I talked soothingly to him, when I could walk by, offered food, but in the end he refused. And then the mighty Tom, was gone.

I think I did him right. I didn’t try to changed his life, stress him out, only show love and give food and water.

He is buried under a tree by the pond.

I tell this story about Tom because I feel that sometimes, like in his case, when an animal is completely feral, and decided to trust you (me in this case), to come closer during his end days,I should give him the respect to pass out of this life the way he wanted. He didn’t want me to mess with him, he just wanted a soft place to land for his final breath. I feel like I gave that to him. He passed on his genetics, which are VERY strong, to three of his kittens that we have. They will be a year in May. Three very different personalities, and three cats ingrained with a strong sense of survival.

Cats also don’t meow to other cats. They only meow to people. Their vocalizations between themselves don’t include the “People Meow”…..it’s a varying differences of noises, growls, hisses and face slaps. There are some days during the moon cycle where I feel like I’m a ref at a UFC fight sometimes. You can believe they get scolded for that, because they know EXACTLY what I’m saying. 😁

Anyway, here’s the video. Enjoy the many faces of our cats.

This was Starsky 
Expressions
Starsky

Being alone forces me to step into my fears.

cirrus clouds

Being alone forces me to step into my fears.

I am still testing, adjusting, and building out my #jeepminicamper. The other night I was parked away from any building, in a nook surrounded by some small trees to try to get out of the wind.

It was about 10-ish, and I rolled down the window and was just looking around. I had gotten out earlier, and just stood there and listened. All I heard was the wind.

As I was looking around a giant panic attack came over me. Why? Who knows… I found no trigger. But I stood there and realized that other than my dog, I was alone. (Within touching distance). For some reason this hit me, and the panic attack got worse.

I don’t quite understand…I’m “alone” all of the time. I don’t socialize, other than phone calls and social media. I don’t go out to events, and I’m totally ok with that. I understand that I have issues, lol, but I’m slowly understanding that even though I do my best to manage symptoms, my brain still defaults to “time to freak out” mode.

Nature is my happy place. I don’t care if it’s dark, light, hot or cold… when I’m in nature I feel my best. So when this happened, I was caught off guard, because, obviously I was out in nature.

I’m serious…the general “fear”….my brain went off the chain…my thoughts were so irrational, like “what if there’s a mountain lion out in the trees”, to “there could be a person hiding somewhere”. WTF. Seriously?

Here’s what I caught on my phone. I set it up and left it until what was left of my battery died. No edits, these are the colors it captured. Simply beautiful.

I have a big mouth dog that hears stuff way before I do. Who protects me and loves nature and being outdoors. (Except when it’s too cold or too hot….she’s a couch dog.) She’s smart. If there were a boogie man or boogie mountain lion, she would have smelled it way before I had even exited the car. This is what I had to tell myself. I had to put myself back in the present, instead of in the twilight zone, and calm my ass down.

Being alone forces me to step into my fears.
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I’ve never had that happen when I’m camping/hiking etc. Never had an out of the blue panic attack. But as I go on this journey, of “all of this”, I’m learning that the brain is tricky. There could have been something that triggered a repressed memory, and caused the switch to flip in the ole’ noggin. That’s the only thing I can come up with at this point. Fortunately, it didn’t last very long, as I went through coping skills, and looked up at the night sky and realized how calming it really is.

So in a round about way, nature brought me back and told me I was ok. That’s the way I see it anyhow.

So now we are testing the boundaries of newly found, long buried fears. Fear has always been a huge debilitating weakness for me. Ever since I was a small child. I would think something was happening and literally freeze with fear. One instance, I was living with my grandparents, and I was upstairs going to the bathroom, and I froze with fear, thinking there was something on my back. I kept whispering “Grandma!”, and somehow her radar ears heard my whispers, and she came upstairs. I told her there was something on my back, and she looked and found nothing, and she settled me back in bed.

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Fear is paralyzing, and if I feel it coming on, I fight hard to stand against it. Literally, I can channel my fear into fight or protection in a nano second. Which is good in some cases…others not so much. If that transition of fear into fight, happens to be coupled with my very slowly growing anger….then I warn people and try my very best to walk away.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that I’ve learned something new about mental illness, mine in particular.

Growth takes time, and I have to continue to be open when new things like this happen, so I don’t take 10 steps backwards, and fall into the valley of despair.

If you are going through something similar, I feel you. You are not alone.

Peace out from Daenerys… the #jeepminicamper

✌️

Shassy

Being alone
The view of the moon from Daenerys, the #jeepminicamper

How social media forces me to step away, and the (my) cycle of mental illness.

Social media is great… especially for people like me who are introverts, but want to keep in touch.

But it gets to be too much sometimes. So I step away. I put my phone on do not disturb, so I don’t constantly see notifications, and I just write, rest, or spend time in nature.

In the process of hurting my back, and doing the things needed to get it healed up, I was sort of forced into a break, but I slowly realized I was needing one anyway.

If you know my story, then you know I struggle with mental health diagnoses, and as much as I would love to be “even keel”, and emotionally leveled out, the fact is I’m not that way.

I’ve been working on my #jeepminicamper and that has been a source of accomplishment, and also a way to distract my mind from morbid thoughts, unrealistic fears, and some depression.

The thing about mental illness, for me anyway, if I don’t manage it right, all of the things I do to distract my mind, come creeping back up if I try to pretend that they aren’t there. So I just deal with it. I put myself in the very present, noting the things around me, what I’m doing, or not doing. What is actually real, and not some illogical thought process that is stemming directly from a ptsd symptom, or a cloud of oppressive depression.

It’s hard. It’s just hard some days. I get tired. I get frustrated, I get angry, I cry. I question everything, I question my life’s worth, I question my worth as a human being, I even guestion the things that bring me peace, wondering if I’m even worth peace.

Those things are the trickery and deception of mental illness. It comes to steal kill and destroy. Destroy families, destroy relationships, friendships, and in worst case it will take your life.

How social media forces me to step away, and the (my) cycle of mental illness.

I’m hyper vigilant…this stems from a home invasion, and domestic violence. But that hyper vigilance seeps into other areas… and compounds symptoms. If I’m going through a cycle of depressive episodes, that hyper vigilance will look for everything that is depressing in my life… logical? Absolutely not, but that’s the cycle some days.

So today’s ramblings are what I’m currently struggling with. I share because I know I’m not alone in struggling with mental health… although I am physically alone, I still want to be open and share, because someone else needs to hear that they are not alone.

You are not alone.

I may not be the best to talk to all the time, but I will listen, and be an ear. Sometimes that’s all a person needs.

So with that, I’m peacin’ out for today.

Thanks for listening. I’m working on a podcast, but it’s new territory for me, so please be patient. Also, please share, like, subscribe if you feel inclined, I would truly appreciate it.

✌️

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Somehow I have hurt my back. So it’s ice/heat, my favorite HC product, and tens unit for a few days.

Humble collective pain salve

Somehow I’ve hurt my back.

I’ve been redoing, upgrading, readjusting the #jeepminicamper, and at some point in the last three days I’ve hurt my lower back. Feels muscular, so I’m doing ice, heat, my go-to HC pain salve, and my tens unit.

Usually when I hurt myself, the tens unit and Humble Collective Pain Salve knocks it out with a couple of sessions.

This is different. I can barely breath without pain. So I’m hoping I just pulled some muscles really bad.. I didn’t feel anything give, and was lifting some weird shapes and at weird angles, which is what I think caused it.

On a lighter note, I think I’m going to try a different setup in the mini camper. I watched someone’s video in which she lives in her suv, and the setup looked more space efficient.

So as soon as I’m healed up, I’m going to try it out and see if I like it better. 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Somehow I have hurt my back. So it’s ice/heat, my favorite HC product, and tens unit for a few days.

I want to shout out to my main plant medicine partner, Humble Collective. I use their mushroom hot chocolate, all of their help derived, legal products for pain and symptoms of my mental illnesses. But I reach for this when I have severe pain, like now. It is a game changer. You can also get a $10 off coupon if you use my link. It will help me and it will definitely help you. (Click on the picture, here on any of the colored words, or HERE to get your own.)

Please share, comment and like…I would really and truly appreciate it. Thank you!

I have such a small space that I need to make it the most comfortable, efficient and have a good ease of use. The thing I’ve noticed is that on my bed platform, when I’m sitting on it, I have to slouch a tiny bit, or my head hits the roof… I think the way I’m going to rearrange it, will take care of that. I also don’t go in and out if the back at this point. So I think space could be better utilized in a different arrangement.

I’ll post a before and after.

Meanwhile….

✌️

Shassy

Someone asked me what I do in my small town for socialization. My response: nothing, it causes me anxiety.

Someone asked me what I do in my small town for socialization…

I told them nothing, it causes me anxiety.

My biggest, newest tool I’ve added to my toolbox is staying in my #jeepminicamper out in nature. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m getting there. It’s working the best thus far.

I do still use my other coping skills… 4-7-8 breathing, snapping a rubber band, safe place, finding five things in my present that I can either see, feel, hear that helps ground me when I’m in full out flashback or panic attack mode.

I don’t always know when symptoms are going to happen. I can’t always identify the triggers.

In worst case scenario, my therapist and I have a set protocol that I follow.

Someone asked me what I do in my small town for socialization. My response: nothing, it causes me anxiety.

I do all my coping skills, and if that doesn’t work, I call crisis, and if that doesn’t work, I check myself into the hospital. That has happened five times.

But I started this conversion of my jeep, and it’s helped to focus on a task, and it allows me to do what is the most functional for treating symptoms, at this moment. The thing that I’ve learned that is most important for me, is to take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, and sometimes on second at a time.

Someone asked me what I do for socialization
Portable mini wood cook stove

I still have a few more things to do to finish, but I’m getting there. Like purchase this mini wood stove… love it.

Here’s a quick video of a work day… can’t get any better.

My goal with building this is to also be able to share the process, and help others. I plan to be on the road for trips later this summer. Still have a few more things to add… but I’ll get there.

This has been such a learning experience. I had no idea what I was doing when I started considering this. But I watched a lot of videos, asked a lot of questions, and have made a lot of mistakes.

As I’ve been staying in it, I tweak this or that. I still have to make the window coverings, but until then the huge amount of heat was just escaping through the windows…so, I just hung up some small throw blankets, and it’s made a huge difference. Right now I am close to electricity, until I get everything finished. I have put a little heater in the vehicle because it’s got down to the 20’s and 30’s at night. I have a good sleeping bag and Zoey has her bed, and we snuggle up under the sleeping bag and stay warm. I actually think that my sleep has been better. I’m still working on the bed….I put down some memory foam (full sized folded three times), and that has made a huge difference. I’ll keep working on it until it’s just the way I want it, but right now it’s perfect.

So this is the reason…I’m not 28 anymore, I’m not using alcohol or other unhealthy coping skills, I’m developing more coping skills, that are bringing me peace.

Life is weird, and I believe everything happens for a reason. Whatever the reason, it is time for me to do this, and other than making my back sore now and then, it’s working.

Don’t be afraid to try new things…You may surprise yourself.

✌️

Shassy

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What I’ve learned so far by turning my old Jeep into a mini camper. Highs, lows and the #1 reason I would do it all over again.

What I’ve learned. I’ve been converting my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee into a mini camper.

I took out all the seats, except for the drivers… obviously… lol… built wooden platforms to create a level working space. I built an elevated bed platform and created storage by using the space underneath. I built three cabinets for the inside, one of which I ended up taking all apart, sawing in two, and starting all over again… it wasn’t working out like I thought.

It’s been a journey for sure. I started out not having a clue what I was doing, but knowing what I wanted in the end… which is not here yet. But I’m getting closer.

I knew I wanted to be able to have power. So I researched and bought a solar generator and a solar panel…note.. pay attention to what kind of panel you are buying, I bought a polycrystalline panel, but monocrystaline is said to convert a little better. All I’ll say is that yesterday, it was completely cloud covered, and my panel still charged my generator. So 🤷🏻‍♀️…you can choose what you want.

Anyway, it’s been a journey of discovery, and me learning more patience. I’ve had to learn how to do everything. My cabinets will not win any awards, but they will serve their function. Will I make changes later? Probably, as I learn and move along. But right now it’s working for what I intended.

So what was that intention? To help my mental status. To help with PTSD, MDD, BPD symptoms. I struggle so much that I decided to add another tool to my toolbox.

What I’ve learned so far by turning my old Jeep into a mini camper. Highs, lows and the #1 reason I would do it all over again.

It has been amazing. I feel so much better sitting here in this little mobile home that I’ve created. I feel like I have the freedom to just pull over and stop anywhere if I want… but mainly it’s to be out in nature and with the animals. Even if it’s where I keep my horse…currently I’m parked right next to her paddock, and got morning nickers…I can’t tell you how that fills my heart and helps me. (Though I will say she probably had an alternative motive…wanting me to let her out to run around…but it rained last night, and I don’t want her to leave hoof marks in the main yard… and I can guarantee she would.)

I haven’t finished the #jeepminicamper. I still need to get the sink, faucet and fresh water installed. Build awnings, and maybe add a tent that attaches to the back end… not sure about that one yet, but we’ll see.

Thus far it’s serving its purpose…helping me mentally. I can park it anywhere right now and have a warm place to sleep, and hang out, without seeing another human being, if that’s what I want.

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For the longest time I’ve underestimated myself. Didn’t think I could do something because I wasn’t “trained”, or because I would succumb to other peoples comments like “why would you do that? You have a house and a bed.. why would you want to go sleep in a car?”

Well, I don’t care what people think or say about what I’m doing. The number one reason?➡️My mental state is better for it. If I’m having a rough day… I can go out in the middle of the pasture, or park next to my horse, spend time with her/fresh air and my mind finds peace.

To all the naysayers…go on and keep doing you boo… and I’ll do me. To each his own, and have the day you deserve. Bless your heart.

✌️

Shassy

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Today is a blog, rest and learning day. For the last 3 days I’ve been working on my JeepMiniCamper, only posting shorts.

Today is a blog, rest and learning day. The past three days have been busy, tiring, painful, and rewarding all at the same time.

PTSD has been rearing its ugly head with my mind wandering off into stupid places, so I’ve had to deal with that.

I totally tore down one crappy cabinet in my jeep and completely built something new. With such a small space the old one was just not working. So I build a mini bench. It’s not pretty, but it’s functional and strong, and that’s all I care about.

Today is a blog day.  This is my view currently. 💜

One of the things that I rarely struggle with as a symptom of diagnoses, is irritability. I mean, I can get irritable, but I don’t like to be that way, and rarely does it manifest. But the last few days it has, and I’ve worked hard to dispel that. I have for reasons I don’t feel like mentioning, absolutely hate that about me. I hate getting irritated, hate getting angry, and work super hard on stopping it.

I think it’s a childhood thing…probably is. But I do know that when my anger has overcome me, I have a terrible temper, and can get tunnel vision with it. I don’t like that, it serves no purpose. Same with irritability, it serves me no purpose, and I know that I have failed in allowing it to get out of control in my life, so it’s something that I try to manage. I don’t like to be that way around people, or treat them that way, though I know I have failed at that during life.

I punch pillows, do yoga, spend time with nature and animals, and just basically get rid of that negativity.

Today is a blog, rest and learning day. For the last 3 days I’ve been working on my JeepMiniCamper, only posting shorts.

Anyway, today I’m waiting on a part, and there’s really nothing else I can build at this point, in my jeep. The rest will be ad-ons—-the faucet, since, clean and grey water tanks, awnings and window shades. I think I’m either going to build or buy something that I can add on to the back end of my jeep to make a covered area. I’ve seen tents like this one…

This is exactly what I’m going to use.

I’ll have it packed in my gear box, and they actually have it attached to a Grand Cherokee, which is what I have. So this will work perfectly.

For shorter trips, I’m fabricating my own awnings..pvc pipe, heavy duty tarp, guy lines, and poles. I’ll attach it to the roof rack that’s already on my jeep, way cheaper than buying them, and I’ll know how they’re made if something goes wrong. Easy peasy.

HAHA….I’ve found that not everything that I have planned has gone easy peasy. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m learning so much.

Not much else for today. I need to do some editing for my YouTube channel…please subscribe if you can, and follow on my Facebook. I would really appreciate it.

Here’s a video of my girl running around yesterday… it was a gorgeous day and she was kicking up her heels… literally… lol

Happy Monday!

✌️

Shassy

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to get notifications when I post.

P.P.S. I’m editing some videos and will blog abou the progress and what I’ve built so far… that’s coming up. I’m new to editing and all of that stuff.

Now I lay

Now I lay

“Under the night sky, the wind is chill. I’ve turned this jalopy and bent her to my will. But she holds me safely, with not a budge to her name. Even though I’ve stripped her all the same. She’ll never complain, and basks with delight. For the adventures await, and she shows no fright. Old as she be, there’s not a hitch in her step, onward and upward she says, I will not be kept!!” ©️shassyswalkabout.com

A little diddy I wrote for my Daenerys. My old Jeep that I have halfway finfished turning into a mini camper… I’ve got all the seats out, a platform build for the bed, recycled a junk desk from Walmart and a spot for the Zoester. It’s enough for us to sleep out under the stars. Though it’s freezing outside at the moment… 🤣

Oh… and I’m not a carpenter… my wood work is ragtag, but it works! I’ll fix and decorate more after I get finished. Nothing has given way yet! Haha… I’ll take a video tomorrow to share.

But right now I’ve got power, and warmth, and my girls (Sadie standing by as well). Simba will come too after I get his area situated.

Also… that little solar generator? It’s still going. Five days now. I haven’t been using it non stop, just when I need my small electronics charged. I’m impressed thus far!

https://shassyswalkabout.wordpress.com/quick-solar-generator-update-1/

✌️

Shassy

https://linktr.ee./hrsygirl

Solar Generator has arrived

Solar Generator has arrived

Find all of these things via my Linktree, click here. 😊

I’m on a tight budget, but I knew I could find an entry level solar powered generator that would work for what I needed. I also didn’t feel like I needed to go with a “name brand” because as I was researching, I could get the same components, for less money, with an off brand. It’s just like anything else, you pay more for a name brand, and it’s not always necessary.

So this is a 300 watt, pass through (means you can charge while the generator is charging) unit. It has two QC 3.0 charging ports (the bigger end of a usb cord), one usb c port, two plug in ports, and a 12v port (like a cig lighter). It also has a little led light. There’s nothing fancy about this, but it has all of what I need, at a very reasonable price…close to 300 less than the name brands. I might even buy another one to run a 12v fridge/freezer.

Solar Generator

Anyway. I’m using it as my only source of power today for my phone and laptop. My laptop (ipad air) is plugged into one of the plugin ports, and the keyboard is plugged into the usb c port. I’ll follow up with how it did later.

✌️

Shassy

Solar Generator, off grid, go outside, Jeep Mini Camper

My #Newpowa solar panel arrived!

My Girl Zoey

My #Neepowa solar panel arrived!

Quick unboxing. This little gem will power my Jeep mini camper.

I’ve camped a lot, but never built custom cabinets for an suv. 😳.

Will share the rest of my power system when it gets here.

✌️Shassy

Click here to check out these solar panels. Just look for “Newpowa Solar”