Tuesday, August 23, 2022


on July 30th, 2022, my son and I packed up a moving truck and our car, took our cat, and headed to Montpelier, Vermont.  having lived in Vermont for 12 years, I couldn't wait to return after foolishly leaving the Green Mountains for New York State when my son was 3 years old.  you see, I grew up in New York, and when I left, I swore I'd never go back.  but I took a chance on repairing relationships with my family before all the old people died, and while that went swimmingly at best, my chance to go back to Vermont has finally come.  I mean, it came 15 years later than I originally intended, but my son wanted to graduate high school with his class, so I stayed for him, and we had some good times along the way.  but graduate he did, and not only is he going to go to college, he's going to college in Vermont, and I couldn't be happier!


so proud of my Teen!


well, I could be happier, if we're being honest, because unfortunately, the housing we thought we had ended up falling through.  not to worry, though, because I am in intrepid traveler, and though it's been a challenge to get through this experience with a pissed-off, stressed-out teenager and his rather demanding cat, I am navigating these waters as best I can with the tools I have.  so I thought I'd tell you a bit about how that's been going...

we originally landed at the house of someone I used to know (more on this in the last post), and spent the first few days of August settling in, enjoying the gorgeous late-summer weather, and starting all the processes of establishing residency, such as transferring my car registration/insurance/driver's license, looking for more permanent housing, and going to job interviews.  unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to leave our landing pad much sooner than anticipated, and without having made any advance plans, fell prey to the price gouging at local hotels like the Best Western Plus in Waterbury - Stowe.  now, to be fair, this was a cushy room that came with two gigantic fluffy beds (I prefer a firm mattress), lots of pillows, wifi, tv, lots of parking, a pool and fitness center (much to the Teen's delight), and a delicious buffet breakfast that included most American favorites, and then some.  they claim to be pet friendly, but we were so fried when we got there, we forgot to ask, and just chose to sneak the cat in, and keep the room immaculate so they would never even know she was there.  we ended up staying two days and splitting the bill, which ran us about $300/night each.  though the Teen really liked the accommodations, I didn't like the price.  oh...I forgot to mention the tub!  it was HUGE!  and I filled it all the way up with hot water, and had a good soak.  the tub alone was worth the price, but at those rates, there was no way we could even afford to stay as long as we did.


while my chronic lower back issues didn't appreciate the softness of the bed, our cat Nahiri certainly did!


from there, we still weren't entirely sure where to go or what to do, so we ended up back in my old college town, at a local campsite I knew of, but had only been to once for some reason I can't remember.  the proprietress there is pretty sharp, and figured out that we were homeless, so I just told her the whole story, and while she agreed to let us stay for a few days, she insisted we have a tent, and not sleep in the car.  since my tent and camping gear are buried in the back of the storage space because I didn't think we'd need them (mistake) we ran off to the closest big box store I wouldn't normally shop at (but these weren't normal circumstances) to buy a tent, some blankets, and food that can cook over a fire (burgers).  we spent a perfectly lovely few days by the Winooski River at the Onion River Campground.  now, if I had planned to go camping, this is definitely the kind of place I would choose.  it's clean and quiet, with a rustic bathhouse, trails, blueberries to pick, and plenty of room between campsites.  many of the folks there were set up for long stays, and I admired the effort they put in to making their campsites appear homey, with outdoor furniture, fenced areas for their pets, flowers and plants, twinkly lights, wind chimes, and more.  I want to be one of those people someday!


we were camped on 'the beach', which you can see on the map at the link.

now, our cat has never camped before, or been in a hotel room, or traveled long distances in a car...and she did not like the tent.  in the middle of the night she started pacing around and yowling, then she started scratching to get out, so I got up (I wasn't really sleeping anyway - lower back issues) and took her in the car so she couldn't slip off into the night.  neither of us was happy, and I got no rest.  I think we may have spent another night or two in the car before deciding to spring for another motel room, this time the Marshfield Inn & Motel, and their glorious pet-friendly room #8 for $124/night!  my mom enjoyed staying at the Marshfield Inn a few times back in the day when I lived in the area, so it felt nice to be there again, now that my mom is gone.  we were exhausted from bouncing around, catching random meals here and there, and dealing with the cat's distress, so it was nice to have a respite where we could all sit comfortably in our own space and stretch out, the cat could take her harness and leash off and move around freely, we could shower, connect to wifi, make use of the mini-fridge and microwave, and I could SLEEP on a Firm bed (praise all the deities!).  it was a good few days. 

after that, when we'd been driving around without a place to go for so many hours I needed to get off the road for everyone's safety, we got ripped off at the Comfort Inn & Suites at Maplewood who said we could have a room for $220/night, but charged my card $320 instead.  when I went back to the front desk to discuss the issue, the receptionist was incredibly rude, though eventually agreed to refund me $100.  she didn't, but she did refund me $50.  when I called to complain about that, they called me a liar and hung up on me.  so who cares about the amenities there, because they suck, and no one should go there, ever.  and their breakfast was bland and tasteless.  ugh.  I hate them so much for taking advantage of me like that, and I'm getting angry all over again!  luckily for us, the Marshfield Inn had another pet-friendly room available, so we jumped at the chance to stay there again.

this room - room #9, still a bargain at $144/night - has a small kitchen that comes with a mini-fridge/freezer, counter &  sink, a hot plate, and pots and pans to cook with.  also some cups, dishes, utensils, and other amenities.  I can't even tell you how happy my son was to be able to cook a few meals!  to be fair, he much prefers the fancier hotels with the pools, fitness centers, and squishy beds, but I'm happier in Marshfield with a fan rather than a/c, the peace and quiet, the hiking trails and swimming holes, the general stores, and the view.  while we were waiting for the room, we took a ride up to Danville where I remembered from my college days the American Society of Dowsers had a little bookstore and a labyrinth.  the bookstore was closed, but it was lovely to walk the path overgrown with mint and clover that smelled so good as my sneakers gently crushed them, soaking through with morning dew.  and once we saw a sign for the Great Vermont Corn Maze, there was no stopping my pursuit of joy within all the chaos!


the labyrinth path is a bit overgrown, but if you know the way, you can find it ~


the corn maze was great fun - there are options to explore the BIG Maze, which "covers 24 acres and is approximately a 3 hour hike complete with 100' of bridges", but we did the Scenic Maze because I figured "a 40 minute hike through the BIG Maze using directions found along the way" would be enough of a challenge for me, and it definitely was!  we also chose the option to collect 4 'journey stones' along the way, but I liked them better than the reward you were supposed to turn them in for, so I kept them, and bought the reward anyway!  the kids' area looked like so much fun, but I was struggling at that point, and didn't have the stamina to play.  the little store at the end of the trail had candy, ice cream and drinks, t-shirts, postcards, and other little ephemera to commemorate your visit, as well as an aerial photo of the mazes through the years (all the way back to 1999!) so you could see the areas you hiked through if you took notes, which we did.  they're also a beef farm, and we would have bought some of their beef if we had known we would have a way to cook it later!  as the kids say, "100% would recommend"!


"mayday!  mayday!  I appear to be piloting this vessel incongruously named 'French Toast' through a large field of corn, please advise!"


after another few days at the Inn, we had another night in the car before stumbling upon the Firefly B&B in Lincoln.  they claimed to be pet-friendly, yet hadn't counted on someone traveling with a cat, though after chatting with her a bit about our situation, the proprietress - Issy - agreed to let us stay as long as our kitty stayed in the room, and generously discounted our room to $90/night (cash or check only - no credit cards).  that was fine with us, as we were getting up early the next morning to head to our storage space to pick up my son's trunks and bins for college, and we needed a safe place to stash the kitty while we drove back and forth all day.  it was hard, but we got it done...well, the Teen got it done, I was mostly useless other than as the driver.  then I cried as I made my way back to the Firefly alone, for my first night as an empty-nester, without even a nest.  good thing I stopped for a creemee on the way back...if you don't know, in Vermont, soft-serve ice cream is called a creemee, and it's pretty serious business in this state.  we all have our favorites, and we swear by them!


this one came from Papa Nick's in Hinesburg - it was Bragg Farm good, but not Dairy Creme or Crossroads good!  😀

so, my son's 'summer of homelessness' ordeal is over, and he has a little bit of time to relax into his new surroundings and collect himself before classes start in a few days.  I've mostly been parking in places like the two local synagogues that I know of, and my old college library parking lot to take naps, but I can't ever really get a full 5 hours of rest in the car, let alone more.  and then I'm falling asleep every five minutes, and shouldn't be on the road.  so, I finagled a deal with the innkeeper at the Marshfield Inn & Motel for one of their pet-friendly rooms for a week, at a greatly discounted rate (just under $400 for 6 days).  they gave me room #9 again so I have the little kitchen, and I think the cat feels safer here because she's already been here a few times.  I can't believe it's been almost a month of this already, and I still don't feel any closer to being settled in terms of having housing, any social services, or a job.  there's no way I could keep a job with all the moving around, and sleep-deprivation!  so I need some help to pay for the room this week, and I've mostly been using my time here so far to figure out where I'm going to stay next, and see how many tarot sessions I can fit in while I'm stable enough to do a few readings.  




I haven't made it up the hill to visit the person who's caring for my houseplants in at least a week, and I do need to visit my plants, I miss them so.  the Teen is being standoffish with me and not answering my texts, and the cat misses her favorite human and is being overly clingy.  I'm hoping to see if I can't find someone to foster her for a bit while I navigate the 'next step', whatever that may be - and I hope it's some form of employment, because I need the cash.  if you can't tell from the above commentary, all these rooms and driving around have blown a hole in my finances, and I still have expenses to cover, including helping the Teen out with any college related needs, and litter/food for his cat.  and let's all keep a prayer in our hearts for my dear car, without which, none of this would be possible.  I hope you enjoyed this 'trip around Vermont', and that you feel compelled to send some funds our way - I'm happy to offer you a tarot reading in return.

this is a link to the gofundme a few of my friends set up

this is a link to my paypal


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

the landslide bringing me down

you know, I'm not much of a Stevie Nicks fan, though I've always liked the song "Landslide"...I kind of hold her responsible for millions of hippie chicks in lacy gowns thinking they can appropriate an ethnic slur against Roma people as a lifestyle and culture...but if she didn't know, she didn't know, I guess.  it's 2022 now, and we should all know better.  apologies are being made.  awareness is being raised.  it's not ok anymore (someone alert Cher, as well, please).



I watched a video this morning of Stevie singing "Landslide" in front of a video memorial for her dad who died in 2005, and of course it made me cry.  lots of things make me cry now.  used to be, I didn't cry at all, and was proud of it.  then I learned to not be such an impenetrable stone all the time and to be proud of the fact that I had enough heart and soul to cry.  then I had a baby and couldn't watch tv any more because the news made me cry...and commercials.  now, as I approach what I consider to be my 'official menopause date', I can and will cry about anything and everything, because my heart is simply broken completely open by the wisdom and humility of life (my personal Kabbalah). 

King Solomon w/birds

I'm dropping my son off at college tomorrow.  that's...huge.  on a number of levels.  first off, I've raised my baby alone from the moment of his conception.  I will not negate his father's contribution of the minimum amount of child support required to be in compliance with the current laws, but to be clear, his involvement truly has been minimal, for which I have apologized to my son profusely.  my son has very little family other than me - he didn't really get to know my Sapta (maternal grandmother) before she died, and has little memory of her, though he does have fond recollections of my Zayde (maternal grandfather).  my dad and his parents were long gone before my son was born, and though he had my mom in his life until she passed last year, we weren't always on good terms with her.  there was a brief minute when my brother allowed his three kids to accept their little cousin as a member of their family, but he cut what loose ties he had with me/us, irreparably damaging those relationships, and they will most likely take more work than most people care to do to repair them, so I don't have much hope that they will be.  my point is, this kid has mostly had to figure out how to be in this world on his own, with his closest non-Mom people being his guitar teacher, his show director, and his wrestling coach, in that order.  so...yeah.  a mostly solo project with some honorably mention-able supporters.



do you know how I got my son into the prestigious and expensive Paul Green Rock Academy?  I emailed Lisa Green and offered to do any number of things for her in exchange for a scholarship - write, edit, proofread, take photos, answer phones, scrub her toilet with my toothbrush.  so she agreed to a meeting with me where she explained that she had people doing all those things for her, except scrubbing her toilets, so she let me clean the building in exchange for my son's lesson and show fees.  and not only did I do everything in my power to go above and beyond for the Green's and their Rock Academy, my kid did, too.  when Paul and Lisa left, and Jason and Acacia took over the school, we didn't know if he would be allowed to continue, but they generously allowed him to stay with the program on a full scholarship until he graduated from high school.  I don't know who pulled what strings behind which closed doors in order for that to happen, but I will forever be grateful to them for that gift.

so here we are, after 18 (19 counting my pregnancy) years of this journey, in the same place we started - homeless in Vermont.  how did we get here again?  well...as a single mom making minimum wage, I can't afford an apartment anywhere in the United States on my paycheck, so I jumped at the chance to apply for a section 8 voucher, which has almost saved us from homelessness over the past decade, though not entirely.  a lot of landlords don't like doing the paperwork that section 8 requires, so refuse to rent to voucher holders, which is illegal, but there are a million ways around it.  one of which is to count on the fact that voucher holders don't have the money/time/knowledge to take them to court, and if they did, and they won, they still wouldn't have a place to live.  it's a lose-lose situation.  I had been living in Vermont for over a decade when my son was born, and when he was 3, I took a chance on moving to NY to be closer to my family...it didn't work out.  we stayed in NY for another decade and more, as we simply moved north near some friends of mine from the 'old days', though after not so long, I found myself regretting leaving Vermont at all.  


just one of many beautiful views in VT

Vermont was a dream I would return to after the boy was grown and didn't need me anymore.  Vermont was where I would go 'next', as with me, there's always a 'next'.  there were plenty of times I would have gone before now, but my son wanted to stay with his class in school until he graduated, so I stayed for him.  I cooled my hot feet and stayed put to the point of breaking, but I made it.  we still had to move fairly frequently as our rentals kept getting yanked out from under us by unscrupulous landlords raising the rent past my affordability, the State taking over the land through eminent domain, or other unscrupulous landlords taking advantage of the pandemic to sell their house/my apartment to an airbnb developer further adding to the issue of local workers not being able to find or afford housing in the communities in which they work and live...  but we managed to stay housed for a good stretch, and I did spend a good amount of time looking for apartments in VT before we pulled up roots in NY and moved, and though I wasn't able to find anything by the time we had to leave, I did have a place to land when we got here.  or so I thought.

what do you do when someone you've known for 20 years and more calls you up one day and says they're doing really well with their recovery?  that they're housed, in school, taking real steps towards getting their life back on track, and seeking employment?  what if they're really excited to hear you're coming back, and want to help support you on the way?  what if they see you not finding housing and offer up their living room as a place to call home for a minute, until you find what you need?  am I a poor judge of character?  do I make the wrong friends?  trust the wrong people?  well, let's look at my son's dad - 98% absent during the child's life, so much so, that when my young man screwed up his courage enough to ask his stranger of a father for a couch to crash on for a week (yes, dude lives here in Vermont), he wasn't overly welcoming, nor did he offer any financial help.  loser?  maybe.  I don't want to make excuses for him; I've been doing it for far too long for no good reasons, including my own pride, and his skill as a guitar player.

so our crash pad crashed and burned when it turned out my friend wasn't as in recovery as she thought she was.  she had a relapse, and used it as an excuse to behave in an abusive manner towards me.  the fact that she chose to take her relapse out on me when all I'd ever done was be a good and loyal friend to her was unnecessary and frankly unconscionable.  she's fooled me more times than it should take for someone with good self-esteem to walk away from.  and I regret letting the dreams in my head let me believe I could trust that someone was as loyal and honest as I am, though I know from years of experience that's rarely true.  I take the giving of my energy in relationship very seriously, and I'm often hurt by folks who enjoy more casual interactions, as I tend to connect pretty deeply, rather quickly.  and I'm finding that as I attempt to reconnect with folks I thought of as 'friends' here in Vermont, that I guess to them I'm more of an acquaintance, and there's been a 'no-show' of those I thought were 'my people' (some real help has come from unexpected places, too, I must confess).  so what does that tell me about moving forward here?


oh, these spiral paths we weave!

nothing I didn't already know, I guess - we're all just hurtling through space on this rock alone.  ever.  always.  and that's fine.  I'd just like to plant a flower garden, watch it grow and die, and come back again.  I want to write poems and prose, and create images.  I want to knit and sew and crochet - craft art with my hands again and be alone with the silence of late night/early morning hours.  I want to walk in nature, and be soothed.  I want to share my creations with others who create.  I want to hear from my son that he's doing well in school - that he's learning how to earn and manage money in a way that will bring him and his hoped-for future family more ease than his upbringing brought him.  "may he do better"...every parents' prayer.


from Isabella Rotman's This Might Hurt Studios


I used to travel when I was younger - just pack up my few belongings and my cat, and live on the road in my car.  it was a lovely lifestyle when planned for.  falling houseless because of broken systems built to keep women like me down is less fun, but again - can be navigated smoothly by people like myself who are wise in the ways of travel.  when I have to drag an unwilling and angry teenager and his fancy cat along?  it can get really tough, but I'm using All the tools in my kit to keep us buoyant in proactive ways, while doing my best to organize these experiences with my overtaxed mind to share with people in a way that encourages them towards helping me out financially.  I need help paying for gas, insurance, storage, cat supplies, and whatever my son may need for college that we didn't already think of, and for pet-friendly hotels/motels/b&b's/accommodations until I can find housing.  I'm really good at writing, editing, proofreading, and reading tarot cards.  please feel free to ask me to perform any of those tasks for you in exchange for any monetary donations.  we can work out a value together.  let me know how I can help you help me.

thanks ~

my paypal:  https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/mysteriamb

my gofundme, organized by some friends:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/miriam-mysteriam-and-teen-need-a-homehttps://gofund.me/835d9ce3https://gofund.me/835d9ce3https://www.gofundme.com/f/miriam-mysteriam-and-teen-need-a-home?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheethttps://www.gofundme.com/f/miriam-mysteriam-and-teen-need-a-home?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-shee