Archives for posts with tag: artists

Living in a sixteen foot travel trailer definitely qualifies as “tiny house” living believe you me! You MUST be comfortable with being organized and well oiled in order to get from one section of it to another as well as packing and rearranging your belongings.

I have always attempted to live in organized chaos. Raising two very challenging children alone made it a necessity because, although Carl, my son, leaned toward neatness, even he had his moments of scattered squirrel syndrome! My daughter, Ava, on the other hand, never had organized chaos. She preferred the purity of chaos out of fear of throwing something away which might be important…even junk mail…which I was to learn was a A.D.D. tendency. Ava’s father had that tendency as did my mother. My A.D.D. takes on other characteristics of the more “squirrel” variety…easily distracted by fast moving or shiny objects! However, living in this small space MAKES me stay focused because I could break my neck if anything is left on the floor or the frustration of never finding my pliers if I’m not diligent about vigilantly watching and putting things back every single time in the same place.

Therefore, I’ve developed a system of plastic removable varying sizes of drawers placed inside the cabinetry for dishes, seasoning, kitchen towels, silverware, etc. Having traveled the back roads of USA for ten years, I’ve learned you can’t predict the weather you’ll face so I’ve also developed the plastic tub way of packing for winter, spring, summer, shoes and miscellaneous needs. I use stacking baskets for immediate food needs combined with under seat storage for food supplies. And, although I got most of my organization right during my initial packing, I found the need to do a little tweaking each time I landed somewhere for more than an overnight stay or where I’d put new items when I bought something. At home, I have the rule that one new thing in means one old thing must go out. Not true here. Yet.

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Well, that rule ain’t working so well for me here as I’ve been lucky enough to hit up on some amazingly talented women here at the RV park in Bullhead City, Arizona who had true art for sale and I ain’t getting rid of nothing at this stage of the game.

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This is a throw that Linda made. She creates beautiful Southwest Art machine quilting!

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I asked her to make this wall hanging for me and she added some embroidery in places!

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I’m so in love this “table cloth” which will never see any table top! I love each of these!

Also be prepared to scale down your needs to just the necessities. I decided not to bring any pots or pans as my cooking, even at home, mostly consists of frozen meat nuked to perfection atop salad. In Utah for a month quickly taught me I’d over packed dishes, glasses and cups and winter clothing. But, in my defense, I’ve hit some pretty crazy weather these last ten years where I wished I had winter clothing handy. Note to self: Don’t pack a whole tub of it!

However, I do insist on making this trailer my home with my favorite things and I’ve done that with prints of Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Toulouse and Matisse art on my walls next to pictures of Carl and Ava and their own art hung with those Command hangers. I have adorned my vent hood with Ava’s favorite refrigerator magnets and repurposed my shower to be my closet with sturdy adjustable, spring rods and a plastic hanging clothes organizer, now horizontal, on the shower floor to hold my immediate- needs clothes and shoes.

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And, as this is the first Christmas since 2007 I’ve been excited about decorating, I bought an eighteen inch $5.00 tree complete with decorations at the Family Dollar store when I was in Utah. I added a Wonder Woman skirt which I embellished with glitter glue, made Wonder Woman ornaments from the same fabric and coated local rocks with glitter glue to spank it all up with something local and fun.

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Wonder Woman Christmas Tree

 

As for driving through the Mohave Desert, don’t let the fact that most of it is on Interstate let it lull you into thinking there will be service stations or anything, for that matter, for miles and miles and miles! So, my rules are: watch your MPG average; fill up IF you see an exit with gas and hold on tight! I believe I’ve covered this before, but it’s worth repeating.

Also, don’t let the 70 MPH speed limit on these very straight expressways let you think you can drive any speed you want. If the winds 30-40 MPH winds with 60-80 MPH wind guts don’t slap you back into reality then the police will! The police may just not be where you think they should be! Just sayin’! Also, take plenty of water and food with you in the unlikely event of being stranded in one of those canyon vortexes where cell service just disappears when you need it most. I prefer to play it safe than sorry.

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California Mohave Desert

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I’m seeing, getting to know and meeting so many wonderful Wonder Women on my adventures this whole year! I’m also meeting some amazing Super Men, too! I’ve been trying to put together my story of meeting these Wonder People but their stories are too deeply layered to synopsize. It just wouldn’t do them justice. For starters, I can say I visited a new BFF in Victorville, CA who randomly invited me to join him and a friend of his to attend a grief group meeting. When they started sharing their stories, I was amazed at how diverse their grief was. The woman who started this group did so because she couldn’t find the right group twenty years ago so she created one! Losses were as long ago as decades (like my son’s death) to as recent as six months ago.

It was very special sharing my crazy journey with both Carl and Ava and discussing the subject of “the” book predicted twenty-five years ago which “we” are writing now. As it has always shown me, helping others find hope helps us. Too many were in deep depression and guilt over their grief struggles. I reached out to each with my cards for both this Blog  and Ava’s Corner, Inc. in the hopes they could find encouragement in either website and for them, with this loving reminder, to send me an email to let me know how they’re doing.

And, because I don’t believe in coincidences, the fact that the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” happens to be playing at this moment in time means I need to sign off and watch my all time favorite Christmas movie. When my sister and her daughters came to visit Mom’s, I made them sit down and watch it with me! I hope it’s a warm, fuzzy memory for them as it is for me. Yup. It is a wonderful life and I’m just starting to feel alive again and that ain’t bad. And, to think last year I thought I would never get out of being depressed over all the lost loved ones; the death of Montana, my Service Dog; or my future without all of them but this year I found those voids filled with love from existing and new sources! Praise God!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

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Anyone who “knows” me knows I love to “spank” an area with color. It’s the art training and my DNA that creates this process which I find myself in at this writing. I’m in the process of “spanking” my Wolf Pup Travel Trailer into being Gypsy ready! All the browns and tans in it are depressing to me so I’m taking everything marigold and red I have in my home and spanking the heck outta my new soon-to-be home away from home.
 
This is the “before” part. It’s okay but horribly boring to this artist, writer, traveler, wanderer, gypsy spirit!
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First, I added memory foam to both the queen bed and the lower bunk and topped them  off with marigold and red as well as hiding some of the offending colors with Ava’s belly dancing scarves, a gauze drape from yesteryear and some favorite prints.
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I framed my favorite red and yellow Toulouse Lautrec, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’keeffe and Matisse prints and hung them all over the cabin. After all, this next journey is all about writing “the book” and I must keep the energy flowing inside and out!
 
I’m still pondering where to hang the last picture taken of Carl (my son), Ava (my daughter) and me taken in 1984 right before Carl disappeared. Gotta have the three of us together to get this book written properly. They both have already come to me in this past month tutoring me on how, what, where and when.
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The last picture taken of the three of us in March, 1984. Twenty-eight years later, Ava was gone too in that same month.

 
Not to be left out would be a picture of my dad’s mom who joined Jenni and me on a part of our trip through Utah. She’s the one who insisted I go West to write this book. She said to head for the desert to write. Well, that was her thang. Mine is more prairie or canyon lands.
Grandma Irene was quite the renaissance woman who continuously re-invented herself as an actor, Deputy Clerk of Fulton County Superior Court, nurse, health magazine writer and writer of books of tales of the Old West from interviews of actual cowboys, outlaws, gold and silver miners and a free spirit outliving seven husbands! Reckon I know who Ava and I took after! 
Hattie (Harriett) Irene Friend (grandma)
Still need to find a place to put a picture of Montana as no trip is possible without her. I’m thinking of printing the one I took from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls soon after Ava died with the three rainbows behind her (although you can only see two in the photo below). Seems right now that she’s crossed that “rainbow” bridge and all.
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Montana had to have her picture taken with the double rainbow too!

As I don’t know how long I’ll actually keep this travel trailer, I am only making temporary modifications even though the desire to eradicate ALL the tans and browns slaps me in the face every time I walk inside. I will, however, refrain…maybe!

 

Happy Trails and Tales…until we meet again!

My good friend, daughter-by-another-mother, confidant and outstanding travel companion just flew home to get back to work and her life. We almost cried at the airport but promised new adventures for another day and she’s already conjuring one up for next year! I miss my Jenni already.

However short in the greater picture, it was incredible in the amount of quality time, fun, laughter, insanity, states, cities, places we left our unique one-two-punch of us…two very confident, powerful, exciting women with great laughter and joy to share!

Today, we decided to go back to West Glacier to hike the one trail I wanted to revisit from my 2003 trip which was the Great Red Cedar trail.

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Where I come from, this AIN’T no creek!

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Western Red Cedar

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Along the Cedar Nature Trail

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Roaring water is a bit of an understatement!

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Temple of Hemlocks, Red Cedars and Cottonwoods

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My baby’s great great granddaddy! Too bad you can’t see how big the base of this Big Daddy is but figure two people can comfortably pass each other on this boardwalk and compare the width of that with the tree at the end. Four feet? 

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This HUGE boulder is covered in a lush carpet of moss. There again, tough to describe how big!

Tomorrow? Waterton Park and Prince of Wales National Historic site (just across the border of East Glacier) and then on to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Yeehaw!

Last but not least, some of Mother Nature’s art to ponder ’til we meet again!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! PERSONALLY, I’LL TAKE ALL THREE!

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One bites the dust and leaves a most outstanding piece of art for us to love & enjoy…even if for a minute or two. Don’t you just love Mother Nature? If you don’t, try getting to know her before she’s been totally destroyed!

As I traveled through the middle of northern Oklahoma’s wheat fields into the lush mountains and valleys of northeastern New Mexico to finally stop in the arid terrain of Santa Fe in such a short period of time, is always exciting and underlines why I do what I do…the backroads of our wonderful, diverse country.

As an amateur geologist, I LOVE to see the result of millions of years of erosion which  emphatically defines the dynamics behind the peak formations of mountains…striations of different rocks forced in vertical, instead of horizontal positions. The drive from Albuquerque to Las Vegas is one of the finest areas to experience this natural phenomina.

The driver from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, however, defines a vastly different natural occurrence of underwater ocean beds of the dryest terrain varying from vast salt beds and desert to arid mountains and valleys.

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This what greeted me as I left the desert of Nevada and crossed over into California!

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And this is when I knew LA was near!

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I knew I was getting close to LA when a pack of about thirty motorcycle gangers went whizzing between lanes on the expressway going about 90 MPH! That, and the insane expressway traffic of $200,000 cars pulling Speed Racer tricks in and out of lanes to get five feet closer to an exit lane confirmed (as if there was any doubt) that I was approaching LA.

As I neared my destination (45 miles outside LA), I was abducted by aliens. I’m sure that could be the only reason why my phone stopped working, my Bluetooth didn’t recognize  my phone, my GPS (Tom) sent me around in circles telling me to go in a direction only to have me immediately exit to go back from when I came and never got any closer than that same 45 miles to Rachel (my LA daughter-by-another-mother)! Tom never adjusted the distance to Rachel nor did my gas gauge change from a quarter of a tank during this time warp.

In all fairness to Tom (my GPS) has taken me close to 150,000 miles of backroads and interstates since I started in 2009 and this is a first. Finally, after being on every interstate, state road and street between me and Rachel for over an hour, I called her to find out what roads I needed to take. I admit to surprising the urge to throw Tom (my GPS) out the window. But remembering that he has a 99.9% success rate and I do love Tom, I realized his malfunction wasn’t his fault at all but the result of an alien abduction. After I told on him to Rachel, he straightened right up and got us on the right road.

When I finally got on the right road (I-10 W), Tom kept saying, literally every miles and a half, “stay in the left lane” over and over and over again like I was the one who screwed up! Humph!

I got to Rachel’s and my phone worked but my Bluetooth never recovered but I certainly did the minute I saw my special angel, Rachel. I’ve loved her from the first moment I met her at age eleven. I walked into her home full of angels! Rachel, her wonderful husband and baby are very special people to me. It’s a safe haven of acceptance, love and respect.

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Rachel, Noah and Itty Bit

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A loving daddy!

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My angels! See us in the mirror?

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The three of us!

I am truly blessed! Thank you, my loves, for being you!

Next? I go back to Vegas, Baby to pick up the Queen of Electra Brass (Jenni Lee) to take our annual trip to new and exciting places!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Talk about sticking your finger into a light socket! I always got amazing electrical charges from Manhattan but nothing is like the energy in Vegas Baby! Part of it is, naturally, because Ava lived, loved and was loved here but even that part has finally tempered into not as many “triggers” for me. They’re not bolts of shock waves as I drive down familiar streets any more but more like little tingles of shock. Praise God and all those who live here who I love and who love me and Ava!

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These next pictures are the views that let me know I’m getting close to Vegas, Baby!

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Can’t get enough!

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Jenni Lee dreamt of this moment where she and other equally talented genius performing multifaceted ELECTRIFYING women came together. She named her group ELECTRA BRASS even before it congealed into this cohesive group of synchronicity and magic! I’m so blessed to have had and now have these women in my life! I’m in love!

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Vegas Babies Rehearsals

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How incredibly talented these Wonder Women are! WOW

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ELECTRA BRASS! YAY!

Tonight? Me, Photo shoot, video promo recording, these powerful women! INCREDIBLE!

More from Vegas, Baby tomorrow!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES and/or TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Yesterday, my sister and I met a nice owner (C. G. Higgins) of a confectionary of the same name in Historic Santa Fe who convinced us to come see him for great coffee and quiche. Well, he was right! It gave us the much needed energy to absorb a wonderful permanent exhibit in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s Home in Abiquiu, NM

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At home

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Shown with one of her abstracts

 

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Georgia O’Keeffe Research Center

As we complex women are, we have many shades to our many colors. She was a hardy outdoors woman and a femme fatal; an artist and a horticulturist; a brilliant artist and an adventurer. The parallels between Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo were brought more into focus by seeing their exhibits back-to-back! WOW!

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Georgia O’Keeffe on the back!

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Bella Donna!”

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She loved to study the bones of animals she found in the desert and take those shapes found in them and nature to create her abstract art.

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s “mountain.” She said that if she painted this mountain outside her cabin enough, the it would be her’s forever…and it is here and at Ghost Ranch!

As we meandered along the wonderful, flavorful streets of Historic Santa Fe, we talked of how we really had hoped to find an authentic Mexican restaurant. As luck would have it (or greater Devine intervention), we happened to go down Burro Alley to find just what we were looking for…Los Magueyes! Lovely people and great food!

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We departed Santa Fe to find new adventures along the Turquoise Trail (NM Highway 13) towards Albuquerque, NM.

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Turquoise Trail (NM Hwy 14)

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Turquoise Highway

The first little town on the Turquoise Highway large enough to make a stop to explore was Madrid.

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Of course there’s a cowgirl there!

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Great little village

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Sandia Crest National Park with an elevation at it’s peak of over 10,000 feet is just off the   Turquoise Trail on Highway 536. It’s worth the drive for sure! It has a great little gift shop at the top where we met another transported Atlantan!

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Sandia Crest Nat’l Park (10,000+ feet) off the Turquoise Hwy

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These “fingers” of rain which evaporate before reaching the ground are called “Virgo.”

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First on our agenda was to get the feel of Historic Albuquerque and we, of course, were greeted with lots of red chili peppers!

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Historic Albuquerque (Covered Wagon)

Eat? Heck yeah! Locals recommended Church Street Cafe. Great choice!

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Church Street Cafe

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Inside Church St. Cafe

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Inside Church St. Cafe

We were so very fortunate to meet other southerners, artists and kindred spirits on our “Friend Traveling Sisters Hauling A$$ Great Adventure,” We drove over 3,000 miles in a week and it’s been life altering for us both…something to embrace with laughter and BIG smiles forever. We have so many new friend from this trip who will be in our hearts and prayers forever! We are truly blessed.

I hope to stay in touch with each of you through email, travels, phone or telepathic communications forever! Each of you touched our hearts so there you’ll reside until we meet again.

Tomorrow? VEGAS BABY!

HAPPY TAILS (found Montana hair in the truck today), TALES OR TRIALS! You’re pick!

Wow! What a wonderful day packed with beauty, great people, amazing southwestern architecture, shopping, wandering and soaking up one of our country’s most beautiful and exciting cities. In 2011 when Ava and I were here in 2011, we both fell so in love with it so much so that she wanted to intern at the Santa Fe Opera House. I’ve wanted to come back here to create new memories last year but still wasn’t ready. Now I know why. I needed my big sister with me to help me walk through some memories with Ava and create new ones with her! What a great Big Thithter she is!

First on our agenda for the day was the “Mirror, Mirror” Exhibit  at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art containing personal photos of Frida Kahlo giving us newer insights of a woman my sister and I have admired for years. I believe that she defined surrealism but she said she used art to express what she felt and boy did she ever! As a young child, she had Polio. At the age of eighteen, she was in a tragic trolly accident wherein she suffered a broken pelvis, collarbone, legs and three displaced vertebrae which caused her a lifetime of excruciating pain wherein she had to endure long hospital stays, body casts, bed confinement and approximately thirty operations.

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Frida Kahlo had mirrors all over her house. I can only assume so she could paint her feelings no matter where she might be confined.

In Historic Santa Fe, we visited the San Miguel Chapel thought to be built by the Tlaxcala Indians around 1610. It is thought to be the this nation’s oldest active church!

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San Miguel Chapel built around 1610!

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San Miguel alter.

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Across from San Miguel. What shouldn’t be in this picture? LOL

A few blocks away, we entered the Loretto Chapel made famous by it’s “miraculous Staircase” to the Chapel’s choir loft. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. An anomous carpenter is said to have fashioned the spiral steps in 1878 by using only wooden pegs; leaving without asking for material reimbursement or compensation.

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Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe Historical District

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Loretto Chapel Miraculous Staircase front view

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Loretto Chapel Miraculous staircase back view

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Loretto Chapel Alter

As we walked through Historic Santa Fe, art of every genre is found in abundance inside and outside the buildings. I’ve never seen so much beautiful art for sale permanently exhibited in courtyards and walkways. It made us wonder how all these high end  stores could possibly stay open without a great deal of tourists.

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And, to top off our day, we found this 1953 restaurant called “The Shed,” touted to have award winning red chile.

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Tomorrow? On the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico via the Turquoise Trail.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS!

We cranked up our day by visiting the Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. The Red Willow People of Taos Pueblo have been welcoming visitors for over a thousand years to experience their existence which has changed little in their high desert village. (www.taospueblo.com)

Our guide was a volunteer who is going to college studying environmental engineering and was well steeped in his heritage and village.

I’ll apologize right off for these pictures not being the best I’ve taken but I’m working with a brand new camera and still trying to figure out what I can and can’t do. What looks good after I review and modify doesn’t always translate the same here on WordPress. Go figure!

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This wall used to be much higher with sentries guarding the village.

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All of the village buildings are made from mud bricks made from the local dirt, straw and water which are left to dry in the sun. Once building is constructed, a thick mud coating is put over it all, including the mud brick roofs.

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Main buildings of the village.

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What happens when you don’t continue to coat the bricks in mud to protect them from inclement weather.

Our next stop was the famous Ghost Ranch just outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico. A very famous (and infamous) woman artist by the name of Georgia O’Keeffe was living in New York City in the early 1930’s when she heard of a place in New Mexico which was magnificent. Other friends had traveled there and she packed up and went.

She hired a driver to take her to meet the owner of Ghost Ranch, a woman rancher who rented out rooms to visitors, and was told there was only one room available for one night. Georgia O’Keeffe had already fallen in love with sights, sounds and smells of this majestic region and, upon being returned by her driver to Abiquiu, promptly borrowed a car and drove herself back to Ghost Ranch (alone) over the rough roads.

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View on the way to Ghost Ranch from Abiquiu

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Rustic log cabin inhabited by Georgia O’Keeffe when visiting the area.

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The view just outside the cabin.

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View inside the cabin.

Their museums include local art and history as well as a wonderful Paleozoic area of fossils found on the ranch.

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Ancient crocodile

As art was the heart and soul of Georgia O’Keeffe, it is only fitting that Ghost Ranch has a wonderful exhibit of both ancient art (pottery) and current works.

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My favorite, of course, was this horse.

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The last adventure my sister had planned for us was a hike to an area she had visited over a decade ago where water had once been abundant. Sadly no water was found this time but, being a rock-aholics we are, we were saddened by the waters absence but loved being outside with the generous herbal smells of the natural flora and fauna of the area (sage, juniper trees, wild flowers, cacti, etc.) and the vastness of the cliffs, mountains and rock formations.

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Majestic!

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What are the indentations on this boulder?

And, last but not least, ME!

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Oh yeah, and those crazy cloud formations we saw on our way to Santa Fe from Ghost Ranch. My sister said the white swirls below the clouds was the rain evaporating before it had a chance to hit the ground.

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Pretty cool stuff on this leg of our trip. We’re actually going to be in one place for TWO WHOLE DAYS! Santa Fe is ours and it’ll never be the same!

HAPPY TAILS, TRAILS OR TALES!

 

Last year before I left on that Great Adventure, I’d prayed for healing and to trust in God to show me the path it. It was, from the beginning, an amazing journey of trust and healing. As I contemplated this years Great Adventure, I prayed for Spiritual healing. And it has been just that.

As my sister and I drove through northern Arkansas to get to Branson, Missouri, she kept telling me that she had had a recurring dream of this very drive along the Buffalo River and seeing rock structures. Everywhere we went there were rock houses and buildings. It just kept reaffirming to us how the miracle of her being able to join me on this trip (our first alone in 22 years) that it was going to be cosmic. At every turn, it has been.

We left Bartlesville, OK (in northeastern Oklahoma) yesterday across the entire northern  Oklahoma panhandle about ten hours to get to Eagle Nest, New Mexico! It was worth the sacrifice because of the magnificent views which greeted us and the wonderful people we met upon arriving.

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Thousands of acres of wheat framed by gray clouds and rich green vegetation

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Amber Waves Of Grain in northern Oklahoma

The pictures above pretty much sum up the cross-state adventure of Oklahoma accentuated with rolling hills of enormous pasturelands with cows and horses. We had the best time laughing over childhood stories and other adventures. We’re sitting here still trying to believe that was just yesterday (and not a week ago) when we were in the car that long!

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Cimarron Canyon State Park was the prelude to Eagle Nest.

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These kind of rock outcroppings always make me brake for a photo

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The trees aren’t bad either!

The payoff was Eagle Nest, New Mexico and the incredible Spiritual Healer we met and all the welcoming, lovely citizens of that precious gem of a community we now know we want to visit. Eagle Nest, NM.

This morning, we wandered around this lovely western village meeting new friends and hugging kindred spirits we’d met last night. We hiked down a trail to sit on a picnic table to soak up the vast openness of this valley, inhale the healing peace and air around us and tap into God’s wonders all around us like the beautiful wild flowers.

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Magnificent wildflowers of this kind and delicate purple irises!

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This lake is huge!

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More snow capped mountains surrounding this valley

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Big sky

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More contrasts

We tore ourselves away to head for a light day of driving to Taos, New Mexico. What a beautiful town full of northern New Mexico adobe structures and artistry. We walked around the shops and couldn’t resist capturing some of its magnificent culture in local native music, weavings and garments. We ate at Doc Martin’s. We were immediately informed by our bustling waitress that this Doc Martin had absolutely nothing to do with the TV show or the shoes as she dropped our menus on the table! After we ordered, she then instructed us to read the history of the restaurant’s origins on the back of the menu. She kinda reminded me of my fourth grade no-nonsense teacher I had.

We had put our hotel address into my GPS which promptly took us 12 miles in the opposite direction to find the Rio Grande River Gorge! It wasn’t really my GPS’s fault because this small town has way too many similar names! Anyway, my brave sister walked out onto the overlook in the middle of the bridge to take these pictures!

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North view of Rio Grande River Gorge north of Tao, New Mexico

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South view of Rio Grande River Gorge north of Taos, NM

Tomorrow, we head for Santa Fe, NM to see the Georgia O’keeffe art gallery, a church with a suspended staircase and more!

HAPPY TAILS (in loving memory of Montana, the best Service Dog ever), OR TALES OR TRAILS! Reader’s choice!

 

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It’s the first time EVER on my trips West to have anyone with me at all until I got to Vegas Baby but not this year!

On the first leg of the trip, my sister has joined me. We haven’t made a trip alone together since 1995 and we certainly were overdue because we haven’t shut up talking since we left on 5/31 on our way to Branson, Missouri to see one of Ava’s dearest friends, Elisa Furr, who has performed as a Celine tribute artist all over the world for years. I haven’t been able to catch up with her the last time I was in Vegas Baby because she was in Hawaii performing with the Legends in Concert production there. When I heard she was going to be in Branson performing while I headed West, I nailed her down pretty quickly for a much needed visit.

She not only opened the doors to her home but also treated my sister and I like royalty! She got us front row VIP tickets to see her show twice yesterday and took us backstage to meet all the other performers. My sister and I fell in love with all of the amazing talent in this show!

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Elisa Furr as Celine! Oh yeah, and ME!

Some of the best times I’ve ever had were on this visit with her! We were way overdue for a a visit. Thank you, Elisa for an amazing experience! Give all our buddies at Legends BIG hugs!

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Danced with Brooks & Dunn Tribute artists! Photos of that to follow! LOL

 

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Outstanding, exciting & energetic BLUES BROTHERS Tribute artists. Sang with them! Yeah! Well, kinda!

 

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Fell in love ELIVIS (Travis)! He’s a true blue soul!

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Michael performs Michael’s Moonwalk better than Micheal!

We had the chance to get to know Michael (Michael) and Bruno (Isaiah) better when we all went to have after show drinks with Celine (Elisa). All three of these outstanding performers had literally just driven to Branson from Vegas Baby and had a tiny bit different idea of what their traditional post-performance wind down of food, fun and drinks would be like. The only place in Branson open after 10:00 PM with a bar is an Applebee’s. Yup. You’re not in Vegas Baby any more Toto! We were laughing for hours about this. Isaiah was in shock and had us rolling on the floor with his quick quips and sense of humor. Michael shared his story of how he began performing Michael J’s early as most of these performers did. Michael’s ability to transform himself into Johnny Depp, George Michael and others by showing us his portfolio photos.

Love you guys!

Today, we drove to Bartlesville, Oklahoma from Branson so I could show my sister one of the most incredible examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, the Price Tower which I had discovered in my first solo trip West in 2009. I fell in love with NE Oklahoma and have been looking for an excuse to come back!

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The 1956 Price Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright was a design he had on his desk for 25 years with the NYC Bowery district in mind for multi-purpose use.

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Wright focused his design of this 19 story piece of art to include stores, offices and apartments.

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The theme of copper and naturalistic concepts and materials were to remind one of a giant tree reaching for the skies. It is not only a great story of his genius but of this town’s determination to preserve it for us to see today!

We then drove over to Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve about 12 miles SW of Bartlesville so I could show my sister another of my great finds from my 2009 trip. This country estate was owned by the oil baron, Frank Phillips, of Phillips 66 (Petroleum) fame. The Woolaroc museum is an amazing collection of antiquities found in this general region from pottery to paintings, guns to planes and trains, and many indigenous peoples artifacts, clothing and more!

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All types and origins of pottery found in this museum covers areas spanning from the midwest to the southwest.

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First Face Jugs!

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First Face Jug info

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Indigenous peoples beaded belts.

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Many amazing paintings of the region

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And beautiful bronze sculptures

Tomorrow? We drive toward Eagles Nest, Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico! I’m so excited for my incredible sister to show me this area of New Mexico which will include Georgia O’Keeffe’s home, Ghost Ranch, and the museum with her art. Santa Fe was Ava’s and my favorite place we visited on our last camping trip in 2011. I can’t wait to go back!

HAPPY TAILS!