Archives for posts with tag: family

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.

2017-12-8 CabDraers

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.

2017-12-8 Quilt 1

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

2017-12-8 Quilt 2

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

2017-12-8 Quilt 3

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.

2017-12-8 ShoweCloset

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.

2017-12-8 CmasTree2

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.

2016-6-4CA15

California Mohave Desert

2016-6-4CA142016-6-4CA132016-6-4CA112016-6-4CA7

2017-12-8 Mojave 1

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!

Advertisements

Got a little stir crazy from sitting too long trying to ignore screaming of electric tools from the guy next to me build the next Taj Mahal or totally refurbish his travel trailer so I hit the road. Why oh why are they allowing this? Guess I’ll have to ask but, in the meantime, I took the road less travelled to Zion, Kanab and Jacob’s Lake to revisit some memories.

Plus, I’d had an unrelenting desire to revisit a bit of my last camping trip with Ava from  June, 2011 this past weekend. We’d left Vegas and headed straight for Zion where she spent a couple of days hiking some marvelous trails while Montana and I explored the few paths which allow pets. Our next stop was the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where Ava was determined to hike down the North Rim, spend the night at Phantom Ranch and hike back up the next day to the South Rim. Let’s just say it was one of our most eventful camping experiences. We spent that night in a cabin at Jacob’s Lake taking a much needed respite. Ava had hiked most of the way down the North Rim when her knees failed. They were going to helicopter her out of the canyon but she had other plans. She hiked back out escorted by Rangers.

I had just closed up the popup to head toward the South Rim when a stranger called me first saying Ava was fine and wanted him to tell me to stay at the North Rim. She was coming back up because of knee issues. Montana and I paced frantically for hours at the top of the trail asking anyone coming toward us if they’d seen her. Too scary to say what I was thinking that whole time but when I saw her, there wasn’t a happier mother around! We got the last available cabin at Jacob’s Lake and regrouped.

I felt compelled to go back. I think it was because we’d left part of us there and I needed to put it back into my soul before I could write again.

So, it was only natural for me to focus on rocks first. They help me get outta my own head. Plus, they’re strong but vulnerable and, I sure love me some rocks and how the Mothers create and scar them!

The force of the Mothers (Nature and Earth) are never more apparent than at Zion.  These mountains show signs of Mother Nature’s etchings on their surfaces as the winds carve their way through the sandstone mountains. She drops water into their crevices, then quickly freezes it over and over again to weaken that link to its parent in order to loosen huge boulders enough to cause them to crash below creating thunder throughout the canyon and land atop of the eroded soil at her feet.

2017-11-6 Zion1

Approaching Zion from Hurricane

2017-11-6 Zion2

Etchings from the Mother

2017-11-6 Zion3

Amphitheater created by Mother’s determination to break free pieces of the mountain.

2017-11-6 Zion4

Erosion at the base waiting for more from above

Mother Nature blows her seeds in the wind and sprinkles them like a condiment  into those same crevices. Some germinate and grip for the rest of their lives to the precipices of the rock fighting forever the changing wind, rain, snow, freezing and warming temperatures the Mother sends their way. The larger they grow, the larger the crevice becomes and encourages the huge boulder upon which they cling, along with the Mother’s help, to join the other large boulders below.

The light changes here as rapidly as the temperature and weather. I take a picture one minute and in the next, different hues appear. It’s this marvelous discovery by those artists of yesteryear who fell in love with that very dynamic…the effects sunlight which…Vermeer and Impressionists captured in their paintings and focused on by painting the same scene over and over again in varying light (i.e, Monet’s many paintings of Notre Dame). At some point, the word spread far and wide that Carmel, California held some magic light there. I believe that “magic” light is in the desert here in Utah.

See what you think about my drive to and from Jacob’s Lake.

2017-11-6 Jacob1

Trying to capture the Vermillion Cliffs and the White ones too

2017-11-6 Jacob2

Light changes rapidly especially on cloudy days like yesterday

2017-11-6 Jacob3

These three were literally taken only minutes minutes apart while sitting still.

2017-11-6 Jacob4

Money shot!

The other two parts of this adventure were to visit a place Ava and I had always wanted to visit but never found the time to do so…Best Friends Sanctuary (a non-profit) facility in Kanab, Utah of National Geographic’s “Dogtown” TV show notoriety (https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/visit-our-utah-sanctuary/places-stay).

For those of you who knew Ava, she rescued cats…and dogs…but mostly cats. Ava rescued   a paraplegic cat, Murmur, from a Vet who was moving and who would no longer keep. Ava took Murmur and lovingly nurtured her until the little animal passed away. Ava  would have loved to have lived and worked at this place (if they could have incorporated opera), so I it was only fitting for me to take their tour while I was in the neighborhood and donate to their wonderful cause in her memory.

Yup. It was hard but it was what Ava wanted me to do yesterday so I did it.

2017-11-6 BestFriend1

Best Friends Welcome Center

2017-11-6 BestFriend2

Where “Dogtown” was filmed for National Geographic (https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/explore-sanctuary/dogtown/series)

2017-11-6 BestFriend3

New Veterinarian facilities

2017-11-6 BestFriend4

Cat  World HQ

2017-11-6 BestFriend5

One of many outdoor fun for their Sanctuary Cats looking for their fur-ever homes! 

Then, just for me, I had to go back to Rocking V Cafe (http://www.rockingvcafe.com)  for one of their amazing pork chops. I’d had one of their pork chops this past summer and couldn’t stop thinking about it…so I did what a girl had to do…go back and order it again!

Pork chop

YEAH, BABY! Pork chop at Rocking V Cafe! Way to end the day!

2017-11-6 Kanab1

Rocking V Cafe, Kanab, Utah

2017-11-6 Kanab2

Cozy Inside with nice art for sale on the walls!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

A dear friend of Ava’s (my daughter) came up to visit me in Hurricane this weekend and it was perfect…but that’s as it always is when we get together! Yesterday, we just couldn’t find that sweet spot about how to spend our day. Somehow, we couldn’t quite settle on whether to hike Zion (which we’d both already done) or revisit Snow Canyon. As neither of those “felt” right, we headed for the one book store we did want to visit which  happened to be in meander the historic part of Hurricane, Utah! We found lovely items from yesteryear lovely shops and great people, too!

Our first visit was in “Mercantile Gifts and Consignments” on State Street near Main Street. It’s a plethora of wonderful items to try, view, explore and purchase! Their “sister” entity is just around the corner called “Gypsy Emporium.” We just had to go in there! I’m so glad we did because I met a young kindred spirit who works there, Sarah Jane! Don’t forget our pinky swear!

IMG_20171104_124211812.jpg

Mercantile Gifts & Consignments on State Street. It’ a great place to explore!

IMG_20171104_124546442_HDR.jpg

GYPSY EMPORIUM just around the corner from Mercantile!

 

And found the Hurricane Pioneer Museum where we met this lovely man who had been the voice of some interesting early cartoon characters! His ancestors were part of this towns beginnings and is well versed in its history.

IMG_20171104_134738758_HDR.jpg

HURRICANE PIONEER MUSEUM

Our new friend from Gypsy Emporium recommended Main Street Cafe for our lunch and I’m so happy she did! Thanks, Sarah Jane!

IMG_20171104_150850261_HDR.jpg

MAIN STREET CAFE on Main Street! Go Figure! Great food!

And along the way, who would have thought we would come across such a magnificent display of roses trailing along the sidewalk of one of the first houses built in Hurricane in 1906? We stuck our noses in every single one of those beautiful roses! I think we were responsible for cross-pollinating some of them!

IMG_20171104_151459950.jpg

Roses in the desert? Yup!

Our new friend at the Pioneer Museum had told us to go see where the canal was built to bring the water to the newly formed town of Hurricane. We decided it might be fun to drive down that main road a little farther and look what we found…and, yes, it did involve a u-turn!

IMG_20171104_161714766_HDR.jpg

Convergence Overlook! Several Creeks come together here. It looks like a great hike but not on this day!

IMG_20171104_161725048_HDR.jpg

Beautiful canyon and mountain views!

IMG_20171104_162010140_HDR.jpg

And, look at those rocks!

We had such a great time making u-turns to find those “right” spots to explore whether it was a shop, canyon or food! I highly recommend finding this historic area and playing there for the day!

Happy Trails…until we meet again.

As a woman who always enjoyed smaller homes, I’m so loving living the rambling’ life in my trailer. It suits me to a “T” for the writing journey I’m on. It began right after Jenni (Ava’s friend) and I visited Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, Utah in the summer. It was that pivotal moment of my remembrance of “soaring” which Jenni caught in a blink of her camera’s eye.

MeFlyingSmall

In that second, I remembered my reoccouring dreams of yesteryear of being an eagle soaring over these lands. It broke me free in a way I’ve been praying for all these years of healing. I’ve continued the metamorphosis over the weeks that followed while I worked to make my return happen with a trailer. My idea was to return to the canyon lands; however, my grandmother won out in the end. She’d “told” me I’d need to go to the desert to write. But, I wanted to be in the canyons…not the desert. However, it turns out that the canyon lands get too cold in the winter months and there was only one RV space available in a warmer climate…yep, the desert. I snapped it up embracing the fact that Grandma always wrote in the desert and to not fight the forces that be.

Hattie (Harriett) Irene Friend (grandma)

Yeah, that grandma!

Over those few months, every place I planned to go visit on my way West got hit by Harvey, Irma, Jose, raging fires, drought or an earthquake! Well, to be honest, there was no way I was going to Mexico City! All else was true. This caused my trip to get accelerated to the point I was able to get to where I am now so I could write sooner than later. Again, don’t fight the forces at work!

2017-10-22 Trlr-4

Ready to write! This is one class act RV Park with Cable TV, internet that actually works and clean facilities!

2017-10-22 Trlr-1

Facing toward the back with another one of Ava’s belly dancing scarves hanging over the window and the bunk beds on right in the back. 

2017-10-22 Trlr-2

Ava’s Belly dancing scarf serves as a privacy screen over my bed. Oh, and that’s the puppy my girls Stacey gave me after Montana passed when I said I wasn’t getting another dog! Yeah. I had to bring it.

It took me about three days to re-organize my trailer from just “get ‘er packed” mode to “get ‘er ready for living.” I hung my prints of Matisse, Georgia, Frida and Toulouse along with my pictures of Montana, Carl and Ava. I’ve made it home. It’s what I do.

I’ve already had a visiter (Jenni) in my digs and she’s coming back soon! And, thanks to Jenni, I now have a Warrior Eagle Donna Mama writing pen! It sits right beside me all day long!

2017-10-22 EaglePen

And, although I got a little writing done while I was Boulder, today was the first real day I’ve written since landing this gypsy caravan in one place for more than a few hours! It felt good to stretch my brain. Tomorrow I want to fit some real physical exercise in and more writing. It’s great to be in the here and now…alone…connecting to those who write through me.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

 

This past week has been a whirlwind of seeing family with whom I really haven’t been able to have a direct connect with since after Ava’s death in 2012. Yes, I have “seen” them but haven’t had “quality” time to spend with them for a myriad of reasons and this visit has been wonderful!

Gosh, I’m so in love with ALL my Chirrens of blood and by adoption! And, now after this trip to Boulder, I have two more! One of whom I met at the Cork Restaurant in Boulder! Hey there, “G”!

2017-10-18 Bldr Cork

The Cork Restaurant in Boulder, CO.

I guess I should start by saying that although Boulder isn’t a city I’d visit if it weren’t for my loved ones living there because it’s just too busy, too residential, too many bicycles EVERYWHERE, it is very clean and perfect for raising children in a safe environment. It’s just not my cup o’ jo. I like dirt and lots of it.

However, I do love those snow capped mountains once you escape suburbia and a  little town not terribly dissimilar from my own called Nederland, Colorado. It’s tucked in the Rocky mountains. Like my town, Nederland has a very small residential population but have several festivals every year which can bring tens of thousands of visitors. I had a hard time visualizing where all those people would go…or even stay, for that matter…and still do!

2017-10-17 Neder-1

Yup. Small town, Nederland, CO

But for the festivals, I could, for a moment, see myself living in this little town because of the wonderful people I met there! Here’s a shout out to Winston, Chris and all the other people we met while we were there. It’s worth a trip there but check out their  it’s festival schedules first!

2017-10-17 Neder-RenWoman

Of course I had to go into the Renaissance Woman store in Nederland, CO. I told the owner all about our Atlanta Little Five Points area and their annual Halloween Parade!

2017-10-17 Neder-Wings

When my sister and I were traveling the turquoise trail, we ran into a similar shop like this so it was only fitting for her eldest daughter and I to go into Wings of Lace Boutique, Nederland, CO and do some shopping! Hey, Chris!

2017-10-17 Neder-Solta-Mark?

Remember what I said about bicycles being EVERYWHERE! Here’s proof! This is Solta Restaurant, Nederland, CO and the young man behind the counter looks like a young man Mark’s twin. Mark was like a son to me and chose to leave us way too soon and has been on my mind a great deal this month.  Both were from Austin and moved to Colorado! I almost fell out! 

After seeing all the mountainous terrain of I-70 West of Boulder, CO to Green River, UT via I-70 from studying Google, I was quite apprehensive if not anxious about driving it. However, my niece’s husband, who is extremely familiar with this highway, talked me down out of the tree with some good info. And I’m so very glad! The trip West was marvelous! My favorite park was driving through the river gorge, but that is always my favorite part of any drive!

See what you think!

2017-10-19 I-70-1

I-70 West – First snow capped view!

2017-10-19 I-70-2

Mountains galore!

2017-10-19 I-70-3

River Gorge driving just shivers me timbers!

2017-10-19 I-70-4

Golden trees everywhere!

2017-10-19 I-70-5

I be comin’ ’round the bend!

2017-10-19 I-70-6

This just doesn’t do it justice but…

Well, this travelin’ woman is just about done in for today so, Happy Trails…until we meet again!

It’s interesting and pivotal, at this very specific time in my life and in history, for PBS to air the Ken Burns 10-part series on Vietnam.
Donna Woodward Friend SrPic 1965

“Before” – Senior Picture, 1965

Why was watching this series pivotal for me? Well, in 1965, when many of my school chums were being shipped off to fight an unwanted battle on Asian soil, I was fighting my own “Vietnam” battle of being a pregnant 17 year old on the streets to fend for myself, engaged to the wrong man, met the right one who was MIA in Vietnam, married the wrong man and gave birth of my son, Carl. The other layer of the story was my father was so insanely angry at me for getting pregnant he came looking for me with a gun to kill me. Yes. Kill me, my fiancé and my baby.
Early that 1965 magical insane summer, my fiancé, Ray, joined the Army. That bitter sweet last night with him before he left for Bootcamp, held all the images of a tearful teen 1965 movie…pain, love, hurt, joy and mixed messages of a future with a scrambled past. We talked about what would happen if I became pregnant but neither of us truly believing it could/would happen. We, obviously, were delusional.
It was during the months after Ray left, that I started questioning my choice of a future and husband. I had a good job working part-time as a Legal Secretary for two general practice lawyers and going to Georgia State University while living at home. I wanted more independence so my oldest brother co-signed on a loan for me to buy my first car, “George.” It was a black 1960 Karman Ghia convertible. It had no heat if you weren’t moving forward but I sure loved dropping that convertible top on those waning summer days! That’s when I realized I just wanted to be engaged and not married. After all, I was in college,  working and feeling alive.
It was one of those wonderful summer nights when I was driving “George” around with the top down with a friend that I met Dave. Dave was a 6′ 2″ drink of well water who had a loving spirit, was well educated and in the Army. He was the catalyst for my break up with Ray. My time with Dave helped me further realize how I was cutting myself short in a more mature way…like a real future with a career and Dave.
And, although both Dave and Ray were in the Army, only one went to Vietnam.
And, again, I lived yet another, more painful last night…but, this time with Dave. He filled my heart with a future and a terrible sadness of loss later multiplied by my yet unknown pregnancy. It was a during those months that I later had an older friend tell me I might be pregnant. It was such a shock to think I might be! That’s weird, I know, especially knowing I was was raised on a small farm but I truly never connected the dots because I lived in a teen haze of invincibility as most do/did.
My letters to Dave (which numbered many) went unanswered. I was glued to the news to see what was happening 10,000 miles from home.
In the meantime, my first gynecological visit was to find out I was seventeen and pregnant. My life started falling apart at the seams at that moment (and hasn’t stopped in the 50 plus years since).
As soon as I got home from the appointment, I called Ray at the Base and told him of our predicament. We secretly plotted an elopement. He was stationed in North Augusta, South Carolina where one only had to be eighteen to get married without  parental consent. I was one month short of eighteen.
So, armed with a “doctored” birth certificate,  I drove “George” to North Augusta, SC, picked up Ray at the Base and immediately headed to the JP’s office to get married. Well, my fraudulent birth certificate  didn’t pass the muster of the Judge’s secretary. I came home pregnant, sick and worried out of my mind as to what was going to happen next. Ray went back to Ranger training camp.
It was that next weekend when my “Vietnam” started.
The next morning after I came back from my visit to SC, I woke up with sick. Dad guessed I was pregnant and immediately flew into an “Incredible Hulk” kinda’ rage.
Because our failed marriage attempt, Ray had gotten leave again to go to Atlanta so we could plot our next elopement steps. Mom came into my room and sat on my bed next to me and proceeded to tell me Dad was convinced I was pregnant. I broke down and said I was and that Ray and I had tried to get married that weekend but had failed because the the parental consent thingie. We cried and hugged. She asked if I wanted to get an abortion. I told Mom from some outside source, in an out-of-body kinda way, “This child is meant to be born.”
Mom then.told me about Dad’s rage and to pack some things and not come back until she told me it was okay. She said for me to call her later and, if Dad answered the phone, to hang up. She knew Dad and his rages all too well. What she didn’t know was that Dad  was already blowing a gasket much like Vesuvius. When I called, she answered. She said she’d never seen Dad this crazy and that he’d  gone to his arsenal, gotten a gun or guns, and was hunting for me and Ray. He was going to kill us both. Well, all three of us.
We hid all night in “George” in a parking lot behind some buildings on Fourteenth Street. I’ll never forget how scared and cold we were.
With the help of some older “Hippy” types who I’d just met, Ray and I had a place to hide for a few days. Mom, in the meantime, got the parental consent  paper signed I needed for Ray and I to marry.
I drove to SC again; Ray and I married on his nineteenth birthday.
I was seventeen, alone, pregnant, living with those Hippy folks near 14th Street in a run down apartment and working for those lawyers. Those Hippy folks took me in with open arms, fed me, gave me a baby shower and helped me find an apartment I could afford.
And, in all fairness to my siblings, they were living their own stories, living in other cities and/or were caught up in their own lives, nightmares and futures. I know Mom fought hard to keep Dad from killing me. She told him he’d better leave town until he calmed down enough to be a father and grandfather. He headed West and stayed there until right before my son, Carl, was born.
How did I survive the first of My “Vietnam” years? I truly don’t know because my part time job working for two lawyers as a legal secretary typing petitions and handling a two man law office paid me an astonishing rate of $.75/hour. It took every penny to pay the $36.63 car payment and $65.00 rent in my Hippy-ville apartment overlooking Tenth Street near Piedmont Park where I walked my leashed rabbit down to the park after work.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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!
2017 WolfPup BeforeScreen Shot 2017-09-04
 
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.
2017-9-4 WolfPupQnBed1.jpg
2017-9-4 WolfPupQnBed
2017-9-4 WolfPupBunks
 
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.
Carl Ava Me 1984

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.
IMG_4060MonDblRain

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!

While driving to Glacier National Park, Montana, I kept telling my “daughter,” Jenni, about a great steakhouse I’d visited in that area in 2003. We talked about having a great ribeye steak as we hiked all over the western half of the Park because it was closer to where we were staying and had more areas to hike for the day. The drive to the eastern half was quite a jaunt of 2-3 hours each way so we’d need to plan for a whole day and part of the night to get everything packed in before leaving.

On our last full day, we got up early and hit the road for the eastern part of Glacier where I was sure the restaurant had to be. Everything we planned got dumped (boat ride on that water? NO WAY!) but what we got was even better! I’d found St. Mary’s Lake and the hike I’d loved so much before with waterfalls (can’t get better than that) AND “THE” steakhouse! It was right there all along!

I’ve been pondering on my trip and that steakhouse these last weeks and I gotta say, if you ever find yourself even near there, go for it! It’s called Cattle Baron’s Supper Club at the turnoff to go into the upper region of the Park.

However, instead boring you with more details, I figured I’d share the pictures from that night of the insides of this gloriously decorated place and our experience. Dang! I wanna go back now!

2017-6-21 MTeGCattle

Cattle Barons Supper Club

2017-6-21 MTeGCattle4

OMGosh! What a Ribeye! How are we going to eat all of it?

2017-6-21 MTeGCattle2

Huckleberry pie? Well, we split it. It’s the delicacy of the area!

2017-6-21 MTeGCattle3

Uhhhh…we both did!

2017-6-21 MT SteakHse5

2017-6-21 MT SteakHse7

Not sure if you can see the the “story board” above the tables of the Blackfeet tribe and their pictographs of before and after white people came to their lands, but it’s so beautifully done with varying “western” motif colors for each period. I thought I’d caught those but, even though it appears I didn’t, I’ll have them imbedded in my brain forever.

I LOVE the West! I always felt I was born in the wrong state. And I was. I was born in a state of confusion about the state in which I was born. I’m no longer tied to one state. I can roam all the western ones I want and still love my cabin home. I know I said this year’s trip would be the last. I think I’m slowly taking that back!

HAPPY TALES & TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

I’ve had a few days now to ponder the wonderment of the overall trip and it’s hard to process it all in such a short period of time because each section, shared with each unique and very important person in my life magnified the journey for us collectively and independently to such a level, that, for me, it feels archaic to try to put it all into words.

Each night, sometime between 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM, I’d post the highlights of each day and some of you who have followed me for years wondered why I didn’t tell more as I’d done in the past. Well, it’s very complexly simple…I wasn’t alone…which engorged my brain with so many visions, insights, lessons, spiritualness and Godliness that all I could do is a summary of the overall picture. After I’ve recovered some more, I’m going to re-read my posts and fill in the blanks because I want to remember all those nuances I left out. Each one was that important to my overall purpose of the journey…spiritual healing.

I adore the women who shared this journey with me…Shirley, Jenni, Stacey…and my special LA Angel and JD. You have blessed me with unconditional love, acceptance, joy, understanding and friendship few are capable of giving in such small quarters…two front seats of a pickup going 80 MPH over 13,500 miles! Yeehaw!

As for the last leg of the trip, it was complete with double rainbows under a blue sky, mountains, valleys, deep-tissue sharing and healing as well as a special treat for my girl. Stacey, She got to see the brick-and-morter school which she attends on-line while working 50 hours a week. I’m so proud of her!

Here are some of those pictures.

2017-7-5 NS1b

This Moose warning sign is HUGE!

2017-7-5 NS5s

Stacey just heard someone on the other end of the line! Really? It works? LOL

2017-7-6 Me1

Island Falls, Maine

2017-7-6 Me2

Found another one for Stacey to get into!

2017-7-6 Va3

Hovering clouds on the mountains with Blue sky one minute…

2017-7-6 Va4

Rainbows the next!

2017-7-6 Va5

Double Rainbows!

2017-7-6 Va6

Then back to Hovering clouds!

I am truly blessed to have the fantastic friends who joined me on this trip both in the physical sense or the voyeuristic one…yes I know who you are…that I can never feel alone as I am full by your blessings and prayers.

HAPPY TALES & TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

July 3, 2017 – New Brunswick:

Well, yesterday, Stacey and I decided to drive from Bangor, Maine as far as we wanted to into New Brunswick (Canada) toward Nova Scotia until we got tired or ran out of time, and then drive back to our non-cancelable hotel room in Bangor. And, we did just that… via the back roads…and it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R! These roads are rough, to say the least! Couple that with the s-l-o-w speed limits and the unchanging views and one gets a little stir crazy and feeling like you entered the Twilight Zone or a black hole where the wheels on the car are moving but you aren’t! Been there a great deal in my Canada travels. Love the people, though!

The one thing that keeps my interest is the clouds while driving from Maine to New Brunswick and back. They are very heavy, many different types in one single view and low to the ground. The other part that brightened our day was the Canadian Border Crossing grilling! These dudes are intense!

2017-7-3 NB12017-7-3 NB2

Canadian Border crossing on backroad Highway 1.

Pretty intense! “Why do you want to drive across the border to turn around and come back?” And it didn’t stop there.

I just answered, “Because I’ve never been to New Brunswick before and that’s what I do…go places I’ve never been to before!”

2017-7-3 NB3

2017-7-3 NB42017-7-3 NB52017-7-3 NB6

However, there was the nicest man who greeted us at the US Border Crossing with the more intense younger dude behind him scrutinizing our ever glance. I answered all the man’s questions before he had a chance to ask as I’d been down this road before with the last four crossings! 2017-7-3 NB7

July 4, 2017 – Nova Scotia:

This morning, July 4th, we checked out of the Bangor, Maine hotel and headed, quite excitedly, for Nova Scotia (via New Brunswick via the quickest land route. On the drive, we had such a great time catching up and chatting, that I forgot to get gas! My brother texted me and when it showed up on my Bluetooth, I noticed the time and looked at the gas gauge. The light was on and I had no idea how long it’d been on! This area of Maine is quite desolate and I was getting concerned about our gas situation when an exit sign appeared. As has been my experience in my travels, not all exits have facilities of any kind!

Exit 276 on Trans Canada Highway 2 will forever be my favorite place in Maine! I can’t even remember the name of the town where it was but we not only got the gas pumped for us but met this group of wonderful men sitting around a table drinking coffee and telling lies! Of course, Stacey and I had to join in! We stood there for the longest time getting to know them, hugged and said we’d see them on the “come around” tomorrow…and we will!

We got caught in the time warp thing again as soon as we crossed the Canadian Border again. Dang! I was glad to hear Stacey say that she’d felt it too because I was beginning to wonder if it was just me. Thank GOD for Stacey!

It took EIGHT HOURS to drive from Bangor to Nova Scotia only to find out how slow it is to get around this province. There’s no fast way to do anything here and I believe it would take a person at least two weeks to see it all. I hear tell there are about a million people living in Nova Scotia. Hmmmm. Not sure where on them marshlands they be living but I ain’t got no authority to discount that population number and don’t care to because I do believe I saw every one of them on the roads as we struggled our way off and on this road and that just to get to our hotel in Halifax only to find out we’d need two weeks to see the area and all we had was about a half of a day.

So, we jumped back into the truck (really? again?) and drove to see the closest historic area called Peggy’s Cove where there is an old lighthouse. It didn’t appear to be that far from our hotel by looking at the map but it took us an hour to get there (expanded to much longer considering the time warp factor)! It only took us about forty minutes to get back. Hmmm.

2017-7-4 NS1

Rainbow on drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove!

2017-7-4 NS2

Adorable Churches all on the drive to Peggy’s Cove

2017-7-4 NS3

Finally, I see water!

2017-7-4 NS4

The roof  of this church in Peggy’s Cove seemed to glow. This is photo is not altered!

2017-7-4 NS5

Quaint fishing village in Peggy’s Cove

2017-7-4 NS6

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

2017-7-4 NS7

Flowers in the rocks!

2017-7-4 NS8

The rocks, rain and sunset.

2017-7-4 NS9

2017-7-4 NS11S

Stacey & the lighthouse

2017-7-4 NS12

2017-7-4 NS13

Village shop in Peggy’s Cove

Tomorrow? We start to drive back to Georgia. It’ll be a test of every bit of fortitude we can muster to get this done in the time allotted, but knowing Stacey and me, we’ll get ‘er done! July 5th? Albany, NY or bust!

HAPPY TALES AND TRAILS, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!