Friday, July 31, 2009

The Flower Cottages

Since it's so hot outside, I decided to paint a little in some air conditioning. I will write more about Sedona in my next blog, but here is the painting I did and the picture I created it from. I took the picture in Provincetown, MA last June when I was visiting. These cottages are right on the water right before you get to town. They are beautiful. Click HERE for more information about these historic cottages. I love them.

Disclaimer: Do not go on the beach to take photos. It is NOT allowed. You will be trespassing and asked to leave or fined. I have no idea how I got on the beach to take the shot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mile 0...The Beginning

I have a few goals for myself on this trip and one of them is to paint. Try to paint, rather. I took this picture of Mile 0 (see actual picture on the "On Your Mark..." blog) in Utah last summer on my journey with Maggie. I am looking forward to taking more pictures and writing a bit while I am on the road. At this moment, I am driving. I will keep you posted on where I go and what I am doing. I have a feeling that I will soon be surrounded by some magnificent sights coming up. I'm sure at this point, I am driving through the heat, starting a conversation with my inner voice. I know Max will not keep me company since he seems to find anything to lay on but the two beds I put out for him in the car. Until the next stop...

Monday, July 27, 2009

On Your Mark...

The beginning. With the start of anything new, emotions can be filled with excitement, nervousness, fear or hope.

This trip is a mix bag of all.

Someone very special to me told me to write what I have done and not what I plan to do so, perhaps I am breaking the rules on this one.

I am leaving Southern California tomorrow to head out on the road. House is rented, car is packed and the adventure is about to begin.

I learned a few things from my last trip so here are some tips if you are headed out on a summer road trip (not in any particular order):

-Have something prepared to listen to (music, inner voices, etc.)

- Don't play the gas game (sometimes I like to stress myself out by seeing how far I can get on the fumes left in the tank when I am in the middle of nowhere)

- Remember that the navigator is your friend (mine is named Cindy and we have a love/hate relationship sometimes)

- Camp books come in handy

- Keep cash in the car for the East Coast (Toll Roads)

- Be Flexible in your plans (you never know when you will ever get to see the largest ball of twine again)

- I like to think that animals are just sleeping on the side of the road

- It's not a good idea to give dog treats to raccoons, unless you want the entire family over

- If you want Amish people to run away and hide from you, put a bathing suit on

- In Oregon, there is no self service gas pump. Not a good idea to argue who is going to pump gas

- There are certain states where it’s cheaper to injure or kill a road worker than others.

- Purell is your friend

and lastly...

- Don't camp next to a retired man camping with his cat while blowing into a harmonica in Utah (Trust me on this one).

What have you learned about road travel that you want to pass along?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Inside Out Rings

What's in a ring?

If you are wearing one of Holly Riddel's creations, you would have a semi-precious stone touching your skin. It's not your everyday ring. In fact, the concept of the ring is for making a commitment to yourself. Why not be the change in your own life?

I heard about these rings over a year ago and besides being beautiful, they fascinated me. What a perfect way to make a commitment to yourself and have it on your finger as a daily reminder of that commitment. I was sold. I put my order in and waited patiently for the ring to arrive. Once it came, I couldn't wait to put it on and not take it off. That is exactly what I did.

With this ring on my finger, I headed out on the open road with my dog, Maggie and our 4x9 teardrop trailer. A commitment to be true to myself and embark on a journey of a lifetime. Everyday I would look at my ring and feel it with my thumb by habit.

I was in Michigan at a truck stop when I went in to quickly use the restroom after filling up at the gas station. Moments later when my thumb brushed up against my finger to feel the ring, it was gone. A rush of panic filled through my body instantly. I felt sick. I went back to the truck stop and went through the trash can picking out every paper towel and other "trash" items. No ring. It slipped off of my finger as I was washing my hands and I will never get it back. I was crushed.

It's amazing how a ring could bring up so much emotion. I now have a replacement for the one that was lost. I received it today for this new journey and commitment I have made to myself.

Thank you Holly for being an inspiration and making a difference in peoples lives. For more information on Holly and her inside out rings, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2 Days

As I write this, I am realizing that I only have 2 more full days of being in my home. I have renters coming to live here while I travel the country. The past few weeks I've been going through all of my things to get the house ready for their stay. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, however I never expected it to be so emotional.

I've lived in this home for 7 years, so I haven't been through my things in a long time. Every drawer, cabinet, closet and hiding place was uncovered. It's been a cleansing of the soul, in a way. Mostly, it was a realization that I have too much crap.

I am going to be living out of a car for the next few months and I can guarantee that I will not miss any of my "treasures" left behind. I know I will miss my bed and a hot shower right next to each other, but as far as items go, there is nothing I will think about.

In fact, I could get rid of more things. I donated most of my clothes since I swim in them now, sold a few things on Craig's list, and recycled items I no longer needed. It's safe to say that once I return...not much is coming back into the house.

For me, road trips are a great way to clear the mind. As I mentioned in my blogs before, it can be therapeutic. There is so much to see in this country, I am excited to see some new and amazing places.

The road is my blank canvas. I will paint the journey with every mile driven. Just me and my co-pilot, Max. We look forward to sharing our moments with you here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dog Park

My attempt at getting some action pictures of Max at the dog park. I am fortunate that he gets along with most all dogs, even large ones! Even thought the tennis ball is about the size of his head, he still enjoys fetching it. He's been a good dog, still getting used to his name. I am the lucky one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

American Life Today

Wouldn't it be nice to meet an American, everyday?

As I traveled on my road trip last year, I expected to see some amazing places. I didn't expect to meet some of the most fascinating people along the way.

As I listened to their stories, I thought that there needs to be a way where people could learn about their life! Who is going to tell their story? How about them! I found it exhilarating to listen to personal stories from all walks of life in campgrounds, restaurants, parks, and truck stops.

That's how American Life came about. I wanted to capture the "everyday" American life asking them 5 questions, to keep it simple. Because you know how it is when granddad dips into the "juice" at the campsite...he can go on and on. I wanted to share just enough to keep you interested and awake, as well as promote a favorite charity.

Some of your stories have moved me to tears.

As sad as it is, the site will come to a close soon. I am going to start another journey in the next few weeks so I will schedule all of the remaining profiles that are waiting to post. After that, I will post as they come in but I will no longer beg you to answer the questions. You know I did!

A big THANK YOU to those of you who took the time to share your life. I know that people have enjoyed reading them, especially me.

Until the next adventure...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Travels with Max

I am about to begin another cross country road trip. The past few weeks I’ve been preparing to leave and this time, I am renting my home. I am lucky enough to be able to have a nice young couple and their chocolate lab stay here while Max and I embark on our adventure.

This time, it’s going to be different.

“Trailie” is staying home, Max and I are going to camp with a tent, I am going to read more, journal more and paint a little. I have a general timeline but I don’t know what path we will take yet. I have two weeks to decide which roads we will embark on, or perhaps we will leave and decide as we go.

Renting out your home is a journey in itself. I’ve lived here for 7 years and when you settle in a place, you usually don’t take the time to see what you have. I am going through and cleaning all cupboards, drawers, closets…everything. It’s a lot of “stuff.” Doing this cleanses the soul in a way. I am not attached to things as I once was. As time consuming and exhausting as it is, it brings a sense of relief to find homes for unwanted items and to purge the things I haven’t looked at or missed in years.

Max is settling in just fine. He is now guarding the house and is used to our little routine we have around here. It’s nice. We are bonding. I introduced him to “trailie” the other day and told him about the adventure Maggie and I had last summer. I broke down and cried. He slept at my feet.

Max and I will document our journey here so you can see what we are up to. I would love to hear of a destination that holds a special place with you.

Planning his Escape

It's been a while since I've painted so I decided to give it a shot. Here is Max in the gate which should be called "Heeeeeere's MAX." He's a bit of a devil I am finding. I know this is nothing like what Kellie Straw does with her dogs, but it sorta looks like Max so that is success to me.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I can't imagine my life without a pet. I've had cats, dogs, guinea pigs, turtles, and fish as pets growing up. As you know from my travels, Maggie and I had the trip of a lifetime last summer. The past few months have been incredibly hard not having her around. She was with me for 10 years. Moved with me 4 times. Visited 26 States together.

Last Sunday, I went to the Farmer's market to pick up some strawberries and came home with a new family member. His name is Max. His time was up at a local shelter and a rescue group saved him on his last day. I took him out of the group cage to spend some time together and he didn't leave my side. I didn't want him to. I was instantly smitten.

I haven't had a small dog in the house for 23 years. My last 2 dogs were both larger so it's an adjustment. For instance, you need to bend lower to the ground to pet them, watch where you step so you don't crush them, buy smaller toys, less food, softer play and it's harder to hide your "does my butt look big in these jeans?" days with a smaller dog in a picture. Now there is nowhere to hide. Your butt looks even bigger. Not that you turn around and squat with pictures with your dog. Never mind. Anyway...

No, I am not going to carry him in a purse.

One of the things we are enjoying is going to the dog park and the dog beach. This was something I could never enjoy with Maggie since she would try to attack anything that wasn't a human. A bit of a buzz kill.

I look forward to this new chapter. I am excited about taking Max on new adventures. I think another trip is in order. Soon.

Here are some pictures from his week of making friends at the park and playing at the beach:


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