Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Gentle Barn

I love to take field trips to new and interesting places.  I've always wanted to visit The Gentle Barn and today I decided it was time to go and see all of the lucky animals living on their farm for life.

As they describe on their website, "The Gentle Barn Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1999 as a safe haven and place of recovery for abused farm animals and children. We are home to over 120 rescued animals and we are host to at-risk, inner-city and special needs kids.

Our unique treatment philosophy rehabilitates animals and connects their stories of survival and healing to the personal experiences of at-risk and special needs children who have suffered physical, mental or emotional trauma.

Through the interaction with our animals, the children learn forgiveness, courage, strength, leadership skills, trust, empathy and kindness. The healing that takes place is truly miraculous!"

It was a sight to see.  It felt nice to witness all of the animals living in a safe environment for life.  They are only open to the public each Sunday from 10-2pm,  so I wanted to take the opportunity to hug a cow, pet a pig and watch them interact with each other.  I would recommend a visit if you are in the area.  It's a great place to take the kids.  For more photographs of my visit, click HERE.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Unexpected Life Turns

In life, you never know what will happen. Things can change in an instant and the unexpected is always around the corner. Case in day yesterday.

Since it was the beginning of the holiday weekend, I decided to go out and treat myself to a $15 massage.  In little Saigon, there is a place I like to go to that gives you an hour massage for fifteen dollars in a room full of other people doing the same. You pretty much sit in a lazy boy chair with your clothes on and they give you a rub down for an hour. I had no idea what was in store for me on this particular day.

It started during the first five minutes of the massage. I was sitting on a stool and he was rubbing my neck and shoulders. I tend to like it more on the firm side, so I told him that the pressure was ok. Well, he dug into my neck. Hard. I didn't want to say "ouch" or "back off." I thought the pain would be a good thing in the end. I started to feel dizzy, nauseous and that is all I remember.

Next thing I see is several feet on the ground surrounding me. The lights were on, everyone in the room was gone and about 20 employees and a few customers were staring at me. All I remember saying is, "What's going on? What are you looking at? Where is everyone?" Less than a minute later a team of EMT's were around me asking all sorts of questions like, "What day is it? Where are you? How old are you? (I had to think about that one), etc." At this point, I am shocked and pretty embarrassed and started fighting back the tears.

After much debate with the EMT's on what I should do, I agreed to go in the ambulance to a hospital for some tests. One of the EMT's went to my car to get my phone so I thought it would be best to document my experience with some camera phone pictures as it was happening. Nevermind thinking if I was ok, I just thought that it could make a good blog.  Sick, I know.  It was all so surreal. It was as if I was in a dream.

I arrived at the hospital and answered more questions and told my story over and over. Oh what fun they had laughing at my expense. I suppose the story sounds pretty odd looking back.  The nurse asked if I had something to eat. I thought about it and said, yes I had an ice cream a few hours ago. She said, " ice cream and a must be nice!" I said, "Oh yes, you too can have that luxury and end up here." She did make me laugh.

I couldn't stop thinking about how much it is going to cost me. I asked for the EMT's to give me a menu of prices for what they wanted to do (a tad sarcastic with a hint of hope) . Wouldn't that be nice? It's like a restaurant for treatment options with prices attached. The doctor ordered blood work and an EKG and my first reaction was, "how much will that cost?" Of course he didn't know. I asked for a water and when it came, I asked the worker if that was around five dollars. They didn't get it.  They just dropped off about 50 papers to sign.

I would have denied treatment but I knew that my mother would be happier if I went and had the tests done.  I did and everything came back normal.  I have a slight problem asking for help, since I feel I can do everything on my own, so I left the hospital and walked about 4 miles back to my car and went home.

What an interesting day.

It's a good thing I am so thrifty and found a place that charges only fifteen dollars for a massage. It turns out that this is going to be the most expensive one yet.

Here's a slideshow of some pictures I took with my camera phone on my trip to the hospital:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Weekend Road Travel

AAA is projecting 32 million people on the road for Memorial Day weekend.  If you are one of them, I hope you drive safely and take lots of pictures of things you come across.  A few road trips ago, I took some pictures of what I saw with my big 3 megapixel camera phone.  Some of those photographs I like even better than the ones I took with my fancy camera.  Here are a few that I took on a seven hour road trip.  You never know what you are going to get. I wish all of you a fun and safe holiday weekend.   

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Taking the Road, Unexpected

Saying yes to opportunities is much more fun than saying no.  When you say no, you are saying yes to the same, the predicted, and the comfort of the expected.  Even though there might be the feeling of unease of not knowing in a yes, the rewards are far greater.  You learn lessons, you try something new, you push yourself and take away something good from a yes.

When I was camping in Kernville, I decided to take a day trip to visit an old ghost town called "Silver City."  It was listed on my roadside attractions app for my iphone so I thought it might be worth a stop for some pictures.  It was just ok.  Imagine walking into an old Hollywood studio of a small ghost town and that's what you get at silver city.  As I walked in, I asked the ticket taker/owner/curator, "where are all of the cowboys?"  He said, "maybe they might come later." I knew it was a nice response when he really thought, "good luck lady..this is a ghost town."

While walking around the "city" and taking pictures, I found more interest in the local cat following me around the town and into the jail.  So I did a cat photo shoot in the jail.  After about 15 minutes, I saw everything there was to see so I decided to wander back to the car.  As I was settling in, the caretaker came out and said, "hey, you still want to see some cowboys?"  I said, "sure." He then told me to "drive up that-a-way for about 10 minutes and you'll see some gun slingers for the Havilah days celebration."

I wasn't really sure what he was talking about or what direction he was pointing me in but I decided to give it a shot.  I drove up a steep road with twists and turns for about fifteen minutes not knowing where I was going but low and behold the small town appeared with two buildings and a few people gathered so I knew I was in the right place.

Some of the locals were dressed up in old western wear so of course I had to take pictures of them.  It was too late to participate in "chicken poop bingo" but I am sure that it was a sight not to be missed.  All of the locals came up to me to tell me about it.  Even one gentleman told me to pull up a chair while he told me the history of the town.  Everyone there was friendly and happy to be photographed.  Even Wild Bill Cody wanted to be sure I put his photograph in sepia tone.  He said, "do you know what sepia is?"

Sometimes you will find the most interesting places from word of mouth.  If you take a chance and say yes, you never know what you will find.  I am glad I did and I look forward to more "yes" moments.

Next time I will arrive early enough to play chicken poop bingo.

Monday, May 24, 2010

California Sisters On The Fly

This past weekend, I joined the California chapter of Sisters on the Fly for a weekend at the Kern river in Kernville, CA.  What fun we had!  As you might know, I love taking portraits of people and especially love taking pictures of women and their rigs.

All of the sisters in this group gave me a warm welcome (being the newbie and all) and I instantly felt comfortable being there among about forty or so women that gathered at this campsite for the weekend.  As social as I might seem, I get shy meeting new people and sometimes it takes me a while to feel comfortable in a group situation.  Having a camera around my neck allows me to hide at times, but it didn't take long for me to unwind and be myself.

I love the fact that these women camp solo with their trailers.  Since this was not an "official" sisters trip, dogs and husbands were welcome to join.  It's perfect for me because I prefer to travel with my dog, Max and I think a lot of the husbands were happy to be included with the group to see all of the fun the women have together.  It was cute to see some of the husbands with a sad face when the sisters were announcing upcoming trips and said it was a "sisters only" trip.  I think it's great that the husbands are so supportive of their wives running off with a trailer in tow to meet up with other women doing the same.

For a lot of women, camping solo may seem like a daunting task.  I receive emails from women every so often asking how I am able to travel solo as a women and feel safe.  I usually trust my gut and try to camp where there are people around, however I have made some mistakes here and there and I've learned some big lessons from them.  I think this group is great for women who are afraid to make the leap to solo travel.  You can find meet ups in your area with these women and believe me, you won't feel so alone.

I enjoyed my weekend with these ladies and I hope to come across more sisters on my travels when Max and I head out on the open road.  For more pictures of these women, click HERE.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Route 66 "The Mother Road"

Our national landmark highway spreads throughout the country so there is a chance you have been on Route 66 once on your travels.  It's referred as the Mother Road or the National Olds Trail Highway and stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles.

There are several old west stops along this historic highway and on this day, I stopped in Seligman, Arizona.  The small town is famous for its old route 66 relics including shops and landmarks that cover small stretch of highway.  It's a tourist dream.  You can take your picture with "Elvis," drink at an old saloon, buy knick knacks or take a seat to watch the entertainment pass you buy.  That is exactly what the locals did.  A typical Saturday for them includes pulling up a chair, enjoying a cigar and watch the tourists pass by.  I decided to chat with them for a while.  I told them I was from California and they were pleased that I was even speaking to them with everything going on in Arizona at this time.  One gentleman wanted to tell me he met the pope and pulled out his pocket photo album to prove to me that he in fact, met the pope.

As I walked along the town, there were plenty of sights to see.  It was a mini amusement park with tour buses pulling up every twenty minutes or so with herd of people unloading to take pictures and browse shops for things they can't live without.

I enjoyed my time in this town and I look forward to visiting more towns on this stretch of road.  I would recommend getting off of the freeway to see these little towns full of history.  Who knows, you may never get the chance to meet someone who met the pope or admire the carefully placed mannequin art on top of a gift shop.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sisters On The Fly "We Have More Fun Than Anyone"

I love to camp and it's always nice to meet people with similar interests.  I heard about "Sisters On The Fly" a long time ago when I was searching for vintage trailers.  The fact is, their group has the best collection of "art trailers" that capture the cowgirl spirit that I have ever seen.

I have a teardrop trailer that isn't decked out, but I noticed other sisters with a teardrop on their website so I figured it was still okay to join.  You can join this fun group even if you don't have a trailer.  Beware...after seeing these wonderful rigs in person, you won't be without one for long!

The only thing you need to join this group of wonderful ladies is a good attitude, sense of adventure and an open mind.  Oh yeah, and you have to be a woman.  I figured I fit the bill so I signed up and headed out last weekend on my first adventure.  They have gatherings in each state and a few large events throughout the year.  The group I joined last weekend consisted of mostly women who live in Arizona.  It was held at sister Faye's cabin near Seligman, AZ.  Besides my little teardrop trailer, there were 5 other trailers at the site and many women came without their rig.  Each trailer had a very distinct personality and name that matched the owner that cared for it...I mean, her.  Names such as, "Lazy Ass Ranch," "Skylark," "Getting My Kicks," "Mustang Sally," and "KC" accompany these rigs.  You can take a guess at which name matched the trailer in these pictures.

During the weekend, we toured a working ranch, strolled around town, chatted over potluck meals, and just enjoyed each other's company.  The nice thing about this great group of ladies is that they take the time to meet each other away from the responsibilities of their "other life."  It's about sisterhood and empowering each other to be the best person we can be...and have fun while doing it.  If you join, remember your sister number!  I was asked several times throughout the weekend what my sister number was.  Mostly because a lot of earlier members want to know how large the group has grown to.  My number is #1416.  I know I am a newbie, but not for long!

A special thank you to Faye who coordinated this great group of woman and hosting us at your cabin in the woods.  I loved meeting all of you and I look forward to meeting the sisters on the road again soon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Day In The Life On A Northern Arizona Ranch

This past weekend I joined the Sisters on The Fly to camp, relax and take a day trip to visit a working ranch.  This was my first time joining these ladies who's motto is, "we have more fun than anyone."  Oh yeah?  We'll just see about that!

I will write more about these wonderful ladies in an upcoming blog.  For now, I will talk about the day trip we took to a working ranch in Northern Arizona.  I knew that the plan was to visit a ranch, however I didn't know what was in store for us.  We were greeted by some amazing and welcoming people at the ranch house who were gracious and more than willing to take time out to pose for a photograph or two for me.  The kids were wonderful.  The scenery was unreal and everything was what you might imagine a ranch to be.

Being from California, I haven't had the opportunity to witness a working ranch and see how these folks live.  It's a life of hard work and love for what they do, since you won't get rich being a farmer.  It's a way of life that they love and for them, they wouldn't have it any other way.  We took a tour of the ranch, were able to pet some horses and at the end of the tour, it was time for all of us to watch as they branded several cows.  I am not a meat eater, but I do respect what they do for the people who do eat meat.  It was hard for me to watch at first, especially seeing how stressed the animals were to be put in the situation they were in. As far as treatment of the animals go, I know that there are much worse situations so I would consider these cows lucky to live on this particular ranch.

I am thankful to the family that allowed us to come to the ranch and witness what they do on a daily basis.  They are pretty proud of what they do, as they should be.  If it weren't for ranchers like these, you wouldn't get to enjoy many of the foods that you are able to purchase at the store.  I have great respect and admiration for the amount of work it takes to run a farm.  It was an education to see it first hand. I would recommend a visit to a local farm in your area if you get the chance.

I look forward to more experiences such as this one.  For more photographs of life on this ranch, click HERE.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Magic Camera Phone

I love gadgets.  Recently, I purchased the iphone (I know, a little late in the game) and love all of the apps that you can download right from your phone.  I had a scratched up Palm Treo for about 5 years and have been using it even when I need duct tape to keep it together and need to use the period key to put spaces between words since I had a broken space bar.  I have been putting off buying a phone where you are forced to use a data plan since I think that being away from the computer should be just that...being away from the computer.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted an iphone is for the "Roadside America" app.  I know it's silly to buy a phone just for the app, but how am I going to know when I will stumble upon the largest ball of twine if it's not listed on a map!  I look forward to exploring the odd, largest, smallest and one of a kind roadside attractions on this trip.  Once I plugged it in on my phone, I found out that the world's skinniest house was located within driving distance from me!  How amazing is that?!  Just what I was looking for!

Mostly, I didn't want to experience the time I got lost in South Dakota and drove around for hours only to camp in a place in that was going to be the center of a severe thunderstorm.  That was an adventure.

Also, you can download a fun app that takes photographs from your phone in old hipstamatic style, such as the two on this blog that I took.  It might be old news to you, but it's a pretty amazing little computer...this iphone.  I am not sold on the coverage and service so I will also have a pay as you go phone from Verizon just in case I need to call for help while a bear is knocking on my tent door.

I wonder if there's an app for that?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Trading Passions

For years my passion was wine.  I loved learning about how it's made, the many complexities, the taste and the experience of it.  I traveled to different wine regions to take tours, witness the process of bottling, and enjoying a glass of wine on the property while I soaked in the sunshine.

Over time, I built up quite the collection.  My friends knew that they would be in for a treat when I had get togethers, with the wine that I served.  I took trips with friends to the wine country and after a while most of my travel plans would revolve around wineries.  To this day, I know what a wine would taste like if someone told me the winery and varietal.

After all the experiences, tasting, learning and drinking wine, it wasn't fulfilling to me anymore.  At first it was intimidating when I didn't know the wine "lingo" when someone would describe the attributes but after many years of "learning," it became second nature.  I felt I reached the point where I wasn't learning about the wine anymore, it was just the act of drinking it that I enjoyed.

I decided that wine was no longer a passion of mine.  Besides the social aspect of drinking wine, the negative outcome outweighed the positive in my experience.

I moved on to another hobby, photography.  Since I spent so much time in my previous passion, I needed something challenging and creative.  I have found both in photography.  My dog, Max and I traveled across the USA last year and at first, I took pictures with my little point and click to document our trip.  After a while, the typical snapshot wasn't what I was looking for.  I wanted something more.  I take a lot of pictures in the hopes that I will end up with something that came close to what I envisioned in my mind. I have shot all of my pictures with my point and shoot thus far and have had fun in the process.

As we are preparing for our next trip across the country, I thought it was about time to give my wine collection to a new home.  Someone that has the same passion I once did.  Why not use trade my old passion with a new tool to help me in my new love?  That's right...I traded 10 years of collecting wine (along with the 188 bottle refrigerator) for a new camera.  I am now the proud owner of a canon 5D Mark ii.  It's the big brother of my current point and click, the canon powershot s90.  Big, big, brother.  There is a lot to learn with it, but after a while I will figure it out.  I am pretty excited about this new learning adventure.

You might have something that you once loved sitting in your garage that you no longer use or need.  Maybe it's time to trade it in for something you currently enjoy!  I have a stationary bike I will trade for a new lens!

I am glad I did and I am looking forward to sharing more with you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kellie and Kahlua

Yesterday I went to visit Kellie and her horse Kahlua on the ranch to take a walk and snap a few photographs of the two of them.

Kellie is a painter and her new passion is taking care of her horses Kahlua and Lady Fairfax on the ranch near her home.  I don't have the experience that she has with horses but I know to stay clear when I walk behind them and be as gentle as possible.  As a child, a horse decided to take a dirt bath while I was riding it (I stepped off before I was smashed into a pancake) and once while riding down a steep hill on a cliff, I ended up hanging on the neck of the horse the entire way down.  So, I am not going to sign up for the rodeo anytime soon. Perhaps I will go back and ride on one but for the day, it was a gentle walk around the property.

You could tell that I don't spend that much on at a ranch when I arrived in flip flops.  I wore these same sandals hiking in national parks and stepping through the swamps in Alabama.  I suppose next time I will have proper foot attire.

The day was beautiful.  The horses were happy at the ranch and we came across several riders on the trail enjoying the moment.  They really are amazing and beautiful creatures.  Thank you for the wonderful day Kellie and Kahlua!

For more images of the day, click HERE


Related Posts with Thumbnails