Finally!! The Desert!!

Tonight I was texting my sister and I realized I have not blogged in a while. I also realized that very few people know where I am or what I am up to.

After a month at the RV facelift hospital-my rig is minus some major dents and bumps and is back where she belongs, with me. It was a good time to get some of this work done as I had a place to stay (thank you Cynthia and Ward). EmmyLou is home and looking spiffy.

I usually spend every winter wandering the desert southwest. If it is too cold in one spot I move to the next. It is a good way to spend the winter. I usually find interesting and unique places to visit and meet interesting people.

This winter was a bit different with the RV in the hospital getting a makeover. I had to stay a bit more stationary, sheltering in place during this Covid time. My annual medical and dental appointments seemed to stretch out more than usual.

Peggy Hiking Into a Slot

I really wanted to get to the desert, even if the time was limited. A week ago I departed for the closest desert I could find. Here I am in the California Desert. I started in Anza Borrego State Park near Borrego Springs. Most of my friends did not come to the desert this year due to Covid. Two of them did. I met up with Peggy and Roger who have been safely distanced camping in the parking lot of a church. It was fun to see them. Masks up and all. Peggy came and joined me for a few nights. Two little rigs parked together at a boondocking campground. We had some girl time and did pretty cool hikes. It is exciting to see people.

Now I have left the State Park and have moved on to the Salton Sea. It is rather a unique and unusual place. I come here because of birds. I love birds. I love to take photos of them and watch them. The Salton Sea is a major migratory stop and wintering ground for over 400 species of shorebirds and other birds. Today the Snow Geese were the stars of the birding experience. At one point there were so many coming in for a landing on the water, you could hear their wings. It was so cool.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am here for a few days and then will move on to the Squaw Lake, part of the Colorado River, to get a little bit of Kayaking in before I have to return to San Diego.

I will be returning to San Diego on February eighth to get my second vaccine. After a few recovery days, I am off to Santa Barbara to get some interior work done on my rig.

Dan Neeley the owner of Dan Neeley RV Service specializes in Roadtreks. He travels from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He is really good at what he does and I am thankful he comes far enough south that I can reach him. Now that EmmyLou has had an outside job, it is time for the RV part of her to be checked. Once that is done I bet you think I will be hitting the road.

Not so. I have to return to San Diego for a little over a week so that the final part of my post thyroid cancer screening can be completed. So far everything looks good and I expect that these tests will look good as well. I still get nervous and wait anxiously for the results. After these results come back I can take a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling, and be ready for another year of adventure.

I think that covers it. I have been learning to rest and relax. I am thankful each day for wonderful friends who continue to love and support me in whatever way they can. I am thankful each day that I can venture off for a hike, see delightful and awesome birds, and catch a good sunrise or sunset along the way.

 

Did you know that if you click on any picture it will enlarge?

Did you know that if you click on the different colored words that are underlined, it will take you to the web site?

And the Vaccine Race is On

We have been living in a Covid world for a year. Masks on. Keep your distance. Someone is coming too close to me on my walk, it is time to cross the street. Who is in my bubble? Uh-oh is this tickle in my throat Covid?

Toilet paper, I must stock up on toilet paper. What about disinfectant wipes? What about masks? I must get supplies. I must make sure that I have enough. Is there ever enough? Should I get more? And finally, the mayhem slows down. Everyone has enough and life returns to the Covid normal.

Restaurants are open. Restaurants are closed. Oh no, wait they are open again. I can eat outside or get take-out. That restaurant has dome bubbles. Are the tables distant enough from each other?. Maybe I will just order and take it home. Many have curbside pick-up so I don’t even need to go inside.

Click on this link ” Our New Normal in Pictures” for an interesting look at how we are adapting to this strange and yet relevant time in our lives.

I haven’t been inside many grocery stores in months. When I do venture into one, it is a treat. Yet I get in and get out as fast as I can. This crummy little virus can be hiding anywhere.

I bike alone. I hike alone, I walk alone (unless Cynthia comes along. She is in my bubble), and kayak alone.

I have become accustomed to this lifestyle and I am good with it. Since Jim’s death, I have been relearning to be solo again. I am glad I had practice before Covid arrived.

Now the next step has begun. The Vaccine is becoming available. Yet immediately we are back in the same messy situation that was featured in the early stages of this whole Covid year. There is not enough valid information available to the public. People are desperate to get the vaccine. In California, we were told that the 65-year-old and up group is now eligible. And once again it appears that people are scrambling to get that first shot. We hover over computers and try again and again to find any available appointment. If you know someone who has received their first dose, you may be envious or even jealous of the fact that they have received it and you have not. It is so hard sometimes to be human.

My first vaccine appointment is on February 8. Yep, I hit the jackpot, got on the computer at the right moment, and was able to secure an appointment. And remember the vaccine is not fully effective until you have had it in your system for 12 days.

I am trying to be patient. I am trying to remember to breathe. This will all work out, I know it will. How is this vaccine going to change my behavior? That is a question that we should all ask. In reality, it will not change what I am doing. I will still mask. I will still order to go. I will still socially distance. I will not hug anyone, well except my bubble buddies. Really, not much will change.

Having the vaccine will give me peace of mind. It will also help me be part of the solution to this pandemic. It is so important to be part of the solution.

It has been a roller coaster of a ride this past year. For those who have lost people to this horrible virus, it has been a hard and troubling year. As the numbers grow there are not many of us who are not affected by those we know who have succumbed. It has been a most difficult year. Although we can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, it is still a distance away and all of us must continue to cautiously move forward.

Through the next several months I will try to maintain an easier awareness stance and maintain the course. I will remember to breathe relax and be patient.

Today I am thankful for science, and the vaccine. Today I am even thankful for the crazy human experience.

The Bumps & Dents of RV Ownership

The places we have been

A month after I bought my sweet little Roadtrek I had my first incident. What made me decide to back the rig into the driveway of my home in Santee is beyond me. I was still learning how to drive the RV forwards. Slowly I backed into the driveway only to hear a loud pop. I dented the rear passenger-side door and broke the glass. I was devastated. I felt like the worst RV owner in the world. How could this have happened? Oh, the shame!

The window was easily fixed but the dent has remained an ever-present eyesore. I swore one day I would get it fixed.

Throughout the years of ownership, I have added a few dents and bangs to my little home on wheels. There was that one night, in the dark, when I took the corner too sharp into a campsite. There was another little dent in the rig. Trees are often my nemesis. I have gotten better driving it and the incidences have calmed down, except….I have met up with a few curbs that were not my friends. I can proudly say I have, with the help of Jeff Curry, learned how to fix the steps with a bit of fiberglass, sanding, and paint. I am getting good at these repairs.

Mary & Me in the Anza Borrego Desert

Then there was the time in 2016, I drove over a rock, well maybe a small boulder, in the Home Depot Parking lot in Crescent City, CA. When I backed off the rock I took some of the bumper off the front end. With the loving help of a local auto repair shop and two very nice RV’ers who stopped to help, we fixed it so I could ride into Medford, OR to a body repair shop. I was devastated and embarrassed. I also felt a warm glow for how nice people were to help me. The positive outcome of this incident I met my friend Mary, who put me up in her home for a week. We have been friends, ever since. We meet up, usually once a year to play in the desert or on the rivers. I don’t regret this side trip to Medford, not one bit, except the bumper. Sigh.

Right after the 2016 election, I was to pick up Cat at the Mexican border. Remember Cat? She bicycled the west coast of the United States that summer. I was her sag wagon. Elsie and I accompanied her and her two dogs on a summer adventure. The day I picked her up I was a bit upset with the election results and probably shouldn’t have been driving. I drove out of a parking lot and ran into one of those side arms that let you in and out of the lot. I dented the driver’s side of the van deeply. I finally had to admit defeat and contacted my auto insurance company. I was fortunate, none of the water or propane were affected. It became a repair of the body only. It was an expensive repair and boy oh boy did I feel bad. I felt so bad about this one that this is the first public admission of the above-said incident.

Driving down a Chicago alley

Two years ago as I was returning to the west coast I visited my friends in Rogers Park, Chicago. They let me park in their parking space, down an alley, and into a gated parking lot. I have successfully managed it in the past. In 2019 I was not so lucky. See, there was this garbage bin….I dented my side sliding door and up to this point I have lived with it. Each time I look at that dent I feel sad that I did that to my little home.

After I sold my property in Colorado I decided to take advantage of some of the income and fix my major bumps. I retained money from the sale to get this expensive body-work done. I have put it off. About a month ago my side door got stuck closed. At least it was closed. When I stopped by the Sprinter Shop they were able to open it, yet I was told that the latch might be off because of the dent in the door.

It was time. Today my sweet little rig has been in the shop for a week. The side door and the back door are getting repaired. I may be without it for up to 4 weeks. They are busy. I guess others have had the same idea since we are Covid restricted and are getting things fixed.

I have learned valuable lessons from the above incidences.

  • I usually drive three to four hours a day at the most.
  • If I am distressed about something then maybe not driving for a few days is a good idea.
  • Don’t drive when I am tired.
  • I take time to really look at campsites. It is good to get out of the rig a few times to make sure everything is free and clear.
  • The most valuable lesson is to admit I am human. These things happen. It does no good to berate myself and feel unworthy. These things happen! It is time to get rid of the embarrassment and try to do a better job the next time.

I am thankful today that I am staying with Cynthia and Ward so that my rig can be lovingly taken care of. It is good to have friends who love and support me and give me a room in their home.

Driving the Backroads

I am thankful that I have the money for these repairs. I know others who are not in this situation. It is a bit humbling to admit this when I know others are struggling to make ends meet. Hmm, maybe it would be a good idea to donate some money to organizations that are helping those in need. Yes, definitely a good idea.

I have finally come clean about my dinging adventures with this lovely little rig. She has over 100,000 miles on her. I hope it will put on many more as I live this lifestyle. Hopefully with fewer dings.

 

 

 

 

An Uncomfortable Week-Part 1

I try to avoid politics as much as I can on this blog. I like people and I want my followers to be comfortable reading of my adventures out in the big wide world. I like that people can read my posts and laugh, cry, and be moved or bored. Today I am stepping out of my and maybe your comfort zone.

This past week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I have felt sad, horrified, and angry. I have also noted moments of reflection about the times I have been to the United States Capitol in Washington DC.

Like most people, seeing the Capitol building assaulted by a group of people who were out for blood and “revolution” broke my heart. Who are these people? What gives them the right to desecrate this incredibly gorgeous building? They said this was their home and they were taking it back. Well if it is their home it is mine too and I am not happy with how these groups treated my home. I am not happy with how they treated the nation. I am not happy at all.

Who are these people? I read an article that said they urinated in the halls, spread feces on the walls, and destroyed for the sake of destroying. Who does this? Who thinks this is a good idea? I cannot support a revolution where people think this is OK. Who taught them that this kind of action is OK?

I felt such pain for that building. Have you ever been there? If not you should go, well not now. The historic buildings in Washington DC are incredible works of art. They are not buildings, they stand for so much more. After several architects, the Capitol building was completed in 1836. It had already witnessed an attempt at its own destruction during the War of 1812 when the British tried to burn it to the ground. It didn’t work and it remains a symbol of a now floundering democracy today.

Capitol Rotunda.

I read that some of the rioters after breaking into the rotunda dropped their mouths when they looked up at the rotunda. They started to take photos. Who can blame them, it is a beautiful space. This is what they wanted to destroy. Some said that this is a symbol of what is wrong with this country. I disagree, this is a symbol of what is right in our country. This is a symbol of freedom. Freedom from the oppression of the British. Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Speech. Freedom to become better. I don’t believe it is the freedom to destroy.

After the grounds were finally secured, the cleaning up began. Who cleaned this mess left by mostly white supremacists? It was black people whose job is to take care of our house. I read an article about these people and I know it may sound a bit romantic but, here is the final quote in the article. “With each stroke of the broom, they were slowly helping to piece this democracy back together. It’s what Black people have always done, no matter the circumstances, no matter the burden placed upon their back.” I couldn’t agree more although I believe I would add many people of color and caucasian as well.

There was one other person helping to pick up the mess that these groups left behind. New Jersey Representative Andy Kim was helping the other workers.

“When he finally did walk around the rotunda — his favorite and arguably the most storied room of the building — the disarray left him speechless. Water bottles, broken furniture, tattered Trump flags and pieces of body armor and clothing were strewn on the marble floor as if it were an abandoned parking lot.

“I was just overwhelmed with emotion,” Kim, 38, told NBC Asian America. “It’s a room that I love so much — it’s the heart of the Capitol, literally the heart of this country. It pained me so much to see it in this kind of condition.”

So for the next hour and a half, he crouched down and filled a half dozen trash bags with debris. When he finished cleaning up the rotunda, he began working on the adjacent rooms, including the National Statuary Hall and the Capitol crypt downstairs.

Then he returned to the House floor to debate Pennsylvania’s vote count, a session that lasted until 3 a.m. By Thursday evening, he’d been awake for more than 36 hours.

On a day in which video of mayhem and bloodshed inundated social media, a widely shared photograph of Kim, alone on his knees, picking up the final pieces of garbage in a nearly empty rotunda, was a radical break from — and rejection of — the violent impulses that drove the country to the brink of collapse. Many people labeled him a “true patriot.” While Kim said he didn’t dwell much on the symbolic heft of his actions, the term was on his mind.”          Asian American News

Today I am proud of Andy Kim. He represents what is right in this country. He represents what is right in our government. He and others like him project hope for the future.

I have biked and kayaked and walked my way through the end of the week. I seek nature when my head and heart can handle it no more. I feel sad for this country at the moment. Our leadership has created such divisiveness and I am not sure that it will be easily corrected. As this country has done before I believe we will persevere and move forward hopefully in a more gentle direction.

Meanwhile, I will breathe. My niece, who is a youth minister in the Presbyterian Church shared a meditation when this was happening on Wednesday. Brittany, I changed the words a little. I will breathe in peace and I will breathe out peace to others. Breathing is sometimes all one can do.

I may send some love to my amazing and steadfast home in DC as well.

This is a part 1 in a series of at least 2. If you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to.

Today, I Graduated!!!

The year was 2010, and I had no idea that my life would change, once again. In February of that year,  I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found the lump. The radiologist and my surgeon confirmed what every woman never wants to hear, “You have breast cancer”.

I proceeded to follow the recommended course of treatment. I had two surgeries, followed by six weeks of radiation. The following fall there was suspicious activity on my mammogram and so I revisited the hospital for more tests before confirming everything was OK. I was followed closely with mammograms and MRI’s for one year. After the first year, I graduated to annual appointments and mammograms.

I was on a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor, Arimidex, for five years to suppress most estrogen and progesterone production in my body. At year five I celebrated not having to take that little pill. Another graduation moment.

The annual visits continued. I have been followed closely, by my medical team ever since.

Late last year I visited my surgeon for the last time. And today, I graduated from the oncology department. I had my last visit with my oncologist, Dr. Raja, this morning. It was a bittersweet moment as I  have grown quite fond of her and the nurses and the receptionists who have been so kind and supportive to me. I will miss them.

I also continued with alternative therapies so I could continue to heal and thrive. Along with my western Doctors, I incorporated monthly massages into my routine, along with acupuncture, chiropractics, counseling, and more. I have a background in Holistic Health Education and recognize the importance of incorporating all health modalities into any healing scenario.

Today I graduated. What does that mean for me? It means I will need to step up a little more and not rely on my annual visits. I will be responsible for my own breast exams. I will be responsible for having body awareness and recognize when things are not quite right. I will be responsible for scheduling my mammogram, annually. I will be responsible to schedule an annual visit with my primary physician. (I just found out yesterday that she has taken Scottish Dance lessons) I will be responsible for my health care. I have always been responsible for this, now I need to advocate for myself, knowing that I am the primary person responsible for all health care issues.

I will continue to be an advocate for my own health care. The words self-advocate sounds so easy but it is work to be an advocate for myself in this huge health care system. I believe in being an active member of my team. My team regarding breast cancer has now shifted to my primary physician and as always, myself.

Having gone through this experience, I have grown. I have made many new friends, who I treasure dearly. It is good to be with others who are having a similar experience. I learned to make hard and difficult choices. Life lessons are usually not very easy. And I have learned to look forward to each new day with a wee bit of joy.

Janet, Terry & Zoe do DC

 I want to thank everyone, and you know who you are, who have supported and loved me and guided me along the way. Some of my friends have died from this dreadful disease. I love them still. They were often my guide through the whole process. Without Goldie, Zoe and so many more I would have felt more alone and lost in this process. We were all a part of a website that, although still on the web, is not active. When I was going through this process we would often meet nightly in the “chat room” and discuss hard and difficult things and then laugh and tell jokes and share recipes. Three of us even planned and executed a weekend visit in Washington DC.

Today I will take time to notice this life shift. I will do a little happy dance. I may even celebrate, safely during this pandemic time.

TODAY I GRADUATED!!

 

 

Hope. Keeping things Merry and Bright

This year is ending and none too soon. It has been a very different year as we have all been weaving our way through the Covid Pandemic. Schools are closed-Schools are open-Nope, closed. Masks are mandatory. People protests wearing masks others ask to do it for the sake of everyone. It is difficult to visit with family in person. Social distancing is the norm. Who is in my Bubble? Zoom has quickly become the normal way of staying in touch with friends and family. The oddest one for me is trying to grasp that our loved ones cannot accompany us into the hospital, no matter what the reason.

And now-the vaccines have arrived and there is hope.

There is always hope. When my world has been at it’s bleakest, I can still see hope and a brighter day on the horizon. Hope does not have to be a large shining light, although it is nice when it happens. Hope may sometimes be just a smile or a card or a message saying hang in there, and I care about you as a valued human being on this planet. Right after Jim died hope arrived with my sister who came to spend time with me. When she left my friend Helen arrived.  Having friends that care and make their presence known is often my beacon of hope. 

More people are alone on this holiday which is often about family and friends. This year though families find it hard to get together. This year friends find it difficult to gather. I could point out all the disappointments yet I would rather look towards what has been positive for me this year. I prefer to find my way towards hope. 

I know that people with extroverted tendencies have found it hard to be alone. Some have chosen to take a chance on socializing over quarantine. I understand that. Although many of you who know me may think I am an extrovert, you could be surprised to know that I am not. I love to be with people and then I need my alone time. I spent most of this summer and fall alone in Idaho. I found I was getting stronger in the core of my being. As I was driving south in the fall I discovered comfort in who I am. There is an inner core of strength and self-confidence that has surfaced. Spending time alone has given me the gift of insight and growth. 

I have spent a lot of time outdoors. Exploring nature is a  healthy choice. Research has shown that a walk in the woods or along the shore can be healing and mood-lifting. I would agree with this. I am thankful for the most amazing places I have been to. I am thankful for the time I have taken to know the mountains, the coast, the canyons, and the deserts. Each time I am out in nature I feel a tug in my soul to be open to what is around me.

Sandhill Cranes in Flight

Nature is amazing. This summer I wandered the dry lake bed in Idaho. I would sit on rocks and logs and wait. One late afternoon I looked up just in time to have three Sandhill Cranes fly low over my head. Now that is amazing. Nature gives me hope.

Through all the craziness of this past year, I have discovered kindness in people. Neighbors helping neighbors. Strangers helping strangers. It might be nothing big. I have noticed that people are performing small acts of kindness. Someone buys another person’s coffee. Early in the pandemic, I put out a request on Nextdoor (the app & website) regarding where to buy toilet paper. Within a short time, I received enough toilet paper to maintain this household for quite some time. People added other items to their gift of toilet paper. When one person does this often there is a chain effect of kindness and generosity. Small acts of kindness give me hope. 

A new US administration arrives in January. Whether one likes this or not, change is good. Change offers hope. Hope for growth as a nation. Hope for growth as a state. Hope for growth as an individual. What a way to welcome the New Year. There is such a possibility in the unknown. Will this administration succeed? Will some of the anger subside? Oh, I hope so. At the moment, all of this is untapped potential for growth and change. It is exciting and scary all at the same time. There is hope.

Yesterday, for this non-church going individual, I attended two virtual church services. One in Ohio and one in San Diego. What was the topic of each of the sermons? Hope. I guess I am on the right track. One sermon spoke of hope as that little tiny beacon of a light way out there on the horizon. It may be tiny but it is there. 

For the end of this year and the coming year as well I wish that this spot on the horizon becomes larger and larger as we reach for the unknown New Year. 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight Years Ago


Jim, my Husband died on October 17, 2012. On November 17th that same year, good friends and family and I took Jim to sea, scattering his ashes out in the Pacific Ocean on an amazingly beautiful morning. There was no planned ceremony we were friends and family who had gathered, one more time, to send him off in an intimate and loving ceremony, to wish him well.

when this anniversary arrives I set time aside to reflect and remember him, before cancer, before death. I treasure the moments I had with him. We were together for 21 years. The time was too short. The time with him was valuable. The time was fun, happy, loving and complete. I miss him.

This year, for the first time, I made it through Jim’s birthday (10/10) my birthday (10/16), and his death (10/17) with little sadness. I was staying with good friends in Boise and despite my insistence to not celebrate my birthday, we did anyway. I had a red velvet cupcake. Yummy. It helps to be with friends. It helps to feel loved and acknowledge that I am cared about and valued. It really helps to be with others.

Each year when I return to San Diego I make time to dip my feet in the Pacific Ocean and say hello to Jim. I know he is not out there, yet this is the last place I put him, so I go to greet him and visit. I think of him often. I still look upon our time together as a valued gift. I loved him for twenty-one years and I love him still. I know I can carry him forward into my future. He and our relationship has shaped who I am today and it will continue to shape who I am tomorrow.

All love is to be valued and not taken for granted. This love, this relationship-Jim and I-will never be taken for granted and it certainly was about love and understanding, laughter and friendship.

Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday to Jim. And hello to another year. I am still moving forward. Today I am grateful for Jim, a good twenty-one years, and the continuing love and support of so many good friends. 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Full Circle

Idaho Summer

Last June I left San Diego and traveled north. I spent most of the spring living with two good friends, Cynthia and Ward. I initailly moved in to help Cynthia after elective surgery. I ended staying with them through the emergence of Covid and our country in some form of lockdown. I sheltered in place with Ward and Cynthia from early March until I headed north, in June,  for a summer in Idaho.

Every year I return to San Diego to get my medical and dental work done. I get busy with appointments, doctor visits, a mammogram, and lab work.

This year I headed south driving ahead of cold weather. Eastern Idaho, nope, too cold. Northern Utah, nope, too cold.  When I reached Nevada it became much more tolerable, despite the high winds. Eventually, I made my way into San Diego and after almost two weeks at my friend, Pat’s house I have moved back in with Cynthia and Ward. I will remain here through the end of the year.

La Mesa Sunset

It is really good to have such kind and wonderful friends. I feel so honored to be part of such a good network of people throughout this country, Canada, and further. Like attracts like.

When I stayed in La Mesa I had amazing sunsets and I was close enough to walk to the “Secret Steps of La Mesa” (489 steps). It is a workout. There are actually more than one set of stairs. I would climb one and return on the other set, completing a loop back to the house.

La Jolla Shore

Bay Park (I am here now)  is close to Mission Bay and not too far from the Pacific Ocean. I can walk to the Bay. It is only a few miles away. I can hop on my bike and complete a 15-20 mile ride from my current home without a problem. Today I drove the short distance to La Jolla Shores and walked the beach at low tide. It is nice to be near the water.

I am back sheltering in place with two other people. After spending five months mostly alone, it is nice to be with others again. I enjoy the company and hope they do also. We got along well when I was here in the spring and I am sure that will be the case this time. It is nice to move into a place where I am wanted. The nice thing is if we get tired of each other, I can go camping for a few days, come back and everything will be fresh again.

Here I am for the holidays. Enjoying my semi-nomadic lifestyle, visiting friends and completing things that need to get done before I head east at the New Year and take up residence, once again in the desert.

Today I am thankful for good friends, beatiful places where nature abounds and my willingness to explore all of it.

 

 

Back in San Diego

Every year I return to San Diego for my medical and dental check-ups. On October 30 I arrived back in the city. I thought it was going to be a hard entry returning to a big city, with Covid still rampant in this country. It turns out that I had a much easier entry than I expected.

Cold weather spurred me southward. I am talking cold weather. One day in Idaho, it was in the ’70s and the next day I awoke to 14 degrees F. Well, brr…it was time to head south. By the time I reached northern Utah they were predicting single digits for the low, I kept moving south. When I reached Lake Mead in Nevada the weather was definitely more acceptable. I meandered my way south. I did a little hiking and some biking as I camped each afternoon.

Lake Mead

Hoover Dam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met up with a friend, Peggy at the Sprouts Parking lot near Palm Springs. Practicing safe social distancing, we sat on the side steps of our rigs and chatted. Even if I can’t hug my friends I can at least visit and enjoy their company from a distance. Masks were at the ready if we needed them. It was a good visit.

As I traveled south I began to communicate with friends in San Diego. If I want to visit with my local friends I needed to let them know of my pending arrival. Pat is a very good friend of mine. We worked together, meditated together, and over time have become close. When I let her know I was on my way she offered me her San Diego home for a few weeks.  She and her sisters own a home in San Felipe, MX. As the weather cools off her family spends more and more time south of the border. She is there now and she offered me her house in San Diego. I am here until November 10. This house sits on a hillside and I get amazing views of the sunset every night.

A friend of mine said I am lucky to have such good friends who offer me their homes and other opportunities. I don’t know if I consider this luck. I believe like attracts like. I am offered these opportunities because I am a person of value and worth. My friends are people of value and worth. I am honored that people offer me wonderful and unique opportunities and their homes. I value each gift that comes my way. It makes me feel treasured and loved. I treasure and love those that are part of my life.

 

Each and every day I am thankful and grateful for my friends. I am grateful for their love and ongoing support. I treasure them.

 

 

Finding Lessons Everywhere

This past summer I became involved in an online game for photographers called GuruShots. I have belonged to this site for a while, using it as a way to explore what photographers are doing and expanding my skills and knowledge. This past summer I decided to join a team and explore what this aspect of the game was about.

The team chooses a theme challenge and competes against another team. For example, the current theme is “24 Hours”. The challenges last from a few hours to a day. What do we win? Knowledge, points, and a progression up the board of the game.

I joined the Photography Friends team. I chose this team because of the team description.

“Our team objective is to share in the joy of photography and learn from each other in a friendly atmosphere. Although winning matches and advancing our team is great, it is not our primary goal. If this sounds good to you, please join us.”

I have been learning a lot. I have discovered photos that I had forgotten about and have been amazed at some of my work. I have also been making new friends from around the world.

“Freedom” was the theme of a challenge a few weeks back. The team chose it because it seemed to be an easy challenge to find photos that represented the theme. I began to think about what freedom meant. It would be easy to put up a photo of an eagle or the Flag. This is an international community and those photos lose their meaning once you embrace the world.

I entered photos and they did well. Do I think they represented the topic? No, not really.

These are the four photos. You can double click on them to enlarge them.


Freedom means more to me with each passing day, during this current state of affairs in this country. Freedom means that my voice is heard. When did this country stop respecting the freedom and respect of religious choice? Freedom means I can walk down the street and feel safe and secure. I may feel safe and secure, yet not everyone has that choice and that walk is not free to all.

Freedom means one thing to people with wealth. Freedom may have another meaning to someone homeless and on the streets or existing on a low-income wage.

The more I thought of this contest and the pictures I added the more I felt like I copped out. This was an opportunity for me to address freedom. It may have taken more effort to go out and find symbols of freedom to photograph. What would those symbols be? The freedom to protest. I believe I could have found a symbol of this today. Black Lives Matter. There would have been many opportunities to find symbols of religious freedom. A photograph of the word Voice would have been appropriate and meaningful.

What began as a simple contest evolved into much more as I began to contemplate what freedom really means to me, to this country, and to the world.

Today I would like to commit myself to help others experience freedom without fear. Today I am grateful to experience freedom in all its unique and usual forms. I also make a promise to myself not to cop out when a topic such as this surfaces again.

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