Thursday, February 22, 2018

Spectacular Super Blue Blood Moon

It was the trifecta of moon watches, and I was able to experience this moon in all its wonders and glory from the patio of the Palm Springs, California home we were staying at. On January 31, I was up at 4 a.m., wrapped in a blanket, steaming coffee in hand, and observed the grand performance. Anyone following this blog knows I enjoy heading outside to watch night turn to the dawn of a new day. I've been able to witness daybreak in many places as we travel, but this heavenly experience is now the best of the best for me.

Leading up to the event, it was hard to miss all of the information about what a Super Blue Blood Moon was; but in case you did, here's the rundown:
  • Super - slightly larger moon than normal
  • Blue - the second full moon of the month
  • Blood - more of a burnt orange total lunar eclipse as Earth passes between the sun and the moon 
While I experienced this celestial display, I noticed a number of shooting stars, was able to see what Orion (my favorite constellation) was up to, could hear the gentle slapping of the nearby palm trees from the light breeze and the momentary squawks from nearby birds as the bright white moonlight turned dark orange (those birds didn't seem to care for that at all), and finally, I could hear the sounds of the city as Palm Springs lazily began to wake up. It was nice to just simply be for hours without thinking about anything else.

From my viewpoint, the moon held the full burnt orange color for about an hour. I wasn't expecting that! I observed this spectacular earth shadow event for over 2 hours. But due to the nearby mountains, I wasn't able to see the bright white of the moon reappear fully. By the time sunshine flashed across the sky, I realized I must have been smiling for hours because my cheeks were sore!

You know, spectacular doesn't even seem like the appropriate word to describe this event, and spectacular isn't a word I use often. Doing a word search of this website, I've never used spectacular in any of my previous 227 posts! We all could use more spectacular in our lives, but it is up to us to get up, get going, and make it happen.


Super blue blood moon photo courtesy of damclark's.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Bedtime Story

Remember the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea? Basically, the best way to know you have a princess on hand is to send her to bed on a stack of mattresses with a pea at the very bottom. If she has a rough night sleeping, you’ve got yourself a princess. You might find it interesting to know that I’m one of those princesses, and I can tell you that a bad night’s sleep is never good for a princess. You might be wondering how I can travel fulltime if I’m that sensitive to mattresses?

Well, there are times when I’m feeling more like Goldilocks of Goldilocks and the Three Bears fame. She tried Papa Bear’s, Mama Bear’s, and Baby Bear’s bed in an attempt to determine what mattress was just right. With no home or bed of my own, I roam from bed to bed in my chosen nomadic lifestyle. The Princess and the Goldilocks in me are questioning this whole travel thing, because many times the beds are definitely not just right, and you cannot fool a princess when it comes to uncomfortable mattresses – no way, no how, never.

I try to make each home as comfortable as possible and that includes the bed, because I know how important sleep is for keeping healthy. So, I flip, turn, and cover the mattress with extra blankets, but it doesn’t always help. If there's more than one bedroom, I try different beds - just like good old Goldilocks. I peruse the reviews of previous occupants for comments regarding the good, the bad, and the ugly of anyplace I might be interested in staying. High on the list are the mattress comments – even though mattress comfort is subjective. But it's a little frustrating if I am going to be staying in a place for weeks when the bed is not just right. I should mention that it’s not always a scary bedtime story for me. There are times when I have extremely comfortable mattresses that are just right.

For now, I’m asking the Princess and the Goldilocks in me to adapt as much as possible and prop herself up with pillows if necessary. I’m dealing with bad mattress back syndrome by doing my best to overcome my aches with stretching, yoga, frozen bags of green peas, and my trusty travel size TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation which relieves muscle tension). This traveling lifestyle is not a permanent change, so I keep promising Princess Goldilocks the most perfectly comfortable bed in all the land when she has a home of her own again.

I may be longing for a comfortable mattress, but with this nomadic lifestyle I’m living, I’m finding my way by continually trying to adapt to whatever comes my way, and that includes one mattress at a time. The good news, or should I say the happy ending to this post, I’m usually not at any location for long, so there’s always hope that the next mattress will be juuust right.


Once upon a time photo courtesy of Steve Czajka

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Powerful Positive Words

As a new year ushers in, for me it brings with it a sense of new beginnings. I embrace this new beginning, and am encouraged by it. Each year I choose a powerful, positive word as a theme to guide me and empower me.

Last year, for the first time in 13 years, I struggled with my word theme more. Here’s an excerpt from the post I wrote at the start of 2017. I would like to be more centered, more focused, more random, more giving. I would like to listen more, laugh more, and love more. I want more of what life has to offer. That last sentence about did me in with this traveling life of mine. Over the last year and a half of full-time traveling, I became less centered and less focused on my needs. In my last post, I talked about realizing this by going with the flow but flowing right on by what keeps me at my best. So, what keeps me at me best? Many things actually, and they’re all centered around what it takes to keep me in balance. Balance is a word I used as a theme in 2014, but I’m taking a different slant on balance by embracing the word listen this year.

Listening is a truly powerful, positive word as I believe if I listen more, I’ll hear more. If I hear more, I just might learn more about me and the world around me. Thus, by listening and learning I will pay more attention and allow it to guide me to a more centered, focused, and balanced me. I could go on about my word, but instead I’ll refer back to it from time to time during posts this year. Let’s just say, I’ll keep you posted as to how well I’m listening and how this powerful, positive word is affecting me. 

I’ll begin my day with my word listen. As I fall to sleep I’ll remind myself how I’ve listened and what I’m learning – grateful to have such a powerful, positive word guiding me. And I can tell you this – I’ve already felt a slight shift! How are you going to begin your year? Join me and embrace a powerful, positive word you feel confident can guide you to whatever shift you need to make.


Listen photo courtesy of Ky

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dropping Out

Whenever I’m overwhelmed by anything, and nothing in particular, I withdraw from the craziness of life by shutting out the noise of technology, and creating a sense of quiet space around me – what I call dropping out. Back when I had a home and yard, I would take my drop out period very seriously. I would begin my day with meditation, a little yoga, and a walk or run, then retreat to my garden and work my butt off – enjoying every moment. There’s something about physically working my body and being outside in nature that stirs my soul. Oddly enough, I don’t contemplate anything in particular or try to problem solve when I’m in drop out mode. I guess you could say I nourish my spirit by creating this brain break. Then I start fresh and make better decisions once I’ve had the appropriate drop out time. I can even feel it coming – the pull to disengage – knowing if I’m not finding enough space for me to disengage on a regular basis, I’ll need to come to a full stop and completely drop out.

At present, living on the road full time has brought with it a need to figure out how to continue to do what I need to do to feel at my best and be me. I have been going with the flow for the last year and a half knowing full well that I needed to find more space for me to do those things that help me be at my best. But this going with the flow hasn't quite worked because I seemed to keep flowing right on by what I needed – quiet, stillness, space, with some semblance of routine even if it’s for just a short period of time. After four months in Europe this summer and fall I was mentally and physically worn out. On this trip I had the realization that I must find more time for me to just BE. I need to make the time for me to disengage on a regular basis. Which is exactly what I was doing prior to traveling full time.

When we came back to the States the first part of November, we had two weeks of wonderful downtime in Lake Chelan, Washington. Off season is the quiet season on the lake and perfect for just what I needed after traveling in Europe – time to decompress from the recent travels, get used to the time change, and begin to find myself once again. I was able to run, swim laps, fully enjoy my yoga routines, and have many quiet walks. I was gloriously happy and was able to re-energize. Now I need to keep that going, slow the travels down a bit more and find the balance between traveling and the space to just BE.

The holiday season and new year can be a time of reflection for many of us. I’m finding my way back to what my personal values are and creating the space to just BE. My wish for you this holiday season is for you to find your way back to what you know to be true for you. Perhaps you will disengage once in awhile and give your brain a much needed break.


Palm Springs Blue Lady photo courtesy of DaMClark's

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What's Missing?

Over the next few weeks we will wrap up our travels to Europe. We left the states in early July, so it's been nearly four months of traveling abroad. I find myself thinking about those things I miss, or that aren’t quite the same. For those of you who follow our travel blog, no worries, we will continue publishing posts and catch you up on our activities.

Now, back to this post – I’m missing friends and family, and fortunately I’m in touch with many of those people. I'm also missing the Pacific Northwest autumn; and unfortunately, by the time we get back the leaves will have fallen and the rains will have moved in. Because we are going home soon, that’s probably why I’m thinking about what I’ve missed and can’t wait to get back to. Case in point - food I eat on a regular basis, and then there's the goodies I make once in a while. While traveling full time, I’m able to try many wonderful regional specialties, and because I don't want to heft more of me around than necessary (remember, I pack light), I limit the sweets to one of, or a bite of one my husband has. Still, those tasty goodies are not MY go-to’s. Here's a few of my favorites:

  • Cooked thick or steel cut oatmeal with dried cranberries and nuts. Other than when I make it, the only person who makes it just the way I like is Kirby. Unfortunately, I won’t be anywhere near Kirby! Too bad I wasn't missing this early on in the trip when we were in the UK - oats were everywhere. But this will be an easy one for me to do. Oh, and its autumn, so apple cider instead of water will be perfect when I cook up glorious pots full of oatmeal goodness!
  • Kale salad – as in my chop-chop kale salad I noted in a previous post, Craving Kale. I haven't seen kale anyplace we have purchased groceries. I’m craving kale in a big way, what can I say. You know, before kale was the cool kid green it is today in the US, I never gave it a second thought.
  • Tacos – as in my homemade Tacos with just the right ingredients, not the this will do but it doesn’t do ingredient(s) I see abroad. I may just make them every night until I’m sick of them. Seriously, no chance of that happening - I've been eating tacos since I was a kid before there was any fast-food place selling them. I know tacos and they don’t come from a restaurant or fast-food drive-thru!
  • Organic peanut butter (preferably Kirkland brand) – love it on sliced apples or just off the spoon. And that reminds me how much I need to make my peanut-peanut butter-butter cookies (yes, that's one cookie and no typos)! Oh man, can’t wait!
  • Pancakes – as in my Daddy’s recipe for buttermilk pancakes made with Bulgarian buttermilk – no low-fat no-fat nonsense for those babies. And that means I’ll need real maple syrup from New England. Dang, that’s a lot of pancakes I’ll have to eat to use that stuff up!
  • Smoothies – my homemade goodness in a glass and also a previous post, Smoothie Nirvana. Thing is, I seldom have a blender available, and traveling light means there are things I sort of give up. It’s unfortunate because I’ve been making my breakfast in a glass since high-school. I MISS SMOOTHIES! But not enough to haul even a hand blender around with me.

Surprised that I should mention pancakes and cookies? While some of the healthier mentions above are good for me, and I really try and feed my body properly on a regular basis, it's about balance. I’ve never been someone who cut out everything that’s not good for me to eat. I just eat those things in moderation. Besides, most of the above is good for me, ‘cept those pancakes, the peanut-peanut butter-butter cookies, and, oh, there’s also my chocolate Kahlua brownies, and my macadamia nut white chocolate soft cookies right out of the oven, and then there’s...

Sounds like I need a fully stocked (food and baking supplies) kitchen! It’s nearly impossible for me to assemble the kinds of ingredients I need for my go too’s. It’s just not practicle. Plus, not all the kitchens have decent tools for cooking/baking even though owners note having what is needed. I may be hitting up a few of my friends or family members so I can cook – I MISS COOKING!  I make the best out of what’s available in stores and how the kitchen is set up in the homes we stay in, but it’s not how I’m used to cooking. I MISS MY KITCHEN!

You see, I wasn’t brought up with store-bought baked goods or meals. We made most everything from scratch. And I continued this way of cooking as an adult because the store-bought stuff wasn’t as good as the home-made stuff. So that meant, unless I made it, you wouldn’t find store bought muffins, cookies, pies, cakes, whatever in my home. Frankly, it's been a good way over the years to keep calories in check. Oh, but I need to make an apple pie because it’s the season for it, and I love warm apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese when the temperature and the leaves fall. Oh my gosh, then there’s my incredible pumpkin pie, and I love my home-made soups, and dang, I need to eat something after this ‘cuz I’m starving!

Thing is, with traveling full-time, I may not miss having my home and property. I’m missing a part of me. I’m missing my kitchen, my cooking. While I have gotten rid of most of the things in my life, you can bet I've boxed up and stored everything my kitchen had, except food of course. I know someday I'll have my kitchen back. Until then, don’t be surprised if I show up at your door...

I’m asked time and again what I miss with my full-time travel lifestyle. It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve always thought there’s a lot of truth in that. But for now, I’m willing to give up a few things (temporarily or perhaps permanently) for all the other things I'm gaining in this amazing traveling life. I realize there will always be a missing piece or two, or three in my life. Again, it's about balance, and I’m working on all that. I’ll figure out what I'm missing and try to make do, but I think it’s a good thing to test myself and see what’s truly important in my life right now. And I’ve got that with my traveling buddy who just happens to be my husband. But, oh, I need kale salad soon, and then there’s my roasted chicken with garlic and balsamic, my spaghetti with meat sauce, my chicken pot pie...


Puzzle2 photo courtesy of Willi Heidelbach
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