Preparations – Time with the family


On On…. After leaving Nepal back in July I was able to spend some time with the family before taking off to get to my training for my next destination.  It has been difficult to keep up the blog while traveling, but thought it would be fun to give a huge shout out to the good ‘ol US of A and of course I need to start with time spent with my family.

Starting from the beginning.  I dropped in on my daughters a few days earlier than expected and was able to surprise them.  It took about 3 people, my dad, my photographer and a friend to organize this event, but I was able to pull off the surprise…priceless and such a great memory.

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My dad had been off and on not feeling good for a few months and I knew it was time to go home and spend a few extra days there.  I feel blessed to work for an organization that fully supported me going to be with my family a little longer than expected and dad also appreciated the effort.  Me being home for a few days longer benefited everyone.

There were too many photos taken during my time in Spokane.  Some from Coeur D Alene and Valleyford and some from Spokane.  It was difficult choosing my favorite family photos.  I was there a month and enjoyed every bit of it.  It’s amazing how much you appreciate your family when you live so far from them.

I was able to visit a dear friend from high school and take my kids and grandkids to a horse riding trial.  I initially mistakenly thought I was taking them to an actual rodeo!! So much fun to see the kids enjoying the even and my friends boys were awesome on the horses.

Colbert, Deer Park and Springdale

I was also able to meet up with dozens of friends and reconnect. Not nearly enough time with my friends, but this trip was about spending the most time with dad and the kids.  Well worth it and my best friends definitely understood that.  I love them all and ended up wishing I had had even a little more time.  I just can’t complain though.. it was all good.

Starting out in Spokane, I was able to say good-bye to dad, get matching tattoos with my daughters and my niece, who would be riding with me to Ohio, felt comfortable enough to let me know how she felt about me talking too much during the ride.

There you have it.  The very first part of my travels was about to begin.  Over the next few days I was able to drive from Spokane, to Minnesota, to Ohio, to Pennsylvania, to Boston, to NY (fly to Toronto) and then make it to DC.  No amount of photos can really demonstrate the entire trip, but I hope you enjoy the small smattering of what I was able to capture.

Road trip itself to be continued…

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The number three and Distance from Seoul


Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.

Shakuntala Devi
As terrible as I am with numbers.. I love them.  I grew up on statistical commercials such as “Three out of four …”

Or, even the commercials that don’t specifically state numbers but use words like more than or less than.

Really powerful, RIGHT?!?

We all have special numbers in our lives, and 4 is that for me. It’s the day I was born. My mother’s birthday, and a lot of my friends’ birthdays, are on the fourth; April 4 is my wedding date.

Beyonce Knowles

My special number is three.  I have two sisters, two daughters, and two grandkids.  My birthday is the 3rd month on the 30th day.  Like a book, I have a beginning, a middle and eventually I will have an end.  I’ve only found three leaf clovers.  “I AM SAM” is sort of my favorite thing to say.  Weird right?!?

But enough of that.  Ailsa’s theme this week was photo’s with numerals.  I also do not take that many photos with numbers in them. However, I actually did on my trip to Seoul.  I hope you enjoy.

Counting …

Other posts I enjoyed.

Still Traveling


I have been off the charts for a bit and only have time for a quick update.  I left Venezuela on December 16 and am very sad about it.  It was a beautiful country full of great weather, great people from so many countries, and tons of great outdoor activities.

However, I’ve had an amazing time with the kids and grand kids  I spent my first week with my family adjusting to a 30-50 degree temperature drop and got a bit of whatever disease was going around my hometown. (Being a hypochondriac most of my life, I’m sure I was on the brink of total physical and mental failure — needless to say a few antibiotics and some good old-fashioned home-remedies and I’m back on the move and feeling great!!).

We took some family photos from my favorite photographer (Alisha Southard – Haute Pink Photography), played at home and had an all-around good family spending quality time together.  During my time at home I was able to get together with my all too busy sister and meet up with some high school friends as well.  I met up with a junior high friend also and her four-year old son gave me a wash off tattoo of “tater” a character from “Cars”  It was supposed to stay on for about 4 days.  Two weeks later.. well.. I’m beginning to wonder if it might be permanent.  I also had a lucky few minutes as a pirate with the same kid.  AWESOME!!

January 7 my youngest daughter and grandson took off by AMTRAK leaving Spokane at 1:30 a.m. and hitting Chicago at about 3:00 pm on the 8th of January.  My daughter left me in Chicago to go to Indiana to visit grandparents and I continued on to New York.  I’m going to spend a few weeks here visiting friends and family and hoping to get some great photos of my favorite city in the world.

I’m due to hit D.C. in about a month and will once again have a computer. I’m guessing I will have some whirlwind updates at that time.  For now, enjoy the following pics.. and for all my friends.. wish you could have taken the trip with me.  I hope you enjoy.

2025_10151235158658282_1515591743_n 9496_10151235158938282_1947661979_n 14860_10151235158718282_918781728_n 19330_10151235159598282_418404598_n 63785_10151235160533282_1936150468_n 72197_10151235157638282_353315344_n 72273_10151235158003282_1919364233_n 72582_10151235159683282_1103225379_n 73359_10151235158508282_883844988_n 74326_10151235159463282_2131110074_n 75022_10151235158433282_524248249_n 150623_10151235159108282_1200025507_n 150668_10151235160113282_739055265_n 217993_10151235158863282_1562258760_n 248628_10151235157423282_671717210_n 248734_10151235159763282_1457438287_n 394798_10151235160008282_1413024985_n 397726_10151235159648282_411634866_n 399995_10151235159513282_625610592_n 424073_10151235157523282_638899979_n 424091_10151235158813282_2089557866_n 426840_10151235159718282_1219217214_n 429138_10151235157388282_421843344_n 537424_10151235158328282_960610750_n 541946_10151235157933282_1051119163_n 543411_10151235157103282_737114247_n 545240_10151235158768282_758144825_n 553249_10151235159788282_1401542874_n 553258_10151235160123282_401990111_n 582288_10151235158178282_1101394370_n 734077_10151235158248282_35708367_n 734870_10151235157283282_354809509_n 33 import amtrak 1 amtrak 2 amtrak 3 amtrak 4 amtrak 5 amtrak 6 amtrak 7 amtrak 8 amtrak 9 amtrak 10 amtrak 11 amtrak 12 amtrak 13 amtrak 14 amtrak 15 amtrak 16 amtrak 17 amtrak 18 amtrak 19 amtrak 20 amtrak 21 amtrak 22 amtrak 23 amtrak 24 amtrak 25 amtrak 26 amtrak 27 amtrak 28 amtrak 29 amtrak 30 amtrak 31 amtrak 32 amtrak 33 amtrak 34 amtrak 35 amtrak 36 amtrak 37 amtrak 38 amtrak 39 amtrak 40 amtrak 41 amtrak 42 amtrak 43 amtrak 44 amtrak 45 chicago chicago pizza place gallery opening ginger-cayenne-lemon-grapefruit and honey tea hoegarden jemma bday prty jemma in my boots jemma juicing madden bday party madden bday party balls New York pirate me with a 4 yr old reunion with high school friends sis and a martini sis and I on a girlie date zombie reading

chicago skyline tator amtrak games making friends on minnesota stop leaving in a snowstorm

Since the time I sold all of my belongings in Venezuela up until now I have not had a computer, an Ipad or any technological devices that would allow me to post.   I have missed some great themes from the various theme makers I follow and so in an attempt to cheat (New Year’s Resolution is to NOT cheat anymore) I will combine some of my favorite themes that seem to fit my journey.

Travel Themes from “Where’s My Backpack” – “Festive”; “Transportation”

Weekly Photo Challenges from the Daily post – “Resolved”; “Surprise”

Sunday Post by Jake’s Printer – “Christmas”; “New Year”; “Goals” 

The last three weeks have been amazingly full of resolutions and future Goals (don’t cheat, be happier, celebrate one good thing each day and always try to show appreciation for what others are doing for me and random acts of kindness).  I was met with many surprises from physical gifts to surprise visits from high school and junior high friends.  Nearly everything about my trip so far has been a festive delight. Transportation, easy one, 4 days on Amtrak from Spokane, Washington to New York – also a trip very festive and full of surprises AND a resolution to travel by train more often.

I hope you enjoyed my journey so far and look forward to settling down in D.C. for a few months of training. Peace for the new year.

A re-visit to growth – 9/11


My post on “Growth” was probably the best tribute to 9/11 I could have put out there. I don’t like remembering some of the negative imagery however, I think sometimes you should take a moment and just remember..

The scary times..

The ridiculous times…

And the times you need to stop and reflect and remember…

Believing You Must Not Think Negatively Can Rebound                    by Ken Ward

Part of the Positive Thinking movement advocates that negative thoughts shouldn’t be tolerated. The irony is that suppressing these thoughts seems to cause them to repeat. One of the sure ways to get someone to think of something is to tell them not to.

It is regarded by some almost as a truism, that we should avoid the negative and embrace the positive. However, the process of self-development is not that simple, and positive thinking is helpful to some, but not others, and depends on the context. Sometimes positive thinking makes us worse.

America – California


“It’s [Los Angeles] mostly full of nonsense and delusion and egomania. They think they’ll be young and beautiful forever, even though most of them aren’t even young and beautiful now.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Californians oh California. When family or friends from California would come up to Washington for a visit my dad would say, “Hey, how’s the land of the fruits and nuts going?” It seemed to be a common sentiment.  To  some, California and it’s people can seem eccentric and  bizarre in comparison to the rest of the states.  The common misconception that surrounds California is: everyone has plastic surgery, fake tans and everyone is fake and a bit loony.  I would have to disagree.  I think Northerners were just jealous of Californians for years of good weather, open minded attitudes and having the ability to retire up North.

In the words of others:

“In Los Angeles, all the loose objects in the country were collected as if America had been tilted and everything that wasn’t tightly screwed down had slid into Southern California.” – Saul Bellow

“Everything is just better in California – the wine, the food, fruits and vegetables, the comforts of living. Even the instrumentalists are generous and curious. Everything is wonderful.” – Beth Anderson

“Growing up in northern California has had a big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors. When I lived in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day.” – Tom Hanks

From its majestic mountain and ocean vistas and amazing beaches to it’s constant striving to be just a little more than any other place in the world, California is the most eclectic state in the United States  and for this I love it because it makes it one of the most unique states to visit.

“Best way to live in California is to be from somewheres else.”
― Cormac McCarthyNo Country for Old Men

I had the great opportunity of teaching 1st and 2nd grade in an elementary school in San Bernardino back in 2003-2005.  My two years of living there taught me how much more it can be if given the chance.  I was able to really explore Southern Cal. I made a multitude of friends and had some really great times from Los Angeles to San Diego to San Francisco.  So here began the final stages of my cross country travels.  (June 4-15)

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.”
― Jack KerouacOn the Road

I started in San Francisco.  I had been to San Francisco previously but only for very short trips and I felt that I had not had the chance to really explore this amazing city.   San Francisco is huge and there is just a ton to do and so I decided to spend a few days there just walking around with my friend from high school and a day with a well-researched private tour company called “Carried Away”.  These ladies were amazing and we were able to put together a special wine and dine tour which brought us to nearly all corners of the city in a private vehicle which allowed us to stop, go or change our plans as we saw fit.  They were fantastic.

I was able to explore alone and with a friend, by foot and tour company the Castro District, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Towers, Haight-Ashbury, Sausalito, China Town, Mission District and Union Square just to name a few areas. (Links to all the areas I visited and more)

I spent the last couple days in Los Angeles hanging out with friends in Pasadena and North Hollywood.  Both very cool districts with tons of history as well as being up and coming areas.  Which is an excellent way to explain California as a whole.

Californians oh California.  From naked runners and bikers, street performers and graffiti to reunions with friends and dental appointments.   All in all it was a great way to end my travels and yes I did leave my heart in San Francisco as well as all of the other cities I visited on this month long trip.  Enjoy.

“It was a splendid population – for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home – you never find that sort of people among pioneers – you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day – and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, “Well, that is California all over.”
― Mark TwainRoughing It

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