Where in the world has Big Boy been? Here’s a glimpse…

Over hill and dale, hither and yon, our home away from home, “the Big Boy” has rolled and rolled and rolled. This links to my facebook “Where in the world is Big Boy?” album. You have to look closely in some of the pics lol. (1) Rhonda Effron Brown.

Life has no guarantees.

I’ve learned that no matter how hard you try to do right or how well you plan your life there is no guarantee that things will go the way you expect. You can lose your money, your lifestyle, your senses, your mobility, your memory, your loved ones, pretty much everything. The only thing that you can’t lose for certain is the moment that you are in. Make it count. A lady in Kalispell Montana, a bit older than me, shared a pearl of wisdom that I would like to pass along “Always remember to hem your blessings with gratitude so that they don’t unravel”. I love that

Seeing some amazing sights in Ojai CA

Ever heard of Ojai CA?  I must confess that until very recently it was totally unfamiliar and I was calling it “ojay”  but it’s pronounced “ohiii”.  Like Ohio, lose the last O.

Evidently there are a lot of others who have heard of it and like to come here.  The commerce section of town runs mostly along a main strip that’s quite easy the walk the length of.  But none the less, there’s a cute shiny trolley running back and forth down the length of it all day.  I’m not sure if they are telling the passengers anything as they ride along but you bet I’ll know before I leave.

Today I experienced three great visual treats.

  • a partial exploring of the grounds of the Blue Iguana Inn, it’s charming front office and pieces of local art for sale (they also feature the works of local talents in the hotel rooms and do occasionally sell pieces- these artists are not “giving their art away”  these gourd pieces ran around $200- very fun and whimsical- I loved them
  • a tour of the personal home of a friend of my friend, Stephanie (whom I met randomly earlier this year while on a different adventure)  This lady has a great passion for horses like Stephanie does. They are close friends who enjoy the outdoors a lot together hiking about in the beautiful surrounding hillsides and riding their horses wildly and free.  Her husband is an architect and mother in-law an artist who works in vivid gorgeous colors (you’ll see her work in the form of paintings in these pics)  This house knocked my socks off.  These rooms are not staged.  This is how they live.  The views, the oneness with the nature around it, the outdoor living spaces.  It was just really really breathtaking.  Oh, and the workmanship, the creative and extremely unique architectural details, the colors, the textures.  Oh oh oh and the art, the art the art and the wood.  The wood that you had to run your hand along.  Truly a remarkable and warm home. Very special.
  • a jeep drive about through the stunning Ojai Botanical Gardens by the gentleman who is its caretaker and its proponent (and also Stephanie’s friend’s dad).  His quest?  To ensure its accessibility to the public.  Who do you think that statement lit up?

It was another wonderful day of discovery.  I hope you enjoy the view.  I sure did.

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California Dreamin’ on a Winter Day: an in-depth photo safari in Dana Pt CA

We’ve all heard of the beauty of Southern California.  It has not at all been exaggerated.

I’ve had the best time living it for the last three weeks.  The 10 days in the Long Beach then the LA areas and the last 10 days south of that in the Capistrano area.

This coast line area has seen a lot of action for the last 300 yrs plus.  Pirates, explorers, missionaries, developers, surfers and the list goes on.

This set of photos is from 2 days ago when I jumped on a public bus and got off in the vicinity of Dana Point Harbor.

side note:  Dana Point was named after R H Dana who wrote Two Years Before the Mast  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Years_Before_the_Mast

A seafaring tale.  Evidently quite famous.  My dad had heard of him.  I hadn’t.  You’ll see a big statue of him in the pictures.  You’ll also see pictures of murals depicting how “back in the day” the rancheros tossed hides and other trade items off the cliffs here to the waiting ships below.  The same cliffs you’ll see now conveniently have lots of stairway options.

It was about a 3 mile bus ride. If you read another post I did you saw that I had the bus virtually to myself.  Pretty amazing considering how congested traffic is here on the highways.

I spent the next eight hours deeply exploring the area.  Meeting people. Of course I had to peer into the surf shop right across from Doheny Beach since a local the other day (who definitely appeared not only old enough to remember but also to have lived it) told me that this is the true birth place of “long boarding”.  I was also checking out the parks.  Wandering the docks. Admiring the flora and the fauna. Reading all the plaques and walking every trail I could find.  Asking endless questions.  (I am definitely the curious type) Watching the surfers and skateboarders. Reflecting on wonderful reality of beautiful public spaces where everyone can come together and enjoy.

Young and Old  Rich and Poor

I even tried to make it around a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Pacific towards Catalina Island but finally gave up.  The steep winding coastal road up to the top of the bluff over the harbor led me to a nature interpretive center. From there I found my way down to the beach beyond the rocky point and eventually down a long beachfront sidewalk all the way back to the condo where I’m staying at the moment with my in-laws (they’re from Montana but are here house sitting).

I hope this is enough of a description for you to be able to sense where I was in the various pictures I took.

By the time I got back I was nothing but a blob of pure exhaustion and total satisfaction.

It was a glorious day of discovery and learning.  I hope you enjoy what I was able to capture.

Please feel free to ask questions 🙂

If you want to officially “follow” this blog and get an email notification when I add things, go to the bottom of the page and click the follow button and give it your email. I sincerely hope this documentation of our adventures encourages others to live their dreams be it travel or whatever brings you joy.

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What do I mean by “Recreating My Life”?

What do I mean by “Recreating My Life”?

I’ve known in my heart for many years that I wanted to be able to go wherever my heart led me, perhaps make a living online or something, but how?

On Saturday morning April the 20th in Oakland CA an intangible life changing epiphany came over me (it involved a catfish but that’s another story) letting me know that I didn’t need to know “the how”.

I didn’t need to worry about how things would work out.  How I would achieve financial security and the many other things that scare us into not living our dreams became almost magically non-issues. I’ve described it like something just cracked open my head and poured in whatever it was.

The message was very clear that not only could I live my dreams, but I should! And most of all THAT I DIDN’T NEED TO WORRY.

That by going with the creative flow within me (I know that sounds corny but it’s the best way I can describe it) and letting the path lead me it would all be good.  In fact it felt like it would all be great.  (At the time of this writing, it’s been 3 1/2 months since leaving my old life behind and I can confirm that this feeling had amazing merit and was absolutely worth following.)

Not gone completely but much more manageable were the fears of leaving my adult children to live their lives (they know mom is just a flight away), leaving the comforting rituals of everything that is our day to day lives- time spent with friends and loved ones, my favorite Circle K where I liked to get my morning coffee, exercise routines, caring for the plants in my garden, our home and the view out my kitchen window of my window box, the skylines I love, the birds I’ve come to know, the wonderful neighborhood children… everything.  Yes, I would miss all these things but it would be ok.

As soon as we got back into Orlando, I jumped into action.  My mind became very busy with solving all of the challenges that this would entail.  It’s not that easy to deconstruct your life and just take off and live off the grid or wherever your heart leads.  Thankfully, I have an amazing, loving and supportive husband who has been behind me and this sudden redirection 100%.

Leaving a town where you’ve lived for over 30 years, where you’ve raised three kids and established yourself deeply into the community.  Putting a business that you’ve started from scratch on a shoe string and invested 10 years worth of hard work into aside.  Giving up the stability of predictable income.

Now that’s hard.

But after this feeling of freeing my spirit to follow wherever it wanted to go all these things became so so much easier to deal with emotionally than I ever thought they could be.  Even though there were fleeting moments of melancholy and difficult tear filled goodbyes, it all still just felt so right.

My New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to tell this story.  To tell it as I live it.  To try and capture and share the joy and magic that is unfolding in my life.  There will certainly be challenges and misfortunes but what would life be without them?

I’m happy to have you come along for the ride.  If it in any way serves you to find greater happiness, hope or inspiration in your life, if will all be worth it.

So here we go…on the way to happily ever after, wherever that is 🙂

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