Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whoever you're with, I wish you a very happy, safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

I haven't been working much on my blog or reading yours much the past several months but that doesn't mean I've forgotten you. It just means that I've been pulled in a different direction. I want to fill this next period of my life with acts of sharing more of myself with others. Trying to figure that out these days.

That's me today, December 21st, 2012.
I'm taking a break from working on my book project "This Restless Life" which
is basically a condensing of my blogs from the last three years.
Just in case you're interested, here's the update I sent yesterday to backers of my book project.
Update #4·Dec. 19, 2012·comment
Nearly three weeks have passed since "This Restless Life" book project was successfully funded. The goal is to have the book completed and the rewards out to all of you within the next eleven weeks.
Over the past two weeks, I ordered rewards - greeting cards and post cards made from images that will be in the book. I selected all of the stories from my "A Camp Host's Meanderings" blog that I will build upon in the book. I created more collages that will be pictured in the book.
During the same period, I nursed a cold and dealt with my dog Gingee's flea allergies. In five days, Santa will visit little children around the world. For weeks, months and years to come citizens and policy makers will be wading through matters associated with gun violence in our country. Others will grieve losses from the recent Connecticut shootings along with all the other shootings and killings from years past.
I have been and will continue to seek inspiration from the following quote as I move forward with this project and in my life. "You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." Kahlil Gibran
Thank you each and everyone for the support you have given to me as I do my best to give of myself to others.  Wishing you Peace, Safety and Love this holiday season, Levonne
Back to my blogging pals...
What is your top priority for the new year?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Do We Say to Our Kids About Recent Violence?

News reports were rampant last week on the internet of a teacher's son clad in black and carrying two handguns that rampaged through a Connecticut elementary school killing 20 small children and seven adults, including his mother. The death toll is the highest from a school shooting in U.S. history since a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. At Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, two teens killed 13 people and wounded 24 in 1999.

If you are interested in seeing a map of the history of the worst mass murders in North American, you can go to

Many RVers are traveling near to and visiting with relatives this holiday season. When visiting with young family members exposed to reports of the violence, there is advice from Family Resource Center at Minneapolis Children's Hospital and Clinics for Family Information Services about how to talk with children.

The following are some guidelines for parents (and grandparents too):

· Be honest about the situation. Give your children information at their own level and put it in context. Explain that even though frightening things happen to children every once in awhile, most children go about their day with no harm. Don't describe unlikely scenarios that would unnecessarily frighten your children.

· It helps to know what information your child is getting. Monitor their exposure to television reports, and help explain what they see if they do watch television. Ask them what they are hearing at school and, if necessary, give them factual information to dispel rumors they are hearing from others.

· Limit the amount of exposure to violent movies, videos, or computer games. The impact of violence for children is cumulative.

· Understand that children of different ages react differently. Younger children may react by showing more separation anxiety when their parents leave them at daycare or school. Older children may present a rough exterior or act out aggressive behavior.

· Provide extra emotional support for your children. Review safety precautions and practice routines of going to and from school with them. Teach your children that they should go to an adult that they trust if they feel threatened in any situation.

· Avoid infecting your children's lives with your own anxiety. If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety caused by traumatic events, take steps to deal with your own feelings before your children are affected.

· Be aware of other areas of children's lives that may make them especially vulnerable to fears regarding violence against children. Children who have experienced a traumatic incident in the past, children who are grieving a personal tragedy, and children who are ill are all more susceptible to anxiety regarding other events.

· Children need personal reassurance. Tell them what you are doing to ensure their safety; tell your children what their daycare provider or teacher is doing to maintain safety; and tell children what they can do to enhance their own safety.

· Don't overdo it. Maintain normal routines for eating, sleeping, and play. Keep an eye open for any signs of anxiety.

(Source: Family Resource Center at Minneapolis Children's Hospital and Clinics for Family Information Services, Minneapolis, MN   Permission to reprint above for educational purposes can be found here. )

A major motivation for many to begin an RVing lifestyle is so that regular and long visits can be made to see children and grandchildren. I hope that this post gives a few tips that help during this difficult period of your youngsters' exposure to yet another very violent event in our midst.

How are the youngsters in your family holding up?


Friday, December 7, 2012

Good Friday Morning!

Good Morning Blogging World!
Just wanted to share this picture of one of the resident peacocks here at Petaluma KOA. They are such purty birds!
Mr. Peacock
I'm busy as a bee with getting my book ready for print in February.
How's your holiday season progressing?

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Boat...

Many of you will recall John's sailboat project. Remember, he acquired Blue Ribbon at the Moss Landing Harbor auction.
Here's the video I made about his acquisition more than a year ago.
Here are a few pictures showing some of the fabulous work he did on the boat.
Blue Ribbon soon after taking out of water and cleaning off the bottom.

Blue Ribbon after it was all fixed and cleaned up. John worked on the project with another person.
 Well, since we have been away from Blue Ribbon for nearly ten months, John decided he would find a new home for it. He let it go this past weekend to a fellow sailor down in Moss Landing. It broke his heart in many ways but we just couldn't see the sense in holding on to it under the current circumstances of him not getting to use it or work on it.  The plan is to get another boat when we're up in British Columbia. So stay tuned to the next boat adventure!
Have you ever had to let go of a beloved object?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving wishes

We wish all the friends from this blogger world a very safe, comfortable and peaceful Thanksgiving.
With great fondness,
Levonne, John, Gingee

Monday, November 19, 2012

Need or Greed?

Being part of a thirty-day fundraising campaign for a creative project has forced me to examine the concepts of “greed” and “need” again. A few weeks ago, I launched a book project “This Restless Life: a study of California parks through photography, collage and stories.”

Since then, I have experienced periods of disturbed serenity and dissatisfaction. I have asked myself how I can shift so quickly from feelings of joy to abysmal discontent. The discontent seemed to go hand-in-hand with the stoppage of contributions to my project in any given hour...  Read more of Need or Greed?

Thursday, November 8, 2012


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -- Harold Whitman

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Would you be willing to help?

Would you be willing to help?: Wow! It's absolutely incredible! Even with Hurricane Sandy, Halloween, a national presidential election, deaths and births, moves and vacati...

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Guest Post: Full-Time RVing, Public Parks and Photography

Posted on by


Levonne is an artist and author of several blogs about her family’s three-year relocation adventure from the U.S. southwest to California during the Great Recession. During that period, they volunteered as park caretakers and campground hosts and lived in some of California’s public parks." see the post, click here...

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park copyright Levonne Gaddy

Sunday, October 28, 2012

God Bless our Public Parks!

Before John and I started full-timing three years ago, I really had no idea just how valuable our public parks are. How else does the average person get to live on the bank of a river or by the ocean or on a lagoon? How else do we get to step out of our front door onto a hiking trail through the Redwoods? How else do we get to live on a 500-acre ranch park?

This shot taken at Morro Strand State Beach.

The Morro Strand State Beach photograph incorporated into an interpretive collage "Come Out and Play."
I am thrilled to share what I've learned about our public space through my project "This Restless Life: a study of California parks through photography, interpretive collage and stories."
Thank you to all my blog followers from the past three years.
How has RVing changed your perception of public parks?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Capture Your History, Record Your Stories

Levonne Gaddy: Capture Your History, Record Your Stories:  Save your stories in book form, as a written and bound manuscript, movies on DVD or audio recordings on CD. "You do take your stories...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paint Away...

A few days ago, sister-in-law Sharon and I went to Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. It felt like being in a painting to be there strolling through the gardens and having tea.

Milner Gardens in Qualicum, BC

Silk Tree blooms at Milner Gardens

Sharon is just the best sister-in-law.

Fuschias are some of my most flavorite flowers.

And now for the next five days, I’ll be attending an intensive workshop called the Painting Experience with my husband’s cousin Annie.

How fun to be communing with the women in John's family.

What are you doing this week?

Friday, August 17, 2012

At the River on a Hot Day...

Scenes from John, Gingee's and my outing yesterday to Top Bridge Park in Parksville, BC, Canada on a very hot day (80+ degrees Fahrenheit).

Boys frolicking.
Woman watching.

Gingee after her swim.
Taking the dive.

Boy resting.

Girls gliding.

How have you escaped the heat lately?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Snowflake and the Seventy Dwarfs...

When I was a girl in the seventh grade, I was teased and called "Snowflake." Why? I'm really not sure. That was my first year in a racially "integrated" school in the little town of Star, North Carolina.

I suspect I was called Snowflake by some of my new white classmates because I was classed as "African-American" or "colored"  but I looked as white as any of them. Teasing can be a way for kids to deal with their bafflement I guess. But it was frightening and humiliating for me at twelve years old to be taunted. It made me want to hide under a rock and never come out.

The reason that I bring this up now is because the transitions of the past six months - specifically my move to Canada - have for some reason caused a massive insurrection of unresolved fears and internal resistances.

What does a massive insurrection of internal fears and resistances look like? Well mine look like, or sounds like (might be more accurate), a hailstorm of dwarf voices. All of the little voices delivering some kind of nudge towards that rock.

An interesting and effective exercise (suggested by my personal coach Trish Lay when I told her of the paralysis caused by my overwhelming generalized fear) has helped me. She suggested I merely name each fear or "dwarf" as it emerges. (Trish encourages play.)

Meet some of my dwarfs.

1. Blamey (He says "It's <you name him/her but it's usually John's> fault.")
2. Needy (Says "It's too scary to be all alone.")
3. Sneaky (Says "Just check it out when nobody is looking.")
4. Iffy (Says "If you do that, it will end in disaster. Don't do it." - This one sounds familiarly like my older brother's voice from our childhood.)
5. Don't Deservy (Says "That's not appropriate for you anyway. Forget it.")
6. Sleepy (Says "Just take nap" as a solution to just about anything.)
7. Shamey (Says "You SHOULDN'T do <some wonderful thing,> Why? Because <any shaming excuse will do>. )
8. Opposey (Says "I'm not going to do that!" Why? Just because!)
9. Dialoguey (This one just gets into imagined back and forth conversations with someone - often John - then tells the next two to come in and deal with the situation.)
10. Meany
11. Bully
12. Rushy (Just tells me to "Hurry up." Why? Just because. There doesn't have to be any reason at all. Just rush through life.)
13. Pleasey (Says "Just smile and act nice." As if this works in resolving a  problem.)
14. Homey (Tells me that the only comfortable and safe place is back at home if I'm out and at home if I've not gone out yet.)
15. Go Alongy (This one tells me that everyone else's idea is better than mine so just go along with them.)

You get it?

It was quite enlightening to learn that I could name more than seventy dwarfs just on my first day of exploring my mental landscape of fears and resistances. No wonder I became paralyzed! Who can function happily with all that going on in her head!

The best lesson I learned from this exercise was that as soon as I named my fear (dwarf), the fear melted away and the little dwarf lost its power over me. I could act again, with confidence.

I wish that I'd known about naming the dwarfs back in seventh grade when life was so new and so frightening and all I'd had to prepare me for what was to come were pictures on television of armed soldiers escorting little black kids through angry white crowds into their classrooms at their new "integrated" school.

Oh well, better to grow later than not at all. Ay?

Do you have any dwarfs?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How do you like those oysters?

No kidding, you can find oyster shells this big on the shores of Cortes Island (British Columbia).

See what John picked up the other day?

Oyster shell from Gulf Islands, B.C.

How big was the biggest oyster you've ever eaten?

Thursday, August 9, 2012


This morning as John and I ate oatmeal and toast and
 drank coffee outside, this little fellow visited. I love being so close to nature.

Northern Flicker spotted at Surfside RV Resort, Parksville, B.C., Canada.
Do you have a favorite bird?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cortes Island Life...

Wow! What an island experience John, Gingee and I just had! We went to John's cousin's fifteen-acre farm property on Cortes Island for five days! What began with a bit of culture shock . . .

we stayed in a little one-room cabin with only cold running water,
we took showers outside in water warmed by solar energy,
we did our business in an outhouse...

Annie and David's little summer cabin on Cortes Island.

We showered with the bamboo!

ended in less than a day ...
because within a day, we were fully warmed by the beautiful sights on Cortes Island and by Annie, David and Noella's hospitality (not to mention it was really hot over there)!

Boy and boats on beach at Mansons Landing.
The dock at Squirrel Cove.
John and Gingee enjoying the breeze at Squirrel Cove.
Our last dinner at David, Annie and Noella's included fresh vegies from the garden.

And here we are with friend Andy having
cookies and tea at the beach on our last evening together.

Just before sunset at Mansons Landing.

Evening boaters at Mansons Landing.

What is your favorite island memory?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Huckleberries, Arbutus and Oregon Grape...

John, Gingee and I explored two places this weekend but both included that wonderful wild (and edible) Red Huckleberry.

 Wild edible Red Huckleberries are abundant on Vancouver Island this time of year.
One day to Little Mountain on Vancouver Island, B.C. and the next to Horn Lake,
where John gave Gingee lessons on how to find food should she ever get lost in the wild.

We took this trail to find Huckleberries at Horn Lake.

John taught Gingee how to eat wild Red Huckleberries.

I am amazed at the beauty in these forests on Vancouver Island.

Tree moss.

The wild Oregon Grape.

The beautiful bark of the Arbutus tree.

What beautiful sites did you take in this weekend?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peace and Happiness

I'm in love with my surroundings here at Surfside RV Resort in Parksville, B.C.

Parksville, B.C., Canada

Two bald eagles this morning in the eagle tree.
Peace and happiness can be fleeting.

What in your surroundings brings you peace and happiness, even momentarily?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hanging out...

A view of Surfside RV Resort at low tide (Parksville, British Columbia).

John and I are just hanging out today and wondering what to do next. Ever have days like that?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our resident bald eagle...

Everyone at Surfside RV Resort can see when the bald eagle has landed in its favorite perching tree. Yesterday I sped out to capture its image for the first time.

Sometimes there are two eagles that land here at the same time.

Here is the majestic bird up close.

What a treat to see these birds up so close.
The pleasures of living in a wildlife management area!

What animal amazes you everytime you see one in its native habitat?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Gingee Girl...

Miss Gingee will be four years old on Saturday, the 21st.
John, Gingee and I have been together for almost four years now.

I remember the first day we met her and made a commitment to her.

Our first day together.
I remember the early days of our California Odyssey.

We've made so many memories together, the four of us.

Who'd have known we could love this little being so much?

Happy 4th Birthday Gingee!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Health Care and Colored Hair...

First of all, here is a picture of me today modeling my new grey hair! I'm thinking that I look pretty much the same as I did when it was colored, only now I have grey hair. I have to say that I'm liking it!

Levonne three months after deciding to go natural!
(taken by John 7-15-2012)
And second, all you non-Canadians especially have to take a look at our first "Health Care Insurance" bill from the British Columbia, Canada government. We just took it out of the mailbox today along with John's new "Care" card (his insurance card).

We received this in our mailbox today. Two months after returning to live in Canada, John is now
covered under the British Columbia medical services plan. Take a look at what it costs for
 a month of complete coverage.
To give you an idea of the contrast in costs between the U.S. and Canadian plans, we paid more than $1,000 for the two of us per month on COBRA (at the time of our leaving Arizona in 2009).

Since then, we have been quoted premiums as high as $60,000 per year for health care coverage in the free market system of the United States. Insurance from the U.S. became so expensive over a year ago ($16,000 for the two of us per year), that we chose to no longer purchase it. We decided to pocket the money ourselves and buy health care a la carte. Of course we prayed for the absence of major medical problems during the uninsured time.

Now, at least we don't have to worry about going bankrupt due to John having an illness. And it doesn't matter whether he works or not as health services coverage is not tied to a job. He has access to affordable health care coverage whether he has a job or not.  I'm still not covered as I have to be further along in my immigration process in order to get coverage but we're hoping that won't be too much longer. The lightness that I feel from having John covered should add to my overall health while we wait for me to be covered.

By the way, British Columbia's population size of approximately 4.5 million people is closest in population size to the 25th most populated U.S. state - Louisiana.

How does $64 per month for complete medical coverage for one person compare to what you currently pay for health insurance?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Doe and Fawns...

We caught sight of this doe and her fawns this morning while sipping coffee
by the Jazz (at Surfside RV Resort in Parksville, BC, Canada). We love this place!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Does a deer pee in the estuary?

You betcha! A deer does pee in the estuary!

Have you ever seen a deer pee?

While I was out trying to capture some shots of the wildlife here at Surfside RV Resort (Parksville, British Columbia, Canada), this buck took a pee right there in front of me. I've seen deer all my life but never have I seen one squat and pee! Forgive me if I'm easily impressed.

I must ask. Have you ever seen a deer pee?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The tides have turned...

Yesterday John, Gingee and I arrived at our new home in Surfside RV Resort. We now own an eighty-seven year membership in this oceanside community along with about 240 other RV-pad owners.

Levonne and Gingee on our first day at Surfside RV Resort, Parksville, B.C., Canada.
(Our RV pad is one site away from the tall tree in the upper left corner of above picture.
Our pad looks out over the Englishman River Estuary, forest, mountains and wide open skies.
We are yards away from the shores of the Georgia Strait part of the Pacific Ocean.)
Our move is just in time for what appears to be the real start of summer in Parksville. The forecast is for two weeks of sunny weather beginning today!

Downtown Parksville (a small city of about 11,000 people) is within walking distance for us now and the Parksville Community Beach Park is next door to the resort. (No more excuses for me about not having great places to walk!)

For the next four months (until we head south for the winter), there is lots of exploring yet to do. In addition to watching a bald eagle fly over this morning, we also enjoyed watching wild deer and rabbits graze near our site.

This buck was with two other deer grazing nearby.

The local rabbits look like a mix between wild and domesticated. They sure are pretty!

I'm looking forward to settling down for a while, getting into some regular routines, sipping comfort tea with new friends and family and taking lots of pictures. We've come a long way in just seventy-one (71) days of being snowbirds. And we thought that paradise was going to exist only in Central Coast California!

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and family. What are/did you do to celebrate the holidays this week?