Sunday, April 29, 2012

Snowbirds Day 4

I still can't comprehend what it means to be snowbirds. Or maybe I should say I can't imagine just yet what I fully want it to mean. Regardless, today was day 4 of the new lifestyle.

After sleeping in this morning at Doran County Park at Bodega Bay (California), John and I decided to go over to Occidental to Howard Station Cafe for breakfast. We've been going there for over twenty years as we travel through or vacation in the area. We weren't disappointed either by the Cafe or by the picturesqueness of the town.

Bohemian Highway - Main Street of Occidental, CA.

Trees blossom everywhere.

Bohemian Market in Occidental.

Every yard had a tree with these blooming flowers.

By the time we returned to Doran Park, it was noon. We relaxed for the remainder of the day and gave ourselves a chance to just be. Tomorrow I begin recording the remainder of Virginia's (my ninety year old friend) personal history over in Sebastopol. John said he is over to Calistoga Hot Springs for a soak while I'm working with my friend.

Another Bodega Bay scene from The Jazz.

We haven't planned our route north to Canada as yet. We're waiting to see which way calls to us closer to when we take off in a few days.

How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Snowbirds Day Two

First an update on how the embracing of my gray hair is going...

Almost there. With the next cut, I'll be all gray.

Overall, I'm liking this very short cut and I'm enjoying the gray hair too. Of course, as you can see, there is still residual from previous coloring showing. With another cut in a month or so, I should be all gray.

Next, I have to take charge of eating more healthily and regular exercise. Both have gotten out of control over the previous months. How had the simple life of a park volunteer become so complicated as to remove me from taking good care of me and us?

Today is day two of our new snowbird lifestyle. It does not yet feel real or normal! I know I've not fully registered what it means!

Over lunch yesterday in Half Moon Bay, John and I began to talk about what's important to us as we engage in this new way of life. We have lots to sort through yet.

John and Gingee waiting for lunch to arrive yesterday in Half Moon Bay.

We arrived at Bodega Bay in Sonoma County California late afternoon yesterday. We'll camp here for several days before continuing our rv adventure north towards British Columbia, Canada.

The scene outside our window this morning at Doran Beach County Campground in
Bodega Bay (Northern California).
I am clear that what is important to me as we move forward with our lives is that I want to enjoy the moment and enjoy the journey, I want to nurture my connection with family and friends, I want to keep growing as a person and I want to maintain my health. Finally, I want to make the most wonderful memories yet with my life partner John and my doggie girl Gingee.

What was life like for you this past week?

Monday, April 23, 2012


John and I are daring to attempt to shape our future yet again. We know that we're not the ones in control but we continue to dream.

Since beginning the lifestyle of living in The Jazz and traveling about from park volunteer job to job, we have learned that we enjoy the freedom from caring for a house, from working 8-5 five days a week, from being in one place most of the time. Although this is earlier in our lives that we pictured ourselves retired, we are going to attempt to put a full-fledged semi-retirement in place.

We are going to attempt living as "snowbirds." Wikipedia states: "The term snowbird is used to describe people from the U.S. Northeast, U.S. Midwest, or Canada who spend a large portion of winter in warmer locales such as California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt region of the southern and southwest United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean."

What that means for us is that we plan to live in Canada from May through October, then head to warmer southern climates November through April. The key to the success of this plan has to do with having enough income to support this nomadic way of life for as long as it satisfies us.

I would love to have two wonderful communities in which to split my time. I would love to have warmer, drier weather all year long. At different times of the year, I would love to take turns being closer to good friends and family that live far apart from one another.

By this time next week, John, Gingee and I will be heading northward towing The Jazz. We'll spend several days in Sebastopol (California) finishing up my ninety-year-old friend's personal history recording before traveling on through Oregon and Washington and then into British Columbia. A month from now, we'll be settling ourselves in yet another new "home" for a northern summer's stay.

Any tips for living a successful snowbird lifestyle? We definitely want to hear them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fun things I've done in Los Angeles this week...

1. Enjoyed a take-out dinner from Shalamar Cuisine of India at home with Nancy. (I loved the Eggplant Bharta with Nan bread.)
2. Conducted research for a ghost writing project. (This took many days.)
3. Had breakfast (alone) of fresh fruit, a zucchini walnut muffin and a tall skinny cappuccino at Starbucks on Washington in Culver City.
4. Walked the perimeter of Cheviot Hills Park 18-hole golf course with Nancy.
5. Had dinner with Robin at Tender Greens on Culver Blvd. in Culver City. (Loved the Happy Vegan meal.)
6. Drove to El Segundo from Culver City down Culver Blvd. to Vista Del Mar and was delighted by the sight of fields of yellow mustard along Ballona Creek.
7. Met my personal coach Trish Lay in person for first time. (She and I have been meeting for the past year via Skype!)

And the week isn't even over yet!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Oh oh Calico...

During our RV adventure last month, John and I happened upon the little ghost town of Calico near Barstow, California. It was a fun diversion from the road.

What little surprise places have you found along the way lately?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A warm cozy bed as rain taps on the Jazz's rooftop...

I woke this morning at first light to the sound of rainfall. Gingee curled at my feet atop the bed covers. Cool freshness blew gently in through the open window. Water droplets formed random patterns on the window pane. How precious was the moment.

With John away working in Northern California, I rose and put on water for a cup of Starbucks VIA extra bold. I gathered my laptop and with coffee in hand returned to Gingee and to my warm bed. While hoping that John would not get too cold or wet as he worked through the day on the inspections of water lines, I pulled the covers over my legs and began my routine of checking email and looking at Facebook to see what may have changed overnight in the lives of those that I visit there.

Before long, I returned to pictures of our recent trip to Death Valley and Valley of Fire. It had been warm and sunny in those places unlike this morning's wet coolness.

Valley of Fire State Park Desert Floor

Valley of Fire State Park 2
My mind turned again to the idea of "contrasts." How the experience of one thing is enhanced by having recently experienced its opposite. How I need contrast in my life to notice and truly appreciate what is before me.

This morning there was the quiet opposed to John's and my usual noisy start of the day. There was the active wetness outside instead of the usual sunshine. There was remaining in bed instead of my usual get up and dressed to begin the routines of feeding Gingee, breakfast preparation and figuring out what must be attended to in the day. Contrast is critical in order to experience moments more intensely.

When something feels out of sync or off balance, I must remember to ask myself what contrast might enhance my experience of the moment. Then, I need to take action. Now, it is time to rise and be in the world.

What significance does contrast play in your life?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hit The Road JACK...: I - Independent Contractors

I like this post from Kimberly and Jerry today. It makes me think outside the box of "camp host." Who knows but with some creativity and confidence, John and I could have yet ahead of us some of the greatest RV adventures of our lives!

Hit The Road JACK...: I - Independent Contractors: Many folks that travel full time and work call themselves Workampers ; they even have a website and magazine for it.  We prefer to use the...

Saturday, April 7, 2012


taken by Levonne Gaddy

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
Dalai Lama

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fertilize Generously With Books, Music and Art...

As we unload things we'll not need on our RV adventure to British Columbia and make lists of all the things we need to do before we leave on April 30th, I attempt to fertilize my mind with written word, with music and with art in hopes that I can be better than I have been.

This morning I listened to Natasha Bedingfield's youthful voice as she sang her song "Unwritten." I was transported to a place of wonder, soulfulness and expansiveness with the melody and words:
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
Yesterday, I was reminded that no one individual is alone no matter how lonely s/he might feel. Albert Einstein in his book Ideas and Opinions wrote on our interconnectedness, interdependency, and shared existence:
"When we survey our lives and endeavors we soon observe that almost the whole of our actions and desires are bound up with the existence of other human beings. We see that our whole nature resembles that of the social animals. We eat food that others have grown, wear clothes that others have made, live in houses that others have built. The greater part of our knowledge and beliefs has been communicated to us by other people through the medium of a language which others have created. Without language our mental capacities would be poor indeed, comparable to those of the higher animals; we have, therefore, to admit that we owe our principal advantage over the beasts to the fact of living in human society. The individual, if left alone from birth would remain primitive and beast-like in his thoughts and feelings to a degree that we can hardly conceive. The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not so much in virtue of his individuality, but rather as a member of a great human society, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave."

One my favorite artists is Susan Cornelis. I visit her blog often and feel inspired to create. In Conversations with the Muse, she shares her amazing creations and they are beautiful.

Susan Cornelis "Nested"

What book, music or art have you used recently to stimulate your creative thoughts?