jump!

It’s done. We are officially homeless and jobless. Currently staying with family until we pick up our home on wheels in 2 days.

I feel about 5000 lbs lighter in my soul. Letting go of material possessions…who knew it could feel this good.

Thank you Universe.

 

Poor lonely little blog. Sad face.

That well I fell down, it was deep and vast. I’ve pretty much explored 1/15th of it. I’m leaving the rest for breakfast, as my big boy grandson says when he’s had enough to eat.

Since August (!) I have gone camping again, this time to the Eastern Sierras where I taught a soap making class to a group of survivalists  and herbalists and I learned how to dye fiber and comb wool and make sourdough bread and survive the apocalypse. If it ever goes down folks, you want to come with me. I’ve got the soap! No need to be dirty or stinky. And I can make bread.

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I came home and began “cleaning” house. Again. After 20 + years it takes a good long while to “clean” your house and make it ready to sell. Which we did. We are now in the throes of last-minute thises and thatses. We are almost all pared down to the bone and still searching for our home on wheels where we plan on living for the unforeseeable future.

To soothe myself I have taken up long showers and baking. Not simultaneously. The long hot showers are taken in the evening and the baking happens in between everything.  It all started when I discovered the Great British Baking Show. Oh my. I’ve not gotten on the scale since starting this little obsession because I can tell it will hurt my feelings. Also I don’t care. In a few short weeks, I will be taking very short showers and not baking anything. So.

I’m still delivering things to the forest though I’ve slowed down a bit. The baking and the showers and the selling the house thing has taken up most of my mental capabilities.

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Digging Deeper

I fell down a deep hole when I got back from my Monk and Me Road Trip.

I haven’t climbed out. I’m digging deeper and excavating all sorts of stuff.

This morning I was walking through a grove of young pine trees. They were so green they were practically glowing but there was one that was long gone. Gray and brittle, limbs falling, not one spark of life left in it. The unlucky one?

Joseph Campbell was once granted an audience with Sri Krishna Menon and his question to him was, “Since all is brahman, since all is the divine radiance, how can we say no to anything? How can we say no to ignorance? How can we say no to brutality? How can we say no to anything?”

To this Sri Krishna Menon said “For you and me, we say yes.”

We can go ahead and say no. It will make no difference.

Just saying.

Namaste

Here’s your moment of zen.

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Again.

The 15 to the 58 to the 99 to the 5 to the 46 to the 101 to the 1.

And I’m home again.

That drive through the desert to get in and out of California is brutal.

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it seems endless

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I had to stop in the middle and the middle was just outside of Barstow at the beautiful and truly scary Desert Springs RV park.

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It was a Steven King story in the making. Scarier than the previous night when I was camped in the forest alone and thought I heard someone trying to get in the van.

And now for the truly scariest part of it all. Babysitting the grand babies for the next few weeks.

God help us.

Standing in the Need of Prayer

I’m back in the forest near Flagstaff, surrounded by tall pines. No mosquitoes!!  Drove long and hard, through Indian reservations, a thunderstorm and a place called Hot Eye,where I mean to to go back and take a soak.

It was sad to leave my friends in Colorado but that drive down to Santa Fe and the day I spent there was absolute magic.

I spent the fourth of July strolling through old town Santa Fe with about a million other people. Place was packed! filled with artists selling their work and a bandstand right in the middle of the plaza with four old folks playing strings. A guitar,mandolin,bass and a fiddle, playing Blue Grass and though I’ve never been a fan it was captivating and sweet and I sat and listened and tapped my feet and watched the most fascinating thing on earth. Humans. Of every sort. A woman got up and started dancing and I thought, “there’s one in every crowd”.  I watched her face as she freestyled around the foot of the stage and was transfixed by the pure joy on her face, in her hands and feet and knees. She was rapturous. I went and sat next to her and we talked about how beautiful it all was. I drifted through the crowd, had a martini at a bar and then went to church. The cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi where I walked and sat in the Stations of the Cross Prayer garden.  Beauty and horror planted there side by side. Blooming roses and lavender and Jesus on the cross.

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I’m on my way home now.

namaste

Final Days in Colorado

Crestone, Co at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, was enveloped in a cloud of voracious mosquitoes that tormented us night before last. (Actually a few nights ago. I’ve tried posting but internet signal in this valley is very hit or miss.) We were a sad little sight tucked away in the van looking longingly out the windows at the rushing creek running just through the trees next to our campsite. Our huge campsite with picnic table and fire ring. We waited thinking the cool evening air would chase them away, but it did not.2015-06-30 13.33.27

We scooted in and out of the van to make bathroom runs and once when the monk was trying to get back in, the door jammed and he started running back and forth and in circles squealing trying to outrun the mosquitoes, I was laughing so hard I could not open the door.

The rest of the evening was spent talking, reading and then quietly listening to the sound of the creek. Lovely and sad.

A few nights ago, another mineral springs extravaganza. That camp had everything one could possibly want, including bunny rabbits running wild everywhere. A storm blew through that night and the monk and I had to jump out of bed to pull in the awning. The next morning the monk informed me we were drinking Genghis Khan’s urine, or dinosaur pee. I don’t know where that came from. I thought you all should know.

We met up with two other friends, Joyce from Denver and David from South Africa. We make quite the crew. You just don’t see many 6′ + white Buddhist monks with such an entourage.

We stayed at the Great Sand Dunes National Park for two days cloud watching, eating, talking and last night a movie on my little Chromebook.

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Here we are at the lodge restaurant where we ate so many meals we were on first names basis with the supremely patient and wonderful waiter Cody.

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And what are the odds….While I was cooking my oatmeal in the van this morning, the young man (top left) knocked on the cabin door where Joyce and David and the Monk were, and asked to use the bathroom. They turned out to be such a sweet group from Sri Lanka, recently moved to Denver. The guy literally took three steps back when the monk opened the door and asked him ” Are you Sri Lankan?”

One of the many gifts of travel is the people you meet and connect with.

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The monk “releases” a Quan Yin statue in the wild. Members of his congregation bring these statues to his temple when they move or someone dies or they no longer want them. The monk keeps them until he finds homes for most of them and some he “releases” in the wild. This one was placed under a tree, down a dirt road not far from a farmhouse. While we were there, three very cool dogs came to greet us. They’re the only ones who know where the statue is hidden.

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It’s our last night in the valley and I will be sad to leave. I’ve fallen in love with this incredibly beautiful State. I can’t wait to come back with Tearful.

Everyone heads to Denver in the morning but I am still undecided which way to head home. Southern route or northern?

Joyful Bliss

It was a beautiful evening. We let the storm wash our dinner plates at our camp in the middle of an enormous valley surrounded by mountains. Joyful Journey Hot Springs. Pools, yurts, teepees and a lodge, lured us in for the night. For $139 you can get rubbed and wrapped in sarsaparilla and espresso among other herbs while getting your scalp massaged.  Yes, it’s true.

The day before we spent in Salida, Co where the first thing we did was go into town to soak in the mineral springs and shower. After that it was food and wandering until we wound up at Joyful. In the morning we soaked again and afterwards the monk did his chanting service ending with the heart sutra while I did my practice.  I’ve discovered that practicing yoga while the monk chants is like having my soul bathed, rubbed and fed. I didn’t have the Native Wrap on offer but I’m pretty sure it could not have been better than that.

We are now in Crestone, CO, home to dozens of temples of all stripes at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The Bliss Cafe is graciously letting us charge our various toys and providing free wifi.

Scenes from the journey…

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Grace Just Is

We are working our way east faster than planned. Triple digit temps throughout Utah ruled out Moab and Arches NP and other spots I had hoped to explore. Instead we are powering through to Colorado. The Rockies or Bust!

We tried to find a tortoise preserve in St George Utah and found goats instead, grazing along a long and winding washboard road. We never found the tortoises but we did find a delicious breakfast for lunch meal at the Black Bear Diner where one of the kitchen staff came out and asked, through an interpreter, to take a photo with the monk. Celebrity monk.

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We pressed on to find a camp at higher elevation and found one in a valley surrounded by giant rock formations. Utah has lots of those.

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It was a fine camp for one night.

Last night we made camp in a hotel and we watched the President of the United States sing Amazing Grace. Yes. It was amazing and yes we are filled with grace, whether we deserve it or not. Grace just is.

namaste.

Viva Las Vegas

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It’s 6 ish am and it’s 109 degrees here in Las Vegas. The Monk is doing his morning service, chanting in Chinese and next door the Australians are having an argument. What is there to argue about at 6 am? Nothing. Consciousness has barely taken a foothold. In my world no words should be spoken above a soft whisper before 8 am.

Yesterday we went to Walmart and a young man carefully approached us in the hardware aisle and asked the monk why he was dressed that way. This happens wherever we go and it always surprises me. Not that people are curious but the people who muster up the courage to ask are always a little…strange.  This man made me feel like we should maybe leave immediately. I think it may just be the after effects of recent events AND we watched Nightingale the night before and David Oyelowo’s brilliant performance was still swirling in my brain. The idea that people in such excruciating pain are walking among us shopping, going to church, pumping gas and all the while they are sinking into a deep madness.

And we’re in VEGAS! I’m going to breakfast in my jammies. Then we’re off to Zion National Park. This WOULD be the week for a heat wave and by heat I mean fucking outrageous 3 digit temperatures. We have lots of water and my hope is that the temperature will plummet down to the 80’s by this evening. Wish us luck.

namaste

Monk and Me (Chanda) Roadtrip 2015

This year’s annual Monk and me road trip has officially begun. We’re in LA at the lux and fabulous home of my cousins. Eating gourmet food and swimming in the pool under the clearest blue skies imaginable. This is why people live in LA. The weather. That and Sprouts! My favorite supermarket because they make a tasty cranberry and walnut bread and they have Dr Bronner’s Patchouli moisturizer.

We head out in the morning, in a northeasterly direction with the intention of meeting up with friends in Colorado, camping along the way.

The Monk tells me that the Buddha had a driver when he ventured out from his childhood home. His name was Chanda so I’m adopting that name for this trip, especially after I looked it up and found this: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chanda

Scenes from LA…

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Last year’s trip:

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I spent the last week up in Reno/Truckee with my beautiful daughter and her savage crew. It was exhausting and lovely. Those boys are a handful. Baby boy likes putting a colander on his head and running around.

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He’s got two speeds blur and coma.

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His brother only has one speed. It is decidedly NOT coma.

On my way home I stopped for lunch at Panda Express. You might think the eggplant and tofu with a bowl of brown rice a healthy and tasty choice if you’re that kind of crazy. I don’t recommend it, it was about as tasty as soggy cardboard. But.My fortune cookie clinched the deal when I was trying to decide which way to head home with a misbehaving van.

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I took the long and scenic route down highway 395 which is absolutely as spectacular as everyone says it is. Unfortunately, the Sportsmobile was not happy and it made for a kind of nerve twisting road trip. I was planning on stopping at Mono Lake and Mammoth Lake and several other spots along the way. Instead I stopped at Tuttle Creek Camp at the foot of Mt Whitney. It was late ish evening when I arrived so I made myself some dinner, popped open a bottle of wine and feasted and then lay down on the picnic table and watched the stars light up the night sky. It was grand and it drained all the worry from my tired bones. It’s a beautiful spot. I can’t wait to go back.

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I managed to make it back to the coast in one very tired sweaty piece and even managed a “release” in one of my favorite spots along the Kern River.

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This morning the Ommobile II was dropped off for inspection and repair before I head out again next week for the annual Monk Road trip.

Fingers crossed.

Namaste

Owl’s Roost

Another one of my girls is set free. When I started these little stitched pieces my daughter was somewhere around 9 or 10 ish? I would stitch a little portrait and ask her to write a small story to go with it and then I’d stitch the story to the portrait. I sewed a few of these onto pillow covers. Sadly, these are gone. Somewhere. I have one left. It will eventually find it’s way out into the world along with the others.This one never got her story told.

Until now.

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She wore the dress every day for months. She rinsed it in the bathroom sink every three or four days, depending. She would fill the bathroom sink and use some of her lavender soap to wash the armpits then hang it in the shower to dry. Some mornings the dress was still damp but she would put it on and let the heat from her skin do the rest. It would be dry as a corn husk by the time she got to the Owl’s Roost.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

An enchanting walk along the hills this morning. It started out chilly and gray and then the sun showed up and made everything smile. I walked up and down and all around and found fields of these everywhere…

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listened to this insightful talk this morning, thanks LaVonne.

and found a perfect tree for her…

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She’s not terribly pretty but she has beautiful lips and she’s dancing in the breeze under the dappled shade of a pine tree.

Namaste.

and yet another…

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 I pulled into this parking spot, went in and bought some chocolate chip cookies and when I got back to the car and looked out the window, I saw this perfect tree. It’s a busy place, I’m sure it was noticed quickly.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

Namaste

Third Release

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I was so happy to hear that someone came upon my first “release” in the almost wild. I have not heard a peep about the second and I wonder. It was an old stitched pieced of a nude. Too risque? Maybe.  Oh well. I hope it finds a happy home and that someone will let me know.

This third was a quick tie up to a tree and run as it’s on a well traveled path and it is a holiday weekend. Lots of people in town so I know it will be found fast.

Who knew this could be so fun?