Monday, July 25, 2016

Travel Log

I have a magic carpet that will take me anywhere. It's a diary of my travels and all that happened there...

I remember buying my Travel Log at a cute little gift shop on Lake Street in Minneapolis. It was the 1990's, I'd just met my future husband and the world seemed like it was just beginning for me. The log diary tickled my funny bone, with it's literal reference. And I already had a love of travel, deeply ingrained (Ha!) by my parents. The empty journal seemed full of possibilities. Where in the world would I go? 

The first entry happened in 1997. A humble trip to Florida to meet my future in-laws. I recorded that our favorite restaurant was Cafe Tu Tu Tango.  It's artist theme and delicious sangria hit the spot. Two years ago, for old times sake, we ate there again. Describing the themed restaurant on Orlando's restaurant row as mediocre, would be a compliment. Times and our well traveled palettes have changed. We lugged our Rollerblades all the way from Minnesota to South Beach that year and were filmed skating by a local film crew. For what purpose, I have no idea. A few years later, we started traveling to Hawaii. Those were exciting and exotic times. Eventually, I stopped recording our Florida trips altogether. But we still go there every year and learn how to have more fun with every  tenacious grey hair. The avian skies of Central America followed the islands and our up-coming trip to Nicaragua in 2017, will mark our 10th trip South of the border. There's nothing like traveling. And as it turns out, my journal is getting quite the work out. It's stuffed thick with memories. 

We pick a flower for each leg of the trip. This particular flower exceeded the size allowance. Just a tad. It was from our trip to Hayward, WI in 2004.

This is my favorite pasted photograph. We got married in Jamaica in 2000. I recorded that there were 5 other beach weddings on our special day. On a side note, the proposal was recorded in 1999. My husband spelled out will you marry me with sea shells, along the quiet shore of Lover's Key State Park in Florida. 

I thought it would be fun to pick the top 5 funniest/most embarrassing/worst entries...

1) Tommy Bahamas changed their bread recipe. Oh my God. The horror. I recorded this first world travesty back in 2003. In Florida. The infused bread and butter is to die for.

2) Touching Monkey poop in the pool. 2008 marked the year of the close encounter with monkey do do in Costa Rica.

3) A lot of humor happened in Belize.  We were snorkeling with our guide Patrick in 2011, when during a long lazy lunch he uttered, "I don't mind a mango falling on my head, but not a coconut" It's still a favorite travel quote. I also recorded an encounter with a few Amish gentlemen that year. They hitched a ride with us as we were leaving the Barton Creek Caves near San Ignacio. As we were driving, they pulled out their lunch pails and started eating. One Amish guy holds up his lunch and states, "Amish Pizza!" It was basically cornbread with a meat topping. We were tickled by their self awareness. Those dudes really did have a sense of humor. Because later, as we passed a friend of theirs driving a horse drawn wagon, one of them insinuated that his friend probably had a stash of pot hidden under the hay. Hmmm. Did he just clue us in to their illicit drug ring? And last but not least from that very same trip, I recorded that a woman passed out during our Iguana encounter. We toured an Iguana hatchery, and the guide attached several baby Iguanas to our t-shirts, just for fun. Dean and I loved it. But one woman was so scared she passed out cold! 

4) This one also falls in the funny first world problems category.  I recorded in our Panama 2016 entry, We also had to go for 6 out of 7 days with no pipas frias!  Coconut water is refreshing when you're at the beach. I will say that.

5) We have so many funny travel memories. And very few disasters, since all of the above could only be described as minor funny business. But since I'm only picking 5, here's the last but not least. In our 2009 Costa Rica trip I wrote, "We thought it was funny when we ordered imperials at the pizza place and the waitress just went to the store to buy them. I don't think beer was on the menu.

 She was smart too. She bought 4 bottles!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The rest of the package...

Nao says...

I found myself looking down into the moss green eyes of a tiny white -and -black cat. He gave me a quick sideways glance, then turned his back and started doing that thing that cats do, winding himself through my legs, arching his spine and sticking his tail straight up in the air while extending his front paws, not toward me but away from me, offering me his butt to scratch as well as a nice view of his puckered asshole and his giant furry white balls. Basically, when a cat offers you his butt to scratch you have to do it and not mind the rest of the package.

 A Tale for the Time being by Ruth L. Ozeki

The character Nao from Ruth's book is not the only one to observe a few ifs, ands or cat butts. I asked my Mom once, "Why do cats have tails?" She replied,"To cover their butts!" Well, I think there is more to the story than that. Hmmm. What other services do tails provide?

1) They help cats achieve balance on kitchen counters, narrow book shelves, ceiling fans, fence posts, tree branches and curtain rods. Basically, wherever they're not supposed to be. 

2) They puff up like feather dusters to show fear, anger or surprise. This is my personal favorite.

3) They swing wildly to display fits of irritation or feisty spirited moods.

4) They swing and sway into your popcorn bowl, swipe across your peanut butter toast, test the temperature of soup or drop into anything you happen to be eating while watching T.V.  Because as soon as you start eating, suddenly, cats find your lap irresistible. 

5) They might, on rare occasions, cover their butts with a meek tail display. But, if you're a cat owner, you know that cats purr-fer to proudly raise their tail, sticking it sky high towards the heavens; their full moon beaming like a bright head light in your face. It's a cat thing.

As an artist, I paint it like I see it. Anything else would be a cat-tastrophy. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Cathedral Rock

I was so energized by our recent trip to Sedona, Arizona. The land of towering red rock vistas seemingly dissolving in front of your eyes. The rugged, iron tinged landscape was breathtaking. There was one caveat though, there weren't any fireworks plugged into the sky like a classic light bright toy on July 4th. But there was dazzling color. Lots of it. The red rock is a blaze of burnt orange, gold and chalky brown. And below the rock, vortexes sizzle with mysterious energy. The desert location is other worldly. Look close and you'll discover delicate blooms, scampering lizards and tiny thorns. Everything has an edge. It could hurt you...just like the barbed wire that symbolizes my story.

One of the central characters in my novel The Chorus of the Crows is named Sedona. And the location also plays a starring role. That's what led us there. And I made so many decisions that will affect my novel based on my experiences there. 

We explored the area thoroughly. It was hard, back breaking book research. But somebody had to climb it! Bell Rock, Fay Canyon and the inspirational Chapel of the Holy Cross all played a roll. The chapel is an architectural marvel built into the red rock. It was an important stop. 

Because a prayer couldn't hurt...

I sat in three separate places, visualizing my thoughts transferred to the page like a spiraling vortex. Then I visualized the vortex spinning into the hands of eager, happy readers. Multiplying, spreading and enchanting the minds like dominoes in motion. Will it help? It can't hurt!

Visit My 3rd Eye for a quick photographic tour of the best of Sedona.