Guaranda

Just back from a short trek through Guaranda, which is about 4 hours southeast of Quito.  I love this quaint little city. I took lots of pics of the colorful buildings, walked up to the monument (that was a 2 1/2 hour escapade up a “short cut” hillside but I arrived), and enjoyed their mercado.  Much in Guaranda is uphill.  No worries as taxi’s are cheap ($1.25 minimum) and I was fortunate that one of these came along just as I started the trek back downhill from the monument.

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I stayed at the Hotel Marquis.  It’s $15 bucks a nite, wifi and hot water – so win/win.  (Though the first afternoon there was no hot water but it’s South America, after all.)

There’s not a lot to do – visit the epic church downtown, sit on the plaza a bit, look for food.  I am always a bit more careful in the small towns about where I eat.  There was a restaurant right off the square, diagonal to the church that wasn’t too bad, and then I located the Food Park.  Worth a visit.  Eight small food vendors and a homemade ice cream cart.  Prices were super reasonable and the food was good.  Definitely a great choice.

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Not much in the way of shopping in Guaranda, though you’ll want to grab the Salinerito cheese sold in multiple little shops, as it’s known throughout Ecuador.

All in all is was a peaceful couple of days and worth a stop as you are trekking through to somewhere else.

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Epic!  “To speak with God, your cell phone is not necessary.  Turn it off please!”

 

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Ecuador – Otra Vez

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So good to be back in beautiful Ecuador for a while.  For those who have never been in South America, it’s like a refreshing breeze of reality and what’s important compared to everyday life in the U.S.  No daily news bites here of what’s the latest that’s irritating the media — just a life of daily work to put bread on the table.  I suppose it’s easy for me to enjoy, not needing to work daily to put bread on my table.  (Shout out to my hard-working hubby.). Traveling also frees me from my daily home routine, which is always nice to have a break from.

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I am living in an apartment in a wonderful neighborhood called La Floresta in Quito.  Supermarket across the street, chicken shops down the way, close to bus lines, both pick up and drop off.  We popped my 14-year old young man into a school where he is getting daily Spanish tutoring and a math teacher is doing some much needed one-on-one.  That gives this momma an added break as it’s the first time in almost 30 years I have not been on kiddo duty.  (Did I mention he’s living there?!).  It allows him to spread his wings a bit too.  It’s very common here in Ecuador to see children as young as 10 or 12 navigating the buses alone, walking to school in pairs, enjoying time in the mall with peers — something you just cannot do much anymore in the U.S.  Such a pity!  I see a healthy pattern of self-responsibility in the teens here that seems to be lacking in our culture.  I am excited for my young man that he gets to choose to grow a bit more, learn from this culture while we are here, and come home with the gift of a second language brewing in his belly.

I am feeling blessed to be called here for such a time as this and enjoying seeing what the days will bring!

 

Doors in Loja

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Of all the places we saw last year on our trip to Ecuador, Loja was perhaps my favorite.  I thought it had the most “old-style” authentic feel to it.  Didn’t hurt that we arrived at the time as their Fiesta por el Virgen de el Cisne.  It’s the biggest festival of the year and we happened in and scored a hotel down the block and around the corner.  So fun!

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The Virgen herself in the main cathedral.

I caught these beautiful doors as we walked around this beautiful city.  Everything about Loja was delightful, festival time or not, and I’d highly recommend a stop.  They had a huge market filled with all sorts of goods that was worth a morning.  Great places to eat.

Happy 1st Birthday Dreaddies

It’s been one year officially!  The dreads I never wanted to get are now one year old and I have to say I just love them.  They’ve grown lots this year.  It’s amazing!  I really see from these pics the difference between how bleached out they got with all the rubbing alcohol/hydrogen peroxide treatments done in South America trying to kill the lice picked up from an Ecuadorian hotel.  That’s my real color growing in.

Cannot wait to see them in a year!

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Day one up above — Pippy Longstocking-ish!

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One year later!  That’s a lot of growth!  Looking forward to wearing them up and in lots of fun dreaddie styles!

Move Over Moab!

Stumbled on a magical place today looking to walk our pup, Pablo.  We were in Buena Vista, CO for a rafting trip and I was whiling away the time while the kiddos rafted.  In the midst of the day good old Pablo needed a walk, so I parked off Main St. at the park.  I noted there were showers and public restrooms together (always appreciated when one is one the road).  As I walked on down to South Main St. I came upon this wonderful little area that reminded me so much of Moab, Utah, but on a much more intimate scale.  Cannot speak highly enough of Buena Vista’s South Main area!  Worth a visit!

Here’s some photos:

Houses around the area.  Many in the Modern Craftsman style.

Friday afternoon Farmer’s Market – 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

 

Fun artsy touches in the park and the surrounding area.  Look at that great use of an old pallet!

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I saw two parks with climbing rocks for the kiddos.  Free fun!

Incredible views from everywhere in Buena Vista.  The Arkansas River runs right along South Main and many walking trails were in the area.

 

Transitions

So. Many. Transitions.  How do we manage them all in our lives today?  Mine seem acute right at this moment – moving from a Rainbow Gathering back into what is termed “Babylon”.  So basically unplugged and in a different world for a couple of weeks back into a very plugged in, very tethered world.

This trip I have been on the road for 7 weeks…..each day much like the other, when traveling in the van.  I joke I am going to put a perpetual calendar in the Roadtrek to tell me what day it is and what the date is.  So different than life at home where the day it is determines the activity of the day.  But both awesome and enjoyed, in their own ways.  It’s just the transitions that take time for me and my brain.  The living in the moment of either world works well, I have found, but the brain needs time to segue in and out of modes.  At least mine does.

It’s a privilege to live in both these worlds.  I take none of it for granted.  Right now the van is parked outside of my son and his wife’s world and they have allowed the man child and I to step into their lives for a few days.  We’ll celebrate the man child’s golden birthday here (14 on the 14th) with a few surprises his older brother has planned.  Memories in the making.  And I’ll continue to process the transitions in my brain while living fully in the moment.  I don’t know how else to do it.

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Sweet new friend, Dario, and I at the evening gathering at Rainbow.  He spent much time teaching me photography and walked miles to his car to get me a replacement SD card when mine malfunctioned.  Enjoyed our time Dario!

Some journeys aren’t meant for the road

Some journeys aren’t meant to be on the road and I’ve been on one in my head lately.  Working through some things; seeing truth in others.  I am amazed at how we see things dimly, most times, with the bravado of certainy, but, really, truly, things aren’t always as certain as they seem.

Coming home from a quick trip to Chicago this weekend, I finally erased the 85 podcasts that I didn’t have room to download on my phone.  It hurt me to do that with so much wisdom waiting to be gleaned.  They’ve been there months and months, but the “stress” of seeing that “85” every time I looked down and the realization that the freedom from thinking I was backed up on podcast listening was more needed than whatever wisdom might be there, so gone they were. I did find it interesting though that one podcast that I erased stayed in my phone and started playing when I got in the car.  I just let it roll, thinking it surely must have had wisdom I needed in this hour.  And it was filled with it.  The chief thing I think I needed to hear was “people weren’t the problem.  (Thanks Kris Valloton.)  I have been chewing on that.  I mean, I knew it, but it’s sunk deep now and opened a door of thought I needed to go through.

I am more at peace after that trip.  Amazing what a good piece of cheesecake, some quilt fabric shopping and some time out of circumstances alone will do.  That and the wisdom gleaned from hours of podcasts and the ability to put some space between life’s circumstances and my response to them.  Journeys are a gift – both those in the world and those in the mind.

 

 

 

You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you need (The Rolling Stones)

This is a magical tale and all true…..

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The young man and I were on a trip to sunny Florida, headed down to serve.  I had had it in my spirit to pray a dog would drop into our laps, mainly as that’s about the only way we could bring a dog back to the family as the hubby and father of this family had shut the door on any more dogs.

Sonny boy, aka the young man, had pined for a puppy for 5 long years, after the passing of our sweet Skippy when he was about 8 (young man).  Pined, prayed, waited – patiently and impatiently – believing, I think, in the impossible as Daddy-O kept saying no way, no how.

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Never say never has become a philosophy of mine.  I truly believe in a God who delights, many times, in doing the impossible, as it seemed the dog situation at our house was.

As we headed home, dog-less still, the young man was looking at rescue dogs, pounds and all things dog online.

But there’s a big difference between dogs dropping in your lap and going and making it happen, and I really felt we’d have a better chance getting Dad’s blessing with a miracle dog.

And then Monday happened.  We travel in a class B RV, Roadtrek by name, and had pulled over Sunday night while still in the FL panhandle.  The only thing nearby, as this tired momma needed to sleep, was a WalMart, known for their friendliness to overnight stops.  So stop we did.  The next morning, we headed in to buy some supplies for the long trip home.  There sat a Rainbow Family member, Little Breeze by name, with one dog on a leash and one dog on a string.  As we asked after Little Breeze, he shared how he came about this string dog.

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Let me say one thing – the young man had shared with me his dream dog – down to the age, breed and look – and I knew the moment Breeze shared about this dog that we had just met “The Dog” and the “dropped in our lap” requirements.

Sure enough, Breeze was willing to share, as he had only gotten the dog to save it from being taken to the pound.  Even more willing, since we were Rainbow Family, leaving a gathering and heading home.

We hurried in to buy a leash, some food and a collar, young man all amazed at this turn of events.  I cannot say I was overly surprised though, after all it had been in my heart.  And I believe that God’s just good like that, caring about the dreams of 13 year old boys.

Pablo is now home.  Nails trimmed, tics gone, and adjusting to a family after being abandoned for a bit.  (That’s when Little Breeze came upon him.)  Hubby has been gracious and even hooked up the dog run in our back yard that Skippy used to use.  I’ve been taking daily walks with Pablo, which I never made a priority to do for myself, and I see how far this blessing was meant to extend.

Never say never.  Never believe you know the way it’s got to be.  Stay open to the miracle.  Say yes to the gift.  In the end I trust…

…We don’t always get what we want…but if we try sometime, we might just get what we need.

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Magical Mystery Tour – III

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So I left off with us eating and drinking at the Milford Street Eats Festival.  I had done a quick check on the location of the hotel, trying to gauge when we needed to leave.  Day 3 was going to take us a bit out of the way, and we needed our beauty sleep.  But, it turns out Centerville, OH and Circleville, OH are two different places, of course, and I realized my mistake as, one by one, we all put the exact address of the hotel into our phones and discovered, oh my, we were 1 1/2 hours away from our next stop.  At this point it was too late to cancel the hotel (and precisely why I travel in my trusty Roadtrek as you just pull over where you are and there you are for the night).  A quick stop at a local truck stop took care of snacks, and we continued on, Magical Mystery Tour intact.

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The next morning the main mystery of the day didn’t center so much on where we were headed (Athens, Ohio, though the gals did not know that), but which way we would head out once done, either forking to the left road or the right road.  The main stop in Athens was Jackie O’s, also a top 10 craft brewery.  The gals weren’t disappointed with the beer, giving it a #1 rating, but the atmosphere was more college town pub, a little disappointing after some breweries just visited the day before high on atmosphere.  Jackie O’s had a huge beer selection.  I personally loved Athens, which had a small, college town vibe.  The biggest thing to know is that not much is open on Sundays, but that might change when the 20,000 college kids hit the town once school starts.  We walked over to O’Betty’s as it’s well known as a foodie stop and hot dog museum.  (Also closed on Sunday in the summers.)  My sweet daughter realized we were only 45 minutes from West Virginia, and I lobbied for driving down and crossing over as my sweet daughter-in-law had never been there.  But saner heads won, and we took off heading to the right fork in the road.

 

 

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Which took us toward Lancaster, OH where the envelopes held the General Sherman’s birthplace, the Decorative Arts Center of OH (filled with Edith Head costuming, I had read) and the Rockmill Brewery.  It was decided to head for the Brewery, but much to our disappointment, we pulled up and saw a sign indicating it was closed, in spite of information to the contrary on the website.  At this point we were pretty west of Lancaster so a vote was taken to proceed to our next destination, which was Dayton, Ohio and where my son would be rendezvousing with my young man and I would trade him his wife for the kid.  (Not really, but you get the drift.)

 

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We arrived quite early in Dayton and ended up at a lovely coffee shop, Press Bar Coffee, on Wayne Street.  We enjoyed some cold brew and, much to our delight as we were driving to a park, came round the corner smack dab into the Oregon District, Dayton’s “only entertainment district and first historic neighborhood located near downtown Dayton, Ohio”, according to their Facebook description.  Dating back to 1829, this street was charming with lots of little shops, bars, breweries and a few restaurants.  I picked up a load of quilting books at the Goodwill located on this street.  We enjoyed this serendipitous stop!

Next up, Warped Wing Brewing, a microbrewery in a historic, industrial building  just a few blocks from the Oregon District.  Warped Wing ended up winning the Magical Mystery Tour #1 slot with its combo of beer and atmosphere.  We sat for a couple of hours waiting on my sons, delayed by a slew of construction traffic on I-70, munching a yummy vegetarian pizza and playing cards.  There was a delightful mix of games to sit and play.  Our only disappointment was that the kitchen was closed one hour prior to the brewery closing and there were no announcements this was going to happen.  Ten minutes after the kitchen closed, my two sons arrived and we were getting ready to order dinner for all of us, but were informed at that point that the kitchen was shut down.  And, unfortunately, at this late hour (7:15 p.m. on a Sunday) so was most everything else in this area of town.  Thus our Magical Mystery Tour ended with myself and two of my kiddos headed north, and my son and his wife headed home.

The best thing about the weekend?  We’re going to do it again!  My sweet daughter-in-law took responsibility for next year’s tour.  We’ll go to her as they will be living in Denver, Colorado at this point.  She’ll include her momma, too, and I think we’ll see this Tour morph into a slew of memories, year after year, that won’t be forgotten.

 

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Magical Mystery Tour I, successful conclusion!