Doors in Loja


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!

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!


Day one up above — Pippy Longstocking-ish!


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!


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.



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.

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…..


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.


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.


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.


Magical Mystery Tour – III


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.


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.




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.)



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.


Magical Mystery Tour I, successful conclusion!





The Magical Mystery Tour – Part II



The Friends of the Cincinnati library book sale, where I could have stayed all day, is where I left off in my last Magical Mystery post. Talk about a book lover’s paradise! For this homeschooling momma, it was close to heaven. Many libraries today are dumping the classics folks and those are the books we use in our day-to-day schooling.  I was not disappointed in this stop. We only had about 45 minutes until closing, by the time we arrived, so I quickly ran around collecting what I could find with the binder I carry for just such occasions. I did knock two books off the list I needed for this year, and several others for successive years. The prices were GREAT, so great that it was no surprise at check out to hear the volunteer mention a used bookstore owner had bought over $800 worth of books the day prior. I bet, and marked them up besides. This gem of a stop is located at the Friends Warehouse, 8456 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45216. I am headed back alone some weekend to spend the entire day on the hunt. The gals with me found a couple of treasures each. But quickly we were off to the next mystery stop.

Ikea! Just the name conjures up happiness so it was no surprise this envelope was chosen. If you’ll recall, I had made 20 mystery envelopes and the choice of the envelope would determine the next stop. This envelope had a plate and a fork on the outside, but my daughter-in-law quickly narrowed it down to some kind of store with kitchen ware and, with the knowledge that we were headed to Cincinnati, figured this clue out. We decided not to stop first thing in the day, when the envelope was first picked, so quickly headed here after our adventure at the library sale. Ikea never disappoints and we found some treasures and loaded up the car. About this point we all needed a break from the heat, so out came the envelopes, and, no surprise, it was time for a brewery.


Madtree Brewing, to be exact, east of Cincinnati and also one of the top 10 craft breweries in Ohio. We found a place to park, admired the tomato bushes growing out front and went it to taste the magic elixir. Well, they tasted the elixir, I had a water, still pinch-hitting as designated driver, aside from the fact I can’t stand beer, lol. This was a production-facility and tap room and it was hopping with people for a Saturday afternoon. So we enjoyed the atmosphere and contemplated more envelopes and where we would head the rest of the day.

At this point, the gals were ranking the envelopes from most likely to least likely and then opening to survey all the options. For this night that included dinner at a winery (we were running late on this option); an outdoor Shakespeare festival in a local park (out due to lack of chairs); an outdoor theatre featuring the Indian legend Tecumseh or the 4th Annual Milford Street Eats Festival, which turned out to be the winner-winner chicken dinner. So the tasting flights were finished and we were out the door.

It was a gorgeous drive to Milford through an area called Indian Hill, billed as an affluent suburb of the greater Cincinnati area. Worth the drive if you have the time.

We finally found our location following the GPS outside of Milford and around, to a big parking lot filled with 24 food trucks, several beer trucks, kid’s games and a center stage with entertainment. It was a beautiful evening and this was a perfect stop. The only disappointment came when the BBQ truck closed down early after running out of food, but there was still plenty to be had and the beer was plentiful. We finished our evening listening to the band play while we sampled the best the trucks had to offer.


Stayed tuned for Part 3, which involved a mixup on where exactly where we were staying and a whole other day of adventures.

Dreds Day 25 ~~ Reboot #1

So it’s day 25 with the dreds, and time for a “reboot”, which is another trip to the dred-dresser to clean up the messy look.  Here’s day 23:IMG_6224


Lots of messy — going every which way.  Some of the dreds had fallen out completely and I was twisting them and anchoring with a small rubber band.  Lots of fly-aways too.  Oh my!

Here’s what happened today:


Properly retwisting my hair and weaving pieces throughout.  It took 3 hours to do these twists, thanks to the ultra-patient Corrine.  Some with a soft head may think this hurts, but I really didn’t think it was too bad.  I think I just like having my hair played with, for whatever reason.  It’s now up in a ponytail where it will stay a day or two.  I also bought a du-rag to keep it covered all night, rather than the half the night the bandana was lasting, which will mean less jostling of my hair through the night.

Young man and I are off to Ecuador in 5 days and I am hoping my hair really begins to lock. If not, I am armed with a crochet hook and just enough knowledge to be trouble, I think.  I may be rebooting my dreds a bit on the road.

Do you have dreds?  How long did it take before yours really locked in?  Any tips for me?