Code Violation, Again

This really happened…today…like 5 minutes ago.

Randy and I get along pretty well.

I know this because of how much we have been through TOGETHER and that’s when you discover the strengths within each other.  If you know both of us (since we got married) you’ve seen that part of our life.

Before that we learned habits that we “bring to the table” on a regular basis.  This one Randy brought is a REGULAR: using the clean dish drying towels to clean up spills on the floor.

This REALLY happened.  Like 5 minutes before I sat down.  I just laugh now (and plan when I’ll be using the family finances to purchase a better towel to replace the one that has been used to clean up anything other than drying a dish…THAT I HAVE SEEN.)  Only one person on earth knows which towels have been used for anything other than drying a dish.

We have pared our stuff down to 1 1/2 10×6 U-Haul Trailers!  Can you imagine that? 


This is me these days. Namaste.
Pip’s Pet Care 

We have moved to a new place in Colorado and today it is 27 degrees outside as I walked our dogs and passed out my new Pet Care Service cards door to door.

Did you know I opened a Pet Care Service!?  My sister helped me!  A blog reader helped me! My amazing Husband Unit helped me! 

Now to get some new clients here in my new town that I am LOVING! 

🙂 Wish me luck before I freeze and wish Randy luck too (maybe he needs CLEANING RAGS from Santa this year).


I think it would be wise to include DO NOT EVER EVER USE MY DISH TOWELS FOR CLEANING UP SPILLS ANYWHERE EVER ON EARTH to wedding vows.
I think it would help a marriage. 🙂

#love #tillDeathdoUsPart #WaitWTH #realLifeProblem #IamsureItoldyouthis52milliontimes #stillLoveMyGuy #HusbandUnit #TLF


Sunday Means Pancakes

Not that PRETTY but sure taste delicious!

Recipe FIRST then a quick story about my first experience (on the outside looking in) of the LDS Church’s “Conference”.  I got home from work in time to watch the section that was specifically for the women.  I normally pour myself a cocktail to watch Columbo but decided I was curious about what and why they split out the men and women and what message they give the guys and how it would be different from the gals.

I didn’t pour a cocktail because I felt sort of weird about watching a church thing drinking a cocktail.  That’s just me… maybe the “new” me?

MY PANCAKE RECIPE, inspired by that LDS talk plus The Joy Of Cooking book my mom gave me.

Sunday Pancakes
Makes 6 decent size 4” fluffy pancakes
Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free*

Mixing bowl (large)
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Small Spatula
Small bowl
Whisk (or a fork)
Large Spatula (for flipping pancakes)

1 Cup flour (or *GF Oat Flour)
1t sugar
1/4t salt
3/4t double acting baking powder
½ baking soda

1c almond milk
2T white vinegar

1T chia seeds
3T water

Spray oil unless using a non-stick surface to make your pancakes.

Vegan butter
Maple syrup
Fruit topping, if you like!

In this order:

Place all ingredients and tools on counter.

In a small bowl (I use my 2-cup liquid measuring glass), blend Almond Milk and vinegar, with a fork swirl around and set aside. Give it at least 5 minutes to curdle the “milk”.

In a separate small bowl, blend chia and water, stir with a fork then set aside. Give it at least 5 minutes for the chia to begin absorbing the water.

In large mixing bowl use a whisk and blend the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Blend wet ingredients together (I put the chia into the almond “milk”). With a fork stir a bit to really get everything well mixed. If you have a few minutes, let it all stand and become blended.

Add the wet to the dry, using a spatula to fold in. Don’t whip it up, FOLD IT. This keeps the air bubbles in tact (which is what will help make it fluffy).

Heat griddle to HIGH.

Spray cooking oil LIGHTLY.

Pour mixed ingredients onto HOT HOT griddle making a 4” circle (or use a ⅓ cup).

Wait for bubbles to appear through your pancake to flip it (normally 3-4 minutes). This is how you know it is cooking through but not burning.

Flip cakes on griddle for another minute or two (you can peek to see the desired browning).

Serve up and enjoy topped with vegan butter, apple butter, fruit…syrup.



Saturday October 6th, 2018

I work at a grocery store in an extremely religious town.   88% (according to the last Association of Religion Data Archives).  Most of the people I see come through my check stand are students.  This is the “future” of the LDS church (obviously) and a very dedicated group. 

The thing I love about these young people is that they are pretty nice, ethical and not confrontational at all.  So, for example, if the person behind them in line (non-LDS) is making snarky comments about some sort of religious thing it does not seem to break their stride or belief.  Also, once they establish that the person in front of them or behind them in line is part of their church they have SO MUCH to talk about and chances are they are related somehow.  These conversations are always cheerful and happy. 

So, by the stats alone, 20% of the people visiting me are not part of the LDS church and they are mostly visiting the store on Sunday when no good Mormon would be shopping (especially in Provo).  Most of them roll their eyes toward any effusive connection they are witnessing between the students (which makes me mad…as though I’m part of that behavior AND I AM NOT).

The point today is to fill you in, from a stranger’s view, on what Conference means or meant to most every single person that went through my line.

The Structure Of My Day (Conference Day Included)

This is important.

My shift began at 9:00am.  I arrived 15 minutes early to talk to my boss about a meeting I am expected to be at for one hour.  We are not allowed to work overtime and I try hard to follow the rules.

The store was busy! Similar to the hours before Superbowl would be in a big city.  None of the employees were smiling.  It looked like HAIR ON FIRE mode.

I did not understand the tone and volume.  It was quite different than every other Saturday I’d worked.   I asked one of my bosses what in the world was happening!?  “Conference” I was told.  “What is that?”  “Big gathering of all of the members to hear the people at the top of the church speak.” “It looks like the day before Thanksgiving!” “I guess it sort of is like that for a lot of them.”

I’d heard this word earlier in the week but had not paid attention. 

One lady got TICKETS to be on the stage. (?)  She was famous for this and got hugs and pats on the back for the accomplishment.  It was extremely honorable I guess. 

Snapped a pic on my 10 minute break.  I get three 10 minute breaks in an 8 hour shift.

Our store is close to downtown Provo where there are loads of meetings, conferences, workshops…you name it…at the Convention Center.  I expected that was what would be happening.

That is NOT what was happening or even close.

Our lines were 6-8 people deep.  We had ALL of our check stands open.  The Self Check-Out line stretched through the store about 40 yards back.

Everyone was hurrying “to buy food for Conference”.  Actually, I think I’m saying it wrong.  When Randy gets back in from changing out his tail light I’ll ask him what the right terminology is.

I got my nerve up to ask a friendly family of eight (Grandma, Mom, Dad and kids) where Conference was.  “We’re watching it at home.”

“It’s televised at your house?  What channel?” 


“Ah, duh.” 

“So everyone here is buying food for this conference?”

“Yes, I’d guess so.”  I think it was the dad and he looked around smiling at the hundreds of people standing in line IN GOOD SPIRITS.

“How long does it last?”

“Two hours.”

“Wait, two hours?” I blurted this out as I thought to myself, “that doesn’t seem like a lot of time to plan this much food!”

“Well the first part is two hours then there is a break  and another conference for two more hours.”

“Are you not allowed to eat during it?” as I stared at the bags of snacks I was scanning.

The process was done…I’d learned a tiny bit there in that few moments of time.

At 10:05am it was SILENT in the store. Like library quiet.   Obviously, everyone was in Conference.

Then the next wave hit.  Just as large as the last one.  I was manning a smaller check stand for “About 15 items” which seemed to be what everyone was getting.

This time I saw a dad and three kids coming through.  4 doughnuts, ice cream and corn dogs.

SIDE NOTE: Diet DP (that’s what it is called by the students) seems to be the #1 drink of choice today.  DP (not diet) is #2.  Dr Pepper.

“Everyone is in a great mood it seems.”

“You betcha they are!  We just got out of Conference!”

“That’s cool.  What did they say?”

“WE ONLY HAVE TO ATTEND CHURCH TWO HOURS INSTEAD OF THREE!!!!” he exclaimed – seriously elated. 

I don’t know how things run – so I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Normally we have to attend 3 hours.  The first hour is ______ (I forget what he said) then the next hour is _____ (again, forget) and the last hour is split out with men and women (or something like that) in private meetings.”

He saw my confused look.  I am guessing he assumed I still did not understand what he just said.  He’s partially correct.  What I was confused about was that this seemed to be the best news since sliced bread.  I didn’t quite understand what or why these folks (who I assumed were super duper dedicated to their beliefs and structure) would not see how odd it was to “get an hour off” of their religion.

“It’s to spend more time with our families.”

“Well that’s always going to be a good idea.”

I am still digesting what I’d heard so far and putting it together as quickly as my old brain would process.

“We’re gonna celebrate together with our doughnuts!”

Off he went, walking a little taller like we all do when we’re filled with good thoughts.

The remainder of that two-hour drive had the same excitement: “TWO HOURS!”  “ONLY TWO HOURS!”  “AN HOUR OFF!  Yipeeeee!!!!”

I continued to process it all.

Just before the end of that second blast I asked a young couple – super cute and they got along like Randy and myself – what the NEXT conference was going to be about.

“Well, we’ll be splitting into the men and the women conferences.”

“How do you do that at your house?”

Cute young wife, “I’ll be going into the church with the other women to watch it together.”

Handsome young husband, “I actually think I’ll stream it online.  I’m not sure where I’ll watch it.”

“What will the men be told that the women can’t know about?”

They looked at each other in a way that I felt I’d stepped a LITTLE TOO CLOSE for comfort…crap…oooops.

“I mean, what will the women talk about?”

They looked at each other again before speaking, wide WIDE eyes.

“It’s about how we can be better wives, sisters, mothers mostly,” she said quickly and I think she was blushing a little, “so we hear what inspiration the Prophets have to guide us.”

“Oh, ok cool.  Are there girl Prophets?”

Time to go…didn’t get that answer.  They  had to jet and I wished them a great day and to come visit again.

They waved me a cheery goodbye, giggled with each other arm and arm and happily (they were sincerely smitten with each other) walked out into the cloudy and sunny chilly day.

I thought about this whole experience the remainder of my shift which was about an hour and a half.

BYU TV.  I was pretty sure we got that channel.  I decided I was going to tune in to this “Women’s Conference” to see what they had to say.

5:00pm could not arrive fast enough.  I zipped over to the State Liquor store for some Tito’s Vodka, Corralejo and Odell Brewing Co beer (7% ABV). The store parking lot was PACKED and I had to park down the street! 

After I fed the dogs I settled in on our new warm comfy couch and aimed the remote toward the TV sans a cocktail.  First I made sure I was recording Columbo and then switched to BYU TV.  There was a man, pretty old, speaking from a teleprompter.

The room was packed with women (I am guessing only women).

The speaker made some mistakes while reading and the speech was stuttered and difficult to understand. 

I recollected the cute wife’s explanation, “better wife, better sister, better mother.”

I got a little bothered about this while listening. 

How is a guy (this guy) qualified to tell a gal how to be a better wife, sister or mother?

How is ANYONE deciding what is “better” or even worse, what is “bad” behavior as another human being?

Maybe I needed that cocktail. 

I forced myself to listen to this man go on and on – making more mistakes reading his teleprompter until I couldn’t watch any more.  PETER FALK!!!! I found my favorite detective and started watching.

Reflecting: all of this experience today felt familiar.  TOO FAMILIAR.

My decades of being part of the church of scientology came rushing back.  Forced EVERYTHING.  Told and taught, “If it isn’t true for you it isn’t true” while being sent to hard labor for wanting to leave and be with my mom instead of participate.

The scientology group is following the map that the Mormon church has created.  I respect the Mormon church for the stories of what they had to go through in order TO SURVIVE as a human race traveling across the USA.  To me, that fortified the fabric within them even more.  That, to me, deserves respect.

Scientology attempts to feed its flock lies upon lies about how their struggle to survive should inspire members to donate to their war chest (built to fight mental health advocates, ALL psychiatry, ALL psychology and any/every person that speaks out against them).


I will always respect that someone has a different point of view.  I am in awe of people that have experienced so much and have actual and factual accounts that they share with me. 

It is difficult to understand why so many people cannot see the irony of being told they get 1 hour back in their lives.

We get to choose our lives, our words, our belief… which is where I think dedicating your LIFE to something that you are happy to be free of (for that hour) doesn’t quite make sense to me.

A belief system that DICTATES your thinking (in any way) is wrong. 

I enjoyed Columbo, relaxing with my feet on my chocolate lab’s warm belly and my cat by my head.

I got up this morning early and whipped up healthy-ish pancakes for my husband which made me a better wife (he sure was happy).

Basically, I just want humans to be kind to each other (and the planet and animals) no matter what God they claim or belief system they follow.

Conflicting Information

Traffic came to a standstill today when a gang of deer needed to cross our path to nibble on the brush this morning.

We waited patiently as they pranced past cautiously. There are 30 deer wandering and we have spotted the older and wiser as well as the brand new fawns. The antlers range from 1 point to 3 on each and BOY do they look sharp. They mostly travel in 5 or 8 and I’m beginning to recognize them.

Today I had a lightbulb moment connecting up some dots.

Even before becoming vegan I loved animals. A lot. I remember how my heart broke seeing them in cages in the zoos wondering how anyone (or any living creature) could possibly WANT to live in a box, cell or behind windows. We put people that are bad in jail to serve time in a cage removed from life as they knew it. To protect us from their bad behavior (and sometimes protect them from themselves).

I don’t know very many humans that call themselves a HUNTER. Most people I know live in cities with plenty of grocery stores to provide the many dietary needs they require. In other words: a Hunter hunts for the exciting feeling they get killing another living creature. That, in my opinion, is unacceptable.

There was this hunter who tried to convince me that the deer population needed to be “handled”. The deer were overwhelming a town eating the gardens meant for the human to consume (in hindsight this must have been vegetables). According to this person the deer were taking over the entire town! Humans were starving to death. It was a very grave situation. Hunting was helping when the population exploded and that is why “Hunting Season” was so “important”. I call bullshit.

This reply is just a way to make murdering innocent animals look gallant and stretching it…American.

I heard two stories (yes, only two…but still… read on and you be the judge) of hunters paying over $5,000 to a guide to take them out into the wilderness to kill deer. They were PISSED when they returned empty handed after a WEEK of attempting, suffering in the cold, waiting…and paying so much. If there are so many deer, why couldn’t even ONE be located and murdered? The other person had a similar fish boating story.

Oh, and when I found out the lakes are stocked with farmed fish I almost spit out my drink. To hear people going ga-ga over the size of the fish that they caught was ridiculous. Go to the next carnival or State Fair and throw your dime on a dish, pick up a duck with a number on it or try to get the ping pong ball to land on the lilly pad. Your prize will be a giant stuffed animal that you can leave on your couch for everyone to oooh and ahhh over when they visit.

When was the last time you heard about a “deer invasion” happening?

I did a quick search of the internet and TWO DAYS AGO in Washington there was a deer invasion! Guess why? BECAUSE THE HUMANS WERE LEAVING FOOD OUT FOR THEM. OMG humans. Here’s the story:

The only other deer invasion I could locate had to do with a 2009 blog post (pretty entertaining and excellent writing) asking the citizens of Bountiful Utah if they would allow a sharp shooter onto their property to help contain the mule-deer problem. IN 2009.

This is a manufactured bullshit problem and I’m not sure who is profiting by it.

I just know it pisses me off that there are actual people, with access to plenty of food (and probably they consume way more than they should for their own health) who get excited at the thought of killing something.

There are so many places that energy could be used to help a friend, neighbor, homeless person…the list goes on.


I’m vegan which may be why these issues affect me deeper than someone that is not.

I will never kill another living creature on purpose.

My choice to be vegan started when I was battling a virus that was invading my mouth, ear, nose and throat.

Pic: My mouth FILLED with blisters on every surface. This was a 6 out of 10 (I kept a record of every day of my life with these blisters gauging their severity in pain). I could not eat or drink anything at all when I was battling. This problem began in 2005 after I had gone a full month eating spinach salads with salmon or tuna on top (canned). No Western Medical Doctor I visited (and I went to ALL that were available to me) could figure out what was wrong. I went to an Eastern Medicine Doctor one of our boot campers recommended and he had treated three people with the same problem! I was in shock. He told me he would be getting rid of the blisters, not covering them up. He also let me know how bad my insides were doing. My liver was working overtime, my kidneys were going to give up and my immune system in general was just destroyed having spent from 2005-2012 battling this problem with ‘modern medicine’.

My doctor told me the next place for it to destroy were my eyes (my vision!). That scared the shit out of me enough to listen to what he said (he did not tell me to be vegan for the record). My immune system was shot and getting worse. I was spending $1,000 a MONTH at the Costco pharmacy (cheapest in town) pumping my body with pills, salves and liquids that weren’t working.

Along with following my doctor’s advice and consuming a gawd-awful herbal tea that our dog Kona (who eats poop off the trails) wouldn’t touch I switched out conventionally grown produce with organic THEN in 2012 thanks to Lisa Eidman’s advice to listen to a nutritionist named Julianna Hever. She was a “Plant Based Dietician” and I’d never heard of that before.

That was the beginning of huge and lasting improvements to my health.

– Sleep soundly

– Dandruff GONE

– Blisters GONE

– Energy UP

The biggest bummer is that I will eat EVERYTHING I can and love food even more now because I CAN EAT IT! I went for years eating barely anything and lost a lot of weight as a result.

I’m currently back to 163lbs which isn’t my highest but creeping in the wrong direction.

I got myself an InstantPot to make lots of dishes in but beyond that I love trying new things out.

Eating without meat is super easy for me now and clearly I’m not starving, that’s for sure.


Crappy Hike At Mammoth Lakes

Have you ever been faced with a choice that was difficult and complicated no matter WHICH way you proceeded?

Right now I am standing at a mental crossroads!

No one has the right answer for me and no one can solve my problems as it is.  I have to do it myself.
This “problem” will affect my future and I began stewing on it after dinner last night.  I did not sleep well at all remembering the same scenario playing out in my past but I couldn’t recollect which path I took and how it turned out.  From family to work, if it involves humans then something is going to go wrong!  
I tossed and turned and woke up fully at 5:00am to Randy’s deep-sleep breathing.  It’s a joke between us – he assures me I snore with no proof on the other hand I have so much footage of him we could make a movie!
Randy had a big hike planned for us.  We are attempting to find and complete as many trails as possible here and this one was an 8 mile “lollipop” course that would take us from Horseshoe Lake up to Red Cones.
I dragged my feet getting ready because my mind was not “into” being happy.  I would go up and down emotionally from pissed off to feeling like giving up.
We ate breakfast then got a text from our boss to get something done at a site and then we planned to be off into the wilderness with Kona, our backpacks and just EARTH.
Rain yesterday made everything smell nice.  I focused my mind on solving my problem while hiking UP.  Seems like everything starts with going UP around here.  I guess that’s better than going down and then having to go UP to finish.
My left baby toe is in desperate need of a Tammy (from The Nails Spa) TLC treatment.  I knew leaving Simi meant I’d never get the best pedicure ever again PLUS I’d never get THE BEST MASSAGE ON EARTH from Cheryl Smith again.  It almost kept us there, no joke.   
It started pulsating (my baby toe) and took my mind off of my problems for about half a mile.  That is when I remembered I had my phone and began looking out at things in my “photographer’s point of view”.  
I saw this tree and it stopped me in my tracks.  It reminded me of how I felt!  Twisted and turned and trying to survive but stuck in a rut mentally.  

I carried on UP then it flattened out.  I re-confirmed with Randy his recollection of this trail when he did it with Rob Winterburn and was happy to hear we would be going flat for a long time.  It was a relief on my toe pain mostly.   I remembered I wore the wrong socks too and a hot spot started up near my big toe.  I cursed myself and carried on not talking much.
This is when Randy turned and asked if I wanted to go back.  
“No way.”
“I’m sorry this hasn’t been very fun.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are barely talking and you have had a frown on your face since we started.”
Ugh, it was more apparent than I’d hoped for.  I changed the channel in my head to try to be more positive.
“I’m good.  I’m just thinking a lot about everything.  Plus we are going up and I can barely breath PLUS my toe is bugging me.”
We continued and the trail began to descend.  This is worse on my toe I come to find out.  Every step on my left food presses that dang little toe into my boot and I force myself to look out and in front of us.  Kona is bobbing all over the place and happier than ever. 
The Cross Country kids from Arcadia began descending on us.  Most of them were polite.  A man on a horse leading a donkey was in front of us and some of the kids did not stop and let him pass (which is the proper etiquette).  That irritated me so I commented out loud to one of the kids…who had headphones on and didn’t hear a word I said.
SIDE NOTE:  If you are out in nature please don’t wear headphones.  Here you could sneak up on a bear and that would be the end.  In other places you cannot hear bikes or horses or danger.  More importantly for your safety.
We got to the Lake McCloed and started out across the glassy water.  It was calm and quiet.  The man on the horse had taken a right I guess.  He’d mentioned he was out doing trail maintenance.  We were all alone!
Then I heard the barking of dogs.  We were approaching a guy yelling, “All of my dogs are friendly!!”   That was a green light for Kona to rush to sniff and enjoy the new company we’d come across.

This man with the herd of dogs was a DOG SITTER (technically) who owns 400 acres of land.  He arrived in Mammoth in the early 60’s and has been there ever since.  He has become the “go to” guy for big dogs that need a day of adventure and energy burning being a dog and doing dog things.   His name is Buck.  THE Buck of Buck’s Dog Sitting.  Currently he has 81 5-Star Reviews on YELP and we’d heard of him a year ago doing research for our trip abroad and wanting the best possible care for Kona.  Check him out here…
Buck gave us a few SECRET (I recorded the instructions) places and called us Locals.  That felt neat to hear from such a cool man. He is all about letting dogs be dogs.  He will only take large dogs that know how to be off leash and will come when called.  
MOVING ON…my mind completely off of my problems now…we hit the trail with Randy reminding me of our limited time frame to get back to Zoey and Piper for some outside fun time too.
It was slow and Randy commented that my spirits were dictating our speed.  I tried to suck it up again as I quietly moved upward.
We finally got about a tenth of a mile from the JMT and decided to turn back.  We’d spent too much time jaw jacking with people we met along the way and had to hurry-ish.
I felt BETTER.  I had my mind made up on what to do and it had everything to do with getting outside and getting my heart pumping and lungs too.  I guess even my baby toe screaming at me helped.
My hike was awesome in the end, as it will ALWAYS be.
Just getting out there was real tough today.  I guess I could have stayed home and stewed in my problem getting nowhere.
I can’t wait to make my decision known to the place that needs to know and I’m perfectly ready to get whatever reply or response or experience comes from it now.
Thanks to my amazing husband, again.
Oh, and Planet Earth!!

Wasting No Time: Got My First Memorable Insult

Home! This is absolutely become my home. I love it.
Too bad there are people wandering this earth that feel they are above other people for whatever reason.

  • They’re wealthier
  • They’re more educated
  • They’ve traveled more
  • They’re on vacation and you are working
  • Who they know
  • What type of car they are driving
  • How old they are
  • What type of handbag they carry
  • Where they live
  • Their RV size
  • Their lack of impact on the environment
  • They’re age
  • They are retired

The list goes on…these are some of the ones that have surfaced in my recent life.

I’ll share two of the most recent ones…maybe they’ll teach something.

Me: “Excuse me Sir. Can I get you to put your truck in the parking place marked for your site?”

Old Man, craning his head out of his trailer door making quite a production of this question… planning his reply. 

He had filled his parking place (which came with his extremely inexpensive site price) with a BBQ, table and lawn chairs instead of his truck. He had his truck parked in a spot AND he had his awning extended making it impossible to park a car. BASICALLY he had 4 parking places taken up and I’m gonna take a stab at the fact that he was one of those people that “ask for forgiveness, not for permission.”

Just as a note: each camp site has a giant space with an enormous picnic table, loads of space for lawn chairs). Also, you get 1 parking place per site. If you haul a trailer you get 2. One for the trailer and one for the truck. That comes along with your camp price. Oh, by the way, if you are a Senior and have a Golden Pass you only pay $12 per night to occupy all of this! It’s such a great deal. The price right now is $10 for a Lifetime Pass. I have been told that goes to $80 in October I think.  

Old Man: “Sorry, is something wrong?”

Me: “Ya, I just need you to occupy two spaces and it looks like you have your stuff in one space, your truck in one and your trailer too.” (I did not mention the OBVIOUS extension of the awning).  

Old Man: “Well do you have someone that needs a parking place?”

Me: “No, I just need to keep folks in the spots they pay for.”

Old Man, descending his trailer like Shrek bothered by Donkey, followed by his 3 year old grandson.

Grandson: (inaudible question and I caught a few words that sounded like “why did I have a trash bag in my hand and what am I looking for?”)

Me to little cute kid: “I’m picking up the little bits of trash I can see.”

Old Man: “So this is what you do now?”

Me: “Yes. I am a Camp Host here. I love it.”

Old Man to his grandson: “See this is what you can do if you don’t go to school.”

Me: staring at him stunned…I say nothing.

Old Man to his grandson: “If you don’t go to school this is what you’ll do, Timmy.”

Me: “OK well let us know if you need anything. I hope you have a great day.”

I thought about that conversation a lot as I walked back to our beautiful home nestled in the middle of giant trees, sun was setting and our pets waited happily for dinner to be served (ALWAYS grateful for everything). I thought about the lack of stress being up here has brought us. The people we have met have been so nice and even better: EXCITED to have found Lake George and a place to spend the night.  

Later on the same day I was preparing dinner for Randy and I.

That guy’s comments were intended to make me feel bad and he did get that result. I had to remind myself of the things I am loving so much about this and also that I’m not complying to the egos of other people.

Don’t do anything to satisfy somebody else’s ego!  

I saw Old Man approaching our site and gulped then got real busy in the kitchen out of sight.

Randy was helping a few new arrivals get settled and Old Man waited off to the side sort of behind a tree. I thought he left so I went out to help a family that had been waiting to check in. As my foot hit the bottom step I saw him there…shit. Couldn’t turn around now.

He waited until I finished helping that family (and I dragged it out as long as I could hoping he’d give up and go away…but he didn’t).

Me to Old Man, “Hi there again. Can I help you with something?”

Old Man: “Yes I just wanted to apologize for what I said earlier. It didn’t sound right.”

Me: “OK thanks. I appreciate that.”

Old Man: “Yeah, I just didn’t find the right words. I was just trying to prove a point to my grandson.”

Me: “Uh, ok?”

He walked away satisfied at his courage to apologize and my acceptance.  

I don’t think it dawned on him that he stuck the OTHER foot into his mouth.

Look: we all make blunders and can (and probably do) offend each other on a regular basis.

I believe this has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that we are all completely (as in 100%) different in every way. No two people could possibly be the same which means no two people could understand what the other feels or thinks.

My solution to this is to try my best to just be positive and see the positive in every situation, no matter how ugly it gets.  
This has become easier living up here at 9,000 feet. Maybe it is the lack of oxygen?

Don’t judge people. Try living without needing to have your ego massaged. Try to just be nice and kind because that’s how you would want to be treated.

OH: and for CHRISSAKE don’t freaking pee on the public toilet seats and not clean it up!

Zoey is now more mobile than ever! We got this brand new cart thing at the local thrift store for $30!

10-4 Loud And Clear. 10-10.

Chiquita Banana Walkie Talkie
Yep, they’re bananas AND walkie-talkies.
I love walkie-talkie stuff.  My sister and I had Chiquita Banana Walkie Talkies and inbetween building forts of our mom’s sheets in the livingroom we would run around the neighborhood testing their range (which was about 10 feet).

1985 was when I was stuffed in a Greyhound bus and taken from the secret Scientology International Base with WAY MORE PEOPLE THAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON BOARD to help fight for RELIGIOUS FREEDOM in Portland Oregon.

Portland Religious Crusade 1985
My actual pin from the Religious Freedom Crusade in 1985.
We marched the streets chanting. We slept on the floor of the Portland Organization (Church) in hallways.  The senior executives stayed in fancy hotels.  I was chosen to be a Communicator for Nancy Pomerantz.  In ENGLISH, I was her PERSONAL ASSISTANT.  It meant I got to have AN ACTUAL WALKIE TALKIE and communicate over it in ACTUAL HAM RADIO LANGUAGE.  Granted, this was for a few weeks of my life but I will always remember what 10-4, ‘what’s your 20’ and 10-10 mean.

I’ve got to share that whole experience in another blog post.

The point of this blog post is to share feelings about people in my life.

To anyone that knows me reading this post I can sincerely tell you that I feel for you exactly what you feel for me.  Actually, DOUBLE my feelings for you.

This goes all the way back to the day I was born.

I have learned so much in the last 10 years.  As I wrap up my 40’s I have to say that this point has become crystal clear.

No matter how old you are or when you came into my life I can see clearer now than ever before.  That is very grounding and makes me feel good.

Forget “Facebook Friends” and “Likes” and the “Followers”.  That is superficial bs in my opinion.  You know who your friends are by that energy you get  and hopefully you give it back double.

Think about the people around you and what they give you.  Don’t second-guess or question it – it is for real!

Mark and Jaydee speak
Time for a speech. Tough.
Last night was a special night for me. I’ve never experienced something like I did.  It was overwhelming and heartfelt.   I want to thank our friends that wanted to celebrate and send us off onto our next adventure.  I’m reading the notes and I admit I’m crying.  I know exactly what I am going to have as a giant void in my life when we lift off and that part just sucks.

It’s not a complete 10-10 just yet. 🙂

But that day is coming soon and I’ll be in touch with my 20.

Check out this CRAZY delicious cake made by Lizzy Whitlock.  Without a doubt she is a young woman to keep an eye on – I can’t wait till she opens up her own business.  Thank you Lizzy!!

Happy Trails by Lizzy Whitlock
Incredible cake. The USA! Made by Lizzy Whitlock.
I will put more photos on my blog as they come rolling in.  I didn’t take ONE photo last night which is a miracle.  What a night packed with so much LOVE.  Ugh my heart!



50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms

FIRST THINGS FIRST:  Thank you Benjamin P. Hardy for this story.  I’m sharing it with people in my life.

The internet is a risky thing to use.

You can “prove” anything you want to prove using it, you can diagnose or misdiagnose yourself, you can see beautiful places and awful places…it’s a trap that seems to waste more time for me than give me time.

Michael Laws shared an article today entitled 50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms.

Our ego pushes us to want things like this…so I clicked the link and began reading. Hmmmm. This is a fantastic post of great thoughts from random people.

Check it out – click here.

Big Changes For Us As A Couple

Randy and I have been on a quest to improve our mental health.

I decided a few months ago to spend way less time on FB because of the hate that was being flung in every direction. Suddenly EVERYONE was screaming their opinions at each other.

We got rid of cable and the newspaper delivery in May 2016. We only have one TV now. According to Nielson, the average number of televisions in an average household is up to 2.93 from 2009’s reporting of 2.86.  In 1975 the average was 1.57.

We looked for and found a few people that were quietly needing help in December last year and have made adjustments to do what we could which meant having less to spend on entertainment out.

We are downsizing our house.  This plan went into motion a few years ago when a dear friend John Chuang passed away after losing a battle with cancer.  As we drove home from the beautiful event to celebrate his life we decided firmly: WE DON’T NEED SO MUCH STUFF!  Our priority shifted the next day and we began filling the garage with items to sell.

We began a “Bucket List” and started knocking items off.

Piper sits semi-patiently at the door of our very first RV Travel Trailer we named The Lorax.
Since 2006 Randy has tried to get us to a Trojan Game so I can kick the thing and see Tommy Trojan.  After making our list, we got the opportunity and this time we said HELL YEAH!  We saved and finally got to see a live SUMO match!  We finally got to see our friend Bill IN THE PIT at the NASCAR races.  I began writing letters to people I was thinking about often.  I got my knees fixed so we can do some bigger physical bucket list items.  We bought a 1999 Coachman for peanuts and took our pets with us on an RV adventure.

We’re making progress but it took starting with a LIST.

We Are Not Alone

I watched a moving video created in Canada interviewing three generations with the same question: “What did/do you do for fun.” (when you were a kid). Grandpa caught fish and watched black bears, mom built giant forts you could stand up in and son’s eyes twinkled at the thought of playing video games. UGH.

Of course no one can help you do anything you are not interested in doing. I get that completely.

But what if you were to see something on a list that you liked and wanted to change to make your life better? I say DO IT. Don’t get approval or need agreement from anyone. If it is legal, do it!

Check out this list and see what you like.  I’d say “teach your kids” but my kids wouldn’t listen to me if I told them anything (maybe later in life).  For now just begin teaching by being an example.

This may be difficult to do.  It was for us.

“You’ll be fine!” as the saying goes in our house and so far, so good.