Bali Dreaming 

    I recently went to Bali, Indonesia for 10 days. Amazing experience. Lots to share. Wanna know something weird? I couldn’t remember one single dream I had while in Bali…and I tried to remember them. Since I’ve been home I have had some pretty vivid dreams though. I won’t get into them here because, lets face it, dreams can be weird. Powerful symbolism sits in our dreams, any decent dream interpreter will tell you that. So why couldn’t I remember any of my dreams in Bali? Maybe it was the jet lag. Maybe the island simply stole my dreams. Why? I’ll never know. 

    Adjusting back to “western life” was exhausting. Bali was a place that allowed me to truly disconnect. I miss it, but happy to be home. I like the USA. I love my dogs and missed them while I was away. Good news is they had a blast while I was gone. I board them at a Doggy daycare so they can play all day. When I picked them up, it was as if only a few days had passed. Maybe that’s what it seemed like to them? It must be so nice to live in the moment. Dogs have a lot to teach us. 

    Ok kids, I’m off to dreamland…more to come soon!

    A hui hou kakou

    Kailua Beach 015Every single day here is perfect. It’s been a few years since my visit, but at least that’s what I still imagine. Everywhere you look is a photograph. I’m glad we made this grand group of islands a state. A friend I met in Peru pointed out the fact that the United States is so diverse, you never really need to leave. We have it all. Well, I guess that depends who you ask. I think we have it all (but I still like the option of being able to leave). But I digress. Let us get back to these white sandy beaches in Hawaii.

    Hawaii Diamond Head 013The water was various shades of blue.  It felt like I’d never seen these colors before. OK, I’m sure I had but maybe not in such large quantities. I’d love to take a month, rent a beach house and just BE here. Dogs ran free on the beach. People snorkeled in the surf. The smell of BBQ and exotic flowers were a constant. Yup, I was a spoiled American on vacation in Hawaii. I only went a few days and was just on the island of Oahu, which many Hawaii purists (or snobs) will say it’s not the real Hawaii since its so built up. Bologna, I say. It was Hawaii enough for me. That said, I want to visit the other islands one day. I need a good months vacation here. It’s good to want things. I bet AirBnB has some deals. Now to just get a month off work, hmmm. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, but one day.

    A hui hou kakou Hawaii…A hui hou kakou (until we meet again). 

    Have you been to Hawaii? What were your thoughts?

    The Oscar Goes to…

    Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.54.18 AMWhat did you thing of the Oscars this year? I wasn’t a fan. I am glad Leo (finally) won, he is a talented actor. However, I felt like the overall theme of the show was “making fun of the lack of diversity issue” – I mean I get a few jokes here and there, but it was too much of a common thread. I think there will be some kind of evolution of the Oscars, most young people I know don’t care about it and rarely know the movies up for Best Picture. I guess it’s been this way for awhile. I didn’t even see many of the films this year. I did see Spotlight and didn’t think it was bad by any means, I just left feel like I’d seen a documentary, not an entertaining movie.

    I think Hollywood and the entrainment industry is important to our culture. Hollywood has the ability to tell amazing stories and truly change the world. Not everyone will always be pleased. I’m optimistic we, as a human race, will figure it all out and provide more balance. Our world is changing, we have to keep up.

    Now for some uplifting Oscar quotes…

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    Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 5.47.48 PMI have a lot going on in my head today. The number 14 is looping around because it’s my 14th sober birthday today. Good stuff. Seems like a long time, yet not a long time. It flew by. I have done a lot of cool stuff in the last 14 years. Visited Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Peru and most of the greatest cities in the U.S. Adopted three (two of which I still have) amazing dogs. Grown in my career. Moved states. The list goes on. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I’m also excited about what’s to come.

    I have been googling 14 and various strange things come up. The most interesting to me was Angel Numbers. I’m not really familiar with this practice, but I like what they said about 14...

    Number 14 is a blend of the energies of the number 1 and number 4. Number 1 denotes initiative, new projects, attainment, success and fulfilment.  Number 4 resonates with working steadily towards goals and aspirations, truth and integrity, practicality, system and order. Number 14 is a number of balance, harmony, temperance and prudence. It also relates to self-initiation, unity, justice and independence and signifies enthusiasm coupled with determination.
    Angel Number 14 is a message from the angels asking that you keep your focus, positive affirmations and intentions on manifesting your goals and aspirationsAngel Number 14 can be a sign from your angels that they are there to assist you with manifesting your true desires.
    Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 5.48.19 PMAngel Number 14 is a message that if you act with caution and wisdom you will be successful in business, money matters and life in general.  Begin worthwhile projects that will bring long-term benefits and future success.
    Angel Number 14 encourages progressive change, renewal and growth, and tells you to share your knowledge and wisdom with others. It also tells you that what you put your efforts towards will reap rewards in the future.
    The message of the Angel Number 14 can also be ‘careful what you wish for ….’

    Check-In with Eli and Aubry

    10860857_780132702055413_4964573435350580356_oI had a recent check-in with my dogs, Eli and Aubry. What’s a check-in mean exactly? Well, I had my animal communicator talk with them, to see how they’re doing, of course. Animal communicator? What the heck is that and why do you have one? First things first – as you may remember from my previous post on this very topic, an animal communicator isn’t a ‘psychic’ (although there are pet psychics). An animal communicator is someone with the ability to connect with animals and, well, communicate with them. Mine is named Marty Meyer and she is wonderful. I have used her for years.

    Yes I was skeptical at first, but she is spot on with their personalities and little quirks that nobody but me would know about. She’s also never met them or seen them. We do it all by phone. I know what you’re thinking, go ahead and think it. I love using Marty and her abilities to find out what’s going on with my two favorite guys. I mean, they can’t speak to me so I can only know so much about them. Marty is able to connect with them on another level. She communicates with them through feelings and images, not actual speaking (because dogs can’t speak like humans, duh). Anyway, I could go on and on, but I’d rather share the update. Spoiler alter, my two little princes are happy campers and love me very much (it’s always nice to have more validation – as if the greeting I get upon each homecoming from work weren’t enough).

    Eli says:

    • Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.35.18 PMHe tries to be a good dog all the time and feels he is very dependable
    • He loves the new house and yard
    • The yard is really nice and has shady spots he likes to lay in
    • He feels like I am happier in the new house
    • His back does ache sometimes but its an old injury he got while playing – its old news
    • He loves his walks and would like to be off-leash – he feels strongly he could be trusted off-leash (sorry buddy, ain’t gonna happen)
    • He has lots of enthusiasm about going on walks (a good sign his back doesn’t bother him that much)
    • He likes walks more than Aubry (truth)
    • He likes that I’m home more and don’t have to travel as much (I actually travel more but now keep them home with a pet sitter instead of boarding – sounds like he likes that)
    • Overall he is very healthy and happy and feels I am devoted to him and Aubry – he appreciates the love he receives
    • He would like longer daily walks but understands sometimes it can’t happen
    • He is very perceptive and picks up on energy easily

    Aubry says:

    • 12592468_946569945411687_1523102338129429176_nComes across as a puppy who just wants to play
    • Loves to play and loves his toys – he would like more new toys
    • His paws do itch – they started when we moved – he did not like the move, it stressed him out – he was abandoned before I adopted him and moving brought back those memories
    • He loves the yard and doggy door he can go in and out lots of times through the day
    • He knows I will always take care of him
    • He has sensitivity on the lower left side of his mouth (planning to have vet take a closer look)
    • He likes the walks, but just to smell things, not walking long distances
    • He gets very happy when I come home
    • He is happy we don’t encounter many big dogs on our walks – seemed nervous about big dogs
    • He does not like grooming or baths at all – he feels he looks good in his ‘natural state’
    • He loves me and loves and admires Eli a great deal, he thinks Eli is really smart and feels bad when they don’t get along sometimes because its usually his fault for being selfish

    Have you ever used an animal communicator? Tell us about it.

    To learn more about Marty, check out her book called, “Same Dog Twice” and her website.


    The Woman in Burma

    IMG_0945_4181534637_lI don’t recall her name. She was a middle-aged woman with the chalky substance on her face commonly worn in the area as sun protection. She helped me, a common visitor, make an offering at a Buddhist temple just across the boarder from Thailand years ago. I had no idea I would be in Burma or if I should call it Myanmar. I still don’t know. The name means different things to different people who live there. I was just a visitor. She knew very little English, it wasn’t a requirement of her job. She helped tourists like me make offerings at this temple most days of the week. Let’s call her Soon. Let’s give her an imaginary life.

    IMG_0972_4181595469_lI imagine Soon to be the comedienne of her community. Tourists like me give her material for her nightly stand-up routine at Central Ragoon Tea House on Guy-Tsu Avenue every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 p.m. She even has a local talent agent, his name is Raffy, an ex-pat from Bulgaria. Raffy has big dreams for Soon, but she’s smart enough not to believe them. Comedy is her passion, she’s not in it for the fame. She’s in it to make other laugh. To see the joy on peoples faces, taking in all the positive energy one of her nightly sets can bring. Soon’s husband and two children support her comedic hobby, although they don’t fully understand it. They only know it makes her happy, so they support her. They don’t know any other way. Her aunt Pei is another story. Aunt Pei raised her since she was three. Her aunt thinks she can do more useful things with her evenings. Pei comes from a different time, even more turbulent than Soon. Each of these woman have seen things no one should see. Aunt Pei has worked hard her entire life, mostly at the river market selling jack fruit. She’s known for always having the sweetest jack fruit in the entire market. She’s modest about her notoriety, chalking it up to good luck and diligent prayers and offerings.

    IMG_0943_4181530395_lSoon meets westerners like me everyday. She creates stories about us, crafting joke after joke for her nightly audience. Unbeknownst to us, we are her fuel. The funny white men and women stomping around the temple, not knowing what to do. Soon and her friends sometimes make up rituals just to see if the travelers will obey. Turnaround four times and then hop on one foot six times before you light the incense, all communicated through the physical acts themselves. Most tourists obey, diligently. I did. After a few short hours, I left Burma. It was much more raw than Thailand. I liked what I saw. It was real and a bit chaotic. I hope to return one day.




    Oh, Funny Valentine

    Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.37.20 PMCould I be a romantic?

    ro·man·tic (rōˈman(t)ik/)

    – conducive to or characterized by the expression of love.
    – of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized view of reality.

    – a person with romantic beliefs or attitudes.

    Maybe? Sure, I’ve been single forever – but I really like The Notebook. Does that count? Maybe, just a little. I think I like the idea of romance and love, without all the fear stuff tied to it. Yes, being romantic and falling love is taking a huge leap of faith, no matter how you slice and dice it. Mentioning slicing and dicing on this topic seems wrong, I am aware. Today is Valentine’s Day – oh what a glorious day for couples in love…and flower shop owners, restaurateurs and Hallmark (of course).  I used to be a real cynic of this holiday, telling everyone “oh Valentine’s Day is just a holiday Hallmark made up” having no facts to back this up (per usual). To amend my ways and out myself as a fledgling romantic, I decided to look up the history of good ol’ V-day.

    I am loving The History Channel these days (nice work on Google indexing, you’re popping up more than Wikipedia). The had a great article on the history of this holiday of love – and here are some interesting facts I learned:

    • Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.37.52 PMFebruary has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition
    • Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas
    • The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred
    • One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome
    • Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured
    • Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure
    • The Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia
    • During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance
    • Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400
    • The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at theBattle of Agincourt
    • Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.38.32 PMIn Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged.
    • In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.”
    • Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
    • Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. (shocker)

    See there folks, Valentine’s Day has quite a history beyond Hallmark! Now don’t be shy, are you a romantic? What are your thoughts on love?

    Hooray – It’s #DarwinDay!!

    Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.33.34 AMWhat the heck is Darwin Day? Well, glad you asked…

    Darwin Day is a celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on 12 February 1809. The day is used to highlight Darwin’s contribution to science and to promote science in general.

    In honor of this day, we just had to have a second post…here are some fun facts about Charles Darwin (thanks to The History Channel‘s great post):

    1. Darwin was born on the same day as Abraham Lincoln.
    Both Darwin and Lincoln were born on February 12, 1809, but in much different settings. While America’s 16th president was born in a rude log cabin in the Kentucky wilderness, Darwin was born in a grand Georgian house on an estate overlooking the River Severn and the medieval market town of Shrewsbury, England.

    2. He waited more than 20 years to publish his groundbreaking theory on evolution.
    Darwin’s five-year voyage around the world on HMS Beagle, which ended in 1836, provided him with invaluable research that contributed to the development of his theory of evolution and natural selection. Concerned, however, about the public and ecclesiastical acceptance of his deeply radical idea, he did not present his theory on evolution until 1858 when he made a joint announcement with British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who was about to go public with a similar concept to Darwin’s. The next year, Darwin published his seminal work, “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.”

    Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.34.19 AM3. Darwin suffered from chronic illnesses.
    After returning from his trip around the world, Darwin began to suffer from exhaustion, eczema and chronic bouts of nausea, headaches and heart palpitations that would persist for the rest of his life. Some speculate that during his travels Darwin may have contracted a parasitic illness called Chagas disease that can eventually result in cardiac damage, which ultimately caused Darwin’s death.

    Timothy Dickinson tells us about Charles Darwin and the depth of the human past.

    4. He composed a pro/con list to decide on whether to marry.
    Displaying a logical inclination even in matters of the heart, Darwin in 1838 composed a list with two columns delineating the upsides and downsides of marriage. In the “Marry” column: “children,” “constant companion (and friend in old age)…better than a dog anyhow” and “someone to take care of house.” In the “Not Marry” ledger: “freedom to go where one liked,” “conversation of clever men at clubs” and “loss of time.” Not on Darwin’s list, however, were family ties for he married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood in 1839.

    5. He dropped out of medical school.
    Darwin’s father was a successful doctor who groomed his son to follow in his footsteps. After spending the summer of 1825 serving as an apprentice in his father’s practice, he entered one of Britain’s top medical schools at the University of Edinburgh. Darwin, however, hated the sight of blood and was bored with the lectures. He left medical school and dashed his father’s dreams.

    Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.33.47 AM6. Darwin was a divinity student.
    After leaving the University of Edinburgh, the man who would challenge the established religious dogma of creationism enrolled at Cambridge to study theology. “I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible,” he later wrote. However, Darwin’s faith began to waver after encountering the evils of slavery on his trip around the world and following the deaths of three of his children. Darwin, though, never characterized himself as an atheist. He instead referred to himself as an agnostic.

    7. He dined on exotic animals.
    Darwin not only studied an eclectic menagerie of animals from around the globe, he ate them as well. As a student at Cambridge, he formed the Gourmet Club, also known as the Glutton Club, for the purpose of dining on “birds and beasts, which were before unknown to human palate.” Darwin ate hawk and bittern but couldn’t choke down a brown owl that was served. While circumnavigating the globe on HMS Beagle, Darwin continued his adventurous eating by snacking on armadillo, ostrich and puma (“remarkably like veal in its taste,” he described).

    8. He didn’t coin the phrase “survival of the fittest.”
    Although associated with Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the phrase “survival of the fittest” was actually first used by English philosopher Herbert Spencer in his 1864 “Principles of Biology” to connect his economic and sociological theories with Darwin’s biological concepts. Darwin first adopted the phrase in his fifth edition of “The Origin of Species,” published in 1869, by writing of natural selection that “the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the survival of the fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient.”

    Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.34.31 AM9. Darwin is buried inside Westminster Abbey.
    After Darwin passed away on April 19, 1882, his family began preparations to bury him in the village where he had spent the last 40 years of his life. However, Darwin’s friends and colleagues began a lobbying campaign to give him the high honor of burial inside London’s Westminster Abbey. After newspapers and the public joined the chorus, the Dean of Westminster gave his approval. A week after his death, Darwin was laid to rest in England’s most revered church near fellow scientists John Herschel and Isaac Newton.

    10. Darwin appears on the 10-pound note.
    Since 2000, a portrait of a bearded Darwin has appeared on the back of the British 10-pound note along with an image of HMS Beagle, a magnifying lens and flora and fauna seen on his travels. The Bank of England announced in 2013, however, that author Jane Austen will replace Darwin on the note, likely beginning in 2017.

    Treehouse Dreams

    Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.20.45 PMI was obsessed with trees as a kid. I would look at every tree and think about how to climb it and what kind of treehouse could be built in it. Luckily I grew up in north Florida so we had plenty of trees around. I especially remember the old oak trees with thick old branches twisting and turning across the sky. We had a huge old oak in our backyard, which unfortunately didn’t get really interesting until about 15 feet up. The trunk was huge and my sister and I would rave around it. We had an old tire swing hanging from one of its unreachable strong branches. We’d swing on it for hours.

    I remember getting stuck in another tree near my house. I don’t know how old I was, maybe seven or eight? I just remember the it had branches almost like a ladder, begging he to climb higher and higher. I remember feeling higher than I had ever been, seeing over nearby treetops and down on to the local Baptist church. What I didn’t anticipate was coming down. I recall looking down and being paralyzed with fear. I think some of the neighborhood kids I was playing with went to get my mom. I remember her coming and trying to coax me down like a cat. Beyond that it’s all foggy, the fire department and a ladder may have been involved, but I obviously made it down.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.21.39 PMGetting stuck up in a tree didn’t scare me off from tree climbing, I just didn’t go as high. My friends and I would build a few tree forts over the years – I call them forts because they weren’t really treehouses. They usually consisted of a rough ladder of planks nailed up the truck with a few boards and a platform between tow low hanging parallel branches. My dream was to have a true treehouse. I dreamed of four walls and working plumbing, maybe a wrap-around balcony/porch. You know, nothing too fancy. A replica of one of the Ewok treehouses from Return of the Jedi would have done just fine.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.22.12 PMFlash forward to today. I dream of treehouses less, although I’ll take a pause when I come across a great looking tree made for climbing. Thanks to the internet, there are many resources for the dream treehouse. I occasionally have them pop up on my Facebook news feed. It’s not quite as hot as the “tiny house” craze that’s going on, but I bet we’ll get there.

    Did you have big treehouse dreams as a kid? Do you still have them? Did you have an amazing treehouse as a kid? Tell us about it…