First Impressions


The friend I was going to see in Austin is the sister/cousin to the bride at the wedding I had attended in Tulum in January.

She is biologically her cousin, but I can attest to the fact that if you live with a cousin for any amount of time, they become more a sibling than cousin. And so it is the case with them as well.


I so enjoyed seeing and meeting her in Mexico, that I decided that if I was going to be in Texas for another event, I may as well see if she was available and visit once more.

There are sometimes moments or events where you seem to learn  much about one person in particular. I had one of those times at a meal with our Austin host in Mexico.

It was a meal with the bride, groom, mother of the bride, the two sister/cousins, another engaged couple (who were friends of both bride and groom) and myself.

It was a joyous meal with much story telling, hilarity, great food, sauce so hot your mouth could bleed, mis-phrasing and raucous laughter (the staff tried turning up the volume of the music to drown out our table to no avail).

I try to pay attention to how people behave to certain situations or react in certain settings and sometimes it is very telling.

I was amused, enchanted and felt that during that one meal, I had learned much about Jayna in particular.


This is what I had learned then and what I had sent to her afterward:

What that meal told me about you.

You are bright, adventuresome, giving and responsible. You don’t give up and are inherently competitive.
You appreciate a good story and are happy to tell someone else’s portion of the story before you even think about inputting your own. You shine the light on those around you instead of taking the spotlight yourself.
Your adventuresome and willing to step into an “unknown” without hesitation in the hope that what is there is amazing. In the case that you have mis-judged and realize it was a mistake, you don’t expect anyone to bale you out or correct your error. You continue through it even to the point of causing yourself pain. You tend to hope it will get better as you see mistakes as failures and you hate to fail.
Your not a complainer and never want anyone to feel badly for something you have said or done – even if it is said or done inadvertently.
Your mind is quick and is always thinking of how to bring folks together around you but not with the focus on you. Sometimes your quick mind thinks faster than the words arrive out of your mouth which can cause some hilarity. – which draws attention and horror for you.’
In all, what I learned in Tulum and that one meal in particular is that you are a gem. A beauty with high vibration and radiance. You shine and make those around you glow and feel better just by being in your presence.
I’m so glad I was there to witness.


So, in going to Austin I was hoping to connect again to this gem and Trixie was not wanting to miss out either.

More on the visit with her and her Austin family soon.

Love Sally

Austin BBQ

As I mentioned in my last post, we were on a road trip and the next stop was Austin, TX.

Trixie and I made it to Austin just around lunchtime and as the friend we were to visit hadn’t yet returned from her current business trip, we set out to find a spot to dine.

Trixie is a most excellent co-pilot, navigator and google searcher when I’m driving, so she began to check for good listings for food.

Being in Austin which is known for some pretty excellent eats, I thought that our criterion for lunch should be either Barbeque or  tacos as that is two of their acclaimed food groups.

I had done a search of my own before leaving on the trip and several of the places were familiar in my brain.  The one that required a two hour wait in line was nixed as neither of us could expect it to be that fantastic to want to stand idle for that long for food.

The next spot was one that intrigued us both.

The reviews were excellent and their fare met both of our criteria as they smoke their own meats for their own specialty tacos.

One reviewer said that if the truck moved it’s spot to Hades, they would still follow.

follow-you-into-the-darkWe decided the best bet would be to swing by the parking lot where Valentina’s Food truck is parked and see what that was about as the reviews also said that once the meats were sold out that day, they closed.   It was also stated that the lines could be long at times.

The Smoker and Food Truck were parked at the end of a small parking lot that also contained a small gas station and a liquor store.


I dropped Trixie to hop into a spot in line while I located a parking spot down the street a bit.

The line was only maybe about 6 people deep when we arrived, but by the time we received our eats, there were nearly 20 people anxiously awaiting a turn to order up the enticing fare.

I have to say, it is on the top of my list of places I would return to.  The meats were very well smoked and would have been delicious alone, but they pared them so well with garnishments picked for the specific type of meat and home made sauces and tortillas to give you an eye rolling, toe curling bit of wonderful.

valentinos-tacosWe should have taken a photo before we started to eat, but really, we were proud that we even remembered to stop eating long enough to take a picture at all.

We went to an event with our friend during the day(more on that later), and then that same evening a small group of us went to another amazing place.

the-salt-lickGoing to The Salt Lick was a bit like going to a small county fair.  It was out in the country and surrounded by their own vinyards.  The parking lots were dirt and large as were required for the amount of people there at any given time.  When you arrive, you’re given a pager so that they can let you know when one of their 800 seats are available.  On any given Sunday they feed around 2000 people.

The seating is available outside under the large beautiful trees.


Or inside in one of their several buildings.


They have unique smoke pits inside two of the buildings where the smoked meat is kept warm and smoking a bit more until orders are placed.

salt-lick-pitI think we ended up sampling nearly all of their meats and can say that it is exceptional BBQ.  Their sides were tasty as well, but at a spot like this, it really is the meat that steals the show.  Which made it all the more special as our host doesn’t even eat meat, but wanted us to experience the splendor of the place even if she could not participate in the carnivorous aspect of it.

So, If you find yourself in Austin, you can know that I highly recommend either of those spots.








Salt Lick

Road Trip Disclosures

lets-go-on-a-road-tripOne of the first lessons of the summer is one I had already known but obviously not fully learned prior: that there should be disclosures given to each party about items or information that could or will effect the other person in the car.

The first trip this summer (after the already blogged about Seattle trip) was to Texas.
When discussing with a friend my summer plans, Trixie requested that she go with me on the Texas trip. She was feeling the need for time away and she does after all have relatives there we could stay with.

I know trips are meant to be when everything aligns and goes maybe not how you envisioned, but if you let it flow, it is better than was imagined.

We prepped the car with our road trip snack bag and cooler, loaded a novel onto my iPod for our listening pleasure (The Light Between Oceans – as Trix had heard it was good), and off we went.

We kept the stops to a minimum and snacked from our stash.  What mostly sounded good on this drive was the jerky and cheeses with a few crackers and nuts mixed in.

We made it to T’s Aunt’s home the first night for a ever so brief but restful night. Aunt MM had a tennis appointment early the next morning, so we were off again to Trixie’s Mom’s house another 5 hours away.

We spent a night with Trixie’s mom LP, and then headed off again the next day to Austin to visit a friend of mine.  As we loaded ourselves into the car on this the third day of steady driving, Trixie mentioned something about needing to change our diet as she was having what they call in her family – goat poop.

While I hadn’t heard that one, I didn’t need further explanation and frankly I was a bit envious that she had gone at all.  I second that motion and so we stopped at the local grocery to get some fresh veggies and some juices before heading to Austin.  She opted for the mango smoothie while I went full in and got the beet juice.  I had completed a cleanse in the spring where beets were a steady diet for a few meals as they are natural colon cleansers, so I knew if indeed this was good beet juice, I would be relieved sooner than later.

As we passed through the countryside, we passed through and area rife with places that were selling lawn ornaments of all sorts.  We made note that we should check these out on our way back as my hubby had spoken of getting a gargoyle for his waterfall/garden area and this could save the shipping on a heavy item.

Then, as we were stopped at the light in the rural area, we saw a small place just past the local Dairy Queen.  We decided that we could afford to stop at the small display since we wouldn’t be drawn to spend excess time wandering over acres and acres as the others had shown themselves to be.


It was akin to going down the rabbit hole, as one little area would open to another and yet another and then into an entire indoor area full of all sorts of treasures.

Trixie found artistic wood and metal wall pieces that would go well in her Mom’s new place as well as a door sized and matching window style piece for her home.  Good thing we had driven my Subaru and had extra space.

While she was negotiating the best price for her finds, I made way to the only restroom in the place as my beet juice had kicked in and the time was now.

It was a quaint bathroom in the middle of the store and while I enjoyed the Mexican style painted clay pieces on the wall and adorning the small space, I was aghast that there was no fan/candle/air freshener/ etc.  No time to go somewhere else, I was as quick as possible and then grabbed the few items I had contemplated purchasing and made for the car where Trix was figuring out how to load everything she had gotten while I was taking care of my own business.

When we got into the car and onto the road, I commented that she must have gotten the deal she had wanted since she came away with the items for both her home and LP’s.  She commented that she would have gotten a better deal if she had paid in cash, but she hadn’t brought enough to cover.

“I have cash”, I told her.  “You could have used my cash and gotten the better deal.”  She sighed and said that at least she knows now and then asked what I had gotten.

I laughed the embarrassed laugh you get when your honest with a friend and admitted that I had felt compelled to purchase the few items I had contemplated after I had polluted their bathroom and fled.


“Well, I have Poo Pourri” she says with a laugh.

I had seen the youtube video on the product, but had only thought it was a fake funny add, not an actual product.  I was wrong.  The stuff works and we soon learned that had we shared a bit more of what we each had brought along on the shared road trip before this stop, all involved parties might have come away just a little bit happier and better off.

dos-and-donts-of-road-tripSo, share the information of what you have brought before it’s actually needed when traveling with another is the lesson of the trip. Oh, and eat a more balance diet while on the road.

More on Austin next.

Love Sally




When someone comes through the door you didn’t close

I received a call Thursday night from an unknown number.  I would not have normally answered since I didn’t know the number and I was with the family watching a show, but it was from an area of the country where I have a very pregnant friend about to deliver and so I took it in case it was related to any incoming information on her.

To my surprise and dismay, it was a gentleman that I had met back in August 2015 stating he was going to be passing through the Denver area and he had my number from when we had met and could he stay with us for a night.

Let me say that there aren’t many people whom I can’t jell with on some level, but I was so adverse  to spending any  time in his space when we were both at this week long prayerful retreat that I managed to be anywhere he wasn’t.

It began with the first words he said to me.  “Hi, You can call me Mushi” (Honestly, I can’t recall what his name is, but that one floated into my brain just now, so we’ll use it)

When someone say’s ‘You can call me __’, my reaction tends to be negative. First of all, are you separating who can call you what? I’m to be in a category of people who call you one thing and there is another category of folks who call you something else?  I guess what he was conveying was that he was born with one name, but because of his path, he goes by another now as he declared himself to be a Sufi Monk.

sufi-proverbOn paper, this should be a person I am very drawn to hearing their stories and finding out the how’s and why’s of his path to date.  I love those kind of stories. I want to hear of our inner and external journeys.

The problem for me was that each time he put a part of himself out there, I felt there was a hook embedded.  He declared that he only works for peace everywhere and has given up most of his worldly possessions and only exists on the generosity of others. So when he goes somewhere, he trusts that he will be provided for.  And while I see that as an altruistic endeavor and see the beauty of that when you offer yourself up for work and don’t expect anything in return and just trust that all will somehow be provided, I also wonder about the times when your not offering yourself up for work. Aren’t you then a beggar? (not that I’m condemning beggars either – that’s another philosophical post maybe one day)

This prayerful retreat was outdoors and required much work from everyone in support to keep everyone fed, area clean, supplies maintained, etc.  I guess he felt his duty in being there was to just be social as he lifted no fingers to help when I was around.  This of course made it easy to keep a distance for me, as all I had to do was be busy  and it invariably kept us in different areas.

I thought I was showing no outward signs of dis-interest in him throughout the week, but at the end of the week, he caught me alone and asked me why I hated him so badly.  Ouch.  I claimed that I could not even contemplate hating him as I did not know him at all.  Obviously, I was not as good at hiding my inner feelings as I thought and he was much more observant than I had given him credit for.  I should also add, that no one there seemed bothered by his presence at all and most really enjoyed their conversations with him.  I just chalked it up to one of those reverse polar magnet people that you can never get close to.

polar-magnetsSo I was surprised at the end of the week when he made his rounds to get people’s contacts that he also came for mine.  ‘Hell no’, was my thought, but I felt compelled to provide mine since all others were doing so and since I never want to stand out in the crowd, I gave him my cell and my oldest email that is hardly ever checked.  I figured if he did call one day, since I don’t generally answer calls on my cell from people I don’t know in area’s I don’t go to, I would be safe.

best-laid-plansSo now I’ve wondered, am I to be the Samaritan and take in the person asking for help? Or am I to be true to my feelings and honor that I have felt awkward about this person and it’s not best to mix oil and water.  Or am I to bring him into my home, feed and provide comfortable sleeping and delve into why I have an aversion – sitting in the uncomfortable aspect for me to understand the why of the dislike?

I was mulling it over in my mind in the early hours again this morning, once more going back and forth in my mind. – “It’s only one night, I can endure anything for a night” says one half my brain. “I’d gladly let him stay if I could have no conversation or contact with him” says another portion. “Why would you do something so against how you really feel?” says yet another portion.  And so the battle raged.

Then a friend texts me and I relayed what I am pondering. She reminds me of how busy we are and it is not a lie to say such and just say we are not available.

It is at that moment that  I come to the real lesson in this for me.  If I had been honest  with him over a year ago, I would not be pondering the dilemma now.truth-in-past-lie-in-future

So  now I am tasked to communicate in an honest way why it is that I feel he should find other accommodations as he passes through our area.  As the hubby pointed out, we do have a few people that might quite enjoy the encounter, so I may see if I can still help, just not in the way that includes me.

Hopefully, this lesson stays with me as a gentle reminder for future encounters.







What a Summer

summer-is-over-snoopyAs most of you know, I somewhat finagled to have the summer off.  You could be wondering why there were no stories when I was not working as one would think I was flush with time.

I think that I was so grateful for the time, travel, talks, friends, family and fun, that part of me was hesitant to stop and share as the stopping might halt the flow.  Not rational I know, but when your is such an amazing flow, it’s hard to contemplate the stop of any of it.

When my fairly extensive travels concluded, work called and asked that I end my mini-retirement.


So, before I went back to work, I made a list of what I was going to miss from my summer.

Here it is- in no particular order of importance:

Being in my Pajamas till afternoon sometimes

Mornings on the deck

Long conversations with friends

Leisurely cooking

Mid day walks with Woody

Road Trips, Road Trips, Road Trips

Cousins, Family, Friends

Lack of plans and schedules except for planning the next adventure

Just being

Spending more time outdoors than inside


Yes there are stories to be shared and I’m hoping I can start to share with a bit more regularity.  So, check back from time to time and you might find one with a chuckle or two.



Seattle time well spent

My last few days in Seattle were filled with moments that touched all senses.
Sunday, we spent time at the local farmer’s market in the Ballard area where fish, flowers, vegetables, and wonderful fresh fruit dominated the booths.   Rainier cherries abounded and were devoured.
We also visited the salmon fish ladders and boat locks and got to see the  smelt funneling back into the Puget Sound while boats were lifted and lowered to make the transition from the sound to the lakes.
Ballard Locks
The park nearby was having a free concert with amazing artists playing and singing for everyone’s enjoyment.  We claimed our own bit of green grass and sat and enjoyed the time watching folks dance and enjoy a beautiful day and awesome music.
Jazz band in BallardIn the evening, we went to yet another park where massive Cedar, Maple and Oak Trees dominated.  An old water tower with stairs leading up to a 360 degree view at the top was worth the climb.
space needle from the water tower
Mt. Rainier from the water tower
I have yet to find the words of how incredible Mt. Rainier is looming so near and so massive in relations to Seattle.  I’m accustom to 14,000 foot peaks, but mine are all viewed from a mountain perspective and not from sea level.  It is humbling at the very least.
Monday, I set off alone while my friends headed to work.
We researched which bus would take me to the Arboretum so I could take in the gardens there before the heat of the day set in.  Lets just say, that google doesn’t always get everything correct.  I was ticking off the stops as we passed the university and other recognizable landmarks when the bus pulled behind several other parked buses below a viaduct and the driver let me know that this was where I would be getting off as he doesn’t go any further.  Vague directions were given and I headed on foot in the general vicinity.
Google then gave me a walking map (to which it told me several times I was going in the wrong direction as I curved through a spiral staircase to the top of a walking bridge)
It led me across a cute old bridge atop one of the many canals and through a beautiful old neighborhood.  Suddenly, I was glad to have been dumped off of the bus and provided the opportunity to see the local area up close and personal.Montlake Bridge
The Arboretum was a lesson in the local flora and fauna and filled my senses with the smells of sweet aromas of the shrubs in bloom along exquisite paths that made a person want to roam all day.Arboretum flowers
Arboretum flowersArboretum flowersArboretum flowers
I did manage to tear myself away and headed to the Chihuly Museum where again I was truly amazed.  I walked through each exhibit in order and then thinking how I always see something different when I drive in an opposite direction, I turned around and viewed it once more heading last to first.  Gorgeous, amazing and inspiring. There was one room I especially loved where everything was displayed as the ceiling of the room and made a person feel as if they were snorkeling.  Sorry, Photos, just don’t do it justice.
sal iphone 069
I then headed to the Pike Place Market for more small shops with local wares, fish, food, fruit and vegetables.
I found a few spots after that to re-hydrate after the ten miles I had logged in on another beautiful clear sunny day in Seattle.
We finished off the day with incredible sushi at a very nice restaurant and a walk in the Sculpture Park along the water.  Sorry, no photos as we just were caught up in sharing the last evening and enjoying the sites, sounds and stories we continued to share.
 I had never been to the Pacific Northwest, so I had no real thoughts of what to expect.  I connected to the area and increased and strengthened the bond I had begun just months prior with my new friends.
Thank you Y and A for providing the opportunity and entertainment for another incredible adventure.
Love Sally
And to Seattle, the quote below comes to mind.
There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. Lord Byron

Snoqualmie Falls and more

Friday afternoon I flew into Seattle under clear skies. I could see both the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges and all the water below. It immediately became apparent why so many love the area – you have the beach and the mountains accessible. Best of both worlds.

We took a walk in their trendy Ballard neighborhood that night and had a delicious meal of Thai food where we shared several dishes so we could all try them all. The food and conversations were a delight.

Yesterday our early start was hampered by a quick walk to the local bakery for some morning pastry and fresh bread for our sandwiches for later and much reminiscing.

It was in actuality, the sharing of new stories,
as we have all just know each other for a few months now. But when you feel as if you’ve known someone for forever, it feels more like your just reminiscing old stories with them that they hadn’t recalled yet.

Several hours, a scrumptious breakfast and a few photo albums later, we were off to Snoqualmie Falls.

Snoqualmie Falls top

Continue reading Snoqualmie Falls and more

A Day to Celebrate

bright future ahead

Today we celebrate the high school graduations with a party.  We have been striving to get the outside and inside ready for the few or the many that may come by to shake a hand, give a hug, provide a word of advise or just spend some time sharing their individual energy with the graduates.

I still have about 150 flowers that cannot yet be put into the ground as while the days have been beautiful and in the 70’s, the nights here in the  mountains has left us with frost almost every morning this week.

So for the grads, I will remind them to be flexible.

remain flexible

And to remember too that each day/moment is a choice.

this bright new day

We have sent them to school for thirteen years knowing that they were learning all kinds of lessons in the classroom, on the bus, on the playground, in their activities.

educate children's hearts

To give you a glimpse of the education of Devin’s heart, I will share with you a blurb he shared with me from a school project.   It was a stream of consciousness that he let flow about his times working out of the country on mission trips. (a stream is meant to be a flow of ideas, not worrying about content, punctuation, structure or spelling, it is to follow the flow of your mind on a subject)

Stream of Consciousness

I love to go on mission trips. It’s how I get my karma reset and I’m back to being a good person.  I also love traveling, and helping people that need it.  When I’m down in Mexico or Ecuador or the Dominican Republic it’s like I’m the happiest I can be and I get to help someone that needs the help.  It’s also the best sleep I ever get.  Every night I’m there, I close my eyes and everything is great.  I think that I want to do something involving mission trips when I’m older.  Maybe like the peace corps or work for casas por cristo.  I just think that’s what  I am called to do.  Also the people you meet down there are the nicest and most loving people I have ever met.  Forget everything you’ve ever heard about Juarez, the people there are loving and caring.  I’m sure there are plenty of people down there that wouldn’t think twice about killing some gringo like me, but I’ve never met someone like that.  I know that I’m building a house for this family that needs it, but I always feel like I’m the one that’s receiving the gift.  Also I’m never depressed or angry there. It is like a feel good drug.  I think everyone should go on a mission trip somewhere. I don’t care if it’s in Mississippi or Zimbabwe, I think that once you know how it feels to be loved so much by strangers and help them by putting a roof over their head, there is nothing like it in the world that you would rather do.


A reminder that:

lessons experienced(oh, and while I was told when he shared his stream of conscious writing with me that he didn’t mind me sharing it, he did stipulate that he didn’t want to hear about what anyone else said about it). I managed to not go into any commentary from my end and just relay how proud I was that he has such an open heart.

Which leads to some last advise.

live life fully

Best wishes and follow your dreams young graduates.

Love, Sally

First Day of Summer

Today is my first day of summer!

wishing for more vacation days

That has been my little internal mantra for a while – if only I had the time to do everything I wanted to do and see.

Work has been slowing and I could feel the approaching conversations of whom could we let go and be without. I couldn’t comprehend losing another of my team and when I sat down and looked at all of the invitations to life events and opportunities to spend time with loved ones and visit those nearing their end of their bodily journeys, well, there really wasn’t any time for work in that.

what to do

I hatched a plan a few weeks back that I was the one that should take a leave from work as it would save them a managers salary and provide the time I longed for to travel, explore, visit and enjoy.

I wrestled with myself and insecurities of money and would they let me go and allow me to come back in the fall when work generally would pick up again. Those of you who know me well know that I also struggle with change and while I could feel one half of my brain doing a happy dance and cheering loudly for an opportunity to have the summer without work obligation, the other half would rationalize how there was value in a steady paycheck and the fear that I could simply be forgotten and not be brought back later and would have to face another job change.

Last week I let the happy/joyful side of my brain win the argument and launched my proposal.
They admitted that someone did indeed need to go, but they did not want it to be me. I was able to remind them that I would return when the natural flow of business picked up again and anyone else would likely be gone for good. An agreement was reached, and two days later I had my last day and left work to head to the airport to pick up my mother in law who came out for our graduate.

always say yesI’ll be heading to the airport again in a few weeks for the first of my out of state travels. Then there are a couple of road trips that will take me down to Texas and up to South Dakota with a  camp trip in Colorado smooshed in the middle.  All in June, so if you have ideas for July, I’m somewhat open although I am hoping to drag the hubby away for a couple  jaunts.  For those of you in the Ohio Valley, I do plan to see you as well.

Love Sally

Lucky Me

There are the traditional good luck charms like finding a shiny penny or a four leaf clover.  I have found my share of both.  (Actually, I might have found lots of peoples shares of the four leaf clovers)  sometimes goodluck is gross

Today I was reminded of a little talked about good luck event.  The one that says when a bird poops on you or your car, it is good luck.

pidgeon lessons

Several years back, while camping with friends and family, in the midst of making children answer trivia questions in order to get a marshmallow to cook for their s’mores, a  bird flew over and dropped a bomb on me.  I quit trying to educate the young mind while providing sugar to their overactive bodies after that. Call that good luck for the children on that event.

Today, I was exhausted at lunch and so instead of a walk, I drove to the little park I sometimes go to and tilted the seat back, opened the passenger window halfway and took a nap.

When I awoke, there was bird poop inside my car!  What kind of party happened while I was snoozing? It’s not like I had crackers or Cheetos or anything on the dashboard.  I didn’t buy birdseed and spill it recently. (I can’t say that has never happened as my car has hauled all kinds of things and who can remember?)


who did that to my car

I almost thought I should look in the mirror to see if I had been so sound asleep that they had done a Disney braid with flowers in my hair or some other ruse.

That was my story for today.  Can’t make this stuff up.

Love Sally