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Thursday, September 30, 2010

meet sarah. again.

Sarah is the Blue Lollipop Road Intern. She is talented, smart, fun and hard working. She's helped me a ton this summer. Even though we now reside on opposite coasts, we're still working together. YIPPEE! I am very lucky to have her help.

Sarah the Blue Lollipop Road intern with her tshirt from Alaska

She got a package I sent her yesterday and pinged me with this photo. How cute and funny is she?

Sarah found me when I posted an ad on Craigslist in June seeking and unpaid intern. She replied because she was born in Alaska and was super excited that I was going. Naturally I had to find something when I was in the last frontier to get for her. There's a long story attached to this t-shirt, but really it boils down to a local artist, a gallery in Ketchikan (The Salmon Capital of the World) and knowing it'd be perfect for her as soon as I saw it.

I love finding gifts then sending them snail mail to people. Most of all, I love generous people like Sarah, who want to donate their time and talent to someone like me because she believes in what I am doing. When I am a bagillionaire someday, I am going to buy Sarah a lifetime supply of Fruit 66, more clay to throw pots and camera supplies than she'd ever know what to do with, and a new car or something. Until then, we settle on t-shirts and other little things that make us laugh.

Thanks Sarah. It's no mistake that we met, I appreciate your spirit and creativity always and you are going places girl. Keep on truckin! Oh yeah, and spawn till you die. Hee hee...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

wanted: reader feedback

While I've been enjoying the occasional meal, happy hour, and castle-crashing here in Napa since my arrival almost 3 weeks ago, I have been hiding out on top of my new house on the peak feverishly reading, and researching on a work and blog plan with the thrill and promise of a 16 year old prepping for the hottest prom date of her life.

If you have ever met me for more than lets say- 15 seconds, you know I'm not the girl to ever sit home ALL day, for days on end in complete silence with no human interaction. For this time though, I am that girl. When I fully come back into the light it's going to be with a excellent and healthy vengeance. I WILL be crushing it, and in the happiest and most balanced of ways.

I need your help for some of my research. If you're willing; Could please share the following with me, leaving a comment here or emailing me at: diane(at sign)bluelollipoproad.com

*What are the 3 things you wish you had more of in your life?

*What are 3 things you'd do/do more if time, money and fear were NOT factors to consider?

This is a huge help, so I thank you much. When I strike it rich and happier than ever (which I will) every round of chocolate dessert will be on me.

Do you think I'm kidding?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

bartending and babysitting

I babysat today. Yep, 32 and smart and sassy and I am babysitting- I love it! how else can you hang with a cute kid for a few hours, make some good cash and get some of your own work done while they are napping? I bartended an incredible event a week ago. Again, talk to people, network- and you pay me? I'll take it. No matter where you go/live- someone will always need a drink and have a kid that needs looking after. This means cash

Todays babysitting job was super bonus as I saw a book sitting on a kitchen counter of the house I was at and asked if I could borrow it.

1.) I just saved myself $19.99
2.) I am almost done with the book in one day

The book is called CRUSH IT!; Why now is the time to cash in on your passion

In one way, I am sort of peeved because I feel like I could've written so much that's in this book. On the other, I always give a hats off to someone else who's making loot on writing stuff that so freaking completely obvious. Good on ya Gary Vaynerchuk! My book is next.

I have laughed and nodded my head through most of these pages. I just read a few lines on how you'd be an idiot to think you're invincible in your job and you are sorely mistaking if you think you have no need to create a personal brand:

What if you're a trader at an investment firm and suddenly you're out of work and all you have to show is a bull-crap resume? Hold it, you might want to reassure me, my resume is awesome. Tell me this: Is it a pdf of a tidy list of where you've worked and for how long, with a couple of strategic bullet points highlighting what you did in each job? Yeah? You're toast.

Amen to that Author Gary. Boy do I love people who shoot it straight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

looking for one person/couple/family


This is what I want my response to be at the cocktail party when someone asks the generic and often annoying question of "What do you do?"

So? Does anyone out there want to do what I just did? (In case you are new here, I just took some time/a sabbatical to breathe a bit, get some perspective and reach a personal goal before I went apeshit and strangled someone in my regular life that I was completely passionless about.)

This is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. I did it, who's next? Who needs some breathing room? Who wants to call a fuck it and take a trip, go somewhere, or get organized so you don't go apeshit and destroy the good you already have in your life? Who's got something eating at them? Plenty of you have said you do. You've said this to me in person, in emails, and here. This is me giving you the opportunity to step up and take a swing at what you say you want to do. I can help you get there, happily, productively and all in one piece. I promise.

Here's what I am offering to you:

*I will help you organize your life (this means house, jobs, belongings, habits, dogs, children, bills- all of it) to free up LOTS of time and money. Time and money are always our excuses. I can help you eliminate the excuses and get you where you say you want to go.
*Yes, this means I will help you get your shit straight so you are able to live the life you have told me you want.

Here's what I'm asking for in return:

*You agree to be my official test case (I have done this for a few friends in the past, but never officially under the guise of starting a company/service.
*You pay for my transportation to get to you, food and accommodations. That's it. (I get excited about Oreos and Nutella, have slept in puke smelling Motel 6 rooms and I fly coach, not first class so you'll be getting a deal.)

What does this mean?

It means you could be stressing less, laughing more, saving a boatload of money, losing weight, having more time, becoming a better husband, sister, friend, worker, and so much more before you know it. You might even stop having those fantasies about how you can choke your boss and throw him in the river. After all- you really don't long to be a murderer. Life doesn't suck, you don't want to kill anyone, you just need to eliminate a few things and put the phone on hold for a bit.

How do you get started?

Email me at; diane (@) bluelollipoproad.com or post a comment as to how I can reach you.

What happens if no one responds/takes me up on my offer here?

1.) You will. It might take a while, but someone will. Then another will, then another...
2.) Next time I see or talk to you, if you were one of the multiple people that have ever said to me; "Sigh, I so wish I could go travel like you did."/"Sigh, I'm so envious of how you are living"/"How do you get to do all that amazing stuff?" I call you a chicken shit because I offered my time and expertise to help you, for FREE and you didn't take it. Or, I might smack you, then call you a chicken shit.
3.) I will continue to wonder why the majority of people I meet don't actually LIVE in their lives. That will continue to make me sad for them, but more motivated for me.

"You know, it's not that easy/simple for people to just go off and do what they want just like that Diane."

Bullshit. I'm sorry- do we live in America? Is someone holding a gun to your head to do what you are doing? That's what I thought. You choose how you spend your life, your time, your money. Period. That could mean something sexy like hiking Mount Everest, or something much less sexy, like road tripping with your kids back to Kansas to introduce them to Great Granny Maude they have never met. Either way when you do these things that you want, you are LIVING your days, Not just drudging through them. Your choice. It is that easy/simple.

News flash; I AM NOT SPECIAL. I AM NOT A HERO. I have zero superpowers, and I'm not even that cool. If you can believe it, I've never once had sex with or even showed someone a boob to do all the things I have. (I know- awesome eh?) However, I have been organized, continually networked my ass off, made friends with strangers, smiled a lot, stayed in touch with old friends, taken chances, trusted my gut, listened to my heart then gone for "it" and managed to end up "there" proud as a peacock. I'm thinking if I've figured out a way to drive to Alaska, 9,000 miles total, sleep in my car safely as a single woman, have plenty of gas, food, and experiences that even I could never have dreamed of, and end up now sitting here on top of a mountain overlooking the Napa Valley in an amazing house, with two great new roommies and a smile on my face sipping a yummy glass of Prosecco after leaving the east coast almost 12 weeks ago with a car that had 133,000 miles on it, only $1,000 dollars in my pocket and with $27k in debt, I am allowed to call myself a bit of an expert on reaching some sort of "impossible."

(Just grabbed my phone to snap this photo. This is not staged, just my view as I write this. Ahhh...)

A view from where I sit tonight 9.27.10

I'm sure after reading the above, you can imagine how much it chaps me when so many people who have less bad debt than me (just about everyone out there.) more money than me (just about everyone out there), more education than me (just about everyone out there- I could go on and on...) tell me they want/wish/desire something but it would just be "impossible" to do.


Pish posh to that impossible nonsense.

Excuses, impossibility, fear, lack of money, time, blah blah blah. Enough of that. I CAN HELP YOU GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. All you have to do is ask. I'd sure love to help.

vote for my friend jill!

Jill is up for the 2010 Richmond Mom Makeover! She sent out a big ol' email in May about her 40th birthday approaching and her desire to get back to her wedding weight. She launched her own website so family and friends could follow her progress. She's been doing great! (Even signed up for and has been training for her first ever triathlon- go Jill!)

Her 40th birthday is in a few weeks. Wouldn't it be a great surprise for her to win the makeover she's been nominated for? VOTE HERE. There are only 3 days left!

Jill has been a friend for years, always makes me laugh, and is the life of the party. I'm not even sure she knows that she was one of the key reasons I got through a very hard time in my life some years ago. I will always love and respect her more than she knows for that. She has two of the cutest kiddies ever and a great hubby who is one of my dearest pals too. They are a busy family like so many others, so this makeover would be a great treat for her.

VOTE FOR JILL CAMPBELL NOW! (Please only vote for Jill. On the voting page there is the option to vote for 3 people, but we want our Jilly to win:) I will post photos of the big makeover here if she wins!

why napa?

Lots of reasons. Several people have asked me this when I was hell bent on heading to NYC. Don't get me wrong, the city is always in my heard and could quite possibly be in my future, but for now; sunshine, quiet, relaxed, beauty and west coast lifestyle is what I am choosing. This place is also providing me fantastic opportunities (lessons and connections) in social media which is exactly what I need for BLR. (Not to mention amazing wine and cheese I get by default too!) There are very few times in my life I have truly stopped and just taken care of me. Since leaving the east in July and arriving in Napa I am doing that. I need it right now.

A reader just sent me an email with this quote. It fits well for me and my time here now in Napa:

"I'm tired of running after my dreams, I'm gonna sit here and wait for them to catch up with me."

I'm personally taking a breather and letting my outside catch up with my inside. I don't think enough of us allow ourselves to do this.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

just to kick of the new splash of sass in a perfect way

Photo from VT roadside

"Honey- I'm taking the kids out for some nicotine ice cream! We'll be back in time for dinner!"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

under construction

What? Again?


Life's a moving target (at lease that's what the commercials say) and I am not one to sit around. Please be patient while the next phase of Blue Lollipop Road is born. Put the kids to bed, grab a shot of tequila, a cold compress, or get your ear muffs out. This one is going to be a doozy. No fear, I am all about the butterflies and rainbows, but it's time for the gloves to come off and for me to sass up my writing on a much more regular basis than I have been. I've behaved myself way too much here and quite honestly I feel like a bore. I've come a long way baby, full monty blogging starts now. Take me or leave me:)

So? Posts moving forward will have more of things like:

*Lots of eff-bombs. (The word fuck, but maybe with a * in place of the "c" or something sometimes. I mean, my Mom reads this after all. Hey Mom! Love you!-You fucking rule!)
*Funny signs accompanied by offensive captions
*Tips on how to get into castles and get free dinners with people like a bunch of old frat dudes
*Tearing the American Corporate Culture a new one for it's absurd and antiquated systems
*People, places and food as usual (but probably with a lot more; What? People pay to eat this crap? I can make this better at home!- and similar comments
*Me tripping over my own two feet on a regular basis and calling myself on it
*Actually telling the full on dish when I have a hot make out session with a 25 year old boy, instead of skirting around the story
*Why I have been called asexual Di in the past
*How I need to lose this flipping 10lbs I packed on while on the great Alaska or bust trip this summer, but I live in Napa now for gods sakes! As if I'm going to give up the cheese and bread and just drink the wine alone. PSHAW! (Guys like a little cushion- right?)
*How I am going to pay off the $27k (yes, that's TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS) of debt before my 33rd bday. I have 10.5 months. It's ON. Anyone need a hooker for the night? (Come on now- I tease 'cause I love. Err, actually...)
*Unpopular opinions and thoughts in general- about a lot of stuff

Anyone interested? Ok, that's what I thought. See ya back in a bit.

Lets get ready to rumble.

***Side note to lots of friends and family~ I know you have called, emailed, texted, etc. weeks ago. You are sweet and I love you for real. I think about you every day. I'm sorry I have not communicated back. I have no excuses other than I am getting my own life for the first time ever and that means you might be a casualty for a small period of time because I simply do not feel chit-chatty with humans unless they are in person with me right now. This is a good thing, I promise. I need and want to continue this whole getting my own life and not worrying about everyone else's thing because it's actually pretty awesome. Schwat?! I know! I'm concentrating on me because I have learned that's not selfish, it's just smart, fun, makes you feel confident and starts getting you out of $27k in debt. Wahoo! High-fives and ass-slaps all around.

Friday, September 24, 2010

dinner at a castle

I try to be a vegetarian, but it just doesn't work to well when someone offers you a filet like this:

Castle filet

(Grass-fed local beef tastes too good to pass up, what can I say?)...and with fabulous red wine and hilarious company like this? I'm all about it:

Our castle dinner table

I know, the waiter in the corner looks red-eyed and creepy like he's going to kill us. (Darn red-eye photos!) He was actually funny and nice and brought me 3 chocolate desserts. Girls like boys that bring them multiple chocolate desserts.

Oh chocolate dessert

We had so much fun at the 50 year reunion of Phi Sigma Kappa last night, we are still laughing this morning. These are just a few photos. I have a video to come too. Also an after dessert port wine group photo with my friend/partner in Napa crime Erin and our new boyfriends who are all in their 70's. All we had to do for this fun? Hand out a few name tags. What a great score.

It feels like I'm living in a carpe diem party everyday. I like this party a lot. I think I'll stay.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

i'm your holla back girl

The littlest things make me giggle.

I hope you all know that when you check back and there isn't a new post it is never because I'm leaving you high and dry. Quite the opposite. I think about Blue Lollipop Road 24 hours a day. I have since the day I started it (and we are coming up on 2 year anniversary! Wahoo!)

Since deciding to stay in Napa 10 days ago (that is a story I still have to share too.) I've been networking, meeting, interviewing, working, organizing, feasting and running (as in jogging) my butt off. I've been the best kind of slammed busy. I at least wanted to sit down, say hi and give a teaser until I have some more catch up time this weekend. Just a few things out of the pile about these past yummy 10 days.

1.) Chowed down and hung out at a 2nd annual chili cook-off/Bocce Ball Tournament with a crew of new friends here. Bocce is the thing to do around the parts. Where else in the world would you have items on the wide open and shared picnic table like southwest braised lamb chili and cheddar scallion skillet cornbread accompanied by delicious wine mostly made by the people who there that were playing?

2.) I went to/worked at the Mighty Summit last Friday. Yeah; awesome. The top lifestyle bloggers and women in media were there. Big time funny, smart, and accomplished chicks who take social media to a whole new level. One in attendance bought a cat years ago from the animal hospital a mile from my parents house in Vermont. I love random connections.

3..) Off to this castle tonight to work at an event with my friend and now new roommie. I'm sure sipping some wine too. Yes, it really looks like this. Yes, all of Napa looks like this. I'm still waiting for someone to yell "That's a wrap guys!" -and roll the scenery away as if it's a movie set. GORGEOUSNESS everywhere.

The above is just a measly taste of my past 2 weeks here.. That means I'm in the right place for this point in my life. It was a 9k mile drive to get here, and what a treat at the end. Can you believe I have finally caught a clue at 32? Pay enough attention to myself, go where feels right and take advantage of all that's offered and it's like ping ping ping with awesomeness falling in my lap. Oh the learning curve.

I like it.

I like it a lot.

Off to unpack the rest of my car and hit the showers. What to wear to the castle...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

pollo bustin' a move

I followed behind this truck this morning and of course thought it was funny. What's up with the music notes? Is it a chicken sing along inside? If so I totally want in on that party.

Truck in Napa

my intern is the best ever

By that I mean always sticking with me, ready to help for whatever I need done and in the meantime somehow maintaining a full time job, part time gigs and making her art, among other things.

You rule chica. For real!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

viel dank

(Translation; Many thanks in German.)

I'm running out of languages to say thank you in that use letters. (There are obviously plenty that use symbols but those are hard to make on my laptop alphabet keys.) In an effort to not be a repeat offender, I will be revisiting the languages I have already used and adding to the regular thank you translations to come up with some different options.

*Terrie~ Your donation was a lovely surprise and has been used to pay for some grocery store trips. Since staying with the lovely ladies I have been, we've cooked up some incredible feasts to enjoy time together and the amazing view from the house. Your generosity is much appreciated.

*Erin and Diane~ What a fabulous 11 days it has been and I so appreciate your hospitality and welcoming me. A comfortable place, DE-LISH food, great views and hilarious company? I'm in. You are never getting rid of me!

*Abby~ I cannot tell you how wonderful your message made me feel yesterday. It really made my day. If I ever question why I keep writing here, investing so much of my time, heart and soul and catch myself ever doubting my path, those thoughts quickly fade thinking of people like you out there that appreciate reading my random babble. Your words support what I know in my heart; This is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

*Mom~ Thank you for being in my eyes, the definition of what a mother should be; The one human on the planet that no matter what, will love, support, encourage, protect and stand by anything and everything you ever want to be with a smile and a hug. That's what you have always been and I love you forever. I can't wait to see the day you start gifting yourself all the goodness you deserve and demand the respect you've taught us all to.

Time and time again I am shown that when you do what you love/what makes you happy, people and the universe always show up to support you. I believe that now more than ever and don't take it for granted for a second. Cheers to steppin' to it!

scratching head

Parking sign in Downtown Napa

Parked in front of this sign yesterday in Downtown Napa. I wonder where they come up with the reasoning for this odd amount of minutes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

wine country sunday #2

Once again an unexpected but welcomed invite to a strangers house for a Sunday meal and some fun yesterday. This time it was a birthday. I was happy to see a homemade (or should I say Mom-made) desert roll out. It was made up of a brownie bottom with chocolate and toffee chips inside, middle layer of dulce de leche ice cream and topped with a layer of pure chocolate. There was tiramisu too. Oh delightful.


Of course there was good vino. In fact, the gent that was having the birthday is a Winemaker and popped open some of his craft deliciousness.

Blake b-day party in Napa

I'm loving these constant, effortless looking but perfectly executed get togethers. It feels like I'm living a daily Thanksgiving feast, meets European lifestyle, meets "Howdy neighbor! Come on over!" with sunshine mixed in. A little slice of heaven.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Sign in Downtown Napa

What a polite way of telling the grumps to stay out.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

congratulations dave and laura!

Because I have decided to stay in California at the end of my travels this summer instead of heading back east, today I will miss the wedding of two great friends. I am sad to miss their special day. This is no doubt that wedding that when the "You may now kiss the bride" part came, I'd be shrieking and jumping up and down. It is such a treat to be at a wedding you believe in so much. Coincidentally I am in Napa, overlooking the valley and this is where they got engaged.

Here is a cheers to you DP and LP! I am truly bummed I am not there at this very moment to enjoy the time with you. I know you understand my absence and we will find time to spend together soon. In honor of you both and to represent an official toast, I just poured this glass of wine and snapped this photo from where I'm sitting:

Cheers to Dave and Laura on their wedding day!

Here's to a life of the laughs I know you will have and all the love you deserve. You two are the most adorable of couples and a perfect match. I am ecstatic for you!!! I can't wait to see you soon to celebrate with you in person.

I'll bring the wine of course.


Friday, September 17, 2010

look! it's the first pay it forward recipient!

This makes me so happy. I sent a check to Erin in honor of my friends, and as promised, the pay it forward from my Alaska or Bust adventure. Erin is still waiting on final word from the Peace Corps to see if she will be given an assignment in February or not. Lets all cross our fingers for her! Here's her smiling face:

First BLR pay it forward recipient Erin P!

I cannot say thank you enough for the donations, love and support for Blue Lollipop Road. It all helps me to continue to live the life I believe in and hopefully inspire others to do the same. I am truly happier than I have ever been. I'm doing work that I've always wanted to, spending time that makes me feel healthy, and I finally feel like me.

As for pay it forward from here; 10% of donations are continually saved in a BLR account. January 1, 2010 will be when I pick the next recipient. Please stay in touch, keep reading and sending me your stories! Here's to living on your own meaningful and fun road, whatever that may look like.

Love ya Kid~ and totally proud of you.

what a difference a picnic makes

I'm happy. In a happy way I have never been before.

And I'm not even trying.

It's the most odd but peaceful thing to make zero effort and feel like you belong.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Napa~ I think I'm home. (At least for now anyway...)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

it's like a party

Resumes, refinancing car loans, moving credit lines for better rates and all that fun stuff the past couple days. It's a regular fiesta!

Ok, not really a party, but when a appetizer/wine dinner, relaxing with new friends outside by a fire at an amazing restaurant pops up randomly that you're invited to out of nowhere that rules. Having a productive day of crossing a bunch of big important things off a to do list then going to relax because you've earned it feels great.

Farmstead; Yum.

People; Interesting, well traveled, generous and fun.

Weather; Perfect

Best of all mixed in there; Landing some work that will be totally interesting and a great learning experience. Also, being able to move some (blech!) debts and monies owed around so they can be paid off quicker, easier and at much less of an interest rate.

Scores left and right!

You know what they say (yes, those phantom "they" people); Do what you love and the money will follow? Yeah, what they really meant to say was do what you love and the...

Right people
Good food
Fun stuff
Happy days
Healthy lifestyle
Less worry and stress
Feeling like you are "home"
Aha moments
Going to bed feeling accomplished
Waking up feeling excited
(Do I need to go on?)

...will follow.

The phantoms don't lie. We just don't listen to them for some reason.

If you're not doing what you love- you should at least give it a school kid try. I've decided to listen to the phantoms and have been no less than pleasantly surprised at the outcome so far.

Enough said.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

updating resumes is so fun

Can you sense my sarcasm?

After pining for hours on the 96 different ways to convey that for years you "facilitated, coordinated, created, managed and maintained" a billion projects, events, people and companies, you get one piece of paper to show for it.

Huh? This is all I get?- you think.

Things like root canals, thesis writing, or explaining to your parents why at 14 years old you grabbed booze from their cabinet, drank it, then stole the car and totaled it are more fun than writing resumes. Something happens though, when this measly little piece of paper makes you smile from ear to ear after it's all done and printed out. It's as if bullet points on a page for just one moment somehow convey the blood, sweat, and tears you've shed, and all the ass kicking you've done. Your page screams; "YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT! MY NAME IS SO AND SO AND I FRIGGIN' RULE!!!"

Out the door I go to print my scream of I friggin' rule. I think I'll pick blue or something else fun. Eggshell or off-white are so last season in my world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

i drove through a tree

Pretty cool and fun to do. The guy at the booth was supposed to charge me $6 to pass through and he let me go for free! I said to him when I rolled up; Really? 6 bucks? I am a broke traveler and just want to pass through so I can get some photos to post on my travel blog. (That's the truth!) Maybe so many people will want to drive through trees after reading my post they will come in droves and you will become a millionaire!

He grumbled juuust a teeny bit, but then laughed and waved me through at no charge. Thanks Mr. Tree!

Honda Civic through a tree

The little Honda Civic that could, loves the Giant Redwoods and gorgeousness of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Road in Redwoods

I really like photos of roads. Hmmm, that gives me an idea...

Monday, September 13, 2010

stopped the car the other day after a tasting

Jumped out, grabbed a few of these and gobbled them up:

Vine at Laird Family Estate in Napa

If that's not a treat, I don't know what is.

(By the way this marks my 700th post. Go BLR go!)

graduation day

Before I left on this trip, I had it in my head that today would be the day I'd head back east no matter if I had found a new home on the west coast or not. I have two sets of incredible friends getting married in VA, one this Saturday the 18th, the others on October 2nd. Funny enough, both sets got engaged here in Napa. I thought even if I had decided to be a west coast girl for a while, I'd at least be going back to participate in their big days, get the few small boxes of things I own, collect my mail and say bye to the east while waving as I drove back here west to crank out some work, make a new story for the next phase of life and pay off some debt.

Contrary to what I'm sure a lot of you would assume, in the past I have been an over planning, worrying, busy my mind and time just to busy it, wound up for no reason girl. I'm supposed to be the chill, traveling totally let things roll off my back girl though, right? Right, but not so much. In my past regular American days I have been worlds away from that. The chill, let things roll off my back and happy in a silent moment girl has only happened before when I've been on the road. It happens when I'm traveling, writing, taking photos, talking to strangers and hearing about their lives, when I'm running, and when I'm feasting with friends and family.

I have forced myself to trust the process of this trip and this summer, not worry, roll with opportunity with NO plan. I just wanted to think about what was best for me. We all know we can't be much of anything to someone else until we're something to ourselves. (I've tried! It doesn't work!) I wholeheartedly felt before leaving NC/VA that this trip to my 50th state, the 16/16 anniversary of Maria and Brandy's death and time isolating myself from my regular phone, email, worrying and scheduled daily practices would give me a perspective that I have fought so hard to find for years, but never knew how to get out of my own way to see before. Boy has it ever. I didn't think my last weekend of this trip would wrap up to be the magnitude of grand finale "place" and perspective it has, but I'm sure happy it did!

Now it's looking more like I will miss both weddings :(

This is upsetting to me as I will miss a monumental day for my friends, but I know they will understand. I also know every last detail of my minutes in the past near 9 weeks have happened exactly like they were supposed to (even the bad and tough ones.) If that means I miss an event, someone's birthday, live on a coast or in a place I never thought I would, or end up with a job, person, thing happening that I wouldn't have thought of in a million years, I don't question it. I know the only reason why I can sit here in silence, on the top of a mountain, alone in California today and say I feel happy and content, is because I'm PROUD of myself. I am proud not because I am a hero, or am saving the world, but because I am finally listening to my intuition, taking care of myself, and not settling for something I don't want to do. I'm doing what I want and poof- suddenly things, people, moments are falling in my lap. Well, not really, I wish it were that easy. Things are "falling" in my lap because I'm taking care of me, following my heart, and doing what I love. I'm pairing those things with busting my butt, being the best human I possibly can, and adding in every ounce of 32 years of my personal and professional experience to make a magical recipe.

The happiest and most successful people I've continued to meet, are healthier, have loving and full relationships more, and make millions because they are conscious and confident enough to do what they love, being generous and kind to their neighbors and busting their asses. It's such a simple formula. Why haven't more of us practiced this simple formula before?This is the like the holy grail of recipes and summer 2010 has handed me the index card with all the ingredients to make the perfect batch. (Ok, that sounded cheesy, but you get what I mean.)

I owe credit cards a bunch of money, a bank for a car loan and a few friends and family some from personal loans I took in 2009 when my life fell into a pile of poo. I had lost all confidence and understanding on how to get out of the poo for a while. I HATE debt. I LOATHE debt. Especially bad debt (like credit cards.) What I absolutely DESPISE the most though is having personal debt to friends and family. The bank is one thing, but friends and family are another. Knowing that I had some personal family and friend debt before even embarking on this trip, not to mention I didn't even HAVE the money to go on this trip has been on my mind every single day I've been gone. I know based on a few comments from readers whom I don't know, there might be an opinion that I'm the worlds biggest shmuck for taking a "vacation" all summer and feasting on food, sights, wine, events, and places. Have I feasted in every way? Yes. Have I enjoyed every ounce in every state and place with every person I've been with or where I've been alone? Yes. Have I felt guilt everyday because of the few personal loans I have outstanding? Yes. Have I ever questioned myself, my integrity, the reasons for this trip, or where I was going or why I needed it? NO. I was at a place in my life in May this year that was a culmination of years of nothing ever being good enough for me. I had been abusing myself by not ever cutting myself a break. I was hating for myself deeply and severely for not living the life I wanted and doing what I knew I wanted to do. I had never allowed myself the time, respect, or patience to figure out how to live what I wanted. I had no idea who I really was.

The ONLY and I mean ONLY reason I have learned to love and respect myself, feel confident in my abilities, and trust myself is because I have taken the TIME for myself this summer. Isn't nuts to think that something like a road trip and 2 months away from any and all regularly scheduled programs could change a life forever?

Well, it has for me.

How do I pay back everyone and pay "it" forward? I find a way to help others allow themselves to take time. Time away from their own regularly scheduled programs when they come to a time like I did back in May. A lot of people out there are not as fortunate as I am with an enormous number of family and friends who love and support them. There is no way I'd be here typing this, alive and well right here right now if I hadn't had that love and support from so many for the past couple years to get to the place I'm at now. That is the truth more than I could emphasize it and that scares the shit out of me. It also tells me very clearly what I am meant to do and what I'll be great at. If I wasn't conscious of this, all that love and support you all have given me and all those parts of my ass I have busted, would be all for nothing.

So to DP and Laura and Brian and Nicole; there's a good chance I will be missing your weddings. I'm sorry for that. To my few friends and family whom I owe some cash; I am sorry for the delay in payment, but I know you understand and thank you for your patience. All who have been so generous and giving to me this summer and always, I will pay you back too and it will be ten-fold. That is a promise. I want to and will make up for every dollar, meal, conversation, joke, letter, call, hug, kiss, and laugh you all have ever spent or shared with me. Perhaps some of those things won't come directly back to you, but they will indeed be pollinated anywhere I go for the rest of my life and that is for sure. I often think of this all/any monies spent as my college loans. I never went to college. Alaska or Bust has been my 4 year university this summer in 2 months. I've concentrated solely on educating myself, practicing independence, experiencing new things and passing tests. I've been positioning myself for the best life possible, that's why kids go to college anyway isn't it?

I feel like I just graduated. YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now it's time to pay off some school loans. Who wants to give a fresh college grad a job? I might just be your best, toughest, full of promise and hope new hire yet. I'm that rookie with the endless smile on her face who's hungry to crush it. I'm thinking this is all you might need to see for a resume.

the mac daddy of sunday fun days

It's almost midnight and I'm still smiling.

Sunday feast in Napa

Sunday feast in Napa

Sunday feast in Napa

Sunny day, incredible eats, fun and interesting company and that general overall feeling of somebody pinch me- I could live here? This day was a slice of my ultimate heaven. In my ongoing east (NYC) or west (SanFran/Napa) coast battle, the scales tipped blindsiding me to today in the most unexpected and delicious way. And juuust when I was about to gas up the car and declare Big Apple or bust...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


(That's thank you in Portuguese.)

Round 500 of thank yous. Oh how I'm so thank for/to:

*The Brothers Covey~ Indian food and fantastic conversation after 10 years- fabulous. I promise I will some how, some way keep pushing to revamp the twisted imbalanced American Corporate Culture.
*Neil and Christina~ 6 years later, feasting and exciting new upstarts. Cheers to that and let me know what I can do to help!
*Erin~ Vino, independence, guys with a name that start with an "S", and bitch please! Never a dull moment right?

Oh how you've made my bay stay a blast and perfect way to wrap up summer 2010 Alaska or Bust!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

looks like I'm not leaving the west coast...

...until at least Wednesday.

A friend who I've just seen for the first time in ten years just sent me an email with a link to this event in San Francisco on Tuesday. His email to me simply reads; "This was made for you."

After years and years of repetitive conversation I've had with hundreds of people while traveling, and 9,000 miles to think on my current trip about what I really want to do, I've been thinking, note taking, talking and researching about starting a company like Meet, Plan, Go! for weeks now. Unexpected that this conference comes up, right when I am about to leave the west coast and during the last few days of the battle of where to move next, what to do, where to work, etc.

I'm going to this event to scope out what Meet, Plan, Go! is really like, see what kind of peeps show up to these things and I'm sure I'll end up traipsing right up to someone at some point during the evening and telling them they need to hire me. I love doing that stuff. I'll report back. Stay tuned. Things could get interesting...

thinking, thinking

Planning, planning.

Networking, networking.

Reading, researching.

Looking for a job.

Looking for a home.

Back soon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

coffee in hand this morning....

...this was my view.


I've given up living in a McMansion, driving a new car, clothes shopping, and well- even a bed along with lots of other things so I'm able to do this stuff.

It doesn't work for everybody, but I sure am glad I've made the choices I have.


I'm on the west coast and It's 3:30am. I'm awake again lying here thinking about NYC AGAIN.

I'm ruined.

I started out my Alaska or Bust trip this summer there. From the second I drove in even close to the city I felt like a fish who found water. I NEVER imagined wanting to live there in a million years but 8 weeks and 2 days later here I am lying awake thinking about it. I have tried to force myself to love another place, I. Fully anticipated that I'd have some pull to Seattle, Portland, San Fran or Napa for a home right now. While I heart those cities for some reason I don't really have a drop of pull for them. NYC however has me under It's spell like no chocolate, man, cute baby, puppy, or other thing ever has.

Here's a fun question; Where does a 32 year old single girl with nearly $27k in debt move with some solid leads but no place to live and no job? Well The Big Apple of course!

Eff! This is one of those times I almost wish I could ignore my heart and head. This is one of those times I think maybe It'd be nice to be a little scared about following my intuition. Now that I've gifted myself a trip and space like I have this summer I can see what I want and don't want with a clear head. That's quite a responsibility. If I ignore things I know I want or need moving forward, I know the world will b*tch slap me. I'm excited for that. So, so excited.

Be careful for what you wish for. You just might get it then you might be lying awake at 3:30am somewhere in the world because your conscience has an alarm for you that won't go away.

I haven't the slightest how I'm going to make this all work, but my alarm is going BEEP BEEP BEEP! I guess its time for some serious game planning on how this Vermont girl is going to make it in the big city. Unless some dream job or other situation comes out of nowhere like a right hook in the next two days, I think It's pretty apparent where I'll be headed. Here's to freezing my ass off this winter!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

to napa to napa to buy a fat pig

...home again, home again jiggety jig.

I'm not actually planning on buying any pigs, but to wine country I go for sure. Maybe some work and a home for a spell, maybe just a visit with a friend for the weekend. Resume's, have been flying out, networking has been happening for weeks, connections, research, hand shakes and high-fives all around. Blogging and traveling is oh so lovely, but I never get a paycheck on a Friday so we have to work on that.

Regardless of what the next step/place/thing is for me, I'll never have a lack of things to talk about here. I have too many photos of yummy food, cool people, neat places, funny road signs, and other ridiculousness to not share them here. For instance the peach galette that Jess, friend of my friend Emma in Seattle who housed me made:

Jess' peach galette in Seattle


Or this funny sign at a grocery store in Sitka Alaska:

Sitka AK grocery store sign

I put it out here and in the universe that I was going to Alaska so I'd kick my own ass to do it. I'm not a big believer in sitting on some kind of "bucket list" for years. I think if you want to do something, you should just do it. However, i do think it's healthy to write down what you want in black and white to help force yourself to own it. Even if it's as simple as I want to eat a popsicle today. ( I had a DE-LISH fresh, organic, blackberry, roadside farm one the other day in the California Redwoods.):

Organic blackberry popsicle in the Redwoods

So off to Napa to Napa to buy a fat- or er, well, maybe pick, sort and crush some grapes, hose out some barrels, work in a tasting room, become a monk-whatever. Maybe I'll somehow find a way to get back east to a couple weddings I'm supposed to be at in the next couple weeks and then to the Big Apple to make a home. (Or at least sleep in a garbage can.) All I know is a couple biggies next on my active bucket list are to learn fluent Spanish and become a killer Salsa dancer. (Ok, so another marathon is on the list too, but I'm not sure about my half-broken knees...) Learning languages, booty shakin' and running so I can eat more chocolate? I'm on it. I trust the rest will work itself out just as it's supposed to. Maybe it's a sign that I'm down to my last $50 and I'm going to wine country? I guess we will see...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

disappearing again di?

Nah, I'm not trying to peace out or quit blogging here. Just ending my big trip from this summer in a quiet and reflective way. You'll never guess what I found. I'll accompany this big news with a giant HOLY SH*T. I've figured out what I want to do for work. (Well, one big thing anyway.)

I've only struggled, wondered, freaked, questioned, doubted, scratched my head and thought for you know, about a million hours during the past say 12 years. I've been fighting to figure out where my place is, what I'd become, where I best fit, why I didn't want to do just one job or be just one person. I haven't figured out all the secrets or anywhere near all the answers. What I have done is take time and space at 32 years old, just for me, in a way far from anything I've ever done. I stopped doing things because of other people and stopped telling everyone what I'm doing at every minute. I've not even called some of my best friends back in 8 weeks. I haven't talked to family members more than twice in this 8 weeks. Typically I'd be calling or texting them everyday. Sometimes more than once.

It's hard for any of us to understand what we're doing and why we're doing it, until we step out of it. WAY out of it. Yes I chose to be in Alaska for the anniversary of my friends death and to reach a goal of my 50th state. I am proud of that. It's something no one will ever be able to take from me. What I didn't realize, was the bonus gift I got from this trip was understanding myself more. It literally took me removing myself so far physically from where I was I couldn't have driven farther if I tried. (Wilmington, NC to Alaska.) I've learned in this time that its not bad to take care of myself. Its not selfish either. After all, how could I ever be a good friend, worker, sister, neighbor, etc. if I don't take care of myself or know enough about who I am. It's not an easy task to completely leave your old self behind, abandon some habits and allow yourself to really understand the next time and phase of what you might be, but boy does it feel good after you do it.

The best surprise in my experience this summer has been those moments of; Wow! THAT'S why I had that nutty job all those years back, or Oh! I guess it makes sense now why I ended up moving there, trying that, dating such and such a person or having the desire to such and such a thing. As if we walk around today, scratching our heads doing our best to try and understand why certain things are happening, then we're gifted by waking up the next days in our lives seeing that it all makes sense and was for something.

I know what I want to do now. I understand better than ever what makes me jump out of bed for a job. Now figuring out how to work it.

I hope you all take what time you can to simply, stop, shut your eyes and think about how the experiences and education you've collected can work with what your heart and soul are screaming to you everyday. When those things combine it's like magic. I'm feeling like I've found some magic.

Here's to disappearing for good reason.


Testing iPad at Mac store in San Fran. Wow. I could totally use this this light and amazing thing to post from the road. This is my first time using it and it's fantastic.

Oh Mac how we love your products!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

i finally found my lumberjack

My Lumberjack

So we never made out, I'm not sure if his name is Ben or not, I found him in Orick California- not Alaska, and he's not even human, but hey at least I got a picture.


I guess you don't always get what you want, but it sure is fun to have a fantasy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

meet the fishermen

For my last night in Alaska, I decided I was going to do something I hadn't done for the two weeks I was there; Buy myself a beer and decent dinner and relax in that zen place of Ahhh...I did it! Well, Alaska had a different idea of what my last night should be and it could not have been more perfect.

I walked into the Fish Pirates Saloon on that rainy and chilly night, fairly late and asked them if they were even open. It was so quiet in the place it looked like they were about to close. They said they were still open, so I went to the bar ordered, and sat happily in my quiet zen place, thinking about the events of my adventurous and goal reaching 2 weeks there. There were a whopping 6 other people there dining who we all wrapping up their meals with a guy playing some tunes on a piano in the background. Piano man finished his songs and came up to the bar to get what seemed to be his after gig final drink. He introduced himself to me.

And then the Salmon Fisherman walked in and all hell broke loose (in a good and fun way.)

Here we go.

In no less that 2 minutes, Troy the piano guy (who had barely introduced himself to me) and the crew of already having too much (well is there ever really too much?)- fun guys were whooping it up and surrounding me. Talk about zero to 60 in 2 minutes. The bartender instinctively mixed up what the crew was about to ask for anyway, and slid me a shot to join in with the whole gang. Who am I to reject a complimentary shot with a bunch of strangers?

Fishermen in Ketchikan

2 seconds after the shot, someone screamed "KARAOKE!!!" and piano man Troy refused to go back to play unless the fisherman sang to me while I stood on the piano. (I must insert here, that I am all about a party, am not afraid of dancing on a table, talking to brick walls, or any of the like. Moreover, when someone says anything along the lines of "Get on stage/the table, etc.!" I am usually all about it. This night however, I was stone sober, tired from hiking and chilled from being out in the drizzle all day so I really gave a Girl Scout try of declining the standing on the piano wish. I was no match for a crew of already well-buzzed chanting hilarious fisherman who had just come off the boat after 6 days at sea, so I politely did what was asked.)

Fishermen in Ketchikan

Troy made them face and sing to me and the guys took turns rocking it out while I talked to those who weren't, about fishing:

Fishermen in Ketchikan

I found out they often work up to 20 hours a day and 7 days a week. One guy was 22 and just back from college for the summer. He said in 2 month's he could make $25k working those crazy hours. (I need to become a fisherwoman.) I was told by another one of the guys that they actually caught all the fish, crab, etc. for the Deadliest Catch boat/TV show. I don't know whether this is true or not, but these were all good guys and seemed like the no bull kind, so I believed them. One of them asked me if I was a reporter. I told him, well- sort of. I had to get a video of one the guys Mike singing. (At one point Troy made me come back up onstage and sit with Mike. When I tried to take a self portrait style head shot of Mike and I, he leaned in and promptly said; "Oh, sorry dude- I totally just farted." Talk about funny. I almost fell off the piano.)

I participated in beer #2 and cheering as the karaoke and madness continued. I remained sober, but laughed so hard, most of the night I was doubled over and my stomach hurt. I had so much unexpected fun. These guys were just regular hard working fishermen, completely innocent out to have a good time and blow off a bunch of steam. They were weathered and windburned, Carhart wearing gents, just as you'd imagine Alaskan Fishermen to be and looked like they worked harder than most of the people I've ever met. It was quite and experience and what a way to spend my final night in my 50th state. Talk about fall asleep laughing and thinking- did that just happen? Now this will make for a good story.

Thanks guys. That was a blast and then some. I've done a lot of things before, not sure I have ever stood on a piano during shots and karaoke, and certainly not at a restaurant in Alaska. I'll cheers to that!

sleepin' in da car

Yep. That's what I'm doing again tonight.

I didn't get a chance to post today, or should I say didn't take time to as got a late start and drove a ways down the 101 on coast. Absolutely gorgeous and been 9 years since I've done this. Crossed border of California. This will be the last stop state on the Alaska or bust trip. Will find out if some work is going to pan out in wine country. If not I rob a bank to get the $350 it will take to drive the little Civic that could back east and gulp- go stay with my parents in Vermont for the first time since I was 17. NYC is still on mind and whether I make it there in a few weeks of a few months, I will at some point soon I am sure. So far I have trusted this whole process and things have worked out smashingly.

I will have the as promised crazy fisherman photos and videos up by tomorrow, maybe the video from the splurge at the swanky Motel 6 in Eugene Oregon that reeked of vomit and some of the other 99,000 stories and photos I have from the last almost 8 weeks on road.

I wanted to write and leave a first ever post straight from my front reclined seat and Blackberry before I'm off to sleep at 1am west coast time. Yay for modern technology. See ya again in the morning. G'night!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

dank u

(That's thank you in Dutch.)

The endless round of thank you's to those awesome peeps who help keep me fed, give me a place to sleep and provide good entertainment or new friendships and other good stuff on the road:

*Alex~ You are sweet and generous. I am always humbled by service people and your selflessness. Thank you.
*Judy~ The Love Shack was a great little home and resting spot. Here's to meeting new friends in my 50th state!
*Katie and Alison~ What can I say? To new fun and sassy gal pals in Portland at such last minute randomness? Love it.
*Greg~ To the different planets we live on, but somehow the same head and heart place and not drowning in whitewater.

I've had the good fortune of meeting, spending time with, being fed, housed and supported by countless people on this trip. I've even been treated to whitewater rafting. So fun. One of the best things I have been able to do on this trip is tour someone around with me that has barely been out of his own state let alone comfort zone. I'm talking someone who has never eaten gelato or Dairy Queen. The simple things. The sights, sounds and flavors to him are like exposing a kid to a candy store and telling them; Go on in kiddies- it's allll free! A pretty amazing way for me to be able to pay it forward. The world is perhaps more his oyster now, the way it became mine 16 years ago. Now there's no going back.

I have officially realized to the nth degree that we live in a country that affords any and all of us the possibility of doing and being whatever we darn well want.

Can you believe it?!

So I've decided I'm going to keep on doing just that and I hope you all do too.

Here's to oysters, candy stores and freedom of choice.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

stinky armpits and smiles

Off for a whitewater rafting treat. I am one lucky gal. If you haven't been to the Northwest in the summer, run- don't walk, to your nearest travel agent or calendar to book some time to come out here next summer. What am I saying? What I really mean is if you have never been on a road trip in the United state during summer- you must. There is nothing like it. Nothing.

Another night of car camping last night after walking around a small town Oregon First Fridays Art Walk and talking with locals, waking up at 6am mangled in my front seat, grabbing a coffee and heading out for a gorgeous day outside, I feel like pinching myself once again. I keep thinking- am I really doing all this? I'm smelly, broke, unshowered and uncertain, and I've never been happier in my life. I feel like I am LIVING. Like really, really LIVING. This is amazing.

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Hope everyone is getting out in some kind of sunshine.

Friday, September 3, 2010

open spaces

Touring a friend around the Northwest.

There's been a battle in my head and heart whether to stay a bit in San Fran or NYC.

After yet another day with the vibe, love, chatter, way of the west, I think this girl might end up schlepping grapes in Napa for harvest this fall. I don't have any $ to get back to the East Coast anyway. Talk about some stories to come if I busted my ass picking grapes 14 hours a day for a buncha weeks. I'm thinking I'd like it and perhaps that's what the next phase of BLR is supposed to be.

Stayed tuned.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

i heart cameras

Now that I've made the enormous investment of $25 (hey that's like 2 weeks food budget for me on the road!) to Flickr for unlimited photo and video storage space, I'm going to use every bit of unlimited I can. get ready for a picture-fest! (If you have the desire to see a slew of my photos, visit here and search Blue Lollipop Road. There's a bunch!)

Who needs a jacket when you can wear a furry bikini to keep you warm in Alaska? On sale for only $89.95, I'm thinking I might have missed out on a deal. Hotness.

Bikini in Juneau

As if throwing the "gy" on dog, it makes for a cuter sign to tell people not to let their dogs crap there. (Ok, so it is kind of funny.)

Sign in Sitka

Ahhh...capturing a moment. Oh the joy.

today is 90210

Oh the good times and hours spent watching teen drama.

And I thought a couple of those guys were hot too. Yikes. Did I just admit that?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I just got my first direct comment from a stranger who watched my 16/16 video at YouTube that read:

"I love this video. Thanks for posting."

Ok, now I know this might not seem like a big deal as I've made connections with lots of new people on the road and have had numerous communications with you all through here, Facebook, Twitter, etc. but this particular comment from just now is huge to me. Kind of like after blood sweat and tears the diner owner gets the doors of his dream shop open, on day 1 sells out of bacon and eggs and he tapes the first dollar bill he earns proudly to the wall near the cash register.

I sat all morning this morning in my regular look at my always scraping bank account and enormous debt. Where do I move/go from here, how can I reach more people with Blue Lollipop Road, how can I extend my hand to others as they have to me and what?! -did that guy at the auto shop told me I need 2 new tires for the back of my car? Then moments of normal frustration come knocking in my head; This is nuts Diane, will you just go get a job and who cares what it is. You just need $. You must be dreaming to think you can somehow afford to continue on this journey, encouraging others to find their "roads" and doing what you believe in.

Then I feel peeved at myself for not doing more, faster, better, smarter- so I go for a run.

(I swear since I really started to run at 17 years old it has totally saved my life.) So out I went to think think think and pound the pavement. Sometimes I think so hard and lose myself so much I fall flat on my face, or knees or shoulder. Literally. I have 2 big ol' scars from June on my right knee from on of those overly thoughtful runs. The more often that not "What am I doing/What's the best thing to do?" run ended with me feeling a little less stressed. I open my computer and there's that one little line, from someone out there who I will probably never meet, appreciating a few minutes of video, I drove thousands of miles to make because my heart and soul believed in what I was doing.

I feel a bit stressed everyday, I always have, I question myself all too much, I have piles of debt I need to pay and I need to find a home. These things and more are what can freeze any of us in fear, frustration and resentment. These things often keep a lot of us in that frozen state forever. They can also overshadow the most important things like the generosity of strangers, thankfulness for health, friends and family and hope for all things possible. Even though I almost want to shake my fist in the air, look ahead as if a person was standing there so I can scream damn you! Just when I start thinking about throwing in my towel and join the rest of the crowd (it seems like it'd be a lot easier sometimes.) you send a little birdie with a message to say keep on truckin' girl- you're on the right track. Argh!

Todays appreciation from someone I don't know helps to solidify all I have worked so hard to do and why I'm doing it. It tells me I have to keep going.

Thanks Monolith. I don't want to give this all up. I want to continue this path that feels right, screams to me everyday and find out where it's going. Everything in my body tells me it's leading to something remarkable. Your one liner just fueled me up for more trucking so up the hills I go!

look mom- it's a glacier!

When people say things like " You can hike a/to a glacier" you take it with sort of a grain of salt, thinking oh sure- that sounds awesome. Then you get to the glacier, stand in front of it and your jaw hits the ground. You keep blinking your eyes because you don't think what you're looking at could possibly be real:

Mendenhall Glacier

It's real! (Yes, that's ice in the water close, near my feet that had broken off and floated the way to the sand I was standing on!)

Welcome to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.

Mendenhall Glacier

When talking with other travelers who were reveling in the gorgeousness like me, someone said that these glaciers looked like giant frozen tidal waves. I think that's a pretty perfect description. It's one thing to see these glaciers in photo books or on a typical chilly overcast day in Alaska, but if you're lucky enough to have a sunny warm day with blue skies to experience something like this in person?! The brilliance is beyond explanation or that in which my poor little Nikon camera could ever capture. I hiked the east loop that day. Near the trail head got this photo. 200-plus years to travel 13.5 miles? Now that's some slow and steady moving:

Mendenhall Glacier

I regularly comment what I have said here before about the trees, green and general lushness. It's like living in some fairy tale. I mean, Shrek almost popped his head out to say hi here:

East loop trail Mendenhall Glacier

Here's a funky fungi of some kind; I enjoy the randomness of shots like these:

East loop trail Mendenhall Glacier

Video from mid-way up:

Broken off floating parts and pieces:

Mendenhall Glacier

A view from near the top looking away from the glacier:

Mendenhall Glacier

And one more from my way down that gives sort of a close up look. See? Doesn't it look like a slightly dirty frozen tidal wave? Incredible:

Mendenhall Glacier

I have a plethora of photos, I look forward to sitting with some of you to share more. Nature at it's finest to say the least. This was a once in a lifetime hike for me, or at least that first time you see something like this the wow factor is simply mind boggling. I'm not usually a quiet person, but I spent so much speechless in awe time while in Alaska it was fantastic. Sometimes it's a welcomed surprise to not be able to say a thing and just look. This day was one of those for me.