Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

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Cacerola Girl: See Below for Explanation    (Not my Graphic)

The realization that things go wonky when I am around, or not long before or after I’m around, is a bit unnerving. The wonkies are mostly of the weather/natural disaster types, but there has also been political uprisings, wars and/or man made disasters. 

Here is the timeline:

1986:  My first international trip was to Europe. I went right after I graduated University. I did a 3 month backpackers trip around a month after Chernobyl blew up. I even went as far East as Budapest when I was there.  I am not even sure I knew much about it back then, as I was in college in a tiny town, studying for my final exams, getting ready to graduate, packing or selling my stuff, and I did not own a TV.  I think I ended up ok?

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Chernobyl (Not My Photo) 

1989: I took off for a month in Venezuela by myself.  After visiting Caracas for several days, I flew to Merida which is a cute mountain college town.  When I got there I noticed something was a bit off, small fires in the streets, but not many people. I heard there were protests going on.  I planned a trip into the Amazon jungle for several days, and when we got back, cars were burnt to a crisp in the center of town, windows were broken and graffiti covered the walls, but again it was oddly quiet.  I did no know it then, but it was one of the biggest and deadliest protest in Venezuela happened when we were in the Amazon Jungle. It is known as “Caracazo”. The Protests were in several towns, with Caracas having the biggest one and probably with the most deaths. One day I was walking around town and saw a bunch of police turn a corner, so me with my camera, I wanted to get some shots of what was happening.  I started down the empty street until a young stranger pulled me into a doorway.  She motioned for me to cover my mouth and then I followed her running into a what looked like a shut down business.  It was a bar.  When running I realized I was breathing in tear gas.  It burned my eyes, my throat and lungs.  I didn’t even see the tear gas being set off, after the smoke, it is just clear as air.  People in the bar handed me a beer and a wet towel. I chugged down the beer feeling some relief in my throat, and I used the towel to wipe my eyes which wouldn’t stop tearing up.  I was too shy to use my limited Spanish, but thanked them with a weak “por favor”.  They ended up convincing me to speak with them, because they liked the sound of how I spoke their language…grammatically wrong and everything.  I am glad to this day, that I got pulled out of the action as over 250 people died in those protest around the country. I have some photos of the protest or aftermath, but they were on film and are in a photo album stuck away in storage.  So I borrowed this photo.

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The protests are now known as Caracazo were held all over Venezuela.  Over 250 people died when the protests got violent. Not my Photos

Also in 1989, The San Francisco-Oakland Earthquake shook the entire Bay Area. I was front and center for it.  I and other’s were still in our office just talking when the 6.9 earthquake hit.  Luckily, no damage to our building happened, just an intense rolling movement.  I was meeting with a friend to go watch the Giants in the World Series at a bar.  He had to dodge falling brick and stuff as he was already outside in a less solid ground area.  I met up with him, even though the power was out.  We walked up to Coit Tower after it got dark and that is when the damage really got to me. It was pitch black all around the Bay and in SF with Fires here and there in the Oakland hills. 

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Part of the on ramp to the Bay Bridge Collapsed (not my photo)
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Apartment Building in the Marina Squished like an Accordian. (not my photo)

After that the 90’s were, I guess, quiet…around me at least.

1999: Jump ahead 10 years to when I visited my friend in Virginia Beach, VA and when Hurricane Floyd came to visit as well.  I was supposed to fly out, but all flights were cancelled, so we spent the long day without electricity playing games and trying to make a drink called the “Hurricane” with limited options of alcohol.

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2001: There was that trip to Egypt where I flew there 10 days after 9/11. The trip was already planned.  Yes, I went to a Muslim country, where one of the 9/11 pilots were from, but had been kicked out of his country for Terrorism in the Past.  I am a Honey Badger when it comes to my trips, I was not going to let the terrorists mess it up.  There was definitely a lot more guns around the country so said a local friend I stayed with, but no danger at all and not many tourists as well.  I’m so glad I went, because I feel Egypt will never be the same again.

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This was crowded compared to what it looked like when I was there…with the Chief of the Egyptian Police getting a private tour. (not my photo)

2005: We were going to meet up with a friend in New Orleans, so she and her husband could meet my fiance.  It was planned for October, 2001…a month after 9/11.  We never met up.  Hurricane Katrina hit. And hit hard.

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Not my Photo

2008: We were driving across the country and we planned to go to New Orleans, as Jim has never been there.  But noooo, another Hurricane was going to hit down around there.  Gustav did not do much damage, but we had gone north to get around it.  So to this day, we still have not gone to New Orleans and when we do, it will not being during Hurricane Season.

2009:  We lived in Honduras for 18 months and during that time, there was not only an Earthquake of 7.3, but there was a coup d’état where the Army removed the President from power.  What is amazing, is that a 7.3 earthquake did not do much damage at all, where in, say, San Francisco, there would have been buildings down.  It happened in the middle of the night and I truly thought I was going to wake up to crumble all over town, but no.  There was some damage, in other areas though.

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And the coup was no different, like you think there would have been an uproar in the streets, nope.  Si Quire Dios, “as God wants” is not just words, it is a “Thing” in Honduras.  The Military Government in power used to announce curfews for 4pm like at 3:45, so there was chaos as people tried to get home.  Life went on as usual in the most part.  When it first happened, I thought we would have to escape, because I thought it would crazy dangerous there, but for us it was not bad at all.  There were some killings of people that tried to go against the new regime, but no protests near us.  I guess I would not protest either if I thought I would be shot dead.

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I don’t have a photo of the Coup, but I do have one of me almost getting run over by the man that was ousted, President Mel Zelaya

2011:  We lived in Southern Vermont.  As far as disaster goes, you’d figure a blizzard or something like that, but no, another Hurricane hit when we lived there.  Hurricane Irene did a lot of damage all the way through it’s path including our small town of Brattleboro.

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An art center built over the river had the floor drop out of it from raging rivers due to Hurricane Irene.

2015:  We move to Chicago during it’s 5th largest Blizzard in history.  It snowed 19.3 inches between late Saturday night and 6 a.m.  We all called it the “Super Bowl” blizzard, because it was the worse that day of the Super Bowl.  We crashed a Super Bowl party in our apartment building and watched the storm out of the floor to ceiling windows on the 30th floor.

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After the snowing stopped the sleds came out outside out building.

2017:  The Napa, California Fires, and so many more happened when we lived not far away.  That year was the worst fire season ever regarding property damage.  We lived just outside San Francisco, less than 40 miles away and the whole area was blinded by smoke and everyone feared the fire would never go out or spread even more. It was devastating for those involved.

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This is an old friends Winery in Napa.  The whole building was destroyed. I had many a good time in that building in the 1990s. (Photo by the Signorello Winery)

We were also in Florida for Hurricane Mathew that September. Not only us, but my sister and brother were there too, and we all hunkered down in my parents small house which is further away from the water than ours, and they have hurricane shutters.  We watched TV until the electricity went out and then we did a talent show to keep us entertained.  It hit while we were asleep that night, did not realize because we were in what I now call, Fort Knox.  Nothing but a lot of tree limbs, leaves, moss and branches down at both our house and my parents house, fortunately. We were super fortunate as a Tornado went down the backyards a whole block across the street.

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Five People locked Inside a Hurricane Shuttered House for like 5 Days…We Survived the Hurricane and Family!

2019: This is where the Cacerola Girl comes in and will explain her at the end. We are now in the middle of a political uprising, living in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  After a published long list of sexist and hurtful chats between the Governor and his Cronies, the people of Puerto Rico, and me too, protested for the Governor to Resign and he did!  Something protesters do here is bang pots and pans.  Cacerola means pan in Spanish. Men, women and children do it, not just girls.  They not only bang pots while protesting in the streets, it was happening at 8pm every night from front doors, balconies, hotel rooms, and even work, until the Governor resigned. I got a pot and I’m ready to bang it! The new Governor is just as bad as the last one.

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This is Cacerola Girl!  She, alone, is protesting at the long line of cops with her pot and wood spoon.  She is my Hero! (Not my Photo)
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There may be more protests, but let’s hope a Hurricane will not hit here this year. Cross your fingers for Puerto Rico, because they can’t handle another one.

I am sorry to everyone, if I really have had anything to do with any of them.  It’s probably just coincidence…right?

Thanks for visiting and reading about my bad luck!

Come back to see what I got going on next time.

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Making nature into what it isn’t.

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A Starfish Sea Urchin.

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Dead Coral Growing.

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Shells in the Sky.

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Sea Glass on Solid Ground.

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Sponge Flooring.

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Plated Turtle Food.

Nature doesn’t need me. I pluck it from its home and it bring it to mine.  I need nature. 

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As I am begging for inspiration, pleading for motivation, I cage nature.

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There is sits.  Mocking me.

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My mind rolls around these visions in my head as the sea rolls around glass, making it solid so you can’t see through it, you just see it.

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I stole from nature for my own pleasure.  To turn nature’s art into my own.

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Who was I fooling?

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Nobody can do better than this?

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But Yet I Try.

My Vintage Watercolor Pencil Version of the photo of nature above.

I won’t try to insult it by calling it anything other than “Sand Sea Sky”.

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Why I love Photography, I pluck it from where it is supposed to be yet keep it there.

Thank you for allowing me this musings.  I hope you enjoy and will visit again.


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No, we did not create the sea.

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We packed up whatever we wanted to keep, like kitchen stuff, tools and important stuff from our California Apartment, and Sold the Rest.

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We sold a lot furniture, my projects, some of my art, and much of our beloved vintage stuff.

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Then we moved, again, by airline with just 5 suitcases and some boxes.

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Although, we were lucky enough to go on many adventures with family while living nearby, this move was really hard, emotionally.

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All the other moves were just pains in our asses, but this one tore our hearts.  We moved away from family. It’s weird, we want to be close to our families, but we also want to explore and go on adventures.  Our married life has been all “This” and almost nothing but “This”.  We have accepted it is Who We Are now. We.Are.Gnomads.

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If it were any other place, I probably would have said no, but I couldn’t say no to where we are now. We live on an island, an island in the Caribbean. I could not say, “No” to that opportunity and the work is important to Jim.  We moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico so Jim could work on the project to rebuild the power system here, which is dearly needed.

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We have explored some of the island, and I am learning tons about it’s electrical system along the way. And Jim is making his way around bureaucracy, island time and the government to get his project rolling.  I am proud of him. He really wants to do this job, it is what the residents of this island really want and need.  Below is a photo of damaged windmills 18 months after Hurricane Maria which shut all the islands of Puerto Rico down.

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We have been fully since the end of February. We got our apartment the 1st of March and we are well on our way of settling into City Island Life.

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Old San Juan

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Our Beach, Ocean Beach

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Colorful Calle Loiza, Our Neighbor to the East.

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The Evening View to the West.

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We live on the 8th floor of  10 story building with a view west of the sunset over the neighborhood, and with a bit of a view of the Caribbean Sea to the North.  We get great sunset.

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We have explored a fair amount around the main island (as they call it here).

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We have also been lucky enough to have already gone to a small island off the East Coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques.

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We are just plain lucky and We.Are.Gnomads. And This Is OUR Gnome Little World.

Thank you for visiting it.


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Equals Something I like to Call…

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The Gnomad Beach Pad!

Built in the Mid Century and Only Blocks from the Beach.

A Match Made in Style and Relaxation Heaven!

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It’s not just a home, its a vacation for you, or a great set for your filming production, or a nice location for a photo shoot!

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I mean check out the Sunken Living Room.  The Gnomad Beach Pad was Built in 1964. Old Stan kept great care of the house and we were happy to take it over after his death in 2012.  We honored him and his wife by not making a ton of changes.

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You can see in a previous post the changes we made: Our House Out House

I decorated the entire house with picked and found items.

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I went with the design theme of Mid Century, because, well, It was built in the Mid Century!

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I mean look at that original Formica counter top…

So we had to go all the way Mid Century in the Kitchen.

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Vintage Tupperware for any and all occasion or storage needs!

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Even Vintage Kitchen Appliances : Ice Crusher – Check, Milk Shaker Blender – Check, Mixer – Check, Juicer – Check, and even an Popcorn Popper – Check!

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Lovely Bunch of Lovely Vintage Bowls that I slowly collected by picking often and regularly.

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Now for on top of the super cute Formica counter top!

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Some of the stuff is just for show, and some for use, but love it all!

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And yes those are old Cosco Stepping Stools as seating at the very large peninsula counter top!  Perfect height, why not?

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Moving over to the Family room, the Hub of the House!

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One big giant room with a fireplace on ones side and the sliding glass doors to the patio on the other side.

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And a big TV, DVD Player and a Stereo for your entertaining pleasures.

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Let’s take outside before we go into…

The Bedrooms!

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Hammock AND Bocce Ball.  Yes…And So Much More!

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Easy Breezy Back Patio with curtains that go all the way around for extra privacy.

And get this…an Outside Shower with HOT water.

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The front and side grass covered yards provide enough area for a football game and croquet match to go on a the same time, if not more activities!

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So much room for so much fun!

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Now that I wore you out with all those activities…

Let’s go the rooms of rest!

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The Master Bedroom itself is a retreat!  Large, Light, Airy and oh so Comfortable!

And then there is the large En Suite Master Bathroom!

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The Shower Sliding Doors and Toilet Private Swinging Door are to Mid Century Die For!

And the Huge Sunken Tub is to Relax in!  It is a Mid Century Beachy Mini Spa Room!

And now the Guest Rooms…

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This is the “No place like Gnome” Guest Room.

Relaxing, complete with an adjustable bed, and a desk to write home on!

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A nice place we like to call the “Mad Men Den” Guest Room.

Relaxation up front and Worker Bee Desk on the side.

And the Ever so Cute “Mamie Roosevelt” Pink Jack & Jill Bathroom…

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It is as adorable as it looks.

Complete with vintage pink hamper and trash bin.  I could just live in there.

There is half bath too, but I have to leave something for your imagination!

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That’s the House and here is some nature.

Take a look at the cute wood peckers I caught on film in the yard.

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And here is just a bit of what we have seen nearby The Gnomad Beach Pad!

Indialantic Manatees

And if Technology and Space is your thing…

Check This Out!

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The Falcon Heavy Folks, which you could have seen from the front lawn!                              FeetatHiltonDeck

So get your feet on over to The Gnomad Beach Pad.

And Sink your Feet into the Sand or the Lush Sunken Living Room Carpet.

For Vacation Rental, Please Book Through:  The Gnomad Beach Pad

To Book for a Photography Shoot or a Filming Location Please Use: The Mid Century Beach Pad

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!

And Here is to another “My Gnome Little World” Adventure!  Cheers!


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We went to Northern California for the holidays!

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And Saw Tons of family and friends!

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And this is what we did with them!

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WE MADE SNOW!

And Tiny Little Polymer Clay Colorful Snowmen!

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Including the above one holding his own head!

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And We Beaded!

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And Beaded More!

Taking a Break from Crafts…

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We Went to the Playground!

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Where There Was This Cool Play-Ride-Thing!

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I Had to Join in On the Fun!

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And it was Uncontrollable Laughter Fun!

Yes, I am the Big Kid Auntie!

Back to Crafting…

Kind of…

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Thrift Store Photo Shoot!

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For Something WE ALL Made Together!

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A VIDEO!

Introducing…

Thrift-mas Shopping!

Starring Mis Sobrinos!

WHAT A FUN DAY WE ALL HAD…

And although the kids seem kind-of tired…
They were not!
Just shy about singing in public places!

The oldest came up with the lyrics on his own too!

And Now Some Winter Activity Fun!

From CA Crafts & Activities

Ice Skating!

(Not sure how I made it snow in the photo…but I like it)

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On Your Mark, Get Set Go!

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No Falls For Me…
But My Hips Were Hurting!

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So My Big Sister Took Over Auntie Ice Skating Responsibilities!

On to More Activities…

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Bird Feeding with the In-Laws and Friends!

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Little Friends!

One of My Favorite Things…

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Organizing this Hot Mess China Cabinet (I Love Mom In-Law)…

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Into this Nice Display Piece!

While at the In-Law’s I also Decorated the Christmas Tree!

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And Found these Awesome Vintage Pieces!

And the Hub…

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Made Kelicha Cookies with his Mom!

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Yum Yum!

We Also…

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Entertained…

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Held…

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And Fed Babies!

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We also Danced!

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Boy, Did We Dance!

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So Did the Giant Bear!

Never a Dull Moment in Northern California!

Although I did make any items to sell in this blog post…

Feel Free to Visit OUR OWN BIG WORLD! to see things I have made and other items for sale!

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That’s my Motto…

From Market Day

Even on My First Ever Market Selling Day!

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It was a fun experience, even though I have to shed product for a move we will be making.

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Like Our Creel Mailbox!

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And These Cool Things!

We do not know where we will be moving to yet…

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But as always, we follow the husband’s work!

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Always exciting, always interesting, always an adventure….

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NEVER BORING!

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No, The Husband Was Not Bored!

Neither Was this Piece, as it Was the Favorite Piece of the Day…

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It Got so Much Attention, and It Is Still Available!

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As Are These Weigh Cool Scales!

It Was a Beautiful Day…

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And the Colors are Just Starting to Change!

Beautiful, Just Like Our…

Favorite Customer of the Day!

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93.5 year old reading up on how to make empanadas!

As the Day Wound Down, I Took a Break From Yelling,

“FREE GIFT WITH EVERY PURCHASE!”

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And Put My Feet Up On a Cool Little Stool for Sale!

We Shed Some Product…

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And Enjoyed a Nice Day Outside and Together!

Good Day!

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And Good Night Everyone!

If you see something you like in these photos please visit: OUR OWN BIG WORLD !

IF YOU DO NOT FIND IT THERE, PLEASE COMMENT HERE…

As it may not be up on the site yet!

THANKS FOR VISITING…

OUR OWN BIG WORLD!

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Have not been making things lately, so I thought I would do a short post about my dreams.

 I am the dreamiest girl ever!

Really…

I am a dreaming fool!

And I not only dream a lot, but I remember them as well, in detail, mind you!

And even, sometimes I can recall several dreams a night.

Some are similar dreams that I have had all my life.

Like the losing control of a slow-moving car/the steering goes out dreams.

Or the flying dreams.  I love the flying dreams.  I used to hide that I could fly, now in my dreams I show it off!

Or the my 40-something brother is a little kid dreams.

But others provide story lines that books and movies are made of…really!

So much, I based a children’s adventure mystery novel on one of my dreams.

I started it 8-9 years ago, and then I met Jim, and  put it aside.  Picked it up again, and now I am almost done.

This dream made so much of an impact on our lives, that we went to the Czech Republic for our honeymoon.  That is where the dream, I mean, book is based.

I had never been to the Czech Republic, why oh why was I dreaming about it?

 My recent dreams have included lots of travel, a marriage and death of a friend, my little little brother, Jim driving down the wrong side on a busy freeway, buying antiques from an old gas station, exchanging addresses with a little girl in Honduras so we can keep in touch, trying to get on a bus in some crazy busy foreign country, cruise down the coast of Peru, under water pods, hurricane in Mexico…

Shall I go on?

Boy scouts on foreign beaches, my Mom, jumping off a moving collective, Jim losing control of a wagon, meeting an old couple that had a gondola, and being in school…like a private uniform wearing elementary school.

Last night I was on a road trip with my Mother In-Law!  Oh, the places I go and the people I hang out with…in my dreams!

I recently started emailing the dreams to my husband, just to write them down.  Hence, why I am telling you about them!

I am a bit of a free spirit, but I did not know I really live in a dream world!

At night I do!

 Dream on, My Friends, Dream On!

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I have to admit, I AM a Serial Creator.

In my past, I have killed off many mediums, and then moved on to the next!

Sometimes bringing back old haunts because…you know…they always return to the scene of the crime!

Here is The Life Cycle of This Serial Creator.

Pre-High School: Anything the Art Teacher Would Make Me Do!

From My History of Creating

6th Grade: Block Print (Did the carving, water colors and printing!)

High School: Writing Poetry & Photography

From My History of Creating

10th Grade:  For Photography Class!

From My History of Creating

12th Grade:  My Nationwide Winning Photo for the “Year of the Disabled” Photo Contest.

I worked with this girl at McDonald’s…she was a friend that was born with just part her arm.  I still admire her!

College: Photography & Writing “Witty” Letters to the Editor of the School Paper.

From My History of Creating

A couple of my letters to the Radford University Newspaper’s Editor.  I was so sassy!

I wish I could still write that neat!

20’s: Making Greeting Cards (When the Name “My Own Little World” was created), & Rock Jewelry.

From My History of Creating

One of a series of the “Hill” themed birthday cards. The only sample of them that I have left…because I actually gave them to people after making them! I have a person in mind for this particular “Vintage” card of mine.

From Safety Pins & Pendants

My Rock Jewelry. I actually still wear these! Timeless Beauty!

30’s: Writing Children’s Stories, Making Greeting cards, & Creating Small Odd Gifties.

From My History of Creating

Bookmarks that I thought were awesome…not so much now.

You should have seen the ugly Christmas Ornaments I made in the same design!

Ack!

Sorry friends and family for that “creative” period of mine!

But I still love the below creative flow!

From My History of Creating

A variety of my Christmas Cards!

There is The “Gangsta’ Santa” one , The “Safe Sex Christmas Tree” one (It says “Keep Your Christmas Bright…Wrap It Tight”), The “Reindeer Got Ran Over by a Grandma” One, and of course, The “Dancing On Top Of Santa” one!          Good times!

Now, my one and only published piece!  And mind you, I got paid for it too!

Okay, I wrote on the internet too, but in the writing world, it is just not the same!

Click and Read, My Friends, Click and Read:

Volunteer, Learn a Language Combine Language Study and Volunteer Work in Guatemala

Early 40’s: Writing.

From The Books I Made
From The Books I Made

Although, I just made these actual books, I wrote the stories in my early 40’s for a Children’s Clothing Line…that never went into the book business. But they said they liked them, they really did! Now, they are just for my 7-year-old twin nieces!

Mid 40’s: Blog Writing, Photography & Videography.

Examples of this are all wrapped up neatly in “Vintage” HenderBalz Blog Posts!

Click and Browse, my friends, Click and Browse:

HenderBalz Blog: El Salvador Story Time

Later Mid 40’s (ahem…NOW): Making of Things, Photography, Writing, & Videography.

Again, the HenderBalz Blog, says it best!

Check it out, My Friends, Check it out:

My Own Little World Shopito!

I attack with gusto, even to the point of trying to sell my work, and then I give up…whether I have done well or not.

MAY I NEVER GIVE UP AGAIN…MY OWN LITTLE WORLD SHALL GROW!

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