Fall Foliage

I made it to Vermont, my new home! These pictures are from both Vermont and New Hampshire, but mostly New Hampshire. I have been told by more than one person that the foliage this year is the best it’s been in years, and I believe it. These pictures are from the real “peak” weekend and I am so lucky to have been able to go on this drive. The weather was beautiful and unseasonably warm.

Here’s to my favorite season. I hope you enjoy!

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Steve, my tour guide!

Steve, my tour guide!

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Maha Thank You’s

IMG_3196Aw man. I have been thinking of writing this post for over a year.  I was able to be strong enough to quit my job, jump into the abyss and keep on flying for 17 months because of overwhelming love, support and encouragement I received along the way.

It’s amazing how much support you get when you do your best to truly follow your heart-which is NOT always an easy thing to do. I feel so unbelievably fortunate to have the people in my life that I do. During the last year it was others’ belief in me, their desire to support my happiness, and respect for my process that kept me going in times of doubt and struggle. It is because of small moments, ongoing relationships, new friends and mirror like wisdom along the way that I was able to have the most amazing year.

Here are as many thank you’s as I can think of. I know I have forgot some. They are not necessarily  in order of importance because you cannot place a value on how you have been touched by an act of kindness from someone, you just feel it in your heart and if you are lucky, radiate it back out to the world.

My family! Michael Bass & Marie Dobson, Lorena Laforest, Angelina, Philip and Max Williamson and Ezekiel Laforest. Rosie! You always wants the best for me and I am so incredibly lucky. I feel your support so deeply and truly know how lucky I am to have family who just wants to see me happy, and sometimes knows what that is better than I do. Each and every one of you!  Julie and Eric-Basically without your generosity, I would not have been able to have this year. Your driveway was the home to my car for many months, your basement was my storage, you fed me, provided unending emotional support, and showed me what a healthy marriage and family looks like. My heart is full! Emile- thank your for the iPod Nano, providing a soundtrack for many miles driven, letting me use your car for the month my mother was in the hospital which was so incredibly helpful, and for being a good friend. Grandma-you gifted me a miracle this year, without your help I couldn’t have managed as long as I did without a job, and I really needed the time off. Margo Dolan- Thanks for your laughter, confidence, encouragement.  Offering Bowl donators-you are amazing! My SMC family, My KCL family! I could name names, but there are so many. If you consider yourself among one of these families, you are included! Dona-Your couch, your family, Crystal cuteness! David Ball-You’re friendship, fun and laughter. John Beard, Dennis Southward, Jane Arthur for generosity and guidance , Emma Cramp for your free and encouraging spirit, Everyone I staffed programs with and for. My Los Angeles ladies, Sarah Calendar, Penelope Lewin, Lauren Mauher, Miranda Selwyn (and Emma and Dona previously mentioned) for your friendship and awesome camera that you gave me when I left LA which has documented this past year. Megan Winecoff, my sister in flight. Molly and Kelsey, my Colorado ladies. Peter Stewart for your heartfelt friendship. Evan Silverman and Shodie Lyon for opening the door to KCL where I eventually landed.

I know there are more. If you are reading this, there is no doubt that you are included because you are part of my journey. Basically, I am grateful for every single person who has been in my life.

You are all my teachers.

 

Heading East

Even though I started this leg of my trip in Boulder, I really just finished a road trip from one end of the country to the other. California to Vermont.  I drove over 5,000 miles and saw  parts of the country I have never seen before. It really has been an epic f*cking journey!

Thank you to those who hosted me during my travels! Mr. Dennis Southward, Heather Lloyd, Marcelle and Greg Gilkerson, Liz and Tim, and Tasha and Gerhard-you are the best!!!!

A few notes from the road:

  • The I70 between Colorado and Missouri has very little except for adult sex shops and religious signage. Makes you wonder.
  • Did you know that Kansas is the sunflower state? It’s pretty in the summer and fall. According to my friend, it’s pretty depressing in the winter. I can imagine. However, the cheapest gas in the country-probably all year round. Pros and cons.
  • I really like Columbus Ohio. Have you been? Lots of cobblestone type streets and green trees.
  • Driving by yourself gets really old.

And now, on to the next adventure!

 

The lovely house of Dennis in Boulder who hosted me multiple times this year, thank you!

The lovely house of Dennis in Boulder who hosted me multiple times this year, thank you!

I left Boulder on September 12th and it was 37 degrees

I left Boulder on September 12th and it was 37 degrees

Here I go, Route 70 for daaaaays!

Here I go, Route 70 for daaaaays!

Oh Kansas, Not much doin, but glad I got to see it.

Oh Kansas, Not much doin, but glad I got to see it.

Cheapest gas I have seen in at least 20 years.

Cheapest gas I have seen in at least 20 years.

Rode Signs

Road Signs

More road signs

More road signs

 

More road signs

And more road signs

Sex shops and Jesus signs, all along the 70

Sex shops and Jesus signs, all along the 70

More road signs, always a good reminder

More road signs, always a good reminder

First stop: The lovely Manhattan Kansas home of Heather

First stop: The lovely Manhattan Kansas home of Heather

Reunion!

Reunion!

Orange Oreos, we match! Professor party

Orange Oreos, we match! Professor party

We got party favor glasses. Mine had birds-put a bird on it!

We got party favor glasses. Mine had birds-put a bird on it!

Heather eats BBQ

Heather eats BBQ

When in Rome, or Kansas

When in Rome, or Kansas

The Prairie

The Prairie

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Prairie Inhabitant

Prairie Monarch

Praise Fest baby!

Praise Fest baby!

This sign is everywhere

This sign is everywhere

On all the doors at Kansas State University-a different reality

On all the doors at Kansas State University-a different reality

St. Louis bound!

St. Louis bound!

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St. Louis from the side

St. Louis from the side

The Mississippi River

The Mississippi River

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Changing Routes...Kentucky here I come

Changing Routes…Kentucky here I come

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Louisville, KY. Pretty city, I basically got out of the car to take a few pictures.

Louisville, KY. Pretty city, I basically got out of the car to take a few pictures.

Riverboats, KY

Riverboats, KY

WKRP in Cincinatti

WKRP in Cincinnati

Ohio!

Ohio!

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The lovely home of Marcelle and Greg, thank you for hosting me! I kind of love Columbus

The lovely home of Marcelle and Greg, thank you for hosting me! I kind of love Columbus

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Getting closer

Getting closer

Back on the 80, getting closer....

Back on the 80….

First signs of fall in PA

First signs of fall in PA, pretty in pink

Pretty Road

Pretty Road

Late night car selfie after hour 10, New Jersey somewhere

Late night car selfie after hour 10, New Jersey somewhere

The lovely home of LIz and Tim in Greenpoint. Thanks for letting me stay!

The lovely home of LIz and Tim in Greenpoint. Thanks for letting me stay!

Beautiful day and view from Williamsburg. This park did not exist when I lived there.

Beautiful day and view from Williamsburg. This park I was sitting at did not exist when I lived there.

DUMBO

DUMBO-On our way to a poetry reading, how very New York

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Heading North

Heading North

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My new exit

My new exit

I made it!

I made it!

These ones welcomed me on may way into Karme Choling

These ones welcomed me on may way into Karme Choling

I made it, just in time for dinner.

I made it, just in time for dinner.

California and Back, Again

It’s been a while since i have posted any pictures or written any updates. I haven’t been that inspired as the last few months have been consumed with program and practice, internal process, and life decisions.

After spending six weeks at Shambhala Mountain Center in an often wet and leaky  tent, I can officially say that I hit my limit. It turns out when your done, you’re done. After 17 months of living on the road, unpacking and packing, sewing patches on my clothes, living out of bags, and sleeping on couches and unfamiliar beds; I’m ready for a home and a job. I know you didn’t think it was going to happen, but believe it or not I wasn’t planning on living this way forever!  I started this journey looking for a new home. I found two. But since you can only live in one place at a time, decisions had to be made.

A can tell you this, It’s been a wild ride!

So before I unpack again (for a while), it was time to visit friends and family in California and soak in the West one last time (for a while). I’ve done this trip before.  I started my journey with a trip from California to Colorado. This time I did it the other way around, and back again. I was a little less inspired to take pictures, but here’s a few to document the trip. I’ve got one more road trip to go before I reach my destination, and a new journey begins.

Stay tuned, I’m heading East.

 

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Feeling Full(y)

Karme Choling:  June 10, 2014

Karme Choling: June 10, 2014

As my time here has come to an end, I am flooded with emotion. Both joy and pain. Appreciation and disappointment. Sadness and love. There was a time in my life when I felt very little, but the numb disconnectedness that allowed me to feel safe in the world. There was a time when I started to open my heart that I mostly felt the sadness, pain and the suffering of living. As my time at Karme Choling comes to end and my year-long gap of space starts closing in, I can say with great appreciation and awe; that I feel deeply. All of it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve had the best year of my life.

It’s never to late to follow your heart.

Here are some highlights of Vermont in May and June. They don’t call them the green mountains for nothing!

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Hill Farmstead, special, special beer

Hill Farmstead, special, special beer

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Cute Vermont Store

Cute Vermont Store

 

Honor System, yes!

Honor System, yes!

 

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Perennial Pleasures

Perennial Pleasures

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High Tea and Garden Stroll

High Tea and Garden Stroll

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River in New Hampshire

River in New Hampshire

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On the Verge

On the Verge

Swimming Hole, New Hampshire: It was cold, but worth it!

Swimming Hole, New Hampshire: It was cold, but worth it!

 

Before I was attacked by black flies

Before I was attacked by black flies

 

Fairies Live Here

Fairies Live Here

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Karme Choling Garden: June 10, 2014

Karme Choling Garden: June 10, 2014

June Garden

June Garden

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Lettuce Harvest

Lettuce Harvest

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Goodbye Poppy

Goodbye Poppy

Leaving a Mark

Leaving a Mark

Saying Goodbye with Paint

Saying Goodbye with Paint

 

 

 

 

 

Sugaring

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The best part of this last year has been having the opportunity to be more connected to nature.  Seeing the river change from a frozen block of ice to a super flowing stream. Being in tune to the phases of the moon and looking up at the sky at night, seeing stars and planets illuminating the sky. Hearing the birds chirping their first songs of spring, and watching the seasons shift and change…..I could go on and on.

Being able to take part in “Sugaring,” collecting maple sap and processing it into syrup has been another way to connect with the natural world. Checking on the trees each day has been an opportunity to track the change of seasons and be part of something fun and exciting with others. I’ve felt like a child during this process, learning something completely new with wonder and awe.  I feel so lucky to have been here for this!

When we started sugaring we had to wade through 3 feet of snow on the ground. Now the snow has melted, streams are running, the landscape has completely changed, and the trees are surprisingly still dripping. Sugaring season is almost over, but just last night we boiled down the second batch of syrup. And so it continues, until it ends of course.

IMG_2185 We spent a day tapping all of the maple trees. We used a hand drill and then hammered the taps in and hung all the buckets. The next day, many of us adopted trees.This is Lady Tree, one of my adopted sugaring trees. IMG_2204This is Francine. Max named her and I liked it. I would spend the next two weeks with Lady Tree and Francine, collecting sap daily. When we started collecting there was up to 3 feet of snow on the ground.IMG_2205IMG_2207IMG_2208Some days there would be more sap to collect than others. Generally the amount of sap the tree produces has to do with weather conditions. Good temperatures for sugaring is 40’s in the days and 20’s in the nights. IMG_2209We would collect from our trees daily into these buckets and then bring them down the hill.IMG_2218Once all the buckets were collected, they would be put in a big garbage pale and brought down by truck to the Patneaude shed-soon to be Sugar Shack, for the boiling process.IMG_2249The sap would be poured through this strainer, and then into the container below which would filter down into the arch for boiling,IMG_2243IMG_2242IMG_2231We would stand around and watch sap boil for hours. It’s kind of like watching a fire. The arch would be going almost every night that sap was collected. Someone has to watch the fire. IMG_2230IMG_2225This is Jason. He is responsible for bringing all of the materials and experience for sugaring. He was the one who put in solid hours feeding the fire and watching the sap boil. IMG_2252This is Aaron. He’s responsible for bringing sugaring to Karme Choling and coordinating the whole process. He also logged in solid hours of watching sap boil.IMG_2227The whole point of the arch is to boil down the sap into syrup, so there was always tons of steam. IMG_2256This is boiled off foam, it has toxins and things that you don’t want in your syrup.IMG_2270I forget what this spoon was for. Maybe to check sugar levels from the arch.IMG_2303Once the sap has been boiled down enough, it is brought up to the house to finish it off. We started with approximately 50 gallons of sap and ended with 4 gallons of syrup for the first run. Those numbers could be completely wrong, but you get the idea. A lot of sap, a little syrup. That’s why maple syrup is so expensive!IMG_2307Testing the syrup with a hydrometer, we are looking for a reading of 32.IMG_2317Big moment! We are ready to roll. I was beyond excited. Throughout the whole process and especially at this point.IMG_2322Doesn’t that look like amazing maple syrup? It tasted like a amazing syrup!IMG_2335Filling little log cabins of maple syrup!IMG_2344IMG_2350Filling little maple leaves!IMG_2355After our first run, we thought the season was just about over since the weather was warming and the conditions were no longer ideal for sugaring. We had a few days where the trees didn’t produce much, but then they started up again. As long as there has been sap, we have been collecting.IMG_1553We are now on the second run.  Look at how the landscape has changed! All the snow is gone and it officially feels like spring.IMG_1564But the trees have still been producing. Once the sap turns yellow, it’s no longer good for syrup. It’s hard to tell here, but some of the buckets have clear sap and some we have collected was more yellow, which incidentally tasted a lot sweeter.IMG_1555Here’s Francine in the Springtime.IMG_1556Here’s Lady Tree!IMG_1557These are all the buckets that we collect each day.IMG_1563It’s hard to believe that just 10 days ago, this whole area was covered in snow.

We’re not in California anymore Toto!