living without.

DSC_0220

hard days. days like yesterday, when we went to do laundry, find internet and get groceries and only accomplished two of the three. (the internet we found was so slow it was worthless for what I needed it for; mainly downloading new things for us to watch during the dark, cold hours between sunset and sleep; and to update my blog. hell, I couldn’t even get Facebook to load, or send photos to my phone via messages.)

hard days, but also learning to live without things, live like we (well, like I) used to live….no internet. today, for example we made a decision to not go to ‘town’, to stay at camp, even though we had not accomplished what we needed yesterday. staying put meant not spending money, but it also meant we had to learn to keep occupied. easy on warm days, not so easy on a chilly day.

I spent some of the day working on the old quilt (of my mom’s) that I’m patching. it was on her bed as a teenager in the fifties, and I’ve had it since my grandpa passed away in 1997. it’s been well loved, and is threadbare in many spots—holes right through in many others. I’m sewing patches on it with embroidery floss, using a blanket stitch. patches of all different sizes, in fabrics I’ve acquired through various means, mainly tiny prints, some from Japan, all very quaint. it’s more than a way to pass the time, it’s marking the days that I’m on this journey, it helps me focus on something other than the road going by, or the silence of the forest. it’s a great meditation, a purpose.

IMG_0347

xander spent most of the day reading. we picked up some books (2 each at under .80/pc from goodwill) while our laundry was washing yesterday. after my fingers started turning numb (even in the wristwarmers I pulled from my jeannieknits stash… it is still. so. freaking. cold!) I crawled in the car, and under the blankets, and passed the rest of the afternoon reading as well.

I joked later we were living like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I’m not sure x got the reference.

———-

we also looked at the map (MAP!) of texas that we picked up at the welcome center and mapped out 2 possible routes through the state (see, internet, we don’t need you!) and are planning on heading out from here tuesday and head to the shores of the gulf…time for some sun and sand.

IMG_0346

sam houston national forest 1/19/2016

we have your dog.

IMG_0198

the other day while cooking lunch, we noticed a dog wandering around the campground. white and brown, lean; a hunting dog, clearly. she had a tracking collar on (they have a large box with an antennae sticking out of it) and another leather collar. we watched as she got closer and seemed interested in something under our car. sniffing, pawing….I was afraid it was a dead animal, but she popped her head up with a piece of wheat bread in her mouth. after eating that one, she went back and got another. apparently a loaf of bread had fallen out of our car when we were unloading, and she was hungry. 

xan went and grabbed the bag from under the car, occasionally tossing another piece to the dog who was still lingering around. after a while, we went back to eating our lunch and building a fire, going about our day and not giving much more thought to our new friend. 

about an hour later, I was heading a short ways from our site to gather some wood and the bright white of the dog, nestled in under the magnolias and vines and tall pine trees caught my eye. as I approached her I noticed she was shaking. the temps were about in the high 40’s, and in the dampness of the woods it was very chilly.

I called xander over, and we decided we’d better call and get her owner. clearly the tracking device wasn’t working and this little gal was lost.

getting a signal to the phones is futile out here, so we unhooked the car from the tent and xander drove about 25 minutes up the road until he could get a connection.

after several dropped calls he finally got through.

“Is this Ryan B***r?”

“Uhhh, no?”

“Wait, is this Ryan? I called the number on the tag that had your name on it. we have your dog”

“Aw, heck I thought you was a bill collector!”

after telling him where we were, he said he’d be there in 15 minutes (which in the south means thirty)….so in about a half hour, a mud caked white pick up truck pulled up (of course it was a white pick up) and out of it jumped Ryan and the cutest little mini version of Ryan, about 3 years old, both decked head to toe in camo and boots and southern hospitality.

the dog, who had seemed depressed and forlorn all day, perked up, as if to sense his cause was not lost as he smelled the familiar scent of “his people” when they exited the truck.

I asked the little one, “Is that your dog?

“yes, m’am” came the sweetest little southern drawl.

“What’s her name?”

“Bobbie”

“well I hope it’s ok we fed her some bread”

“yes, m’am”

IMG_0113

Bobbie struggled to lift herself up—something was wrong with her back right hip—and the tail started wagging for the first time.

the two southern gentlemen each grabbed her collars and escorted her to the truck, thanking us over and over again….explaining along the way that her collar must have dead batteries, that they had been looking for her since last night.

they loaded her into a cage in the back, and off they went.

————

about two hours later, while making dinner, xander sees another dog come sniffing his way into the campground.

brown and white, hunting dog, tracking collar.

sniffing around…on the trail of something…..wandering in circles…searching.

“you’ve got to be kidding me!” xander yells, throwing his hands up in the air.

the dog looked his way, head cocked as if to say:

“bobbie said something about some bread?”

IMG_0199.JPG

desoto national forest, mississippi

 

 

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

learning.

IMG_9665

well it’s been a week. (technically almost two) but, man.

we learned a lot on this adventure so far.

mainly; we packed too much of the wrong things.

should have bought the tent first thing.

rain is the enemy.

walmart

walmart

walmart.

as much as I hate to say it, walmart has been a lifesaver. sleeping there, undisturbed…ok, undisturbed except in Virginia on xmas eve when the local boys like to ride their pickups around and around until the wee hours…undisturbed; meaning we can be there and it’s cool with walmart.

“Radjit, you need someone on carts”

New Jersey is the worst place on earth. Anything worth getting to, you just can’t. hence our new  phrase, “that’s a New Jersey Shake Shack” meaning, it’s there, oh it’s RIGHT there..you can see it…practically touch it. you just can’t (and won’t EVER) get to it. (only people who have driven in the labyrinth that is Paramus, New Jersey will understand this)

learning how to ‘flip’ the car from driving mode to sleeping mode has gotten easier.

privacy screens: yes.

fan: hell yes.

learning how much you need to take into the starbucks bathroom in the morning to come out feeling fresh as a daisy (wipes, deodorant, toothbrush/paste new undies, new socks and freshen up the hair: boom.)

time.

there’s so much time when you really have no where to go/be.

that’s probably been the hardest. it’s also been the gift.

we’ve seen so much:

DC on xmas eve, virtually empty (except the flocks of Asians with Selfie Sticks)…seemed like we escaped from a middle school field trip and finally got to see all the ‘good stuff’

IMG_9527

IMG_9531

IMG_9532

waking up in the Croatan National Forest to rain gently dripping on the roof of the car, and the pink sun rising over the Neuse River: we did it! we spent the night in the woods! cooking breakfast in the clearing, while the other campers started fishing, carving, doing their thing. eating the best meal I’ve ever had, only because it was cooked on a single burner propane camp stove under towering North Carolina Pines.

DSC_0161

of course there have been times that weren’t my favorite;

Having a mental breakdown in New Jersey (I mean, who wouldn’t?) in a park, in the rain, over all of our “stuff” not being organized. Throwing the excess away and realizing this, this has to be the worst day.

(that was day 2)

watching an old Asian lady get hit by a car in Atlantic City, and being the only car to stop. sitting in the rain on the wet street, each of us holding her hand while we waited with her for the ambulance and police to come.

Learning how to use my GoGirl at 2am while parked in a New Jersey Walmart parking lot, just as the night shift was leaving. “can they SEE MEE?!” as headlights lit up my white butt in the rear window of the car.

Christmas Dinner in a North Carolina Waffle House was less than ideal…but not the worst thing that I’ve done on Christmas.

IMG_9604

New Year’s Eve spent waiting around all day for an amazon package that never came; the package that is essentially delivering our freedom; our tent.

realizing that you don’t really have anyone to depend on except yourself. that’s always a hard lesson to have to keep learning; but we’re all in this alone.

the days just staring at the ocean in South Carolina (Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms…) at the end of December seem to wash away the bad, at least for the moment.

IMG_9791

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

new york.

heading into the Hudson Valley we were greeted with the stunning beauty that I remembered from living there two years previous.

returning here was more than just a place to stop over and see friends, it was type of cleansing; a needed return to put a new memory on the place that had left us with such melancholy feelings the last time we were here.

IMG_9231

staying with the dearest of friends (and realizing we shared not only the same childhood, but the same dish pattern from the fifties–I mean. whoa.) combined with two amazing children,  the boundless knowledge they share as a couple and a perfectly feisty cat named Lucky;

well. it was just perfect.

IMG_9254

armed with books, hot showers and good meals we set off for Brooklyn.

IMG_9317

exploring the city

IMG_9446

9/11 memorial

IMG_9299

WWII memorial

FullSizeRender

WWII memorial

IMG_9372

japanese market.

IMG_9371

winter florals.

IMG_9320

papaya dog

————————

off to new jersey…..

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

holidazed.

this morning we had ‘christmas’–a few days early, as we’re leaving here tomorrow (finally?) for the second mini leg of our journey. last weekend we had second thanksgiving. (although I was holed up in the bedroom under a pile of pillows and medication due to a stress-related migraine situation so only experienced the leftovers….)

we’ve had a rough-ish start (learning lots about what we really need) and loads of time to make lists, check them a billion times and on and on and on. complete with a trip back to ohio in the middle of it all. *frown face* that was rewarded with a stop at my new favorite place: waffle house (HASH BROWNS) *happy face*

luckily during this time,  I had a lot of knitting orders to fill (keeping me occupied mentally and physically)–took the last large one to the post office this morning–so today is a day to relax, do one final sorting of things and, maybe watch some more terribly cheesy holiday movies.

DSC_0097.jpg

sorting of the things.

DSC_0080

burning the past.

DSC_0077

burning the work shirt.

mo's bbq.jpg

mo’s bbq, syracuse, ny.

 

 

IMG_8862.JPG

dutch hill cemetery, parish, new york.

road ahead.jpg

onward.

 

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

livin’ the dream.

I hear people say this all the time. 99% of the time, I’m pretty sure it’s sarcasm. For instance, when my (now former) boss would answer her phone; and in response to what I imagine was the standard, “How are you today?” inquiry she would reply, “Oh, you know, livin’ the dream.”

Translated:

“I’d rather be anywhere but here.”

IMG_0160

I’ve had a dream for many years, and after years of talking about it and pinning pins on Pinterest and posting posts on Facebook about how great it would be, I’m finally going to Live It.

We leave next week in a new road worthy vehicle (ok, a used Honda Element) that we’re going to spend time modifying into a camper / van. Then we’ll hit the road and start chasing the 70 degree weather while hitting as many National Parks as humanly possible.

IMG_5172(Yep. That pass gets us in free to all the Parks for a year. SO excited)

Part of the process has been letting go of things, again. Donating clothing we don’t need, selling the tiny bit of furniture that we’d bought since we moved back to Ohio less than two years ago. The relationships that were difficult, the new friendships.

Learning that life is short is something that sounds very cliche and meaningless in it’s overuse. But having worked so closely to death in my most recent job, it hit home every day. That was a large part of what pushed me (us) towards this step.

That, and after a while you just get tired of saying you’re going to do something ‘one day’.

This is that day.

FullSizeRender(ps if you’d like to help fund our journey, with goodies in return, hit the “gas money” tab up above. thanks!)

 

 

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

hey, sunshine.

DSC_0005 (1)

this morning we had to be up at (early enough to capture this stunning sunrise) to get to yet another doctor’s appointment. (it’s been one of those weeks.)

since we were up, though, we made the most of it. we stopped at a local bakery and grabbed some treats; headed down to the Cleveland Metroparks and enjoyed the best time of year here, which is the beautiful month of September.

IMG_7313

IMG_8077

felt a little like a fairy, traipsing about in this loveliness.

“If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you the day just like today

If I had a song that I could sing for you
I’d sing a song to make you feel this way”

john denver said it best.

All images © 2013-2019 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

beach days / fading away.

today–well, this weekend, marks the official end of summer.

yesterday I realized that once again I let time fly by….and the beautiful days were coming to a close way to quickly.

so last night I sent a text to this guy;

DSC_0008

that said, “tomorrow we go on an adventure.”

and this morning, we did.

DSC_0006

IMG_7580

beach for days.

DSC_0005

from my chair I watched this sweet grandma playing in the water with her little grandson….

layers of time fading away.

IMG_8344

it was a short little adventure, but gave us fresh energy to face the week, maybe even the upcoming dreaded ohio winter.

maybe.

 

 

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

home is where you make it.

When I was about seven, we moved from the tiny brick bungalow, and the only home I’d known, into a shiny, new, yellow aluminum sided four bedroom colonial. It was nestled on a the end of a cul de sac in a neighborhood that was full of strange kids who would become my walk to school friends, kick the can buddies and all around partners in crime….and  I was excited. I love change.

In the past five years since getting divorced, however, I’ve moved seven times. Change at that rate gets a little old. Kick the can games fewer and far between.

IMG_7793

kitchen kitsch

My latest stop has me renting a condo, which means the month that you decide to go “off lease” and rent month to month is exactly the time the landlord calls and tells you he has someone interested in buying that condo. Change? It seems to like me more than I like it at this point.

IMG_7796

map wall

But, on the other hand, maybe it’s a good thing.

I’m also turning (a BIG number birthday…like a really big one…halfway to being mentioned by Williard Scott and being sponsored by Smucker’s big) this week and have always dreamt of seeing this amazing country of ours.

We (my current partner in crime and myself) have been slowly planning, plotting, budgeting…a way to travel around to the National Parks — seeing everything I’ve / we’ve / never gotten to see. Hence the big map on our wall.

IMG_7332

After all, home can be anywhere…..in a big, shiny, yellow aluminum house on a cul de sac, or in the front seat next to your best pal driving across the country…..

IMG_7478

stay tuned.

 

 

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

allergies got you down?

along with the warmer days, the sunshine, flowers popping up and the grass turning green; the other thing that comes around this time of year is those pesky allergies.

container1

“an allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself.” source

generally the symptoms for allergies related to pollen or ‘seasonal allergies’ are sneezing, itchy watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, and possibly wheezing.

a natural alternative to treating your allergies with over the counter or prescription treatments, is to use essential oils.

using three basic oils; lemon, lavender and peppermint to treat seasonal allergies has proven to be a powerful antihistamine to bring down inflammation and other discomforts caused by your body’s allergic response.

Lemon Peel:

cleansing to the body’s systems and frequently used for respiratory discomfort.

Lavender Flower:

renowned for its calming and balancing effects, both internally and externally.

Peppermint Plant:

promotes clear breathing and healthy respiratory function.

you can use them combined in various ways: combine all three in a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil) and use as a rub to apply to your feet and temple as needed. you can also combine all three in a vegetable cap and take them internally (using only approved oils for internal use) or you can us the Triease Seasonal Blend by doTerra which is a proprietary blend of Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint in gelcap form.

somerset-lavender-field-london

I hope you don’t have the seasonal allergy blahs, but if you do–feel free to inquire about a natural solution. I’d love to help :)

xo

**these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.**

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life