Category: Jamie

lately I see death as light, not the stuff that comes from our eyes and brain but the stuff that makes up the substance of existence. We are moving there along with all creatures, along with the elements, whatever is not empty space and apparently “empty space” is the most prevalent element “known” in our existence.

Here in the play of our world, our planet, what we know and don’t know all leads to this shooting of light. The bonding of one being to another births grief at its ending all dependent on the acceptance of what is inevitable and the degree of vulnerability. Vulnerability in the sense of the ability to feel deep compassion and love.

Grief as a spiritual substance allow us to grow. It allows us to cherish our emotions and to live without selfishness. In the face of a society that does not encourage acceptance in preference of dilution, pushing aside, forgetting or obliteration with any means of other substance or diversion perhaps it is rare to see death and loss as a great giver. But it does give, from death we see how we are all the same, not so different from the flashing lights I see death as…. zooming in some namelessly tiny particle at a speed that has no meaning.

I have been changed for Good


Grief as Spiritual Space: Part 1

My Hospice therapist mentioned last time I saw her that we in “modern society” attempt to push away grief as undesirable, esp for our dead or otherwise departed…. this for those who occupied great meaning in our lives. Instead, she suggested that we honor the people, animals…. that have moved us. Honor their place in our lives and even, surprisingly, honor their loss.

This song is for Jolyon…. someday I will write a piece about him… seems I’m not yet ready. He was a good man, full of life and high spirits. He was a challenge. The path of sadness and pain was never hidden. He loved with the greatest joy and the gifts of believing.

What’s the Use Of Wondering (Carousel)

No more cuddling in bed, laughing about new discovers, arguing in philosophical rambles, no more going out to breakfast at “our” spots, laughing together, walking in the rain sharing an umbrella, getting mad at the dirt you brought in or wondering what we will do today…. you this…me that…. playing with the dogs together, you bringing the coffee and the conversation, sharing our day…. what did you do… and really caring, going out hand ‘n hand, celebrating, crying, laughing, getting mad and getting happy, grabbing a bite to eat, did you get your water, always being late because you forgot something, packing the dogs and us off for drive, a visit, a hike, exploring, an adventure… new discoveries, going shopping, wondering when you’re ever going to get off the phone, wondering why you have to be so nice to everyone, watching you fix things knowing I could do it better and faster, calling you a million times ’cause you won’t answer the phone, wondering where the heck you are, meeting at midnight, going for a walk at 2 am, propping up pillows, giving a shoulder massage, just doing stuff together…. a lot of stuff together because we like it, waking up to a new day that is ours. .. . . . .. . No more of this….. no more shared times, no more arguments, no more kisses, no more of that feeling happy and content to just be in the same space…… No more learning about the world from you, hearing your appreciation of me being me….. Why on a holiday? …. Just because. A holiday alone is every other day alone. Alone with memories. Alone with missing.

Wallets, Windows and Welcomes

The dogs and I headed north Good Friday Morning.

I woke at something like 5 am from my usual head spinning with too much stuff. At a quarter to six I bumped out of bed, at 7:30 I was sitting in the driver seat, dogs in their spruced “car beds” for a little more padding against the rough ride. Mason adored his, Olympia, hard to tell, she wound up sleeping on the edge of her bed kinda hunkered over with her head hanging down draped over the edge although at times she managed to fill the entire curve. Her bed is too small but its fits perfectly in the space she insists is the only place when the LT is in motion…. closest to me between the two captain chairs. She is fairly well wedged, Mason rides on the passenger seat which I’ve turned to face away from the windshield with back dropped against the dashboard…. not legal for humans to ride backwards. I should probably strap him in but he likes to get up from time to time to have a drink of water, on rough roads he prefers the floor next to Olympia or behind her in the walkway. I’ve considered crating them but they both rate riding in the rear where there’d be room for the crates or on the rear bed as undoable, the vibration must be horrific back there.

For amusement I’ve begun to snap shots of pet rest areas. We stop at about 1 to 3 out of 4. We’ve learned a neat trick, what I do as I pull in I try to discern the pet area so I can park as far from it as possible. This way we get a nice long walk on a clean path and over some soft grass to get to the pet area. Same on the way back. The pet areas are  filled with stickers, weeds, rough gravel which Mason will not walk on, and worse dog’s piles which their owners leave for other dog owners. The pet area tends to be stuck on the edges in dangerous corners with collections of snakes, spiders, bees, suspicious strangers; dry, hot, hard on the paws and barren. Thank you so much rest area guys, we know how you value us. To make it worse there are never any tie-outs to leave your pooch outside the human restrooms, so if it’s hot only the 4-legged ones get to relieve themselves. At times I’ve run to the restroom leaving the dogs with the overhead fan spinning and the windows open, only to find a line!!! Not much time to wait; in full sun I count the minutes until it gets too hot, I go quick and race back to the LT, much easier when it’s cool. Yes I have a micro-mini bathroom on board but sometimes I don’t want to deal with black water.

Okay, thanks for providing a sign but a bit limiting isn'tit?

Okay, thanks for providing a sign but a bit limiting isn’tit?

Rattlers and dogs, now that makes a good combo

Rattlers and dogs, now that makes a good combo

Ah, the fire hydrant!

Along with my new arrangement for the dogs, I’ve simplified the contents and layout of the LT. Less is more and all, so at one point or another I moved my wallet to a place where it cannot be seen. I’m sure I thought it out clearly, what a good idea it was. When I returned from my human potty visit, I sat for a bit, I was tired, I reached for my wallet thinking of several of the must do now things on my list and it was gone!  I mean gone! Nowhere! Frantically I re-opened the bits of windows the overhead fan racing back to the commode…..there was a long long line. I didn’t really believe I could have dropped it and not noticed yet I stood there in front of the line next the one I’d been in telling anyone who’d listen that I wasn’t cutting in but that I had to get in there and see if my wallet was in there. Vaguely there was a shadow in my head saying I was wasting time over a false panic but I couldn’t help it. Usually I carry enough cash for tank of gas in a secret location, I hadn’t done that this time. The flash went through my head, me sitting at a gas station or some lonely on ramp with the two dogs on my lap and my pathetic sign: Need cash for gas! Sure, right lady, my foot, you need money for your RV, get real!”

Nothing in the commode area, the poor lady in there, said, “don’t look at me, I didn’t touch anything, I don’t have your wallet!” ….  Okay I was talking kinda loud, half asleep as I was. As an excuse I can say there was no one to hold my hand and calm me down. I chased down the worker, who in broken English told me to knock on the door to the office down by the pet area. There was a guy in there having lunch, he got up and checked in a drawer, I could see a few things, sunglasses, a cap, maybe a man’s black billfold, a few keys. He was nice, I liked him, but I didn’t want to talk, he walked with me a bit but I rushed away back to the LT wondering if I had enough gas and enough strength to go back to the last rest area some several hours away. Since I had nothing else to do except think how my trip would be very short after I bummed $$$$ for gas, and how I’d have to abort my just started trip, I just sat there. Who was gonna give me $80? Maybe Mom could give the gas station her credit card number over the phone? I needed a banana chip, the dogs are used to my stressing out and were trying to ignore me, I’d torn through the LT looking for that wallet upsetting the happy calm of the day. Thank goodness I was hungry…..where I never ever put my wallet, because it’s nicely out of sight, not too far from the banana chips, you got it, my wallet. I stuffed the darn thing where it usually goes, so someone could see it if they tried, like me! Well, trip back on.

The work on the LT was great, the engine has tons of power, no more overheating and no more limping up hills. It cruised along perfectly at 75 and when I wasn’t paying attention at 80 along I-5. I took the north route from Santa Barbara and cut across Hwy 41 to I-5. I drove on parts of Hwy 41 I didn’t remember thanks to my GPS, it was lovely and almost devoid of traffic, then I joined all the crazy holiday traffic.

I arrived in Placerville around 5 pm. A little over 8 hours maybe 8.5: 2 gas stations, 4 rest stops, plenty of road construction, heavy traffic, a few dead slow trucks.

Tired but happy I reached Craig and Lee’s house, I love their place. Zak and Olympia did their battle thing but Lee is so cool, she could handle it and the dogs… Zak and Toby are the residents; Olympia and Mason were soooo happy, my two think this is heaven on earth!

Lee showed me all the work done since last summer, lovely fireplace replacement, bookshelves, pool all spruced up, super cool garden art, paint coming. We tromped down to the new gazebo…..all gorgeous but I couldn’t concentrate on any of it….no, my trip was ruined for the second time that day. The passenger window on the LT had made a strange sound…. I’d attached a shade suction device on it for Mason. The sun was beating on him. The window was stuck a little way up but wouldn’t budge, I pressed it down thinking it would re catch and tried the switch again, what a stupid thing. I started berating myself, I might have been able to pull it up and just leave it up but now it was gone into depths of the door leaving a big hole in my plans. Lee’s friends, David and Louie installing the great projects like the beautiful gazebo and the bookcase were still there. I wanted the guys to fix the window. They didn’t want to, it would take a body shop, maybe a window shop, an RV shop, whatever… sure, I thought, 5 pm Fri of Easter weekend, sure I’m gonna find someone to fix this….  So it was back to aborting my trip. Somehow we’d get home, the wind and rain soaking us soon to be chilled to the bone travelers. I called Frans, he knows what to do, right? I stomped around the van and tried to get the window to do something, the motor was pumping but no window; the guys were looking at tree that needed trimming to unblock the view from the gazebo. I was pacing with my phone in my hand like I do. Lee was on the computer and her phone trying to get help for me. “Don’t worry, we’ll get it taken care of,” No, I wasn’t going to go to the glass fusing class tomorrow after all, how could I with my little house open to the world. The guys coming up the driveway hearing all this fuss did a turn around. I was surprised, it’s been an eons since I’ve come across these sweetheart types. Yes I was a damsel in distress and Yep, they fixed it!!!! I was sure they were gonna to pull the wrong thing, shred something in the door listening to their work it out banter, but they didn’t. The track bar holding the window had fallen off. That nifty kit of tools that Frans gave me got a nice workout. Wow. I put everything back and gave the guys some cookies, a hug and a kiss.

The next day I woke up too early, Olympia needed to go out, her stomach was a bit upset; I couldn’t get back to sleep. Lee, Mary Peters and I headed to the glass fusing workshop, me mostly brain-dead from lack of sleep and left-over stress. There’s been stuff going wrong for weeks, months, actually make that years. I was worried the workshop was gonna be stressful, turned out the three of us were the only attendees, it was great. We had fun, Lee said it was a birthday gift, lunch too, dinner with Craig too. Am very happy to be here, I love these friends, there’s so much space, trees, grassy areas, flowers, craft and art, music, delicious food, conversation, busy active people, the dogs are crazy happy. My old stomping ground on the rivers nearby.

Mary Peter's creation:  waiting for firing and slumping.

Mary Peter’s creation: waiting for firing and slumping.

My round one... will be a bowl, Lee's will be a sushi plate

My round one… will be a bowl, Lee’s will be a sushi plate

The craft studio in Placerville, CA

The craft studio in Placerville, CA

We cleaned up our work area and put all our tools in the bucket. LOL they said we didn't have to do that!

We cleaned up our work area and put all our tools in the bucket. LOL they said we didn’t have to do that!

Time to use my own links to find camping near Indio, CA. First stop The Kennel Club of Palm Springs dog show.

Amazingly 15 Lagotto Romagnolo entered!! This is our first AKC show .. . what a great show it will be!

Jan 5, 2013
Ring 30. Ring time 2:35 pm

Jan 6, 2013
Ring 9
12:35 pm


The Trip

It’s Fall now, so I can look back and say Summer is gone. Over. Finished. And it’s a good thing. Summer in kid days was camp, swimming and horseback riding, chasing frogs in fields of tiny wildflowers, rafting cold wild rivers and sleeping to the heavy blur of crickets. This last summer was a lost valley. I hit the end. The end of the road, the end of the line, the end of patience, the end of hope. Headaches, heartaches, sinus pressure, clogged ears, ragged nerves and just not feeling well. It’s over now. Severed connections alive and dead merging with new people and connections with long-lost people. Like the bird that died at my retreating feet, Summer is still. Time has flown. Fall, not yet discovered.

Because the world is beautiful…. one more slideshow: The Trip to Wyoming (hmm…. not quite in order… will try to fix…. later)

Thank you everybody who made comments or told me you enjoyed my writing or my photos. I love comments! Thank you for your kind words. And thank you (again) Mom….. it was you who helped me push past my sadness to be strong and confident. I can run my little RV without incurring offers of help, I can back into my space, hook up, take care of both my dogs (and they both needed doctoring) and keep the road under the LTs wheels. Come Winter the dogs and I will head to the desert, see friends, check out the happening at Quartzite and look for the vancampers. I will begin a section here on my blog on the camps and parking places in which I stayed, with my comments of course.

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Hoping for Wyoming

September seems to be an ideal month to visit Wyoming tourist attractions, crowds are smaller, the mosquitoes are dead and the weather is usually milder.


Sounds good! Right?


It’s been a summer of changes.  Connections dissolve blurring the scenes between past and future.  Time is the mystery, we limit it by definition.


There are great people I want to spend time with, but today am hoping for Wyoming.  This time I’m going to sneak up on the road.


I have many things to be doing, the challenging search for a breeding match for Olympia, art classes and submissions for shows that I’m missing, teaching Nose Work classes, where to live, cleaning and gardening, sorting my life after losses and far more but if I can sneak out those things will wait.




The Memorial for Forrest Lewis was the largest gathering Three Springs has hosted. I heard some 200 people in attendance. Tears, laughter, rituals, food, memories, Forrest songs and stories carpeted the community; there was even a skit and a telling of Forrest jokes. Everytime I turned I swore I saw my friend and was about to tap him on the shoulder, give him a hug, tell him how much I missed him and what did he think of this big party in his honor? I sat in the spot that I’d known him to occupy, waited till the end when the kitchen was empty just as he would have done to snack on the plethora of potluck dishes. I met more of his friends that day than I have ever known; shared with his family and faces I’d not seen in an eon. I told my story and was gifted with hugs. They filled me where I was hungry, with questions, with comments, “oh that’s what Forrest was like before I met him, before he came here, before his transplant,” they told me their stories, they gave me their love. I connected with his world, the people he loved; our loss blended into celebration of how he’d come and gone.

The North Fork (and surrounding) community is strong, living among them would be an experience yet I couldn’t help consider talks with Forrest, his disappointments and joys and compare them to the remembrances of the day. I tried on his eyes, his feet wandering, gazing at the land. What Forrest would think, what he would say? I think I know.

I left late, retrieving Olympia and Mason, busy rummaging among the snacks, yanking a hundred stickers and burrs from Olympia’s coat, pulled on the LT headlights which were dim. I was moving, and pulled again, now the road ahead was inky. A car passed and I darted behind it pulling and twisting the headlight knob recklessly. A strange sensation swept me. I chased the only other car on the road, holding to its ray of light. I knew it was foolish, like a Disneyland ride, the Mad Hatter or some evil ghost the kind that I’d been afraid of as a child. Afraid of the dark. Felt like Forrest was sitting on my shoulder, playing one of his games, saying, go ahead now; you go and keep up with him. There was wind coming from the wing window but I hadn’t remembered I opened it as I groped in the dark flipping switches and driving faster than I had any right to hearing the sound of loose gravel past curves and shadowy trees. When my GPS beeped the turn-off for Matt’s house and I was alone in empty darkness checking my eyesight for the rough dirt road I couldn’t see, I pulled once more just for the heck of it, wondering if I could use my flashlight strapped to the front bumper to find the way, and wolla the lights popped on, the brakes responded with a musical groan.

Something told me it was a right of passage, a parting gift from my dear friend, a heralding of all friends; I shouldn’t forget that the road holds surprises, that an ending is fantasy given the point of observation from which we view time, that fear of the unknowing (darkness) may be nothing at all, that we are closer now with space dissolved, with the mortal parts of us in the past.

…………………………… Word Press Trouble: Trouble seems to be in the new update for Firefox not loading the javascript windows . . .anyone know how to fix this???? Am using a differnt browser temporarly but this one is acting weird very hard to use… need a fix for Firefox

On The Porch at Matt’s house in North Fork, CA

A sweet cat, a friendly goat, chickens. . .lots to explore. Was very very hot.

Getting Ready

I’m lucky to have been able to live in such a beautiful area: the cool fog that buttresses from the interior heat, the artistic ambiance, the gentleness of the ocean on our south facing coastline. I took a walk this morning in the expensive neighborhood around the Four Season’s Biltmore  luxury hotel in Montecito CA, where I once was part of the Banquet staff. I stopped at Lazy Acres for a salad bar and few items to stock in the LT.

The Biltmore Four Seasons, Santa Barbara. A side entrance.

Along the Bikeway overlooking the sea in Montecito CA

Summer in Montecito / Santa Barbara

The replacement lid for the air vent brings in a sweet light to my motorhome. The LT is plugged &  charging her batteries., the frig is cooling. Tomorrow the dogs and I will head back to North Fork. The end of the circle; many troubles began with our trip to Oakhurst some weeks ago. My dear friend Forrest Lewis (check out his page) will be honored at Three Springs Community, a place he loved. We will all walk the ½ mile to his property and say good-by.

At Last

Am tired so here’s a quick list of LT updates…leaving in the morning… 1st stop Great Uncle Norman…then the Sierras!


  • Business Cards to give folks on the road
  • Folding Rake …. Many campgrounds have stickers….  Not good for the dogs
  • Camp Shovel
  • Camp Ax
  • Grill
  • Fire Starter blocks
  • Skewer thingy for marshmallows …maybe roasted bananas?
  • Tablecloth holders… they keep the tablecloth from blowing away
  • Camp lantern
  • Outdoor mat Outdoor clean your feet rug for RV door
  • Mosquito netting for doors
  • Outdoor attachable table
  • Outdoor folding table
  • Lots of shorts and cool tops
  • Extra towels
  • ….  See a theme here! Last year outdoor living was severely limited
  • New campground memberships
  • Sewer fixed
  • City water fixed
  • TV cable fixed
  • Toolkit!!!  Thank you Frans!
  • Solar insulation…floors, windows, windshield and cabinets … double as blackouts for obnoxious Campground lights.
  • The rear view Clover camera and monitor
  • A GoPro video camera
  • Cassette adapter for my cell phone to play out the car radio…  my old cell phone
  • A mount for my Garmin GPS… also the old one… should probably update it.
  • An atlas
  • Folders for maps and stuff
  • Better cook pots
  • New floor rugs
  • New color scheme…  blue, pink and brown
  • Waterbed for Olympia….in her crate
  • Better leashes for the dogs… they can be easily hooked to objects
  • Beautiful collars with names and address on buckle …no dangling tags
  • Reflective collars for night-time
  • Padded interiors for doggy comfort
  • Additional mirror so I can see entire inside of van while facing forward
  • ……  okay I’m taking a nap                                      Jamie Rosenthal