Camino 2020

I did it: I ‘wrote it down’, announced it aloud, committed to my friend Allison, and began my prep and training. I’m over the moon excited. Yesterday, I bought a journal to memorialize my thoughts, plans, lists, and questions that arise from now till then. I will pick up another one to chronicle the actual trip details.

According to Wiki: The Camino de Santiago (LatinPeregrinatio Compostellana, “Pilgrimage of Compostela”; GalicianO Camiño de Santiago),[1] known in English as the Way of Saint James among other names,[2][3][4] is a network of pilgrims’ ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups. The French Way (Camino Francés) and the Routes of Northern Spain are the courses listed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

We will take just over a month, 40 daysto walk from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, walking an average of 25kms per day with rest days as needed, covering 800kms or 500 miles.

the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela

As part of the year-long preparation, I’ve joined some Facebook forums, watched many YouTube videos, checked out three library books, bought one guide book, and conferred with my friend Andry, who walked the Camino last year. These ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences really fill my heart and put a fire in my belly! I love having a project and something to work toward: See my blog account of the Women’s Heritage Walk of 2015. I trekked 140kms in the Arabian Desert with 28 wonderful women.

If you’ve walked the Camino, I’m open to any of your tips and tricks!

This empty nester loves to plan, travel, explore, and learn. The prep journey will be as important as the actual pilgrimage. I’m inspired by the people I have already met.



~432 days 
🍾🌍👣👣🍷🥘✈️🚗 🇫🇷 🇪🇸

Resolutions to fruition ~ my share

In January, I resolved more and better ‘self-care.’. As an empty nester, I have my self and my husband to consider, so I must stay healthy, fit, and put-together. Resolution #9, check. Personal primping is done to our satisfaction.

Now for another resolution: trips and reconnections. I am pleased to report that gets a big check too. I’m going to see friends and family next month in Dallas, and the month after in Dallas, then the lights of LV after that, and then two big trips.

My former boss, Victor, once told me, “If it’s not written, it’s not true.” So here it is:

In March 2019, I’m living into the future (still in the process) of taking five scuba dive specialty courses in Tampa, to complete my Master Scuba Diver certification.

In April 2020 I am walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my friend Allison.

I take my resolutions seriously and love holding myself accountable. I believe integrity is important in people and myself. How about you?

Here we are close to the end of January, how are you doing with your resolutions? Answers welcome below.



Time to check ourselves

Guitars, songs, roses & middle-aged women

Last night we saw the very talented, Grammy-winning, slim, 69-year old Rick Springfield, live on stage, from the third row. He began on time and played about a dozen different colorful guitars for two and half hours, non-stop. It looked like quite a workout.

He told stories about some of the songs. He invited two 10-year old girls up to the stage to sing a line of a song with him (Don’t talk to strangers). He used several bouquets of roses given to him by adoring middle-aged women as guitar picks, covering the stage with pink and red petals.

The most “rock star” thing he did, besides throwing guitar picks to the fans, was come into the audience, and stepping on the backs of the chairs, he made his way through the audience to the center of the auditorium, singing the whole time. The fans went crazy! He’s still got star power!

Rick Springfield ‘walking” thru the audience.

Here’s his Wiki info:

Richard Lewis Springthorpe (born 23 August 1949) is an Australian singer, instrumentalist, songwriter, actor, and author, known by his stage nameRick Springfield. He was a member of the pop rock group Zoot from 1969 to 1971, then started his solo career with his debut single “Speak to the Sky” reaching the top 10 in Australia in mid-1972, when he moved to the United States. He had a No. 1 hit with “Jessie’s Girl” in 1981 in both Australia and the U.S., for which he received the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. He followed with four more top 10 U.S. hits, “I’ve Done Everything for You“, “Don’t Talk to Strangers“, “Affair of the Heart” and “Love Somebody”. Springfield’s two U.S. top 10 albums are Working Class Dog(1981) and Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet (1982).

As an actor, he starred in the television series High Tide, from 1994 to 1997, and has appeared in supporting roles in Ricki and the Flash and True Detective (both in 2015). He portrayed Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime drama General Hospital, from 1981 to 1983 and during 2005 to 2008 and 2012, returning in 2013 for the show’s 50th anniversary with son and actor Liam Springthorpe. He played a depraved version of himself in Californication(2009). In 2010, Springfield published his autobiography, Late, Late at Night: A Memoir. In 2016 he starred as Vince Vincente/Lucifer in season 12 of the American TV show Supernatural on The CW

I remember seeing him on General Hospital when I was in college. I never saw any other show he was on. I admit I only knew a few of his songs, yet now I have a new respect for him as an artist, showman, and über talented rock star.

Long live Rock Star Heart Throbs!



Rick Springfield

Photo scanning memory maker #102

Continuing with the scanning chronicle, I share yesterday’s anecdote.

Filled to capacity, I carried the box of precious photos labeled and addressed to all who are represented in them, into the post office for the send-off. I arrived at noon, and by 12:34 pm, not only did I walk out of a filled-to-capacity lobby, but I was filled with a bit of frustration and glee.

Usually, I go to Kevin’s line, because he is friendly, efficient and intelligent. Sadly for me, Kevin was working on a teenager’s passport and unavailable. So I stepped up to his unknown colleague’s station, he had no name tag, and quickly and silently named him “cigarette smoker man.” To say he editorialized every envelope aloud, measured each envelope (they are all the same size!), and commented on the number of envelopes, is an understatement. I wanted to exclaim, “Sir, please just do your job and stop your snide comments!” But I held my tongue in frustration.

In those priceless envelopes are my memories, experiences, friends, beloved departed family members, and even departed friends. To me, they deserved special handling. After all, I’m paying money to send them. Glee did cross my mind at the task completed.

They are now in the hands of the USPS. The only photos remaining are from the 1950s when my parents were kids, the 1970s when I was a kid, and the 1980s when I was in college. Those will be scanned and sent out within the next month.

Value has different meanings: the envelopes are a task to the USPS clerk, while they are priceless history to me. The proof of value will be in the hands of the recipients “in 3-5 days, he said.” The project has concluded. I learned many valuable lessons, none of which is to disrespect or disregard another person’s mailings.



Denise in another happy, hand-made themed vest 1997

What I’ve learned from scanning old photos #101

In order to clean and clear out our moving boxes, some with the sticker from the Mayflower Movers in 1985, yielding a smaller footprint and ease for our next move, wherever and whenever it is, we are scanning old photos and sharing them accordingly. Since my HH and I have been together since 1977, we have loads of pictures of us smiling, graduating, attending dances, traveling, then parenting.

When we began this task two years ago, it was daunting, at best. As I type, we are almost finished. I’m delighted to report that #TBTs are forthcoming, collages prove easier to create, and my forgetful mind has been reminded of the love, laughs, and adventures I’ve experienced over the past forty-plus years. Side note, I did find baby and youth pictures of both of us, so it’s really 50+ years of Kodak memories.

Whatever I did, I did it joyfully and with a hand-made theme vest.

These photos create an archive of sorts. A journal of my NDBs, life events, and friends I treasure in all the places I’ve lived. Dance events in Baltimore that I entered and won, hot air balloon excursions in Africa and Arizona, two flights in the Good Year Blimp, sewing projects that I entered in the Los Angeles County Fair for which I won nine ribbons, learning to surf in Honolulu, my first and only snowboard lesson in an indoor ski ‘resort’ in Dubai, beekeeping class, teaching yoga on the beach of the Arabian Gulf, and many more valuable experiences in my short life. More pics & stories to follow.

Denise’s first surf lesson 2010

Gratitude comes to mind and fills my heart and soul. I love to travel and believe it to be a great educator. My daughters are also great educators as they taught me about pure love and living in the moment: one ski trip, one visit to a reindeer farm, swim team, Girl Scouts, horseback riding lessons & shows, pets, plants, road trips and every amusement park in a 100-mile range of our home.

T driving the car at Adventure City
E ready for a road trip and T proudly presenting the bear topiary 1999

These photos tell the story of my life. What I’ve been doing and with whom. Some interesting questions arise: Who is still in my life? Why did I wear that? What was I thinking? Why did I eat a silk worm in Vietnam?

This project, as looming as it began, is almost to fruition. The next question is, what’s next? I have a few thoughts in mind…



Denise ate this silkworm salad in Vietnam 2015
Denise trekking in Jordan 2015
Denise stand up paddle boarding on the Arabian Gulf 2015
Denise indoor snowboarding in Dubai 2014

Community work: it’s a wrap!

This whole week I volunteered as part of a team to recognize and then implement ‘waste’ (time, motion, effort) in a community hospital setting. I was “fresh eyes” on the team: meaning I know nothing about the situation, the people, the process, nor the desired outcome, because I don’t work there, nor have I ever done this professional work. Additionally, I volunteered as the photographer of the team/work all week. These photos were used on the final report-out to the hospital administration and other staff members.

Monday we met each other (names, roles within the hospital, length of time working here), and learned what our task is for the week. We began training on processes, responsible stewardship, order, and outcomes. This included jargon, that I kept asking, “What does that mean?” and, “What does that (acronym) stand for?” Everyone was generous with explanations and definitions. Through discussions, experiments, and more discussions, we created some techniques to smooth out some current situations. By Friday, we were hugging each other, snapping selfies, and celebrating our accomplishments.

me indicating the neon orange sticker that matches the folder to the designated printer
me making labels for my portion of the work

What I learned: I am so very grateful for my life, my Empty-Nester job, husband, and community. I realize more now what people do in their chosen professional fields – seeing part of it magnified. I respect the people in hospital settings even more than I already did! Not only do they do exceptional work inside the building, but some juggle familes too.

For me, the outcome is joy. I am joyful to have met these nine hard-working people; to have contributed my thoughts and past experiences to this process, for the enlightment of what really goes on behind the scenes, and my role as wife, mom and now ‘housewife.’ It was a backstage tour of some sorts.

For the finale, I slept for twelve straight hours, drank coffee unhurried, and donned my usual uniform of jeans + sneakers. I’m back to my regular, spectacular life. Something I will not take for granted!

Tip: walking a day (or a week) in someone else’s shoes yields great appreciation for your own life and purpose.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
~Anaïs Nin



Another example of community ~

This blogger is eye-ball-deep in community this week. Invited to be on a panel as “fresh eyes” for the betterment of a hospital and its procedures, I’ve met some neat people, learned a lot about the internal goings-on in a hospital, and contributed my thoughts.

So happy to make a difference, I will share some of what I learned next week. Until then, jump into community involvement, how ever that appears to you. I’m happy to have been included.



Kudos for Community

As I’ve mentioned, in person and on this blog, I’m a Spring/Summer person. I like hot, beach, ocean, palm trees, desert, and dry. What I also love is community. I love when people come together; do things together; enjoy time together.

This makes me happy:

kids ran out from this apartment building and nearby hotel to build a snowman.
amazing snow lion by our apartment pool

I had to share. Kudos for the kids in this community.