Category Archives: Writing

Random Acts of Kindness – Reaching Out to the Homeless

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. Thank you for spending your moments here with me.

The homeless. A big subject. And I feel there is a definite stigma to this whole thing. Similar to the stigma that follows Mental Illness. The stigma usually lives within the ignorant. The ones who sit and judge things that they haven’t taken the time to get beyond the lack of knowledge about. Without knowledge comes lack of empathy. Without empathy follows judgement. I don’t know a single person who chooses, or enjoys being mentally ill. It is a daily struggle, feeling alone, no answers to match the thousands of daily doubts and fears that come with.

Being homeless is no different. Who would want to live homeless? Sleeping on street corners and park benches. Being looked down upon, and being so hungry you hold up a cardboard sign on a street corner. I have heard statements such as:

They should work like the rest of us.

I won’t give them money, they will just use it on drugs.

They are just lazy.

People walk by, judging, elevating themselves as “better”. Better than what? Most of us are a paycheck or two or three away from being homeless ourselves. Add mental illness to the equation and you have many unmedicated, unsupported, poor, hungry, people literally living on the street. On the STREET. No where to shower, use a restroom, just rest their bodies. Rest their souls.

Nobody should live like that.

Now, none of us can save the world.. Fix the homeless catastrophe. Many believe if they can’t do something big, worthy, notable, well then……they just do nothing. I have always believed it takes many to do a little, as opposed to a few doing it all.

My mantra: Do what you can. With what you have. Where you are. So I have adopted this ideology into my daily life. No matter what town I’m in, what I’m doing, not being dependent on how much extra money I may or may not have. I can always do SOMETHING.

So here’s what I have started to do. My little contribution. May not make a difference to the masses But I know it has made a difference to the few. I collect things on sale and save it in a box. I get quart sized ziplock bags and fill them with some randomness, a few necessities, and a love note. Letting them know that someone cares. With a positive quote or whatever strikes me at the time.

Here’s an example of things I put in my bags I hand out to strangers. And I have to admit, some have become friends. I have learned more from the homeless people I have hung out with than I could ever impart. It has been a life habit I am thankful I have adopted. It’s just my little contribution.

I have bought a loaf of bread, sandwich meat and cheese, turned it into sandwiches, fruit and small bags of chips and hung out at a homeless park. The pureness of heart and the absolute gratitude by sharing simple sandwiches is overwhelming. To hear the stories, of how they got to where they are, their hopes and dreams are not too different than mine. To be accepted, loved, and to feel safe. And I have never done this where I wasn’t offered to share what little they had. One time I got a rock. A rock! But it was a “lucky rock” that a man had carried in his pocket for over a year. I still have it. Precious to me.

I lived up in Ukiah California, which is about an hour and a half north of San Francisco in a hotel. As I walked to my car, I noticed a man with a bike, rummaging through the trash. Heartbreaking. I went to a restaurant across the road and bought two breakfasts to go and two coffees. I went back to the parking lot, and he was still at it. I walked over to him and said hello. He immediately looked at me, with shame, and guilt hidden behind his eyes. I introduced myself and shook his hand. I asked him what he was looking for. He just said two words. “I’m hungry”. I invited him to come sit on this small wall with me that was in this parking lot. I offered him breakfast and we sat there for over an hour. We ate, we shared stories, we laughed, we cried as well.

I’m nothing special. I struggle just like we all do. I have a busy job, and I’m alone most of the time. But I do what I can. With what I have. Where I am. And I’m telling you, it makes a difference. He probably gave me more than I gave to him that day.
His name was Elias. And he is my friend.

I am hoping that if your eyes have reached this far, that you can collect a pearl to take away with you. Perhaps something to think about.

Until next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

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Writing A Book

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. Thank you so very much for stopping by and spending your moments here.

Writing a book. As always, there is a story behind this. A “method to my madness” so to speak. I have always loved to write. I have always loved to read. I educated myself along with my children, and thought I would write a book about what it was like to be a Healthcare Provider in a very broken healthcare system. I had visions of research and graphs and all kinds of amazing data. I thought I couldn’t do it from simply an Arizona perspective so I started traveling out there to different locations to see how Healthcare was in different areas of the country. It was the same. Broken. So now I was ready to write a book.

I invested in a new laptop and got all organized and started writing. Lo and behold what came out of my fingertips was not educated and PhD’ish and graphs and data. It was about a little boy who woke up in a different land. I kid you not.

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Whaaaaattt???? Where the hell did this come from? I honestly have no idea. None.

This has been a work in progress. I have picked it up and put it down more times than I can count. Every time I pick it up and read it, I can’t believe I wrote it. I get inspired, write a few more chapters and repeat. I still don’t have any idea how this story will end or what will happen, I truly don’t. I just know that there are people, personalities, beliefs, quotes, places etc from my life that is woven, unintentionally, into every page, I find that pretty amazing.

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I will be participating again in NaNoWriMo this year. I started this book during that back in 2014 (thats when I started this blog, although it was in a coma for almost three years, just gave the blog CPR and am committed now) I am considering finishing my first draft during November. Considering.

And so here you go! My preface and the beginning of my book. About Eli and his adventures. It has a little bit of everything in it. It literally has become may fifth child. Please leave a comment with criticism if you would. For us novice writers, that is the  best gift in the world. Sometimes we are way too close and cannot see the forest for the trees.

264 MOONS – PREFACE

Eli laid on the soft mat he called his safe place for all of the circles of life he had memory of. His mat was flush with the floor of the awkward structure he called his home. It was only he and his mother residing there. One single thought of his mother filled his heart to the brim with that overflowing feeling of warmth. The feeling he could only describe as safe, comfort and love. Eli had lived nine circles. He was facing a small window to the side of his mat looking at the moon and letting his thoughts float without direction or purpose. It was the 264th moon. Usually this was a good thing. Looking at the moon at the end of every day was something special he and is mother would share every night together. They had gazed upon hundreds and hundreds of them together as they shared their thoughts and dreams in the quiet. The orange moon did not happen often, but when it did, Eli thought you could almost reach out and touch it. The orange moon was so full, round and big that it seemed to kiss the earth and linger there. Eli loved those nights.  It was on those nights something special happened. the light and color of that orange moon skimmed over the hills and the huts and made everything glow and almost sparkle. The moon could keep you company on those nights where sleep stayed distant and thoughts ran wild. Eli learned to depend on the moon. For some unexplained reason, he would feel comforted just looking up in the dark and seeing it hanging there. Different shapes at times, but faithful.

Eli loved the moon. but not this one. Not the 264th moon during the ninth circle of his life. Eli thought if he shut his eyes tightly enough perhaps he could drown out the light of that dreaded moon. Why did it have to be this way? And why him? He wasn’t special. Just a boy with a mother who had lived in this land for all of the circles of his life. Who created this life changing rule that on the 264th moon, a boy with only nine circles of life behind him, could possibly wake up in a new land, knowing nothing about it, and knowing not a soul? There were only three other lands that were spoken of and they all sounded frightening. Were there other boys that were in their ninth circle of life laying on their mats having similar thoughts? Are they afraid? Will they miss their mothers as much as he would miss his mother every single day and with every moon he gazed upon at night? Eli had never lived even one moon of one circle without his mother. As his eyes became heavier, and the more he fought, the closer he got to drifting off to sleep. Then the light of that 264th moon would creep in through his window and he would slowly open his eyes; and shudder.

Like I said…..work in progress.

I don’t know if I will self publish. I don’t have any idea about book covers, marketing, or next step in this process. I think I basically need to get this first draft completed (November 30, 2018 – Thanks NaNo!) Edit it. And get some beta readers to cut it up, slice and dice it. Then I will figure the rest out!

Hope you enjoyed a teaser of my first novel. I would so much appreciate a comment from you some criticism, anything to help me move forward with this literary journey, where I literally am flying by the seat of my pants!

Until next time……..be kind……..always,

Polley93

Minimalism – What is it?

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. As always, I thank you for stopping by and spending a few of your moments here with me. I have always maintained that the most precious thing we have, is our moments. Once they are spent, they are gone. So I appreciate you. And I mean that.

Remember always……you are enough. You always have been, you always will be.

I was out visiting my son a couple of years ago, in Denver, and he suggested a Netflix show. Honestly? It didn’t sound too interesting to me, but I trust my son and went with it. Minimalism. What the heck was minimalism and what was I about to spend my next who knows how many moments on? He told me “think you’re really gonna like this one mom”. Trust took over. Cue up the show. Get comfy. Press play.

The opinions in this blog are simply my own. Just how I choose to live my life. No more and no less. Keep an open mind!

Little did I realize my life was about to change.

This documentary touched on so many things I believe in. Primarily consumerism. The rat race. The hectic race to get to nowhere. The thought that when we get that house we can be happy. When we get that raise then all will be well. When I can afford that new car life will be better. Keeping up with the insanity of fashion that is programmed through advertising and social media to change literally every seven days. So good luck keeping up with that. We need to afford better food, a nicer garden, a club membership, new furniture, the latest makeup break through, that new work out program, that vacation way over THERE. Bigger and better. Keep up! Keep up! Don’t be left behind! Keep the hell UP!

Exhausting. And what is it all for? You work hard, get the house, the car, the membership, the wardrobe, wearing the latest makeup, going on the vacation that you are too exhausted to enjoy, freak out at the balance on your credit card, and repeat. By this time, the newer versions of your car are advertised, the fashion has changed and your closet is outdated, the makeup is taking up enormous room in your bathroom, and the race……..the race continues. You see? It’s created that way. To be an ongoing race. So that we are made to believe we need more. We deserve more. So we spend more. Get an extra credit card, I mean, we deserve it right?

Wrong…….so wrong.

img_1716Minimalism. A new concept for me. Living with less. What does that mean? I watched the Netflix documentary at least a dozen times. And it resonated with me in a big way. Why do we need so much “stuff”? Why is it that when I go into a store I come out with ten more things than I went in there for? Shrinking my life down sounded really good to me.

I had already given up my rented home, stored my belongings in a 10×10′ storage unit, gave my car to my son, took a job traveling to different locations (mostly outlying as I like to treat the poor and homeless), they put me up with somewhere safe to live, and a rental car to commute back and forth to work. So I felt after learning more about minimalism, I had a good start without  even realizing that was what I was doing. The next big thing I did was get rid of every single recurrent payment, membership, and bill I possibly could. I cancelled my makeup monthly deliveries (most of it I was giving away or using once and it found its home under the bathroom counter) cancelled Netflix, gym membership, several other monthly memberships I had myself convinced I “deserved”. Everything. I am proud to say the only bills I have now is a cell phone bill, my storage bill, and the IRS (thats another blog, don’t get me started on how corrupt the American IRS is……..)

So? It began. I started really thinking about what I NEEDED. Different concept. I started with the concept of going through almost everything, every little thing, and ask myself “will I use this in the next 30 days?” If the answer was honestly “No” I put it in a box. What was left I asked “will I use this in the next 90 days?” Again, if the answer was “No” I put it in the box. Everything that was boxed was either sold, given away to charity or pitched out. And I mean I went through everything. My clothes, makeup, books, (bought a Kindle and store all my books on it) personal items, everything down to my sock drawer. Do I really need a full drawer of socks? Nope. I kept my four favorite pair, the rest went.

After that I did “30 in 30”. On the first, I got rid of one thing. Perhaps a pencil or a pen. On day two I got rid of two things. And so on. It got pretty difficult after the 20th. But I finished the month.

The next thing I did was pack up like I was moving. By this time, I’m traveling and living in each location for 3-6 months. I packed like I was moving. I didn’t realize how much crap I brought with me! I packed everything. And I took out what I needed. After 30 days if I didn’t wear it, use it, or need it. It got donated. I have to be honest and say that parting with some items was difficult. But not impossible.

Now what is the purpose in this. I will tell you. I learned that there is an ocean of difference between “want” and “need”. I don’t need eight coffee cups. I don’t need twelve pair of jeans. I don’t need fourteen boxes of stationary and forty pens. My life has been recreated to have what I need. And every item I have I love. Everything. Down to my coffee cup. My shoes. Every outfit. My limited make up collection that I actually USE. For me? I feel free.

I buy what I need at the store. I use what I have. I don’t have “fluff”. And so what has this done for me?

No debt.

Lots of money at the end of the month instead of too much month at the end of the money.

Ability to help my kids, with life, with extras, with whatever.

I can travel. To those far away places, enjoy every moment. As Im not spending time figuring out budgets and payments and cleaning dishes and putting stuff away etc etc. I am going to be able to take my daughter to Greece for two weeks in December. Who would have thoughts a single mom could travel like that?

I have more time for me. That down time. That Me time. It’s always there. Because I’m not spending my time with clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. It has shrunk down to a crazy busy chaotic existence to a place of peace where I have time to choose. To invest. To spend the way my heart desires to.

I have learned that living with less is more. I realize this isn’t for everyone. But I’m so thankful for that day when my son mentioned some random documentary that I watched. And watched it again. It truly changed my life.

Im not a perfect Minimalist. There is no recipe or right or wrong way. It is simply a different way to think. To live. To use. And to step away a little bit from consumerism and its hold on most of us.  It definitely is a process. But my journey is well on its way. I am planning on getting a Tiny House built. As I won’t need more than that and it will be perfect for my simple life, All I need is a place to write! When I travel I don’t buy a ton of trinkets but one postcard from every city I travel to. It will serve as great wallpaper for one of my walls in my tiny home. Call it a goal.

Highly recommend watching this. Netflix. They have books out as well. Worth the read for certain.

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No, I’m not crazy. Well……not that crazy! I have adopted a different way to live, and it is a beautiful thing. I hope you have been able to grab a pearl somewhere within this blog to save for yourself.

Until the next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

Paradigm Shift

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world.

This blog post will be a little different. No photos, or trips, or any of the other random things I post about.

Let me tell you a story.

A man climbed onto the train to finally go home after a completely exhausting and discouraging work day.  He slumped onto an empty seat on a primarily empty train. He didn’t realize he was heading home so late, Good God the wife won’t be happy, as he never called to let her know. He settled in, as settled in as you could get on a train, and anticipated the hour commute home. He had no thankful bone in his body. He grabbed his cell phone out of his pocket only to see he had 4% battery left. Perfect. He tucked it into his worn and weathered briefcase, next to the four packages of sweets he reluctantly bought from one of his colleagues, which he internally was NOT happy about. Who does that? Sells useless crap at work that you feel obligated to buy as you don’t want to be THAT one. He could have spent that money on a hundred different things. He looked out the window, as the sky darkened and it started to pour. Can this day get any worse? Leave a job where you are unappreciated, with a briefcase full of sugar that he never even wanted, to a cold dinner and an angry wife in the pouring rain.

The train stopped and he was startled by loud singing, and not even GOOD singing, at loud and awkward laughter and the train doors opened. They opened to let four little children run SCREAMING onto this train. His train. His empty train car that he had to himself to wallow in his well deserved self-pity. The children seated themselves in random seats, not even together. They were disheveled and unkempt, almost dirty. They could all use a good scrubbing! The youngest little girl had matted hair in the back and he wasn’t altogether sure it wasn’t gum!  And a very tired stranger. sat down in the seats opposite of the man. The children were throwing things and singing that damn song! They would screech out words and then at the loudest and highest parts, they would all be quiet for eight, nine, ten beats and then continue on. The noise to his aching Brain was almost intolerable. They repeated the song over and over. How could this tired looking  stranger allow his children to behave in this ill manner? Wasn’t he going to say something? The man shifted in his seat and made an obviously disgusted groan that got the tired strangers attention.

The tired stranger leaned in and quietly said,

“Excuse me sir, I apologize for my children, and the noise. I’m sure you didn’t expect this on your trip.” You bet I most certainly did not, the man thought in his head and felt he was about to pop off and give this gent a piece of his mind. Seriously! He had a horrible day and just wanted a quiet commute home! Was that too much to ask? But the stranger continued.

“You see, their mother has been very ill. We have been at the hospital for five straight days, and she passed away this evening. The last thing my wife said to them is “Never forget to play. Never forget to sing. Never forget to sing our song. I will always be singing my part right along with you, even if you can’t hear me, I will be singing”

“So you see. They are just doing what their mother asked. A little loud I realize, but they are doing the best they can.”

The man almost choked on the tears that he felt streaming down his face. He looked down feeling very selfish. He slowly looked up at the children. They looked different. now. They looked tired. They looked sad. They sang that song, and they let their mother sing her part. They were coping, and doing the best they could in a situation they did not understand. The song was no longer loud and irritating. Instead it sounded like grief.

His stop came. He reached down in his brief case and handed the man the four packages of sweets that not only an hour ago were another reason to wallow in self-pity. The children all thanked him for the sweets as he went toward the door of the train. Before he left the little girl, with the gum in her hair, hugged his leg, and smiled faintly.

He was  never so glad to have bought sweets in his life. He looked forward to a cold dinner. The rain felt cool and cleansing now. He would hug his wife and say he was sorry and be so very thankful she would be waiting there in their little house on the corner. Oh so very thankful.

Paradigm Shift.  A fundamental change in underlying assumptions. Walking a mile in another’s shoes. Viewing from the other side of the line. A new view.

It can change everything.  So before you believe you have it all figured out. Before you judge a situation, an event, a person, I hope you will remember this story. Remember how in a split second, the whole understanding can be changed, altered, improved.

We ALL have a story.

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

Feeling a Change in the Wind

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world.

Blog direction. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I have seriously struggled with this. I started this blog back in 2014. It was truly hit and miss. I knew I loved photography, travel, impromptu road trips and writing. So that is where I started. It was mainly for my family and friends, had a few that read it, and I wasn’t consistent at all.

Fast forward a couple years.

I started my first book, again a little hit and miss. Much going on with my family and career and the blog wasn’t a priority. I did become more active on Twitter and found many Indie authors and I kind of “went to school” as I had no earthly clue what I was doing writing a book! I just knew I loved writing.

Fast forward again.

Now I am active on Twitter daily and committed to that end. I have also committed to my blog, as I love writing more than just about anything. I have re-energiazed my book and am focused on that again. I feel I have “grown up” so to speak and am ready to commit and see it to its completion. I’m thinking first draft should be sometime early next year, It really has become a labor of love, and somewhat of another child of mine.

As for my blog, I’ve heard about choosing a niche. Making it an income. I just know I love to write. I have thought long and hard about a niche. And up to this point, I cannot do that. I love writing, I am writing a book, I am passionate about Mental Health both for professional and personal reasons, I will always love travel, road trips, and my amateur photography, I am a busy healthcare provider with many opinions, and have an opinion, thought, or experience on just about everything.

So I suppose?

My “niche” is just doing me.

So my blog won’t be focused in one area. I had considered making a certain day a certain topic, but trashed that idea as I felt pressure and restraint. I have committed to blogging three times per week (if it doesn’t kill me) and the subjects will be what they are. I am also very passionate about supporting and promoting my fellow bloggers in this wonderful blogging world.

I have always believed that we all must be true to ourselves. And so I have decided my blog will be exactly that.

Until next time……..be kind………always,

Polley93

Why I Love Arizona

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. I have been asked over the years (by people of course who have never been here) why on EARTH would you love Arizona? Its “just” a desert. I was born and raised in England, I  have lived in New Mexico, Texas, California, North Dakota, Connecticut and have visited and experienced every state in this Union except for a dozen. So? Here are the top reasons why I absolutely love this beautiful state of Arizona and keep finding myself coming back here.

The World’s Greatest Wonder

I have heard some call this “just a big gaping hole in the ground. Well, if you consider a color filled, mile deep, 277 miles long, carved over millions of years by a single stream of River “just a hole”…..

Then you obviously haven’t been here. It takes your breath away.

The Majestic Desert

The desert is a unique environment. It appears rugged at times, but at the same time, very welcoming and beautiful. I think the one main vibe I get from Arizona is the feeling of strength. Of survival. It amazes me how gorgeous the views are and how much can grow here considering…….well…….it is a desert.

Sedona, Arizona – A Living Postcard

This place is…in a word….magical. Everything about it. To the quirky coffee shops to the endless hikes to the jeep excursions to the postcard views. This place really should be on your bucket list. (photo cred to bottom right picture to my son Joe)

The Saguaro Cactus

Arizona is the only place in the WORLD that these proud creatures stand, keeping watch over the land. They can grow to over 40 feet tall and live to over 150 years. It takes at least 75 years to grow one arm. It is illegal to harm these in any way, and they are home to several desert dwellers.

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You Just Can’t Beat Arizona Skies

I think this may be my second most favorite thing about Arizona – the sky. Talk about blue! With sunny days over 325 days out of the year, you can just look up and “Ahhhh”. The Monsoon season (rainy season, in the summer) turns the skies all kinds of purple and the lightening storms are something to behold.

It’s Got A Quirky Side

From Native American historical dwellings, to haunted hospitals, to old western preserved towns, to towns each with its own unique style, personality and flavor. There is something for everyone in this state. It is not only desert……you have forests, mountains and even snow in the north. This is the only state in the union that has every type of land and landscape short of a coastline,

Endless Adventures

If you love weekend road trips, or a grab your sandwich, your keys and go kind of personality (like me) then this is your place. There are so many things to explore. Slot Canyons, the Petrified Forest (yes a forest made of stone), three separate and definitely distinct main cities, professional or college sports of any kind, rivers to tube down, lakes to boat in, mountains to scale, A Grand Canyon to stop and take in, and many places to “find”. Arizona is………endless.

The Best Part of Arizona? FAMILY

The #1 best thing about this state is my family. My brother and parents are here in Tucson, my sister is in the Phoenix area as is my daughter, and the rest of us keep being pulled back here for one reason or another. No matter where I go, or where I end up working for a few months, one thing is for certain…..

I will always end up back here in Arizona!

Thank you so much for visiting today. My blog site will be changing in the next week or so. And here are the. changes:

Sundays will be like this, random trips, adventures and stories. Wednesdays will be lifestyle topics. and I will be starting coverage of Mental Health Issues on Fridays including a 12 week expose with guest bloggers and guests sharing their stories, experiences, and insight. I am hoping to do my part to end some of this stigma and open dialogue. If you are interested in taking part, please feel free to email me at any of the folowing:

Lifeinsuitcase2014@gmail.com or Twitter: @Polley93

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

Random Sunday Thoughts

Greetings! And, as always, thank you for spending your moments with me. 

I’m sitting here, on a hotel bed, in the quiet, creating my weekly blog post from my phone. Yes, I live in hotels. Has its moments, benefits and drawbacks. One of them being internet hiccups that prevent me from accessing my blog, and computer photos. So? This blog, will be a typical rambling and scattered mess without my usual mass collection of latest photo shots. Hopefully next week will be better. One thing about me, is I always find a way. My path may not be a straight one, but I usually get there. 

I started a list, after going through my uploaded photography to Lightroom. To make a ballpark plan of upcoming blog posts. What subjects? Places? People? Things? After uploading, I caught a glimpse of the number of photos. 10K of them. Yes, that’s correct and no typo. Ten THOUSAND of them. Keep in mind, I delete and toss the ones I don’t like the same day I shoot, so these are all keepers. The places shot, and the things captured are pretty awesome! 

As I’ve mentioned, my long term plan is vague, I just know I have something stirring deep inside to do something different. I do love healthcare. (Healthcare in general. Not Healthcare in the US after the ACA)  I do love taking care of patients. And I do feel very humbled at the fact I have sought out the populations of the poor and homeless to be dedicated to. However, I feel a stirring. 

My passions? Are writing, photography, and travel. So, although not altogether sure, I know I’m headed in a direction to combine all those passions together and create an income through them. Call it a win/win. I’m working toward that end now. But? For now? I travel with my current career choice, a Family Nurse Practitioner, and go to wherever the need is. Live in hotels. Go on random adventures on my own. Hence……Life in a suitcase….. And for now it’s in Northern California. 

We all have dreams. Pictures of ourselves doing what truly makes us happy. My vision? Backpacking across Europe. Collecting passport stamps. Going wherever, whenever and for whatever. Peru. Prague. Africa. Canada. Budapest. India. Nepal. Writing about it. Photographing it. And creating a YouTube channel for single women that desire to do the same thing. Believe it or not, there are many of us. Why not? Do not have a clue how I’m going to pull this off. But? I can tell you something. 

I will. 

So….with that being said, here is a short list of places I’ve been, places I’ve photographed, and experiences I’ve had, that all deserve a blog post. Let me know what piques your interest and I will put it at the top of the list. 

The Beautiful Arizona Desert – Southern Arizona. You either love it, or hate it. I believe it’s beautiful. It’s always reminded me that any circumstance can be survived through. 

Crescent City California – (last town in California before the Oregon state line) Coastlines. Barking seals as my alarm clock. Being told by an Indian Chief to go sit on a rock. Many weekend road trips. 1400 mile commute to get there. 

New Town North Dakota – learned much about the pipeline. Survived -36 degrees. Rugged and beautiful open spaces. Driving home to Az in a blizzard being the only vehicle on the freeway and the highway patrol even refusing a rescue. 

Hartford Connecticut and East Coast – six of the most beautiful months. History. Many weekend trips. Parents visit for a week. Survived the worst winter in Connecticut history. 

London –been many times. Too many details to post here. King Henry VIII. Castles. Pageantry. History. Pubs. Double Decker’s. The Arts. Fish and Chips.  My most favorite city in the world. However, from travelers I have met along my journey, I have been told that after I experience Prague, this may drop to #2 spot? Whaaat? 

Northern Arizona – Sedona. Flagstaff. Grand Canyon. Oh yeah….. and working at a prison and surviving three riots being the only provider there. Yeah, that happened. 

Wales – Amazing. Must go back. 

Scotland – Again. Amazing. Kilts. Shearing sheep. Haggis. Edinburgh. Castles. William Wallace. History for days. 

United Kingdom – This will definitely take more than one post. The entire country. Bath. Chester. Stratford Upon Avon. Football. Culture. History. Architecture. 

Northern California – Where I am now. Wine country. Indian history. Coastline. An area yet to be fully explored. 

9 hr day trip yesterday. Found a lighthouse. The photos are breathtaking! Soon……

And that’s a short list. Drop me a vote on what you’d like first. Also, my random brain is sure to hop off on a few bunny trails. So expect posts on my inanimate object picture taking days (bridges, ocean waves, doors, lock and keys, trees etc)

Subjects? Traveling on a budget. Minimalist packing tips. How to keep your peace during these chaotic times. Don’t ask why, just ask yourself why not. Making a plan and sticking to it. Being true to yourself. Tiny Homes (yes, my future) 

I suppose after all of the above, at the end of the day……it’s this. And this I truly believe:

The only limits we have, are self imposed. 

I so appreciate you getting to this point in my blog! And again, thank you for spending your time with me. Moments are most precious, never to be returned. We all get the same 24 hours. Spend them wisely. 

Make sure to click “like”, leave a comment or suggestion, and leave your vote on the next blog subject!! 

Until next time……be kind…..always. 

Polley93 

Around The Next Corner – 1939 Miles

When my recruiter asked me “Hey Cathy, how’d you like to go to North Dakota?” Several things flashed through my mind. First? Not too sure even where North Dakota is. Second? I’m in Arizona, isn’t it uber cold there? And third one of my favorite quotes, “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere”, After I was assured I could drive there and not fly, I agreed. Took about a minute, so no, didn’t really think it through. But I had just agreed to work in North Dakota for the  next three months, and I was gonna drive there. My recruiter arranged for me to have a new Mustang to drive (never had I done that), I mapped out a route, booked places to stay, bought snacks and drinks, packed one suitcase and a carry on plus a back pack. Made sure I had my camera and left Tucson Arizona for destinations waaaaaay north.

I25 miles later I stopped in Phoenix to have lunch with my daughter, drove another 125 miles or so and had dinner with my son. Grabbed some sleep at a motel and woke up the next morning ready to go. I had never in my life driven north of Flagstaff so it was all going to new to me. Every time I changed directions

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or would go around a curve I would see something spectacular like this above. For me? This is inspiring. I thought if I was going to drive a couple hours north of Mexico clear up to a couple hours shy of the Canadian border, I was gonna grab it for all it was worth.

I had always heard so much about Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah, so I didn’t go the usual (and shorter) Denver, Casper route, I headed up to those places and so glad I did! To say it was breathtaking would not do it justice.

Utah Idaho 2014 007Utah Idaho 2014 100Utah Idaho 2014 032I spent an entire day there just driving without a true direction. It was peaceful, majestic, mysterious and overwhelming to look at.

As I headed north through Salt Lake City and onward, I became keenly aware of these wide open spaces we have in this great land. Untouched earth with the natural beauty of all of my surroundings was definitely awe inspiring. I kept going north and next big adventure was Yellowstone. I was truly not prepared for all the things I saw there. This is one place that should be on EVERYONE’S bucket list!

Yellowstone 2014 114Yellowstone 2014 118 Yellowstone 2014 105 Yellowstone 2014 072 Yellowstone 2014 087 Yellowstone 2014 058 Yellowstone 2014 035 Yellowstone 2014 055 Yellowstone 2014 005I wasnt’ quite prepared for the snow, but I had made a pact with myself that I would not let a little weather stop me so onward!! To try to describe this is literally impossible. I found myself getting out of the car often with a camera and a pencil and small journal I always carry with me. So many thoughts you tend to be able to be aware of when you are away from the hustle bustle of everything and can just calm and quiet your soul. Inspiration for writing something new is overwhelming.

I continued on through Billings, Montana and had to drink in that wonderful state. So much wide open land!  I eventually made it to my little biddy town in North Dakota where I will be working for the next three months. (post on that will follow soon). I have begin to venture out and see what is around this state and to be honest? I totally misjudged it. It is beautiful and it has renewed my respect for the American Farmer of which there are many here.

The point of this post is simple.

If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere. And? You simply do not know what is around the next corner. So experience it! Quit making excuses!

1939 miles later I arrived. I traded in the Mustang for a 4WD so I can drive home in December. And I’m excited as I will take a different route to get there.

Healthcare is different on an Indian Reservation (yep, another post!) I have a few “rants” that will be in upcoming posts as well, plus another amazing road trip that I must share!

Winter is Coming. Be prepared for some humor from this Arizona girl that was raised in UK. I have never done a winter like these people describe……stay tuned.

You never know what’s around the next corner.

Until next time, Be kind……all the time.

Cheers,

Polley93

Barges, Books & Pivotal Moments

For every one of us there are those “pivotal moments”. The moments that perhaps are unexpected that can literally change your life. The moment may be good, such as falling in love, the birth of a child, surviving a storm or something like that. Or? The moment may start out being catastrophic, such as an unexpected death. The pivotal moment for me, was the latter.

For people who write, you can usually trace your path back and discover what your pivotal moment was. The event that happened that you decided you “just had to write about”. Whether it was directly after the event or not, this was the catalyst to propel you toward that great endeavor of writing. Writing a book. My pivotal moment was all about my Grandad. It is the reason for my passion for writing, it is the reason I have been “Polley93” for years, and it’s the event that would change my life.

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I grew up in England, as my father was Military and my mum is a Brit. I had the luxury of having a sort of “bipolar” heritage but for the most part the first part of my life was in England, in a town called Ipswich. I remember fondly many things and the house pictured above was indeed one of them. 23 Halifax Rd, the home of my Nanna and beloved Grandad. I spent the majority of my childhood here as I recall, or perhaps this is where my memories lie, I’m not sure.  I won’t go into too much detail here or this blog post would go on for days. Without a doubt however, some of my fondest memories were of my Grandad and traveling on the majestic barges that he made his living on and had done for his entire life. The barge trade went on in our family line for generations. I didn’t realize it when it was happening, but those times would help create the person I am today.

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The barges were majestic vessels as you can see. Grandad would sail up and down the River Orwell, the River Thames over to Felixstowe and Harwich and London. Memories flood my mind when I think of it. Being held captive on the North Sea due to storms, (Yes I thought I would die), believing I traveled with pirates, sitting at the head of the ship for hours waving to all the sheep farmers out with their herds. As  child I had no idea that these images would be the subject matter of a literary effort.

And then. The moment. That pivotal moment that changed your life. A simple phone call and two words from my mothers shaking voice.

“Grandad drowned”.

The world stop spinning for me that day. We were in London the next day. I learned many things and can honestly say that this changed my life. I learned that we don’t always have tomorrow and started living that way. In the moment. I started writing, because my Grandad always told me that a story deserved to be told. I decided I would write his story and have researched, interviewed and photographed ever since slowly saving up what I would need to do his story justice. I have learned far more than I had expected to, and this legacy of my family goes back for generations.

It was February 19, 1993 when the phone call came.

His name was William Polley.

Hence; Polley93

So? It is time to really begin to write this book. I have plans to go home to England next year for 2-3 months to do that very thing. I know every time I go there that writing about this is easy and flows very well. But coming back here to write it is a struggle. Go figure. So I have started planning now and will be there late next summer or early fall.

My point here is this; pivotal moments. We all have one. The moments that cause us to stop and reroute our direction. They are stories worth telling and do not have an expiration date.

Until next time……..be kind, no matter what.

Cheers,

Polley93

Writing a Book

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Why write a book? With the hectic pace of life these days, an endeavor such as this sounds borderline insane. For any of you avid readers out there, I know you understand the feeling when you’ve finished reading a book and thought to yourself “I could have written that” to the other end of the spectrum, to have finished a book that literally changed the way you think. Or? You could be like me, with the above mentioned two scenarios with an addition of having a thousand stories tucked deep within your soul that are just dying to get out.

So? Im following my heart, and my heart’s desire, and am writing a book. I had no intention of starting with a work of fiction. Im a very factual person with a scientific mind. But I fiddled with a lot of ideas, and then one day I just took a walk, similar to the area pictured here and the thought came to me.

I have strong views on many subjects but love the creativity of writing. You can include your beliefs and paint it into a story that is palatable to readers. With tough subjects such as politics, religion, war, and right vs left, there is one thing that captures my heart more than any thing and that is being a mother. With everything I have done, places I have gone, things I have tried, there is nothing on this planet that I am more proud of, or that drives me, and that is being a mother.

So I started writing. And I have realized that you basically pour your soul into a laptop and it can be quite shocking when you read it later. I have heard that “first novels suck”, and? Perhaps mine will. But it is something I have wanted to do my entire life, and so with my best foot forward? I am going to finish this and publish it in 2015. (fingers crossed)

Here is a sample included below. It’s a rough draft only. Please take the time to read it and give me feedback. All comments, suggestions, criticism (I want real not nice!) are more than welcome. Please let me know what you think.

As Always…..Until Next Time……..Cheers!

Polley93

264 MOONS

Eli laid on the soft mat that he called his safe place for all of the circles of  his life. His mat laid flush with the floor of the awkward structure he called his home. It was only he and his mother that resided there. One single thought of his mother filled his heart to the brim with that warm feeling. The feeling that covered him with warmth and felt like safety and love. For all practical purposes, he had lived nine circles. he was facing a small makeshift window to the side of his mat and looking at the moon.

It was the 264th moon. usually the moon was a good thing, especially the full ones that were orange and beautiful. The orange moons did not happen often, but when they did, Eli thought you could almost reach out and touch it. The orange moons were so full, round and big that they seemed to kiss the earth and linger there. Eli loved those nights. It was on those nights something special happened. the light and color of that orange moon skimmed over the hills and the huts and made everything glow.

The moon was special to both Eli and his mother. They had gazed upon hundreds of them as they shared thier thoughts and dreams and gazed upon it together. The moon could light your way if you had to do some late night work in the gardens. The moon could keep you company on those nights where sleep stayed distant and thoughts ran wild.

Eli loved the moon and the connection he and his mother had to it. But not this one. Not the 264th moon and most certainly not the 264th moon during the ninth circle of his life. Eli thought if he could just shut his eyes tightly enough perhaps he could drown out the light of that dreaded moon. Why did it have to be this way? And why him? He wasn’t special. Just a boy with a mother who had lived in this land for all of the circles of his life. Who created this life changing rule that on the 264th moon, a boy with only nine circles of life behind him, could possibly wake up in a new land, knowing nothing about it, and knowing not a soul? There were only three other lands that were spoken of and they all sounded frightening. Were there other boys that were in thier ninth cirlce of life laying on their mats and having similar thoughts? Are they afraid? Will they miss thier mothers as much as he would miss his  every single day and with every single moon he gazed upon at night? Eli had never lived even one moon of one circle without his mother. As his eyes became heavier and heavier, and the more he fought it, the closer he got to driftingoff to sleep. Then the light of that 264th moon would creep in through his window and he would slowly open his eyes, and shudder.