siete años de amor

¡Hola amigos!

So, we've been out in the Guatemalan jungle for the past two weeks (still here now - writing from a tiny internet cafe) and although the idea of posting real-time blogs from the trip seemed exciting, I guess it fell distant second to actually being present and living every moment.  

Speaking of spending each splendid day in appreciation of what it is ... today is our SEVEN year anniversary!! Not our 7-7-07 tying of the knot, but the day our relationship began ... an even more special and serendipitous day in our minds ; )

(the San Pedro volcano .. one of a few on this beautiful lake ; )

We have some nice pics to share once we're back in the states and bundled up in our little snow castle, but for now ... we're off to the nature reserve on the edge of this jungle village to sun our hides on a dock they call the "trampolin" (pictured below) ... and yes, they intend for you to jump off it ... but not so much from the top of the railing - whoops ; )

adios, amor, amor,




We're Flying !!

  .... by the time most of you read this, we'll already be in the clouds. We planned to post a few net-cafe blogs from the road, but first, we'll have to figure out all the buttons on this new camera ...

  wish us luck ; )

  love, LOve,



Winnie in a Winter Wonderland !!

   Here's the Winnie in her brand new winter parking spot. After living in the forest for a while, the Winnie urged us to get her out of the trees right around the same time that dark clouds and buckets of rain were starting to muddy the exit road to the sinking point. We're now parked on the edge of a large ranch with full hookups, but the winter has kept us on our toes ..

   Seeing the changing of the seasons is exciting, but it's also ... really. Cold. When we got into town, it was warm and sunny - much like California. We rumbled down an old forest road lined with bright yellow flowers and enjoyed the warm nights and clear skies. 

   The chipmunks and squirrels were busy hustling for their harvest and securing their winter savings, and so were we. In fact, we were so busy setting up our new studio and pouring candles day and night that we forgot that we had some nest feathering of our own to do ... 

   Living in a motor home in the snow is possible ... but it does take some "winterizing". I remember waking up in bed and yawning out a thick foggy cloud. "I can see my breath." The first night it hit freezing, our copper pipes, which are supposed to be lined with electric heat tape and foam insulation, froze and burst ... We didn't realize this until returning home late from work and flipping on the water pump to take a shower ... and ... "Why is there water squirting out of the floor??!!"

   The freezing air affected all sorts of things - both tanks, the one that collects all the water from the sink and shower, and the other one right below the toilet, also froze solid. Charming, right : ) Without being able to dump the sewage, it was only a matter of time before we reached the brimming point, and then ...

   Hot showers are now heated on the gas stove, and since the drain pipes are frozen, the only way you can take another shower is to chip the icy sheet of last night's water out of the shower pan, throw it out the window, and boil up another : ) A good heater could have solved all of this, but we pulled our nonworking heater out of the Winnie long ago in CA ... "What would we need a heater for ??" Ha!

    Good times : )

   Out of curiosity, we brought our wax thermometer home because we were wondering what the temperature was under the covers. The thermometer is meant for cooking, so once it hits 32 degrees (the freezing point) it just malfunctions and says "Low". 

   We were most interested in how warm the two of us made it under there, but as a basis of comparison, we slid the metal probe under the sheets before we crawled up into bed.

   The digital screen plummeted through the 30's and then "Low". We both looked at each other. "It's below freezing under the covers??" I crawled up first .. Juwels was fiddling with something, such is the case most nights. I'm convinced she does this just to get me up there to cut the chill back before she nestles in. Which is funny because she always jumbles the sheets around so much that my little heat pocket floats out and crystallizes in mid air.

   I am happy to report, though, that once we were all settled in under the covers, the thermometer spiked drastically. Within seconds we were climbing through the 30's, 40's, and before a minute or so went by ... we were back in California, in the toasty 70's ... well, from the neck down that is : ) 

   Since the holidays, our workload has slowed a tad, and we've been able to pay a little attention to Miss Winnie. Recently, we spent a night padding all the windows with some classy silver insulation and running the oven packed with chestnuts and squash : ) 

   Juwels likes to spark an inferno of candles on the counter and up on the ledge next to the bed. "These little guys put off some heat !!" After spending many frigid nights putting work before comfort, we finally started experimenting with different kinds of heaters - gas heaters burn up oxygen and emit toxins, (not good in such a tight space .. getting sleeepy .. ) and electric heaters cost a fortune to run and don't do that good of a job ... and even though we've been over and over the romantic idea of installing a little potbelly wood burning stove .. Juwels still whimpers at the conclusion that it's probably not the best idea in our little foam box. "But it would smell soOOooo heavenly! "   

   We have a good sense of humor about the challenges of the cold multiplied by the lack of time that we've had to prepare, but we're excited to soon bee spending more time away from the studio (which, by the way, has also had a broken heater for the last few months) and warming up our little Winnie in her winter wonderland : )

   Warm tea, cold feet, and .. 



Hunt for the Golden Egg

Over the river and through the woods ... ah mushroom hunting we go!! 

Now I've never been a big lover of mushrooms - spongey, spunky, little things that they are, but I must admit, the way Juwels cooks them up with an orchestra of texture and spice .. who can resist : ) 

We paper, rock, scissored to see who'd have to carry the baskets up the mountain - I lost ... so, I made hats of them until we started plucking.  

Seeing as though none of us are Mycologists, or woodland creatures with stomachs adapted to eating poisonous fungus, we brought along a good edible mushroom guide book. It was a strange yet beautiful place to study : )  

   This little jelly tube told us a secret. He said that one side would make us grow taller ... and the other side would make us grow shorter. Juwels asked him what he was speaking about, and guess what he said? (the first three people to guess (comment) right will get a free candle : ) If you can't figure it out .. go ask Alice... 

Most of Flagstaff is mainly covered in Ponderosa Pines, but after climbing 3000 feet above the town (a total of 10,000 feet above sea level), we felt like we were walking through the Christmas tree farm that time forgot. There were so many different types of pines and aspens and ferns. Like an enchanted forest from a dream, this was the perfect setting for our Easter egg hunt through Narnia. 

   This one's called an Earth Star mushroom. Not for the frying pan, but it's a pretty little pastry isn't it ;)

   White Chanterelle anyone ?? These babies aren't cheap - but we were given a pick-one-get-one-free special from a dear with a bright red nose.

Not sure what this one's called, but it looks like the tree stump was chewing hot pink Bubble Yum ... 

   Chicken fingers ?? 

I'll spare you the analogy on what I think this one looks like ; )  

   Looks nice, but after reading an obscure passage about something called "White Death" we respectively shied away from these great big wedding bells.

Slimy Jims : ) I found these way off the beaten path. "Look," Juwels said, "they're like me and you!"

   This was the momma we were all looking for, the King Bolete. This is the Golden Egg, and after cooking it up that night, we all knew why. Rich and nutty meaty goodness!

   I thought these looked like little wagging tongues (neener neener neeeener) or pig ears ... but I was wrong, they're actually called Witch's Butter. MmmMmmmmm .. Goes great with eye of Newt ; )

   Juwels and I only took home the ones we knew for sure were safe, but some of the more adventurous hunters (Juwels' little sis, Rosie, and her roommate) took the rest of them home and did the nibble-and-wait test on everything else. It's a long process of nibbling off a tiny piece, holding it in your mouth for a second and then quickly spitting it out. No blue lips of swollen tongue? Repeat with a larger piece and and masticate longer. After courting a foreign mushroom for long enough without turning into a giant .. or an ant, you are safe to toss it in the olive oil and sprinkle a little salt. Better them than me ... 

   Here's our smorgasbord - creeping off the trail amongst the soggy tree stumps and shady ferns brought on a mixed feeling of being 7 years old and hunting for Easter eggs combined with the urge to crawl around on all fours and scratch at the soil ... is that weird? ??