Tuesday, September 14, 2010


We are sorry we haven't updated the blog lately, and so much has happened lol. We are currently stationed back in Austin. The extended time with the kids has been awesome.
sometimes glitches happen, and it is ok...a friend recently told me glitches are just opportunities for reflection.
i like that...and so it is.
Stay tuned...we are both itching to get back on the road...and we will soon enough.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"i know this is going to sound like a crazy question to ask you but...do you ever chop wood?"

lol...oh how we've come to love Tosha. today she taught me (bRandy) how you can use a bungee cord to make chopping wood easier and better. she is full of fun and random knowledge, much like Michelle lol. one of the many gifts Tosha has given us is the gift of Silvia. Michelle and I were both taken with Silvia the first time we met her. She lives across the street from Tosha and she is one of the most strong and powerful women I have met. Silvia is from Germany, she creates handmade jewelry (like Michelle), and her late husband was a prolific artist from Ghana whom she clearly adores beyond measure. She welcomed us into her home and showed us some of his work, some of her work (www.ampahgallery.com), and shared so many wonderful stories with us. Silvia is a no-nonsense, take no crap...sweetheart :) She thought we were leaving yesterday so she came over to Tosha's and brought gifts for Michelle and me. They are necklaces that she created with the Adinkra symbolism. Our pendants symbolize remembering to always return (safely) to where we came from. We were so honored and grateful.

We are going to miss having breakfast with Sharon (the very sweet attorney we met in St. Paul). She tells us that the corn pancakes at Maria's Restaurant in Mpls (that's how the locals shorten Minneapolis, look at me speaking "local" lol). We really wanted to meet up with her again before we leave but we are sleep-deprived right now and getting back on the road tomorrow for Texas, so we need to sleep in tomorrow as much as possible.

We miss the kiddos so we're definitely looking forward to getting back to Texas for a bit to see them. But we will also miss the twin cities--we've so enjoyed it here. And the shell shock of going from 70-90 degree weather to 102+ degrees will only make us miss it more. Wheww...I can't speak any further about that--I'm having a hard time with this fact, lol.

We are going out with a bang though...we went to a drive-in theater last night for a triple feature--it was awesome. Got the FULL drive-in experience...Bluequisha let us know she's not really down to play the radio for 3 movie's worth of time. She had NO juice in her battery at 2:30am when it was time to leave. Fortunately, this theater is prepared for this and said this happens everytime. There's a system...just pop your hood and the jump-man will come around and get you on your way. Good stuff. We got back to Tosha's at 3am and got right back up at 7 to go work a carnival in Plymouth. Michelle was in charge of cotton candy-making, and I was the sno-cone maker. We had a good time and made some cash...love it.

Michelle made some of her famous french fries for us tonight and dang it, that just deserves a mention. They are great. That is all. :)

We're going to spend some time with Tosha tomorrow--going swimming I believe, then we'll head out. If you're reading this on Sunday or Monday, please send good traveling vibes/energy/prayers our way.

Austin, Texas....here we come!!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

hey everybody, it's bRandy finally contributing. i'm glad michelle has been keeping you all up on our travels and adventures. She's been pretty thorough in her stories--I don't have much to add except that she is being humble about how awesome she has been at keeping Bluequisha lookin' fly on the inside--she's had a few makeovers already, all courtesy of Michelle and she just keeps getting better and better.

we did ok back at that coffee shop selling jewelry the day of the farmer's market, but the farmer's market itself was by far the most exciting part of the day. michelle made us a salad for lunch with our new goodies. for those of you who know me well, brace yourself, make sure you're sitting down, or something...the salad consisted of Chinese spinach, tomatoes, and cucumbers and some seasoning...that's it...nothing else...no salad dressing, no croutons, cheese, or anything else...just the juice from the veggies. And i ATE IT! lol and...i LIKED IT. We've been eating way healthier and being very active and that feels great to us both.

i responded to an ad on craig's list from a woman needing help moving things from her house into her yard for a yard sale the next day. i offered her a choice to either pay the amount i was asking, or she could pay me less if she'd let us set up our jewelry table at her yard sale. we decided on the latter, and we're glad we did. this is how we met the wonderfully generous Tosha. After spending a couple of hours yard-sellin' and talking, Tosha offered to let us stay parked in her driveway and use her shower and kitchen since we'd be back there the next day for more selling. This put a smile on Michelle's face the size of Texas :) Not only did we not have to worry about anyone bothering us when we're parked at the lakes, parks, etc (even though we've been fortunate enough to be bother-free so far), but she was going to get her first shower in longer than she probably wants me to share, lol. After spending more time with us during the day, Tosha turned that invitation into an offer to continue to stick around as long as we are here. We've still been sleeping in the van, and Tosha has been kind enough to let us cook our meals in her kitchen, use her shower/bathroom, and has introducing us to Season 1 of True Blood. Michelle and I had each seen a couple of episodes before, but they were random and far between. We are now officially hooked. Tosha is another example of what this journey has to offer--making new friends, and seeing just how generous and kind people can be. We're having fun hanging out with her and her 2 cats, MiMi and Mosbey (again, those who know me, I know this is shocking too). They're cool cats and my allergies have only been mildly affected.

We've checked out some really cool places. Minnehaha Falls is definitely near the top of my list. I know Michelle already wrote about this place, but we went back and went hiking further down the trails. We went all the way to the very end. Along the way we came across a group of kids dressed in medieval costumes with homemade swords and shields. Turns out they were filming a movie out there in the forest, and one of the kids (probably 11 or 12 years old) was the direction. He was serious business too. So cool. We stopped and ate lunch when we came across a fire pit surrounded by benches. The trail had been pretty rugged and off the beaten path so this came out of nowhere. The lunch gave us the fuel to keep hiking and we're so glad we did. The trail ended where the falls and creek lead into the Mississippi. There was a sandy beach and people fishing. Just as we wondered where the sand came from, we noticed a sandstone cavern--I was really intrigued by this...we both were. I love caves or anything resembling them. We sat inside and even collected some of the sand right off the cavern walls. At the beach itself we met a very interesting character named Floyd. I'll let Michelle have the pleasure of telling that part of the story...she is MOST entertained by it. Here's the spoiler...he was about 70 years old, no bottom teeth, and flirting with me hardcore. lol WOW!!!

We are heading back to Texas in a few days...missing the kiddos and wanting to see them off to school (the youngest 2 are starting their junior and senior years of high school on tuesday). However, i have to admit that the temperatures i've been hearing about have me scared to death--born and raised in texas but now that i've been away and in this much better weather (had to wear long sleeves to sleep last night), will i even be able to breathe in 102 degree weather with 98% humidity?? ugh...do I even wanna try??? lol Before we go though, I answered another Craig's List ad, this time looking for folks to help run the bounce-houses and carnival games at a corporate event on Saturday. I signed both Michelle and I up for a day of fun and a chance to make some cash at the same time. I can't stress enough how much I'm loving the different things we can do and see along our journey. We're going to work at a freakin' carnival...not forever, just for a day....but now we'll always be able to say we did...lol...i love it. I can see myself now, when Michelle and I are old and grey and rockin' on our porch..."baby, you remember that time we ran away to work in the circus??" lol.

Making memories...it's a beautiful thing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spent most of yesterday morning and afternoon in local coffee shop, surfing the web for local information and such, updating blog, and playing scrabble. not too exciting, but very productive.
B went out for about an hour and sold a piece of my jewelry, prolly would of sold more if the popo didn't shut her down. yep its official, we are gypsy travelers selling our goods. The one officer was very nice to B, unlike an incident that happened over a week ago at a Walmart of all places. It is what it is though, good and bad. Figured it was one of the local businesses that complained, the officer kept saying how nice our stuff was too, and wanted to buy something for his wife. hilarious. but as he looked over his shoulder at his partner, he decided against it and kept apologizing. i thought how sweet. shoot what time you get off work mr. officer, mr. officer. i sell you some nice jewelry mr. officer.
hey its early, just on my first cup of coffee, so sorry for the corny joke.
anyway, it was all good, no harm done.
headed to the lake again, but first bought a floatie....ahhh now this is nice. had to ninja chop some biting flies trying to rest on my limbs in the water. these damn flies up here are no joke, i got the welts to prove it; but they were no match for my kung fu karate chop.
floating on the water, playing with my baby...enough said.
some serious storms came through courtesy of Canada, probably to remind me i need to take my butt back there. we got a lil' nervous, well let me clarify, I got a lil' nervous when the winds picked up and started rocking the van, and not in a good way. we decided to rock it out with eyes to the sky. the worst of it did pass, but the rain and lighting did not let up all night. needless to say i did not sleep well, oh but this morning around 6ish, the sky was awesome and such a sight to see...it is going to be a great day.
headed over to another coffee shop where we had sold stuff before with no problems, but this day should be even better selling wise since one of the local farmer's market sets up in the parking lot.
i wish we had a refrigerator or lived here for this bountiful wonder. the sellers are mainly Asian, and i am talking some the old school adorable old ladies...reminds me of when i was little squatting in the garden, next to my nanny ms. lee...i actually spoke Chinese before i spoke English. my parents thought something was wrong with me, they probably still do, since i didn't understand the words they were speaking to me. Ms. lee could tell me to do something in Chinese and sure enough i would comply....ahhh said my parents.
i wish i could still speak it or at least understand it. i am sure it is locked away up in my grey matter somewhere...so where is the key?
oh the farmer's market....the colors alone made me giddy. have you ever seen a PURPLE bell pepper? yeah every color you can imagine was out there, and so many interesting veges, breads, fruits...and chhhhhhhheeeeeap!!! ridiculously so.
yep i bought our lunch...big, fat, juicy, red tomatoes...ahh i can't wait.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

headed to what the locals refer to Uptown in Minneapolis. this part of the city is overloaded with flavor and spice, and i am speaking about the people in general. there is a strong Latin and west African (Ethiopian?) influence in these parts. block to block congestion, but not in a bad way. store fronts in native languages, markets and sidewalk eateries full of wonderful smells that intoxicate the senses.
we will venture out to find a local Ethiopian restaurant today i am sure. Spanish music blaring from storefronts and dropped cars, each block different than the last but full of God's wonderful people. the west African women here are mainly draped in bold rich colors, with only their quite beautiful faces peeking out from their head dresses. it is a sight to see them walking in unison amongst the backdrop of concrete and graffiti.
many times B and i have remained silent watching the parade of colors flowing elegantly in front of Bluequisha. these women deserve such pause.
Finally found Lake Calhoun, a series of lakes one of the locals had told us about. wow..wow..and wow.
B and i have a thing for water, and i am so glad i am traveling with someone who loves nature just as much as i do.
i would equate Lake Calhoun to Austin's Town Lake...but cleaner and prettier x 10. water so clear, you can see the fish that nibble on ya lol.
something quite special about swimming at sunset...just ask B how special it was :)

We spent yesterday morning and early afternoon at Minnehaha Falls (hilarious name to say). i was grumpy, hot, and hungry...not the best person to be around. found a nice lil fruit/vege stand, but damn they were proud of their produce with those high azz prices. decided on one huge lovely tomato. i LOVE tomatoes! as a child and teenager, you couldn't get me to even try one, and it wasn't until in my later adult years that i acquired the taste. mmmm and tasty they are...slice em up, lil salt and pepper and i am ON IT.
and instantly the grumpy gf was ready for the day.
the falls themselves were breathtaking. the power of she was mesmorizing. the churning force seemed unforgiving. one poor lil wayward duck found a sanctuary on the edge of the bridge right before the drop-off, you could tell he had got caught up in the river...poor thing looked a mess resting on the side, trying to figure out how he was going to get out of this one. i wanted to climb over the bridge and rescue him, but er uh..yeah that would of been no bueno, plus i left my cape with the kids.
there were all kinds of winding trails that followed the river, high cliffs covered in lush green forests, plants and flowers i have never seen. i was like a lil kid, stopping at each new "oh babe, look at this one" i had to touch everything...B is so cute, sharing or at least pretending to be just as enthused as i was. i am sure she was thinking, "damn, doesn't that leaf look just like the other 400 we just passed?"
we found a small swimming area in the rapids where others were congregating. B was so excited to put herself in some water. we waded out to a rock protruding in the middle, and there we sat and just absorbed all around us...the scenery, the water, the people...even the stupid azz mischievious boys skipping rocks in our direction (that is until B got out and said something, oh ok mom NOW you want to tell your kids to stop...thanks)
we continued on, walking off the marked trail...of course we did. "oh look babe, see the flowers?"
i think we still would be walking the trails, exploring the caves or whatever; but MN is notorious for ticketing the expired meters and we knew we had already gone over. let me tell you what...B and i have been wanting to get into better shape and become more healthier, and this journey is MAKING it happen whether we were ready or not.
lawd lawd the hike back, had my lungs and heart cursing me out do you hear me!!! all good though, all good...
and i be damn, not one damn ticket on Bluequisha....yeah!! and BOOO we didn't finish exploring...we will go back, but er uh no not today...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

we are still in MN, wandered over to Minneapolis...the twin cities are amazing to say the least...i keep telling myself i need to come up with different adjectives than what i normally use, but we are in such awe of what are eyes have been blessed to see.

sidenote: The Divine always let's ya know He/She is around, protecting and loving us...sends angels our way to speak to us, when needed the most. i don't even remember his name, but Divine would be appropriate. the messages he gave B and i were personal to each...i am humbled to say the least. i felt a million times better afterwards, a million times eager to continue on. thank you.
it hasn't been all roses and shooting stars, but it has been intriguing and wonderful as a whole.
there is a bigger picture here.
day to day we don't know exactly where we will be, whether or not the place we choose to sleep will be safe, that we won't be harassed by cops or others (so far none of that has happened, knock on wood and prayers), or what interesting thing we will eat. and you know what? we are ok with this...it is all part of the process...all part of the journey.
i make the jewelry and B does the selling. she feels this is how she contributes and balances it out. i think she is just the shiznit, plus B is hella good at flashing that smile and talking to folks. before they even know what hit them, her charm has them buying a trinket or a cd.
this woman is my rock.
we got this.
i miss my kids extremely, aching for them really; but talking/texting everyday helps just a lil'...i can't wait to see them, to hold them, to just soak up their presence. they are part of the reason though i am doing this...to blaze the trail for them, to show them how to fly and they can do any damn thing they want to...conformity is not necessary nor desired. i pray they don't resent this.