A Journey Into Enlightenment (Part II)


Here we are in Tennessee, on our third official sit as a couple (and my fiftieth or so as an individual).  It has been a whirlwind of a fall and we are both looking forward to hunkering down for the winter up on Signal Mountain.

Now that I am finally and fully embracing the wonders of blogging and social media in general, I find that I can be more distracted than ever if I am not careful.  In the past I have had specific job duties, like mixing drinks or selling soaps or entering data…now I am mainly accountable to…me.  Yikes. 

Time to retrain my brain.  Time to walk down a different street!  If I want to make a living online, I need to be super organized and results-driven.  I need goals, and I need to accomplish them.  I can’t simply wait for someone else to tell me what to do, whether it be work related or otherwise.

So, each month I am going to hold myself accountable to not just me, but to all of you as well.  Each month I am going to post a goal (or four).  I know we are almost halfway into November, but I have been working hard on the following and feel the need share now, so here goes:

November Goals:

Blogsville: I am currently working with Lisa Sabin-Wilson (author of WordPress for Dummies) on this blog.  It is being completely restructured in order to be more user friendly and interactive.  You will see the new look this month (can’t wait to show you)!

Other Social Media: You can now find either myself or Caretaking Couple on twitter and Linked In as well as facebook.  I am not sure if I will be adding to or subtracting from this list – I am just going to have fun with each and see where my time is best spent.   Do you have a favorite?  If so, please share.

My Writing: Most of you know that I am taking writing classes and working on a book.  I have eight chapters outlined and three written.  I will finish Chapter Four by the end of the month. How many rough drafts does one woman need to write, anyway?

Health and Fitness:  I am looking into becoming a Beachbody Coach.  There is still a bit of research to do with regards to this.  I am considering Beachbody because I have seen the results in people who are consistent with it, and it is something I can do from anywhere in the US.  And it will hold me accountable!

The goals above are more challenging than I thought they would be but there is nothing else I would rather be doing right now.  Except for maybe going for a bike ride and getting to know the new neighborhood…another benefit of working from “home”.

Thank you for reading this, our 100th blog post here at Caretaking Couple!  As always, I would love to hear from you.  Enlighten me ; ) Just leave a comment on any of my 100 posts between now and December 1 and I will enter your name into a drawing for a special CC gift from Tennessee!


Road Trip 2010 – Colorado


Oklahoma Rest Stop

From Mississippi, we drove right through Arkansas and stayed one night in Oklahoma City.  I am sad to say that the only thing I remember about Arkansas was the amount of squashed armadillos on the highway.  Asked Paul to help a girl out but he had nothing to add.  And Oklahoma City in August was simply too hot.  We wandered a bit, had a bite, melted.  On the way back to the nondiscript chain hotel, we came across a small wedding party.  And here is my favorite memory of Oklahoma…

An Oklahoma Wedding

If I were getting married that day in OK, I would have done the exact same thing.  My least favorite memory of Oklahoma?  Worst huevos rancheros ever in a restaurant in a town with no people on it’s streets…or in it’s shops…or restaurants.  That should have been our cue to drive straight through.

Um...Where is everyone?

I know I am not being very fair to Arkansas and Oklahoma…I know if we had stayed longer things would have been different.  And when I say different, I mean better.  if you have a fun memory of either place you would like to share, that would be great.

And now.  The state we took to the road for in the first place.  Colorado.  Where Paul and I met.  Where Mountain Girl Organics was born.  Where most of our friends are.  Ahh, it’s good to be back in the ‘hood! And since every picture tells a story, and since I’m hoping for some rapport via your comments…here goes.

How Sadie rolls on Bear Mountain

Dakota Blonde with Ernie Martinez at The Comfort Cafe in Denver

Meeting Em at my old stomping grounds, the Bergen Park Farmers' Market

Em, Sadie and I, showing off our new pedis

Looks like Aussie Ken's been shopping again

Jodee, John E, Tom C, and Me at Rio Del Sol

Paul (always a hit with the ladies) and Casey at Rio

Robb & Mary, this one's for you ; )

Michele's shop, Bella Vita, in Kittredge, CO

One more of Bella Vita. Cause I love it.

Billy's Pub

Paul has help blowing out his belated Birthday candle

Hanging out at the old digs

Bear Mountain Barn

Latest addition to Bear Mountain - Wyatt

Oliver, playing "pull my finger" with Paul. Scary.

Yay for babies! Congrats, Jon and Lee!

My current favorite Colorado church sign

Evergreen Lake, pre-concert

Sadie, Barre and Tom at the Lake

Jakarta at Evergreen Lake

John E & the Ladies (aka Jen, Kit, and Kathleen)

BYOK (Bring Your Own Keg) Night with Ken

In case you were wondering where the spots on my lens came from ; )

Denise, hitchin' a ride

Until next time, Evergreen!

Stay tuned for Santa Fe, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio!  Oh, and the contest is still on – you have between now and tomorrow night (Sunday, 10/10/10 at 10:10pm) to leave a comment on any Caretaking Couple blog post!  XOX, V&P

Road Trip 2010 – (Mostly) Mississippi


Yes, it is October, and yes, this road trip did take place throughout the month of August.  Sigh.  Still, I am determined to give you the scoop because it was such a GREAT trip!  I am now writing from lovely Provincetown, MA where we have rented a sweet apartment between sits.  Then it’s Tennessee, here we come!

Creepy. Pretty. Pretty Creepy!

After North Carolina, we drove through a bit of Georgia and spent one night in Tennessee, where we met with the homeowners we will be sitting for as of next month.  I will ply you with TN pics then…for now, on to Mississippi.  But first, what is this stuff growing over everything?  Will someone please enlighten me?  Someone familiar with the South?  Thank you.

We didn’t have much time in Mississippi – just one night.  We tried to get two, but the Inn we were staying at was fully booked.  You wouldn’t think this would be an issue, judging by the exterior of the place.  But it was, and now I know why.  On the way to Clarksdale, we stopped in Oxford for lunch.  What a cool town! 

Yes, Please

"Say, aren't you William Faulkner?!?"

Our lunch break was short and sweet and like so many places we happened upon in our travels, I wanted to know more.  However, until I can convince the S.O. (Significant Other, aka Paul) to go in on an Airstream, we’ll just have to keep movin’.

I went down to the crossroads...

We ended up in Clarksdale Mississippi because Paul and I both share a deep appreciation for blues music and wanted to find out more about the Delta blues in particular.  That, and Paul found the site for a place called the Shack Up Inn while surfing the web one day.  It was love at first click. 

Welcome to our shack for the night

We stayed in the Pinetop Perkins shack.  This (along with the rest) is an original sharecropper shack.  The Shack Up Inn is located at an old cotton plantation…Hopson Plantation.  An eye opener as to how things were not so long ago in these parts.  By the way, Pinetop Perkins is ninety-seven and still going strong. 

Pinetop mural in the living room

Shacks (from the back)

RV Art

I'll take mine silver ; )

And rusty teal

the Juke Joint Chapel

Chevy & The Cotton Gin Inn

Hopefully I have given you a good feel for the premises.  It really is one of those places you have to see for yourself.  I suggest you go there.  And now, for what we chose to do with our one night on the town…

Blue Cheese Fondue with House Fried Potatoes at Rust

Parking at the Ground Zero Blues Bar

I think I'll just grab a seat at the bar...

Razorblade takes the stage

Razorblade & Yours Truly

Ground Zero Blues Club  is just one of the local joints and I have to be honest, I did go there knowing that Morgan Freeman is a co-owner and…how cool would it be if he just happened to stop by?  What?  At least I’m being honest.  I’m not starstruck in general, but, come on…Morgan Freeman! 
Alas, no Mr. Freeman that night, but we did have the honor of meeting Josh “Razorblade” Stewart. 
Another unforgettable evening on the road.  Go to www.reverbnation.com/joshrazorbladestewart and have a listen.  My favorite song is “Every Goodbye Sure Don’t Mean I’m Gone”.  I can’t wait to be back in Clarksdale.

The Crossroads, made famous by Robert Johnson

Biscuits and Grits for the road at the Rest Haven Restaurant

P.S.  Thanks to you, we’ve had over 10,000 hits to this little blog; and almost 1,000 comments!  This calls for a celebration in the form of a PRIZE drawing.  Just leave a comment on ANY post ANYTIME between now and Sunday night (10/10/10 – how cool is that?) and I will announce the winner/prize first thing Monday morning : )

Recent CC Contest Prize Winners



It is catch up time.  In all the summer excitement, I have allowed a few things to lapse.  Important stuff, like announcing contest winners!  So, our most recent contest winners are Catherine T of Evergreen, CO and Lee Wilmot of Littleton, CO.  Thank you, my CO peeps for keeping in touch via the blog – always love to hear from you. 

Catherine won a few Mountain Girl Organics items (they may be collectors items, at this point!)…and I am not saying what Lee won because she hasn’t received it yet.  We have been friends for twenty-five years so she will probably end up with some random stuff thrown in : ) Hope you all are enjoying your summer…it is h.o.t. here (even on the Bay) but absolutely gorgeous!

Celebrating Summer Solstice


Must be Summer!

As fair as I am, I love the sun.  Without it, we would cease to exist, after all.  I also have a healthy respect for the sun; ever since my first real sunburn in my early teens.  This happened to coincide with my first real rip current experience (Hueneme Beach, CA).  Scary.  My utmost love (and respect) goes out to the sun and the sea, along with my gratitude.  The majority of my best life experiences revolve around the fire and water elements.  

For many years, I celebrated Summer Solstice all weekend long at my friend Tom’s place in the Connecticut woods.  This spot is filled with natural beauty and is the holder of many a summer memory.  It was Tom’s grandfather’s hunting lodge, and Tom and his friends have done their best to honor and maintain the character of the land and lodge.  I miss the place and the people.  

This year, Paul and I rang in summer with a Jimmy Buffett concert.  Can’t get much more summer-ish than that, methinks.   Don’t you love it when you go to a concert and the weather is just right and the people are friendly and the beer (or, in my case, wine) is cold; all taking place before the music has even begun?  

Friends + music + sunshine + pizza and beer = Solstice

As we walk through the parking lots, I am reminded of wilder times.  At one point in my life I wondered if I would ever actually “mature”.   I am happy to report that I have indeed matured, yet can still appreciate and celebrate my (sometimes) wild youth.  And that I actually survived it. 

Bead Me!

What pleased my heart and soul most was the fact that,  in spite of the hard times many of us have fallen upon, this place was absolutely packed with Parrotheads and Parakeets.  Kudos to Jimmy Buffett for keeping the party going for no less than four decades now…

"With all of our running and all of our cunning/If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane"

Of course I want to know what the Solstice means to you.  Do you celebrate it?  Do you have any fun summer plans?  We do.  They haven’t fully taken shape yet, but we are free to roam for the entire month of August.  Did you hear that, Colorado friends?  Cause we are soo headed your way…you do remember us, don’t you? 

Tell us...how do you plan on celebrating summer???

Tip: If you don’t have any fun summer plans yet, feel free to make some up.  Then promise me you will do your best to make them happen.   We all deserve some summer fun! 

A telltale sign that Paul had a good time...

And yes, it has been a while since my last contest.  So, for every comment you leave on any CC blog post from now (6/21/2010) through Sunday (6/28/2010), you will be entered to win a prize of the Celebrating Summer Solstice variety…game on and good luck!

"As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin' man/I have chalked up many a mile"...

Latest Lucky Winners!




Thank you, Sean M and Emily O for your comments.  You have each one a $25 Gift Certificate to Mountain Man Fruit & Nut Co. in Evergreen, CO (YUM).  Sean was chosen from this blog, and Emily from Rachel’s blog, www.lostintheattic.typepad.com.  Many thanks again to Rachel for interviewing me.  She has inspired me to interview others, so stay tuned and feel free to share your brilliant ideas with us here at Caretaking Couple : )

Lost in the Attic with Cupcakes, An Interview, and a Contest!



How wonderful are my friends?  Take Rachel, for example.  She called me out of the blue this week and asked if I would allow her to interview me and blog about it.  Why yes, Rachel…that would be lovely!  Thank you for asking!

The interview focuses mainly on the sale of my bath and body products business, Mountain Girl Organics.  We had so much fun with this!  I am thinking you will enjoy it as well, and I am sure you are wanting to know more about the contest…

It’s a piece of cake.  Well, more like a bar of soap.  And a bag of malted milk balls.  And maybe some honey mustard pretzels…yum.  Where was I?  Oh, yes.

All you have to do is comment on my blog (feel free to comment on whatever post you are drawn to here), then visit Rachel at  www.lostintheattic.typepad.com and leave a comment on her post featuring yours truly and the sale of MGO. 

This will give you not one, but two chances at winning a $25 gift certificate for Mountain Man Fruit & Nut Co. in Evergreen Colorado…yum…contest starts NOW and ends next Friday (4/16/10)…ready, set, go!

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