Reinvention — a Year Later

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Blazing sunset 2019
Blazing Sunset by Teagan R. Geneviene 2020

At one point in my life, I was able to travel some.  The area that resonated with me most was the “high desert” southwest of the USA.  If you’ve seen my “About” page, you know that story.  As I write this, I feel uncomfortable doing any sort of post at all… but I’m going to share a little about my adopted home. 

I’m mortified to remember a long ago conversation with a man who enthused about his fondness for the beauties of the desert regions of the USA.  He asked if I thought it was beautiful and I’m ashamed to say that I exclaimed, “But it’s all brown.”  That was and continues to be the comment I’ve heard most often from other people.  Back then, I was still “California dreaming,” (it took 20 years for me to give up that dream), but that conversation led me to investigate the Southwest, and of course the “brown” concept was far from true. 

However, in writing this post I now realize why so many people had that perception.  All the photos I find online are lifeless and brown.  Not that there is not beauty there, but it’s a very limited view of a large area. 

Cactus in snow February 5 2020
Cacti in the Snow, by Teagan R. Geneviene

Brown certainly does not apply to the “high desert.”  Writing this post exposed confusion even about that term.  I suppose the “High Desert” as a proper name is limited to part of California, Nevada, and Utah — the Mojave Desert.  However, people who live in other parts of the Southwest, places with high altitudes, also describe their homes as high desert.  

Those high altitudes don’t always mean a place is in the mountains.  For instance Albuquerque, New Mexico is a “mile high” city just like Denver, Colorado. However, it is not in the mountains.  Those of us who live in such high altitudes (my home is 4,000+ feet) get four seasons.  As you go farther south, the winters are more limited.  For the first time in my adult life, I actually enjoyed winter this year!  

Backyard snow Feb 2019
Photo by Teagan R. Geneviene 2019

Sure it gets hot in the summer, but it isn’t Death Valley.  No, there isn’t nearly as much greenery, and trees aren’t so plentiful that they block the view of the sky.  However, there are many tree-lined streets in communities across the “desert southwest.” The tree-lined part doesn’t apply to my street, but most of my neighbors have mature trees. Pecan trees and pistachios really like the climate.   

Mulberry tree 04-23-2020
My mulberry tree, Teagan 2020

I’m terrible with plants. I’m surprised that my cactus garden survived me.  I thought a 6 ft. tall clump of big thorns was an unidentified dead something.  Then it came into bloom, and attracted hummingbirds!

Thorn bush flower close
Close-up of thorn-bush blossom, by Teagan 2019

A wide variety of plants are adaptable to the dry climate.  Even though I knew that, I was amazed by the prevalence of roses in many areas.  The real shocker was that I haven’t killed the roses.  This year they are heavy with blossoms.  The large dark pink rosebush in the backyard has huge blossoms this year (much larger than last spring).

Bk Pink Roses 1 spring 2020
Photo by Teagan R. Geneviene

The cacti have bloomed (individually) at various times during the past year.  I haven’t figured out their schedule.   The small cacti below are competing with the roses.

Small cacti blooming spring 2020
Photo by Teagan R. Geneviene 2020

I made the video below to celebrate the  my one-year anniversary in my new location, which was roughly the first of this month.  I have rare moments when I feel like I’ve actually done something. However, the reality quickly comes back — I haven’t made any progress toward the kind of healing that I need most.  In fact, I’ve had so many setbacks that I have even farther to go than I did a year ago.

Meanwhile, I’m making slowly plugging away at the novel I started in November.  Usually, my novels have more women characters than men.  It surprised me when I realized this one has a lot of male characters.  Also, I let the heroine have a fraction of my own history.  Otherwise, it’s “out the roof” on the quirky factor.  It’s a challenge to work on a novel concurrently with a serial, but I hope that I can amp up my pace and share the finished book with you fairly soon. 

Next weekend I’ll be back with a new free chapter of the steampunk riverboat serial, The Delta Pearl.  If you missed the last episode, here’s the link: https://teagansbooks.com/2020/04/11/the-delta-pearl-30-observe/

I love to get your comments and hope you’ll stop to say hello — but if you can’t be nice, then shut the fork up.  Remember this is a sanctuary for me, and my readers.

 

Copyright ©  2020 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

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113 thoughts on “Reinvention — a Year Later

  1. Lovely to hear about your abode, Teagan. Your photos are stunning. Amazing what one can see if one really looks – no brown 😊 … but even then there will be some beauty. Hope all is well with you and you’re finding your feet. Loved reading about your home and you. Thank you for sharing. Love ‘n hugs 🧚‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s lovely to see you, Cecily. I’m delighted you enjoyed visiting with me here. I continue to have my difficulties, but this is home and where I want to be. Someday I’ll get everything (including myself) worked out. Have a beautiful new week. Love & huge hugs right back. ❤

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  2. I’m so sorry I missed this post, Teagan. I can’t believe it’s already a year since you made the brave move. Your home is beautiful and the desert flowers remind me of home!
    Expectations have a way of moving constantly. I’m finding that too. Just know that what you did last year was incredible and it takes us all a while to settle. Give yourself time. You’re amazing and very brave. I have faith that you will heal and achieve what you want to in good time. Unfortunately, our time and the universe’s time frame may be a bit different. Hugs always xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Mello. You weren’t late at all, particularly since I had a very difficult night. I needed these encouraging words today more than I would have the day I wrote this. 🙂 I appreciate you taking a moment to visit.
      Deep breath….. It’s going to be a good day. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for inviting us in to your new world! I know little about the American southwest and have to admit I’d be one of those people wondering what the attraction was to desert life – high or otherwise. Your photos tell a great story though – especially the flowering cactus. So pretty, so unpretentious 🙂

    I’m so sorry you don’t feel like you’ve made the progress you expected / wanted. That’s the problem with expectations – they have a way of snapping back on us. This current state of uncertainty has put many of us on edge. I’ve had difficulty blogging the past many weeks because all the words I write sound so sad and melancholy.
    I’m really not and I certainly don’t want to leave that impression with anyone.

    For now, my focus is on celebrating the joy of spring … obviously it arrives a lot later here. Each day is filled with magic as nature stretches into life again. I just have to remember to look for it 🙂

    Be well, Teagan!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As you know I love the Southwest and am use to the “brown comment”. There is such beauty in the desert be it high or not beyond the brown! Looking forward to your novel….be safe and take care of yourself!

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      1. Arizona is so much the same as New Mexico in the desert/high desert scenario….Phoenix obviously is hot and in low desert, but your pictures of the snow remind me of Prescott or Flagstaff and frankly Denver in a way even though it’s not desert…altitude!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My parents used to live in the high desert of western Colorado, and it was brownish but so beautiful! I envy your big skies and sunshine, Teagan. I’m sorry to hear that you don’t feel you’ve made progress, but be gentle with yourself. This is such a surreal time and I don’t know very many people who are coping well, including myself. And keep up the writing! I’m so glad to hear that there’s a new book on the way. Yippee. And I loved the virtual tour. 😀 Have a lovely day, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana. Thanks — I’m happy you enjoyed this. The videos are always fun to make.
      Yes, I’ve seen many writers say they can’t focus during all this stuff. I’m trying to give the book priority. Although that’s an “out” for me to avoid other things. LOL. Take good care of you. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I know nothing about the desert areas, so you’re educating me, Teagan. Those pics are lovely – the colors! Plants don’t seem to like me too much, either. Hubby and I dug up dead bushes this weekend. Excited for the next Delta Pearl chapter. Hugs to you and Crystal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. The beautiful desert willow trees in back are all dead now… They’re a sad sight, but I can’t afford to have them removed. The doves still enjoy sitting in the branches though. Ha.
      Yes, I got the new Delta Pearl chapter ready to post yesterday! It’s good to know she’s getting back on the river. I’m happy you enjoyed this. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Teagan, Teagan, Teagan, what a lovely, lovely post–beautiful. When young I, a midwesterner, traveled tha sothwetst part of the country by thumbing and on freight tarins, sleeping at times as a guest in jails of wee towns because I had no money. Fond memores.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I went to New Mexico for the first time, someone sitting next to me in the plane said New Mexico was all brown, a lot of browns, not like California, hilly and very green. Yes, among all the browns I found a lot of very incredible colors. It all depends on our perspective and what we want to see. Happy Anniversary in your new place. The garden looks good.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a happy post!
    You’ve come along into 1 year of your reinvention, the plants are beautiful, and so is brown.
    I was raised in the Canadian prairies, where there is lots of brown, it turns green with wheat, then gold with wheat, then white with snow.
    It’s so beautiful, and starts with brown, which starts with a “B”, and so does beautiful!

    I really enjoyed the enchanting read of “The Glowing Pigs SNORT STORIES of Atonement, Tennessee”.
    Thank you so much!
    Chad Allen is also the name of a singer from Winnipeg, in the Canadian Prairies. He was the singer of The Guess Who… before it was the Guess Who, and sang the original hit “Shakin’ All Over”.

    I’ll be doing a little something on my GLAM blog. I think I have some pig graffiti in my stash.
    LOL! Or, who knows what I’ll figure to pair it with!
    {{Hugs}}

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Resa, thank you for every lovely word you said here. I’m so excited — I can’t wait to see your post. I hope you’ll please send me a link, whenever it’s ready. (I have a hard time keeping up, and I’d hate myself if I missed it.)
      I’m tickled pink that you enjoyed The Pigs snort stories. I didn’t know that singer, but I always loved Burton Cummings with The Guess Who. One of my all time favorite groups! “She’s Come Undone” is one of my favorite songs from them.
      My “Chad Allen” was inspired by the actor Chad Everette. (No offence intended to the actor, who was much nicer than my character.) 😉
      Have a beautiful, wonder-filled new week my friend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy 1 year anniversary! We’re both celebrating that. Yesterday was our 1 year anniversary here also the High Desert.

    I’m very tempted to tell you to SHHHHHH! It’s brown, brown, brown! I’d like to keep my area small and growing into another Las Vegas!

    Isn’t it wonderful how much color there is in the desert? Your garden looks beautiful. Nothing is blooming in our yard yet. I think we have summer bloomers only. I’m going to fix that when the nursery opens up again.

    Stay safe, and well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tee-hee! Happy anniversary to you too, Deborah!
      I know what you mean about wanting to keep it secret. I’ve had that thought more than once about my very, very small city. I know growth equates to prosperity, and I feel sort of guilty for the feeling, but I hope it stays small — because that’s what I wanted.
      It’s a good deal colder (over all) where you are, so I imagine the plants’ schedules would be different than what happens here. Thanks for visiting. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Jennie… if you saw the dead trees, you’d know what I mean. LOL. I only showed the good things. Ha. You’ll note that I also only showed the plants, not the house. I don’t have the kind of beautiful home that so many bloggers show, but I still love it.
      And I just startled a hummingbird from a cactus blossom this morning when I went out to give the birds fresh water. It was only a foot away from me. It flew to a nearby (dead) tree and scolded me. That’s a first — being scolded by a hummingbird. 😀 Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jacquie, it’s good to see you. Here, it’s usually mostly gone by the next day — or sooner. I think we got 3 snows this year. I’m so far south that it’s kind of surprising that there’s any snow at all, but the high altitude allows it. (I’m not in the mountains, but still a high altitude. One of the mountain peaks not too far away is 11,000 ft.)
      I’ve been working hard on my next novel, if not producing a lot of pages.
      Take good care of you, my friend. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Teagan. I recently met you on Jill’s blog and am not aware of your history, but it appears you have followed a dream and realized it. What better place to be while in this lock down? I really enjoyed the inspiring video. Very creative. I wish I had your book writing energy/ambition. Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s marvelous to see you, Lori. Haha, I did follow a dream — although partly I felt like I was running for my life. It wasn’t easy, but I made it through the 2000 mile drive. I don’t think there is anywhere I’d rather be. Have a wonder-filled weekend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Teagan, happy year in your new home. You are surrounded by color & beauty—the photos, video & quotes inspiring. I remember the start & hesitations writing your book. The lockdown won’t be forever, and the precautions learned will be an everyday practice. The time at home is perfect for working on the book. And it can be healing to get past some of the parts of your life you’d like to forget.

    I love the word whimsy. So—let’s change the word laughter to—whimsy is the best medicine in today’s unpredictable times. Stay safe & well, my friend. 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind, Marie. I’m delighted you enjoyed it. Santa Fe is an extraordinary city. So is Taos — not quite as many beautiful homes, but such a wonderful vibe there. Either is great for those who ski. I hope you get to go there again. Hugs on the wing!

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  13. What a wonderful post, and what wonderful pictures! I was surprised, when I visited Texas, how much greenery there was. The trees were very small, compared to the big’uns here in Indiana, but they were lovely. And there were so many wildflowers! Your “it’s all brown” comment reminds me of a children’s picture book about a boy moving to the southwest. He and all his friends complained, “Gila monsters meet you at the airport!” That may have been the title. He learned differently, as I did when I visited. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. One can say what they want, its a very interesting landscape there. Love the vidclip so much. Never say never again, Teagan. Very often dreams will become true, when once think they never will do. Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Gorgeous pictures. I did not realize that you had moved there so recently. I became a high desert devotee after falling in love with Sedona and Prescott, AZ in 2017. Can’t wait to go back. Healing hugs on eagle wings.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. An inspiring video Teagan and of course it was a massive achievement to make the move as well as, I know from reading your blog, a long held dream. You’ve already been more courageous than you realise, all that’s left is for your other dreams to come true 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Every region has its beauty, and you have landed in an enchanted place. That is a great video, and I love the quotes. Thank you for the tour of your new home, Teagan!

    The mulberry tree brings back good memories of a friend back east. She had one in her yard. I would love a mulberry tree here, but I am trying to find a place to shoehorn in five purple plum tree starts I was given last year.

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  18. Thanks for sharing a peek into your home, plants, and new life in the high desert Teagan. I love the SW for the open spaces, vistas and quiet beauty. Plants and trees can be planted, growing along with you in your new home. May they nurture your heart. I know I miss my home and gardens. Enjoy the land of enchantment!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Wonderful post, Teagan. I find beauty in all deserts, but these high, enchanted lands we live in offer special, never-ending wonders in each season as you mentioned. Nice video. I was hoping to hear your wonderful voice telling the story as each slide slipped by, but the music was a good choice. Happy Caturday. Virtual hugs and the kitties send you purrs and kitty kisses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re too kind Tim. I was using a template — something Animoto hasn’t offered in the past (at least not for my cheap plan). I noticed it had a microphone option, but I wasn’t up to giving it a try. Happily I knew how to change the song. I was delighted to find that one — liked it so much I made sure to give them credit with their own slide (even though I’ve only seen that observatory from the distance). Hugs back to the kitties from Crystal and me — and to you and Laurie.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you for sharing your world with us and showing us the beauty of it. Be kind to yourself Teagan . I am working on that myself. I have a photo of me as a four year old hanging in our guest bathroom ((does that tell you something about myself ). Lately I have been talking to that little girl . We are becoming good friends.

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    1. Talking to her is a wise thing, Gerlinde. I only have 2 photos of me as a child (those are terrible memories). My therapist once asked me to talk to that little girl. It had to do with all the things I was told I “couldn’t be” when I was a child. So now, whenever I think of her, she’s happily flying above the desert in the helicopter she pilots! LOL. Hugs on the wing!

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    1. LOL, I can tell you that the 2000 mile drive felt like I was going as far as the moon, John. 😀
      But yes, indeed they do…To paraphrase MLK, You don’t have to see the whole staircase… just take the first step. Heartfelt thanks for your encouragement. Hugs on the wing!

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    1. Haha! For some reason the thought of hanging onto whimsy made me think of old fashioned bloomers and a windy day. LOL, I guess that’s proof that my whimsy is still there. Thanks for making me smile, Mary. 😀 Wishing you a weekend filled with happy wonder — and endless whimsy. Hugs on the wing!

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  21. When they say beautify is in the eye of the beholder, we think of it in relation to other people. But, as your video so brilliantly shows, beauty is all around if we have the eye to see it. Where you moved to, to me, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Teagan, you will find your peace there. I just feel it! Thank you for sharing, and congrats on your reinvention anniversary!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Beautiful home Teagan, and you’ve done a bang-up job landscaping. I would love to have a cacti garden! For several years I had a magnificent cactus plant that produced huge bright yellow blossoms, and multiplied every year! Then, after a particularly bad winter, the constant spray of rock salt from the plow did my beautiful plant in. 😢

    Thanks for the tour of the beautiful area you now live in. What a thrill to always be surrounded by such beauty. It doesn’t seem like a year has gone by since you moved! On the other hand, a year isn’t much time to settle in and adjust to all the inevitable changes. I think you’re doing better than you give yourself credit for.

    Stay healthy. Keep safe. Don’t lose your whimsy. Oh! Yeah….to the nasty person in question I would like to add my two cents…..Buck you fuddy! 😂😂😂
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind Ginger. Thank you. I can’t take credit for the plants — everything was already in place — and it was one of the main reasons I chose this house. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive any care for a year before I moved in. Two of the (red) roses in front died, and 2 more are still struggling (along with one in back that seems to have made it). There was a roll of desert “willow” trees… I bought the place in winter and couldn’t see that they were dead and dying. Other things were misrepresented about the landscaping too… and that is one of the many things that caused a setback for me healing. But still, I do love my home. As you see, not being able to take a compliment is one of the things I keep working on! LOL. You slayed me with “Buck you fuddy!” You’re a treasure my friend. Hugs on the wing.

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    2. I’ve never been to your neck of the woods. Both my husband and I were born and raised in California in the same town.
      My only affiliation is that of my first fake ID when I was 17, on my way to Hawaii for high school graduation and decided I was from Scottsdale Arizona. 😂 I paid a dude to get one for me and he must have suggested it. Can’t remember. Was a long time ago.
      In any case, I don’t know your back story at all, but it sounds like you have your life in perspective. I’m proud to learn you’re writing a book. So courageous!
      And I’m a gardener here in Northern California. It’s cathartic, great exercise, rewarding and feeds your mind, body and soul. Highly recommend it.
      I feed the hummingbirds, squirrels 🐿, blue jays and gophers (not intentionally). We’ve had a war going on with the gophers getting in our raised veggie beds. Argh 😤! Not fun when you see the beautiful sweet peas in bloom one day, and sucked down into the earth gone forever the next day.
      I like having fresh greens to pick for dinner and have enjoyed growing them.
      Take care and happy gardening!
      Teri:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking of you today and the Delta. I was using my father’s ice pick in the kitchen and thought – they would have needed this aboard the Pearl in the lounge to chip ice away for the drinks!!

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  23. The past! oh yes, I know it isn’t so easy to look back and write it down but you’d done it well. I think it helps a lot to know own self and not forget 😉 nice to hear from you dear Teagan 💖🥰😘💖

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  24. It’s obvious to me that the plants are responding to your spirit, if not your actual care 😏

    Your new home is lovely. I didn’t realize how high up you guys are. Higher than many of our tall peaks. The video is inspiring. I look forward to new chapters and your new book. Writing both sounds like a daunting task, but I’m confident that you’re up to it. The riverboat will be there when you’re ready.

    Take care, Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I’ve never been any good with plants, Dan. Maybe you’re right. LOL. I just wish I could bring back the trees that died… It’s so disheartening to see them.
      I think I just saw a hummingbird! (Squirrel! Where was I?)
      I appreciate your encouragement. Hugs on the wing!

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    1. Most people probably wouldn’t think so, Beth. It’s humble by east coast standards. But I do love it. I feel the magic in the air. (Or maybe that’s just rapid dehydration because it’s so dry! LOL) Thanks for taking time to visit. Hugs on the wing!

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    1. Happy weekend, dear Christoph. Yes, amazing how time flew. I’ll never forget that you are the only one who was willing to help me get here. Your offer gave me the courage to make the trip — because you were willing to make such a gigantic effort. Hugs on the wing!

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    1. Hi Jill. Yes! I think I just saw one zip past just now. Who’d expect hummingbirds in the southwest? I don’t see them every day (sometimes not for weeks and weeks), but I get a peek at one now and then. I’ve seen them feeding at cactus blossoms a few times, or getting water, but they really liked the flowers of the thorn bush. It hasn’t started blooming yet this year, so I hope to see more hummers when it blooms. I gave serious consideration to Tucson. (I spent a few years choosing my destination.) It was at the top of my list for quite awhile. Thanks for spending time here. Hugs on the wing!

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    1. LOL, the cacti make great low-tech security systems too, Fraggle. I’ve seen some old (pretty old by USA standards, but not yours) places that look like they were one sort of business or another (like repairs or similar) that have huge spreads of prickly pear cacti along fences and under windows. So large and thick that they must have been growing for many decades — and they were meant for security. I didn’t know what the mulberry tree was for awhile, but somebody identified it for me. (I grew up on a part of the country where tall pine trees and cedar grew wild, so it’s all pretty exotic to me too.) Hugs on the wing!

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  25. What a wonderful post, Teagan, and I really enjoyed your video. You have done a super job. I will show it to Greg so that he can get some ideas for ours. Your new home looks lovely. We live in a dry climate and I have a small cactus garden too. We also have lots of roses but we are going into winter so I can’t show off pictures of them now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted you enjoyed the video, Robbie. I didn’t think about you being in a dry climate, but now I’m having a “duh!” moment. 😀 All the photos you share on Facebook are certainly beautiful and vibrant with life. I hope you have a wonderful winter. Hugs on the wing!

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  26. I loved your video! It took me about two years to adjust to my new life in Spain. Change takes time. “Everything we do should have whimsy in it!!” is a perfect quote. Good luck with the next book. Sending hugs across the ocean.

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    1. Hi Darlene. I’m so glad you liked the video! It was fun to make. You’re right — it takes time. I know I’m too hard on myself. What you said about your own move helps. Thanks for the luck! With my “stuff” and adding the pandemic-panic to it, it’s hard to focus on the book or anything else — but I’m trying. 😀 Hugs on the wing!

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  27. That looks like a nice place to live. I’m a California Dreaming guy for the last forty-seven years, though we live away from much of the bustle, near the ocean surrounded by redwood trees. I used to be a four-season guy as I grew up in the Dakotas, where it can crack 100 in the summer and frequently gets below 0 in the winter.

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    1. Hi Pete. My dreaming never got me to California. I just couldn’t manage the housing costs. But I held that dream for a long time. Actually, over 15 years ago, I moved from Nashville to Albuquerque, thinking it might be a stopping point to CA. It still didn’t happen, and I ended up in DC. I’ve never been to the Dakotas, but the images are breathtaking. The extremes in temperature must be the price for such beauty. Thanks for spending time here today. Hugs on the wing!

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  28. Nature is resourceful and though, and so are we, dear Teagan. Moving and changing course is a process and it takes time to find your place (a bit like a plant transplanted) but it sounds as if you’re setting strong roots there. Thanks for sharing your home. It’s beautiful. And good luck with your writing. I look forward to it. Big hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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