Belize & Guatemala Part II

People and Places

People, The Group

Belize and Guatemala happened for me this past January because of adventurers Deb and Bob Stelton, through their mom and pop travel company Mexi-Mayan Travel.

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Deb and Bob Stelton climbing the ruins, Mexi-Mayan Travel

And they really are my mom and pop.

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At the Ruins of Tikal

Forever curious, an inspiration to countless students and seekers, hosts and trip organizers of expeditions since the 1960’s, they are only now at 88 and 91 years young just starting to slow down.

I’ll admit to a tug at the heartstrings.  Climbing around ruins and getting in and out of boats or beat up trucks is a challenge at their age.  I am an arm for my mother to lean on, (darn arthritic knees!) or a cheerleader as she navigates a high ledge, on her butt, backwards.  I am an ear for my dad’s failing hearing, and also sometimes a stabilizer for him also.  It’s not easy for them and sometimes I worry.  Well, enough of that.  You get the picture. We treasure each of these excursions.

It has been an honor and delight to accompany them and sometimes work as guide on many of their madcap journeys.

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Travelin’ in high style!

Talk about gratitude, my life has been rich with culture and experience.  They’ve modeled viewing the world with wonder and curiosity.

Follow their lead, my friends!  Pursue your passions, interests and loves as long as you can!  It keeps the mind, body spirit, strong and supple like a cheetah…

Other than the ‘rents and I there were 12 more adventurers.  All intelligent, mature, considerate, and often hilarious individuals, including 3 archeologists.  All curious about and considerate of the culture of Belizeans and Guatemalans.   Many archeology passionistas who appreciate a cold local beer at lunch.

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The group at the Mayan ruins of Tikal

More People, Local People

A few words about the people of Belize. They are funny, kind, patient, and generous.  Names of businesses and street signs reflect their humor and generally easy-going nature.

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More good natured monkey bizness…

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Out in the jungle some funny guys transformed this tree stump into cigar smokin’ creatures with pebbles as eyes and sticks for cigars, can you see?  Oh, and the tree moss as hair.

Our local guides took care of us like family.  Once even ingeniously packing a home cooked lunch feast (made by one of their sisters in the wee hours of the dawn) which we enjoyed at a ruin in the open air replete with china plates!

I was touched to see a young taxi driver holding my mom’s hand and slowly walk her to his old cab with the cracked windshield and peeling window darkeners.

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A verdant house with a red sofa in San Ignacio?   Yes, please!

In San Ignacio the dogs are plump and adored.  They wander the streets freely and bark all night. All night.  They bark all night!  All.  Night.  Yawn.  Supposedly they are watch dogs, but I think they are more just party animals.

I’ve been to Guatemala about 6 times.  Here too I find the people are kind.  Traditional Mayan spirituality is intriguing and very alive in Guatemala.  If you can experience a Mayan shaman ceremony or visit a Maximon shrine, go for it!.  The shamans will speak directly to the gods on your behalf, building a sacred ritual fire.  Maximon is the saint of drunkards and whores.  He can be bought off with offerings of cash, booze, and cigarettes.  I mean just do it!  Can’t hurt, right?

Places

In San Ignacio we stayed at the Rolsen Hotel.  The Rolsen sits atop a hill a bit out of the hustle and bustle of downtown.  Modest and clean accommodations, very kind and helpful staff.  Nice Pool.  Although the coffee was dreadful, the breakfasts were hearty and the fruit plate was super fresh.  Best thing on the menu – Pork Pibil.  There is a lovely view of the city from the dining room.  And it’s easy to get a cab or tour company and take excursions from here.  We used the dependable and friendly family-run local tour company,

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Restaurant at the Rolsen Hotel (See the green house over there?)

BTW  – we about fainted over the food at San Ignacio’s restaurant The Crave.  So yummy!

Also the Belize Zoo is lovely place, small in size with lush flora.  I am not keen on zoos but this zoo is more of a rescue center.  I petted a rescued jaguar!

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A walk through the Zoo.
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Junior, a rescued jaguar.

In the Peten area of Guatemala we stayed three nights at the remote  El Sombrero Lodge.  Run by an Italian woman who came to visit as a young lady then fell in love with the land (and a man) and never left.  She is assisted by her adult sons.  This lodge was my favorite on the trip.  Outstanding service and delicious home cooked meals (they baked me a birthday cake with only an afternoon’s notice, and served it warm for desert!)  The lodge is tucked in the jungle on a crocodile filled lake (no swimming).  I found the rooms utterly charming – screened-in thatched roof structures.  You will hear the howler monkeys!  Some rooms are more “communal” then others.  You may hear your neighbors!  The lodge generates their own power (which goes off at night unless you make other arrangements), keep their own bees, and serve the honey with homemade pancakes.  Excellent coffee.  The owners are highly knowledgeable about Mayan archeology and offer excursions to nearby ruins by boat, horse, or car.  The road to this place was exceedingly bumpy, but worth it!

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El Sombrero dining room
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Walkway at El Sombrero
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My lodgings at El Sombrero
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The bar at El Sombrero
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The lake at El Sombrero
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The boat we took to see ruins at El Sombrero
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Happy horses

 

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Tree roots in Guatemala

Deb had the brilliant idea to finish our trip at the most luxurious of the three “hotels.”  So we were off by a scenic boat ride to, The Lamanai Outpost Lodge.  Private, quiet rooms, service, food and cultural and ecotourism activities here were first rate.  Hot showers, air conditioning, comfy beds, beautiful landscaping, hummingbirds everywhere.  24 hour coffee is forever in the communal room. Our hosts mysteriously and repeatedly offered drinks on the house.  Was it something about us?  Or is it the norm?  Hard to say…  Regardless, cheers!

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View from the restaurant at Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Restaurant at Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lovely view from my cabin…
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The river ride to Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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The river ride to Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Beautiful Ruins

Finally, we visited many ruins…  I’m sorry the names escape me (there were so many!) but here are a few favorite pictures…

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My feet on the top of a ruin
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Me

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear about your adventures – please comment!

More Links

Here’s the itinerary for the trip:
Belize and Guatemala – A Mayan Ecological Adventure

Belize & Guatemala Part I

If you’ve more interest in Mayan culture, and scent here’s a little Mayan Story I wrote:
Sex and Scent – A Cautionary Mayan Tale

And here’s another blog about Guatemala and coffee from a previous trip:
Smelling the Coffee, Generosity of Spirit

 

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Me again…
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Beauty For 2017!

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Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve finds me pausing for a moment with my bulletproof coffee loving my 2017 engagement calendar.  All those clean empty pages.  A year of possibility with opportunity for beauty.  Sprinkle that faerie dust round.  Happy New Year, one and all!

My Ill-Advised Life

In January of 2016 I foreclosed on my underwater condo in Chicago and went free range faerie.  I quit my jobs and hit the road with my 9 year old pup, Missy.   It was not clearly planned and was a most definitely ill-advised life move.  Frankly it was fucking reckless and irresponsible.  Two years prior another reckless action, leaving an underpaying exhausting job of 17 years which left me even more financially unstable.  But I was compelled to shout “NO” to my prior unsatisfying life.

My intention was to free myself from this life that was not personally satisfying. To peel away layers of internal crap; exhaustion, bitternesses, urban and job induced stresses to indulge in the beauty my soul craved.   To know myself again and/or better.  Seeking a new location in a more beautiful or rural setting.  To remake myself as a faeriepreneur  with a way to support myself as my own boss.

My life unravelled and got unmistakably got messy.  I bravely resisted the negative mantra of “What the fuck am I doing???”  Support from kindly people, without who’s help I could not have done it, surfaced.  I learned to let myself release to this support, my mess, and waited for ME to reform and emerge.  I practiced faerieshamanism and magic, wrote, made perfume, hunted down faerie people and places, and grooved in nature.

This experiment was to last 3-6 months.  Then I’d prolly just get an apartment in Chicago and stuff.  It is coming up on a year this January and I’m still essentially homeless, or as I prefer to say, “nomadic” (it’s all in the attitude ya’ll!).  Ha!

What Next, Free Range Faerie?

During this madly ill-advised adventure I explored a lot of ideas of what to do with myself, always returning to the message and mission of beauty amidst chaos.   And of personal liberation through beauty, truth, and the imaginal realm.  I’m happy to report my soul is refreshed and I’m coming “home” to me.  I feel ready to contribute and collaborate. To set up a home-base again.

My favorite passion project of 2016 was launching my wee perfume line verdant faerie fragrances.  I completed my certification course (though I still have much to learn) and set up temp studios in the various places I stayed.  Perfume supplies were shipped to a variety of locations – Maryland, Hawaii, Canada, Chicago.  I’m excited to take it to the next level in 2017 with improved packaging and perfume blends.  Expanding my knowledge and expertise.  I’m looking forward to establishing a sweet home perfumery of my own in the first quarter of 2017.

I also rediscovered my love of writing and the location freedom it can provide.  As a young girl writing was shoved into my shadow self.  But it keeps seeking the sun!  So I hope to do more of that there writing stuff, perhaps combined it with my perfume.  Ideas are germinating…

One thing I truly missed was a consistent yoga and circus practice and community.  (Well community in general, for it’s hard to keep this going on the road.  Yet one does finds new communities.)  But I really missed the sparkle and comradery of those worlds – physical exploration with expression and soul.  So I’m planning to revisit that in 2017.

Oh, and once I get settled again I also hope to establish regular contribution to a social cause…

Terrifying

As I reestablish myself in 2017 I’ll admit to a certain degree of inner terror.  I have some undeniable challenges ahead.  Can I even pull this off?  And I do so love my freedom!  But mostly I think I got this.  I’ll establish a lovely home base to travel from and I have my mission ~BEAUTY & LIBERATION~ and together we will not be denied!

All the best to you and yours in 2017!

Here’s a verdant barn in Three Oaks Michigan from my recent travels… just cause it’s pretty…

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The Butterfly Chronicles

“Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, 
freedom, and a little flower.”  ~  Hans Christian Anderson

~Here and There and Back Again~

In Which We Explore My Being Butterfly & You Being Butterfly, Butterfly Medicine & Faerie Magic,  A New Perfume, and Maryland

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Are You My Butterfly Buddy?

Do you suffer from “Shiny Object Syndrome?” Do all the glittering things find you landing lightly, following multiple passions, exploring and traveling?

You may be butterfly in nature, like I.  With magical super powers to perceive colors mere mortals do not and to smell with smell receptors (noses) all over your body.  How can one be expected to limit oneself in the face of all this luxury?

Yes, butterflies are a beautiful thing.  But sometimes us butterfly types get a bit of stigma as being, well, flighty.

(Like this particular blog post.  It is going to flutter.  Reader, beware!)

Of late I have been indulging in my butterfly tendencies, big time.  In January 2016, I gave up my condo and jobs and have been living the gypsy life.  An imperfect nomad’s life with the heart of a butterfly.  Fluttering along with me is my dog, Missy, and my verdant faerie perfumery in search of nature, beauty, magic, and of course, faeries.

Since January I have been to Guatemala, Michigan, Mexico (twice), Canada, Oregon, Montana, New York, and back and forth from Chicago to Maryland a bunch of times.  My theme for 2016 is action.  Could you have guessed?

It’s been wonderful, and I am at an all time happiness high.  I could not have done it without the help of very kind and generous people.  So I’m feeling extremely grateful too.

But sometimes I question my seemingly ill-advised life choices.  If you are also a butterfly you may nodding your antennae in agreement.

So I went on some faerie meditation journeys to explore all of these yearnings for freedom and lightness and shimmery beauty, and it’s accompanying self shaming.

In these journeys I organically connected to, and then made peace with, my butterflyness.  All synchronistically confirmed to me in the mortal realm with butterfly references in movies and podcasts I stumbled upon, faerie card readings, friends observations, and of course actual butterflies visitations.

You know how that happens.  You think of or experience something of deep significance, and then it’s everywhere.  Synchronistic.

And the healing I have found is that it is ok to be a butterfly.  It is ok to be me.  In fact it’s wonderful.

So, dear Reader, are you also a bit of butterfly, filled with yearnings for sunshine, freedom, and a little flower?  And do you have a bit of angst about it as I did?  It is not generally encouraged in human society.  Have you noticed?  We are expected to stay put and focus.  Of course there is nothing wrong with focus and productivity, but these expectations have sometimes made me feel bad about myself.  Just a touch.

Let’s be proud of our inner butterfly and flaunt it in the shining sun!

Recently while in Kauai, I discovered a beautiful flower meditation to manifest radical self love.  Give it a try!

Discover the meditation – Kauai Flower Meditation 

If you are not a butterfly type – why not give butterfly style a go?  Allow your senses to expand and experience more – grow some powerful yet delicate wings to flitterfly a little.  What new hobbies can you explore?  Where would you really love to visit?  DO IT!

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Some Butterfly Dope

verdant faerie loves beauty, perfume, and travel.  Hence, the superpowers of the butterfly are swoon worthy.

The lucky creatures smell more than us.  That is, they are more sensitive to scent perception.  Butterflies have scent receptors studded along the antennae, legs, feet, and other parts of the body.

Butterflies see colors we don’t.  With 5 or 6 color receptors to a humans 3, a butterfly’s eyes see more than twice the colors of humans.  Butterflies perceive more color than any other creature (except maybe faeries).  Dogs have the least.  Sorry, Missy.

Those flutterby creatures have a surprising reserve of strength and stamina.  Some butterflies even migrate.  The Monarch butterfly can migrate up to 2500 miles and the top butterfly speed is 12 miles per hour.

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Butterfly Medicine

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Still from the movie Bright Star, directed by Jane Campion

The exquisite butterfly brings transformation and magic.  A universal symbol of  joy – their dancing beauty inspires.

When the butterfly visits you, or you are feelin’ your inner butterfly flutter, you are ready for personal growth and emergence.  Ready yourself to experience any one of its life phases, caterpillar, pupae,  butterfly.  You may find yourself ravenously hungry, reading and studying voraciously like a caterpillar, or in need of a lengthy inner journey, pupae style.  Or you may soon gloriously emerge to explore the world with your ultra-keen, superpower senses.

Often times the visit of a butterfly coincides with a remembrance of a deceased loved one, a particularly beautiful and light being who graced your life with sweetness.

(Psst- faeries often choose to disguise themselves as butterflies…)

In Faerie Faith, faeries of the air are creatures of the city of the east, Gorias.  One of the four cities of the Tuatha de Danaan, from the tribe of the Goddess Danu.  The east brings the sunrise and new beginnings and hope.  Look to the faeries of the air and butterfly allies to aid you in your intentions especially when embarking on a new project, or if a situation might benefit with a dazzling butterfly touch.

If you would like to experience a more through Faerie tradition for yourself, I can recommend the teachings of Celtic Shaman, Danu Forest.   At present, I am enjoying the Faerie Teachings course.  It’s a wonderful addition to my spiritual practice and interaction with the world of Faerie.  Her website is wondrous to browse.

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A Favorite Painting by Sophie Anderson

Aromatherapeutic Perfume – Because Jet-Lag Happens

After returning from my last trip back from Hawaii I had really really bad terrible rotten jet-lag.  Day one I lollygagged about on a lounge chair, limp and deflated.  But on day two when I still felt my butterfly wings wilting on the chaise, I mixed myself an aromatherapeutic blend.  And know what?   It worked!  I was back to my usual self.

I’ve found it’s also fantastic for staying alert while driving on long road trips.

And I’d like to share it with you!

Butterfly is composed of highest quality all natural essential oils.  No harsh synthetic aroma-chemicals whatsoever.  Not a one.  It is a unisex body scent.

The Scent - 
Refreshing Pink Grapefruit, Mint, and Rosemary to uplift
Lavender, Geranium, and Clary Sage to balance and calm
Patchouli for grounding.

Butterfly is in a roll-on applicator bottle, in an oil base of organic fractionated coconut oil.  It is light and sheer and easy for transport.

Hello…

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Butterfly

Butterfly is made special order for you.  If you want a particular scent tweak on it, let me know!

And, as it is primarily a therapeutic composition, it is not composed to last a long time on your skin.  It’s function is to provide a quick mood and energy shift and then free you up.  Like a butterfly landing lightly, touching with magical grace, then fluttering off.

You may order Butterfly from my verdant faerie Etsy shop.  Cost is $25 per 8 ML bottle.

Buy Butterfly Here

Maryland

In closing I would like to share some photos of beautiful verdant Maryland fairieland where I encountered exquisite faerie creatures and people, was housed like a queen butterfly by kindly friends, house sat, made perfumes, taught aerial yoga, trained a wee bit on silks, learned a wee bit about gardening, visited watery and enchanting places, and went on dreamy shamanic faerie quests.

Missy and I have driven back and forth again from Chicago to Maryland 4 times in 2016!  It is a special place in my heart for it’s verdant natural beauty and quirky magical faerie culture.  I am forever grateful for the charming healing heart of Maryland.

~Places To Visit~

A visit the annual Maryland Faerie Festival, read my blogs about some magical experiences here –

The Heart Journey Gnome – Maryland Faerie Festival

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And Maryland Faerie Festival 2015

Here’s some pics from the annual Faerie House Exhibit at the AnneMarie Sculpture Garden (a wonderful place with sculpture and interactive exhibits) where I neglected to take a picture of my kind hostess and new faerie friend, Holly and I together.  But here is the house Holly made for the exhibit.  The Emerald City made of recycled materials!

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Holly’s Emerald City
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Detail of the Door
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More of Holly’s house, the amazing thing she did with plastic bottles all  in my favorite color!
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Missy, thinking of moving in.

If you like aerial yoga or are looking for a place to train on silks – Try Ridgely Retreat for yoga in Annapolis and Urban Evolution for silks in Baltimore.  Really nice folks…

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Me flying on the deck of my friends house.

Maryland Renaissance Festival – where I worked as a Mermaid when I was 18

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Amazing Faerie Ceramics!
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Lulu, Renaissance Mouse

 

I always gotta sniff out the best coffee…  Fell’s Point Coffee in Baltimore – Daily Grind.  A good place to do some eclectic people watching.  There are some truly unique individuals in Baltimore.

 

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The charming historic town of Easton hosts an annual Plein Air  competition…  Plein Air Easton

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This year’s winner – “Origin” by Sara Linda Poly

 

~Other Stuff Missy And I Did And Saw~

Watery things…

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View from my meditation perch.
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Mermaid at Fell’s Point in Baltimore.  Apparently the breasts are getting a lot of action!
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Missy, my shy cautious pup, who has also transformed, like a butterfly, into a flexible road dog.
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Fell’s Point, Baltimore
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Sea Shell Faerie
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If I ever settle down in a home again I want it in these colors of green and gold.

Perfuming and sniffing things…

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Coming!    Mermaid, The Perfume.  Read the sexy story here…Confessions of a Mermaid
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Also in the works – A scented Homage to Buster Keaton.
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Horsemint!
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A madcap perfuming session in the park  with a new friend.
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Plein Air perfuming!

Impressive things that grow…

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I think a squirrel ate this.
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Lady Iris
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Moss
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Gardenia
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Gnomes

 

Faerie contact…

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Remembrance of the city of Gorias
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The faeries took to “borrowing” some of my perfume supplies, bottles and such.  You know, things I have a surplus of and won’t miss.  Don’t think I’ll be seeing those bottles again any time soon!  At least they left a note.

 

What’s next?

Well, after wandering and roaming these past 9 months, I feel a bit ready to dig in deep with my perfume and writing and connect with loved ones and loved activities.  I’ll be hanging out in Chicago, and nearby Michigan.  That is unless I happen to need to off somewhere.  You never know what’ll happen with a butterfly, or a Missy, behind the wheel…

 

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“I got the first 200 miles.”

 

Thank you, dear Reader, for visiting my blog!