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Rough Mix CD Cover by Bob Ryan and Terry Hann

You may have heard that my husband is a musician. He’s been playing music all his life and loving it.

He was in a band when he was younger that made an album and now we get to announce the release of a long awaited 2nd recording!

Bob Ryan does all the song writing and Terry adds instruments to the arrangements.  They’ve played at local venues as well as at the Tucson Folk Festival and Sunnyslope Art Walk.  They’re anxious to share their love of music with everyone.

Hope you’ll love it as much as we do!

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bobryanterryhann

Pass it along to your friends!

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Hey friends,

Thanks so much for stopping by.  In case you haven’t heard, I started a new blog and soon will have some other snazzy additions as well.  I’ll still be posting here periodically, but I’d love to have you come over and visit me at TravelingwithPurpose.com and tell your friends, too.

I’m sharing regularly over there on these topics and even more.

  • Learning for Fun while Traveling
  • Service-oriented and Volunteer Travel
  • Money-saving Mondays
  • Travel-related Gift Ideas (just in time for the holidays)
  • Travel Inspiration – Photos and Quotes
  • Travel Gear Reviews
  • Travel-related contests, giveaways, etc.

Please sign up for my newsletter there, so you won’t miss a thing.  I hope to see you soon!

You can also follow and like TWP on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s a bit of autumn inspiration for today.

Robert Frost bench with leaves

This is a bench at the former home of the great American poet, Robert Frost.

View from Robert Frost porch

And this is the view from his front porch out onto the mountains of New Hampshire.  Now wouldn’t that inspire you to write like a poet all the time?

Do you have plans for Thanksgiving?  We’ll have lots of family time with both sides of the family.  Have a blessed holiday!

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On July 23rd I had the extreme privilege of attending a James Taylor concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre just outside of Denver, Colorado.  If you’ve never been there, you should make plans to go.  There’s just something magical about listening to music outdoors, especially on a cool Colorado summer evening.

2012 Red Rocks View from the top

James Taylor just happens to be the ONLY musician that I like enough to sign up for his mailing list.  He’s so amazing!  You know, its not that he’s an outstanding vocalist or flashy instrumentalist (although he sure knows how to put a band together), but his songs come straight from the heart and he’s authentic.  Every time I’ve gone to one of his concerts, I feel like I’m sitting in the living room sharing good music with friends.  And since my husband is a musician, I really know what that feels like.  It’s pure joy!

So, several months ago when I got an email saying that he (James, not my husband) was going on tour and would be playing in Denver, I talked my husband into getting tickets for my birthday (which happens to be in July).  Our son lives in Boulder and we knew we’d be going to visit him sometime, so we planned to be there for the concert too…AND since I’m on JT’s mailing list, we were able to get tickets before they went on sale to the public, so we were in row 14!  The photo above is from near the top of the amphitheatre.  That’s a long way up!

This is the walkway that leads to the seating area.  It’s a bit of a hike, but not too bad.

2012 Red Rocks Amphitheatre

The pics below show our location in relation to the top and to the stage.  It was a perfect spot!

2012 Terry & Nancy at JT

2012 Nancy & Terry view to the stage

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take in my camera, but we did have Kevin’s pocket camera to take these pics.  He and his date, Hattie went with us too.

Despite the fact that it looked stormy that night and was a bit blustery, we didn’t have any rain (like they apparently did the following night) and the concert was only affected by wind sometimes blowing through the microphones.  Oh, and one of the roadies had to sit next to the drum set to make sure the cymbals didn’t get blown over. (you’ll see that in the video below)

James and his band performed amazingly well considering the distraction from the wind (and potential storm).  I did notice though that he’s reminding me more and more of my dad.  You see, he’s tall and thin and built like my dad and he’s bald like my dad and this time when JT was “dancing”, with his somewhat awkward moves that make him so endearing, I could totally see my dad.  I LOVED it!  So he’s not only a wonderful performer, but also a fond reminder of my dad, who passed away over 30 years ago.

Just to give you a little taste of what it was like at the concert I recorded one of my favorite songs, “Sun on the Moon” with Kevin’s little camera.  The lighting is way too hot on JT and my hand is a bit shaky, but I love the rhythm, arrangement and the harmonies in this song.   And check out the cheers when JT starts “dancing”.  Gotta love this guy for his down to earth performances. Nothing flashy or overly choreographed here.

The last pic here is the band taking their bows.  It’s hard to tell, but it really is James Taylor and his band.

2012 James Taylor Final Bows

Funny thing too, we found out later that another couple we know from Phoenix was at the same concert.  Only we didn’t find out until after we got home.  It was a spectacular night and makes me smile just thinking about it.  Wish you could have been there with us!

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Did you know that the tallest sand dunes in all of North America are in Colorado?  Seems odd, huh?  I would think it would either be along the coast somewhere or maybe in the Arizona deserts, but actually you’ll find them in southern Colorado.  As you may know, one of the items on my Bucket List is to visit every National Park in the U.S.  On Friday we visited Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona (more on that soon).  Yesterday we visited Great Sand Dunes National Park!

Here’s the view from the visitor center!  Isn’t it gorgeous.  When we were there a monsoon storm was coming in from the east so the dark clouds cast shadows on the mountains and the dunes creating an ever-changing canvas of colors.

Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado

Summer’s not the best time to visit the park because the temperatures on the dunes can reach the mid-100’s (F).  We were smart enough to stay away from walking on the sand, but since we were in the area, it was still nice to get a preview of the place in case we want to come back and visit again sometime.  If you have a chance to visit the NPS website, you’ll see that there is really quite a bit to do around there besides just running around on the dunes.  Looks like there’s a seasonal river, lake, waterfall, wildlife, beautiful fall and spring color, camping, hiking, etc.  I definitely think it’s worth another trip.

You can explore any part of the 30 square mile dunefield you wish; there are no designated trails in the sand. And there’s even a sand dunes-accessible wheelchair available for free loan at the Visitor Center for those who aren’t quite as mobile.

Here are a few of the photos we took during our short visit.  We saw Pronghorn and Mule Deer as well as the expected chipmunks and squirrels.  Let me know if you’ve been there and what was the most fun for you during your visit.

 

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Hey there friends,  I have been staring at the last post for much too long and I’m sure you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, so here’s a little sumthin’ for your summer inspiration.

I know, it’s way past time to bring out the summer decorations.  It will be Independence Day next week, after all!  Can I confess that I still have my Easter decorations on my branch in the living room?  Yowzah!  Hopefully, I can switch them out for summer decor this weekend.

Things have been quite buzy around here with a bunch of changes happening, as well as more on the horizon.  Sadly, my time to concentrate on the transitions are limiting my time to post.  No worries though, there will be more news and posting to come.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of my Summer Centerpiece.  I happen to use mine in the guest bath.  Yes, a centerpiece in the bathroom!  As you know I try to trick myself into believing that I live near the water, especially in these hot summer months when our temperatures are consistently in triple digits (this week it was up around 113 degrees F)!

I keep this simple centerpiece in the bathroom where I get ready every morning.  It fills my mind with memories of sandy beaches, coastal breezes and the sound of waves lapping on the shore.  Which reminds me…I may have a chance to visit my little hometown on Lake Erie in September and I can’t wait to walk on the beach and hear the sounds of the waves as I drift off to sleep!  I never realized what a blessing it was to live just steps from the shore until recently.

For this fun candle arrangement, just find a rustic container, fill it with sand, shells, a candle (or 3) and things that remind you of summer.  Try one yourself and post a link here so we can all see it?

More ideas for your summer inspiration:

Patriotic Slipcover Transformation

4th of July Beverage Ideas

4th of July – Summer Recipes

4th of July – Patriotic Decor

Let me know your plans for the summer and have an awesome holiday!

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If you missed part 1 of this post about the Harbor Seals, you can find it here.

LaJolla Bride

After doing a little bit of wading in the water, we walked along the sidewalk that hugs the coastline and passed two different wedding parties enjoying a gorgeous setting to tie the knot.  This bride was on her way from her photo shoot to her reception.  I saw our daughter, Amy gazing longingly at the wedding festivities.  I know she would love to shoot a wedding here (so give her a call if you need a photographer for here or anywhere)!

We ended up resting under these wonderful curvy, gnarled trees.  I have no idea what they’re called, but they were so unique.

Next we headed toward LaJolla Cove (just a few steps away).  We passed this lovely plein air painting on the way to the beach.  I’d love to try painting again someday, but I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to try it with so many onlookers.  You couldn’t find a more perfect setting though.

This is La Jolla Cove which is actually designated as an Underwater Park Ecological Reserve where fishing is prohibited and all the marine life is protected.  You’ll enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming and kayaking here!

I’m told that there are times during the year where you can see both Seals and Sea Lions at Casa Beach, but that didn’t seem to be the case this week. Today we get to meet the California Sea Lions that are at La Jolla Cove.  It’s within easy walking distance of the seals.

I think it’s so awesome that these gorgeous creatures are in such close proximity to each other and so accessible for the public to view.  What a great way to teach your little ones about the magnificence of God’s creation and to guide them in how to explore, appreciate, honor and respect their natural world. This is the ultimate example of nature at your doorstep, even in busy southern California.  As you can see, these kayakers have an amazing view of the sea lions and a much different vantage point than those of us on land.La Jolla Kayaks and Sea Lions

LaJolla CA Sea Lions By the way, do you know the difference between the seal and sea lions that we see in La Jolla?  Sea Lions have small external ear flaps.  Another big difference between true seals and sea lions is that sea lions have larger front flippers which they use effectively on land. Sea lions can also rotate their hind flippers toward the ground so they’re able to walk on all four appendages, unlike seals that basically “scooch” on their bellies. They make use of their fore flippers when propelling themselves through water too.  Sea Lions are generally the creatures that you’ll see performing in shows, since they’re highly intelligent and relatively easy to train.  If you’d like to get into even more detail about the differences, visit “How Stuff Works” here.

And last, but not least this temperate climate does wonders for flowers!  Here’s just a taste of the colors you may see here.

Here’s a link to a detailed map of the LaJolla area.  At this posting it was last updated in 2010, so it’s hard to tell how accurate the business listings are, but for general navigation, it should be helpful.

So what’s your favorite part of La Jolla so far?

Next post will be about the Open Aire Market there.  Stay tuned – you’re gonna wish there was a scratch and sniff blog option.

Here are a few of my favorite pics of our family from the weekend.  Don’t you just love Amy’s earrings!

Terry in La Jolla

Andrew La Jolla

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A couple of weekends ago we headed over to Southern California to see Amy & Andrew and to use a hotel gift certificate that was going to expire. What a great excuse to get out of the heat!  We stayed one night in Tarzana with the kids and Saturday night we stayed a couple of hours south in LaJolla.

Because food is always a key ingredient in any trip, I thought I’d share a couple of the places that we ate.  Three of them were excellent and one was very good. It’s hard to rank them because they were all very different, so I’ll list them in the order that we ate them.  See what you think.  I’ll share two from Encino today and two in La Jolla tomorrow.

The Stand – When Terry and I were making the long drive from Phoenix, I started thinking about The Stand about 2 hours before we got there. It’s THAT good.  We went to the one in Encino, but there are a few other So Cal locations as well.  Amy & Andrew introduced us to this place a year or so ago and we have loved it every time we’ve been there.  In addition to the great food, the awesome outdoor eating area just adds to the experience.  I don’t know about you, but a breezy alfresco meal always tastes better to me somehow!

I was analyzing this cozy spot that’s right next to a very busy city street.  They’ve creatively planted trees and tall hedges to provide shade and sound proofing between the diners and the cars.  This could easily be replicated in Phoenix.  They might have to close down for a month or so in the summer. Then again, if they had misters in a shady area like this, it could be a year round venue.  Anyone willing to try it?  We’ll definitely be your regular customers!  Randy & Linda, How bout it?  You could close down in the summer and head out of town!

The Stand Encino

On this visit I tried their Chicago style hotdog with sweet potato fries.  I’ve heard so  much about it, but had never tried it.  I’m not a huge fan of the poppy seeds on the bun.  I can take or leave them. They don’t add a lot of flavor and I always worry that they’re stuck in my front teeth when I’m finished eating.  Otherwise, this was delicious!  Terry shared my fries and got a chili dog and liked it so much that he went back for another one.

Here are a couple of posts that Amy did about The Stand too, with even more photos.

Hotdog at the Stand

More Than Waffles – Encino

This is the first time we’ve been here and if I had looked at their website before we went, I probably would have ordered something different.  Not that my club sandwich wasn’t good, but some of the other breakfast items look AMAZING!  Terry got a very hearty omelette with waffles on the side. The smell of freshly made waffles is so scrumptious. He was kind enough to share a bite of his with me. Everything we had was excellent.

Amy & Andrew

What a great time to be with A & A and explore a few of their favorite spots.  They live in a great area for cute little eateries.  We love going there and trying out their discoveries.  Of course, we’d love going there no matter where they live.  It’s the people, not the place that we love the most.

Soon I’ll share about our day in La Jolla looking at the seals and sea lions.  And the little boy who needed a little bit of “mom-type” help.  It was so much fun!

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