Category Archives: Travels

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” I love Dr. Seuss. I’ve wanted to go to Paris, France since I was in Mrs. DeBiase’s french class in high school. No, I haven’t been there yet. But… of these days!

Analyzing My Evolution


I enjoy blogging.   I enjoy writing about things that interest me.  I find that the more I think about a subject, the more interested I become.

This world is full of fascinating things, people and ideas.   Once I get an idea, I’m like a dog with a bone.  I don’t want to let it go.  I talk about it.  I write in my journal about it.   I google it.  Once I goggle several aspects of it, it expands. I see references to it everywhere.  How or why does that happen?   ???   I just does.  It’s a fact.  It’s the Law of Attraction at work.

Then these ideas seem to dovetail over time with each other.  It’s a natural evolution.  I just sit back and watch them expand.  And not just expand, but deepen, become richer and more meaningful.  Life is just like that.  Everywhere around me I see beauty and fascinating  life.  I’m surrounded by a beautiful dance…..It’s a dance, a do-si-do of people and animals, nature , weather, constant movement.  The music we move to is always changing, the rhythm, the beat, is exciting and compelling or relaxing and soothing…..always changing.

I went to Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios on one of those park hopping passes with my family.  About the third day, don’t even ask me which park it was…’s all a blurr, I was pushing a stroller with two grandkids through a maze, a mass of fun-loving families, and two people suddenly cut diagonally across in front of me.  I jerked back on the stroller to avoid clipping off their ankles.  They were totally unaware of the danger they had dodged.  And…..a man with a stroller coming from the opposite direction also jerked to a stop to avoid a head on collision with them.  Ours eyes met, registered the situation, and we burst out laughing at the same time.  He said, “It’s a dance”, as we passed by each other.  At that moment, I felt at one with the world.  Happy and satisfied.  It is a dance.

That’s the way I paint.  Moving to an unseen cadence that carries with it moods, emotions, feelings.  I love my life.  I love the time I spend painting.  I love seeing the way I feel splashed down on paper.  Sometimes it’s quick, sloppy movements, sometimes it’s careful, deliberate strokes.  I can look over a painting several inches at a time…..a finished painting and feel the emotions and interest with which I laid down the paint.

I live my life the way I paint.  Sometimes I slap-dash.  Sometimes I’m more deliberate.  It’s all in my mood.Sometimes activities require more attention to detail.  Sometimes I’m trying to  figure something out.  Other times I’ve set an intention beforehand and am more or less acting by instinct, moment by moment, letting feelings and emotions carry me.

I’m coming to realize:  It’s all good!  I’m coming to accept I’m doing the best I can with what I know.  And that’s okay.  It’s enough!  What I know keeps expanding and through that process, I realize I’m appreciating more.  I’m appreciating the inspired moments; and, I’m appreciating the downtime, the contemplative moments.  They all combine to form the dance of my life, the rhythm and joy of my life!  Can it be any better than this?

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada

On the last stop of our cruise, Victoria, Canada, we took a tour of the Butchart Gardens. What an amazing place.  The acreage was sectioned off into…..outdoor rooms really, furnished with every variety of tree, bush and flower.  The combinations of colors and textures were stunning. Sometimes the progression of the shapes beckoned so enticingly around the next corner or through the next archway opening out into another utterly charming setting.  Wow!  What a rush!


55 acres is a lot of ground to cover so we accepted the offer of a wheelchair at the ticket office.  We were glad we did.  We didn’t want to miss seeing the whole exquisite display. There was the Italian Garden, the French, the Rose, the Mediterranean, the Japanese and the Sunken Garden replete with fountains, streams, ponds and beautiful winding walkways.  We took turns pushing each other, oohing and aahing at the colors and textures, all over the place.  Yes, It was so much fun!

The Japanese Garden was captivating.  The paths wound around and intertwined with each other forming vignettes with statues, benches and bridges.  Every setting was so inviting, I had to sit and admire to take in as much as possible.  It was sensory overload. The raindrops glistening on everything created a sparkling wonderland.

We sat, rested (55 acres is huge), ate gelato and savored the moment.  Happy Anniversary to us!


Third stop.  Skagway.

We jumped on the White Pass and Yukon Train and rode from Skagway up to  the White Pass Summit.  It was a scenic photographer’s dream, exhilarating to look down from the train at the sheer drop off above and below us.  The mountains were so steep and we saw evidence of glaciers carving through them everywhere.

The train was built to replace the Chilkoot Trail (1898-1900) during the Klondike Gold Rush and climbs 3,000 ft. in just 20 miles.  Just looking at the rugged terrain, I’m amazed that it only took two years to build.

We heard many stories about the Chilkoot Trail and the 30,000 men, women, children and horses that climbed it in search of gold.  If they made it to the Canadian border, Yukon Territory, and they didn’t have a ton of supplies to sustain them for a year, the Canadian North West Mounted Police turned them back.  Those who made it survived brutal weather, grueling hiking/walking conditions and constant fatigue.


Looking down into the Lynn Canal just south of town where the ship was docked, we could see that beautiful glacial  blue water again and all of the waterfalls and rivers spilling out of the mountains were that same color.  Surreal!

The town of Skagway looks so much like Main Street Park City, Utah,  I felt right at home.  After hearing many stories of the Red Onion Saloon, I had to go in and take a look.  So much fun!  It was packed.  I was so glad to be there in 2016 and not 1897.  Today it is a restaurant/bar with a bordello spirit instead of a bordello in a lawless gold rush town.


It was an experience we won’t forget.  Happy Anniversary to us!

No Roads Lead To Juneau

Second stop:  Juneau, Alaska.

I love the idea that you can’t drive to Juneau, Alaska.  You can fly.  Juneau has an airport and you can take a seaplane and land on water…..what a rush.  You can take a boat, ship, ferry or cruiser.  And…..if you really want your car with you so you can drive on the roads in Juneau, you can take the ferry and bring it along.

We took the Goldbelt Roberts Tramway from the cruise ship docks, up through the rainforest to the Mountain House at 1,800 ft.  The view of the Gastineau Channel below was gorgeous. I didn’t expect to see the colors of aqua and turquoise that I usually associate with tropical waters. It was stunning.   Even when we can’t see a glacier, their presence is evident everywhere there’s water.

The trees and underbrush were so thick, the mountainside looked sort of feathery with a jillian different greens sparkling, reflecting through the raindrops.  Magical.  A feast for the senses.  Happy Anniversary to us!

Dawson Glacier

Our approach to the Dawson Glacier was slow and methodical, weaving in and out of icebergs. Because of the density of the compacted glacial ice compared to water, only about 1/10th of an iceberg is seen above the surface. We didn’t see one as big as the one that sunk the titanic; but, we showed them a lot of respect anyway.

Dawson-Lambton glacier was named by British expedition leader, Ernest Shackleton, just over a hundred years ago.  He named it for Elizabeth Dawson-Lambton, a financial backer of his expeditions.  Seeing this rugged country, I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be an explorer around 1900, travelling by ship.   I really enjoyed being on a luxury liner holding a camera, hot chocolate and coffee and knowing that when I got too cold, my fabulous breakfast was waiting inside in a beautiful, warm restaurant.

The blue colors we captured with our camera were so exciting and so unexpected.  Sometimes the whole area was a brilliant turquoise and other times the translucent blues appeared out of  murky grey-green water.

I had to know:  why are glaciers blue?  Well…..the ice is so dense it absorbs every other color of the spectrum but blue.  So blue is what we see.  The crystalline structure strongly scatters blue light so we see a myriad of blues.  They were spectacular.


The captain described calving to us over the intercom system. It seemed everyone on board the ship was holding their breath, cameras at the ready, watching for the birth of an iceberg to happen right before our eyes.  We didn’t see one…..but it was so awe-inspiring just being that close to the glacier, we didn’t really care.

Happy Anniversary to us!


The first stop on our Alaskan Cruise was Ketchikan.  It reminded me of Yellowstone Park 40 years ago.  It’s so remote and quiet. I felt so content just to be, while I was there.  There was plenty of time to do anything we wanted to do.  No rush.

We went to the Village of Saxman to see the totem poles and one of the workshops where they are being carved today.  There was a small booth, a hair bigger than a telephone booth (if you remember what telephone booths looked like), with a man sitting at a window selling totem pole stories for $1.00.  Those stories told about the spirit guardians represented by the figures on the poles.  They were used to pass on morals and wisdom to the next generation.

I posted a picture of the raven totem pole, (above left) on instagram and quickly received a comment from one or Donny Varnell’s friends telling me that he had carved it and a little about him.  Donny’s works can be seen all over the world. Isn’t Instagram fun?!!!  It connects all of us from all over the planet in little short bursts and lets us share our experiences, interests and information.  I love it!


We tourists couldn’t get enough of the Tlingit Plank House behind me (above) and the totem poles.  I loved the red, black and turquoise colors used to paint everything.  Just like all of the cultures peopling this earth, they used symbols to represent their Gods and all of the forces of the universe.  We really are all one.


Logging is a big part of Alaska’s history. We went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show to see the loggers demonstrate their skills.  Amazing.  It was so much fun to see them in this setting.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to work as a lumberjack out in the mountains.


Back to the ship…..what a great way to travel.  On to Juneau. Happy Anniversary to us!


“Let’s do something fun for our anniversary.”  It was an innocent, sort of flip comment. Yes.  We both agreed. And it was left at that.  Later in the day, Lynn suggested “how about an Alaskan cruise?”  This was just three weeks before our anniversary…..don’t you have to make reservations way in advance?  Alaska is cold.  There’s not a lot of lying around in the sun in Alaska. Maybe we should explore doing something further south.

But, the thought lightly danced across my mind, doesn’t Abraham-Hicks have an Alaskan cruise in the summer?  It seems like they do.

Well, they did.  We made the reservations with a few clicks of the mouse for the cruise and the workshop during the cruise for when?????  This seems almost impossible…..with so little thought and no advance planning…..we boarded the ship on our anniversary!  Does the universe orchestrate all things for our well-being and happiness?  Yes!  Yes!  It does!

What a beautiful ship the Celebrity Solstice is…..gorgeous.  So much fun!  I loved coming up the ramp to the ship and being greeted with champagne.  Everything was beautiful.   The theatres, the restaurants and the flow of one inviting lounge after another were beautiful. We loved soaking in the hot tubs while looking out through glass walls at the water and surrounding mountains as we wound our way around islands and through fjords on our way to Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.

I was blown away by the ficus tree suspended in the center shaft along side the glass elevators.  It was five stories tall and spectacular in every way.  The red pot appeared to be decoupaged with all kinds of flowers, shells and fanciful creatures. Five stories tall!  I had to ride the elevator up and down to enjoy the full impact of this glorious phenomenon.  Who in the world came up with this brilliant idea?

Decoupaged pot
Decoupaged pot

This was a trip full of surprise and fun from champagne to a ficus tree, great food and sightseeing to a fabulous workshop with Esther Hicks and Abraham.  Happy Anniversary to us!

Canal City Hakata, Fukuoka

Looking up at this gorgeous building, Canal City Hakata, Fukuoka, was impressive enough but imagine at the same time a symphony concert synced with the fountains.  It’s one of those goosebump moments when everything comes together just for your pleasure.  It’s sight and sound and the whoosh of water spray.

canal city hakata

Straight ahead, through those doors is the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, Fukuoka.  That’s where I first experienced iced coffee.  I’m an espresso girl.  Don’t try to talk me into cold coffee. But, I was urged “just try a sip, you’re going to love it”.  I tasted it, and okay, it’s okay.  “But wait, we haven’t put the cream in yet.”  Oh My Gosh!  Who knew iced coffee was so great?!!!

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Walking out of the Washington Hotel where I was staying in this massive complex, past the shops, restaurants, theatre, cinemas, and fountains to the Hyatt Regency entrance, there was so much to see.  It was a little more complicated and confusing because of all of the Japanese characters.  I’m so glad that pictures are a universal language all their own.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of the water in the canal.  It danced.  Undulated.  Swirled. Then the fountains stopped spraying and the water became calm.  Until, a soft breeze rippled across the mirrored surface in the most intriguing shapes and reconfigured them again and again.

These reflections look more like paintings to me than photos of water.  Well, actually they do look like photos of water.  But they are definitely inspiration for paintings.

Don’t you love going somewhere you’re never been before. Everything is new.  It’s as if your eyes were seeing for the first time and your ears had the volume turned up.  Maybe it’s an alertness…..all of your senses are enlivened…..that comes with being out of your comfort zone and in an excitement zone. “I love being in the SherrieZone.”

Japanese Tea Ceremony And Starbucks

The closest I’ve come to a Japanese Tea Ceremony, after a week in Japan, is still just a quick scene in a movie years ago.  My memory of it was a quiet, respectful preparation of tea by women in beautiful kimonos.

One description I read said that it was the choreographic ritual of preparing, serving and drinking Japanese Green Tea called Matcha and sweet pastries to balance the bitterness of the tea. The ritual is intended to elevate the everyday act of making tea to an art form.  The hope is that you leave such a ceremony feeling more awareness of your everyday routines and having a desire to make every moment more meaningful.

I was expecting to seeing tea houses in Japan; instead, I saw coffee shops on almost every street corner and usually several in between.  The big chains like Doutor Coffee, Starbucks, and Excelsior Caffe are everywhere.

They all offer Matcha tea as well.  It supposedly gives a caffeine kick that is lifting but more calming and easier on the nerves than coffee because the caffeine is released slowly preventing coffee’s typical insulin and adrenaline spikes.

Dana Velden describes it this way:  “The caffeine hit of an espresso can be a bit like having an express train screaming through the middle of your body; a deep, powerful, jittery roar.  I find the effects of matcha to be just as stimulating but in a more delicate, refined way, as if a thousand butterflies have descended on my body; beating their wings until I’m lifted, gently but resolutely, a few inches off the ground.  (Seriously)”  Wow!  That’s a great description.  Doesn’t it make you want to try some right away?!!!

I’ve noticed Matcha Tea on the menus of many US coffee shops, even our local Jamba Juice store.  Goggle “matcha recipes” and join in on the latest health craze to sweep the internet.  Besides smoothies, you’ll find tiramisu, cupcakes, pancakes, yogurt popsicles, etc.

Matcha tea is stronger than regular green teas because it’s a powder that includes the leaves.  Most green teas have you steep the leaves, strain them and then throw them out. That’s a good reason right there to search out organic matcha from Japan.

Smaller, independent coffee shops are thriving too.  They have a more limited selection of beans, but their coffee is stronger.  In fact, in many places American coffee is listed on their menu…’s much weaker than the Japanese prefer. They offer a slower pace.  You are greeted at the door and if there is a table, you are invited in.  If not, you must go.  Yes, that’s right. Go. There’s no standing room and no take-out.

Of, course, there are so many coffee shops, just go down the street two or three doors and the next one will probably have a table for you.  The cups are porcelain and the pastry and cakes wonderful.  French bakeries are everywhere.  It’s so easy to fall in love with Japan.

A Sashimi Feast

Watching fish being cut into sashimi and then arranged into a work of art on a bed of shredded daikon radish and shiso leaf is fascinating…..we were an audience revering an artist and master.  So impressive!

2015 Lynn's iphone 322

Our hosts invited us to a feast of sashimi. We had no idea what to expect except that it would be wonderful because of the way they raved about the chef.  Long trays of nigiri sushi were also placed in front of each of us with beautifully arranged strips of eel, octopus, etc.  These strips were so long we thought they should be cut into bit sized pieces; but, no, they are folded over and put into your mouth whole.  Each one is a huge mouthful. The mouthfeel is luxurious, creamy, well…..not really creamy but smooth and fresh.

2015 Lynn's iphone 316

A very sour, pickled plum (ume) was included with each tray.  Ume is a digestive and generally believed to contribute to good health.  We mixed wasabi into the soy sauce we used for dipping sashimi.  But no, no, no, not the nigiri sushi because…..the rice would fall apart.  It was so nice to have experts guiding our every bite.  So much fun!  We each had a small bowl of potato salad and bowls of rice and miso soup with vegetables and tofu. What an amazing feast!

We love the Japanese tradition of presenting everyone with oshibori, a warm, moist cloth before a meal. It feels wonderful to come in out of the cold and refresh yourself by wiping your hands.  After watching everyone else doing it, we quickly fell into the routine. With each new experience, our respect for the Japanese people and their traditions grew.

There are so many different kinds of feasting.  We feasted on food, of course.  We feasted on kindness and generosity.  We feasted on the visual beauty of the time and place.  We feasted on our new and exciting experiences.

While feasting can be interpreted as gluttony, we now have our own definition.  Feasting: enjoying the moment to the fullest and basking in it’s revelatory love and light.  Isn’t that the difference between a meal and a feast after all: our intention and perception?!!!