Liverpool and Living As Art …

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Edit June 25th: Thank YOU for Visiting via My Blogarama Page!

 See my Daily ‘Yawping’ on my Instagram Account, Click Here + Follow Me!

 And/Or, Drop me an E-Mail, geniebalantac@gmail.com, and say HI!

… We are always searching for a Group of People, a Tribe, a ‘ Family ‘, to Inspire, Empower,  Lift Us.

This is why I am drawn, attracted to, certain People, certain Places.

Click here to View My Travel Photography …

( And as always, Click the Pink for the Link )

It’s why I Love all things John, Paul, George, and Ringo. It’s why I am a Full Blown Anglophile .  It’s why I needed to visit Liverpool on my ’50th Redux Trip’.

The First time I ever heard of The Beatles, was when I was in 7th Grade, and we were told that John Lennon had died. I vaguely recall a Classmate saying ‘ Who’s John Lennon ?’.

Fast Forward to Sophomore Year in High School, and I became enamored with the 1960’s and began to Voraciously Devour anything related to that Decade. Of course I came across the Fab Four, but it wasn’t until:

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… These Albums, some of my most Prized Possessions, from a Box Set bought from Price Club, did I finally fall in deep with the Lads.

As I made my way through each Album, every Track; I was Enthralled, Mesmerized, Seduced.

I began to Read, Research, and become immersed in their Wondrous Journey together. And for the very first time in my Young Life, I became attracted to the idea of surrounding Oneself with Like Minded, Creative Folk. To give Birth to something greater than Yourself.

Making Art, and Living Life as Art.

Thank YOU, Fab Four. You Hooked Me, line and sinker.

I became an expert on all things Beatles. I bought, borrowed, bartered for anything on The Four:

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… I even did an English Lit Paper, comparing Chaucer to John Lennon’s Books with an accompanying Cassette Tape with Beatles Songs!

I borrowed this Movie hundreds of times from Tower Video on Watt Ave:

 

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… The above scenes single handedly defined why I Parade.

And then because of The Four, I was Introduced to these Women.

Women that helped shape, continue to shape, my Creative Life:

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Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono.

Photos by Linda McCartney

Quite unexpectedly, Linda had a Show of some her Film Prints, at the now defunct, ’Darkroom’ here in Sacramento in the Fall of 1985. Seeing her work mere Inches away, blew my mind, and in one fail swoop, I wanted to be Her, and she made me fall in Love with Photography.

Endlessly, Thank You Linda.  You are why I am a Photographer.

Then there was Yoko Ono. I fell for her Sensibility, the Bravery in her Art:

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She is a Formidable Asian Woman and I was enamoured.  I was so moved after visiting Strawberry Fields in NYC in the Summer of ‘ 86, that I wrote her a long Impassioned Letter.

 

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This is what I got in return.

Thank You Yoko, I will sing your Praises, Forever.

Fast Forward to London, 2003. I finally made it to Abbey Road:

 

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Another Aside, I could have gotten into Abbey Road if my Ex would have used his Connections with Tape Op Magazine. I Threatened to go knock on the Door and say that he works for the Magazine, but it was not a happy alternative. A few years later, I did get to hear some Top Secret Vintage (Unmixed) Beatles Tracks Recorded at Abbey Road: I call it even.

I have also Followed the next Generation of the Four with Awe + Admiration:

 

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Bond Street Store, London 2003

I have Loved Stella McCartney since her Days at Chloe, and I am fortunate to have some of her pieces from a  w i l d Sample Sale in London.

Mary McCartney follows in her Mum’s Footsteps, In Her Own Right  and then Julian Lennon is also a Brilliant Photographer and overall, Renaissance Man. And Julian’s Brother, Sean Ono Lennon ? He is just Transcendent on every Level. I’m waiting OH So Patiently for all of them to Collaborate Together, can You  i  m  a  g  i  n  e ? But in the Meantime:

 

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Pics like this will keep me Blissful.

Image via Google Search

… so, going to Liverpool? A Pilgrimage.

After my Week-End in London, I made the Mad Dash to Euston, Rode the Best Train in the World into Liverpool and had my First Airbnb Experience:

 

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Then I took the first in a long line of Memorable Uber/Cab Rides that I had during my Sojourn in the ‘Pool. What made them so Memorable, you ask?  It was like each and every Driver knew what (Philosophical) Question I was going  to ask before I did and knew the Answer I needed to hear! Each and every one of them exuded such Kindness, Warmth, and Tenderness to this Wanderer so far from her Comfort Zone, that every time I bid them Adieu, I did so with pieces of a Well Fed Soul.

Here is an Example of my many Wonder -Filled (Unedited) Talks and I was Respectfully Careful, to not film their Faces:

 

Then I was finally on the River Mersey …

 

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And whilst I waited for the Ferry:

 

 

It was Windy, it was Cold, it was Magical:

 

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Had an Intimate Tour with a Liverpudlian Lass that Introduced me to the City’s Rich History + Shared with me Secret, Local Only Places + I Quickly fell in Love with the ‘Pool:

 

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As the Sun set, it became increasingly colder,  but I didn’t let it deter me in finding something to Eat.  True to form, however, I  Stumbled upon The Tate Modern Liverpool just before it closed ( Turn Sound Up! ):

 

 

… and I felt like getting into the Holiday mood, so I took an Uber to The Liverpool Christmas Market:

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Before I left for my Trip, I stumbled upon this Article about an Organization Selling Scouse Pies at the Market. I was on a Mission, to have that be my first Liverpool Dinner! I finally found the stall and I struck up a conversation with the kind Lad who wrapped up my Steaming Scouse Pie. He lit up as he started to talk about how the Organization helped him off the Streets, how through it’s Football Club, he’s gained back his Self Esteem, how he’s Empowered to start looking for work, and how he has healthier Living Skills.  It hit me, as he happily wrapped up my Pie and told me what Stall to get the best Hot Cider at, that our very Human, Humbling exchange, is the reason why I Travel.  As I paid and prepared to walk away,  I said he was incredibly Brave and that he has Inspired Me! He ran around and gave me a great big bear hug and said, ‘ Love, You’re Brave and Inspiring for having an Adventure all on your own!’

… and My Dinner:

 

 

… Back to Downtime at the Airbnb:

 

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( Turn Sound Up! )

Then in the Morning, the True Celebration Began:

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This 51 Year Old is ready in Pink + Leopard …

As I waited for my Uber down in Front, I was Chatted up by two Friendly Builders, asking me where I was from, because I didn’t look ‘ Local’.  I answered ‘ I’m Californian and I came to Liverpool to Celebrate my Birthday, Today! ‘.  To wit one of them answered, ‘ What a Brilliant way to Celebrate your 21st! ‘. Really, that was the  b e s t Gift, ever. Went into my Uber Beaming, and the Driver said, ‘ It must be Your Birthday Today!’ … Really, I kid you  n  o  t  , and we Preceded to have the Second Best Uber Conversation of my Solo Trip. We discussed Trials, Triumphs, Living Free, and Traveling ‘ Open ‘ . I stepped out, elated by our Deep Connection, and I Thanked him for the Gift of His Wisdom.

He Answered,  ‘ You have the right way of Living, don’t let anyone take that away from You!’.  Needless to say, I stepped onto the Bus, High:

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It was 2 Hours of Nervous, Excited Energy, and feeling like I could jump out of my Skin at any Moment.  A  l   l   Bucket List.

I was Bouncing up and down in my seat, gasping, crying, listening to Stories, I’ve heard a million times before.  And in the place where they were Birthed.

Nirvana, Full Stop.

What follows, is how I Documented such Bliss, even with a Stubborn Instax Camera, and one rapidly dying Leica Battery.  Lesson hereafter,  A L W A Y S carry an extra Camera Battery and Thank GOD for the iPhone. Nothing could deter me from my Happiness, however:

One.  At the Start of the Tour …

 

 

Two. Love Me Do …

 

 

Three. … George’s House:

 

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… Around the Corner:

 

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Four. Penny Lane …

 

 

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Five. Saw a bit of Local Liverpool:

 

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Six. Strawberry Fields

Being an Advocate for Social Justice, my Heart swelled to hear all the Empowering things they were going to do with their new Facilities! They open their gates for the first time this Summer: Click here for more details.

I know John would be Chuffed and I’m putting it back on my Bucket List.

 

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Seven. Paul’s House …

 

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This pic? See the smear of Tears on my Glasses? I had just had one of those ‘Spiritual’ Moments that would reoccur throughout the rest of my Day …

 

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Eight. Cemetery that Inspired Eleanor Rigby …

 

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Nine. John’s House

Next Time I’m in Liverpool, I want to book a Tour of the House …

Ten. Then this Moment …

 

 

I was Joyfully Singing to ‘ Help ‘ and Recording what I saw, when we drove by this Park. I saw the Soft, White Mist, hanging just slightly above the Grass, like a layer of soft, sticky, Cotton Candy. It was then I noticed random people with their Dogs, boldly making their way through it all, totally unaware that it looked like they were actually, floating.

It was Bewitching, it was Beautiful.

It shook me.

If you listen closely, you can hear Me saying ‘ Wow! ‘ …

Lastly:

 

 

My All Time Fave Beatles Song that I want played at my Wake.

My Review of the Tour? Sweet, Addictive Icing, surrounding the Layers of Cake, that was my most Brilliant Day.

After the Tour, I took a Taxi back to my Airbnb to grab my Extra Camera battery.

But really, this Liverpudlian Cabbie:

 

 

Before heading back out, I took Advantage of the Bright Mid Day Light and did a bit of Honoring my Mate Kat’s Beautiful Airbnb:

 

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Click Here for More Pics …

And no Birthday would be complete without a visit to a Church, not one, but two Churches. I mean, come on, it’s Europe and a Street called Hope, I had to.

At one end of the Street, the Catholic Church,  The Metropolitan Cathedral . Truly, one of the most Beautiful, Modern Catholic Churches, I have ever seen.

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I Prayed, I Cried, I always feel at Home in a Catholic Church.

 

 

On the way to the other end of Hope Street …

 

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… Liverpool Cathedral:

 

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This Statue: Please Read the Inspiring Story Behind It: It’s Made of Used Switch Blades …

I was Mesmerized.

 

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When I walked inside the Church, I automatically  k  n  e  w  who’s work this was.

The very First Female British Artist that I Fell in Love with, Tracey Emin. 

Whilst in London for My Art Show, I accidentally saw her, and I was Flabbergasted. I hid in a Toy Store, and took this Film Pics of Her from afar. Hereafter, if I meet someone (Famous) that Inspires me, walk right up to them and tell them so:

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Then to Another Spiritual Place, The Cavern Club ! 

 

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As I walked down the stairs, I could literally hear my heartbeat over the Guitar Music playing in the distance. And with a Deep Breath, I stepped down into a Space that I have dreamt of being in since I was 16:

 

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I’ve been to Hundreds, if not Thousands of Gigs this Lifetime, Click Here …

But to have been to one at the Cavern Club, Indescribable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I touched the Walls, I had a Pint.

I listened to a Liverpudlian Musician.

I was Chatted up by some Lads, and I could have stayed there all Afternoon + Night.  But I had an Exhibition to make before closing:

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When I started to make Art, she was a Major Influence on Me.  At Various Points in my Career, People have said that I reminded them of Her.  I don’t see it, but Truly, I am always floored by the Compliment …

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Visual Journal, 2000

… So You can Imagine what this Exhibit meant to me:

 

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That’s me Crying in the Elevator going up to it.

Before going into the Heart of it, a few Collaborative Art Pieces from Yoko:

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My Contribution to the ‘ Wishing Tree ‘ …

 

 

‘ Peace is Power ‘

 

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Shhh, I snagged one of the Crayons.

 

My Soul was Bursting:

 

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I saw the Original of this in Central Park in NYC the Summer of 1986. I was so Moved, that I wrote Yoko that long Impassioned Letter.

 

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And Random Brilliant Bits taken on my iPhone:

 

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As I walked through to the end of the Exhibit, I was Empowered, Floating, Buzzing. I also swore, that I will have a Dynamic Partnership like John and Yoko did, one day.

After buying many Bits from the Gift Shop:

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… I headed back to my Airbnb to Regroup, pick up this Card from Kat:

 

 

Then it was off to:

The Art School Restaurant

 

 

You know I chose it for the name, and did do a little Research, but nothing could have prepared this Foodie for my 2 1/2  Hour Dining Experience.

 

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See that? Pure Happiness.

I was a bit apprehensive about my very first Fine Dining experience ( not to mention in a Foreign Country ) all on my own. But from the moment they took my coat, to making me a Custom Gin Drink, to all the various people that came and chatted with me between Courses, I felt taken care of, Loved.

The Food? Brilliant British Cuisine.

 

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When in Liverpool, Go to ‘ The Art School ‘!

They will make you Happy, they will Fill You up.

Then it was back to Kat’s Lovely Airbnb, for the most perfect Night Cap I could think of, Listening to her Vinyl Records!

Exactly these Angel Numbers as I started Spinning …

Good Luck ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blissful End to Hands Down, the Best Birthday of my Life.

The Next Morning, I was off to Barcelona!

 

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As I connected and chatted Happily with my Dear New Mate, Kat, I realized that I was going to miss Liverpool, Her SO Lovely Airbnb, and Her.  I had Tears in my Eyes as I drove away, and I have to say, I left pieces of my Heart as I did.

Although, this Chat with my Uber Driver on the way to the Airport, made Me feel better:

 

 

And Airports always makes everything Much Better:

 

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Next ’50th Redux Trip’ Post, Hola Barcelona!

But back to the Earlier Idea of  ‘Living As Art ‘.

I felt it on this Trip, when I met Filip, Kat, Ali + Guillaume, Marc, Fiorella, Carla, Agostino, Rea + Leo, and Lulu:

 

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I always feel it in Europe, truth be told. It’s the Reason why I will live there one day. As I stated at the beginning of this post, it was The Fab Four that first Introduced me to the idea of having a Tribe, of being Inspired by the People in your Life, and ‘Creating’ something larger than Yourself, because of them.

As I enter into yet another Renaissance this Lifetime, I revisit when my Life was Art, Literally ( as always Click the Pink for the Link ):

I made Art …

I had Art Shows and Ran an Art Gallery …

I Taught Art to Children …

I started my first Blog that got 7k Hits a Day …

I even Published a ‘Zine entitled ‘ Life As Art ‘ …

 

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In all these Experiences, I have Met, Bonded, Connected with, SO many Inspiring People. I wasn’t consciously aware of it at the time, but I was adding to my Tribe. They have all permanently shaped my Creative Muse in some way or the other, no matter how Long or Brief our Time together was. And since then, I am always searching for that kind of Connection.

And sometimes, if You’re Lucky, You find it at work:

 

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One. I Developed and Ran an After School Program …

Two. I was a Retail Specialist at the Local Apple Store …

Single Handedly, Two of the Most Rewarding + Challenging Jobs I’ve ever had, but the perfect Examples of working with a Group of People to ‘ Create ‘ something larger than Ourselves, and forever being Inspired by that Experience.

An aside, I am Currently Looking for my next Big Creative Endeavour in California, the UK, and Europe at Large: Give me a Shout and let’s Chat!

… Thank YOU for being with Me on this rather Long ‘ Rabbit Hole’ of a Post!

Next up, My First Visits to Barcelona + Amsterdam:

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Until then, Live Thankful, Live Big!

All LOVE …

G XXX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shift …

 

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Most people are on the world, not in it …

John Muir

(Click on the Pink for the Links)

Dear 2019, did you see that shift?  Those past 12 months that just flew right by ya? The most Sublime, the most Heart Wrenching stretch of time in my Life. To be fair, I have never been the type to skip lightly through anything, but damn it all if I wasn’t savagely thrown, headfirst into the lot. In Deep? I was consumed.

 

 

I turned a Half A Century Old, I lost Life Long Relationships, I was on the receiving end of Unfathomable Hatred and Callousness,  I lost My SO Beloved Sadie Girl, and then  I  Sold Our Magic Cottage.

 

 

But as there is no Darkness without Light, I was also Gifted with profound Strength, an Unwavering Sense of Creativity, and Unconditional Love from my Tribe. In Deep? I was consumed.

  I then moved back to the River: Rogue River Drive, my Childhood Home to be with + take care of my Beloved Parents. After 20 Years of being away, 7 of those Years being completely on my own (with Sadie Girl of course) and becoming Ferociously Independent, it has been the biggest Shift of all. My Parents are my Best Friends but learning to share space with people ( I edited down a whole house into Two Rooms + a Shed ) again has been Profound to say the least:

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One of thePerks of moving back, however, is I have fallen in Love with the River Again.

It’s quiet Beauty has not lost it’s Magic on this River Rat, and I can’t want to Document, Explore, and Share my Adventures.

It was and still is my Haven:

 

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Before all of this Shifting, I was planning on going back to Europe. And when I was unpacking the day to day necessities, switching out warm weather clothes for winter clothes, I was subconsciously packing for the Trip. However, I was still toying with the idea, should I go? Do I deserve to go? Am I taking on too much in an already jam packed year?

But after a disappointing, almost heartbreaking trip last December, I was empowered to rewrite a new Narrative for this Birthday. So I planned my 13 Day Trip in 2 Weeks. London, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Amsterdam:

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This Film By My  Brilliant Mate Marc  was made whilst I was in Barcelona! It epitomizes the Vibe of the Whole of My Trip …

But First:

Hastily placed Boots, Bag, Pink Tights, and my new Leica into my Luggage and off I went.

Any Trip to Europe, has to start in the UK.

It is my Spirit Animal:

 

I only fly Aerlingus: SFO to Dublin, Dublin to London. The Irish Hospitality, all the Free (Included) Food +Entertainment makes the 15 hours go by fast:

 

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Then, on the way to my Fave Part in London:

 

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I knew I wanted to stay in East London, because last Year, I did not get to explore it properly.  Going back to the Qbic again, was the most obvious choice. Right in the mix of it, affordable, and Stylish.

 

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In Hindsight, I had made Dinner Reservations at their Motley Restaurant, and really one of best things about staying in a Hotel? Going Downstairs for some Noshing! I was at the Qbic in 2017, and I have to say the improvements to the Bar and Restaurant make it more Inviting, Open, and Warm. But the best part of my stay at the Qbic? Meeting my Birthday Twin, Restaurant/Bar Manager, Filip. He was Inviting, Open, and Warm and we became Fast Friends! Check out his Music, he is a Brilliant Singer!

 … And a True Testament to how the whole of my Trip was from the moment I landed in Dublin to the plane trip back to the States.  The People, the Tribe that I forged in 13 Days, it’s the Reason why I was lead there, to feel the Shift.

Then there is the Brick Lane/Shoreditch Area. How do I adequately describe these stretch of Streets? After my first Art show at Truman Brewery, I have deeply loved East London.

… There are ways to document, it seems. One is to go into ( a new country or) a new situation and hit it like a hot wind, not stopping to think — simply to feel.

Eve Arnold

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My Version of ‘ Humans of New York ‘ which, again, set a Precedent for the Whole of the Trip:

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In front of the Beigel Shop, I met this Lovely Man whilst I was taking pics … :

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… We had a Brilliant Wormhole of a Conversation that included Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Brexit, Microbiology, and Taoism. It was the Proverbial Shot that my Broken Self needed, to ‘ Let Go’ and Fricken OPEN UP. After our chat, I asked him if I could take his picture and I gave him one of these:

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… I walked away with the most Tangible High and for the rest of the Trip I ‘ Attracted ‘ dozens, if not more, types of these Experiences.  Lesson learned though, I have not heard from him, so when I met someone I wanted to stay connected with, I gave them my Phone and asked them to add me on Social Media and/or put their Contact Info in!

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I bought that Black Wrap ( I eventually gifted it to my Liverpool Mate Kat )  in the background from this Wonderful Woman, Josephine! Check out her Website for more of her Beautiful Work! We connected on a Creative Level and our Conversation of Making a Living as an Artist, Fashion Photography/Gear, and our Shared Love of the Artistic Community in East London, left me flying High once again. I need to reach out to her, to keep our Conversation going …

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 Towards the end of my Parading, I ran across this  Fabulousness. I thought I was the sly one snapping away, when the Chess Master said to me ‘ If you want to take a Picture you have to pay me!’ As I profusely apologized whilst digging in my pocket for coins, he said ‘ No! With a Kiss! ‘. I thought about it for a split second, than ran over and gave him a peck on both of his Cheeks. As I walked away, he said ‘ Look she’s Blushing, she wants to Kiss me again!’ And with that, the whole lot of them burst out laughing! The Cherry on Top? The night before, I texted my BFF that I wanted to Kiss someone on this Trip! Be Careful what you wish for and  w h o  is the Lad with the Glasses taking a picture of ? I scuttled away, High from all that Flirtatious Energy, and carried it into a Monumental Meeting with some Editors.

After my Meeting, I gave Filip a Wee Christmas Gift + had a Good Bye Drink with him + packed for the next Leg of My Trip, Liverpool.

Feel that Shift, London? You gave me back my Swagger.

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How do I describe what going to Liverpool meant to me? Let me get back to ya on that one, but first, I stayed in my Awesome Mate Kat’s Airbnb . I fell in Love with the Lot:

It was my very first Experience in an Airbnb, and I am now totally Enamored with it all! On my First Solo Overseas Trip, I absolutely loved having a ‘ Home ‘ to come back to. Kat is Dynamic, Kind, Caring, and we quickly became Friends (Truth be told, I had Tears in my eyes when we hugged Good Bye)! I Highly Recommend Kat’s Abode if you’re in the Liverpool Area!

+ Go to my Website for High Res Copies of my recent Travel Pics + my Portfolio.

++ Updating Blog Features in the next Month or So: Check back often!

+++ Starting to work on my Art Shed this MLK JR. Holiday … It’s Time:

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Up Next, My Birthday in Liverpool!

Big Love, G XXX

Edit: April, 2019: If on a Desktop/Laptop, Please check out My New Sidebar Features. If on a Mobile Device, Click ‘ Menu ‘ for the New Features!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Love, 6th Avenue: Part Deux

Before I start u n p a c k i n g ( when all I want to do is plan for my Europe Trip next Month )  I had to get the last bits from the Magic Cottage + Clean + Say the final Good Byes:

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Dad’s last visit was on Monday, a Man of few words, but I had to Document him saying something, as he was Instrumental in Gifting me with  a Wonder Filled Space:

 

 

 

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Brought Sadie for the Final Good Bye …

 

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Got my Last Fave Meal of Green Panang Curry from the Thai Place down the street where after 14 Years, they always remembers my Name!

 

Vlog on my Front Stoop that is a little blown out + a bit blurry but is still Heartfelt:

 

 

 

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Good Bye Pink Room:

 

 

 

 

But most of all I will Miss the Light. The Fall Light in the Magic Cottage is the most Sublime. I am Blessed to have experienced it well into November:

 

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Then walked around the Emptiness, one last time:

 

 

 

Saw Wes today after work, and as I walked up to the open door, he bellowed ‘ I am taking apart your House!’ … sob. All the Shelves were gone from my Pink Room and the Side room and all the Inside Doors were off. SO Surreal, as Yesterday it was all intact. I asked him if I could Document the Process of the Remodel, and he said yes! I feel like it’s something I need to do for more Closure and I am excited, as I used to do/enjoy Architectural Photography: Photos coming soon!

As I drove away, Wes ran out to my Truck and said, ‘ Here, you need to have this! ‘ It was a Hello Kitty pencil that I had lost ages ago, and then it hit me, this is truly Good Bye, and I cried all the way to Rogue River Drive. It will take time for me to adjust to my new/old environment …

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Lastly, as the above piece has been Gifted already, I wanted to share it here. One of my Fave last pieces I made at the Magic Cottage. I fell in Love with Box Wood Canvases! Where have you been all my Creative Life? I like this size and I will be buying a bunch to make Art to take on my Trip next month!

This weekend is a Three Day one ( Thank YOU Veterans ) and my Goal is to have my Office/Inside Studio all set up, most of the inside boxes unpacked and most of my Bedroom put together. I refuse to show ya’ll what it looks like now, HA! but will post Pics of the Finished Rooms, as well as a Vlog in front of where the Big G is, and of my first walk on the River, just a few blocks from here. Little known secret, I used to be a River Rat , and I am SO looking forward to being that again!

Click the Links Below for other Blog Posts on my 6th Ave Journey:

With Love, 6th Avenue

See Ya 6th Avenue

Home : This Post will be Published in a UK Print Magazine, early 2019!

LOVE, G XXX

With Love, 6th Avenue

As I sit here listening to ‘ Here Comes The Sun’ on my new Portable Record Player on a Beautiful Curtis Park Sunday Morning, I pause …

My Last Day is finally here.

Family + Friends are coming to help + pack up + take away the bulk of my bits still left. I will come over after Work the next few days to get the remaining small bits, and to finally, say Good Bye.

I have taken SO many Photos + Videos this last week, on my DSLR + iPhone, that I will have to share over the course of the next few weeks: probably on my Instagram, Stay Tuned.

I am OK at the moment.

I have had S O much L  O   V  E from my Tribe + from the Universe, through Strangers amazingly enough, that I know I am on the right Path, this Journey.

And for that, how can I not be Thank – Full?

My Final Week here in Our Magic Cottage on 6th Ave in Curtis Park in some of my Favorite Photos + Video Bits:

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Scanned Instax with my Grrrl Ms. Flanagan …

 

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A bit Crooked, but I still Love this Bit:

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Neighborhood Pizza …

 

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Forever, Gunther’s

 

I will Miss these Faces:

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Thank YOU Charlie Girl, for the Love …

 

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Scanned Instax (es )

 

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15 minutes before I walked to work the last time + the last time My Big ‘ G ‘ is at Our Magic Cottage …

 

Took a wee Road Trip to Our Fave Place in the Delta, because we’re still close:

 

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And Yes it’s out of Focus, but it’s about the Content, Right 😉 :

 

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My Fave Fish + Chips

 

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THIS, floors me. Do you see what I see?

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Favorite Neighborhood Sushi for BFF Time

And this Interview between Me ( in my new fave Red Dress, sorry a wee bit short!)  + My Sis BFF Gay, epitomizes what the Magic Cottage has meant to me. If anyone knows Me + what the last 14 Years has been like for me here, it’s her:

 

 

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Photo Booth Fun

 

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Always wanted to take a Pic in front of this Mural, Thank YOU Sis BFF!

 

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And in front of this Sign!

Last bit of Alone Time:

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Sadie’s Bed that I will be taking with me

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Onwards to Rogue River Drive …

BIG LOVE, G XXX

12:15p:  Sammy with his Kick Arse Parents came and took My/Their Blue Chair + My Old Bike! I LOVE that I have such Good People in my Life + that I can Gift them with things!

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3:33p:  Our last Jimboy’s Run together. It was our Thang, Daddy + I …

 

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5p: I am Finally Here

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See Ya 6th Avenue …

Had one of the most B E S T Parties of my Life, and surprisingly, I gave it!

It was full of people from my Current Tribe + full of Love + full of Laughter + a whole lotta Dancing!

All of you helped me Honor + Celebrate the ending of one Chapter into another, Brilliantly: Thank YOU + I will be forever, Grateful:

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Crooked New Art …

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Yes, I made Signs …

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Photo Booth Ready

There was Food:

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And of course, Photo Booth Fun:

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I love my (still, will always be) Neighbors!

I  L O V E  my Wide Instax Camera:

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Me + My Grrrl Estelle

 

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Me + My Brotha Patrick

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Me + DJ Tony!

 

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My Favorite Lovebirds by Me

My Brotha Patrick took some Awesome Photos …

With my DSLR  (and how did my Kitchen fit all those people):

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With his iPhone:

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From my DSLR:

 

 

Still on a b u z z from last night, I played this  L O U D today + Danced on my Own:

 

 

And I even was Inspired to go for a walk in the park. I haven’t done that since Sadie passed away:

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Of course I Vlogged with the wind blowing + leaves falling:

 

 

And will take as many photos as I can before I leave:

 

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It was the  p e r f e c t  last Weekend: onto My Last Week Here at Our Magic Cottage …

LOVE, G XXX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home …

 The idea of home is both definable and deceiving.

As I start to write this post, I sit here at the Library, wrestling with that duality, as our beloved Magic Cottage is possibly being shown to it’s new owner.

I absolutely love going to the Library. I absolutely love being at our Cottage.

Is it the structure itself or what lies within, that makes me count both as home?

Is it a place at all? Or is it a feeling that resonates deep down, when you meet a person that just, fits.

Is it something that you do that fills up those cracks that Life pitch at you?

The longer I am blessed to walk this Earth, I have come to realize that ‘ Home ‘  isn’t just one place, one person, or one thing.

It’s your Dog greeting you at the door. It’s hearing a Loved One’s voice on the other side of the line. It’s that track on that album you’ve played for the millionth time.

It’s where you find pieces of your Heart.

My formative understanding of home, is rooted in my Filipina American experience.

I carried Vinyl Lunch boxes, wore Knee Socks with my Hair Rollers, had Piano Lessons once a week, and spent weekends Ice Skating:

I had Family in (which usually meant a lot of us, a lot of parties, and way too much food)  Stockton, San Francisco, Hawai’i and even New York City:

Each and every one of these experiences, people, and places still resonates within me.

I can hear the Aunties ‘ talking stories’ in Ilocano in the kitchen, I can smell the food as they walk by on the way to the dining room. I can feel those rollers in my hair, the touch of satin from my Ice Skating Dress. I can still sink into Grandma’s strong arms lifting me up, and into the smell of the powder she used to dust her skin with. I can taste the dripping heat of the North Shore sun as I play with Princess, while at the same time, feeling the comforting softness of her muzzle.

Pieces of my Heart, all Home.

As I began to venture out into the world, Home was where ever I was:

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I found it in NYC in the Mid 1980’s, where I began my life long obsession of parading with my camera.

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I found it on the beach after a day of visiting the Ruins + Pyramid in Chichen Itza.

I always find it on this Staircase + in this Hammock and if I say I’m coming Home, the whole of O‘ahu would say, Where YOU been?

And as always, Home is the minute I put feet to ground in the UK:

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Pieces of my Heart, all Home.

I left my Childhood home ( I did have a brief year away in the City) later in life, a few months after my 30th Birthday.

In those 20 years, I have lived in three places.

A wee tiny ( t i n y ) 1930’s Cottage on V Street:

 

In my first foray into ( late ) Adulthood, I became a Musician’s Girlfriend, then a Band Wife, survived running a Homeless Shelter in the not yet Gentrified neighborhood of Oak Park, as well as the aftermath of the brutal Rape + Attack of my Mother In Law.

The meaning of Home during this time of my life was Independence, Refuge, and True Partnership.

My second home was a 1930’s Top Floor Apartment on 24th Street:

 

 

The entirety of my/our time on the Upper Floor was all Creative. I had left my Oak Park Job and became a Full Time Working Artist. I started a Semi Popular Blog, Self Published a Magazine, taught at the Crocker Art Museum , and got my first Art Show in London.

The meaning of Home during this chapter of my life was Art, full stop.

Which leads to my (still) current home, My Beloved 1923 Magic Cottage (more of why that is, later) on 6th Avenue in a slice of Americana that is Curtis Park : 

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My Parents wanted to help us get a House to call our own, so a hunting we went. I vividly remember the Ex calling me at work saying ‘ I think I found us our piece of Heaven ‘. I remember gasping this first time I saw it in the dark, and we walked around the neighborhood feeling like we were on a Movie set.

Financial Issues + Me surviving an almost Fatal Car Accident aside, we moved into our little slice of that American Dream:

 

We built me a Pink Art Studio with shelves:

 

 

He built a Recording Studio:

 

 

Chelsea Wolfe  + Sister Crayon + Agent Ribbons recorded here. Not to mention maaany issues of Tape Op Magazine were made in his Studio as well.

During this time, I got my first Solo Art Show, ran an Art Gallery, taught Art within the Public Library System, and got my second London Art Show. Home was again a place of Creativity, but it was also a constant whirlwind of activity. The energy was palatable.

But then Home became something else.

It became dark, it became painful, it became something that tore me down.

I changed all that up rather quickly and made my Home a Sanctuary:

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And for the next 7 years, with my Beloved Sadie Dog by my side, I began to embrace the pure bliss of being on my own and worked hard at making the house full of light, love, and inspiration:

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Visitors would inevitably comment on how the house had this intangible quality, something that they couldn’t quite put their finger on.

Magic, I call it Magic.

And then there was the Magic outside our front door. If you’ve visited me, you know.  If you’re anywhere near Sacramento, drive through Curtis Park, then you’ll know.

Pure unbridled, Americana. And just like that first fated night I fell in deep for the house, I started falling for our glorious neighborhood all over again.

Sadie + I loved discovering new things about our neighborhood on our hundreds of walks …

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I miss those walks, I miss Her.

 

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In April of this year, I lost the biggest Love of my Life.

My Heart will always be broken and quite simply, there is no Home here without Her.

Along with Her Passing and other extenuating circumstances, I decided it was time to let go of one of the singularly most important chapters of my Life.

To let go of a Home that saw me fall, a Home that saw me fly.

A Home that will always have pieces of my Heart.

And since June, I’ve been documenting and slowly saying Good Bye:

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Go here for early pics of My Magic Cottage …

Go here for more Recent Pics, and check back often, as I am still Editing …

I am trying to fill up the remaining 40 Plus Days I have here with positivity: I am making Art for a possible show in November, writing my Third Issue of my Zine, and planning a Record Party to say Good Bye to 6th Avenue!

Onwards + Always Up,

G XXX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Bye Summer …

It was the First Day of School Today, and it felt more like Fall as I walked to work this Morning.

As I sit outside, the early evening light is a muted blue and it’s the kind of breeze that leaves grab rides on.

My Summer was both brilliant and brutal, and I am far richer because of it.

The following is just a wee bit of the 2k Plus I shot the last 10 1/2 Weeks:

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Back to Collage, Visual Journaling, and Zine – ing

 

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Purging

 

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I never wanted a Club Membership …

 

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I heart Solomon’s Deli on so many levels.

 

Went to the CA State Fair:

 

 

Loved on Our Magic Cottage,  Full Stop:

 

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Had way too much fun with Self Portrait Photography:

 

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Nothing beats Mother Nature:

 

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Do you see what I see?

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I get a visit every Fall …

And nothing beats taking Props + a Tripod on a Road Trip, though:

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Then a Vlog ( with Sunglasses + a Crown ) on My Summer past and moving forward:

 

 

Up next, life on 24th Street …

All Love, G XXX

Transition …

I am in the midst of a major Transition.

God, The Universe, the Powers that Be, have predestined my Journey these past 8 months with so many twists and turns, you would think I was a Ride in an Amusement Park!

I am Blessed, I am Strong, and I am going to honor and document it all.

Since June 15th, I’ve taken 2,380 DSLR Pics + Video Bits, 500 iPhone Pics/Videos/Snapchat/IG Story Bits, 50 Instax, and currently making my way through rolls of B + W Film:

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And OH the Summer Light …

As I purge, pack, and go through a Lifetime of Bits, I realize that everything in the last 20 years has led me to where I stand. And in looking back,  it also gives me comfort for what lies ahead.

I left home in 1998 to live in an 1940’s Cottage in Midtown Sacramento:

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Not a good pic, but most of the V Street Cottage Pics are packed away already: more to come! 181777345_df97f2d401_oScanned B + W Polaroid

I was a Manager of a CPS Homeless Shelter in Oak Park at the time, but I will not be posting those pics! In those two years, I tried to help Reunify Families and instill them with Life Skills. It is hands down, the hardest Job I ever had.

It’s where I lived when I proposed to my Ex Husband, whilst I was away on a Medical Mission in the Philippines and it’s where we would come home after many a Gig :

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Then my Ex Mum In Law was violently Raped and Attacked down the street from Us:

 

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It was a High Profile Case and it tested all of us on so many levels. We will be forever connected, because of it.

Then we Eloped in 1999:

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He turns 50th Birthday today and I send out Happy Vibes where ever He is …

Not long after the Wedding, we moved into a 1930’s Apartment two blocks up from the Cottage:

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We had the entire upstairs + I grew that Big Tree in front.

It was in this Apartment that I began one of the biggest Adventure of my Life:

My Creative Journey …

Musings on that, coming soon! Until then, follow my Instagram for daily updates!

 BIG LOVE XXX

 

 

Halfway through 50 + Edinburgh + A Wee Bit of Dublin …

Halfway through 50, Click:

 

 

And Finally the last leg of my Birthday Trip.

After the Sublimeness of Wiltshire County and the Brilliance of Oxford we were off to Bonnie Scotland:

38922882680_a00671921a_o.pngIt would be my first proper Rail Trip across the UK and what is it about Train Trips that unlocks such Wanderlust?

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And remember the Brick Lane Sign that I bought in London? No it wasn’t from a shop, it was from the Truman Brewery Vintage Market. It was an impulse buy coupled with my Vintage 1930 Red Cross Trench Coat, and I still love them both Dearly, and let me tell you, they are Well Traveled. I made quite the impression walking down my first Train Aisle trying not to hit anyone in the head with it! My first seat mate when he saw me said ‘ Stealing signs are we? ‘

 

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This is what (tired) Happy – Ness looks like.

 

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Oh Trolley, I felt like I was in a Harry Potter Film.

 

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A Cuppa whilst watching the English Countryside go by:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pulled into Waverley Train Station and had the best Conversation in a crowded lift, ever:

My SO big backpack was sticking out of the lift, and the door wouldn’t close. I was saying  ‘ I’m Sorry !’ a million times over to all our lift mates as I pushed myself deeper into the crowd. One kind Lass said, ‘ We’re loving your Brick Lane Sign and British Red Cross Coat, so no worries!’ I was chuffed. PS She was in the British Red Cross and my coat brought back fond memories for her! THIS is why I heart Vintage.

Stayed at the Uber Cool Grassmarket Hotel: 

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Around the corner is the Inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. We didn’t get a chance to really explore it, but I will be back in Edinburgh and do a proper Harry Potter Pilgrimage.

 

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They did this for my Birthday + gave me a free Bottle of Prosecco.

 

 

 

Best Shower of my Life.

 

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When you’re out, they leave you a whole new room in a Basket.

Went to the Christmas Market …

 

 

 

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Scanned Instax

 

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Scott Monument

 

My Fave Memory of the Christmas Market is a Mum coming up to me because she stated her Wee Son thought that I took an Instax Photo of him. I actually took one of the above Scott Monument and it was still developing in my Hand. I bent down and assured him that I took a picture of the Tower, and asked if he wanted it. He shyly smiled Yes, and with that we were all happy! Ran into them again later, and the polaroid was still developing, yes it was that cold and yes, the Wee Lad was still Happy!

 

 

 

Click Here if Video Bit Doesn’t Work!

 

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After the Market, we did a bit of Holiday Card Shopping, THIS I had to buy.

Our Hotel was next door to the Irish Pub Biddy Mulligans where we had Breakkie for Three Days.

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After Breakkie we made our way to the meeting point for our Tour with Rabbie’s. Only book with Rabbie’s. You won’t be Sorry. 

Whilst exploring a bit, I heard Bagpipes wafting through the cold morning air and we found these two Officers:

 

 

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I asked if I could I take their picture, and they kindly obliged:

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The Soldier on the right asked if I could send him copies of the pics, and of course I said Yes!

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And whilst we crowded around an iPhone to take a pic, the soldier on the left grabbed me closer to him and said ‘ Sometimes you just have to be Manhandled!’ ‘

Yes, Please.

… This From Soldier Stuart after I sent the pics to him:

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Still high from our Bagpipers, we boarded our tour Van with the Charismatic Steven. I took many videos of him offering up the Brilliant + Passionate Scottish History of the areas he took us through see: Flickr Set, Page 4 for  a  l  l  of the video bits.

But first, this pic I took on the way out of Edinburgh. Moving in the van and on the sly, this shot epitomizes what Traveling means to Me. Seeking out the Unexpected, the Non Tourist Moment, and looking up and about, not down at your Device ( like She is!) .

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Saying that the Scottish Countryside is B  e  a  u  t  i  f  u  l  is an Understatement.  You must truly see it, feel it,  let is seep into your Bones.

Put it on your Bucket List:

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Scanned Panoramic Film

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Scanned B + W Ilford Film of the William Wallace Monument

See more pics of it on my Flickr Page, Click.

 

 

Click Here If Video Bit doesn’t work!

LOVE this because A Scot, A South African Couple, and an American walking in the Scottish Countryside talking about celebrating my Birthday and the Couple Celebrating their Wedding Anniversary! PS The South African Lass was also a Sagittarius ! 

On to Melrose Abbey, the place for my Third Spiritual Experience of my Trip:

It is an Etheral place, it vibrated with Spiritual Energy, and the Light, OH the Light.

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Scanned Instax

 

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Scanned Panoramic Film

 

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Scanned B + W Ilford Film

 

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Scanned B + W Ilford Film

As I was meandering around with my Cameras, at one point I looked up and saw a Brown Monk’s Robe. I was taken aback, but quickly and easily said to it, ‘ Thank You for letting me take Pictures! ‘ … and then it was gone.

Bloody, Brilliant.

Another Brilliant Bit was this:

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The Christmas Pudding at the GreenHouse Cafe. Truly the best ‘Meal ‘ of the trip, topping the whole of my Birthday Dinner in London, it was T  H  A  T  good.

 

 

 

If Video Bit Doesn’t Work, Click Here.

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Scanned B + W Ilford Film

 

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Scanned B + W Ilford Film

Rosslyn Chapel, the last stop of our Tour, and my Last Spiritual Experience of my Trip.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the Chapel, so I did a bit outside:

 

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Scanned B + W Ilford Film

 

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Inside the Chapel, Words Fail Me. If you read the Book or watched the Movie The Da Vinci Code , you get a taste of it, but inside, it’s bone chilling. I could go further into all the Mysteries and Theories, but I know what I felt when I was in there, Pure Spiritual Electricity.

You need to visit.

Thank YOU Steven for being a SO Brilliant Guide! You made my first visit to Scotland Memorable! Dear Rabbie’s  … You have a Star in Steven! 

In the Eve:

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Found a Brilliant Photography Galley

 

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Bought a Vintage Scottish Cap

 

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Had Haggis for Dinner, SO Good.

The Next Day, it was really C O L D but the light was Amazing:

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Edinburgh Castle:

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Scanned Panoramic Film

 

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Scanned B + W Ilford with Borders

 

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Scanned Instax

 

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Look who I ran into! The South African Anniversary Couple!

 

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 And lastly, The Elephant House, The Birthplace of Harry Potter …

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Scanned Instax

 

Off to the Last Leg of the Trip, back to Dublin:

 

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My Well Traveled Brick Lane Sign

 

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Click Here if Video Bit Doesn’t Work!

We only had one night in Dublin, and it started off Brilliantly.

We had the best Cabbie of the whole trip:

 

 

 

A Whirlwind of a Night:

 

 

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Then Ha ‘ Penny Bridge:

 

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Going Back Stateside:

It was a Memorable Trip, Brilliant in bits and filled with Lessons. I was sad to leave, but I knew I was coming back in 2018! I turned 50 in a part of the World I Loved the most, and that’s all that mattered to me.

 

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So, my Sign:

 

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I lost it in the Dublin Airport at one point. Some Cheeky + Galant Irish Airport Porters had it behind the Counter and teased me, ‘ Are you going to use it to club Lads back home? ‘ Apparently when I checked in at US Customs, I was ‘ Profiled ‘ because of the sign. Or was it because the Color of my skin? Needless to say, I followed a US Officer who held my Passport in his hand, to a back room and watched as my Luggage was wheeled out on a cart along with my Sign. There was nothing I could do but eat my Mince Pie as I watched the clock on the wall countdown to my Boarding Time. Finally an Officer looked at my Sign, called my Name, gave me my Passport back and said ‘ Have a Nice Trip ‘.

And back in my Hometown of Sacramento:

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And it was all totally worth it!

Click Here for My Entire 50th Birthday Trip in a Flickr Set!

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Currently planning that 2018 Solo Trip (the only way to Travel) in December to Redux it the way I want to. Sunday Markets in East London, check. Back to Oxford to possibly see an NDVR Filming, check. Then onto Three New Cities in Two Countries!

As My Birthday Cards says:

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In Love, G XXX

Up Next: My New Creative Partner + Project!

PS For my Travel Pics over the Years go to my Professional Photography Site!