Saturday, September 8, 2012


I want to recommend a book that I just finished last night that has touched me deeply. I suggest you consider reading it just for yourself, and if you are in a book club I recommend you add this book to your "must read" list. Author Auburn McCanta does a poignantly splendid job with a sensitive and timely issue for many of us: dementia / Alzheimer's / early onset memory loss.


"In All The Dancing Birds, Auburn McCanta accomplishes the near impossible. By allowing Lillie Claire to tell her own story, McCanta gives us an amazing inside glimpse into a disintegrating memory. Truly a touching, disturbing story -- wonderfully told." - Susan Springer Butler, author, daughter

It was the language Auburn used that captured me; it was the story she wove, making use of the first-person narrative, which included letters writtren by Lillie Claire to her 2 children that she pulled out more & more often as a way to remind herself of who she was, that impressed me; and it was those letters that Lillie Claire would leave behind for Bryan and Allison that humored and touched me with their transparent need to express to her children just WHO she was - and who their already deceased father and maternal grandparents were.

Auburn's "capture" of the things that many folks with dementia / probable Alzheimer's SAY to themselves, to their caregivers, and to their loved ones caught me so off-guard, I often gasped - having heard my own father say many of the same things. And I felt so convicted when I read some of the things that her children and the doctors said to - and about - Lillie Claire. Once I realized how we must sound to the person with the deteriorating mind - in my case, my father - I began thinking about ways to speak and behave more compassionately and respectfully to a person with dementia.

I hope that people in denial of their own or a loved ones' diagnosis, who don't believe it's happening because there ARE so many times when the person with dementia has lucid thoughts and expresses their story "just like they used to".

Many of us have read STILL ALICE (my first read about someone living with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease); in ALL THE DANCING BIRDS, I found more of the emotions and confusing, swirling stories that a person with dementia might experience.

With all that said, I'll close with the link:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Happy new year, friends of DH 2 Travelers.  We traveled so much in 2011 that I neglected my blog ... I only hope that I can win back your interest and following with what I have in store for this glorious new year.

All the best to you and yours for a blessed, healthy, happy, fun- and adventure-filled 2012!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nostalgia .. My trip down Memory Lane

Several things have happened lately that all seem determined to make me face, resolve, and heal from things that happened decades ago ... and I just have to blog about it this morning.   And it's gonna be a long blog post, so grab your beverage of choice and settle in if you're game enough to read this one!

Lately, I've heard a lot of Fleetwood Mac on the radio. And those songs take me back to my 9th and 10th grade years in a hurry. My best friend Candi {photo, left, 2005} and I wore out our FM albums (yes, albums. how old school is that?).  

So what song do you hear, what scent do you encounter, what old photograph ~ takes you back to decades ago, and you're R.I.G.H.T. there, where you were?   PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS.  

And which part of your life do you most often "return" to via those flashback memories?

For me, it's high school and a few years after.  

THE MUSIC:  when I hear the term "oldies" as it pertains to music, I think ... 50s and 60s (even though when I was in high school, we listened to music from the 60s - mostly the Beach Boys - and it didn't seem all so old).   Nowadays, music from my entire young-and-younger listening years is already ... an oldie.  I'm an 80's music freak, and when I do the math, I can't believe those songs are already 30 years old.  THIRTY YEARS OLD.    But when I hear a song that I loved in high school, and realize it's 35 years old - yikes.  How old does that make me, then?  Never mind.

The music that takes me back most often has to be from the 1980's, because it makes me happy.        They were fun years, great years, and even as a single mom, they were incredible years ~ due in large part to meeting my soul-sister / best friend Lori Vallas Falk. {photo, left: Mother's Day 1987, La Valencia Hotel}

But those aren't the old days that keep hitting me in waves lately.  It's the music from my high school years.  And those were awkward years.   I meet people who say "oh, to be in high school again" and I cringe.  Those were shy, challenging, confusing, unsettled, angst-filled years for me.  I did develop some beautiful friendships then, but they too came with a price.

Anyway.  Music I listened to a lot of in high school (that would be the early/mid-70's) ... Fleetwood Mac.  Dave Mason.  ZZ Top.  David Bowie.  Carole King.  Steely Dan. Derek and the Dominos.  Cat Stevens.  Elton John.  Chicago and Bread (yes, even them).  America.  BTO.  ELO.  Allman Brothers.    Foghat.   Edgar Winter Group, and Rick Deringer.  Neil Young (SO much Neil Young).  The Rolling Stones.  Stealer's Wheel.  Steve Miller.  Jethro Tull.  Humble Pie.  Grand Funk Railroad.   Carly Simon. Golden Earring. The Eagles.  Rod Stewart. Paul McCartney & Wings.  Loggins & Messina (the first concert I ever went to - they opened for The Allman Brothers, who were followed by B.B. King - and I had no clue who BB was!).

I could go on longer, but as you can see, I had a wide range of musical favorites.  Back then, I couldn't go an hour without music. 

There were the party songs, the ones we danced to.  Then there were the "party-ing" songs, the ones we, well, partied to (it WAS high school, after all).   And there were the "i am a filled with love angst" songs, the ones we listened to over and over, ad nauseum, because they made us feel ... sentimental and emotional and mellow.  And sad.  I went for sad a lot - hence all that Neil Young.   I only dated 3 guys in high school; one was killed in a car accident.  He's the one that set the bar high for how to treat a girl, and I didn't appreciate him enough.

So to take me back to High School most often, it has to be ... Fleetwood Mac, and Foghat, and Steve Miller.  And driving through El Cajon, passing my high school (El Cajon Valley) and the high school that many of my friends, including my boyfriend, attended (Granite Hills).  Passing old friends' houses.  Missing Baker's (the best burgers and shakes ever). 

After I graduated from high school, I was a mother.  I still loved music.  There were still 4 years left of the 70's.  The music changed, and I had changed.   Although still awkward, and probably more confused and unsure of myself than ever before - I started to experience a confidence that came with being a mother and having to earn a living to support my daughter.

And the music that I favored from 1976 to 1979 was more along the lines of  Earth, Wind and Fire; The Knack; Pat Traverse; more ZZ Top; more David Bowie; Pablo Cruise; Boz Scaggs; Linda Ronstadt; more Rod Stewart; and yes, The Commodores.

My sister-of-my-heart, Sherri Garman DeMink {photo, me and Sherri, 12-31-76}, introduced me to so much music, and we listened to it for hours together. 

 Whenever I hear "My Sharona", or "After the Love is Gone", or "Lady Love" by Lou Rawls ... I am smack dab in the middle of 1979.   Those songs, and the smell of a hot day, the car windows rolled down, and the air conditioning full-blast.  And the perfume I wore then, Halston.   One incredible relationship stands out, I'm right there, and then the pain of its demise hits.  Still. 

So what is the point of today's blog post?   It's this:  when we have something tugging at us, quietly or loudly, that feels like we want to 'make it right', or resolve it, or face up to it ~ but we are afraid, or we don't know how ~ it's time to courage-up and just do it.   If the person is gone or un-reachable, write a note and get it off your heart and mind.  Let it go.   And if the person is available to talk to, or meet up with, do it. 

Say whatever you feel needs to be said.  Forgive them for whatever they may have done to hurt or confuse you.  Ask for forgiveness for whatever you may have done to leave them wondering "why did that happen? was it me?".  In other words, clean it up so you can breathe easier when those flashbacks hit (and they will), and then you can sit back and really enjoy the memories of those times.  

From my experience:  In the past 2 years, I have had 2 people tell me they were sorry for things that happened in high school.  Call me crazy, but such an emotional sense of peace came over me, both times.  And I could sit back, remember, and smile.  Finally.  What a gift they gave me.

 And I deeply regret that at my 30th high school reunion, when I had the opportunity to apologize to someone that I had been cold to, and hurt, in the 9th grade, I missed it.  I attended that reunion for two reason.  One, to make an amend.  The moment was interrupted by the call for a photo of the group {that photo, at left}, and when I turned around, he was gone.  It still haunts me.   Because just before the call for photos, he looked at me and said "isn't it funny how something that happened 30 years ago can still affect us today?".     And the other reason I attended was because my closest friend from those years .. asked me to go with her {me, 2nd from left; and Candi, far right in blue}. 

Think on this:  "Nostalgia: A device that removes the ruts and potholes from memory lane." ~ Doug Larson

And this:  "What was hard to bear is sweet to remember."  ~  Portugese proverb

And one final quote on the topic:  "The heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good; and thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burdens of the past." ~  Gabriel Garcia Marquez {author of 'Love in the Time of Cholera'}

I want to pave over those potholes, and I want to sweetly remember those years.  Don't you?

~  Davielle

P.S.   By the way, FaceBook is a remarkable tool for re-connecting with people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

BLOGGING 101: Blog to the Rescue!

Friends, I know I haven't blogged here since March (yes, March!) and I have to say - I miss my blogging time. 

But when I received an e-mail this week from an old family friend, and my beautiful CAbi consultant, Rebecca Oostra, it hit me:   a BLOG (and a blog post) can come to the rescue when you least expect it!

First, let me share this with you all:

Recently I've done a lot of soul-searching and question-asking, as in ...

"why did I begin my (2) blogs in the first place?" 
"what did I hope to accomplish - personally or globally - with these blogs?"  
"did I enjoy putting blog posts together?" ...  

And I had the following answers:

"why did I begin my (2) blogs in the first place?" 
BECAUSE I wanted to stay in touch with friends & family, and in the case of the first blog (this one, DH2travelers), share snippets & images of trips we have taken or hope to take some day, etc.  And in the case of my second blog, my intent was to share my love of mixed media art - the artists, the techniques, the results - with others of like mind.    IN BOTH CASES, the blog became a vehicle for me to speak my mind - to share what I liked and believed and found meaningful & beautiful ... that was the driving force behind my venture into the world of blogging.

"what did I hope to accomplish - personally or globally - with these blogs?"
TO speak up - and out - about things that matter to me, or that I found helpful or amusing or soulful or meaningful or heartbreaking or amazing.  And in some cases, all of the above.   I also wanted to share beauty and good information with others - my passion for plein air art has been featured on DH2travelers many times, as has fashion and film, recipes and bits about our family. 

I had also hoped that I would meet and befriend people all over not just the US, but the world, "meeting" people who stumbled across my blog/s just as I had stumbled upon theirs in searches, link-trekking (I think I just coined a phrase there!), referrals from friends who blog and follow blogs, etc.

"did I enjoy putting blog posts together?" ...
Easy, this one:  a resounding and emphatic YES YES YES.   I loved the time I took to follow my own train of thought(s), to gather images or links to embellish the topic, and the putting it all together.   I would hear something on NPR (national public radio) and it would stir up an idea, and there I'd be, at the computer, linking not only to the NPR coverage of whatever it was, but adding a link to - where the book or music could be found, what I thought about it, etc.  {of course, things I found intriguing on NPR often cost me a bit of money, because I'd find myself pulling into Barnes & Noble to 'just pick that one up'.  ha!}

In the case of  Princess Magpie's blog, the answer was equally crystal clear:  YES!  I find mixed media art to be - intriguing, mysterious, simple and clean, busy and complicated, freeing, child-like and yet mature, and for me, mixed media art is an answer to my creative prayers.  God listened when I told Him that I missed - the creative process.   As a (then) retired interior designer, it was December 2008 when I began searching for "mixed media art classes in San Diego", and happened across an old acquaintance, Jane LaFazio.  Come January 2009, I was enrolled in my first (of eventually, four!) multi-week series with Jane and the rest is history!   (but all that's been covered in another blog post, over at

AND NOW, to the impetus for today's post.  This is the note I received from Rebecca via e-mail this week:

"Hi Davi,

I sent Olivia off to the post office today with about 5 priority mailing envelopes with CAbi samples in them. She asked me if the postage was taken care of (which it is about 99% of the time, since I am sending something back to CAbi with a postage paid label). I said, "Yes" and off she went. I was a little distracted.

A couple of hours later I get a phone call: "Hi Rebecca. This is Sandy from the post office......." Well, Olivia dropped off the packages but never looked at them (okay, that is something I would do). Sandy must have been busy, otherwise she would have informed Olivia.

So, before the packages were picked up by the driver, Sandy noticed that none of my packages had postage. She didn't have my phone number.

She googled my name and found a 2 year old blog (by you); the one where you talked about cleaning out your closet). You added a link to my CAbi web site and Sandy went there and found my phone number.

THAT'S service!! To say the least.

Sandy and I laughed about it. I told her to keep me on speed dial.

Well, what do I say? Isn't that wonderful? Thank you for mentioning me. You are an angel.

REBECCA OOSTRA  CAbi Fashion Consultant "

{you can link directly to Rebecca's CAbi webpage by clicking  right here: }

Even CAbi has a blog, and I love getting their link in my e-mail:

{and you can read the blog post from 2009 that led Sandy to Rebecca right here }

And that, my lovely friends, is another good reason to blog.  And when you blog, be sure to LABEL anyone and everyone that you've mentioned in that post, so that in querying someone's name or business, they have a chance to be discovered, like Rebecca was.  

In closing, I have to thank my dear friend, ANN DEAKERS 
 { }, for encouraging & inspiring me to blog in the first place.  She told me it would be easy-peasy and she was right (but then, Ann's always right!).   Thank you, Ann.   I'm sure Rebecca thanks you, too :-) !!!
And for anyone interested in blogging in a big, beautiful way, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of ARTFUL BLOGGING, published by Stampington ...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"March Morning - Montecito"

A few of our favorite things ...

plein air art ...
the California coast ...
Montecito, where we celebrated our wedding dinner ...
early California artist John Marshall Gamble (1863-1957 Santa Barbara, CA) ...

And as of this morning, this painting:   'March Morning - Montecito'.

This breathtaking work by Gamble will be on auction at John Moran Auctioneers (Altadena, California) and will go for an estimated $70,000/90,000.   And, in my opinion, worth every penny.

If money were no object, and if I didn't need a new car ... well, the first being the most necessary bit :-) ... this would hang where I could see it every single day for the rest of my life.

Visit John Moran Auctioneers on-line at to see more - they also auction estate jewelry and antique furniture.  Incredible, delicious things.

~~  Davielle

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the amazing TRACY PORTER bag giveaway !!!

oooh, you have to SEE the bag, right?   check it out:

wanna see the inside?   here you go:

And here's just one reason why I'm crazy for this purse:

... because it reminds me of the blooming California poppies in our yard, posed in front of our blue-trimmed garage windows.   LOVE LOVE LOVE IT -- don't you ???

Visit Tracy's blog to enter to win this gorgeous purse.

~  Davielle

P.S.   can you even believe I'm posting about this?  doesn't that dilute MY chances for a win?!   :-)

Tracy Porter One-of-a-Kind Bag Giveaway

I had to post this today - can you imagine a more magnificent bag to take when traveling? Talk about eye-popping color and style !!! Enter the giveaway over on the Tracy Porter blog (click the link, my pretties) and post your comment. Tracy will announce the winner on her blog TUESDAY, March 1st. Good luck to you all.

Tracy Porter One-of-a-Kind Bag Giveaway

~~ Davielle