Life is a Journey

I travel, I read, I write, I have other lives. But when I have a camera, I know that’s my country, my island.

Leos Carax

costa rica 3


I woke up this morning with allergies in full swing, which let me know Spring is in full progression.  Which means the weather is getting warmer and the Summer months are just around the corner.


The travel bug has hit, and it doesn’t help that my beautiful daughter, who lives in Costa Rica sends her breathtaking pics and posts them all over my social media page.

costa rica 1

Surviving on a budget like we do, can make the idea of a vacation seem financially daunting, and the  expense of travel can blow our budget through the sky and seemingly out of reach.  Here are some ideas, that might help this dream become more attainable and maybe the trip can be an adventure in itself!


The flight:   The cost of flying can be so unpredictable, and does require planning and shopping around for the best deals.  Spirit Airlines offers very low rates, the planes are smaller, so you are sitting closer to your neighbor, and if you are checking in luggage, they charge for every bag.  This is a good way to fly if you just have a carryon.  And since we are traveling on a budget, who needs all that luggage anyway?  Also, Spirit is a fairly new airline, and has minimal destinations, but they are continually adding new stops.  I actually used Spirit in the past to get to Chicago, and my daughter used Spirit to get to Costa Rica.  The flight is a little rough, but the staff is very friendly.

I also came across  It works basically like or  Just put in your destination and dates and it spits out a list of airlines and prices.  Speaking of Priceline, if you aren’t committed to a time frame for your vacation, you can use the Name your Price option to get that flight on the cheap.


Getting around:  Renting a car can get expensive and inconvenient, and taxis run up the budget meter in no time flat; check schedules for local transportation, like the bus or transit system- it can be exhilarating!   In some areas they offer moped or bicycle rentals for short journeys, much easier to maneuver especially in an unfamiliar town or country.   Each town is different as far as local transport.  I couldn’t find a one stop shop for this, it all depends on where you are going; just look up local transportation for that area.

motor scooter

Where to stay:  This can be an adventure on its own!  There are many options out there for the thrifty traveler; Hostels can be a great way to meet new people. In Europe, this is very common; sharing a room and facilities with others.  They can be same sex or mixed, depending on your preference., and are some of the websites I found to reserve your bunk. is also another option.


If you really want to be boho chic, there is couch surfing.  This is basically staying in someone’s home and ‘sleeping on their couch’.   I know some hippie chicks that have done this.  Just carry your back pack and travel across country and couch surf on a student’s budget.  There are websites you can register to be a host or to find a couch to sleep on.  Of course, safety is a priority.  Sites like have a page dedicated to safety.

couch surf (3)

If you plan on staying somewhere for a while and want to save your pennies; there is the option of house sitting.  You basically stay at their house for free while they go on vacation, and take care of their animals, garden, etc.  I  know a retired woman who does this and has for years.  She has stayed all over Europe and parts of the States.  Each job can last a week up to a few months. is a good place to start if this is the way to go.


There are so many options out there to travel on the cheap.  Just a little creativity and an adventurous spirit can send you on your way to a memorable vacation!

With Hugs and Hope




In Memory of Theodore ‘Mr. Pickles’ Hawkes

We miss you Theo

Diane's Thrifty Cupboard

He protected her

as valiantly as a Prince of Honor;

Following along every journey she travelled

alongside without a care, shielding her from the darkest of nights

Keeping her comforted and warm

as his playful spirit kept a subtle smile in her heart.

Now the Prince must travel onward

Though his memories will always stay

And She must always remember; Her noble Theo

Is faithfully watching over her from the heavens above

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February 14, 2018

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

George Orwell

social media

I’ve been watching social media all day today.  I have seen this story before; 8 times before, to be exact.  But, for some reason, today, this story grabbed me.  Hard.  I went through every headline newsstory regarding these families and their nightmare.  Being a mom, my heart sank.


I have a very strong conviction of my beliefs in the war on gun control.  I even vented on a post today,that probably wasn’t the proper place to vent.  I should keep my mouth shut, until it is time to speak.

we the people

The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution gives us the Right to Bear Arms.   It is my belief that right comes with very high responsibility.


Gun safety.


Trigger locks and gun safes.


Teaching respect of the weapon with family and home.



I was blessed with knowing  a dear person  for over 20 years.  He was part of the family.  He never married, but had a heart of gold and would do anything for us, and we him.  I remember a time when my babes were actually babes; my husband at the time, talked him down off the mountain.


In 2014, I lost that friend.  It was also news worthy.  A rifle was involved.


This kid that is responsible for this tragedy lost both of his adopted parents within a year.  He moved in with some family friends.


Stopped his therapy.


I remember when there were health hospitals for the emotionally struggled.  Probably the worst idea the medical science foundation ever had (top ten, anyway);  so the government decides to just trash can the whole idea, and let people that really need care, give them lots of prescriptions and throw them out on the street.


Instead of taking that foundation and making it work.


I don’t think the issue is gun laws.


I think we need to stop pointing fingers and work together to find a solution.


With Hugs and Hope


Finding Comfort

The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.

Norman Cousins


It was a beautiful sunrise; she could feel the warmth creeping over her makeshift bed from the comforter with red and gray flower designs of a trend gone past.  Her backpack that was filled with her most prized necessities, made a perfect pillow.

find comfort sunrise

Wondering what day it was, got up-put her shoes on, rolled up her bedding and wandered to the nearest gas station, so she could rinse off the days gone past.; feeling the urgent, familiar gnaw in her belly.



She walked to the area of divergence as the bite of the morning chill overcame her.  She pulled her jacket around her with more intent to ward off the frosty morning.  She found her usual perch, saw the familiar faces of those that come looking for a fix, or the schizophrenic carrying on, or the walking man, that just walks, all day long.

woman 5


She waits patiently for night to come.  Maybe she will get lucky today, and enough passersby’s will give her enough change, so she can get 4 tacos from the nearby taco stand.  Those damn panhandlers that stand on street corners and gas stations- they ruin it for us folk that just want a bite to eat.

She doesn’t dare go to the mission or outreach-they just take without permission.

Finally, the sun is setting.  She walks over to the usual lamp post on the corner and waits for just the right one.

find comfort lamp

Here he comes, in the light blue Beamer, head to the usual motel, where this is common.  She devours her fish and chips and asks, as he stares at her in awe, “Are you gonna eat that?”  She finishes both plates, proceeds to the shower.  As the water runs over her malnourished body, she washes away the hunger, cold, sadness, even if only for a few moments.

find comfort bath

Hangs her freshly washed garments on the towel rack to dry; takes a long whiff of the clean bathrobe while memories briefly flood in.

find comfort blankie

She shakes it off, walking reluctantly and climbs into bed as the robe falls to the floor.

For a night, she will find comfort.

Earls Nilo-Making a Statement


We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Can one man’s dream make a difference?


I choose not to watch the news-especially what is posted on Social Media.  Folks just have such a strong opinion one way or the other; and just because it is written-doesn’t make it true.

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On my way to work today, I overheard a conversation with a young kid, in his twenties, I would assume – and an older gentleman.  Earls Nilo wanted to know the best  place to promote his sign, which said “Single”.  No, he wasn’t looking for a date.  He was making a statement.

As I listened, I started to understand what he was trying to do.


single 6


I Have a Dream


Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1968. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.


King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama. He also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.


On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and the SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, he expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”.

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People’s Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee.


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Socialism in the US?


The history of socialism has its origins in the French Revolution of 1789 and the changes which it wrought, although it has precedents in earlier movements and ideas. The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 just before the Revolutions of 1848 swept Europe, expressing what they termed “scientific socialism”. In the last third of the 19th century, Social Democratic parties arose in Europe, drawing mainly from Marxism. The Australian Labor Party was the world’s first elected socialist party when the party won the 1899 Queensland state election.


In the first half of the twentieth century, the Soviet Union and the Communist parties of the Third International around the world mainly came to represent socialism in terms of the Soviet model of economic development, the creation of centrally planned economies directed by a state that owns all the means of production, although other trends condemned what they saw as the lack of democracy. In the United Kingdom, Herbert Morrison said that “socialism is what the Labour government does” whereas Aneurin Bevan argued that socialism requires that the “main streams of economic activity are brought under public direction”, with an economic plan and workers’ democracy.  Some argued that capitalism had been abolished.  Socialist governments established the mixed economy with partial nationalisations and social welfare.


By 1968, the prolonged Vietnam War (1959–1975) gave rise to the New Left, socialists who tended to be critical of the Soviet Union and social democracy. Anarcho-syndicalists and some elements of the New Left and others favored decentralized collective ownership in the form of cooperatives or workers’ councils. At the turn of the 21st century in Latin America, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez championed what he termed socialism of the 21st century, which included a policy of nationalisation of national assets such as oil, anti-imperialism and termed himself a Trotskyist supporting permanent revolution.



A Slave to the Corporate Machine

Have we lost focus on what is important?


Television Programming- on any given day, I would bet that the average person knows more about the Kardashians than how many homeless people there are in America.

BTW, in 2017 it was 554,000.

single 5


People chasing the status quo-fancy cars, name brand purses, shoes, jewelry, make-up for ridiculous prices.  Credit card debt grows higher and higher.  American consumers are over 1 trillion dollars in debt.  The ever growing need to ‘have it all’; and now each and every one of us is stuck on the great hamster wheel of life, the vicious cycle of working for the machine, so we can pay off the machine.

When does it end?

It takes a village to make it work-what happened to love for humanity?


Maybe Earls is on to something here…..

With Hugs and Hope


This story is written from the eyes of Earls Nilo.


Information on Martin Luther King, Jr and the History of Socialism were acquired from Wikipedia.

Stats on

Consumer debt in


Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.

Paulo Coelho


I have made myself a little nook by the kitchen window in-between the dishwasher and the coffee pot; a perfect place to sit and watch the goings on as I have a smoke and drink my coffee before the household wakes up and a new day begins- Took the pups out for a very quick morning walk, as none of us like the chilly air first thing.

my sunset

In my quest to find full time employment, I received more training in another field; got a 98 on my certification exam and now have income working for a tax office.

finding me main

My daughter came back home after 7 years of being on her own.  College Degree and living the Big City Life

 – that society conditions us to be our great dream-.

Found out she didn’t like it so much, and is home to decompress before she goes off on her new adventure.


Our tiny one bedroom apartment, the size of a small suite if you stayed at a Super 8 or something equivalent; 3 adults and 2 pint sized dogs.  Mixed in with income still not quite coming in at a steady stream, but enough to get by


It has been a great adventure, stretching our pantry as far as it can be stretched.  I have learned to make yeast bread from scratch, lots of chocolate chip cookies (my daughter’s favorite) and the recipes remembered from child-hood that fill tummies and hearts with sustenance and memories.



We made the living room up ‘dorm style’ so my daughter and I would have our own space to sleep and do our thing, (my son in the bedroom) with a shared chest of drawers in the middle.  A few bar stools and a chair to sit in for meals or to sit in the smoking cubby.



The second week my daughter was here, my pooches being of the nervous nature, both got a bout of flux, and without having laundry facilities nearby,  became quite the mess.  A day when my son was home from work, we utilized the one vehicle and drove to a nearby laundry so sort out the mess on all of our bedding.


We survived the Holidays without too much of a hitch.  My neighbor lost his job; he has his mate, daughter and 4 grandchildren in his suite.  I apportioned as much as I could to help them get by, and helped them find pantries to fill in the gaps.

laundry cute

It has been nearly 6 weeks since my daughter came home.  She leaves in 4 days on her quest to find her niche-  Costa Rica, a marketing position for a travel agency that volunteers their time for the local animal sanctuaries and habitats.

 A perfect place for a 25 year old to find herself. 

As the winter break unwinds and pocketbooks get thin, laundry and dishes pile up; dog toys chewed into bits.  Water bottles and coffee cups litter the table tops and corners of any space left available; my feeble attempt to wash necessities in the bathtub and hang them to dry on the railings of the catwalk of our side of the building.


In the midst of all this chaos, my daughter taught herself the Ukulele.  Merely a month ago, taking her a while to tune the strings, and now- mashed up 2 songs and gave it her own unique twist.  “Riptide” and “I’m yours. “ All that is left is a Led Zeppelin riff, of course.


The apartment will seem empty and still when she leaves.  My daughter, Chaos and Beauty all wrapped up in one being.  I will miss her, but I am always proud of her adventures- Her heart and eyes as big as her dreams.

With Hugs and Hope,


Giving Thanks

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

William Blake


I was walking my fur ones for their outside visit and I could smell feasts cooking and baking from all over the apartment complex; with anticipation of family and friends gathering around the harvest table to give thanks for the abundant year.


Thanksgiving has so many different meaning to different cultures and lives.  Oddly enough it has nothing to do with what they taught us in school.  Thanksgiving in the United States was first fixed in 1863, when US President Abraham Lincoln inaugurated a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”.


According to Wikipedia, Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

tgiving 8

Thanksgiving is one of the numerous harvest festivals that are celebrated around the world, not only in Christian societies – at different times, but roughly connected to the end of the harvest, and generally in autumn. Actually, the word “harvest” itself comes from the Old English hærfest, a word that could mean both autumn in general or “harvest time” in the agricultural calendar


Obviously, harvest festivals are very much dependent on the region you live in (and the crops you harvest). The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is held in late September or early October, the German Erntedankfest on the first Sunday in October.

In other cultures, Samhain would be the equivalent of Thanksgiving, as it celebrates the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of winter.


So, regardless of how you give thanks to the many blessings that have been given you, from my heart to yours, Happy Harvest Thanksgiving!


With Hugs and Hope