After a hectic, hectic first half of 2010 preparing for my “Legacy” art show in July and other art venues, and creating a metal studio and learning how to make half a dozen Amazon-sized garden sculptures, I just sat back and realized that I’ve taken four vacations in the last three months!  And what an improvement that has made in my spirit and emotional well-being!

First was a trip to Shelter Cove, along the north coast of California, mowing my dad’s many lawns at his house which overlooks the ocean.  Dad is no longer able to live there due to Alzheimer's Disease and every few weeks his wife’s family drives 5.5 hours from Sacramento to care for the property.  

So in July, my sister and boyfriend and I volunteered to make the “sacrifice” of doing some very difficult yardwork for many hours, looking at the ocean from the kitchen window, admiring the sunset while eating dinner, watching the stars so big and bright in a sky devoid of obscuring city lights, walking along black sand beach, eating the shrimp and fries basket in the tiny “town” of Shelter Cove, exploring the tidepools, and hiking in the Kings Wilderness area. 

And I brought 50 pounds of clay and made several nature-inspired wall hangings which will be unveiled at the Crocker Art Museum Holiday Art Show the weekend after Thanksgiving.

In early August, I bragged in my Spirituality and Art blog about not doing anything that I had planned to do (no clay, no newsletter writing, no blogging) at our annual vacation in Mendocino, CA, which is 1.5 hours or so south of Shelter Cove and two hours north of San Francisco, CA.  It was evident that I was starting to unwind from the frenetic pace I had set earlier in the year.

In mid-September, we went camping for several nights at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. We were within walking distance of a creek a long stone’s throw from our campsite.  We were near stands of redwoods five minutes from our campsite.

We hiked up to see waterfalls and stunning overlooks to the mountains surrounding Big Sur.

We drove down the coastal highway to visit Hearst Castle.

We went to another waterfall which can be seen from State Highway 1.

On the way back home, we walked around Carmel, CA, and looked at several art galleries.

The weekend after the Big Sur trip, we dressed up and drove back down south for the Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta on the Pacheco Pass, meeting my boyfriend’s daughter there.  They went on the huge swing and we ate traditional foods such  as the Toad in a Hole, huge artichokes, cottage pasties and the like.  My favorite African import store was there – “Upsan Downs” – so I got some more African bracelets.  

And I got my first tattoo at the Renaissance Faire, to the delight of my daughter-in-law who has been clamoring for us to go together and get tats; mine was only a henna tattoo that time, but I loved it and might make it permanent.

The last trip was to the Evergreen Lodge in the Yosemite area.  And what a treasure! The weather was record-breaking 100s in Sacramento and in the low-80s at Yosemite, which was PERFECT!  Lots of hiking through unimaginably beautiful and unusual countryside. Parts of the granite mountains looked like we were on another planet.

The sunsets from our room were magnificent.  And I cannot even describe the starry starry night above.  We even saw the Milky Way!

Have you ever been trapped in a life-sized spider web?  The Evergreen Lodge had lots of fun and artsy structures for kids of all ages.

So I took the Nature Cure and am renewed and ready to embark upon a new type of creativity.  

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I prescribe the Nature Cure!  I also donate 10% of all sales of my breast cancer survivor art jewelry to breast cancer research, so if you're interested, please take a look: http://www.kanika.us/1mastectomy_pp.htm

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