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published in Beauty, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Travel by Maryanne | February 21, 2018 | 6 Comments

Hunkered Down in Hollywood


The Bohemian writer’s nook in my Hollywood VRBO

“In order to write about life first you must live it.”

– Ernest Hemingway

Hallo from the Road!

I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks. Sadie and I have covered an awful lot of ground and seen some pretty incredible sights & scenery, so I have really tried to only share the best of the best in terms of photos in this blog.

When I last posted (about the creepy massage), I was just about to leave Florence, Oregon and head to the Redwood Forest in Northern California.

Whoa…those trees are TALL! Here are few pics:

Sadie (the red speck to the right) in the Redwoods

Just a note to anyone thinking of visiting the Redwood Forest with a pooch – there are very few trails that dogs are allowed on. Sadie and I got busted by a Park Ranger (a female one – bummer!) on one of our forest-forays. After that, she had stay in the car while I ran off into the woods on mini-hikes.

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always…From them comes silence and awe. They are ambassadors from another time.”

– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

And this is one of my favourite photos from the trip so far:

On the road…Northern California

And then after emerging from that forest, this is the sunset that greeted me at the ocean:

Then the next day, we hit Mendocino, Northern California:

After that, we headed to Berkeley (just east of San Francisco), where I met up with Ann Davidman, author of Motherhood: Is It For Me? It’s an excellent resource for women who are working through the “To be or not to be…a Mom?” decision. I reviewed the book last year. Ann had seen our documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood, which also explores that question, and then we connected on Twitter. So it was great to meet Ann in person…we gabbed for hours!

MA & Ann Davidman

Saturday night in Berkeley was spent reading Noam Chomsky’s latest book…not exactly light reading, let me tell you (but it was the perfect purchase from a Berkeley bookstore). As perhaps you can tell from Sadie’s concerned expression 🙁 Chomsky has much to say about climate change. But I shall save Noam’s comments for a future blog.

On a much cheerier note, in Santa Clara I met up with a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in far too long: Tina Maat-Kristensen! Tina was one of the participants in the Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood documentary. We gabbed for hours, too…such fun to reconnect! It was like no time had passed since we’d last seen each other – except, of course, for the significant changes in both our lives.

MA & Tina

The next day, I hit the road and made it as far as the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach – one of the most scenic drives in the world. They aren’t kidding! This is a neat shot of the famous old lone Cypress tree (to the right):

17 miles took us about 4 hours to drive because we had to keep stopping to check out the view!

Next on the agenda was a pit-stop at Carmel-by-the-Sea for a walk on the beach…and low and behold, Sadie met her twin, Riley. It was really weird! Riley’s owner was snapping photos as madly as I was because the resemblance was uncanny. But Carmel, I find, is a special place…John and I were there on our honeymoon way back when.

Then we got to visit the absolutely stunning Hearst Castle (the California “Ranch” of William Randolph Hearst) at San Simeon (about 4 hours south of San Francisco). WOW!

This is just the indoor pool (the outdoor Neptune pool is under construction):

Sadie and I then staggered south to Los Angeles and have spent the past week hunkered down in our oh-so-Bohemian Hollywood home. This VRBO is really neat. It is one house with multiple suites. The musician in the studio next to mine softly strums his guitar in the evenings…it’s lovely. Work-wise, I have been writing up a storm. Sadie has been exploring the delightful garden:

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.”

– Henry Ward Beecher

On breaks from work, I sit in the garden and soak up the sunshine…listening to the birds chirp. It is QUIET! I mention this (again) because of the irony that I endured seven years of disruptive noise in the tiny retirement town of Sidney, only to land in the heart of Los Angeles and be able to enjoy the garden without having to listen to traffic, pounding bass, band saws or video games.

We did venture out of Hollywood once…when Lani, Charlie and I took Kip & Sadie for a fun dog walk and chat.

Lani, Kip & Charlie

Lani Shipman is Nell Shipman’s great-granddaughter. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may recall that I have been working on a screenplay project (God’s Country) about Nell Shipman (she was a silent screen star, born in Victoria, BC) and over the years, I have been very fortunate to get to know her family.

Alas, we must leave our quiet writing oasis tomorrow and head to Oceanside (an hour north of San Diego)…where I shall turn FIFTY (on Fri Feb 23rd)! YAHOOO!!!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the photos and have a wonderful week!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” 

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

If you are just joining us on our Bohemian Writing Road Trip Adventure & would like to do a little catch-up reading 🙂 here are my previous blogs:

She Packed Up Her Potential…

Write On – Writing What We Know May Help Teach Us What We Need to Learn

On the Road…But Nearly Not

Surprise! Greetings from Newport

Is That a Dipstick in Your Pocket – Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Dipstick Theme Continues – Don’t Get Excited

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

published in Achieving Your Dreams, Beauty, Inspiration, Playwriting, Travel by Maryanne | January 24, 2018 | 16 Comments

Surprise! Greetings from Newport


Smiling Sadie

“Learn to recognize omens and follow them.”

– From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If it’s okay with you, I think I will return to blogging weekly on this road trip. Not only is the scenery spectacular, I dare say some interesting stories also seem to be emerging 🙂

After leaving Cannon Beach (I was a bit sad to leave our sweet little Sunflower Cottage), this was our first pit stop:

Hug Point, just south of Cannon Beach, OR

Then a couple of miles down the road, we had to stop again because THIS was the view:

Oregon coastline

A couple of hours later, we came to one of my all-time favourite places on the planet (which I visited a few  years ago but was grappling with nasty cluster migraines at the time…ugh):

Boiler Bay, just north of Depot Bay, OR

When I got back in the car, I remembered a comment from a WWOW reader (from last week’s blog) who suggested that I stop at the Tidal Raves Restaurant in Depot Bay for the world’s best crab cakes. I’m in!

So I google the address and low and behold, it was five minutes down the road. So I pull into the parking lot, belly up to the bar and order myself a round of crab cakes. All was calm while waiting for said crab cakes. I just sat there, minding my own business, watching the waves and sipping a coffee. And then the crab cakes arrived:

Crab cakes at the Tidal Raves Restaurant, Depot Bay

Yum! But it was what happened right after the crab cakes arrived (and I promptly began devouring them) that something interesting happened. The two older men who had been sitting beside me the entire time suddenly decided I was rather fascinating. They asked me where I was from, what I was doing, where I was going, etc.

They were in Depot Bay for a tennis tournament and were just waiting for the rest of their party to arrive for dinner. I asked where they were from.

“Ashland,” said one man.

Perhaps noticing my blank look, the other man asked me if I’d ever heard of Ashland, Oregon.

“No.” I said.

Then I was treated to an extensive description of where Ashland is (near the California border), why it’s so great (it has the world’s largest not-for-profit Shakespeare festival that runs for 9 months of the year and stages half Shakespeare plays and half everything else), which celebrities have homes there (Johnny Depp, Neil Donald Walsch and Bill Gates) and why I have to go (because of the vibe…it’s very special).

Now, here’s the odd thing: I didn’t tell them I was a writer, or that I was in the middle of writing a play or that I loved theatre. They just seemed to think that Ashland was very much a place I needed to check out.

After my crab cakes were devoured, the rest of their party arrived so they said good-bye and went to sit at the table. But a moment later, one of them raced back over to me, leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I am independently wealthy. I could live ANYWHERE in the world and I choose Ashland. You have to go!”

“Okay,” I said with a smile.

Then off he went to join his buddies. And I, stuffed with crab cakes, waddled back to the car and headed to my VRBO digs for the next week in Newport, a.k.a “Crab Cottage”:

My Newport VRBO, “Crab Cottage”

The lovely and spacious Crab Cottage is owned by a commercial fishing family. After the 300 square foot Sunflower Cottage in Cannon Beach, Sadie and I are losing each other in 1000 square feet.

Mr Crab stained-glass window on front door


The beach at the end of our street in historic Nye Beach


Yours truly on a break from writing

As with most of my writing projects, the Bungalow by the Sea play script is turning out to be a valuable (but rather uncomfortable at times) learning experience about life. As I try to make sense of my seven noisy years in Sidney, BC (albeit through the character of “Josie”), I thought this passage from The Alchemist to be rather apt:

“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that we learned along the way…so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved towards that dream.”

– Paulo Coelho

In hindsight, it’s almost as if the seven years I spent trying to write in the world’s noisiest bungalow by the sea was instrumental in me mastering the lessons I needed to learn for the next leg of my journey…which is now.

Sadie on Agate Beach, Newport, OR

“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better.”

– From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I’m not sure if I’ll be adding Ashland to my trip itinerary or not – but I’m definitely looking into it 🙂

That’s it from the peanut gallery…take care, thanks for reading & see you next week!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

published in Beauty, Christmas, Inspiration, Photos by Maryanne | November 7, 2017 | 4 Comments

Gifts Galore – Unicorn Rocked First Chance Show


Ella (sporting a unicorn headband) working the Pink Gazelle Cards booth

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

– Wayne Dyer

One Christmas Show Down, One to Go

This week’s travels have taken me back to where I started in Sidney, BC. Nov 4th & 5th was the First Chance Christmas Gift Show and we had our Pink Gazelle Cards booth set up for business!

MA & Ella in front of Pink Gazelle Cards booth, First Chance 2017

My main helper, Ella (my friends’ Dave & Heathe’s daughter) was a rock star salesperson. Her older sister, Paige, was sick this year so couldn’t help out. Thankfully Ella could…and she was awesome! She worked the entire show and we had a blast.

Another helper on Saturday was Harleigh (my friends’ Kristin & Jeff’s daughter).

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that I had a rather lousy attitude after last year’s First Chance show. I shared my rant in the blog, Browsers, Buyers & Banning Husband’s – Post Game Analysis of Craft Show.

However, now that I am a veteran vendor 🙂 I know what to expect: lots of looky loos and a few buyers here and there. Over the two days we actually did move a fair amount of product but because our items are inexpensive, it takes a lot of sales to bring in the big bucks. Our re-purposed Christmas cards for example are only $1 each. They get bought up pretty quickly, as people love the concept.

Re-purposed Christmas cards

We also sold re-purposed gift tags made out of old Christmas cards:

Re-purposed gift tags

New to our booth this year was re-purposed greeting cards (made out of old thank you and birthday cards, etc). They sell for $2 each and were quite popular.

Repurposed greeting cards

Also new to the Pink Gazelle Cards booth this year were these pretty little sand dollar ornaments (decorated by yours truly).

Sand dollar ornament


Sand dollar ornaments

The big seller at First Chance this year was the Wise Owl Wisdom inspirational quote cards. People really like these quote sets, as they make a great gift or stocking stuffer (or to keep for themselves).


The owl on the front of the card is a print of a painting by my niece, Melanie Pope.

Melanie’s Wax & Tissue prints (owls, goldfish, poppies, birds) are stunning and sold very well last Christmas, so I ordered more for this year. For a detailed description of the Wax & Tissue prints (and the process to make them) and to see more samples, you can check out this blog.

And here are a few samples:

Owl with big eyes


Owl with long beak


Orange Wise Owl


Little bird



The Wax & Tissue prints are 4 inches x 3 inches and sell for $7 each or 3 for $20.

And keeping with the family theme, we were also selling bath bombs made my niece, Laura Pope!

We also sold our photo greeting cards. The big sellers this year were the Vancouver Island cards and, of course, the dog cards!

Photo greeting cards

If you are interested in purchasing any PGP products…

These products can be purchased through the PGP on-line store

Re-purposed Christmas Cards (5 for $5)

Wise Owl Wisdom Inspirational Quote Cards ($7.95 for set of 30 or 2 sets for $14.95)

Photo Greeting Cards (5-pack for $19.95 – five themes available)

A Widow’s Awakening Creative Non-Fiction book by Maryanne Pope ($20)

These products can be special ordered by sending us an e-mail

Re-purposed Greeting Cards ($2 each)

Sand dollar ornament ($7 each)

Wax & Tissue prints (7 each of 3 for $20)

*There is free shipping on all products.

I thoroughly enjoyed working the First Chance Christmas Show this year. I loved making all the products throughout the year (or ordering them from others) and I was much more relaxed with the set-up (which can get a bit stressful because of the tight timeline on Saturday morning). And when there were slower periods, I took full advantage of this by snapping photos of the booth and products and then promoting the show (and our items) on social media. And low and behold, a few on-line orders came in!

Throughout the weekend, I found myself thinking about the quote by Wayne Dyer at the beginning of this blog: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” It really is true. We can’t make every creative endeavour a million dollar extravaganza. But with the right attitude, we can make our experiences far richer…for ourselves and those around us.

If you live in the Sidney area, we will have our Pink Gazelle Cards booth at the Last Chance Christmas Gift Show on Dec 9th & 10th.

That’s it for this week…have a good one! Next stop for this gypsy: Sadie and I are heading up-island to the Kingfisher Resort and then Qualicum Beach to tackle the Saviour play rewrite. Wish me luck!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life