The Practice of Finding Joy Daily

We’re on Day 10 of our self-imposed quarantine, and we are healthy and I think handling things about as well as can be expected right now. Since last week’s blog, we’ve been getting a lot done:

  • We signed up for, recorded, edited and submitted a lecture & questionnaire as part of a new course on working from home.
  • We sent out an email to our ukulele list with a video lesson and all the materials needed to learn to play the song “Wagon Wheel”.
  • We created and completed about 2/3 of an “In Case of Emergency” doc that had been on our to-do list for several years, in the event that one of us becomes incapacitated and the other person has to step in for them.
  • We had lots of phone and video calls with friends and family.
  • We had a virtual Happy Hour with some of Jamie’s co-workers.
  • Ross played a lot of Animal Crossing.
  • Jamie took four yoga/meditation classes with great instructors.
  • Ross edited several podcasts & Jamie completed a week’s worth of virtual assistance for her clients.
  • We researched online food ordering options, put in our first orders & made decisions about how we’ll be proceeding in the near future.
  • We had a game night and played Sabacc (from Star Wars).

So despite lots of mind wandering and wondering about how we and those we love will be able to get through this, we’ve still been quite productive, and while everything is still surreal and frustrating and frightening, we’ve got a clear road map to follow as we move forward. And I think that’s the key for us. By having clear goals, a schedule (especially for Jamie) and taking time each day for gratitude, I think we’re going to get through this. And I hope and pray that you will too.

How are you getting through this? Any suggestions you’d share with others?

Take care and be well.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Things are changing. The arts can help.

Oof. What a week and what a month and year it’s been. First off, I’m sending a hug out to all of you. It’s virtual, so no germs, and it’s warm and real. Take care, please.

Ross and I are still in Florida. We’re hunkering down here for the duration. It’s inevitably going to get warmer and we’ll deal with that as it comes, but for now, we’ve got space enough for fresh air here at the park, everything we need (we have to share space for showers/mail/laundry but are otherwise independent and self-contained) and due to Jamie’s always be prepared tendencies and Ross’ frequent trips at her request, we’re well-equipped to hole up for a while.

We’ve lost our in-person gigs through April, and at this point, we anticipate we’ll likely lose our June and July gigs as well. Thanks to Jamie’s thriving virtual assistant business, Ross’ growing podcast editing business (starting a podcast? Let’s chat!) and some online music teaching, we are not panicked and should be able to support ourselves through this.

We’ve put ourselves into self-quarantine for two weeks (another week and a half to go) and though it felt overwhelming at first, like many of you, I imagine, it’s starting to feel like a new normal. Jamie’s having some really wacky, presumably auto-immune annoyances, but all things considered we’ve got tons to be thankful for and plenty to keep us busy.

Like many musicians, we’re embracing our online work & finding new ways to share the love during this challenging time. If you have a ukulele (or want to grab one on Amazon – we’ve got suggestions), get on our email list and we’ll send you free music lessons, ukulele arrangements and discounts and a first in line place to sign up for our group online classes. We’ve been hard at work at a recorded, learn at your own pace series, but due to COVID-19, we’ve decided to offer LIVE group classes as well. If you want to join the fun, head here to sign up!

We’re thankful for lots of virtual time with our family and friends, and we wish you all continued health (both mental and physical) and hope you’ll stay in touch.

Love from both of us, and take care. Have a great week! (Here’s a glimpse from our RV park two days ago.)

IMG_7891

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

In the Midst of Uncertainty

Hi everyone. In a flurry of activity this week, fielding emergency requests from clients, I let writing this blog get away from me a bit, but here it is, a few hours later than planned. This week has been a lot. This month has been a lot. And even in the best case scenario, it’s time to hunker down for a while and accept that things won’t be “normal” for quite a while.

Humbling, isn’t it? We live our lives feeling like we’re mostly in control of them, mostly, and then something like this comes along and we are questioning it all. Ross and I have our own anxieties, but we are truly sheltered from the worst, and even from most, of what others have been feeling this week. We lost a little income (my upcoming Broadway sing-along has been canceled) and we will likely lose more before this is over. But our income streams are diverse and mainly remote, which means that as long as we stay healthy enough, with strong enough internet, we can likely keep working and earning a living.

I’m doing a lot of praying and focusing a lot on gratitude. Gratitude to have enough food and supplies in our RV (my always be prepared tendencies meant we haven’t had to panic this week – such a blessing). Gratitude to have plenty of entertainment on hand, from books to instruments, and plenty of work to keep us busy and earning income. Gratitude to friends and family making the safest choices for them. Gratitude for the ability to stay connected with all of you in the face of uncertainty.

If you’re able, I hope you’ll keep taking walks outside. If you’re able, I hope you’ll make phone calls and send emails, just because. Appreciate each other, remotely or otherwise. Take it easy. And know that you are loved and appreciated, and we’re glad you’re here.

Take care, friends. If we can help you in some way, let us know. And stay strong. It will be worth it.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Five Fun Things at the Festival of the Arts

Let’s be honest – the main reason Ross and I are spending the winter and spring in Florida is that we want to go to Disney World. So it shouldn’t surprise you that attending the Festival of the Arts has been a priority for us.

If you’ve never been, we highly recommend visiting at least once. Here are five compelling reasons to try it!

1. Broadway Performers

Festival of the Arts, Epcot, FL | Ross and Jamie Adventure

I almost called the festival performers free, but then I remembered you paid a lot to get into the park. But however you think of it, you can see some outstandingly talented performers at Disney World, and during the festival, talented Broadway performers abound. If you have the chance, I highly recommend catching Heidi Blickenstaff like I did!

2. Tasty Food and Drink

Festival of the Arts, Epcot, FL | Ross and Jamie AdventureThere are some delicious treats during the festival. It’s harder to find gluten-free options than I’d like, but since I’m not celiac, I have more options than a lot of folks. One of my absolute favorite treats is trio of drinking chocolate! You’ll find this in the American pavilion. Adding alcohol is an option, but I’m a purist when it comes to drinking chocolate. 🙂

Festival of the Arts, Epcot, FL | Ross and Jamie AdventureRoss recently got one of Joffrey’s specialty coffees with a donut – he went for a white chocolate something or other and a red velvet donut that looked and tasted decadent, according to him. Super fun!

3. Amazing Artwork

Festival of the Arts, Epcot, FL | Ross and Jamie AdventureThroughout Epcot, you’ll find incredible originals and prints, much of it on a Disney theme and much of it just really beautiful and unique. This is the only time of year to see most of this work in person.

4. Meet the Artists, Be an Artist

You’ll also be able to experience art in a whole new way – meet and greet, grab signatures, watch artists at work and try your hand at creating, whether in a free workshop or one you pay for. Be sure to book ahead of time if you’re interested in a workshop!

5. Experience Epcot With New Eyes

Festival of the Arts, Epcot, FL | Ross and Jamie AdventureOne of the best parts of festivals at Epcot is that everything just feels different. There are new things to see and do, and wandering through it all can take up a day or a half day of its own. The other benefit of this is that you may find the crowds are less busy than usual when you check out a ride. And if you hit big crowds somewhere, it’s fun to wander elsewhere instead.

Have you been to Epcot’s Festival of the Arts? I’ve been to three of the four they’ve had so far, and I’ve really enjoyed them. What did you think? And if you haven’t been, what would you be most excited to check out?

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Present Over Perfect

Present over perfect. I’ve started reading this book, and I almost could have written it myself.

When we decided to take this journey, my physical and mental health were near a breaking point. I was ready to find a new way, though I imagined it was going to be a temporary break.

Over time, I’ve come to realize just how exhausted I was, and just how much I’d overdone things. It doesn’t matter that I usually get eight hours of sleep – it wasn’t enough.

And now that we’ve created this amazing, almost sustainable life for ourselves, I’m working harder than I have in many years, and I have to keep checking in with myself, making sure I’m not overdoing it. But things feel so different. I’m grounded. Even on a busy day that could be stressful, I take the time for breathing, for walking, for myself and even when the obstacles get thrown at me, I remain continually, pleasantly surprised and thankful that I feel comfortable and capable.

Present over perfect. I just started this book, but I couldn’t resist a reflection. And a recommendation. Celebration, FL | Ross and Jamie Adventure

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

 

Family Fun and Feeling Sick

The bad news? We are still sick! I’ve managed to fight it off pretty well, but Ross has been really hit hard by this thing. He saw a doctor today and was told the sore throat is caused by a sinus infection…so he’s on meds for that. Super annoying.

The good news? We felt healthy over the weekend, so we got out to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, and on Sunday, we had a delicious meal and visit with my dad and his wife at Bird of Paradise in our favorite part of Orlando. Amazing fresh food, great desserts in the same shopping area and of course excellent company.

I’ve been well enough to work and mostly walk outside daily, so that’s been great, and we are thankful to have what we need to get through illness, frustrating as it is.

This weekend I’m leading a musical theater performance and history workshop for adults – it should be a blast!

We are seeing great growth in our virtual businesses, and we are gaining clarity on our next steps. We have so much to be thankful for.

Also, a special shoutout to my brother Scott and his partner Kailey – our Christmas gift is amazing and we will share it as soon as we have a place to hang it.

Hope you all have an illness-free week! Bird of Paradise, Orlando, FL | Ross and Jamie AdventureBird of Paradise, Orlando, FL | Ross and Jamie AdventureBird of Paradise, Orlando, FL | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Progress and Passion

It’s been a good week. This, despite both Ross and I battling illness (again). We’ve been plugging away at our respective jobs and projects, and while nothing is complete, we’ve seen some progress along the way.

Today we had one especially fun thing happen. A national news station reached out to us about Ross’ ukulele work with older adults!

Now, this wasn’t technically out of the blue, because I’d sent about twenty five unsolicited pitches in the fall. But this was the first positive response we got!

We don’t currently have a class, so no news yet, but if they covered the program, it could greatly increase the rate we can book the program at.

It was also a nice pat on the back to say yes, you’re doing good work and yes, people can recognize that.

So between that and my work on a musical theater workshop, there’s lots to be excited about this week.

I will leave you with a few photos from the campground. Have a great week, and thanks for reading!

Davenport, FL | Ross and Jamie AdventureDavenport, FL | Ross and Jamie Adventure

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Happy New Year and Next Steps

Wow, it’s hard to believe 2019 is ending and 2020 is beginning! We have managed to fit so much into this year, it’s really been a banner year for us. So here are some of the highlights of where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished this year, with a few musings for the future.

We started the year off in New Mexico, and we actually spent almost six months there, with ample time in Tularosa/Alamogordo and Deming, where we threw down routes with a state park pass for hiking and history and trips to Tucson, AZ (the desert museum is always our favorite), El Paso, TX (free theater, yoga and flying out of the airport to NH), Las Cruces, NM (ukulele festival and of course all of the free museums and parks) and Silver City, NM (performing, good eats, amazing shops and ice cream). We also spent time in neighboring cities, including a few visits to Roswell to perform, explore and eat excellent ice cream. In May and June, we shifted north, basing ourselves south of Albuquerque mainly, with visits to ruins, time in Taos (the best chocolate ice cream ever!), Santa Fe art explorations for our anniversary and of course a full week falling in love with Albuquerque during the Senior Olympics. We performed a lot throughout New Mexico, with the anchor being at yoga studios, which meant meeting people and, for Jamie, lots of free yoga classes!

At the end of June, we headed north, dusting off our Harvest Hosts path rather than going the campground route, and fell in love with new parts of Colorado, including Pueblo, Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs and a variety of Denver suburbs, with an RV park bordering a huge park perfect for Jamie’s walks. While staying there, Jamie flew to Slovenia, and while Ross’ promised work fell through, he took advantage of the location to see more of the music and comedy scene in Denver and get further work done on his ukulele course. We also performed together in Denver at Your Mom’s House.

After Jamie returned, having said her goodbyes to her grandfather, it was a quick dash out of Colorado, with the next month spent exploring Boulder, CO (complete love and wonderful performing experience!) and a visit to Tillamook and the coast for a few days. We also stayed at a winery with hookups, washer dryer, an open schedule and the nicest people imaginable, and our Tillamook location was perfect for the beach and had absolutely amazing food and drink for purchase.

From Boulder we enjoyed the gorge as we headed north (oh, we also boondocked on the gorge, just amazing!) and spent wonderful time with family in the Eastern part of the state. They catsat for us while we spent almost a week in Seattle, having an absolutely incredible time with Jamie’s cousin, enjoying a Star Wars stage show, outstanding ice cream and our first pho in addition to a great performance. We also fell in love with Seattle, made easier with a gorgeous week of weather, and Ross bought a new game system. When we returned to Ross’ family, via some delicious ice cream, we had some RV trouble, and a generous gift made it easy to get back on the road quickly.

Then it was time to head back. We spent a great night at a brewery in Missoula (with okay beer but tasty seltzer and a great location), and Jamie and Ross went into the town and walked her old haunts, getting ice cream too of course. The next day, Jamie got a call that her grandfather had passed away and the funeral would be in four days. So it was time for quick decisions.

While Ross would take a more typical pace across the country, with a stop to see friends in Iowa, Jamie raced, loading up on a gluten-free bagel sandwich with lox in Missoula, MT before departing at noon Wednesday. She made it with minutes to spare to an 11 a.m. funeral on Saturday in New Hampshire! She also got some tasty ice cream and a nice walk in Wisconsin as well as tons of city driving experience along the way. Ross’ mom acted as her travel agent, booking motels as needed on her path.

Jamie was reunited with Ross and Squeak about a week later, and the fall was full of teaching artist work (ukulele for Ross, theater improvisation for Jamie), performing for yoga and at Amphora (so much delicious food and drink!), teaching, socializing and of course producing the musical Goblin Market at the Hatbox Theatre.

After a full fall, with amazing Hatchland soft serve and Sweetly Offbeat gluten-free cheesecakes, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving together before heading south. We spent time with Ross’ sister and husband and Jamie’s cousin and wife and new baby, visited an awesome cheap winery, had an incredible visit to Savannah where Ross declared we could move there based on the dessert cafe alone and then made it all the way to central Florida, where we are now, in time to visit Galaxy’s Edge, eat a cookie butter sundae and eat a s’mores sandwich, amongst other things, at Disney World before year’s end.

We’ve accomplished a lot this year. We’ve quadrupled our virtual income. We’ve seen tons of bucket list places and found several new places we’d consider moving to. We produced a show we are incredibly proud of.

We also hit a few snags along the way, as Jamie learned the importance of narrowing her focus as a VA and of putting excellent business management practices in place to make her as successful as she can be. Meanwhile, a ukulele course we’d hoped to finish in quarter one is still in process a year later. We’ve also had to let some of our projects, like this blog, slide sometimes to meet our deadlines. But we’ve learned a lot, grown a lot and truly accomplished a lot along the way.

Thank you to everyone who has taken lessons from us and hired us for work this year. Thank you for all of the generous gifts and for cheering us on along the way. We’ve passed the three year mark and while our path is still somewhat unclear, we are narrowing in on next steps as we prepare to settle somewhere, at least part-time, in the relatively near future.

As we gear up with ambitious plans for growth and fun in 2020, we thank you and wish you an incredible year. Happy New Year!

Ross and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie Adventure

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Escaping New England in the Nick of Time

Hard to believe it’s already December! After a fantastic and successful run of Goblin Market in New Hampshire, we escaped just barely ahead of a big snowstorm and are currently visiting with friends and family in North and South Carolina.

To be honest, we are still in recovery mode. This fall was really exhausting, and on top of our myriad projects, I’ve been putting in major hours in my growing virtual assistant business, with Ross assisting with graphic design, audio and video where called for.

With the show behind us, we are free to get back to a sense of normalcy, which will really sink in once we get to Florida for the winter. We’ve been dealing with lots of RV and car issues, but otherwise we are relatively healthy and happy to be with people we love. We are really looking forward to our visit to Disney World and to settling in for a while.

We are making a decision soon on a possible project in the spring. Besides that, life is a question mark. We are hoping to build our income enough to support a move to the Pacific Northwest, at least part-time, but it will probably take us at least another year, and possibly 2-3, for that to be financially viable. We plan to keep the RV and travel at least part-time.

So thanks to everyone who takes lessons from us, hires us for editing, virtual and creative work and to you for reading this. We so appreciate your support and interest in this project we call life.

Here are a few photos from our recent travels. Ross and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie Adventure

As of this writing, we’ve settled in Florida for the winter. Our favorite park has greatly increased their prices, but we are near the happiest place on Earth, so who are we to complain? We are enjoying our holidays and staying put.

Wishing you all the best this holiday season and always!

_______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.