Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Desert Adventure - Part 2

When was the last time you slept in a tent, on the ground, with naught but a thin pad, even thinner air mattress, and sleeping bag for comfort? If it hasn't been in the past few years, you may not appreciate the paucity of deep REM sleep that Your Faithful Correspondent experienced during his recent Desert Adventure. The coyotes didn't bother me; in fact, their howling was rather seductive, sleep-wise. It may have been the rocks under me and the near freezing temperatures that kept me awake, or perhaps the thought of the new king-size bed that My Lovely Bride was enjoying back home without me... In any case, we awakened to a crisp, beautiful desert morning with the sun starting to warm our campsite. After getting our butane stove going and boiling water, we enjoyed a gourmet breakfast; seriously... Starbucks Via instant coffee (tastes just like fresh-brewed) followed by Mountain House freeze-dried "breakfast skillets" actually made a very tasty meal. The skillet dishes had the added benefit of being packaged in foil-lined bags with zip-lock tops, so you can eat them right out of the bags and then dispose of the bags into the trash... the only clean-up required was wiping down our sporks (a spoon/fork combo, designed to save weight).

Lack of clean-up was especially important out in the desert, because there were only five sites to obtain water in Joshua Tree National Park, which covers approximately 1,234 square miles. That is one water source for each 247 square miles. Due to the scarcity of water, there are no flush toilets or showers in any of the campgrounds. I had thought about bringing a hand-operated water purifier in case we found small pools of rainwater amongst the rocks, but the rangers advised that what water existed "in the wild" was meant to be saved for the animals. Made sense to me; surely Wiley Coyote needed a drink more than I needed another Starbucks Via... it did make for problematic personal hygiene, but I figured Liz was an experienced backpacker and could always move her tent upwind if I got too ripe.

As we walked around after breakfast, we saw this sign. My first thought was, "Hey, neat! They might not have water here, but the Park Service provides Wi-Fi. That's very gracious of them." Liz didn't mind being off the grid for a week, but I wanted to check my email for love notes from Suzanne. So, iPhone in hand, I followed the arrow, and found... an amphitheater.  Duh....

Our next hike was to 49 Palms Oasis, in Joshua Tree's Wilderness area. Here Liz is adjusting her trekking poles to the correct length. They would be very helpful in the steep trail ahead. The trail guide warned, "Last year there were five helicopter rescues and 8 carry-outs from the 49 Palms Oasis Trail. Be careful." We found the trail rocky, but not overly strenuous; the trekking poles were most helpful on the downhills, when we were moving from rock to rock. Without them, you could easily become unbalanced and twist an ankle (or worse).

Cowboys and prospectors stumbled across this relatively lush group of desert fan palms (Washintonia filifera) thriving at the base of a mountain where a small spring, located along a geologic fault line, provides a constant water source. These palms stand 75 feet high and live for 80-90 years. Before Europeans arrived, the Cahuilla tribe lived near here, ate the palm fruit and used the fronds for huts. Coyotes, bighorn sheep, and birds also eat the palm fruit, and help spread seeds around in their droppings.

Along the trail, we met fellow hikers Ursula and Ulrich Niederer from Switzerland. They are a delightful couple who are visiting the US for a month or two. They live in Basel and don't even own a car; they travel by bicycle and train and rent cars at their destination. They gave us some hints about hiking from hut to hut in the Swiss Alps; this trip is on my "bucket list", and I hope one day to look up the Niederers in their spectacular homeland.

This was the view on the return leg of the trail. The desert at upper right in the photo is part of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center, the largest Marine Corps base in the world. It stretches over 998 square miles, larger than some small countries, and has about 8,000 full-time residents. Marines, including our Susan, have trained here since 1953. The terrain includes high desert from 1,400 to 4,500 feet elevation, mountains, valleys, ancient lava flows, dry lake beds, and arroyos (wadis), just the sort of training environment needed in our post-9/11 world. The center is not open to the public, since Marine air and ground units conduct live fire exercises there. Because of the Christmas holidays, there was no training going on while we were at Joshua Tree National Park.

After the 49 Palms Oasis trail, we moved to a more challenging venue, a boulder field guarding a small valley. We didn't expect to make it to the top, since we had no technical climbing gear or ropes; we just wanted to see how far we could get. The boulders you see here range from 4 feet to 20 feet in diameter, and the climb up can be torturously slow. Going down can be much faster if you slip... Just the day before, a hiker had broken her ankle here and had to be Medevac'ed out. While we didn't make it to the top, we succeeded in avoiding any injuries.

The access route to this hike was through a sandy arroyo guarded by spiny bushes. Because it had warmed up, this Valiant Hiker had shifted from long pants to shorts, perhaps not the wisest move he had ever made; he is moving quite carefully through the stickers, and his hiking companion was laughing at him as she took this picture... not much compassion there!

Our last hike of the day was on the Boy Scout Trail, which wends its way over mostly flat desert (Danke Gott!) into the mountains on the horizon. It was much easier hiking. But the shadows were lengthening; sunset came around 4:30 PM, so we made a U-turn before reaching the big rocks ahead.

Back at camp, we arrived in time to watch these rock climbers on a 5.11 route. Joshua Tree NP is a world class climbing area. Climbs are rated from Class 1 to Class 5.15. The 5.11-5.15 bracket is described thusly: "The realm of true experts; demands much training and natural ability and, often, repeated working of a route." Back in my 20s, I did some Class 3 and a couple of 4's, but have never had the skill level to try any 5 level routes.

My Adventuresome Daughter Elisabeth does rock and ice climbing in the mountains of Virginia, Maryland, and New Hampshire, but I convinced her that we should just hike this trip and not risk any serious rock climbing. Thankfully, she acquiesced. (Phew! That was close...) Here she is by the sign describing the climbing routes she wished Her Old Dad could have climbed with her. Note the heavy jacket, stocking cap, and hands in pockets. It was just sunset and the temps were already in the mid-40s. They were to drop to 35 that night.

Sunset arrived, and we had a quick dinner before the temperature dropped even more. As Liz was heating water for our gourmet freeze-dried lasagna, the surrounding mountains took on an eerie appearance, with Venus brightly shining above the near-black peaks.

We lit a campfire to help combat the cold. It was only partially effective for an hour or so before we had to retreat into our tents, out of the wind. I hoped that this night's sleep would be better than the last... unfortunately, it was not to be. After reading for a couple of hours, I got maybe 4 hours of sleep, awaking around 3:30 and dozing off and on until 6. (This is getting hard on my old body!) Stay tuned for the final episode of our Desert Adventure in a couple of days!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Desert Adventure Part 1

Well, the short answer is yes, I survived a week-long tent camping/hiking trip to the desert with My Lovely Daughter Elisabeth. The story unfolds.... I flew from MCO (Orlando) to PHX (Phoenix) and met Liz, and we took the shuttle with our 50 pound backpacks, tents, daypacks, carry-ons and camera bag to the rental car center. I had reserved an economy car, but had neglected to ask what kind of economy car... I foolishly expected a small four door car. Imagine my surprise when I found out that they planned on giving me a Fiat 500 that looked smaller than a VW Beetle. Okay, so I adopted the classic guy's solution: throw wads of money at the problem. Off we drove in a 4 wheel drive Ford SUV...

We arrived in Twentynine Palms, CA in the Mojave Desert late in the evening, and rather than setting up camp in the dark, stayed the night at the Marine Corps base's BOQ. (I figured it would be also be the best night's sleep of the week. I was right.) The next morning we had brekkie and did some last minute food shopping at the base exchange. Liz wanted some beef jerky. I didn't think the selection was very good at all... (It seems that young Marines carrying 100 pounds of pack, weapons, ammo and other gear get hungry out in the desert.)

Then off to Joshua Tree National Park and the Panorama Loop trailhead for a 6+ miler that promised great views and a modest 1000 foot elevation gain. Oh, but the trail guide also stated that "The majority of trail passes through deep sand. Plan travel time accordingly." Here is Liz starting our hike trudging through, yes, deep sand... I guess it was better than deep camel droppings... You may also note the very bright sunshine out here. The air is very clear, and sunglasses were a necessity - the glare was intense.

The flora here is very, well, deserty... it's mostly cactus, like this cholla variety. The spines on this devilish plant are about two inches long, enough to penetrate your clothing and skin and maybe come out the other side. The advantage is that the cholla doesn't have many natural enemies, so it is everywhere! The guides recommend staying on the trails and not traveling cross-country. Good advice... can you imagine running into one of these beasts in the dark?

After an hour of slogging through the sand, we were actually glad to get to the steep sections of the trail, because they were mostly rock, rather than sand. Here is Liz approaching the crest of the trail. As you can see, vegetation is rather limited - cactus and the ubiquitous Joshua Trees. You may also note that my daughter (the small figure at lower left) is far ahead of me. I will ascribe the distance to her much younger age, but in fairness, she is in amazing shape, and participates in adventure races (run, bike, and kayak) and mud runs. (And I thought I was adventuresome!)

The Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifola) was named by Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave in the 19th Century. The widespread arms reminded them of the Biblical story of Joshua lifting his arms to Heaven in prayer. This particular tree is much fuller than most, and was probably the best example we saw during our stay in the desert.

Near the summit, we found these four small heart-shaped cacti, protected by rocks, right in the middle of the trail.

The view into the back country was impressive, reminiscent of the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. The mountain range in the background is probably 30-40 miles away; the visibility up in the high desert is incredible.

This photograph is provided to prove that I actually made it to the top of this trail. I think I had just asked Liz, "Okay, where's the doggone Starbucks?" I could have used a piece of iced lemon pound cake and a caramel macchiato at this point.

This flower (blossom?) caught my eye with its shape and color. Unfortunately, I didn't get its name... (flowers and plants have never been my strong point).

After our hike, we headed to the Indian Cove campground, which is very popular among rock climbers and birders looking to sight the elusive LeConte's thrasher (unfortunately, we didn't see one). Campsites are situated next to the rocks like the one shown here. Some of these "rocks" are 150 feet high. Of note, the San Andreas Fault bounds the southwest border of Joshua Tree National Park, and two other faults cross the park from west to east... let's hope there aren't many campers close to the rocks when "The Big One" hits...

Here is our "big tent", my 15 year-old 4-man REI tent that has served me well over the years. It looks a bit worn at this point, but like a Timex watch, "takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'". Actually, the largest population that has ever inhabited this small piece of nylon is two people, but you can also keep your packs inside comfortably, out of the weather. Okay, so "comfortably" my be a relative term... Liz hasn't yet set up her small, two-person tent, which weighs about half the weight of the big one, much more sensible for backpacking.

Sunset in the desert comes early and fast on the winter solstice, especially when you're surrounded by mountains and big rocks. The colors, though, never fail to impress me. I first visited Joshua Tree in 1970, and slept on the ground under the stars (no tent), and listened to the coyotes howl. They were back again every night in Joshua Tree, never seen but vocal, lending a surreal voice to the seemingly empty desert.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Flute Choir; A Gift Pie; Chocolate Blob; Books Afoot; Green Eggs; Does Lotus Make You Sexy? Unity of Citrus Rocks; BEAT ARMY! Ice Fishing?

It has been a very busy week... Suzanne's flute choir performed at the New Life Christian Church last week, and by all accounts, it was their best performance ever! The ladies were decked out in classy red and black outfits, and their music was heavenly. Several medleys of Christmas favorites were interspersed with some less well known pieces, and one of the favorites was a piece arranged by the flute choir's director, Christine Smith. Her husband Randy also got to perform in a duet with Christine, with him on the dulcimer. It was an evening of wonderful holiday music that was enjoyed by all of the 200+ attendees. We are already looking forward to their next performance in the Spring.

As the flute choir performance ended, we met our good friends Michelle and John, who had a surprise for me - Michelle had baked me a birthday apple pie - my very favorite, and her first apple pie. Let me tell you, if Michelle ever wants to get out of the real estate business into something far more creative and tasty, she should open up a bakery here in The Villages.

Here is a close-up of Michele's fabulous apple pie, which looked like a work of art. I almost regretted having to cut it. Almost. Okay, to be honest, I didn't regret it at all. It was The Perfect Apple Pie. Thank you again, Michelle!

Speaking of sweets, My Lovely Bride made An Egregious Error the other day. We had gone for a hike, and she thoughtfully stuck a couple of Silver Bells (AKA Hershey Kisses) in her pocket for Her Wonderful Husband to enjoy when he got hungry. Regrettably (Error #1), she forgot to tell me about them or to hand one to me when I was indeed famished. Regrettably again (Error #2), she forgot to remove them from her pocket until she was doing the laundry. Fortunately, they didn't go into the wash. For those unfamiliar with the transformation of a perfectly shaped piece of chocolate into an amorphous blob, the attached photo is provided. The original bell-shaped object on the right is the "Before"; the lump on the left is the "After". I can personally attest, however, that the blob actually tasted pretty good, even after several days Having Gone Missing. I hope she has learned her lesson.  This cool "macro" photo was taken with my recent birthday present from My Lovely Bride, a Nikon D7000.  I am a very happy photographer.

The other day My Lovely Bride decided that she had to deliver a book to her new friend Jan, "just around the corner". She alerted me with, "Put on your walking shoes, sailor!" I of course replied, "Yes, ma'am." She donned a backpack, no doubt to show me that she, too, could carry a heavy load. (I didn't want to snicker that after all, it was just one book... I'm not that dumb.) After 10 minutes of fast power-walking, I asked, "I thought you said this was just around the corner." Her retort, "Well, a four mile round-trip isn't much, since you need to get into shape for your week-long backpacking trip in the desert with Liz next week." I couldn't argue that point... We finally arrived at Jan and Peter's house, where Suzanne autographed Jan's new book, and we received an unexpected invitation to dinner. Hey, this "Books Afoot" program has promise! Don't be fooled by the wire sticking out of Peter's ear; he's not a Secret Service agent, but rather a patent attorney, so that's probably his Bluetooth connection.

We arrived back for dinner to find Peter warming up his Green Egg. I had only seen this elegant barbeque device once before, and it is an impressive piece of kit. Weighing about 175 lbs., you need to arrange a crane and a second mortgage before you get can get one, but it is awesome! Peter was cooking planked salmon and red skin potatoes on it, and I took him and Jan aback when I stated that I couldn't possibly eat red skin potatoes... Jan asked, are you allergic to them? "No, it's the fact that the four indigenous native tribal leaders trying to shake down the NFL say that they are offended by that name." (I think Jan thought I was serious for about 10 seconds...)

After a delicious dinner and scrumptious chocolate dessert, Peter showed us his pride and joy; a 2004 Lotus Elise. You may recall me mentioning this model sports car last summer, when one passed The Coach somewhere out west.

Here is My Sexy Bride molded into the driver's seat and cockpit of the Elise. (You have to be a gymnast to get into this car gracefully.) It will do something like 150-175 mph, but fortunately the garage was blocked by another car and she wasn't able to show the Sumter County Sheriff her tail lights that night. 

Here's the Lotus' rear engine compartment. Either Peter is an OCD engine cleaner-fanatic or he has little elves polish his engine at night... have you ever seen an engine this spotless?


On Sunday, Suzanne and Bev Garlipp drove to Lecanto, Florida, where Suzanne gave the message at Unity of Citrus County in the morning (to the largest turn-out the church has ever enjoyed), and then her Heart Gifts presentation in the afternoon. I stayed at home to try to clean up the living room, which was covered with a tent, sleeping bag, and assorted bits of hiking and camping gear. I had actually made some progress by the time the ladies returned from a very successful trip out west. Here is Suzanne with the high-spirited Rev. Marciah McCartney, who is making Unity of Citrus County "rock"! Both Suzanne and Bev commented on the wonderful community there, many of whom we had met on previous trips to Homosassa and Lecanto.

Saturday found us watching the Army-Navy Game. Suzanne had received an email from Charles Cunis, a retired Army Colonel in Colorado betting on the game, two of her books (if Army won) or lunch (if Navy won) when we visited there again. She felt really bad accepting the bet, since Navy had won the past 11 games. It would be sort of like taking candy from a baby. But heck, if a Colonel wants to lose, she was happy to help. At halftime, with Army down 17-0, she emailed him and said, "Charles, I'm really getting hungry for lunch." (That's it, Sweetheart, rub it in!) The final score was 34-7. Sorry, Army, maybe next year.

Lastly, winter is setting in here in The Villages. We understand and have great empathy for the poor souls who are enduring slightly cooler weather, such as the -20 in Ely, MN, and -50 in Montana the other evening. It's actually down in the 40s here at night, but daytime temps recover pretty well. Here is My Lovely Bride in her winter garb, at our favorite ice fishing venue. (You're welcome, Terri.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Busy Week; S/V Magnolia; "RB" Phillips; Bird Debris Field; A Winter Hike; Karst

It's been a crazy few days. Suzanne has been working on slimming down her long list of people waiting for readings, in addition to her normal speaking engagements and other events. On Sunday, for example, she had a Sanaya channeling session at Unity of The Villages. She is also starting a new book based on her Heart Gifts presentation. She never rests...

But on Monday we did take a day off to visit our great sailing friends from DC, Anthony and Annette. They now live aboard their Morgan 44 Magnolia, which had just arrived in Titusville, Florida, and was taking a short breather on her latest adventure from the Chesapeake to the Bahamas. Magnolia was firmly attached to a mooring ball at the Titusville Municipal Marina, where we met "A2" (Anthony and Annette).

A2 have spent the past year and more preparing and upgrading their boat for long distance cruising. Boaters will appreciate the effort and dollars involved in major jobs like pulling and refurbishing the mast and boom, replacing the anchor windlass, replacing the Bimini and cockpit enclosure, varnishing teak, and adding all new, up-to-date electronics (radar, AIS, chart plotter, etc.) in a 20 year old boat. (Actually, Magnolia is relatively new; our Morgan 46 was built in 1980!) But one thing we noticed was that both of them were quite relaxed and enjoying the new cruising lifestyle they had adopted, not that it is always easy. Just on the trip south, they had to deal with passing cold fronts, high winds, strong currents, shoal water, equipment malfunctions, and other boaters, some far less skilled than they should be.

Rudy and Gretchen enjoyed being back aboard a sailboat. Well, okay, maybe Gretchen wasn't as thrilled as Rudy was... but both of them seemed to get excited when we broke out their canine PFDs. Here they are in the cockpit with their life jackets on and tethered in, just in case... their leads are attached to the tops of their PFDs so they can be easily picked up in case they were to fall into the water. It was a great day, and I certainly had thoughts about how and when I was going to get back to sea.... watch this space...

Back at home on Tuesday, My Lovely Bride decided that we could combine a post office run to mail books with a bike ride, so off we rode to Wildwood on our bikes with a backpack full of books and mailers. (Did I say "we"? That meant that "we" rode; "I" carried the backpack. I'm not whining, mind you, but after all, she's the Spring Chicken, not me!) Anyway, it was a fortuitous trip, because while I was waiting outside the post office while MLB was inside in line (in air conditioned comfort, I might add, but who is complaining?), I met a transplanted North Carolinian, "R.B." Phillips.

"R.B." and I were discussing our past lives before moving here, and come to find that he served aboard three Navy ships in the Pacific during World War II, one of which, an oil tanker, was torpedoed and sank, and he was one of only three men who survived, out of a crew of 123. He described having swum underwater for 50 yards with a kapok life jacket on because the sea around his sinking ship was covered with burning oil. He then served aboard an amphibious assault ship that landed troops at garden spots like Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Having only retired 10 years ago, and a quiet-spoken 90 year old now, "R.B." is typical of his generation, a hard working farm boy turned nursery operator whose wife of 60 years passed away at a local nursing home six years ago. He still rides a motor scooter without a helmet, and is sort of proud of the road rash he earned when his scooter dumped him unceremoniously on the asphalt a few years ago. I was proud to have my picture taken with "R.B." America needs more men like him today. 

On a sad note, the puppies and I were walking around the neighborhood when we came upon what is euphemistically called a "bird debris field". It looked like a plane crash site in miniature, and all that was left were small feathers and a few bones. I suspect that an owl that has been hanging around our area had a wren for breakfast. The principle of survival of the fittest seems to be working as designed...

My birthday came on Wednesday, and Suzanne asked what I'd like to do, so we went for a hike in the woods on the Florida Trail. Now remember, this is mid-winter, and you can see by this photo that I am well-prepared for the freezing rain, snow, sleet and ice that comes with winter weather. (Stop making rude comments, Terri.) Okay, so it was about 70F when we started; the sun was really brutal. It's been a late Fall; as you can see, the leaves haven't all changed yet. This palmetto is struggling to stay green...

About five minutes into the hike, we were travelling through some brush, and I felt something on my leg. At first I thought it was a twig that had gotten stuck in my boot or shorts, but when I looked down, I saw a big spider crawling up my leg. A "sailor word" slipped out, and I shook the little beast off into the grass. We then came upon one still in its web across the trail. (John, can you provide some entomological assistance here?)

The terrain soon turned to pine forest, with lots of space between the trees and minimal shrubs and brush. This attractive young female hiker seems to be enjoying herself; note the difference between her and the hiker above carrying the large, heavy blue backpack full of gear and maybe even rocks. (Actually, he is in training to prepare for a week of hiking with his daughter in California over the Christmas holidays).

Speaking of rocks, the term "karst" describes a typical type of topography here in Florida, that of a limestone-based substrata that often displays rocky outcrops in an otherwise flat area (seen here with the aforementioned female hiker admiring the limestone). Karst also has frequent caves and underground streams that cut channels in porous limestone, sometimes resulting in sinkholes and spring-fed rivers widely found in this part of our warm, sunny state. I know I'm going to get some mail filled with yellow snowballs for this, but did you hear that Florida is the most hated state in the country this week? It seems that everyone else is jealous of our perfect weather here. Even my sister in New Orleans had rude things to say to me when I gloated about the weather today. Sheesh!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

New Villagers; Heart Gifts at Unity of The Villages; A Boat Show; Heart Gifts DVD

We recently enjoyed another dinner at our new favorite Italian place, Mezza Luna, with a delightful couple, new full-time Villagers Michelle and John, who had just finished moving here from Connecticut (after being part-timers for several years to make sure they liked it). They are former realtors, and are still winding down their business up north while getting settled here in sunny, warm Florida. It's reassuring to see real estate professionals excited about moving here to The Villages. John and I had sailing in common, and swapped some spiritual sea stories over pasta while the girls discussed non-maritime spiritual topics. (Hey, if you've never been in a serious storm at sea, believe me, it will make you a spiritual person - prayers come quite readily when the wind is howling in the rigging and waves are breaking over your boat or ship!)

On Friday night, Suzanne gave her Heart Gifts presentation at Unity of The Villages. It was another amazing event - you know it's been well-received when no one wants to leave at the end of the evening. Here are Ann, Suzanne, Bev and Barb at the ticket/book table just before the talk. It's great having happy volunteers to help us with these big events.

Several of Suzanne's slides were graphics of spiritual artist Barry Mack's beautiful paintings. She also displayed two of his limited edition Heart Gifts prints, which also happened to be for sale. They were quickly snatched up by eager fans. We hope to have additional prints available at upcoming January events. You can see more of Barry's exceptional work at www.barrymackart.com.

On Saturday we dropped off Rudy and Gretchen at their Uncle Bob and Aunt Jan's house, and My Lovely Sailor Bride and I headed to the St Petersburg Boat Show. We have been boatless for almost 18 months, and just needed a "fix" to stave off the "don't-have-a-boat blues". At the wheel of this very nice trawler, I wanted to reach down, turn the ignition key, and get underway for Bimini on the spot, but the broker had his cell phone in hand in case I tried anything stupid... darn those guys!

We looked at everything from canoes to "flats fishermen" to small sailboats to big 48 footers, and only purchased lunch and a beer, which was truly amazing. The last boat show we attended cost us several hundred dollars, and that was just for some nautical tools and accessories for our sailboat. We also had forgotten that Suzanne's two boating books are still very popular. We were having lunch and someone asked her if she was speaking at any of the seminars; in her previous life, she gave motivational talks for women interested in boating and was sponsored by the world's largest sailboat builder, Beneteau, to speak at boat shows across the US.

The most unusual "vessel" there was this Heli-Cat, a combination of a helicopter cockpit and catamaran hulls. It doesn't actually fly, but skims the wavetops at 50 knots. If nothing else, you'd certainly be noticed at your local marina in this thing.

We arrived back home that afternoon to find two boxes of DVDs at the front door. No, we hadn't ordered a pile of Hollywood or Bollywood flicks. Rather, the boxes were filled with Suzanne's new DVD, Heart Gifts, which was professionally filmed at the Lake Miona Recreation Center in November. You can find more information on her web site, www.LoveAtTheCenter.com. It was especially nice to see My Lovely Daughter Elisabeth's graphics work on the front and back covers of the DVD case. She is a fabulous graphics artist, and we were very grateful for her help in making this DVD a reality.