Mar 29, 2015

Tiny House Nation

Next week I am headed out West on a travel adventure. I'm going to Cottonwood, Arizona to visit Marilyn Sward.  Marilyn was my MOM's roommate during her years in nursing school and when she worked as an RN at St. Mary's, one of the hospitals associated with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. 

Marilyn at the time was a Physical Therapist and she somehow knew "Rosie", a surgical resident from Panama, doing his residency at Mayo. That Rosie was my DAD and Marilyn is the person responsible for my parents meeting. I know the story involves "Rosie" making a wonderful spaghetti dinner for them and the rest is history. I'm certain we will revisit this story while I'm visiting. 

Marilyn is now 87 and lives with her two Cocker Spaniels, Missy and Mindy. Marilyn has lived in Cottonwood for as long as I can remember. Marilyn is the person who came to LAX, the Los Angeles International Airport to pick us up when we first arrived in the US, when we moved from Panama in 1970. Marilyn also stayed with us for 3 or 4 months when our MOM was at the Mayo Clinic getting her chemotherapy and radiation treatments when she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the summer of 1972. 

Marilyn's husband, John, died about 20 years ago. They did not have children.  Marilyn has friends all over the US and has certainly kept busy and healthy throughout her life. She worked as a Physical Therapist for many years and after she retired had a second career at IDS Insurance which is now part of or owned by Ameriprise. 

I know her family is from Iowa, I am going to revisit and get all the details while I am there. I look forward to visiting with Marilyn, hanging out, doing whatever her routine brings to each day. I confirmed she has a PC and access to the internet and promised to show her all the YOUTUBE videos I've posted, mainly of family, Maddie and Morgan and visits to Ghana. 

And I am absolutely looking forward to the dry, warm, sunny days. The temperature should be right in the low to mid 80*s.  HORRAY ! ! !  I'm also trying Southwest Airlines.  Since the Airtran purchase, SW has established a significant presence and hub at the Atlanta airport, so I'm going to try them out. No baggage fees, no fees to change tickets, no reserved seating, should be interesting and fun. All my flights are direct and cheaper than Delta. 

On my way back from Arizona I am visiting a dear friend in one of the coolest cities in America, Austin, Texas.  I know Jenell from my days at Cox; I am certainly looking forward to a few days in Austin. I am staying in an AirBnb lodging. Much like VBRO, Vacation Rentals by Owner, but always more interesting and edgy in terms of the actual properties. 

I purposely selected a Tiny House so I can get the feel for what it is like to have all the comforts of home in a tiny tiny space.  The tiny house is in the backyard of the person who rents it, and it is a few blocks from Jenell's house.  And it has all the comforts of home, all the facilities in a regular house, the only difference is the space. The reviews on this property are all good and the price was right. 

There are several AirBnb properties in the area that are actually restored Airstream Trailers, all stationed on the property of the owners. Those were all booked; Austin has so many interesting events, activities, if you ever plan to go there, make sure you get your lodging reserved way in advance.  I've used Airbnb for other trips and have had a great experience each time. 

Check them out at

Tiny House in Austin - 

Jenell has three dogs, "The Vollmer Tribe"; I am looking forward to meeting them. I know them via many wonderful Facebook photos. Jenell is an avid SUP enthusiast, I'll get to attend a Stand Up Paddle racing event with her on Sunday. I've always wanted to try SUP - maybe I will get the opportunity. In California where Toby lives they call this sport YOLO, You Only Live Once, and the boards are referred to as YOLO boards. Not sure how that came about, perhaps I will find out.  

I will be sure to post photos and updates ! 
I am looking forward to the trip.