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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

California Dreams near San Francisco

Hey Gang, I had a chance to spend some time in California back in April and this might be posted a bit out of order but here it is, finally.  This was a day that I had out with a couple of new friends, we were in and around Golden Gate Park.  There are also some other pictures mixed in, Enjoy.  Oh and if you can't hear the last part I am just talking about having a great day.  I actually have another close up video of the water I want to add to this page in the future, keep an eye out for it, very beautiful.</h3>
All photographs are copyright FRA 2015-2022

Owen Sound Stirrings

In January 2016, I left small town Brantford for an even smaller town, near Owen Sound.  It was a slightly chilly day when my friend drove me to the meeting place.  It's always a bit unique the way each host makes plans to meetup with a helper.  Previously, I had been met at the train station on a late night, which was totally different than this meeting.  On this day, I was driven to a hospital to meet my future host as she waited for her mother to finish her appointment, very convenient and it saved me a ton of money.  Traveling can be quite reasonable if you don't mind going with the flow of each person's life.

I could tell right away that my hostess was a happy person by the smile on her face when she recognized me.  It was all about greetings and making new plans for how the day was to go once my driver had gone on her way, Thanks Jess, my friend.

My hostess chatted for long moments as we waited for her mother to finish up with the doctor, then we headed on our way out the door.  Her mother and I waited patiently for her to drive the car around near the exit. It was obvious that her mother had been through the meeting new people all the time dance before.  She wasn't swayed by a new face, but very open and inviting as her daughter had been.  It was as though there was a connection just from what little her daughter could have shared about me, the information gleaned from the emails we had written.

It makes me wonder why so many people are afraid of one another the fear has no real root, except being something that has been put in our heads since childhood.  BEWARE OF STRANGERS , Just because you have not met someone or have no history with them  shouldn't make them your automatic enemy, meet them and become friends or at least acquaintances, its really okay they are people too.

During the trip mostly I watched the country side and made very few comments.  I had decided to try to keep more of my life private this time because I feel I tend to "over share." It was a bit hard and awkward because this mother/daughter was so forthcoming and friendly.  Eventually, I began to share tidbits, nothing traumatic, you don't want to scare off hosts with your worse flaws up front, or what seems worse to you at least.  In the end, it was a relief to just be myself and relax.  It took nearly four hours to arrive at the farm, I had no idea of this distance.  It didn't seem quite so far on the map, does it ever? When we finally did arrive, I commented something like OMG, we are the middle of no where where have you all taken me, we all laughed.

Admittedly, getting out of the car in the middle of the snow I was a bit turned around, it took me until the next morning to figure out what exactly was all out in the dark.  Luckily, it wasn't much, a wood shed, an old barn and another building, which was used as a studio.  Not what I imagined in the dark, it was laughable when I saw it in the light of day, the things one imagines can definitely be worse than the reality of the situation.

My job at this location was very simple, to help sort out all garden seeds, the usable from none usable and then I would soak them in paper towels near a window to see if they were viable enough to be planted in the spring.  I also helped with some herb work, she owns an herbal business.  She taught me how to garble herbs and to put together herbs to make teas.  It was very fascinating and something I plan to do myself in the future.

My favorite time with Anna was when she took me with her to the free-dance night, not sure what its called, at her friends dance studio.  I took me a while to get relaxed, but it was fun trying and watching everyone else.  I was very enamored with the idea that we were in a building that was all hand made including the floors and walls, it was quite enjoyable.  Afterward, we had gone inside the owner's house which also was made from hand, it was a two story log cabin.  The cabin was elegant and quite large and ornate inside, just beautiful.

The mother, Jean and the daughter were awesome hosts, and one of my favorite aspect of this adventure was interacting with Molly the dog.  I call her my starter dog, just so lovable.  I will always remember, sweet Molly.  I have to tell you about this doggie, she sleeps in the bathroom and sometimes on my nightly visits she didn't want to move for me to use the toilet and she would "groan" so funny, but she would still move despite my inconveniencing her, gotta love that.  The homemade meals were also an interesting aspect as we all shared in the cooking routines so I learned a few things about doing this from scratch that I hadn't practiced.

On the final morning, Jean was concerned that I had not used her homemade bread to make a travel sandwich, but she didn't know I had made those sandwiches before bread and had them packed away already.  She was so happy, I enjoyed those sandwiches between Toronto and Detroit, thinking of fun times playing scrabble and word games near Owen Sound.  So many memories, of snows, bringing in wood, long fun chats with both mom/daughter and walking Molly outside, it was a truly special adventure.

The entire experience of having a chance to be in a family oriented environment in the middle of the winter in a country I had always wanted to explore more fully than just a visit for a day or so was simply amazing to me.  I speak of these lovely people often with a glad smile of remembrance, it was that kind of a stay.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

This is part 1 of the Brantford, Ontario volunteers interview.  The 2nd one ended up being posted first but here a the rest.  I had a great time getting to know the volunteers and the locals, they will be missed.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mostly images from Niagara's long line of holiday lights.  We also wondered around the streets although it was too late to be very touristy.  It was fun just hanging out together with my fellow volunteers. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Peaceful Living - How to be at peace with yourself - Ralph Smart

On the road less travelled we sometimes need to be encouraged, Ralph is a good choice, great actually!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

We spent two days in Toronto roaming around in the Kensington market and China town areas on the first day.  We had a cool veggie tamales that were cheap and yummy.  Margaux spent all of her christmas money at the ART museum with fun gifts for her family while I browsed. We also had Frites from Moos that are highly recommended.  Next up we spent the night at Emma's a couchsurfing host that I swear is the spitting image of Michelle Williams, cute blonde from Shutter Island fame. The next day hanging out with Florian and Carlos was fun as they had places they wanted to see also, like the CN Tower and the harbor views, which were great at sunset.  All and all an amazing two days.