Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trip Reflections: Departure (a year ago today)

I journalled a bit this morning about the fact that this is the 1 year anniversary of when I left for Europe for a trip that ended up being 7 months long. I was jobless and homeless (by choice) and carefree as one can be at 51.... That journal entry is below. And above is the doodle I did today of me as I left Vancouver (click to enlarge it if you want to read the silliness)....
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When I set out a year ago today, I really had no idea the future would take me, let alone this year. Would I stay a few months or a year? Would I come back at all? At the outset, the longer definitely seemed like the likeliest. I didn't know what to expect, where I was going (so to speak), nor who I would be when I got there. I really had no idea how I would change. Maybe I still don't really know, but at least I have some inklings.

It struck me today, when driving, that this time last year I was doing the final repack of my bag (backpack! ha! how naive I was ;-) and getting on my way to the airport. I was clueless but sure. I was exhausted but excited. I was shedding an old skin and walking boldly into the unknown. I, who had lived in fear for so much of my life - so risk adverse and with such a strong need to be in control - was really proving to myself how far my reinvention had gone, had come - I was coming into my own skin, finally and truly. Voila! Off into the unknown I go!

My first adventures included having to check the backpack I'd naively envisioned myself carrying onto the plaine (and needing to do a quick repack of essentials into a carry on)... that after already wondering how I'd be able to lug my pack through Europe (portents of things to come)... a strap breaking on my pack 5 minutes after I picked it up from the luggage carousel in Barcelona... realizing I'd forgotten to write down my hotel's address, trying (and succeeding) to get online in the airport to look it up... deciding to splurge on a taxi and being surprised to hear English music being played by a driver who largely spoke only Spanish... to arriving at my hotel to find that they didn't have my4-night reservation. Oh my.

The system my awesome travel agent had used had reserved a room in a hotel of the same name somewhere else in Spain, God knows where. But, alas, they had 1 room available for 1 night. 150E, I think. Let the adventures begin!

I was really not daunted, mostly just amused. How well my past travel adventures (mostly my New York ones) had prepared me to know I could handle it. It would all work out. I'd be fine.

I paid for the room, took the key, walked up the stairs - or, should I say, lugged, or schlepped, my bag up the stairs, found my room and opened the door.
LAST YEAR: here is my first post from Barcelona.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A day at the Gay Dog Walk

This morning's paper announced that there would be a Gay Dog Walk - to kick off Victoria's Gay Pride Week - so we packed up ourselves up into the car and headed down to Dallas Road. I managed to find a parking spot right next to the event, so mom was able to stay out of the pending rain and watch it all from the comfort of the car... while I got out and took pics.
This was the first dressed up cutie that looked up at me...
This doggie was not dressed up, but he had the most beautiful eyes....
This really was a BIIIIGGGG dog!
OK, this was a ferret, but I guess there was no ferret event... I hope he had fun.
This guy wore a purple bandana. Here he is getting a hug while getting a leash adjustment...
Never did get close to this, but we figured that it was doggies for adoption ;-)
Oh, heelllooo!!! Notice the matching colours of the dog's costumes and the owner's garb!
Everydoggie saying hello! Check out the backpack (you can click the pic to enlarge if you wish)...
Ready for sun.... and a good thing too, as the rain never came....
The parade part...
Hi you cutie! It really was a good dog's life today, these guys got lotsa love...
Managed to squeeze in and get a pic of these little princesses when they were being interviewed by a TV reporter...
Leaping through the hoop at the end of the doggie trick obstacle course route....
Tiny dancer! Or, should I say, tiny leaper?
Tiny leaper does the hoop!
This was the doggie wtih the awesome eyes. His owner had taught him a lot of cool tricks, which he loved to do. Got this one with him in the air.... and suddenly distracted by a baseball player dog going by during landing...
Sometimes all that is needed are some nice beads....
Coaxing a doggie into the tunnel at the start of the obstacle course....
A smart little scarf here....
My fav dressed up doggie of all....
Here's his rear profile with the full t-shirt message. The dog above is wearing a white halo, though it's a bit hard to see here.
It was a lot of fun all around...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Random Reflections and Pics from Victoria

Just some random pics and reflections from Victoria....

This is a windowsill doodle, next to a retro clock that works when winds, but not for long. Regardless, the doodle keeps on smiling...
I met this dog yesterday when I went to the home of one of the women in my travel writer's group. His name is Milton and he is apparently the largest dog in the capital district. He is a Mastiff and weighs 210 pounds. His head is truly the size of a cow's head... and his paws are like a bear's. He seemed very gently, but I wouldn't want to be a tiny person out on the street if he got off his leash, as a simple bump just might tip you over.
More sneakers over the telephone wires. These ones in Vic West on Henry:
Neat old building on Bay Street.
A taxi from Bangladesh, if I remember correctly. It was outside the Ten Thousand Villages store in Saanich somewhere. Apparently these taxis carry 7 or 8 people!
I see cool stuff every day here. Not remembering to take pics as often as I was before, but still grabbing a few, and must remember to post them from time to time ;-)
BTW, also posted a doodle I called Harlequin Hands over on my doodle blog.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The view from Vic West

Took a little harbourside break today, in Vic West, looking over towards the inner harbour. I'm waving hi!
This is the picnic table I sat atop of while I took my pics, and just rested and breathed in the fresh breezy air.
Looking back to where I parked my car... I loooove this arbutus tree!!!
Arbutus trees are unique to Vancouver Island, almost (apparently they also live on some island in the southern hemisphere too!). They are cool because they shed their bark, rather than their leaves. I remember learning about them as a kid. The bark is thin and smooth, lovely reds/browns. Here's a close-up:
An action packed shot... the Black Ball ferry coming in, a seaplane, some dragonboaters.... just beautiful.
Just thought I'd share these pics. Gotta go back there and go for a good long walk.....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An update and random reflections....

A few pics from my time on the island so far....
Down on Clover Point at dusk.... My mom with my niece Caelin Rose and her boyfriend Tom at her graduation... aka G'ma and her granddaughter!
I tried to sneak a pic of my proud brother-in-law Brian at the grad ceremony and I got caught. The cuties in the foreground are my brother Doug and his daughter Kat (my niece;-).
ok, so once again, my pics aren't in any particular order.... Back to Clover Point...
It turns out I was there just in time, as I managed to catch the little red person escaped from the UFO that must have been lurking nearby.... heh....
I wasn't the only one out there, but I don't think they were aliens....
I don't think she's an alien either, though many may disagree.... ;-)
A fountain at Camosun College. Those are my wheels in the background.
and another view...
Mom and Sir John. A.
It was exciting to be here in Victoria on the day our Navy turned 100. We saw this CBC TV report being recorded, and I took a wee video of it (link is at the bottom of the page, includes him running to catch up with the parade....)
Mom and me goofing as we waited for the parade to start.
Waiting for the action to get underway...
This was another trip to Clover Point. More goofing around.
This is Maui, who we call mom's Gentleman Caller. He doesn't live with us, but sometimes you'd never know. We love to watch him lap up his milk.

So............................. Nope, I'm not missing in action, just been busy and less connected to this thing we call the internet. But in response to some 'complaints' that I am not blogging enough ;-) here is an update of what I have been up to since I moved to Sidney at the end of April....

  • Just finished my fourth trip to Vancouver in 6 weeks - 2 for contract work, 1 for pleasure, and 1 for my niece's awesome grad

  • I took a 1 day travel writer's course with Yvonne Blomer at Camosun College in Victoria and met a group of other amazing women with similar interests; we plan to get together every month or two

  • I saw Pico Iyer speak in Victoria (thanks to someone in my travel writing group who let us know about it - and I met up with some of them there) - the talk was called Defining Culture and the Place We Call Home - and it was wonderful... he was funny, insightful and a melodic voice that was mesmerizing

  • I have joined a group of artists in Victoria - Artists in Motion - and I must say, it is entirely inspiring to be in the company of "real" artists who make their living from their creations

  • To give me some "space" to create myself, and do some writing, I've managed to secure a corner of a room that is used as a studio by four artists

  • Living with my 88 year old mom is a whole different world... and I am adapting well... she is such a sweetheart and appreciative of any help - all while chugging along with her great sense of humour....

  • Planning ahead for an Alaska cruise with my mom and sister at the end of July

  • Also planning for a trip to the Big Apple in August with my best friend Kelly for about 10 days together, then another week or on my own - timed to coincide with a special Picasso exhibit at the Met that goes to August 15th

OK, I'm hoping this gets me off the hook for a bit.... ;-)

PS - this was the little parade clip....
video