Greetings followers. What a fantastic summer I have had. I stopped working June 20th and am scheduled to restart September 17th. Three whole months and although my unemployment claim was denied, I have managed to have an extraordinary amount of fun on the slimmest of budgets. Serge kept inventing tasks for me as I was home day after day so I planned a bunch of trips to see people. Before that though, we were invited to a soiree with old work people when I worked at a restaurant after just having moved out here. Restaurant comeraderie is so special, those bonds never die.
It was a small gathering but quite fun as you can see. We are all getting to the age where mid-life crises and bodily ailments occur, so there was lots to talk about. There was much laughter at the Quebecers trying to pronounce the word "pond", as it usually came out "poned", lol.
Then I took my first road trip out to Toronto to visit with my cousin. I rode the six hour drive with the top down which was really stupid as I got quite a sunburn. Didn't end up peeling though, it just turned very brown and has remained that way all summer.
I realized I hadn't been to Toronto in 10 years. It was wonderful to catch up with my long ago student Tamae who I used to walk Sarah with when she lived in Montreal. Sarah, that dog still gets me choked up.
It was also wonderful catching up with my cousin who has been through so much in the last year, as have I. We comforted each other, which is what family is for right? So fun.
My favorite thing in Toronto is the Batha Shoe Museum. It is just fascinating the history of shoes in the world. If you ever find yourself in that city, I highly recommend it. Not boring at all and I am usually bored in museums.
After another week at home I hopped on a plane and headed to California. It was a nice long trip so I got to spend quality (meaning longer than usual) time with the people I love. Here with my friend Donna in Venice, we were nearly struck by lightning a few minutes after this photo was taken. Scariest thing I have ever encountered weather-wise. Also the fact that not five minutes before, we were walking on the beach at the exact spot where the lightning struck. You may have seen it on the news, bunch of people went to the hospital and one died.
Then my last annual Vegas junket took place. (This photo sums up the luck I had. Wager 50, win 1.) I didn't know it was going to be the last but my Vegas bud has given me the heave ho. I don't really understand, but apparently I am a terrible friend and I needed to be given the big FU. So sad, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt but nothing to do about it but move on. That makes three people I thought would be in my life forever who have dumped me from their lives this year. All I can say now is that I understand the adage, that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. (And more cynical, less trusting and less willing to be vulnerable.) Onward!
Then it was time for Camp Mommy for several days. She threw a little barbecue in honor of my presence and it was the loveliest of days. My cousin Carley ate a hamburger! I never thought I'd see the day as she has been a vegetarian since birth. But she had been having issues and read a book about eating for your blood type and it turned out that red meat was the way to go for her. You really never can say never, you know?
It was quite relaxing and the folks took me out for my birthday, 49 this year, and mom and I went kayaking way out in the ocean. The weather was just perfect, if a little hot.
Then it was off to Camp Daddy. I think this is the longest we have ever visited together in my adult life. It was really nice to spend quality time together. It's hard when you live 3000 miles apart. His three dogs were lots of fun. This girl is Maya.
It was wonderful to see Grandma too. Three generations right there and if I were the procreative type, there could ostensibly be two more generations in the same picture. Dad and I look a lot alike but I didn't get the bald gene. Yay!
We went to the fair and they had an awesome petting zoo with baby goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys and even deer! Such beautiful creatures, I can't believe we eat them. Well, except for donkeys.
We took a day long road trip out to see friends in Tehachapi and discovered red rock canyon state park. It was pretty cool but also very hot! I would love to camp there sometime in the spring or fall.
We made it about 100 yards on our "hike" before we couldn't take it anymore. Air conditioned car please. Our generous hosts were delightful as always.
After my visit with Dad, I hopped on a plane to San Francisco to visit with my brother. We had such fun hanging out and DRINKING, talking about family and hanging mostly around the Mission district.
As his girlfriend says, he is the gayest straight man she knows. We caroused and I took him to my favorite place to eat in San Francisco, Sotto Mare, where they really do have the best damn crab cioppino on earth. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
It was a great weekend. Then I flew back down to Long Beach, hopped in a car with my pals and we headed off for our great New Mexico adventure. We made it to Flagstaff for the first night where I snagged a suite hotel room for $49 on Priceline. The huge breakfast buffet that three of us dined on was worth that but we also got free parking and internet. I don't know how the hotel makes money off of us, but who am I to ask. I AM the king of travel deals. Did I tell you how I flew round trip from Montreal for $310? That was me and my wheelin' dealin' magic I tell you. I need to write a book.
We stopped at the painted desert in Arizona and then El Morro National monument on our way. El Morro was really cool and was a stopping point for the caravans heading west. There is a natural watering hole here and the wall has graffiti from the natives (petroglyphs) and from famous old West characters dating from the 1600's. I would love to go back and explore the pueblo at the top of the rock. Got a great t-shirt as a souvenir.
Then it was aunt and uncle time. You see where I get my silliness, it just runs in the family. Tom is so wonderful to go hiking with. He knows all the flora, what it's good for, what's to be avoided and so much more. The forest is a buffet for him and he had us chewing on all sorts of things. The second night we did a sweatlodge, and although I wasn't able to stay inside the lodge due to weird pressure in the back of my head that scared me, I participated. I've been wrestling with blood pressure issues and even though I am on medication, it just didn't feel right. I stayed through the ceremony outside though, singing, bringing in the hot stones and even crying. At one point, thousands of ravens passed right over head and I couldn't help thinking they were drawn to the power of spirit happening. It was magical.
We did the drive back in one whole day. I took the girls on a small detour to Oatman, AZ which I had been to before and liked but couldn't remember why. Oh that's right, the dozens of "wild" burros roaming the streets of this quaint desert burg.
The last weekend of the trip was at hand and I went to my now ex-friend's (Can't believe I am typing that, but may as well face facts) 50th birthday party. Then met a friend to walk the beach and have a couple beers on second street. The last evening, I had dinner with my ex. Funny, the people who probably should be out of one's life are in mine and the ones that should be in are out. I am opposite man.
I got back the 18th of August. But the traveling wasn't over yet. I will get to that on my next post which I hope to bang out this week as well. But before I let you go, I must do my duty and give y'all a little Georgie porn.
Peace out everyone. Mwah!