Monthly Archives: November 2014

An alternative Black Friday

It’s fun to see old friends and that is just what happened yesterday. That is, after I was “nuked” by the dental assistant. She couldn’t get the X-ray of the offending tooth, and kept at it until another assistant came to her rescue. The X-ray was being taken right at my eye. So now I hope I won’t have trouble with that eye.

The dentist cleared the trouble with the tooth and I was off to visit my friends in Soledad, who had turkey soup warming in the pot. Then I visited another friend, a doctor, in Gonzales. He showed me the framed articles I had done for him when I was a reporter. And then  the visit with my friend, Anaa Mae.

Anna Mae is the most creative and technologically savvy person I know. She does some fantastic photographs and puts them onto fabric. She has wall hangings that are worthy for an art gallery. She’s doing exactly what she loves to do.

Then, stopped for a moment with a visit with my son in Santa Cruz, then back up the coast to Half MoonBay. That drive never gets old to me. It’s a way to relax my thoughts.

It was an alternative for my Black Friday.

Thanksgiving as an expat

When my husband, Will (known as Wim in Holland), and I lived in The Hague in the 90s, I wanted to show my Dutch friends what a Thanksgiving dinner was all about. So, we found a butcher who advertised “American Turkeys”. There was a sign that also said, “American Turkey Stuffing.” We ordered a turkey at $50 (probably much more today), and asked the butcher about the ‘stuffing’. “Oh, that’s just how American’s like the stuffing. It’e hamburger and fruit.” Huh? Well, that wasn’t how these two American’s wanted stuffing, so we went about gathering the ingredients for a bread stuffing, as we knew it. I tried to find celery in green grocer stores, and then in super markets. I found one scrawny string. Then I needed sage but could’t find that, so we went to the open air market.
“Do you have sage?” I asked a vendor who spoke little English but better Dutch. So Will asked for me in Dutch, but that was funny, because Will didn’t know the Dutch word, so he tried to explain it. I knew something triggered a laugh from both of them. The vendor replied, “No we don’t have little men in jars.” (Oh, an old Sage – get it?). “Well let me smell all of those jars you have behind you and I’ll pick it out.” So he opened one jar after another and I found sage. Turns out the gentleman was from the middle east and imported the spices and herbs from there. I had all of the ingredients I needed for the dinner, and now I needed something for an appetite enhancer and chose avocado dip. Avocado’s were hard to find then, as well. But I made dip and put crackers around it, but none of our guests touched it. Guess that was too adventurous for them. Pumpkin pie tasted like their famous cookie, speculaas. they all agreed. The turkey was exquisite and the dinner was a success.


Aren’t they the best? Grandson’s, I mean. Brandon came over to where I’m living and set up my brand new printer.

He sent me several texts to tell me 1 -when he’d be here, 2 – he would soon be on his way, and 3 – that he was running a bit late, and 4 – he’s on his way.

I asked him if he’d like me to make him a sandwich and yes, he would love it.

“This is really a great sandwich, Oma.” He’s so polite.

Then, he got the new printer out of the trunk of my car and all the while receiving messages from his friend and soon to be, partner on the golf course, and did a great job setting the printer up at the same time. How he can manage to set up a printer and arrange for a golf outing is beyond me, but we’re talking about the younger generation and that’s no big deal. I, on the other hand, look at the instructions and can’t even open the package, much less, make sense of them. He didn’t even need to look at the directions.

The job was done in an hour. I thought it would be at least half a day.

He gave me a hug and said goodbye, and then, just like that, he was off to meet his buddy.


What a day

Yesterday, in the middle of things not working, feeling a bit down with circumstances, the most remarkable thing happened. I received help, which inspired me, and had the opportunity to listen to someone else, who also inspired me.

I got a message from a young woman I met on the Island of Vis, in the town of Komiza, of Croatia. She is a designer and full of ideas to help me produce and market my next book. The book will be about my one year of travel. She is a remarkable person, with a mind that dreams up solutions, that would include marketing other ideas to promote my travels, and a new way of looking at what I’ve been trying to do.

Then, at the same time, I was messaging back and forth to a new friend in Croatia, who is struggling, trying to take good care of his new baby girl. I met him when he became my tuk tuk driver, driving me back and forth from the Pagoda to the city of Phnom Penh. I liked this guy right away. He became the only tuk tuk driver who got off of his motorcycle to help me get out of the tuk tuk. It was difficult at first, before I figured it out how to climb down. He also showed his honesty on an occasion.

One, I gave him a modest tip, which is never expected in Cambodia.  He  was so grateful to receive it and told me it would help him with his new baby.

So this young man is dedicated to raising his daughter in a country that is recovering from years of wars and struggles.

I was inspired by both of these friends, and continued to feel more positive than when the day began.

Being positive

It takes just a little effort to be a positive person. It’s all in how you think about your situation.

In my travels, I’ve seen very poor people who beam out a positive approach to life. It’s good to look back and remember those faces whenever I need a boost.


Don’t like it

Sad right now. I don’t like it, but will remain positive until I can move again.

I’ll begin writing on Dec. 1 and will stay here until it’s finished, hopefully, sooner than I anticipated.

It has been difficult to find a place to call home without an income, and I don’t want to work.

Loving folks who get my humor

This morning I stopped to look at the waves breaking over the rocks and onto the road in Pacifica. And, while at it, I went to the Breakers Restaurant near the shoreline.

A young waiter took my order, was professional, had  a nice smile, which made be think he would understand my humor. I was right.

When he handed my my check, I asked, “Oh, do I have to PAY?”

A split second later, his response: “Shhhh, I won’t say anything. Quick, make a run for it.”

Finally, finally, finally, I found the motel in San F.

I left Auburn early enough this morning to take my time driving to San Francisco. Well, it rained nearly all the way, and due to several accidents, I got stuck in traffic more than once.

But that was nothing compared to finding the motel I reserved. Once I got into The City (that’s San Francisco to those who don’t live in Calif.), I immediately got lost in the maze.  I’m not exaggerating when I say it took two hours to find it. I asked 8 people for directions, and even tried to find a taxi I could follow, until folks honked their horns behind me, while I tried to explain to the taxi driver what I wanted him to do.

I’d almost find the right path and then I couldn’t turn to the correct direction, and had to drive out of the area before I could turn around. By the time I’d turn around, by driving to another street, I was way off the map.

One kind woman who I stopped and asked, put the map into my phone, but when I missed a street, I got lost again. It was so frustrating, but I didn’t cry, even though I felt like it.

You’d be surprised how many people think they know the right way, but tell you  the wrong way. Finally, three people outside of a building taking a smoke break, told me exactly the right way. I was so close but didn’t know it.

I’m in the motel, but not before I made everyone in the room waiting to sign in, laugh. I was a bit rummy from the long drive and the time being lost, that, by the time I was in the office to sign in, I was laughing…a bit hysterics, I think, but what the heck, it broke the seriousness of the evening for a few people in the office.

And I have a room. I got here too late to walk around and see The City, but by now, I don’t care.

When I left Auburn, I took a little side trip up the mountains and down the mountains to Placerville. That’s a lovely town with old houses left over from the mining days.

Goofin’ off

Still in Auburn, CA. until tomorrow. I drove to the OldTown and to Downtown to find the real Auburn and its history.

What I found were many shops selling the usual tourist goods. When looking at old towns, it always thrills me to see old buildings, old houses, post offices, old churches and schools, etc., but it’s getting to be more and more a place to buy more stuff we don’t need.

However, I did find an old drugstore that still had the original marble -top counter where you can belly up to the bar for ice cream and fountain drinks. I sat there for awhile until I realized the two workers in the store were too busy waiting on folks who had prescriptions to fill, so I left.

There were several art galleries full of some nice pieces. I also found a clock shop with new designs.  The town was busy and traffic is heavy, on the freeway and through the town.

I found Rally’s and bought some food to eat in my motel.

So tomorrow, I’m going to stay in San Francisco, and then return to Half Moon Bay. I’m thinking maybe the new landlady would let me move in a week earlier. I’ve been living out of my suitcase for nearly 5 months.


No longer homeless

I found a home, or should I say, a home found me?

My son sent me a text about a friend of theirs who was looking for a renter.

I had been waiting for a woman in Seaside to call me about the room for rent that I looked at a few days ago. I think she knew she would choose me but wanted to interview other folks, as well. Too bad she waited too long to get back in touch with me because I jumped ahead.

I saw the room in Half Moon Bay,  in an excusive area, on a golf course, with a security gate and guard. The woman who owns the house put a micro wave, refrigerator, and coffee pot in my room. However, I am welcome to use the rest of the house. It’s quite large. She told me she and her husband often have guests such as I, and enjoy it. Lucky me.

She’s a lovely person, lots of fun, knows my Half Moon Bay family, and has traveled like I have.

I will be here for at least 6 months to get my book finished.