A new neighbor!

I’m working at my desk, which has a terrific view of my forest, and something flashy green caught my eye; unfortunately it refused to provide a profile of its excellent horns :IMG_5451

Sadly, this stunning mottled creature, a Jackson’s Chameleon, is an invasive species.  It is climbing down an ʻōhiʻa lehua, the mighty tree of the Hawaiian rain forest.

Trains, bikes, feet and ferries?

I can’t decide on a title for this post about my upcoming trip. Did the one above intrigue you?  (It describes my preferred modes of transportation, in case that wasn’t clear.)  How about “Single, solo, senior sojourner”?  Or “Just France, Sicily, Malta, Gozo, Portugal this trip”? I had considered including a word I recently learned in the title, one that I’d like to spend more time doing: “peregrinate:  verb |  PAIR-uh-gruh-nayt.  Definition: to travel on foot; walk.” But I didn’t. More on this word later.

Anyway, like I said, the purpose of this particular post is to provide an overview of my upcoming travels (and apparently to practice alliteration).

First I’ll fly to the SF Bay Area to visit friends and family and to break up a long journey first across the Pacific, then the continental US, and finally across the Atlantic. I could have taken the 24 hour Hilo-straight-to-Paris route for an astonishingly small amount of United Airline points, but I knew I’d be shattered upon arrival and have to spend big bucks on a Paris hotel to recover (I can’t sleep on planes, unfortunately), so I opted for a Friends and Family Cali Break instead.

Once I do arrive in Paris on September 11, it’s straight to Chartres via train. (Chartres because it plays a vital role in the book I’ve been writing.)  I’ll be there a few days doing research.

Next a train to Toulouse, where I ‘ll begin my bike ride/walk along the Midi Canal to Carcassonne over five days.

Next via train to Arles for some Provence wandering, then, you guessed it, a train to Antibes for Côte d’Azure hikes.

On September 29, I fly from Nice to Palermo, Sicily.  On October 11th, I’ll take a ferry to Malta for a few days, and another ferry to Gozo for some fine walking trails.  On the 19th, I fly to Lisbon for a few days, then a train to Sintra for a few more. On the 27th, it’s back to the US, Miami Beach in fact, to warm up after Europe and to visit Vizcaya and other world class museums like the Bass and Wolfsonian (most likely skipping the World Erotic Art Museum).

I still have family in South Florida, so I’ll spend some time with them.  After that, I’m not sure.  At the top of the list there is a trip to Central America (do I want to retire in Panama?), or Mexico to visit a niece, or maybe take the Sunset Limited from NOLA to LA. At some point, I’ll visit my youngest son, depending on where he is. Eventually, I’ll return to Hawaii, and start planning my next trip.

Which brings me back to that new word I learned: I hope to walk the Camino de Santiago via the French Way next spring, but this is a trip I do not think I should take alone.  It’s a walk from Southern France along the north of Spain westward to the town of Santiago de Compostela, with a little extra jaunt afterwards to the Atlantic Ocean. It will take about 35 days.  I would use a support company to transport luggage and arrange lodgings. Check out the links below for inspiration, and let me know if you are interested or if you can think of anyone who might be.

Macs Adventures

Camino Ways

Alas, I won’t be visiting my beloved Venice this trip, but here are some photos from my last visit:

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By the way, if there is anyone out there who is looking for a lovely house in Volcano to buy, send ’em my way.  I would be happy to make a party-to-party house sale (sorry, realtor friends).

As always, I would love comments and suggestions!

Aloha,

SG

 

The Magic Day Arrived!

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At last!  I got my lifetime US National Park pass; cost: ten dollars (and 62 years).  This was a thrilling day!  For the REST OF MY LIFE I can visit any National Park FOR FREE!  The cost of the pass rises in a couple of weeks to $80, so I’m doing a lucky strut dance right now.  In the distance, just behind the top right corner of the beloved pass, the steam/smoke of Halema‘uma‘u rises.

Besides getting the pass, I also cruised the island hoping to get in the ocean (but not accomplishing that) and taking photos of trippy stuff.  Here you are:

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Just past Naalehu, headed to Volcano; it is indeed a big island.
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This old car is taking a nap.
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This is an old company truck; the bottom lettering reads ‘Kealakekua’.
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. . . who guard all this rustee, broken krap.
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Assorted ground litter, in sutu.
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This old car will not get up from its nap.
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I love the ‘mahalo’ sign! West Hawai`i is apparently very hard on cars.

It wasn’t a birthday celebrated in Venice, but it was a good day.  In the evening, I attended a friend’s wake.  On my birthday in Venice, I visited Isola di San Michele (Venice’s separate cemetery island).  And now this year, a wake.  It is a good idea to contemplate mortality; it pushes me to live more fully.

Please mentally insert photo of you on one of your best-ever kid days

I have previously alluded to the groovy creativity-boosting “course” I jumped into recently, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It has been so fun to work through and has affected me positively on so many levels. I have discovered really surprising things about myself, and it has inspired me in ways I did not think possible. My recommendation: run and get it, and if the new-agey parts are hard for you (as they were for me) just keep going anyway.

Right, okay, the course addresses different topics in week-long segments and includes assignments. One of this week’s tasks was to note “childhood accomplishments.” This was a blast! It got me thinking about long ago events I rarely reflect on, such as:

Camper of the Week at Triple R Ranch
This was huge for me! After dinner the night before our parents were to collect us, my name was announced and I got called up to the stage to receive my award badge (!). Camper of the week, the entire week! The summer had begun spectacularly when I’d arrived at camp and discovered that I had been assigned to the coolest cabin tribe, The Rough Riders, so I was already in a blissful state of mind. Previous years I had been delegated to cabins so uncool their names have not survived the years, but they contained wimpy words like “pony” I am sure. Becoming a Rough Rider, well, that was about as perfect as it could get. Then, I learned I had been chosen above all the other campers, even my coolest of the cool fellow Rough Riders, as the best! I was in little kid summer camp heaven, and standing on that stage was the first moment I can remember feeling the joy of merited recognition. Big smile!

The Schiny School of Art
When I was 11 or so, I offered art lessons to neighborhood kids. I designed the classes, canvassed my Fort Lauderdale neighborhood for “students”, collected the fees, and held classes throughout the summer break. What I taught also has not survived the test of time; it is the joy of organization and management that sticks with me to this day. That and getting paid.

Lead the Way, Girl!
While in elementary school, one year I was chosen to be the first child to enter the auditorium door for the Christmas concert, holding a burning candle. While the audience sat gazing forward to the stage, silently waiting for the show to begin, we surprised them all by entering though the rear door in brilliant theatrical staging. But wait!  As the doors swung open, I took a deep breath and then led my classmates singing “Joy To The World” a cappella. I can still remember the whoosh of the crowd turning back to look at us and catch the action. Me! I did that! And I can’t even sing!

I thought of more, but now go on, your turn: dredge up those happy memories!

Aloha, and take care, folks!

Proust Questionnaire Question of the Day: Who are you favorite writers of fiction?

Oh, good god, did I not read through these questions before deciding to add them at the end of my posts? Couldn’t they have maybe narrowed it down to “your favorite English or American or African or Japanese or Indian or Russian or Australian writers? Living or long gone writers? I AM A CHRONIC READER, meaning my list would be several posts long! Sorry, copping out and going with a no-brainer: Shakespeare.

Questo è interessante!

In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Venice, I am devouring All Things Venetian, including reading histories, studying architecture, listening to novels (like Casanova, read by Benedict Cumberbatch, hubba hubba!), and watching movies set in that spectacular city.  Last night I watched a heist movie where the caper – surprise! – involves canal water. There was a funny line in it: at the moment the crime was to be set in action, the seasoned thief asked the up and coming robber how he was doing, and got the reply, “I’m fine.” But the old crook’s retort was “Fine stands for freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional.” Not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when I think of ‘fine’! That said, I think everyone has heard “Fine!” when things definitely weren’t, so A) I’m going to stop saying “fine” in that context, and B) I will wonder at it the next time I get that response! Similarly, I once read that “‘interesting’ is what Americans say when they don’t want to commit.” Aspiring to be a committed citizen of the world, I feel like a cheat everyone time say it!  That’s interesting!

K, another short entry: got to get back to writing my characters!

Take care, folks!

Proust Questionnaire Question of the Day: What is your favorite journey?

Hmmmm, another singular request! These are hard (but highly useful!). Once again, I cannot choose one, so here are three: stepping into a hot bath in my “soaking tub”; sitting on the right side of the plane when returning to Hawaii Island after a trip so I can see the Hamakua Coast out the window; and cruising Red Road south from Pohoiki.  Ideally in a Miata . . . with the top down . . .

FORGOT CAMERA IN CAR. IMAGINE PHOTO OF BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL HERE.

I had lots of fun today, not the least because it was spent with a friend who said to me, “You’re an awesome lady, Nancy!” at least seven times during the course of a two-hour talk-about-the-world hike to several gorgeous waterfalls. Folks, I cannot stress enough that if you don’t already have one, look for a kind and generous person to hang out with. It is such a joy to have another human being say kind things straight to your face over and over! To you who already have this person – or persons, you lucky dog! – treat her well, repay the kindness, and the world will heal, I am convinced. If anyone who reads this is thinking, “What? She doesn’t have a person like that in her life? Must be something wrong with her,” then how much nicer my friend was to overlook my shortcomings and try to make me feel good. And if anyone who reads this is thinking, “What? She doesn’t have a person like that in her life? That is so sad,” well, it’s true that I’ve spent too much time around not-kind people, but I’m obviously on the upswing!

Regardless, thank you my dear friend; it was a supreme pleasure spending time with you yesterday, and I wish you the best in everything you do. Keeping healing the world! You’re an awesome lady, Jeanne!

Live all you can. It's a mistake not to.

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