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Saturday, June 04, 2022

Doing Some Unpacking

So, the journey has begun.  It was mostly without adventure except for a wrong turn in Montreal (why oh why does Champlain Bridge going to the south shore have to be so difficult to navigate?)  

But, I found my way. Eventually.  Which goes to show -- I eventually find my way but sometimes it takes some going round and round before I do.

I'm staying at a pretty average Days Inn next to a busy Autoroute 20 in a barely-a-town called Ste. Helene de Bagot.  I am suffering from some overstim and glad I brought food with me because there's no place to eat out here. And besides, I'm too tired to go anywhere.

This is the first major trip that I've done since the pandemic has been over (well, sort of over, anyway).  And the first major road trip I've done on my own since Ed and I split up.  It's been coming up on 18 months but, there is always some unpacking to do.  My suitcase sometimes gets messy, as you can see from the picture above.  I love visual metaphors.

I've also been thinking about the first time I took off in my car for Nova Scotia. Barry, my first husband and I had split up the previous December but still living in the same neighbourhood.  I left him to take care of the house and figuring out how we were going to disentangle ourselves.  It was a different situation from now. I was no less heartbroken but we had seen the end of our marriage coming and unable to do anything about it.  I was sad .. very very sad, but not angry in the same way. It's getting better but it will take some time yet ....

That's because of the different way it happened.  With Barry, I felt like it was my decision too.  Even though he was the one who ended it, I set him up for it. It felt like a mutual decision though I still really wished he would give it another try. But he gave it many tries.  And that made me feel like he believed it was something worth saving, even if in the end, it wasn't able to be saved.

With Ed it was different.  I had no choice in the matter.  I wasn't involved in the decision to end our marriage. He just did it and left me to pick up the emotional fragments of my life. Cut and run.

I think of both of them in these long hours on the road. Wishing that things could have been different.Wishing that I still had a travelling partner to help me navigate when I get lost.  When I get overstimmed, to remind me that I'm just tired.  To have one of them there to let me know that they're glad they're sharing the journey with me.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Return to Central Blissville

Picture: Sunrise over Eagle Lake, South River Ontario, where I am now living 

Can I believe that this blog has been abandoned since 2014? I guess I can .. but I am back! 

When I started this blog, I was newly separated from husband number one and ready to hit the road for a trip to the Maritimes. Now, in 2022, I am not so newly separated from husband number 2 and ready to hit the Maritimes again. The themes of this blog still hold, so I have decided to resume where I have left off and keep a record of this year's adventure to the Maritimes.

It is going to be an adventure resuming this blog and also reading my back posts to see how far I have come in so many years.  And in what ways I have stayed the same.

Tomorrow I start my trip, leaving from my home on Eagle Lake near South River Ontario, which is where I have been living since the breakup on New Years Day 2021.  The lake is beautiful but I've been here without much of a break for 18 months -- I've been living with my mother, who is doing well for 88 years old but we don't want to leave her alone either. But, other family members are now up here, and I can go.

Tomorrow, I'll drive through Algonquin Park, which is a lovely drive, and make it as far as the other side of Montreal.  After that, it's on to St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick.  I'll post pictures on the way. 

Kiss for luck!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Waiting for a train

This is how the idea of taking a year and wandering around started.

A good friend of mine asked me "Why don't you come stay at my place in Montreal while I'm gone away for five weeks?". And I thought about it for about thirty seconds. The picture above is me in Mile End in Montreal. I look happy. I was happy.

At the same time, I've been promising myself that really I was going to move out of Hamilton some day. I love Hamilton. I moved here in 1992 to be the manager of CFMU at McMaster University. This was the first place in my adult life I could see myself living for a long time. And I did live here for a long time, in between side trips to places like Ottawa and Appalachia. I owned my first house here in Hamilton. I loved my house, I loved my job and I loved my guy. But, as they say, many good things come to an end (actually they say ALL good things come to an end but I don't quite believe that).

I came back in 2007 to a Hamilton greatly transformed. I wanted to be here. But I also knew the time would come when it would be time to leave. I didn't know when that was going to be. But I always knew that I would recognize the time when it came.

That time has now come. And so I say goodbye, knowing I will be back. Probably just to visit friends and get stuff out of my storage locker once I figure out where I want to put it all.

I leave with not a thought like "oh, how glad I am to get out of here". If I could give this city a big hug and say, thanks, it's been great, I would do that. Since my arms are not big enough to embrace the whole city, I'll have to imagine it.

Hugs to ... the kind, compassionate and real people who live here. Even though they fight with each other a lot. Goodbye to the hundred year old buildings and the ghosts that live there. Goodbye to one of the best libraries in Canada. The waterfalls, the escarpment and the beautiful harbour.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Year of Living Flexibly

I usually use this blog to keep in touch with people when I'm on the move.

I think I've stayed in one place too long because I haven't written anything in a while. Well, it's time to pull up my tent pegs and move on. For most of the past seven years, Hamilton has been my home. Hamilton has been my home off and on since 1992.

I love this city, I really do. But when I moved back here I knew the time would come. And now the time has come.

My plan for the coming year is to explore where it is I want to make my home for the NEXT decade. So I've put my favorite stuff in a storage locker where it will stay until I've made up my mind where I want to be.

I will be living out of a suitcase. I have had many generous offers from friends on vacation who have graciously offered their place to me while they're gone. I'm helping out other friends by taking care of their pets while they're away. My family has reassured me that if I get stuck, I can come "home". So I am approaching this fearlessly, and looking forward to the new perspectives that travel always brings.

When I tell people what I'm doing, I get two reactions. Some people say "wow, that's brave, great and fun! You have to write about it and share how you're doing it". Others look kind of scared for me and ask "so, you're homeless, then". Yes, but by choice.

I asked one of my best friends yesterday what her thoughts were about this eccentric new adventure of mine. She said she was perfectly confident I'd have a great year. "You've done this before", she reminded me.

Quite a few times. I'll fill you in on that in a future installment.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Abandoned no more ...

I am back. I am a disorganized blogger. I have too many of them. I am making a promise to myself that I won't start any more blogs and then abandon them. So I am hereby renewing my commitment to Heading to Central Blissville. This blog is different from my other blogs because this is the most personal of my blogs. It is also the very first one I started, way back in 2005 as I was heading to Nova Scotia. This was the blog where I kept in touch with family and friends when I went to India in 2006. There is a lot of me here. Which is why I am back. Still heading for Central Blissville. Not the outskirts of Blissville. Right to the centre.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

$25/$25 challenge - Back at It

It's not that I've had a short attention span for this project. It's because I had a tooth pulled and have been living on a diet of soup and bananas for a week. I didn't keep track because a) I was hurting and b) the dollar figures would be skewed.

But now I'm feeling better and back at it. I've changed my focus a bit .. I'm not trying to eat on $25 a week anymore .. $3.67 a day just isn't realistic. But what I am doing is tracking what I eat and deliberately trying to find bargains.

Which is what the picture above is about. It's a Tilapia, which I was served, head, tails and all in Honduras last year. It was coated with a breaded coating and baked in a wood oven. Wonderful.

All this as an intro to the latest bargain I found at the market. Tilapia with head and tails ... a fish the same size as the above was only $4. Good bargain. And now I know how to cook it.

I also discovered a fish called Basa, from Vietnam, for 3.99 a pound. I got two really good sized filet -- enough for two meals -- for $4. I did my research and discovered that it is similar to catfish, only much cheaper (catfish farmers in the States are a little worried about this fish).

So I'll cook them all up and let you know how I cooked it all and what it tasted like.

Tomorrow's post -- Hamilton's Good Food Box Program. Every community needs one.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

$25 challenge - days 3, 4 and 5

I've gone off the rails. I stopped keeping lists about what I've been eating.

But I also stopped eating normally too due to a toothache. I didn't eat anything for about a day after the offending tooth was yanked out. (Ouch!) So my tally would have been off anyway.

I'm going to go back to it .. though I'm definitely going to revise my goal upwards to $35 a week. That would be $5 a day. Still very very difficult to do considering I've been averaging $7 so far. But not unattainable like $25 a week.

I did keep track of some things in the past couple of days. A couple of my discoveries:

I've been pricing items of fruit individually. A medium sized banana costs about .25 if bought at .59 a pound. A medium sized locally grown apple or pear at $1 a pound costs about .50.

A medium sized organic beet at 2.99 a pound is about .75 and worth every penny. Likewise for the organic turnip.

I'm trying not to focus on just the cost, but also what kind of experience I'm getting from the foods I eat. So no pasta and boring tomato sauce in a jar just to keep the costs down. If it doesn't taste good, I'm not eating it. Which is one of the reasons my goal of $25 a week is unrealistic.

So, this is turning into not so much a cost cutting exercise. It's really about looking at what I eat, what it costs and how much it makes my life better. It's about quality of life .. not just the bottom line.