Month: November 2023

Santa Clara, California


After my recent Vancouver Island sojourn, I’m back in California… at least for another week, until I head back to Portland for some medical stuff and cat sits for the month of December. I’m soaking up the sunshine here while I can!

Two weeks ago, I boarded a small propeller plane out of Comox to Vancouver, then transferred to a jet back to San Francisco, followed by a couple of hours on the Caltrain before I arrived at my new sit. The cloudy and overcast views out the airplane window in Canada were kind of cool.

At the end of that long travel day—during which I arrived to a heavy rainfall in California—I finally landed at this lovely house with a Spanish-style backyard, complete with lime and avocado trees, across from a Carmelite monastery.

The two cats, Angel (white) and Buttercup (calico) were both strays rescued by this couple years ago; they suspect that people sometimes abandon stray cats at the monastery.

After the adorable-but-high-strung cats in San Jose, these two have been refreshingly low-key. Buttercup stays outside, and Angel mostly does too, just coming in at night for several rounds of treats followed by a snuggly overnight sleep on the bed with me.

The temperatures have been slightly lower than my preference—mostly highs in the low to mid 60s—but definitely warmer and sunnier overall than Comox or Portland. I have enjoyed the sun as much as possible, even pulling a porch chair out into the driveway today to catch the last few rays.

Last week, I went over and walked the monastery grounds. It’s a lovely and peaceful spot, with a large olive grove directly across from the house.

I also found time to return to the San Jose Japanese Friendship Garden, on a particularly warm and sunny day. I love that spot.

I spent Thanksgiving with my gracious former Warmshowers hosts Vikki and Mark, in nearby Campbell. Vikki made a few special vegan dishes for me, which I really appreciated. I will also be staying with them for the next three nights, after I leave here tomorrow, and then with a really interesting Servas host in nearby Mountain View.

On my way back from Campbell that day, I stopped once again at the beautiful rose gardens and Rosicrucian peace garden. There are so many wonderful public spaces here in the San Jose area.

Oh, and an amazing small-world coincidence: the couple I am sitting for right now have been visiting the husband’s sister in the tiny town of Lovettsville, Virginia… which happens to be the neighboring town to the tiny village of Waterford, Virginia where I grew up! They will be returning next summer; perhaps they can meet up with my parents then for a walking tour of historic Waterford.

I’ll leave you here with a few more kitty pics.

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A bittersweet journey to Vancouver Island


Hello from Santa Clara, California. I returned here, to the San Jose area, about a week ago, but I’ll make a separate post about my time here. Right now, I’m behind on reporting my travels to Comox, British Columbia, on Canada’s Vancouver Island.

As some of you know, my maternal grandfather was Canadian. His parents had immigrated to Canada from England in the late 1800s. His father—my great-grandfather—was an architect who built a house in 1912, when my grandfather was 7, in an idyllic Vancouver Island hamlet called Comox. The house was situated on about seven forested acres, with the open front yard ending in a bluff overlooking the ocean (and nearby Denman and Hornby Islands).

My grandparents retired to this home in the 1960s, after my grandfather had spent his career in the United States, where he had met my grandmother and raised my mother and her two siblings.

I was born in 1972, and during my childhood and teen years, our family would make the trek from Virginia, every few summers, to visit the grandparents in this wonderful place. My grandfather was a forester, and in addition to the wonderful vegetable garden and berry vines they cultivated, he also planted fruit and nut trees, including an apple tree with at least eight varieties of apples grafted onto it.

My grandparents passed away in the mid-late 1990s, but we have been able to keep the house in the family, sharing it among various relatives, since then. As an adult, I have visited a number of times, although living in Portland without a car made it difficult to travel there. (Even from Seattle, it was a full day’s journey, including a drive to the Canadian border, a wait at the border, a wait at the ferry, a two-hour ferry crossing, and then a nearly two-hour drive from the ferry to the house. Flying was possible, but expensive and similarly time-consuming, since of course there is no direct flight.)

Sadly, our family has finally come to a time when we will soon need to sell the house. Life marches on, and things change. I accept this, but saying goodbye to a place I have known all my life is sad.

So, I made a (probably) last trip up there a couple of weeks ago, which happened to allow me to celebrate my birthday in this special place and spend time with my parents, who have traveled all the way from Virginia to spend a couple of months there.

It was a very special trip, and I’m so glad I went.

I flew up on November 6th. I would have preferred to avoid flying, as usual, but the logistics, time, and expense of doing so from San Jose were unfortunately prohibitive.

I spent my first night on the island in a hotel, since my flight arrived late, and then, since my parents had not arrived yet, I chose to spend the next two nights with a Servas host, to give myself a non-family perspective on this place I had only visited with family over the years.

I’m so glad I did! Jane, my host, was in her mid-70s, and had grown up in a Servas family. Her parents had hosted dozens of people from around the world; she actually showed me two thick binders of letters and photos from these folks, mostly from the mid-1980s. How cool!

Her cottage was magical, situated directly on the beach(!) and with a special outdoor guest bedroom, set up to be very cozy and inviting.

The day I met her was the last warm(ish) and sunny day of what is a very dark and rainy season in that area, and the rain and windstorms had not yet taken down the autumn leaves from the trees.

We went to my family house to see it in this golden state, and I’m so glad we did. A few photogenic deer made their customary appearance, and we even picked apples from one of my grandfather’s trees, from which we later made applesauce.

Then she drove me around the area, and we took a hike at a beautiful nature park called Nymph Falls.

The next day—my birthday, the 8th—we took a walk along the beach, and then back through her neighborhood, passing a glorious red Japanese maple.

That evening, my wonderful vegan Facebook friends Fireweed and Mike, who live on Denman Island, took the ferry over with their electric car, and took me out to a sumptuous birthday dinner (for Fireweed, too—her birthday is the day before mine, and her late father’s birthday was the same as mine) at a nearby Greek restaurant that boasts a separate vegan menu. The meal was wonderful, with an assortment of flavorful appetizers, entrees, cocktails, and even dessert, and I had leftovers for another meal the next day.

The following day, my parents came to Jane’s place to pick me up and take me to the family home.

Sure enough, we got plenty of dark, rain, and wind over the next six nights—enough to knock out the power (and thus well water supply, too) for five hours one night.

But it was wonderful to reconnect with my parents in person; the last time we had seen each other was over Mothers’ Day, a year and a half ago, during my cross-country travels. My mom even veganized my grandmother’s bread recipe for me, which was a great treat that reminded me of childhood summers in that home.

I did do a small amount of outdoor exploration while there, including a short woodland hike that showed me the largest, coolest fly amanita mushroom I’ve ever seen!

I also took the ferry over one day to Denman Island, to meet up again with Fireweed and Mike. They fed me a homemade vegan lasagna lunch, complete with peach tarts made from their own tree’s peaches! (I was shocked to learn that peaches could grow in such a wooded and rainy environment, since they are difficult to grow in Portland.) They have a beautiful art studio for Fireweed’s photography work, which doubles as a guest cottage. The inside and out were beautiful.

They also took me on a hike that afternoon, in Fillongley Park, which included wonderfully tall trees and also stunningly blue sea views.

When they dropped me back at the house, there was just barely enough daylight left for Fireweed to capture a few photos of my parents and me on the bluff and in front of the house. I’m glad we have that documentation, as well as one of the most beautiful sunsets I can ever recall seeing there.

I’m really glad to have made that trip.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Chapter 5 begins


Wow. It’s been more than a month since I’ve written, and everything is so different.

Horrific violence in Israel and Palestine. What is happening there is beyond tragic, and feels so overwhelming, on so many levels. I have contacted my Congressional representative and Senators about a ceasefire. I don’t know how things will unfold, but I continue to envision a world in which every human being is safe, fed, housed, and living with dignity and human respect.

In my own world, things have changed quite a bit as well, mostly for the good. I’m in San Jose, California now, having traveled by train from Portland overnight from October 12th to the 13th. I had some wonderful spontaneous magical meetings on the train, which is always my hope. The weather is warm and sunny here, exactly what I want! And I am continually dreaming into a bright future, including my dream of traveling Europe by train and bicycle next summer.

My birthday is approaching (a week from today, the 8th) and I’m looking forward to a family trip at that time to Vancouver Island, Canada, where my great-grandfather built a house in 1912 which has been in the family ever since. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my parents, and with the house, land, and ocean there.

I’m also realizing that with my recent move to California for the season, I am entering what I am coming to view as the fifth chapter in the transformation of my life.

The first chapter began on January 7th, 2020, when my world started (seemingly) falling apart. During my then-annual sunshine-seeking short trip to San Diego, my condo in Portland flooded when a radiator pipe burst in the living room. I was forced to relocate for three months while the condo was restored from all the damage. During that relocated time, the pandemic fully arrived on American shores, and I feared for both my life and my then-livelihood (at a retail party store) and began reflecting deeply on what was most important to me. Shortly after I moved back into my condo, my then-partner of seven years suddenly left me to pursue another relationship.

Yikes. Talk about all possible rugs being pulled out from under me.

Chapter 2 began in early August of that year, when after all those blows, I came to the realization that I wanted to make a dramatic change. I dreamed up a yearlong multimodal journey around the United States and Canada. I spent 13 months planning and preparing for the journey, and that year was one of the best of my life up until then—especially wonderful as a contrast to the previous seven months.

Chapter 3 was the journey itself, and as those of you who followed along with me here well know, it was also an incredible time of joy, exploration, and expansion for me.

Chapter 4 was when I returned to Portland for what I thought would be only a few weeks, but then got “stuck” there for another year when I had a variety of medical and dental issues to attend to, including a fractured foot that happened shortly after my return. I was disheartened, but spent the year beginning a brand-new lifestyle of cat sitting. I found that it was a perfect segue after a year of large-scale travel, staying in people’s homes with them for a few days, to switch to small-scale travel mostly around the Portland area, getting to know cats better and having longer stretches and more privacy and solitude at each home. I even managed to do some traveling to places around Oregon, including Eugene, Bend, Silverton, Corvallis, and McMinnville, and even a January jaunt to Los Angeles and Pomona.

Chapter 5 began a few weeks ago, when I boarded that train to combine my cat sitting lifestyle with my wider-ranging, warm-weather-following travel lifestyle.

San Jose has been lovely. These two Russian Blue cats, Sergei and Vladimir, have kept me on my toes, but have made up for the challenges by being so adorable and snuggly.

The apartment is centrally located, and I have made great use of that by visiting the rose garden, the incredible Rosicrucian peace garden, the San Jose Japanese Friendship Garden, the San Jose Art Museum (with last year’s Warmshowers host Vikki!) and the lovely downtown plazas.

I got an overdue bike tuneup at the local Brompton-certified shop. I’ve been attending the local OsteoStrong gym.

The other day, I even took an excursion by BART train to the charming outer suburb of Livermore, to catch up with my wonderful friend Mimi, who had hosted me two years ago during my time in Berkeley.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Meanwhile, I’ve continued doing magical meetings with people around the world, per my ongoing vision of strengthening the rainbow network.

And, I’m moving ahead on seeking donations and godfunding to continue my work and travels around the world. (If all goes well, I will work my way slowly east across the southern US this winter, visit my parents in Virginia in May, then fly to England to begin a five-to-six-month adventure in the UK, Ireland, and Europe from Scandinavia to Spain and Portugal—all by bicycle and trains, of course!)

I completed one component of this fundraising goal yesterday: I made a page on my blog with testimonials from many people who have experienced my Happy to Listen, Dream Into Change, and/or Magical Meeting sessions over the years. (Follow the link and scroll down to see the testimonials.) I am very proud of my work, and it brings me deep joy to read the wonderful writings that so many people took the time to share about how my holding space with and/or for them has made a difference in their lives. This is how I can do my part to strengthen that rainbow network, one hour and one person at a time.

My current fundraising goal is $60,000. With this money, I could pay off my mortgage, top up my “emergency fund” (which has unfortunately dwindled this past year as some unexpected expenses have arisen) and have enough left to continue my (very economical) travels. I visualize that this $60,000 is flowing to me easefully and joyfully, from people who become acquainted with my work and my vision as I continue it.

I want to thank you, my readers, so deeply for all the moral and financial support you have offered me these past few years! I probably haven’t expressed enough how much your support means to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

*If* you happen to feel moved to contribute any additional amount in honor of my taking the leap of faith to begin “Chapter 5,” and/or my upcoming birthday, I would of course gratefully receive it. If you don’t feel moved or able to do so, I absolutely celebrate that as well, trusting that the money will flow from where it will.

And regardless, as always, if you would like a free magical meeting, by phone or video chat, please let me know that as well! I would love to support you in your life and dreams.

I hope you are all doing well, enjoying life and the season!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons, contributors, and godfunders!)