September was a month filled with juggling. No, I didn’t join the circus, but at times it felt like my life was a circus. The hubby and I were once again visiting family in upstate New York, and we were constantly “juggling” our rapidly accumulating stuff from motel to motel, to hotel to motel, to hotel to motel to motel again. Whew! I mean, it was exhausting. (My old man managed to leave all his tee shirts and undies somewhere.) We traveled from Buffalo (hellooo, Terrapin Station) to Niagara Falls (NY), then over to the Canadian Niagara Falls with excited family members. Back to the US and all the way up to Watertown. A couple days later we drove quite a distance to Montreal, Canada, while the nearby St. Lawrence River continually sparkled as the miles passed. Then back to Watertown to say “au revoir” to our family. (We just returned from Quebec, where the language du jour is pretty much francais.) Finally, we arrived back in Buffalo for a couple more nights, the second one in the motel we originally stayed in. (We were forced to move twice because droves of wild and crazy Buffalo Bill fans reserved motel rooms long before we did.)
We went to several tourist sites we had previously visited, and were highly entertained at some new ones in New York and Canada. I’m talking chocolate, baby! If you ever find yourself in Ontario, Canada, get thee to Chocolate F/X (www.chocolatefx.ca), a chocoholic fantasy site located in beautiful St. Davids –on –Lake Niagara. You can watch the entire process as their staff prepares a variety of sensuous chocolate creations behind glass windows you just want to lick. Ok, well maybe that’s going too far but, the aromatherapy alone is enough to send you to chocolate heaven. The F/X folks let you loose in their chocolate (did I mention it’s chocolate?) tasting room for a free go- round devouring their goodies. I just kept going and going and going…
Have fun & save me some for next time…pleeease!!!
The weather in Canada was hot and humid on the day we visited a popular butterfly conservatory for the first time. Actually, it’s always humid in the conservatory, ’cause it needs to be. I was also completely clueless that the resident butterflies were free to flit about anywhere they wanted to, even if they felt like landing on you! My hubby was way busy filming these magical creatures, so I want to share some of his footage with you (literally).
After we returned to Watertown we drove to Alexandria Bay (A- Bay), “The Gateway to the 1,000 Islands,” for another awesome cruise on the pristine, picturesque St. Lawrence River. If sightseeing on this scenic Seaway doesn’t bring a smile to your face, I don’t know what will. Well, perhaps a stop at one of the town’s eating establishments will! Alexandria Bay is chock- full of history and had its share of pirates & smugglers long ago. Arrrgh. They have a pirate festival every summer, I hear.
Along the way to the international bridge in Messena, New York, we needed to make a pit stop at a McDonald’s in Ogdensburg. Now, I NEVER go to Mickey D’s, but we were really out in the boonies, folks. And this location featured a horse-drawn Amish buggy in its parking lot! This horsie was chomping at the bit & quite agitated. Two young women sitting at a booth inside the establishment were dressed in clothing from another century, and I don’t mean the 20th. These young ladies were enjoying large coffee drinks, however. Don’t know if they were caffeinated or not. The drinks, that is. When we returned (relieved!) to our rental car we could see why the horse was so agitated: hello, horsey doo doo.
We drove across the river into Canada from Messena. I don’t imagine they see too many Californians at this particular location. I decided it would be le fun to visit Montreal this time.around. Their website said even though they speak French, they also speak English & many other languages as well. Only thing they neglected to mention: ALL the highway and street signs are in FRENCH only. Mon Dieu! I don’t want to say we were lost, but our trip to Old Montreal, or Vieux Montreal in French made us both a leetle crazy. We didn’t realize that Montreal is situated on an island, an island of traffic jams that never seem to end. When the hubby stopped at a petrol (gas) station seeking directions to Old Montreal, an older man directed him deeper into the madness. I assumed that this guy was trying to find his own way to O.M. …probably still is. I was ready to chant “OM,” myself.
We finally found our way and arrived in Old Montreal, after we nearly crossed over yet another bridge to the USA: into VERMONT, that is. We really were lost. For intense beauty and an awesome experience of joy, I suggest that you visit the ethereal Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal in Old Montreal. It gets rave reviews from many visitors. Tres magnifique, as were the old buildings lining cobblestone streets so reminiscent of France. Someone told me that Quebec is more French than France, itself. Oui. One thing that I was willing to try in this French part of Canada is a local delicacy known as Poutine. Actually, it consists of French fries with a melted French cheese and a gravy-like sauce pooled at the bottom. NOT what I would normally eat, but when in Montreal, like when in Rome, ya gotta give new things a try.
It was good to come home, however much fun and frilovity we shared together. Yeah, I know the times they are a changin’ and not necessarily for the good. Don’t worry, be happy. And remember to find the time for healing laughter. We found laughter -and I’m pretty sure I saw a Deadhead actually juggling- at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre at the end of September. It was a sizable gathering of Deadheads for the end of summer/early fall concert that is annually celebrated in Mountain View. This year, however, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir returned to their Grateful Dead roots at the Greek, delighting fans of all ages. It was Family Day and wee ones were in evidence everywhere, many in darling tie dye. My hubby and I got full attention from a smiling three month old infant boy named Forest. What a little doll.
Had a very groovy seatmate from up in rural Humboldt County. He resembled Jerry Garcia, man. Saw several people we know from the area, everyone looking FAB! We even spotted radio personality & Buddhist meditation teacher “Scoop” Nisker walking with Zen Buddhist priest Jack Kornfield. I knew they were Jewish and Buddhist, but who knew they were Deadheads?
That’s the magic of the music, man. It really takes you on one long, strange trip where anything is possible. Enjoy the rest of October and get on down.
Peace, love, laughter & respect for all,
Stay tuned for an upcoming gnome update. It will be worth it!