2 Sep 2013
Glad you could join me for this "Oh, The Places I Have Gone - End of Summer" episode of KaTsZoNe. It has been quite a summer!
I remember when I first started my summer journey with "Oh, The Places I'll Go!" in May, 2013, I had just quit my job with the Ontario Public Service. I felt ready for something new. I didn't know where I was headed, but, Dr. Seuss inspired me through his book, "Oh, The Places You'll Go!", especially with this simple rhyme:
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
My mother has been in the hospital since December, 2013, and back in May, I did not know how mom's journey would turn out and I did not know where I would tread either. She's been through so much these past eight months. There have been ups and downs over and over. Oftentimes, I felt really alone as I faced doctors and decisions about her condition and treatment. I knew that I had friends and family supporting me for months, but, I still felt like I was alone on this journey. Then, three weeks ago, after I returned from a weekend away with Larry, my mom went through another crisis and nearly lost her life. She had pulled out the traech which gave her some oxygen. She was found by hospital staff, barely breathing. Fortunately, her heart did not stop. And, after several days, she regained consciousness. She is now breathing as normal as before the incident. I was stressed, to say the least, even though I tried to remain calm because it seemed like another health issue. So, once again, I felt so alone on this journey. For days, I didn't know whether I should mention it to my friends. My mom could've died and anything could still happen. I finally shared this latest critical incident with my friends and family, and I appreciate all the support I have again received -- with their presence at the hospital, encouraging comments on my Facebook and with emails. If anything, just sharing this most recent experience that mom and I went through helped me emotionally and psychologically. God bless you all! I am truly grateful for your love and support, your prayers and patient ears, your hugs and much more. Even the hospital staff have looked after mom so well, and, they have been so kind to me, with hugs and words of comfort and encouragement. Staff have also prayed for my mom. I think the staff at Toronto East General Hospital rock!
For years, I have talked about journeys in our lives and how we can learn from them. In spite of the troubling and difficult times, there are also good journeys -- perhaps, not as emotional, yet, we can also learn from them. This summer, I have revisited some cities and towns and also explored new ones -- probably more than any one summer in the past. Having a good "partner in crime", Larry, makes my journeys a bit easier and a lot of fun.
Back in May, I took a day trip to Hamilton and a weekend in Barrie, where Larry was working. He worked, I went out and had fun! I visited the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at the Hamilton airport for the first time. Larry suggested it to me. I heard about it about a decade ago, so, after all these years, I am really glad I went. I don't know very much about planes and have never been to a specifically planes museum -- the history, the collection of artifacts and the actual planes themselves were so interesting and colourful. I also went to Dundurn Castle in Hamilton -- the home of Sir Allan Napier McNab, one of Canada's first premiers. It may not look like a castle, but, this forty-room, three-storey home was still an interesting Hamilton landmark. During the War of 1812, the British army established a miltary post at the site. Learning more of history about any culture, event or place is an adventure that can impress us. How many of you, like me, have wondered about how people created or accomplished certain things "in the old days"? I remember how it was like when my parents and I had to deal with one bathroom in a three-bedroom house. Sir McNab had two toilets - one for men, one women, in his house but only one bathroom. And, it was quite interesting how they collected water to use in the house -- believe it or not, they had to collect rainwater to store because it was too difficult to pump water from the ground as the house was situated on a hill. So, the next time we are tempted to complain about not having enough washrooms in the house or water pressure, remember Dundurn Castle! [Ref. www.warplane.com/; www.hamilton.ca/CultureandRecreation/Arts_Culture_And_Museums/HamiltonCivicMuseums/Dundurn/Dundurn_Castle.htm]
I have never stayed in Barrie - just passed through several times. It was nice to have a rental car so I could drive to downtown Barrie and visit Heritage Park. I also drove along a stretch along the waterfront. What I really wanted to do was visit Tanger Outlets in Cookstown and The 400 Market, south of Newmarket. I have not been there for years, so, it's nice to see familar places but notice changes. Tanger Outlets use to be the Cookstown Manufacturers Outlet and I have such a hard time trying to remember the name, Tanger Outlets. Well, I guess I'll have to get use to it. It's quite a trek to Tanger Outlets from Toronto, so, I look forward to visiting a new outlet mall called Toronto Premium Outlets, located in Halton Hills which is west of Mississauga. As crazy as it sounds, outlet malls and flea markets can be an adventure like no other. If you go on such an adventure, I recommend that you wear a good pair of supportive, comfortable shoes, some liquids and possibly a bit of carbs, a map of where your favourite stores are located, and don't sprint too much, even though you may be extremely excited. Take breaks as needed, even though you feel pressured for time, because you don't want to collapse from exhaustion. This reminds me of my first issue of KaTsZoNe when I wrote about a new outlet mall called Vaughan Mills and the headline was "Shopping - The Next Olympic Event". I have not heard about a new outlet mall since Vaughan Mills opened in 2004, so, I look forward to my next Olympic Event at Toronto Premium Outlets!
This past June, Larry worked at Wasaga Beach's first summer event called Beach Fest. It was my third visit to Wasaga Beach with Larry. This time, we had a rental car, so, while Larry was sleeping during the day after his evening shift, I drove to the Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood on a Saturday. I have been to Collingwood in the past, but, never to the Blue Mountain Resort. That particular weekend, the TLN Summer Salsa Tour performed to the delight of salsa dancers and a happy audience. There are lots of shops and restaurants as well as mini golf and the Ridge Runner Coaster. I spent a nice afternoon walking around and the best part was finding a nice Roots t-shirt and the L'Occitane store! The ladies at L'Occitane were so nice and those of you who know me well, I'm sure it is no suprise to you that I did not walk out of the store empty-handed! My latest favourite is their cherry blossom roll-on -- smells great and in such a nice little convenient container. I'm sure you're wondering what I had learned from my journey to Blue Mountain Resort. Just shopping in an area surrounded by mountains is relaxing in itself. For me, I do not get into random conversations so easily but, in that environment, I started talking to four guys who seemed to enjoy the unusual meals of poutine. I asked each of them what they were eating and whether they enjoyed it. I felt like a market researcher. LOL. Anyway, I love poutine but it looked too overwhelming for me! I seem to be able to talk to strangers at tourist attractions and festivals more easily than if I was home. I'm not sure why I would assume that tourists and festival-goers would be more friendly and therefore, more approachable. I think we can always learn from people, and, having spontaneous conversations wherever we go can be fun and enlightening - besides, most likely, you'll never see those strangers again, so, why not take a chance and try and make some connections.
In August, Larry and I were away for four days. We started what Larry called a 3 IN 1 vacation at the Henry Ford Museum and Rouge Factory Tour in Dearborn, Michigan. We drove to Windsor and crossed over to the U.S. via the Ambassador Bridge. We took a tour bus from the museum to the Rouge Factory and went on a tour. It was most fascinating to see how the Ford F-150 pick up trucks were manufactured. At the museum, we saw a collection of cars (Fords and other makes), trains, planes and even artifacts you may not expect, including the theatre chair which Abraham Lincoln sat in when he was assassinated. There was also a replica of the Declaration of Independence. We were very limited in time as our trip and border crossing took some time. So, if you are interested in taking a tour of the Rouge Factory, the Henry Ford museum, Greenfield Village and IMAX films, they recommend two days! For information and to purchase tickets online, go to www.thehenryford.org/museum/index.aspx.
We left the Henry Ford Museum and drove towards Port Huron, Michigan, in order to cross-over back to Canada to Sarnia, Ontario. I was so tired as I was up all night finishing packing (or overpacking) and never slept, so, I think I woke up just before we arrived at the Blue Water Bridge which connects Port Huron and Sarnia. We were headed to the Pinery Provincial Park in Grand Bend to spend one night, camping. Making a last minute decision to attend the Henry Ford Museum and factory concerned me, for fear of lack of time, but, I was extrememely excited, but, compared with the thought of camping, the Henry Ford trip was nothing! Several friends knew that I was not too keen to camp. The last time I went camping, I was in my early 20s. I am so not too crazy about bugs of any kind. Whenever I mentioned mosquitoes and flies, Larry said, they come out in June, it's August. They'll be gone. Then, I was concerned about rain and lightning storms and had visions of our tent floating on water or mud, if we didn't get struck by lightning in the process. Ladies, you may also be sympathetic knowing that it was also "that time of month" - talk about the worst timing! So, after getting no sleep for a total of four days that week, including being up for the past 48 hours, I was seriously thinking that this camping vacation was feeling like HELL before we even reached our campsite because we got lost in the woods trying to find what seemed like a nonexistent campsite! I cried. Then, minutes later, we finally found the campsite at almost 11 p.m. By the end of a very long day, I was happy with Larry making steaks for dinner and he roasted marshmallows while I was still eating a huge steak. It was probably a good thing I was busy eating steak so I could not chew my companion for dragging me into the woods! LOL. As it turned out, it was a beautiful, clear and cool night. The bugs were not the biting kind at all. Then, to sleep to the sound of water flowing somewhere beyond the trees - it's just total peace and tranquility. There are things I felt and learned about camping that I would not have felt elsewhere. Even the next morning, bacon and eggs have never tasted so good to me and I am not a big fan of bacon - so, Larry's cooking was better than I thought. Believe it or not, I am open to future camping trips, but, I won't pack so light in the future. The fact that Larry could not see through the back window of his car should tell you how light I packed. My friend, Tracy, would understand because when she and I took a road trip across Canada, headed for Victoria, BC, I had stuff on my lap too and the weight of her belongings resulted in a flat tire near Sudbury. Fortunately, all went well for this trip. We made it through one night of camping and I'm just glad Larry did not have to put up with me another night in the woods.
Larry and I went to Sauble Beach after camping. We stayed at Port Elgin, about a half hour drive from Sauble Beach. We knew there were special events called "Sandfest" at Sauble Beach that weekend. So, after brunch, we attended a huge showcase of classic cars. One of the themes of our trip seemed to be cars! It took almost three hours to see all the classic cars on the beach and it was amazing to do that right by Lake Huron, which is a gorgeous lake! That same day, we went to the Sauble Speedway for an evening at the racetrack. This year, kids in a couple of age groups also had bike races on the track. Something I've done before is to sit in a racecar. After the races, we met the winning driver, Marvin Freiburger (aka Marvelous Marvin), of the last main race of the night. Larry and I took a photo of me with Marvelous Marvin. He was so kind to donate corn for everyone to enjoy and it was cooked by a steam engine which was brought to the site. He encouraged a donation to Easter Seals, and, we learned that Marvelous Marvin donates all his winnings to charity - amazing man! So, as much as I loved meeting a race car winner and sitting in a race car, I think it is great to meet a philanthropist.because I love philanthropy!
I took another road trip in August, so, I hope you're still with me!
My next road trip was to Port Dover and Simcoe on August 24th. Larry was working at the Gentlement of the Road Simcoe Stopover featuring Mumford & Sons. He was away for the week as they set up the stage and other activities at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds in Simcoe. I drove to Port Dover and Simcoe for the day. I had heard about Port Dover, located along Lake Erie, because apparently, bikers gathered there every Friday the 13th. Larry told me about Port Dover after he learned to ride a motorcycle. It was only a twenty-minute drive to Simcoe from Port Dover, so, it wasn't out of the way. I attended a Street Fair in Simcoe and met singer/songwriter, Tim Chaisson, whom I was familiar with because my friend, Jaimie, game me Tim's latest CD, The Other Side, last Christmas. I have not been able to attend his show when he came to Toronto a couple times. So, finally, I saw him perform songs from Tim's latest CD and other fabulous tunes, including Celtic ones as he played the fiddle, accompanied by his cousin, Koady, on the guitar. My road trip had a couple detours while going to Port Dover and when I was returning home. I almost ended up in Niagara when I missed my exit through Hamilton. Then, coming home, I wandered through Brantford, trying really hard to find Hwy 403! I was always proud of my sense of direction and ability to use road maps. In fact, my dad use to be a ship pilot, and he called me his road pilot. At the age of 3 or 4, I could give directions to to my parents when they were lost going to friends' homes. But, this time, I really wished I had a GPS. Larry used GPS on his iPhone during our road trip. So, after that road trip, I decided that it would be a good idea to have GPS on my future road trips. Those who do not take road trips may not appreciate a GPS as much, but, I think if I am going to take more of them, so, it would be quite handy!
In the past couple months, I thought about trips to Ottawa and the East Coast. My friend, Tracy, lives in New Brunswick. It has been about 14 years since I was in New Brunswick. I did not have a chance to go to Nova Scotia and PEI that first time, and would love to make that trip. Also, I think that after living in Canada for 40 years (as of May this year), I should take a trip to Ottawa. My parents have been to Ottawa, but, I have never been. I think I could take advantage of the time I have these days to make these further two trips.
In September, I am planning to attend a two-day Cambridge House Resource Conference at the Sheraton Centre, Toronto, which takes place September 12 and 13, 2013. For those who invest in mining, it has not been an easy ride for some time. I have sold all my mining stocks, but, I keep my eyes open and have started to invest in mining again. The Toronto Resource Conference is geared towards investors, unlike the largest mining conference produced by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) which is geared mainly to those who work in or deal with the mining industry, but, investors can learn from and speak to people who work in the industry. You can register for the Toronto Resource Conference for free. It is a great opportunity to learn and not just about mining. [Ref. http://cambridgehouse.com/]
The World MoneyShow in Toronto takes place between October 24th and 26th this year. I attended this conference one year, for two days. I have heard some great speakers. Those who are interested in investing and do online trading, you may find the World MoneyShow interesting. Just like the Cambridge House series of resource conferences which goes on year-round, the World MoneyShow also takes place at different locations. If you register, you will be on their mailing list and they will notify you of free webcasts of sessions at the various conference locations. So, consider attending the upcoming World MoneyShow which takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre - www.moneyshow.com/tradeshow/toronto/world_moneyShow/. I have not registered for the World MoneyShow yet, and am waiting till October to see how things go.
Those of you who are going back to school, I wish you all the best and I hope you have an awesome school year ahead!
Thanks for joining this month. Stay tuned and join me again, in October, for another episode of KaTsZoNe!
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