Friday, September 8, 2017

California Incidentals

We arrived in San Francisco on July 14, 2017.

On the way to our San Francisco hotel from the airport, we sat beside a lovely young lady from Italy. Meet Martina. She teaches English and Spanish to high school students in Italy. She and I are now emailing each other. Martina plans to vacation in San Francisco for a month. Get this! She's traveling alone and staying with people she met on the Internet. Sounds scary to me, but she's a brave young lady. She told me about an Internet site, Work Away. This site puts people together for a cultural exchange.  work away. I admire young people who have the courage to try this. Martina thought she might visit Mexico while she's here. In her last email, she hadn't done it yet, and she sent a few pictures.

In another email, she said she was about to travel south to San Diego and meet someone named Christy, another person she'd met on the Internet. One of the guys from the Internet couldn't show her Tijuana. I was so pleased she didn't go into Mexico by herself. She said, "There are so many nice travelers around." I hope she's right, but I'm more cautious than she is. Fearful too.

I haven't heard from Martina in the last two weeks. She's supposed to be back in Italy teaching. I hope she's home safe and sound.

Several years ago, long before the Internet, we met a young woman from England bicycling east to west across Canada. 

We had toured the Columbia Ice Fields, and met her in the snack shop. She didn't have the funds to tour the Athabasca Glacier, so she asked me dozens of questions about it.  

I regret not buying her a ticket so she could see for herself. We spoke for several minutes, and I've never forgotten her. 

How do women have the chutzpah to travel in foreign countries alone?  This English woman in Canada was sleeping in a small tent when she stopped for the night. Her tent and belongings were attached to the back of a bicycle. Wasn't she afraid of bears? Or how about robbers?

I write adventure. These two women live it.

I'm writing a Christmas, California, Sarah, adventure story. Our travels to California gave me ideas. I asked Linda and Aaron, our director and driver, about locations when we stopped in various places. Since Hurricane Harvey has ceased most activities, this Sarah story may not show up until Christmas 2018!

Speaking of our California adventure. Here's a picture of Paul and me at Mono Lake, California.

Remember our friends, Rich and Carole Steer?  Rich graciously offered to take a picture of us at Mono Lake. We had a photo stop there, but the wind was mighty. Rick assured me the picture turned out well and he sent it to me from his camera. Hmmm? Maybe I do look better with my hair covering my face. It might be a new look to consider. Thanks, Rich. Good idea.

The tour group was phenomenal. I wish we'd had the opportunity to visit with each of them and learn their stories. Richard Steer, the guy that took the picture with my windblown hairdo said he and Carole had been in college together. When a friend wanted to supply him with a blind date, he said, "Just don't fix me up with Carole. I don't want a date with her."  Famous last words, right? This couple have been married several decades.

You met Henry Piwowarek and Karen Kruger. Henry sings with a trio in church, and Karen heard the group. She sent a note to tell Henry how much she'd enjoyed his song. At a later service, he found her to express gratitude for her thoughtfulness. As they visited in a sanctuary aisle, they discovered they had much in common and a love story began.  Karen grins when she says she eventually wrote a message to the other two men who sang. Seems to me she had eyes and ears only for Henry. Henry had a jeweler design a necklace shaped like a thank you note. Isn't that romantic? Look closely and you'll see Karen wearing it. 

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, ocean, bridge, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

Since I don't have permission, I won't mention names.  Here's a few sentences I heard from a couple and I'm pretty sure they will find their way into my Sarah stories.

"He kept showing up every two weeks to get a haircut. I finally asked him, 'what's wrong with you?'" This guy couldn't get the nerve to ask the stylist for a date so he kept spending money on hair cuts he didn't need. She ended up inviting him out and they've been married a long time. 

Characters in a writer's story often resemble real people. As a reader, don't be surprised if a character reminds you of a friend you know. I don't write murder mysteries, but a friend does. She says, "Don't make me angry. You might end up dead in my next novel." She's joking, of course, but authors do take real life experiences and write about them.  In my Sarah books, I've written several scenes that happened to me in real life. The newest book coming September 15, Mattie's Choice, has several events that occurred to real family members.

Bill and Lisa Bitner were travelers with us, and Lisa graciously offered to help us all stay in touch. Wasn't that nice? A lot of work too. I didn't hear how she and Bill met, and I missed a few others too, but all on the coach were affable. People you'd enjoy having as friends, family and neighbors. We all faced new encounters as we traveled together.

Paul and I experienced our first all gender restroom. I don't remember the stop, but there were two facilities, and any gender could use the one of their choice. Paul said there were no women in the one he chose, but one of our ladies saw a man in the one I selected. Times are a changing.

I hope you'll stay in touch. I hope this blog inspires and brings a smile to you. I also hope you'll read my books. My Sarah books are filled with humor. This bumbling angel conducts her missions with chaotic events. Sarah: A Mission of Love is the first in the series, and it is based on my challenges as a pastor's wife, but you don't need to read them in order. Sarah: Laney's Angel is built upon my experiences as an interior decorator. 

I'm excited! Mattie's Choice hit Amazon this morning for preorder. 

It is available in eBook and print.  Mattie is grounded in real life experiences too. My husband's mother faced many challenges in 1925.

Mattie's Choice can be ordered through a brick and mortar store or online book sellers.

We are still recovering from Harvey down here in Houston, and now Florida is preparing for Irma. We had travelers from Florida, and a few with relatives in that beautiful state. My prayers are for all in that deadly woman's path.

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