Friday, May 29, 2009

School Play

Well it's that time of year once again. School is winding down and children are putting on performances for their parents and grandparents to attend. Grandson Ryan was singing in the play Swan Lake. He (along with other children) was disappointed that he didn't get a "part", but I assured him that singing was an important part of the performance.

I do remember those long-ago days when everybody wanted to be dressed up in a colourful costume and star in the show. Everybody wanted the lead part. Or at least an important part. I almost always got relegated to sing. I loved singing, but to be on stage and shining like a star! Wow! It's too bad that only a few chosen children get to be stars. I wish everybody could have that chance.

Well, life isn't about center stage (unless you take that up as a profession) and children need to learn that as one of life's lessons. But in my mind (and heart), Grandchildren are always the Star of Grandma's show!

Hope everyone is having a sunny day (weekend). We're having rain.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May is a Magical Month...

Our lily of the valley are in bloom. Lilacs too. May is the beginning of the outdoor gardening season in this part of the world .....and I LOVE IT!!
Today, May 24th is my eldest granddaughter's 13th birthday! She is now officially a teen-ager! Happy Birthday, dear Kaitlin. Sorry I don't have a more recent photo of you, and this school photo is a little washed out, but nonetheless - I am happy to be your grandma!
Thirteen years ago, you came into this world and blessed us all with your presence. Today I am so proud of you - not only what you achieve, but who you are.
Lots of Love on your special day,
Grandma Wendy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Hubby has asked me to buy him a walker.
I nearly fell off my chair.
I bought him one 2 and a half years ago, which he asked me to return.
He was not ready.
Now he is.

Two and a half years ago, he could still walk outside. While grocery shopping, he would lean on the shopping cart, while placing his oxygen cylinder in the basket where a child would normally sit.
I thought a walker would make life easier, back then, but he resisted.

Hubby wants one for in the house. He gets tired just walking from room to room. And he wants to walk a little on our back deck - to try and build up his leg muscles.

One day not long ago, I was driving home from visiting my daughter. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there was no wind. No reason to think the power might go off. Happily zooming up the driveway, I nonchalantly pushed the button on the garage door opener.

Nothing happened. I pushed again. Still nothing. Oh S**t!! I jerked the car into Park, threw open the car door and left it that way. Pulled on the handle of the manual garage door, meanwhile praying for all I was worth. Please, please, please.......

Smashed open the inner door to our house, and heard the alarm screaming! When the power goes off, Hubby's oxygen concentrator emits a high-pitched squeal. Oh no! Please! Not yet!

Ran into the TV room where hubby takes his naps, and jumped up beside Hubby in the bed.
"WAKE UP!' I yelled.
He woke up.
I cried (well not right away, but afterwards).
I hooked him up to his portable and thanked God he was alive.

We figured out he had been asleep without his supplemental oxygen for 20 minutes. Nobody home. No back-up. And he did not hear the alarm! Something had to be done.

We had talked about getting an emergency service like "Life Line" before I went away. Hubby was not interested.
Now he is.

We are making changes in our home.
Sometimes change comes easily.
Other times, we seem to be forced in a certain direction before we allow change into our lives.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


My daughter and I celebrated our Mother's Day by taking the children to the Ecomuseum. I don't know why it's called a museum, since the animals are all outdoors. Mind you, there is a building on the grounds, where some lectures take place about the habits and history of native animals. The bear pit! We didn't want to get too close to Mr. Bear.

Ah, the otters. Er.... where did they go? There were here swimming and playing just a minute ago. I think I see an otter back in the upper right corner. Or maybe it's the tail?

Jasmine is giggling at their antics, as Mommy holds her up to the otter tank.

Could not get a pic of the otters in motion. They were just too fast for my camera. So here they are, basking in the sun.

We had a wonderful day. Complete with lunch at home and no nap!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Here is where I stayed. Just kidding. My hotel was the little one with the red roof, just to the right of the huge, rather posh hotel.
If you look closely, you can see that on the left side of the red-roofed hotel is an open-air restaurant.
This is a closer pic. You can't see the restaurant, but the dolphin statue is directly over the front door.

The first morning, I went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. The service was great. I did not want hash brown potatoes with my scrambled eggs and bacon, so the waiter suggested sliced tomato instead. Perfect! I was pleased. He seemed to know what I'd like. We chatted a bit about Fort Lauderdale and then I went to the beach.

One evening I had supper there. I ordered mahi-mahi served with veggies on a bed of rice. Ummmm - it was good. There was a man at the next table who struck up a conversation. He seemed friendly enough. We chatted about his internet business and his family.

"So what are you doing tomorrow? Not that I'm trying to ask you out!"
I didn't know whether to be insulted or to laugh.
I chose to laugh.
"I know you weren't."

Yikes - why did he have to justify a perfectly innocent question? I know he was just curious, or trying to make light conversation.

Then an older couple sat at the next table. I don't remember how they got involved in the conversation, but it was funny to be having a conversation with all these people as if we were at a dinner party. Except that we were seated at different tables, and had to shout a little to be heard over the noise of the other diners.

Breakfast time, on my last day of vacation. I wanted something simple and quick. There was a young lady sitting alone at the next table, eating blueberry pancakes. They looked yummy, so I ordered some. While waiting for my order, I started a conversation with the lady. We talked for a bit and then she left.

I was still waiting for breakfast and I was hungry. And getting crabby. I looked around and saw that other people (who had walked in after me) were already happily munching toast and bagels.

Now I was really getting annoyed. Where was my waitress? I hadn't seen her in a while. Did she go for coffee? Or home? To the beach?

I stopped a waiter "Is there a problem with my order? I haven't been served yet and they have." I made a sweeping motion with my arm to include the tables around me. And I didn't care if I sounded like a school kid.

"I'll go and check." he said amicably.

I waited a few minutes. My waitress still had not come back. Then I saw the waiter come back from the kitchen (where I presume he was checking on my order) and start clearing tables at the far end of the restaurant.

What the heck? Did he check for me or not? Well how about coming over to me and saying "your order's coming right up." Or "it will be just a few more minutes". Or... anything!

Now I was really mad. So up I got, once again, and angrily flounced away, down the sidewalk intending to pick up a ready-made sandwich at a convenience store.

I had gone about 2 blocks when I came across a familiar hotel. Wait a minute, didn't I stay here 4 or 5 years ago? With my Dolphin group? I'm sure of it! We stayed one night and the next day, departed for the Bahamas for a Swim with the Dolphins program. I remembered (back then) that breakfast had been included. Hmmmm. I wonder......

I walked right in. Said good-morning to the few people milling around. Popped a bagel into the toaster. Spread it with cream cheese. Poured a cup of coffee and took breakfast out on the terrace. Ahhhh this is more like it! My crabby self faded away. And Mrs. Crabby turned into Mrs. Full-stomach-satisfied. And Mrs. Satisfied turned into Mrs. Oh-no-did-I-really-do- that?

Walking back to my hotel, my conscience was prickling me. Maybe I should walk back and put a couple of dollars ..... where? It was a self-serve kitchen. There was no where to put any tips or money. Should I leave it at the front desk? The desk clerk would pocket it. Well so what? It would ease my conscience. But then I would have to explain....

Too late now anyway. I had to get packing. So I left a few dollars for the maid who cleaned my room.

I know. She had nothing to do with it. And it was a totally different hotel. But I felt better. And made blueberry pancakes for Hubby and me when I got home.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eating Out

Eating out when you are on holiday is always a pleasure.
After all somebody else does the cooking and washing up afterwards. And you get to try different dishes. Food you wouldn't normally try at home, or food special to that region.

My vacations almost always take me to the sea. And that means seafood.

When vacationing in Maine, I eat lobster. In Fort Lauderdale it was shrimp and fish.

I had the absolute best experience eating at the Cheesecake Factory. I'd heard about it's excellent reputation, but I'd never been, so one afternoon, after disembarking from the Water Taxi, I set out to find this legendary restaurant.

The Cheesecake Factory was very busy. I'd also heard that there are times you have to line up and wait for a table. I'm not good at that. When I'm hungry I want to eat! I can't wait. My head gets dizzy and I get crabby.

I was in luck. No waiting, but the restaurant was busy. I chose a table outside in the shade. Nice ambiance. The clientele were obviously business people or contented shoppers enjoying a break and a delicious meal.

I ordered the guacamole and shrimp, a glass of white wine, and their key lime cheesecake for dessert. I was not disappointed. The food was divine! Service impeccable. I look forward to going back there one day.

Now for the not-so-good eateries.

I was walking down the Beach Strip a day or so into my vacation, popping in and out of beach boutiques. I'd tried on t-shirts, summer dresses, flip-flops, sunglasses, and funny hats. Feeling hungry, I perused the eating places.

Hmm. Menus were pretty much the same and I walked from one eatery to another. Some were crowded, some not so. Then I saw a woman eating curly fries with her meal. Curly fries! Ohhhh, I love those. And haven't had them in years.

Quickly I walked in and sat down at the nearest empty table. The waitress came to take my order. She poured me a glass of water, which I promptly began sipping.

Then I looked around. Eeewww, she hadn't bothered to clean the table, where I was sitting. Crumbs from the last customers were visable not only on the surface of the table, but on the chair beside me as well.

Eeewww - was I sitting on crumbs?

I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Looking around I noticed that this place was not as clean as I'd assumed.

Sipping my water, I waited for my meal.
It didn't come.

I was beginning to feel strange vibes. (or I was creating them, who knows!)

Feeling uneasy, I looked around again. Was it my imagination, or were the people sloppily dressed, not-so-nicely mannered, loud?
O.K. I said to myself. I'll give them 3 more minutes to bring my order.
I think I actually waited another 3o seconds.

Then I walked away. Down the sidewalk (all these eateries are outside on the sidewalk, making walking away much easier than if you had to walk past the maitre'di or seating person), I went at a rather quick pace until I found a shop where I could purchase just a sandwich to curb my hunger.

I think I made a wise decision. I wonder what the waitress thought when she brought out my order? Or maybe it had gotten lost?

To be continued......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers!

And a very happy Mother's Day to those who are mothers in spirit, whether they've given birth or not.
Happy Sunday to everyone!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Grandson's new home

Welcome aboard my magic bus. Where would you like to go? We can travel near.
We can travel far.
We can get off and take a car.
Or change this bus into a boat.
And sail the Seven Seas
Or travel to the jungle
And swing like monkeys
From the trees!

O.K. then,
Come follow me along the path,
Beside the ancient tree,
A little further,
Through the hedge
Tiptoe-ing, soft-ley...

Around the back and over the deck,
Where would you like to roam?
I think I've had enough of this.
Please just take me home!

Adrian's new home.
Adrian is grandson #4. Elder Son and daughter-in-law's firstborn.
There's lots of room in this new home. A backyard, garage and swings! I know they'll be happy here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ocean Energy....

I've brought back energy from the ocean.

And restored faith in myself.

Taking a break from the Caregiving routine - a total time away has shown me that I can feel "normal" again.

This was so important to me.
For I had begun to doubt myself.

Fatigue, sore muscles, and lack of energy led me to believe that there was something seriously wrong in my body. But once I jumped into the ocean, played in the waves, and lay in the warm sand, all the aches, pains and depression dissolved. Faded away. Gone.

Not on the first day, of course.
On the first day, instead of feeling excited once I checked into the hotel, I felt sad. What was I doing here? All on my own, while poor Hubby was stuck at home (and not feeling well, of course). I knew he would start one of his "down cycles" by the time I was ready to leave. But there was no turning back. I had to go. And I could sense him downplaying his symptoms for my benefit.

Kicking off my shoes, I flopped down on the king-sized bed. Memories of all the wonderful vacations we had taken together, washed over me, and I wished with all my heart we could vacation together again.

After a restless night (I find it hard to sleep most nights, worse in hotel rooms), I awoke to the lure of the ocean. After a quick cup of coffee, I ran down to the beach.
And surrendered.
Surrendered to the soft ocean breeze. The sand between my toes. The cry of the seagull. The enticing waves, washing to shore, calling me to come and play. Or swim, or dance.

Taking a deep breath, I stretched towards the sun. That golden glow permeating my skin; its warmth caressing my face.

"Good morning!" I called to the sky. The waves. The creatures of the deep.

Pulling energy up from the Earth (the sand really), I began.
Gently, yet with purpose, my tai chi routine unfolds.
Focusing my mind on the movements brings a calmness, a sense of peace. Sandpipers skitter at my feet. The gentle lapping of waves grounding, like a heartbeat.

Drawing strength from my surroundings, I relax.
Ahhhhh - bliss!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Home Sweet Home

This is my new home. Ha! Just kidding!
This really is some millionaire's home in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale.

I had taken a Water Taxi to see some magnificent homes and to enjoy travelling over water, rather than in a hot, dusty car.

The beauty of this form of transportation, is that you pay only one fare ($13.00) for the whole day. There are 11 stops and you can ride the circuit from morning until midnight as many times as you wish.

What most people do, however, is to get on at one stop, ride for a bit and then get off somewhere to shop and eat lunch or dinner. You can get right back on and continue on your way. Or decide you've had enough and take the next taxi boat home.

I have more to post, later on.
Now I want to visit all my blogger friends and play catch-up.
I had a fun, relaxing, rejuvenating time.
And I'm glad to be home - my real home.