Tuesday, October 30, 2012


  It's Tuesday late afternoon. Earlier the wind and rain let up so that Buddy and I were able take a walk in our area.  Storm Sandy had passed by earlier. We definitely felt our home shake. But as we walked on neighbouring streets everything looked fine. No noticeable severe damage, just some Halloween decorations that had fallen from their stations and a sign showing some historical old homes. Wow! Are we lucky!! 
   From the images of the TV presentations we saw what a few hours of very ugly weather did. It  totally change people's lives and it had us feeling very sad. We understand that horror, that fear and the sense of helplessness upon seeing one's home and belongings gone in a flash. For us we recall the smoke chocking us and the then our rescue. After a brief in hospital stay for smoke inhalation, we recalled our living in hotels for weeks as our future was being sorted out. Then just as we found a rental home, bought some beds, a table with chairs, kitchen items and a small TV and moved in from the hotel, I developed a severe ache. But I had to fix things setting up our new place enough for the household to be functional. I had weird  feeling that I would be unable to carry on. I had not felt well for a while. That night my fears became real. A was hit with a more severe ache. Quietly and alone I headed for the nearby hospital.
    In the emergency during the early hours of the morning I was told to have my family come by before noon. A specialist had diagnosed a large tumour in my belly! Cancer? He wanted to discuss options with my family.
    But to me this did not seem very serious. I was still recovering from the loss of our home. That loss impacted me enormously. And a couple of weeks later I had the recommended surgery. Colon cancer stage three was the outcome from that tumour but for me this was not as devastating as the loss of our home. I recovered. It was physically painful. Still it was nothing like the loss I'd felt from the fire. 
    Buddy and I can well imagine the horror that millions now have to face as Sandy moves and leaves a terrible destruction. The loss of homes from floods and even fires will be such a sadness for those who have been affected. This is not going to fade away quickly. We understand that.
   This year Halloween is not the same. There's an added terrible twist, a horror that so many must withstand. They will not be celebrating. They are in shock. Buddy thinks we should send our Halloween candy money to the Red Cross. I think so too and I think we should do more. We are hoping to find ways to show we care. If you are not a victim I hope you will also find your own way to help out. But that's entirely up to you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Her New Decade

At midnight she moved into the next decade of her life. She reached the new benchmark of thirty and we are celebrating.  Buddy loves his sister so he made sure she got a lovely card, a plant and beautiful cake too. I had to take him shopping after he had his ear checkup yesterday. We were ready when the clock struck 12am. It's a family tradition to open cards,a gift and have some cake at that time. Buddy selected a cake with three roses, one for each decade and picked orange because it's a fall colour. What an October birthday cake choice!
Before midnight we all went out to eat dinner at the Mandarin buffet restaurant where she was given their traditional birthday treat. They top this off with a hat, cake with candle, the singing of the song and a photo taken while this happens. It's placed in a magnet as a gift, a momento of the occasion to be taken home.
                           Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Ellie's paws are giving me pause to consider why I write less often. I guess I just need to take some time away from my laptop because I have poorer vision  now and everything I read or write is taking so much longer. I shall try using the draft option and just write a bit until it's done. Be patient I say to myself. Here's hoping you'll still be there when I come along.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sand Fleas for Thanksgiving

    It's been a while since I've made any effort to post or even read blogs. Time just has a way of running and I am not keeping up. Not sure what keeps me so busy but perhaps it has to do with my recent Wanderlust?  I've been traveling every month since May. While it's very exciting it's also a fair bit of work to organize and execute. Not sure that my excuse will make you want to keep on being a fellow blogging friend but I do hope I'll keep a few of you as reader friends.  
    My latest journey took us to Cuba. It happened like this. I left Buddy behind when I went away with my sister and promised I would take him somewhere when I returned. He has been wanting to go to Florida but this just didn't work out cost wise since I would need a person who could assist us in driving to various places that he wanted to explore. The plan has been delayed for now. Instead I studied the net for travel deals to all inclusive places. Buddy kept a close eye on me and my laptop. He saw some of the resorts, the deals for resorts in Cuba and asked if we could try that. Those who read my photo blog know that I booked on September 15, just nine days after my return from Amsterdam, and then flew to Cayo Guillermo on September 21 for a week. The price was just perfect, $515 per person for a whole week away in the hot sun! 
    "WOW" was Buddy's word when he saw HIS resort, the one he asked for but to be booked on the condition, that I include hubby who wasn't hard to convince about taking a week off from his practise. You may have read in earlier posts that he still enjoys cigars even after his five bypass heart surgery this past December. Cuba would offer him some new options.
    Our stay at a Melia resort was really and truly a memorable one in many ways. We were pampered and spoiled by the staff. Even the sun kept shining until the last day. We learned many new things including how poor the lifestyle for the local population was. We saw the real Cuba when we opted to take a personal tour from our smaller island onto the main one over the 17km long causeway to Morón and on to Ciego de Ávila. 
    The first city is more impoverished than than the second. And in both cases it felt like we were stepping back in time to an era long ago, one that some of us elders can relate to. Not much was new or even updated except for the cellphone company building and some computer colleges. Here's to a better future for those who make the grade by getting the technical skills that might aid them in securing a better economy for Cuba. My guess is that massive amounts of the nations' funds go towards their military machine and government.
    We spent lots of time enjoying our surrounding fauna and flora. We took daily walks on the beach where the sand is very white and the water is warm and shallow. We watched as folks snorkelled and fished. Some set sail while others took to paddle boats. They had fun. And we had fun. It ended too soon. We left Friday night.
    On Saturday morning back in our home hubby showed me his lower legs and exclaimed,
    "Those little gnats really bit me". 
I looked down at mine and saw little red welts here and there. We concurred perhaps they were little mosquito bites. That idea didn't last very long. These were not insect bites. 
     As the day went on those spots became more and more itchy. Lotions were almost useless. Even antihistamines only gave a bit of relief. The sting sights changed in appearance with time. Puzzled I tried hard to think of what had bitten us. Eventually I recalled reading that stuff on the beach that can cause some welts so I googled and learned that we had failed to protect ourselves from tiny sand fleas that are quite common at that beach.
Soon I had all sorts of information on how to deal with our spots. I noted that some articles recommended that a doctor be seen if the welts grow bigger or there's no relief after several days. Buddy was spared. I guess the capsules he takes for his psoriasis skin condition worked to ward them off.
     Mine just would not stop popping up even after the sixth day so yesterday I decided it was time to visit the doctor, sadly the one who shrugged off my colon cancer lump as nothing to worry about. But I wanted to see what she would come up with for some relief. As I had suspected, she decided it must be bed bugs bites. I told her that we had checked for them. However she answered back saying bed bugs are not visible to humans! I could never see them. Mistaken doctor! Haha! They can be seen and almost look like an apple seed or a flax seed.
    In the past both hubby and I have seen them. They can be seen and they can be avoided. And there were none in our resort. In fact there was regular insecticide spraying to keep things in check so clients would be comfortable and happy. But my doctor was sure she was right and told me to cleanse myself thoroughly with a cream she was prescribing. As well she gave me the information on what one must do to clear such an infestation! Lot's of laundry with strong soap and high heat. Really!
     I left the examination room smiling almost laughing to be honest. Ha ha! Doctors don't know it all especially when it comes to health issues related to organisms they didn't study. I didn't feel like arguing with her and since her records now indicate I have met up with bed bugs, I shall be righting that wrong next week. I shall be armed with all the information necessary. I shall not use the cream she prescribed. In fact she is a poor listener. She didn't hear me tell her that I had already done the laundry thing just to ensure those chigger critters don't mess with the room where I sleep. 
     For the record I did something one should not do when feeling itchy from sand fleas, I dug at those tiny buggers, those teeny crustaceans. I scratched them out from under my skin. Once I even showed one to hubby. I always knew it was not bed bugs. 
     Today I'm getting better. I was a bit worried when I read that messing with the skin can lead to infected areas and to their spreading some tropical diseases. That's what actually sent me to the doctor for more information. But now I doubt that anything bad will happen to me. I would have had some symptoms by now. Since I feel just fine I'm almost ready to stuff the turkey tomorrow. Once again we are at the harvest time celebration.
   Happy Thanksgiving to all. At our house in Canada we have so much to be thankful for. Buddy has already helped me with the shopping. The turkey and the cranberries will look yummy on the table tomorrow. Our daughter plans to introduce us to her latest beau who seems to be more her type on this occasion.
    Monday we may take the car to tour the Hockley Valley for the splendour of the fall colours. It's supposed to be sunny and warm.