Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig!

Hey gang! Long time no see! Feels like it anyway. Last week seems like a lifetime ago right now. Mom in the hospital... Her hasty discharge... And all of my worries in that regard... are all subdued by the great time we had in New York. What a city! Each time we go back, I love it more.

After an exhausting day at the hospital with mom last Thursday, I finally managed to get packed and ready to go for Friday morning. I woke up around 3:00 a.m. (as is my wont), but never really got back to sleep thinking of all the things I should have done for mom and all of the things we'd be doing on the weekend... Morning eventually came and I walked Kaiser and grabbed a bit of breakfast and then we hopped in the car and drove to Bangor, Maine. Very uneventful drive, even the border crossing. The cute U.S. border officer scanned our passports, asked us a few quick questions, and bid us a good journey.

We grabbed a quick bite in Bangor before heading to the airport, where we checked in no problem and had a very smooth flight to NYC. We were about 25 minutes late leaving Bangor, but we made up the time in the air and landed basically on time. Our bags came right out and we jumped on the air train to the connection with N.J. Transit for our short train ride into The City. When we arrived at Penn Station, I relied on Bradley's spydi sense and he quickly had us on the correct metro train to Chelsea, where we were staying. I tell you, Brad has a sense of direction unlike anyone I have ever seen (present company excluded, Marlene! ;) I've learned to just shut up and follow along, which is hard for me, but it works out best in most cases.

Once in Chelsea, we realized we didn't have the street address of our hotel! (Can you imagine! Bradley!! How could you not know the address!!!) I mean, we knew which street it was on, just not the No. Brad knew that it was between 8th and 9th Avenues and closer to 8th. In any case, after a few futile minutes searching, we asked someone on the other side of the street (Brad shouted across to him) and he pulled out his trusty Apple and gave us the No. in under a minute. New Yorkers, even in Chelsea, are a very friendly and helpful lot!

Once at the Lodge, we checked in and she took us down to the room, which was down the street in another building. About a minute after the gal left, we realized that there was still someone else's luggage in the room, so Brad went to catch up with her. In the meantime, I had to pee (as is my wont), so I went into the WC and there I realized that there was someone else's things there too (toothbrush, and whatnot). Ugh. Long story short. The gal came back and put us in another room on the first floor (the first one had been in a half-basement). And that room was clean and unoccupied. Good stuff.

We then had to immediately make our way to Dirt Candy. We arrived 5 minutes late for our 5:45 reservation. Pretty darn good! We had an excellent meal there, and I highly recommend the restaurant to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. It's small, but the meal was extraordinary and the service top-notch, our server was an ex-pat Canadian, btw. We started with the Jalapeno hush puppies with maple butter, which were very yummy. Basically a deep-fried, jalapeno studded corn bread with whipped maple butter. I then had the Portobello Mousse as an ap and Brad had Greek Salad. For mains, I had the Golden Beet Papardelle and Brad had the Stone Ground Grits. Everything was great... We had a bottle of the Orzada Carignan with our meal, and I had a glass of the Kanonkop Pinotage from South Africa with dessert. Both wines were excellent and we later found the Kanonkop at a wine store and brought several bottles home with us!

To be continued... And I'll leave you with a few photos:

Posters outside the Met

The big poster close up

From a distance (no leaves yet, but check out that green grass!)

The Time Warner Centre at Columbus Circle

Horse-drawn Calèche at Columbus Circle

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Murphy's Law

Remember how I was going to take this afternoon off to help mom at the hospital and ease into vacation mode for our trip to NYC? Well that definitely didn't happen. I don't even have the strength to type out all of the crazy thing that happened this aftenroon, suffice to say that I spent the entire afternoon at the hospital (from 12:00 until 5:00, with no lunch), helping mom get ready to be discharged tomorrow. Yep. Discharged. The day I leave for New York. They're discharging her. Bastards.

I don't think she's ready to go back to her home, but they do, so she's out. She will remain on oxygen and with her now medications and dosages. Today was a whirlwind of things going on at the hospital including a clinic with a gynecologist (three quarters of an hour after she had taken a Lasix pill), moving to a new room for the night, a visit by the owner of her special care home to make sure she could still walk, and a visit by her pastor - just to add a bit more chaos to the day! Ugh. I can't stand it! There are so many details to organize for her return to the home... And I won't be here to do it. I've done the best I can and told my sister to call the home tomorrow to get stuff straightened out, but still... The timing of this is insane. It literally drives me crazy.

I still have to go back up to the hospital later this evening to drop off her winter coat and hat and things that she went into the hospital with. Then we have to take the top layer of dirt off the house in preparation for Brad's father. And then, I'm going to New York!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Where the Wild Things Are

One of my favourite books when I was a kid. Spike Jonze's take on Where the Wild Things Are:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Start Spreadin' the News!

Well, the countdown is on! Just a few more days now till we head to NYC... I am very much looking forward to it, but there's so much to do before we go!! I've lined up my nephew and his wife to help mom at suppertime while I am away. Brad's dad is going to move in here to housesit and look after the hounds - so a big general clean-up would be in order, but we'll probably just take the top layer off!

I've made a couple of restaurant reservations: Dirt Candy and Aroma, and we'll wing the rest. The weather isn't looking so hot for the weekend, but what the heck... It will be NYC and not here!

And we're really looking forward to the opera, La Sonnambula, with Juan Diego Florez and Natalie Dessay.

Here are a few recent pics of Juan Diego:

And here's a clip of both Florez and Dessay from last year's La Fille du Régiment which we saw at a MET Live Broadcast at a local theatre. Bugs the heck out of me when the correspondent refers to it as "La File" du Régiment, not the correct La Fee (pronounciation-wise), you'd think he'd know better! I posted this before, but probably have some new readers now, so I hope you don't mind the repeat!

And here's a recent clip (stills) from the opera we will be seeing this weekend:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Skinny Saturday 49

Just a brief shout out on this beautiful sunny Saturday (still breezy and cool, though). Brad got home late in the day yesterday, around 9:00 p.m. He was really tired after skiing all week and being with his father 24/7 too! He was glad to be home and I was glad to have him back.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to get to Don's grandmother's visitation or funeral. With Brad getting back so late yesterday and mom still in the hospital, it just wasn't possible. Don and Mar and his family have been very much in our thoughts these last few days, however.

Now I have to head back up to the hospital to help mom with supper. I went up at lunchtime as well. She was not too bad today. But I took her for a walk (just up and down the corridor) and she was very winded at the end of it, even being on 2.5 litres of oxygen. I think it's looking more and more like she will go into a nursing home, rather than returning to her special care home. We should know by mid-week next week, I expect. If that is indeed the case, she will stay in the hospital until a place opens up at a nursing home. We will, however, have to move her stuff out of her current place to make way for a new resident there... No rest of the wicked!

This time next week, though, Brad and I will be in NYC where I'm hoping it will be full-fledged spring!

Have a good weekend everyone and take care! Here's da boyz!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Exhausted. That's how I'm feeling right about now. I went to bed at a decent hour last night (10:30ish), but I woke up around 2:30 and never really got back to sleep (not an uncommon occurance for me, unfortunately). Turned the radio on at about 5:20 or so and listened to Radio Romania on CBC Overnight. Radio Romania? Whose brainwave was that?

Got up at about 5:45, had a coffee and walked Jasper first this morning for a change - usually I take Kaiser first. Generally that - Kaiser first - is a rule in our household. Kaiser is the first to come in when both dogs are outside. Something that Brad started and that we now both enforce. Jasper is a very quick study and learned very quickly what it meant. All we have to say now is, "Kaiser first," and he makes way for his elder. We do it to reinforce Kaiser's dominance, since when we first got Jasper, he was still a puppy and a bit of a bully. Kaiser was older, more delicate, and he had inherited dominant dog status when Samson died. (Sorry. That was a BIG aside!)

In any case, I got both of them walked this morning in the light drizzle, then gave them their breakfast, ate mine (yet another half grapefruit), checked my lotto tickes on the computer, sighed again, and surfed my other usual sites... Showered, grabbed my lunch (leftover tofu/zucchini curry), and drove to work. And here, I really have to say that I am glad I take the bus to work most days. The idiots in this city simply cannot drive. I sat at a stop sign behind several other drivers, all of whom appeared to still be asleep. They would have gone like eighteen, but sat there and snoozed. I finally blew my horn when I was just two cars behind, and buddy ahead finally woke up and realized he could go. I truly have no patience with the idiots who somehow find themselves on the pavements behind a steering wheel.

Was a busy, but productive day at work, though I was pissed off that I just missed a call from mom. She did leave a message though (as I had told her to do if I wasn't there), so I knew that she was having an okay day. I went to the hospital immediately after work. She told me she had walked twice today and, more importantly, had two big BMs! Yay! So I did the usual suppertime stuff: Got her and her roommate a towel to act as a bib, replenished water supplies, organized her room a bit, and chatted as she and Bertha ate their meal. Sis from out west called and I had to hold the phone (literally) so mom could talk to her (the cord wouldn't reach where she was sitting). Then I got her into bed (still dressed), gave her her laxatives (which we hide from the nurses), got her cranberry juice, took out her Vicks ointment (which she dabs in each nostril - god knows why, but it's a ritual), filled out her menu sheet, and ran to the car... I still had to stop at the grocery store to get some money and something quick to eat.... Then I rushed home to let out the dogs, who had been patient all day, fed them, grabbed a bite myself, watched Coronation Street, and here I sit... Épuisé. Exhausted.

I'll be glad when my Bradley is home tomorrow.

In other news, I had a great time and a great meal at Georges and Barb's last night! Thanks again, guys! Yummy baked chicken in a tomato/onion sauce and lots of veggies. I forgot to take my camera, so I am sorry that I have no pics. I think the tiredness was already setting in last night.

I also found out today that Don's grandmother died yesterday. She was 98, I believe. Sincere condolences to Don and Mar and his family. We will try to make it to the funeral on Saturday.

Peace out...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Donnez-moi de l'oxygene

And speaking of oxygen, how about this old ditty from Québec songstress, Diane Dufrense. Jeez, haven't heard this in ages... Definitely an acquired taste, but I think she's great and she was certainly a trailblazer.

Blue plate special

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! Can't believe I don't have anything green today - I'll make it up sometime soon! They did mark the day at the hospital, though, with many of the (ahem) nurses dressed up a bit and there was a St. Patrick's day placemat on mom's tray at lunch and she had a green napkin. This was an excellent day for mom. She had a shower this morning and was dressed when I got there at noon. She went for a walk this afternoon, without oxygen, and it's seems that they have taken her off oxygen for a while again. It's certainly a lot easier for her to get around without the oxygen tube following her everywhere she goes.

While she was eating dinner (fish cakes), I saw a guy from the opposite side of the corridor asking a (ahem) nurse for a bathrobe (housecoat). He was just in a johnny shirt. The (ahem) nurse lifted a few items on the cart full of towels and johnny shirts and told him they're weren't any bathrobes to be found. He looked kind of flabbergasted, and said, "Oh well, I'll just go with the flow..." and made his way back to his room. When I went out to get mom a facecloth after she had eaten, I found a whole pile of clean bathrobes, so I took one and went in the direction I had seen the man go. I found him easily. He was on the phone, but I held up the bathrobe and told him that I had heard him earlier when he was looking for one. The look in his eyes said it all. He was both incongruous and very grateful. People get better at that gall darn place in spite of the (ahem) nurses, not with their help. It's truly a disgrace.

In any case, after getting mom situated for the night, I came home and rustled up some grub for myself. A pan-fried fillet of cod done in an eggwash and then dipped in flour and dill, the last piece of an asian spring roll I had had at lunch, some leftover basmati rice and vegetables, and a dollop of Brad's homemade hummus. It hit the spot!

Unfortunately, dude in the blue drawers wasn't serving it :(

Back to the grind tomorrow. Ugh... But I am looking forward to dinner tomorrow at Georges and Barb's. Perhaps I'll take my camera and snap a few pics there!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday catch up

Hey gang. Been a busy day off here for me. I slept in until almost 9:00 a.m. then jumped up, grabbed a coffee and walked both dogs (one at at time, of course). After breakfast (if half a grapefruit qualifies for that), I dashed up to the hospital to help mom with lunch. She was in the washroom when I got there, as she had had to have another enema today. It's the struggle of her life, it seems, getting her bowels to move. In any case, the enema was a success, so she'll be good to go for a few days. She was pretty good today, actually , and would have gone for a walk, but they were unable to find a portable oxygen cylinder in the entire hospital. Can you imagine?! My eyes have truly been opened during this last month! I pray I never get sick and have to spend any amount of time there!

In other news, Brad and his dad left yesterday morning for a 5-day ski vacation in Maine. It would have been a beautiful day today on the slopes. It was bright and sunny here with the temperature just getting above 4 C.

Just about forgot - we had a great dinner and evening at Shaun and Mary's on Saturday night. Mussels for apps and some of Shaun's homemade baguette, then roasted salmon and vegetables for dinner. Marlene had brought an amazing coffee cheese cake, which she swore was made with decaf coffee, and it must have been, as it didn't keep me from sleeping at all! It was great to see all our good friends again and Barb's mom, too! A great time was had by all. We even got to watch a DVD of Shaun and Mary's daughter bungee jumping at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (she has just returned from a 6-month round the world volunteer venture!).

One day last week, Brad made a homemade loaf of bread that turned out spectactularly. I just finsihed off the last piece:

Last night, I made our usual Sunday night dinner - baked potato, maple/dijon glazed salmon, and vegetables, which I enjoyed all by my lonesome at the kitchen counter. Tonight, I made a Thai tofu and zucchini curry, which I also ate at the kitchen counter while reading Saturday's Globe and Mail. I've gotten so I hate to sit at the dining room table if I am eating alone. Hasta pronto!

Ohh, and two more things I meant to mention... My hands are really killing me. I wash them so often at hospital that they are like sandpaper and they're split in the corners by my fingernails in several places. Hurts like heck!

And 2: Someone in this gall darn city won $4.5 million in the lotto draw last Saturday -- AND IT WASN'T ME!!!!!!! Grrrr.

Okay. That's it. Ciao babies!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Skinny Saturday 48

Hey gang. It's another beautiful sunny, but cool day here. It was -13 C this morning, but it's now about 7 C. This up and down temperature action acts like a primer for the sap in the trees. Soon the it will be flowing through the trees again and it will be maple sugaring time once again. Do y'all like maple syrup, btw? On several trips we have taken where we have rented out a room on someone's apartment (we did that with a lovely kindergarten teacher in Copenhagen) or rented an entire apartment from someone (Stockholm), we've taken a bottle of local maple suryp as a small gift. Everyone always seem very appreciative. I also have a recipe for a Danish spice cake that calls for a cup and a half of maple sugar that I will post soon as well. It's yummy, but it's definitely a wintertime cake - it sticks to your ribs!

Was up to see mom this morning. My brother and sister-in-law and neice weer there as well for a while. My sis-in-law thanked me for everything I am doing for mom, and jokingly said it was payback for all the time mom had gotten up in the middleof the night to get me bread and molassas when I was little (she did indeed used to do that!). Yeah, I thought, for sure, but she also did a lot for ALL of my siblings, not just me. Basically, though, it's my sister from out West and me who tend to mom's needs (I stewed more prunes for her this afternoon). Our four other sublings pay her lip service. Ah well. I really don't mind. She did sacrifice a lot for me in particular. And I truly do believe in karma; what goes around comes around. I will be heading back up to the hospital as soon as I post this, as well. She has been okay today, but yesterday, WOW! When I went at lunchtime, she was sitting up in her chair, fully dressed (for the first time in the month she has been hospitalized), hearing aid in, and raring to go for a walk after lunch! I couldn't believe it! I am hoping she is turning a corner, but am not yet getting my hopes up.

We're really looking forward to our dinner tonight at Shaun and Mary's (aka grandma and grandpa!) (Anyone remember the Kettles, incidently??) Don and Mar will be there as well as George and Barb. Should be a wonderful time. Barb's mom (Barb Sr.) from Nova Scotia will be there as well, as she is visiting for the weekend. She is a super gal and Brad and I are very fond of her. She raised a wonderful daughter who married one of our best friends!

Okay... Gotta run... On to the boyz of Skinny Saturday 48! (And hey, you know, I just passed the one year blogoverasry mark... It was sometime in late February last year when I started up Ripple again... So belated happy birthday, blog-o-mine!) Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fantasy Real Estate

Hey all. A cold but sunny day here in eastern Canada. Supposed to be sunny for the next little while and gradually warming up, if you can call it that, to about +5 C early next week. I've got our car today and will be heading up to the hospital at lunchtime to see how mom is doing. We're going over to Shaun and Mary's for dinner tomorrow night, which is a rain check from February 28, when both Shaun and Mary were under the weather. That date, as you may recall, was also Shaun's 50th birthday - so get ready from some spanks tomorrow night, pal-o-mine! On Sunday, Brad and his dad are heading to Maine for 5 days of skiing. If things remain calm at work, I hope to take Monday and Tuesday off as well to spend more time at with mom and have a bit of a break from work. I'll also be doing double duty with the dogs, since I usually walk just Kaiser and Brad takes Jasper. Next week, I'll have to walk them both, which is no fun task these days with the sidewalks being a glade of ice. Kaiser and I walked on the street part of the way this morning - there's very little traffic at 6:00 a.m - since the streets are mostly bare pavement and a lot easier to walk on.

Let's take a trip to Brussels for this week's fantasy real estate. A beautiful apartment priced at around $1 million US. I could live there!

Bonne fin de semaine à vous tous!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Hey guys. Not much new going on here these days. My sis left yesterday, so mom is left just to me to fend for her. She had another weak spell today and just about fainted, but the nurses were right beside here and were able to lay her down on the floor before she fell (she was unable to make it back to her bed after sitting up in her chair to eat breakfast). It's strange as her oxygene level, blood pressure, and other stats that they took just after the incident were all good. I went up right after work, helped her with supper, and made out her menu for Thursday. Nothing to do but keep on keeping on, I guess. Bradley had made a lovely salad, which we enjoyed after I got home.

It was a beautiful sunny day here and +5 C (low 40s F). The snow, she starts to melt, which makes for a great slushy mess during the daytime and slippery minefield at night and the early morning when it refreezes. Soon it will be April, though, whose showers bring May flowers. But first we have to get through another Friday the 13th and the Ides of March. (The Ides are the 15th day of March, May, July, and October and the 13th day of the other month according to the ancient Roman calendar.)

Since there isn't a lot else going on I thought I would just post a few pics from Brad's trip to Nepal. He and our good friends Don and Marlene went on an organized trek to Everest base camp back in the fall of 2007.They are all big-time hikers and I'm not, so off they went and I sat that trip out and stayed home with the dogs. As it turned out, the week we moved mom into her special care home fell at the same time, so I had to be here in any case. Enjoy:

Brad always makes friends with dogs wherever he goes. (And I KNOW it's Nepal (not Tibet), but I think this must be the Dalai Lama of dogs - just look at the wisdom in those eyes!)

Prayer flags

My guy

Don and Mar


Careful - you'll get dizzy!

Paydirt - Everest bast camp!

One of the main reasons I "sat" this trip out at home! ;0

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Skinny Saturday 47

Well whaddya know?! It's Saturday, the sun just came out, and the temperature is above zero - just barely - It's about 7 C or 45 F. The snow is melting a little and turning into slush. Makes for messy driving. The cars in front of you kick up water and salt and you have to clean your windshield every few minutes. All the snow banks along the roadways are brown and ugly, but at least they are shrinking! I will be exceedingly glad when this winter is over.

I was telling Brad earlier today that 12 years ago today, mom and her sister were in Arizona. They used to go out there for a month or so at a time to flee from our Canadian winters. I remember the date because on March 6, 1997, I won $10,000 in the lottery and I called mom out in Arizona to share the news. Mom would have been 77 back in 1997. What a difference a decade makes when you are that age. Today she's lying here in a hospital bed on oxygene and in a very fragile state (she fell again this morning to boot), and her sister, with whom she had travelled to Arizona, died last summer while we were in Italy.

DUM VIVIMUS VIVAMUS!! While we live, let us live!

Brad's off to the live Met Broadcast of Madama Butterfly. I had errands to run and have to head to the hospital to help mom with supper, so I didn't go. My sister is going out of town for the night. It's one of our neices's 40th birthday, so sis is going to that celebration. She'll be back tomorrow and will probably stay with us again tomorrow night before heading to Nova Scotia to visist with her son before she flies back out West early Thursday morning. It's hard to believe that it will be three weeks on Monday that mom has been in the hospital. Times flies whether you're having fun or not, I guess. Once my sister goes, I'll have to head up to the hospital everyday after work... Sigh, it's exhausting having a loved one in the hospital.

Three weeks from right now, though, Brad and I will be in New York City. Yay! We'll be getting ready to see La Sonnambula (the sleepwalker) with Juan Diego Florez and Natalie Dessay! I can't wait to get back to The City. Hope we have good weather while we're there!

Time for the boyz, n'est-ce pas? Good weekend all!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Current desktop background

A shot of me and Paulie on our last day in Mexico - 3 years ago last month. It's a little dark, but then again, so were we, all tanned after a wonderful week in the tropical sun. It was taken in the lobby of our beautiful Iberostar resort on the Mayan Riviera about half way between Cancun and Playa del Carmen

And here are a couple more shots from the same trip