Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Karma.....

A few days before Christmas, I popped into a Tim Horton's to grab a coffee to go. I had spent most of the morning shopping and needed the sustenance before continuing on.
People were smiling, chatting together while waiting in line. The air was alive with anticipation of the holiday and everyone seemed to be in a good mood.

Red and green and gold draped the cashes, the displays, the windows behind which tempting doughnuts sparkled with decadent sugar.
Employees were cheerfully calling out "Happy Holidays" to one and all, their red floppy hats with white trim making them look like Santa's helpers.

The line, which had been moving briskly before suddenly slowed down. I looked towards the cash to see what  the problem was.  A woman seemed to be having trouble with her debit card.
"It worked at Zellers a few minutes ago!'  She was starting to get embarrassed. Feet shuffled behind me.    I waited a few minutes to see if the problem would resolve.
It didn't.

I looked away and then looked back.  No change.  She was still trying to get that card to work so she could pay for her order.  I looked at the screen to see what she owed.  $3.38.  Hmmm.
Boldly I stepped forward waving 2 toonies at the cashier.
"I'll get this and have a Merry Christmas." I smiled at the flustered woman.
"Oh, thank you," said the woman, her face turning red, "that's very nice of you but they said they'd pay for it if my card doesn't work."
The cashier looked at me and nodded.

"No, no, it's o.k., it's on me." I said grandly thrusting my toonies in the cashier's face. I wanted to be the good guy.  I wanted to give to a stranger in a random act of kindness (and speed things up so I could have my coffee). But nobody wanted my money.
The cashier just smiled.
The woman continued to fiddle with her card.  And I started feeling like an idiot.
"Oh," I said pocketing my toonies and stepping back in line.

Just then the card worked.  The lady paid her bill, thanked me again and left. The cashier smiled and asked for my order.
"Medium coffee to go."
I stepped aside to wait for my coffee.  One of the servers handed me an extra-large, extra-hot coffee! Wow! No way could I drink all that, but I smiled and thanked her anyway.  Perhaps that was their way of acknowledging my gesture of wanting to help.

"Would you like a free breakfast sandwich?" called out one of the servers. He was busily preparing food, but must have overheard our conversation at the cash.
What the heck?  What's going on? I thought to myself.  Oh well, just go with it.
"Bacon or sausage?"
"Bacon please."
"Biscuit or English muffin."
"Biscuit." Thank you very much.

I walked out of the restaurant feeling good. Somehow good karma was swirling around the coffee shop that morning and it felt wonderful.
I got into my car and pulled the door closed.  After depositing the oversized coffee in the beverage holder, I carefully unwrapped the breakfast sandwich.
It was sausage on an English muffin - not what I had ordered.
Laughing, I took a few bites and started the car.

David, I think this was your idea of a joke.
David always ordered sausage on an English muffin. And in the later years of his illness, I would bring an extra-large coffee home for us to share.

Merry Christmas, Sweetie.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas is Love.....

Christmas 1997
David and me

Merry Christmas to all my blogger friends. Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful holiday season.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Tea Party

Tea, Grandma?

Yes, please (um, it looks more like milk)

What goes on at Grandma's, stays at Grandma's!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blue Heron - Lone Fisherman

I took this video at dusk on the lake close to where I live.  Had I been 2 seconds quicker, I would have caught him spearing his dinner!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wildlife on the Lake

This great blue or grey heron is a regular.  Solitary creatures, they stand alone...

I think this one is a loon. I also see him (her?) swimming and fishing alone.

I thought this heron was different than the one in the first pic, but realise it's same guy (or girl) - just a different pose. I thought it's feathers looked a little more ruffly, but it must be because they've dried off in the sun. Wonder why they stand on one leg?

I was flabbergasted to see an egret on the lake!  Since I've only ever seen them in Florida or the Caribbean, I thought they were warm water birds.  However, after consulting Ms. Google, I discovered these "white herons" or egrets are found in lakes all over North America.
This is a lone fisherman as well and I only see it once a week, if that.

Well, here's a little Lady Bug and Brother Bug feeding some Canada geese. I see them (the geese, not the grands) every morning, heads tucked under wings as they rest. Later in the day they fly or swim off to find better fishing grounds, but usually return in the evening.

Well, pardon me for invading your space!

A rare sight. I never thought I'd see a pileated woodpecker outside of the woods. We did see some in our backyard in Hudson, but there are so many wooded areas near my old home, it was not that unusual to see these big birds. 
This one, however was in a tree between the road and the lake. I saw him while walking one morning. He's just a kid. Wonder where the nest is? 

Twins?  Nope, there were about 5 or 6 of them. It was evening and I surprised these little critters, who were just about to leave the shelter of a bush to cross the road. When they saw big, scary me, they scampered up the nearest tree and stayed there until they thought it was safe.

Awww, now isn't he just the cutest little 'coon you've ever seen?
As long as he stays little and out of trouble......(yeah, right!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chair Tai Chi

Complements of the internet

It did not go as I expected.
Not at all.
I walked into a room of elderly men and women, all of whom were sitting in wheelchairs.
Seventeen people were asleep.
Two ladies were wide awake and ready for me.
One gentleman looked awake, blue eyes bright and cheerful, but in the next instant, he had dozed off.

My whole lesson plan flew out the window.
I had prepared a short talk on the origins of Tai Chi, along with a brief description of this ancient practice, and its associated health benefits.

No one would have understood a word.

I stood in the centre of the room, ladies and gentlemen seated all around me, while I moved among the residents, like a floating cloud or a butterfly.

My intention was to hold a class, as in demonstrating tai chi moves in front of a group of people. They would be sitting in neat rows watching and participating as much as possible, taking into account any physical disabilities.

It did not happen that way.

I had forgotten that most people residing in nursing homes were there for a reason. They no longer had the mental capacity to stay alone in their own homes.

Over the previous week, I had researched the internet and my own memory banks, to come up with a program of tai chi moves suitable for people in wheelchairs. I had practiced those moves at home, over and over until I was satisfied.

It did not matter one iota.

The two sweet old ladies who actually followed my moves, became tired very quickly. I had not thought of that, even though I knew the residents were elderly.
As a result, short frequent breaks needed to be incorporated into an already pared down version of my original plan.

But despite all this, I felt the atmosphere was comfortable, respectful. Serene actually. Nurses were compassionate and patient. My sweet old ladies smiled. One of them complimented the colour of my blouse -  roses and cream.
The blue-eyed gentleman caught my eye once or twice as I was "sweeping lotus petals in the stream" and I wondered if there was a spark of interest somewhere deep down in the centre of his being. In a place normally hidden from ordinary eyes.

Next week, I will go back and try again.
This time I will be ready.

This time I will work with a much smaller group - those who are awake and interested.
This time I will make a point of reaching out to connect with each dear soul, before beginning the structure of a class.

Will Chair Tai Chi benefit this group of soon-to-be-ancestors?
Will it strengthen each tired body, sharpen each cloudy mind and nourish each fragile soul?

I hope so.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Winter melts into Spring..

Winter is long gone. Our once frozen Lake has melted and instead of skates and sleds, kayaks glide over the water...

Their bright colours spruce up the gray-blue water of the Lake.

Time to go back! Already? But they just got out!
Well, not really, I'd had time to eat breakfast, wash the dishes and take a shower before these hearty kayakers returned to home base.

The air was still cold when I took these pics, so these brave souls must have been freezing out there on the water.

It was nice for me to watch safe and warm in my living room while they took their first run of the season.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Who's Missing?"

....asks Five-year-old Granddaughter, as we step into the hotel elevator on our way to breakfast.
I was taken aback.

We look at each other. There are six of us. Grandmother, Daughter, Son-in-Law, and three of my grandchildren. "Nobody's missing, Jasmine."
The elevator doors whisk open and we step out into the hallway of our Resort. A huge buffet breakfast is waiting for us and we're hungry.

Another day. Palm trees sway in the gentle breezes and a strong sun warms my winter weary skin. Every morning I rise early and walk the beach. The sand is unbelievably soft and powdery underfoot and I revel in its smoothness as I make my way down to the ocean. Waves lap at the shoreline with a rhythm of their own, and I take pleasure in wading into the shallow, cool waters. Shells crunch under my bare feet, but I don't mind. Looking up, I see a V-formation of brown pelicans flying quite close to the water. Suddenly one of them dives headfirst into the ocean, no doubt to spear a poor unsuspecting fish.

Back at the hotel, the family is waiting for me. I quickly change out of my beach clothes and into a summer dress. We leave together for the breakfast feast. All six of us step into the elevator.
Little Granddaughter turns to look at me, "who's missing?"
Once again, I'm taken aback.
Once again, Daughter and I look at each other, then glance quickly around, although we know everyone is here.
Daughter bends down and looks her daughter right in the eye.
"Nobody's missing sweetie."

A strange feeling comes over me and I shiver a little.
"Could it be Alex? Katie? Lara? Stella?"
Jasmine shakes her head.
Having eliminated her playmates, I try for cousins. "Is it Simon? Ryan? Owen? Adrian?"
Light is beginning to dawn on me, but I decide to keep quiet.

Weather here in Fort Myers, Florida has been absolutely perfect. Blue skies, warm sun, and no rain at all. We were happy to leave behind our bulky winter coats, hats and boots in exchange for flimsy flip-flops and blissful bathing suits.

The children were delighted to spend each day swimming in the clear waters of the Resort pool, or making sand castles and sand mermaids on the beach. Twice during our trip, we watched a pair of young dolphins swim so close to shore we could almost touch them.

It was a nice change for me to take a vacation with my family, rather than going alone.
It was good for my family to take a break from their work and school routine. Although we'd had a mild winter this year, there seemed to be a lot of viruses going around. Everyone had been sick off and on since before Christmas. It was definitely time for a change of scenery.

All too soon our vacation was over. This was to be our last day. The children were eager to get back home to familiar surroundings. They missed their pets, toys, and friends.
We'd had a wonderful time and were ready to go home. I  think we were all  getting a little weary of restaurant food (with the exception of those sumptuous breakfasts).

The elevator seemed to be slow this morning, but we didn't mind. This was a day to take things slowly, to savour our last moments here in Florida. Finally it arrived. Doors opened with a whoosh and the children surged in - all wanting to "press the button" for the appropriate floor.

Jasmine turned to look at me.
"Who's missing?" she asks yet again.

Mother makes a decision. It's time to get to the bottom of this.
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"A boy," she replies.

I take the plunge - "is it David?"

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter sports on the Lake

Is this man walking his dog on the ice?

No, he's actually playing  hockey with his dog. Guess nobody else was available.

Hey Fido! Game's not over yet!

Dashing through the

Is this a kite stuck in a tree?

 Nope - I think this is called kite surfing on ice. Or wind-surfing on ice.

Oops, where did the surfer go?
Notice the sky changing colours as day time turns into evening?


Is that a crescent moon? LOL!

No matter what kind of weather we have: ice, snow, or cold, people always seem to find ways of having fun. That guy was kite surfing until after dark.

Sorry for the bad quality of this pic. I couldn't believe he was still out there after dark and ran to get my camera (which I'd put away). It looks like he's upset that the kite has fallen. Time to call it a day.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Living in a condor

"My Grandma lives in a condor," says Granddaughter importantly to her school friend.

A condor? I had to stop and think for a minute. Isn't that a dinosaur?
I googled "condor" and found out it was a new world vulture.
Hmmmmm....I knew that.

Well inside my condor I have an indoor garden.
Come and see....

Evening - the light is softer, caressing the flowers in my garden
Let's move in a little closer for a better look

I'm always excited to see the first signs of new life...
My orange hibiscus rewards me with a bud. She must love the south facing sunny window
First tiny goldfish bloom. Spring must be around the corner, even though it's freezing outside
Shhhhhh, crocus buds are sleeping.

Ahhhhh, the magic of sunshine  
Hello? Anybody out there?
Nope, the street is empty and so is the lake. Good- bye