Tuesday, April 30, 2019

devouring each word

I have barely been able to tear myself away from my e-reader. I am devouring each word as if it were my last breath. I’m in the thick of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and am enjoying every syllable.

I was saying to Kirsten last night that I haven’t had the attention span to read for quite some time - a year, maybe even more, but that somehow I can sustain interest for extended periods now. I thought that all the short internet news articles, facebook, and other snippets of reading have shrunk my attention span, until it was as small as a gnat.

But now, I can read for ages, and not just light hearted fare, but real writing. As I was telling her all of this I realized that it was likely due to the brain swelling time spent working on the website. I had to really break my brain on that and it seems it was a good thing. The exercise strengthened my noggin.

Kirsten had just read an article about this very thing, confirming my suspicions. Now I have to keep at it!

Kabira has been prescribed an antiseptic mouthwash once a day, but upon reading my favorite health website (nutritionfacts.org) I learned that green tea is as good as the strong stuff we’ve been using. So I’ll keep using the strong stuff at bedtime, but use green tea a few times a day - that otta clean up her mouth a bit. In fact, I’ll use it on all the dogs. If only I could get them to swish it in their mouths! I’ll bet if I put my mind to it I could figure out a way for them to hold it in their mouths for a moment. Well… maybe not.

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”
~Sam Keen

Monday, April 29, 2019

an almost perfect day

It was an almost perfect day for walking around and gawking at the sights in Old Montreal yesterday. With so many streets paved with bricks and lined with old stone buildings we could have been in Europe - perhaps we could stay home this fall and visit our own cities for some history!

The drive there was easy with just one major slowdown as we entered the city… coming home, not so good. A 1 ½ hour drive turned into 2 ½ hours as one of the highways was closed forcing us to traverse a good part of Montreal on St. Laurent Avenue - a long road through many neighborhoods. We drove through Chinatown, Little Italy, and others. Interesting, but long. We seemed to hit every red light along the route. How many? Countless.

A visit to my brother Olaf was the main reason for our visit. We met him near his work which is right beside the Notre-Dame basilica in Old Montreal. We walked around and then visited over lunch - smoked meat poutine for me.

A lovely day.

When we got home we didn’t even have to feed the pets as Pat had been in and given everyone their supper, so I crashed on the sofa, every fibre of my being vibrating with after motion. I was still suffering the effects when I went to bed, even with having had a glass of wine! I can’t imagine what shape I’d be in if I was the one doing the driving.

Today the clouds have raced together to mask the rays of the sun. I did get out the few times when the sun was shining to check the garlic and give the dogs a bit of a wander. And when I wasn’t doing that, my eyes were glued to my tiny tablet devouring Wuthering Heights.

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
~Ernest Hemingway

Friday, April 26, 2019

rain falling on the sunshine

Cold rain streaming out of steel grey skies. Light dim and gloomy. But no worries - a few slices of toast with honey sweetens the day. An escape into the secret garden in the moors of early 1900 Yorkshire transports me into early spring with the earth coming to life. Green things grow in the book and at home the grass is greening.

I can see buds on the lilac tree.

We’ve had a busy few days, but gosh if I can’t remember what was then as the days have melded together. I know we had Trudie & Leo over for supper one night. Yesterday we ran around the city with the first stop being Costco so I could get a little tablet to use as an e-reader. I shopped around looking at my options and settled on an android tablet rather than a single purpose device. We got it set up last night and I’ll have to say it is great. I curled up on the sofa, and then under the covers for the afternoon.

Yesterday morning we were up early to take Kabira to the vet for a dental. Unfortunately the vet called us an hour later with news that her teeth were in too bad condition. We were shocked and very upset, but there isn’t anything to do. We took her back today for a demo on how to wipe her mouth with an antibacterial wash.

“Wait till th’ spring gets at ’em—wait till th’ sun shines on th’ rain and th’ rain falls on th’ sunshine an’ then tha’ll find out.”

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth,”  ~Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

twisted brain

If your imagination could have coloured the grass green and added leaves to the trees you would have been convinced that summer had arrived. It was a glorious day full of sunshine and warmth. I dragged myself away from the computer a few times to venture into Nature and ran the slides out on the camper.

It seemed like hamburger weather so we called up Bruce & Tina and dashed into town to the Works. They have a new ‘beyond meat’ burger but I’m ashamed to say that I had the real thing. Next time.

On Sunday Pat came for supper but I’m afraid I didn’t cook-up an Easter feast, instead we had roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup with biscuits on the side. It was filling but not at all celebratory. Pat brought an assortment of donuts, otherwise we wouldn’t have even had dessert.

Sadly, the Easter Bunny didn’t visit either.

Friday we had a lovely supper at Mom & Dad’s.

Other than those brief sojourns into the world I’ve been hanging low. I can’t seem to shake the feeling of white fog that is physically dragging me down. Mentally I feel (mostly) fine, but I don’t have any energy. I don’t know what is wrong with me and just wish that I could feel energized like some other people I know. I suppose this isn’t new - it’s something I’ve struggled with since my diagnosis almost 15 years ago - maybe it’s the meds or maybe it’s the illness, but the end result is the same… I drag myself through life.

But I have managed to slightly boost my brain and have been working hard on getting the family history website built. Today it went wonky on me again (just when I was publishing it on the server), but I think I got it straightened out.

Feel free to look at it, keeping in mind that the data is yet to come. I welcome comments: www.skjennagard.ca/family/home.html

Here’s a example of how I drove myself crazy!

<!DOCTYPE html>
<script src="jquery.js"></script>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="style-main.css">
<meta charset="iso-8859-1">

<title>Norwegian Farm page</title>


<DIV class="full">
   <DIV class="my-w3-sidebar w3-bar-block toc" style="toc" id="toc">
    <!-- < header -->
    <DIV class="toc-page">

        <!-- START OF HEADER row -->
        <table class="content" >
        <col width="150"><col width="*"><col width="50">
            <td class="lightbox">
                <IMG SRC="images/header-left.gif"  width="100" align="center" title="drawing by Olaf Sr.">
            <td class="lightbox">
            <!--  enter header text here in middle cell -->
                <h1>Farms Around the World</h1>
                <p>a brief paragraph about the farms

            <!--  end of header text cell -->
            <td class="lightbox">
                <IMG SRC="images/header-right.gif" width="50" align="right" title="drawing by Olaf Sr.">
        <!-- END OF HEADER row →

No wonder all advice is to use a development tool and not to try to write it yourself, which is what I did. Good brain exercise though :-)

Carm was at the golf driving range today!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

is the spring coming?

Sun :-) And while not as strong as in the Caribbean, it is somehow more wonderful. I could go outside without a coat and just short sleeves today and that felt fantastic. The wonder of spring is just beginning and for that I rejoice.

The last two days have been a flurry of unpacking, laundry, and lazing around on the sofa. We’ve folded a tower of clothes, with the second tower still drying on the rack. Soon the suitcases will be repacked with travel clothes and put away for a few months. How long we aren’t sure yet - we have a cruise booked in November but we don’t have to completely commit until early summer.

My cold is mostly gone. It wasn’t a bad one and only lasted a few days. We took it easy this cruise and I think it helped that I wasn’t run-down and exhausted from all the fun we were having. I’m not much of a party girl :-(

Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett

Monday, April 15, 2019

long road home

We are home safe and sound, with a mountain of laundry and a pile of cold medicine empty packets.

We had to leave our room at 8am on the ship and didn’t get home until 12:30am… a long, long day so yesterday was a never ending day of waiting. Waiting to get off the ship; waiting on the bus for late people; waiting for the little tour boat to get going; waiting on the bus for late people (the same two people); waiting again for the same two people; waiting at the airport for check-in time; waiting at our gate; flying (in other words, waiting to get home); and then driving home in the dark and stormy night. How is it that we have had such bad luck with travel days.

To reduce some of the time at the airport we took a boat tour of Florida’s many canals. We saw countless houses that cost $20, $30, and $40 million dollars, as well as huge boats worth almost as much. It was fun to see how the other half lives.

One thing I didn’t mention is while we were at the airport I took a walk around to stretch my legs. “Laura”... I turned around and it only took a few seconds to recognize Guy! We used to hang around with Guy and Stacey years ago in my horsey times, but we haven’t really seen them for years, so it was a great pleasure to reconnect with them. It certainly made some of the waiting more pleasant :-)

Our last sea day on the boat was anticlimactic… a long sleep in for me, Carm brought me breakfast in the room, packing, a bit of toddling around the boat, a visit to Crinela for one more thing, trivia for Carm, music for me. We sort of participated (on the edge) in a group renewal of vows thing and danced one more slow dance. We had a final supper with Terri and Ron. I had one last Creme Brulee. Instead of the Beatlemaniacs show we enjoyed some piano playing. I wasn’t feeling 100% so we went to our room early and watched a mindless movie (I Feel Pretty). I took some (more) cold medication.

The dogs were not ecstatic to see us, in fact they didn’t even greet us at the door. I had to go to where they were sleeping to see them. Spike finally came out, but acted all weird and unsure. It has taken till late this afternoon for him to start acting like himself. Grace was happy for a scratch.

Pat set the scene for a nice welcome home with a pot of flowers and a clean house. What a treat! And she’s a treasure. All three of us babbled late into the night over a glass of wine to settle our travel frayed nerves.

Friday, April 12, 2019


Tequila! Mariachi band! Folk dancing! Gringo tacos! Mexico!

We were in Cozumel Mexico today and gosh we had a good time. Our excursion was titled “Fiesta - Eat, Drink, Dance”. So far so good. We gathered with 20 other people under the shade of a tall palm as we waited for the bus that would take us to the restaurant with all the fun. It was a 15 minute drive to our destination, a little hole in the wall restaurant somewhere near downtown.

As we passed in the door we were passed icy margaritas in heavy clay mugs (Montazuma’s revenge anyone?) and led into seating infront of a stage area. A large trolley was wheeled out with 4 bottles of tequila and a bunch of tiny shot glasses. Max, our guide, told us all there was to know about the Mexican Mana and then passed out tiny tastes of each type.

After our tastes, two dancers appeared. Others joined in and then a 7 piece band marched in. It was great fun, especially when the dancers got us all up and joining in the fun.

Lunch was next on the agenda. We sat with Angela and Darrell from Vancouver and had a good time eating soft tacos and drinking Mexican beer. After that we all walked a few blocks to a huge shop for some shopping - all those glittery baubles tempted me, but I was reasonably restrained… well, sort of…

As we were waiting for the taxi’s to take us back to the ship, Angela cried out ‘help me’ and we turned to see Darrel crumpling to the floor. An ambulance soon arrived - it was either low blood pressure or heat stoke, but he was okay after a brief rest. Scary - imagine being in a strange country and having a medical emergency.

It seemed like it took no time to get back to the ship, of course we had to walk through a mile of shops, but we were focused on the ship’s pool!

Swim, iced coffees, chilling out, and then it was time for supper. We met Chris, Terri, and Ron for supper again and had a lovely time.

Oh, guess what… I’ve started a cold, or at least I think so. And there is a norovirus outbreak on the ship...

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Grand Cayman

We were in Grand Cayman today… we weren’t here to open a bank account, but instead were planning a walk around the shopping area to spend money, not save some. We did pass a Scotiabank and an RBC.

It was a tender port, so we boarded a little shuttle and bobbed to shore. The shopping wasn’t great, that is, if you didn’t have thousands to spend on rolex watches and diamond rings. But we managed to find a few small treasures to bring home. I don’t know why I am drawn to all the cheap dresses, t-shirts and little bags but I feel drawn to the junk like a moth to the flame. I mostly resisted today.

We were talking to a friendly native who gave us directions… we asked her how cold the winters get and she said they get really cold - she has to wear sweaters and jackets… we asked someone else who had lived in northern US and he said it gets to the low 70s!

On our way back to the ship we asked directions from a policeman and got sent into a newly opened margarita bar… well… we couldn’t say no ;-) and availed ourselves of the nectar. First a local IPA and then a virgin icy drink for Carm and a not so virgin one for me. In fancy drink glasses that will be amazing by the pool.

Once back on board we got our icy coffees and a quick lunch at the International Cafe and then hung out on the balcony for a while before getting dressed… once again… for formal night. Gosh all this dressing up!

We sat with Chris, Terri & Ron and have made plans to meet up with them again tomorrow.

The show was one we’d seen several times over the years but we still enjoyed it immensely.

We’ve given up on finding music after the show - I think the Janos quartet left the ship, leaving not much else. The ship is leaving on a Transatlantic on Sunday and I wouldn’t be happy if there was so little music on the long crossing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ya mon

A horse stood at the side of the road, its head low under the weight of the thick rope around its neck, a metaphor for the Jamacian man.

We were hurtling along a road crammed into a little bus on our way to Reggie Hill. We weren’t exactly sure of what we had signed up for but it sounded good on paper. Finally, after 1 ½ hours we turned down a little road and lurched to a stop. As I tumbled out of the bus I could see that we were somewhere nice. A quick moving river rushed past chairs laid out in the grass. Large trees provided shade.

We staked out two chairs and a tiny table and were soon served glasses of red rum punch. Oh my… little plates of food were handed out over the afternoon… followed by more punch...

A guy played the steel drums accompanied by canned music from a boom-box. Lots of Reggie and other island music blared, our limbs moved involuntarily and soon we were both up dancing.

A young woman and young man did some folk dancing in the grassy circle in front of the musician. They were fantastic. Somehow I only got a photo of the young man… I wonder why?

I waded into the river, Carm dunked himself right in.

It was a long drive back, and I’ve gotta say, there was a lot of garbage along the road. I saw more water bottles than I’ll use in my whole life. But despite that, we had a great time in Jamaica.

Once we were back at the port we shopped around for some hot sauce for my dad; we found some but I’m not sure it is the same as the one he loves. We didn’t shop for long though, the long drive had us hankering for a cool swim, so we dashed back to the ship and into the pool.

Tonight we skipped the table for 6, opting for a two-top and a quick burger for supper. We dorked around until the show at 8 (the comedian again), and now we are basically beat.

Ya mon! No problem!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

a few days

Monday: We were seated with a man with a cold at dinner tonight :-( At least I think he had one. Took a big dose of vitamin C and some Pau d’arco when we got back to the room… fingers crossed.

Today we were in Princess Cays again, only this time we stayed on the ship. Carm is still recovering from his sunburn, and I still have some pink spots so we didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the sun. Instead we went to the ‘retreat pool’ and hung out in the shade. The ship was quiet but not deserted.

We’ll be shopping for some ‘rashguards’ when we get home. For those who don’t know, it is a long sleeve swim shirt with high UV protection.

After spending a few hours at the pool and having lunch, we hung out in the room for a while.

I need a break from all this eating. I’m actually getting sick of it, and have even cut out desserts a few nights.

The show tonight was a comedian and my gosh he was funny! Laugh out loud funny. We walked around after the show, sat at Crooners for a while, and now we are back in our little room.

Tuesday, day at sea: Long night sleep (oh, the gentle rocking of a ship on the sea), breakfast in the buffet sitting with people from California; and then a slurry of: time in our room (not much); coffee in the piazza; Carm playing trivia; me shopping but not buying anything; me shopping buying eyeshadow and other things to try to tame the shrek in me; piazza again, this time for music; getting ready for formal night; supper with a bunch of people; amazing show; fall onto bed exhausted.

We went to see Bravo again, and it was just as entertaining as last week. I think the singers on this ship are the best we’ve seen to-date.

I was a bit homesick this morning and I don’t know if the photos Pat sent me made me feel better or worse, but I do know that I was happy to see the pets looking so happy at home. Thanks Pat!

Sunday, April 7, 2019


The alarm… yes the ALARM… woke us up at 7:30 this morning. Boo hiss. We were in Fort Lauderdale for ‘turnaround day’ - the day when all the people that took the 7 day version of the cruise get off and the new people for the next 7 day cruise get on. We are doing 14 days, but due to Customs regulations we had to get off for a bit.

We checked thru customs at 9am (thank you Nexus) and started towards the wino’s mecca - Total Wine. It was about a 20 minute walk, in fairly blistering heat, and I’m pretty sure that when we walked thru the doors into the air conditioned cavern, trumpets blew. Oh my gosh!!! Apparently over 6000 kinds of wine, all under one roof. It was amazing. And cool. Of course we needed help picking out two bottles and one of the workers was there to help us.

By 10:15 we were back on the ship and getting ready for a swim. For once we got our choice of loungers and found two perfectly situated in the shade. Our stuff was plunked down on the chair and we splashed in… heaven on a hot day! We didn’t spend much time in the sun though - I still have a bit of burn and Carm still has tons. But we sat on our loungers and watched a Michael Buble concert for a while.

Breakfast was early so we availed ourselves of the dining room for lunch. I had a shrimp/avocado thing, and then beef tenderloin medallions. No dessert.

One of my favorite things to do is people watch, and watching people come through the Piazza the first time is fun. You can tell the new cruisers from the look of astoundment as they pass through the space. It brings to mind my first cruise and how magical it was (thanks Jo Ellen & Don!). So we grabbed a cold beverage and a table to let the world pass us by.

One of the good things about being on the second half of a cruise is being able to miss ‘muster’. Instead we dashed up to the lido deck (pool deck) to get good seats for the sail away party with the Princess singers and dancers. It was all great fun and I even got dragged up onto the stage for a few moments.


Show. It was a repeat for us, but honestly I thought of going again at the late show tonight. ‘Born to Dance’ has dance number after dance number, each one better than the last. They have some really talented people on board, especially a few of the men.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Bohemian Rhapsody

It’s 1:30 in the afternoon… we were up late… I had a makeover which may end up costing us millions of dollars in new stuff and sadly didn’t turn me into Christie Brinkley… we’ve had iced caps… lunch… seen a teenage boy with a huge mullet… had some salad...

Time now for a movie in our room - Bohemian Rhapsody - which so far is good and I expect it will get better as the music reels up.

,,, the movie was great! Not just great, excellent. If you love Queen music, well, this is the show for you.

Our lazy day continued with drinks in the piazza before supper followed by a leisurely supper with people from Mass. and Ohio. We skipped dessert to spend some time on the balcony.

The show was an excellent musical production with a guy from Las Vegas who is a music impersonator. It was fun with lots of good music, and our favorite, the Princess band, as the backup. After the show we raced to get seats in the piazza as the band was playing, along with some other people for a ½ hour show.

Now, our day is done and although ‘Black Panther’ is playing on the tv, I hope to turn out the lights soon - we get up at 7:30 tomorrow for turnaround day.