Day 17 – 18 — I’m not gonna be able to purge no more

Yesterday and today have been taken up with getting ourselves to Miami where we will embark on Friday for our two week Panama cruise. I can’t wait to leave.

Being able to purge is really not feasible, considering that we had to be very particular about what we packed.  If I toss anything out it could lead to catastrophe.

But if I had to say I’ve purged anything over the  last two days it would be: Stress and anxiety. Stress because getting ready for a trip is always an ordeal – did I pay the all bills that need paying; did I remember to pack everything; did I get all the documents in order that we need for the trip? Anxiety because, well, even though I’m getting better at letting shit go I still have to keep working on it.

Yesterday though I was quite pleased with myself. After making sure the suitcases were finally organized and packed once and for all, I laid down for a nap, and then I went for a walk. It was such a beautiful Alberta chinook-y day that I couldn’t resist.

Dad and I talked and walked and enjoyed the sunshine.  I saw a friend at the post office who I hadn’t seen in ages and we had a wonderful conversation. It was so nice to see her and get caught up on her life.

Then, before I knew it, it was time to head to the airport. After nearly  7 hours of flights and a two hour stop in Toronto, we landed in Miami. We’re only here for one night and then we embark on the Norwegian Star tomorrow at 2 pm. It’s been a good day of getting to know our cruise mates a little better over food and drink (and a little synchro swimming by my husband and one of the other guys at the hotel pool).

To the lady who yelled at her kids to grab their towels and then barked “we’re leaving” all I can say is: lighten up, life’s to short to not enjoy every moment of it whenever you can.

Bon voyage!

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Update #2 — April 2nd – 5th

Day 93 – 96  —  It was back to work on Tuesday.  I was still exhausted.  Trying to catch up on a missed 35 hours of sleep takes a while, I discovered.  On Monday evening my son came by the house to see if I could go watch my two oldest grandkids because they had to take the youngest to the hospital.  No thought, only go.  He had been throwing up all day and finally the doctor said to bring him in.  I didn’t feel tired until about 11 o’clock, then it hit me like a brick.  I pulled a blanket over myself and went to sleep with the phone by my hand.

They called around 11:30 to say they were still waiting, but that Ethan was, thankfully, sleeping.  I called my husband to tell him the news and he offered to come relieve me so that I could go home and get some sleep before going to work in the morning.  When the alarm went off at 6 I thought briefly of just laying there and pretending I hadn’t heard it.  But, wondering what was happening with the kids, I got up and grabbed the phone.  They still hadn’t left the hospital, but Ethan was doing much better.  Sigh.  Huge sigh.

I called them around 8, just before I headed out the door and they said they had just got home.  So, that was a relief.

The rest of the week went relatively okay, except for the snowstorm that developed on Wednesday.  Another snow storm!  Thankfully, it wasn’t near as bad as the last one.  But with the Spring-like temperatures (insert a big snort here) the snow was wet and heavy and made the roads a little dicey.

I spent the week getting caught up to speed with work and trying — not very successfully — to get my house in order.  It’s funny, when you go away on vacation, even though you clean everything before you go, the house is a disaster the minute you walk through the door.

I had a busy week with trying to get ready for a grievance hearing with our employer and then getting some other Union business tied up.

All in all, I probably could have used another week off.

Monday, and I’m b-a-a-a-ck

. . . that just never looks as good in print as hearing Jack Nicholson saying it.

Ah, well, the point is, I’m back.  My trip to New York was fantastic.  Just the break I needed.  Although. . .

. . . we had full, busy days — up early and then out pounding the streets and riding the subway.  It was just all too much fun!

We saw two plays while we were there — Wicked and Race.  Wicked is the untold story of the relationship between the witches before Dorothy and Toto ever make the scene.  It was wonderful — very funny, with lavish sets and a great story line.  Can’t wait for it to come here so I can take my grand-daughter, Hailey.  She would love it, especially Glinda, who is really a girly girl.  Race, was a dark comedy exploring society’s attitude towards well, what else, racial stereotypes and prejudice.  It was very thought-provoking while at the same time crazily funny.  A David Mamet play, so lots of profanity and no fear of saying the politically incorrect.  Loved it.

There is just something about New York.  I, like millions of others, simply love the place.  And I say that with the full knowledge that my love of the place is superficial and naive.  I am a tourist when I’m there, nothing more and I know little or nothing of the average life of a true New Yorker.  In our travels about the city — and those were confined to Upper, Middle and Lower Manhattan — we encountered very few real citizens.  Those we did were working and for the most part seemed resigned to answering the touristy questions we posed (and they’d heard for probably the millionth time).  They weren’t exactly friendly, but they were polite, which is okay.

The funniest thing I heard was when we were coming out of Tiffany’s.  (I bought myself a lovely little silver chain and initial pendant — surprisingly very affordable!)  A little boy of about 5 was complaining to his father about the streets being too busy.  His dad said, “I know, son, it’s because there’s so many tourists right now.  Unfortunately, we need the tourists to survive.”  I laughed right out loud.  With my pretty little blue Tiffany’s bag swinging gaily from my hand.  I guess Audrey shouldn’t have made the place so famous.

This was my second trip to the big apple and having been there once before really came in handy.  As Tim and I had taken the subway before I wasn’t at all hesitant about getting in to them again.  Each day we would go and get an unlimited ride pass and then we would take that subway all over the place.  Though the terminals themselves are nearly unbearably hot, the cars are blessedly air-conditioned.  Well, except for one.  Day two we’re down in the terminal waiting for our train.  It’s busy, lots of people.  We worry about getting separated when it’s that busy, so as the train pulls up we see a car that is practically empty.  We make a bee-line for it.  The doors whoosh open and we rush in — it’s stifling hot!  But now it’s too late to switch cars, so we’re stuck.  We laughed so hard at our stupidity, and, never made that mistake again!

Now, let’s talk about the food.  All of it was fantastic.  We ate at Tom’s Restaurant — the one from Seinfeld — our first night there.  Very good, homestyle meals.  Tom, I believe that was him, anyway, came over and talked to us — a couple of us got our picture taken with him.  He was a nice man who runs a landmark restaurant.  The service was fast and friendly, I would definitely recommend this as a place to go.  Other than that we ate hotdogs and kebabs off the street carts, had Chinese in China-town, dinner at Carmine’s — the BEST for Italian food — but avoid the drinks, too pricy and not sure they actually have any booze in them.  We also had Turkish food at a great little restaurant in Morningside where we were staying, breakfast at a French cafe,and  pizza at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge.  Other than Grimaldi’s, where we stood in line in the sweltering heat for 45 minutes, but it was so totally worth it, we never had to wait for a seat in a restaurant, ever.

Around the corner from our apartment were a couple of grocers.  One was 24/7 and you could get anything you wanted there, any time of day.  And it was always fresh!  They had a wonderful fresh salad and deli bar, a coffee bar, vast fruit stands, freshly baked bread, cookies and pastries, a large dairy case, and a really good selection of dried and canned foods which reflected ethnic diversity.  This is where we picked up stuff for our breakfasts — it was called the Westside Market on Broadway and 110th.  There are lots of these places around, really worth checking out if you’re planning a longer visit to New York.

The only problem we ever had was locating a place to buy wine.  We could get beer anywhere, but buying wine was a bit of a trial.  Then we were told, on our second last day, to go over to Amsterdam Ave.   There were dozens of little wine stores over there.  Never fear, though, we made sure we stopped several times throughout the day for a drink at some little cafe or restaurant.  I think the most frivolous fun we

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had was the day we went and had drinks at the Plaza Hotel.  What a stunningly gorgeous place!  And we in our shorts and tees, covered in sweat and looking every inch the Canadian tourist.  But, they were extremely gracious and seated us in the champagne bar.  We had our server laughing and in the end I think we got a complimentary tray of nuts because of it.  Suffice it to say the drinks, a tray of cheese and crackers with  a few grapes and a halved strawberry, and a plate with two large pieces of bruschetta (the most amazing tasting bruschetta I’ve ever had!) cost us a pretty penny.  But you know what?  It was so worth it!  Drinks at the Plaza — you only live once, I say.

We did so much, saw so much, experienced so much — I could probably write all day trying to get it all down.  But I think I’ll take a break for now.  Post a few pictures from our trip and get back at it again tomorrow.