Monday, 26 May 2014


What a fantastic, full week it's been!  It all started off with Mother's Day on May 11 which was my last post.  Then I went to the Cancer Centre for my 6 month check up.  Great news!!!  I've graduated to check ups once a year now.  That was on May 14.  The next day, my husband took me on a holiday to Las Vegas to celebrate my 50th birthday!  I am not bothered by the number at all.  I am so happy that I've reached this age.  That I survived!  That I can continue to live life to the absolute fullest!  So off to Vegas we flew.  Now you must know by now from following my blog that I am at peace and feel as one with nature when I am surrounded by the soothing quiet of birds, water and nature.  My husband planned this trip along with our friends from around the corner.  Her birthday is five days before mine.  We celebrated our milestone birthdays together in Las Vegas.  We met up with them there.  In my mind, I was celebrating my continued good health as well as my birthday.

We arrived Thursday and got settled in.  We stayed at the Flamingo Hotel.  That night we went on the newest attraction in Las Vegas which is a huge ferris wheel called The High Roller.  Instead of seats, it has pods that are enclosed in Plexiglas and can hold up to 40 people.  The pods move very slowly.  From the ground when you look up at the top of The High Roller it looks like it isn't even moving.  But when you look at the pods closest to the ground, you can see them moving slowly.  Anyway, what a view of the Las Vegas strip!!!  From the top, you could see all the hotels and all the lights of the strip.  It was breath taking!!  On Friday, we met our friends for breakfast at the restaurant in the Flamingo.  This would become our habit as the food was very good and satisfying.  We had a quiet afternoon wandering the strip and playing some slots.  Then off we went to get ready for our birthday dinner at the Homestead Steakhouse in Caesar's Palace.  I normally wear jeans or pants but for this celebration I had decided back at home that I was going to get "dressed up".  So I wore a long skirt (that can handle the wrinkles from packing and not show them) along with a short sleeved jacket over a tank top.  I felt wonderful!!  The dinner was fantastic!  After our dinner, we made our way to Fremont Street.  The last time I was there, it was overly crowded and I had a bad experience.  I'm sure I blogged about it in August of 2012.  Anyway, on Friday night it was a much different experience and I fully enjoyed it.  There were buskers and outdoor band concerts.  My husband bought me and my friend gold bottles full of an alcoholic slushy.  It was very good on a warm night.  We thought it was fitting that the gold bottle fit our 50th birthday celebration.  I think I made it back to my hotel room at 1 a.m. where I fell into bed exhausted.  Only to be suddenly wakened by a loud fire alarm!  What a rude awakening!!  Thank goodness it was a false alarm.  Saturday was spent wandering the strip as we went in and out of the various hotels and shops.  Saturday night, we went to see Rod Stewart at The Colliseum in Caesar's Palace.  What a great show he put on!  We were pleasantly surprised considering he is 69 years young.

Sunday (the 18th) we went on a bus tour to the Hoover Dam and the south rim of The Grand Canyon. For me this was a highlight of the trip!  My husband and I decided to take the option of being dropped off at Mather's Point and we walked the 1 1/2 hour trip to Bright Angle Lodge where we met the bus to come back to Vegas.  I took tons of pictures in an effort to capture the magnificence of the view.  I never felt so close to God!  I will always cherish these memories of my visit to The Grand Canyon.  It was a long day as the shuttle to the bus picked us up at our hotel at 6:30 a.m. and then we were dropped off at 9:45 p.m.  I must say it was fantastic to see The Hoover Dam all lit up at night as we returned to Las Vegas.

On Monday, we visited The Bellagio Hotel and saw an amazing conservatory within the hotel that was full of flowers, ponds, and birds.  There was also a chocolate shop with a huge chocolate fountain that was at least 2 stories tall.  Monday night, we went for dinner at the Las Vegas Hotel (LVH) for dinner at Benihana and then we went to a musical called "Raiding The Rock Vault".  It was again a wonderful evening of food, entertainment and friendship as we shared this event with our friends.  We all really enjoyed the dinner and show at a very affordable $90 which included the dinner and show.

Our friends left on Tuesday.  My husband and I wandered The Miracle Mile Shops associate with Bally's Hotel.  Amazingly, with visiting and looking at all the stores, I didn't buy anything!  I was looking for some jewelry but nothing jumped out at me.  Tuesday evening, we went to Harrah's for dinner at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar.  After dinner we went to the show at Harrah's called "Defending The Caveman".  This was a hilarious one-man comedic play.  If ever you get to Las Vegas, you need to see this reasonably priced show.  It talks about and explains the differences between men and women and why we aren't the same.  My husband and I laughed quite hard.

We came home on Wednesday (21st).  Our children met us to take us home from Toronto and when they saw me, they ran and gave me a huge hug at the same time.  I felt so cherished and loved especially because our children are teenagers and young adults.  It really warmed my heart.  Our celebrations were not finished.  My husband surprised me with a dinner out with the family on Saturday night at one of my favourite restaurants.  It was an evening full of laughter and good food.

As I transition into being a parent of adults, I had my first instance of a shared story from my children that I knew nothing about.  Apparently when they were much younger, my son had some fun with his little sister by convincing her that there were fresh water sharks in the lake near our home.  This now explains why she was afraid to go swimming!  We all roared with laughter.

So life is great and full of blessings which are reasons to celebrate.  Bring on life to the fullest!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Mother's Day Weekend 2014

I had a wonderful Mother's Day Weekend.  My daughter has been busy in the last 2 weeks working backstage and preparing props for their high school musical "Grease".  This is one of my favourite musicals.  I have a "Grease" music book for piano which I bought when the film version with Olivia Newton John and John Travolta had first been released way back.  My daughter found the book which had long ago fallen apart and I had it rebound in a spiral binding.  I've been listening to her play the piano which fills my heart with joy.  So on Friday night, my husband and I went to the school for one of the performances.  Despite the uncomfortable folding chairs, I really enjoyed the performance.  My daughter's role was one of being backstage.  The actors performed very well.  Their singing voices and acting were amazing.  Not just teenage acting but there were several people who's charisma resonated out through the audience.  There was some very fine acting and singing.  Not forced singing or straying off key but legitimate fine vocal performances.  During the intermission, my husband bought me some carnations for Mother's Day which were being sold as a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis.  At the end of the show, I was wishing I had something to give my daughter in appreciation for her role in the production.  I gave her my carnations.  She was so appreciative and then generously gave one of them to her best friend who was also working backstage.  That was Friday night.

On Saturday, my church was holding a Mother's Day Tea and Silent Auction.  I had not signed up to volunteer at this event because I had thought I was going to be driving my daughter to an appointment during that time.  She announced on Friday night that she changed the appointment to another day.  This meant we could attend the Mother's Day Tea.  After a leisurely morning spent enjoying some coffee and breakfast on the patio while I watched the birds and squirrels play in the yard, my daughter, my son, my husband and I set off for the church.  What a transformation the organizer achieved at the church!!  We walked in and there were 15 card tables set up covered by lace and embroidered table cloths.  There was a fountain surrounded by flowers in the middle of the space.  At the entrance where tickets were being purchased and collected, there was a dispenser of limeade along with a tray of tiny shortbread discs.  We were all offered a little drink and biscuit as we found a table.  On the table was a plate of fancy finger sandwiches which reminded me of my grandmother as she used to make these in support of her local Women's Institute group.  We sat down and a server (volunteer from the church) came and asked us if we wanted orange pekoe or flavoured tea.  As a family, we chose the orange pekoe tea.  The server went away and we listened to students performing on the piano as nice background music to this beautiful atmosphere.  Our server came back with a pot of tea for our table.  She announced that spring salads would be forthcoming and we were to help ourselves to the enjoyment of the sandwiches.  What a really nice time I had with my family sitting, chatting and laughing together.  This doesn't happen often as our children are their own individuals with work schedules and busy social calendars.  The salads came and were thoroughly enjoyed.  After finishing her salad, my daughter waited for me to finish savouring my own salad and then asked if I would go and browse through the silent auction items with her.  We left my son and husband visiting with each other and off we went.  I know this is a small thing but it was one of those moments that creates wonderful, warm memories to hold us through the trials and cold moments of raising children.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my daughter.  When we came back to our table, my son asked if I would go up with him to look at the silent auction items.  Off I went with my grown son while in the background the soft piano music continued to play such soothing songs.  If I had a film version of this Mother's Day tea, it would be softly muted with filters but very bright and cheery.  This is how I remember my time at the tea.  My son saw an electric tea kettle at the silent auction and shyly asked if I would put a bid on it as he could use it in his first apartment in September.  I ended up not wining any of the bids but that was OK.  This was fundraiser for the church but more importantly for me, it was a time to reconnect with my family.  After the tea, we went home and my daughter went to play "Grease" music on the piano.  A little while later she asked me to play some of the music for her.  This then led to us playing some piano duets together.  What a balm and joy to my aching heart!!  My heart is still full a number of days later as I write this.  The best moments in time do not require money to be spent.  Just time spent enjoying each other doing something that we both enjoy is enough.  That was my Saturday and what a gift it was!

On Sunday which was Mother's Day, I awoke early and put on the coffee, emptied the dishwasher, put on a load of laundry and had a bowl of cereal so I could be ready for church.  I then went out to the patio to enjoy the warmth of the bright sun and watch the birds.  My husband, knowing I like to listen to Jigs and Reels with Danielle Butt on OZFM on Sunday mornings, brought out his IPad and tuned it in for me.  I hung up the laundry to dry outside and when it was time, I went off to church.  When I came home, my husband had a very nice lunch ready for me with soup, sandwiches and homemade rhubarb punch.  We ate and my children gave me a very sentimental Mother's Day card with their own additions.  Their own sentiments touched and added to my already overflowing full heart.  Needless to say, when this happens my eyes fill with tears that slowly overflow and roll down my cheeks.  It was a wonderful gift! Due to the busy week of rehearsals, performances and then a late-night cast/crew party, we excused my daughter from the next planned activity.  My son and husband took me golfing on a local Par 3 course.  I've had one golf lesson so far this year.  I had a great afternoon playing golf.  In the past, I could always throw the ball farther and straighter than I could hit it.  In the past, it was the norm for me to have holes where it would take me 10 to 15 shots to get the little white ball in the hole.  With just one lesson, I was able to keep up with my husband and son until I started to tire at the last few holes where once again I was back into the double digits.  I don't remember my score, but I do remember enjoying the warmth of the sun, the camaraderie between us, the birds and the sound of the running water as the little river was full.  My Mother's Day ended with my husband making me a prime rib dinner complete with Yorkshire pudding.  He even made a rhubarb lunar cake for the dessert.

This past Mother's Day weekend has provided me with many warm memories and moments worth hanging onto.  I will pull the memories out during difficult times like little precious gems.  At those times, I will handle them like rolling smooth stones in my hand.  I will admire the memories just like admiring those smooth stones.  Then I will tuck the memories back into my heart for the next time I want to cherish them.  I truly am blessed!