February 20, 2015

Day Three and Day Four

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 8:46 pm by msweet42

This is being written on Day Four of our Caribbean Cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship Legend of the Seas, What happened to Day Three you ask. Funny thing about that.

Day Three was our second outbound Sea Day. Overall, a pretty good day. Seriously, it wasn’t snowing and it didn’t take fifteen minutes to get ready to go outside. It was, however, really windy and the sea a bit more choppy all of which contributed to a ride that was a bit more bumpy with more swaying that I would have asked for.

We did our time in the sun. The good thing about lying in the sun is you present less of a target for the wind. From mid-afternoon on I felt what, about two degrees off. Queazy might be a good word except it was more of a vertigo thing.

As the afternoon passed into early evening I was hoping this would subside so I could make dinner. That didn’t work out so well. Just before dinner I found myself umm… meditating on the throne. Educating my fanny, as Brother Tim used to say. and this didn’t feel like it was a one time thing.

But I really wanted to make dinner. More specifically, I did not want to miss dinner because of this particular set of symptoms. More about that in a bit.

So I gathered up my courage and worked my way into the dining room to table 42. Said hello to my table-mates. The missing couple finally arrived. Mim and Bob are their names. So we have Carol, Don from North Carolina, Deb and Dave from Michigan, Mim and Bob from Pennsylvania, I think, and Diane and I. For some reason, we ended up male, female alternating. Huh…

Anyway, I was sitting there sipping cold water hoping things would get better. The menu arrived. As I read each item, my stomach flipped. There were two appetizers I was found interesting when I read the menu earlier in the day. Now, I couldn’t even read them without feeling sick. Forget the entrees. If I can’t even read about them, how am I supposed to eat them?

I made my apologies and excused myself, all the time assuring everyone I most assuredly did not have that thing everyone fears the most on cruise ships. Though I did not say the word I think everyone knew I was talking about norovirus. The main symptoms of norovirus are dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. But I was pretty sure that wasn’t what was going on. At least I really hoped not. I was looking forward to our excursion in Aruba and I didn’t want to be too sick for that.

A word or two about norovirus. In case you missed hearing about it, noro is a nasty thing. As I understand it, if you get it, it won’t kill you. But you wish it would. It’s an intestinal bug easily transmitted. Usually when there is one case of noro, there will soon be hundreds. You can pick it up from railings, elevator buttons, the tongs you use to pick up your food, even the food itself under the right (wrong) circumstances

Cruise ships with noro usually make the news. The infection rate usually runs between ten and twenty percent of the passengers. If there are two thousand, four thousand, six thousand guests, you can see that’s a lot of sick people.

The Centers For Disease Control tracks noro outbreaks on cruise ships. You can go online and look up your favourite ship and see when their last outbreak occurred. And believe me, every cruise ship has had it at one time or the other. When it happens, they turn the ship around and bring her home, then spend the next three days wiping and disinfecting every single surface on the ship.

Because the news outlets love a good barf story (500 people explosively ejecting material from both ends simultaneously! Film at 11!) people think this is a cruise ship thing. It isn’t. Anywhere you get a group of people, some of whom see fit not to wash their hands, you will eventually see noro. Schools and nursing homes are other hot spots. But since you don’t have the element of poor innocents TRAPPED ON BOARD at these sites, the news folks don’t cover those outbreaks.

That being said, the very last thing you want to even hint is that you might have is noro. Especially to any crew member. You’ll be locked in your cabin before you can even remember how to spell quarantine.

I didn’t have noro.

After a brief rest in my stateroom I ventured out to Park Cafe for pizza, brownies and cookies. I had to eat something and that was what they had.
Back to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Day Four found me good as new. Whatever it was passed in the night. We went to the Windjammer for breakfast and then went to get ready for Aruba.

We signed up for the Aruba Cruise and Beach excursion. When we got off the ship, a brightly painted old school bus took us across the port to a large catamaran. I think there were twelve or sixteen of us. However many there were of us, the cat carried us comfortably.

There was a bit of a speech from the captain to the effect that if anything fell off the boat or blew off, it was gone. No going back for stuff. When we got to the beach don’t touch anything living. Oh, and the cat had an open bar. Whoot!

I was introduced to an Aruba Ariba. Rum, vodka, and punch. Adult kool-aid. Yum.

Diane and I went forward to sit on the port side hull beside the netting between the hulls. The netting was just too attractive. After verifying it was okay, I flopped out on my back in the middle.

So I’m lying on my back looking at this achingly blue sky. I’m running across this insanely blue water. I’m in Aruba.

Over a year in the planning. Slogging through the snow to catch a flight to Florida. A relatively cold weekend in Florida. Two and a half days at sea. And here we are. This was the point of it all.

After a wonderful forty-five minute cruise, we arrived at Palm Beach. Diane and I set off in search of a couple of beach chairs. We finally found a couple but I looked around and worked out they belonged to a resort. Sorry Playa Linda. Didn’t mean to move your chairs.

We worked our way back to where all the chairs had blue Royal Caribbean towels on them and located two unoccupied ones.

Note to self. The sun is really, really hot in Aruba. It did my cold bones good to just lie there and soak it in. Actually, we soaked a bit more of it that we should. Diane’s back was very red this evening as was my nose. Small price to pay.

All good things must end and at the appointed time, we were back on the catamaran for the return voyage back to the dock. We boarded the ship to take a bit of a break and then headed back to the town to see if we could find some wifi.

Smart me, I asked one of the ship’s crew as we were heading into port and he told me about a Starbuck’s. We window-shopped as we went down the main street. We saw a sign for Hard Rock Cafe and thought maybe we could eat there. Nope. All they sold was clothing with the Hard Rock Aruba logo on it. The restaurant was some ten minutes away by foot.

Spotting a Pizza Hut, we decided to eat there. The menu prices were in Aruba Florins with $1 USD = 1.75 AWF. I received a couple of Aruba coins in my change. Interesting.

We finally made it to Starbuck’s. I’m pretty sure North Korea is the only country that doesn’t have Starbuck’s. I connected my trusty mini iPad and checked in on Facebook so folks would know we were still alive. Just for the heck of it I tried to place a FaceTime call to Sam. Surprisingly, she was home and answered. I think she was as surprised as we were. We had a great chat. She sent me a screen grab of the current weather in Ottawa and we played confuse-a-puppy with Alfie. Cool.

Waling back to the ship, we ran into Deb and Dave from dinner. Diane fell into talking with Deb and Dave and I compared notes about life, the universe, and nothing in particular. Dave had discovered rum while they were in port. Lots of it. He had achieved that really mellow state that rum can impart. Among other things, Dave told me his son had developed kidney cancer when he was seven. Surgery, chemo and radiation eventually cured him. Sadly, the son died when he was 35 of an unrelated medical issue that had also taken his mother, Dave’s first wife.

Back on board, Diane and I took a break for a while. I took a shower and then went up to Deck 9 to take pictures.

I made it to dinner with no issues. Everyone was happy to see me healthy. I had a crab cake appetizer and a Manhattan strip. Dessert was creme brûlée and cherries jubilee.

When we got back to the cabin, Rudy, our attendant, had set up the towel creature he’d previously made in a sitting position on the couch. The towel guy was wearing my backpack. Terminally cute.

Then it was time to retire to the pool deck to put this together.

Tomorrow is Bonaire. We don’t have anything scheduled there. We ran through the list of excursions again to see if anything looked attractive and still nothing. This is probably a good thing for our skin. We’ll probably get off the ship and bum around the port a bit. Rumour has it there isn’t much.

We shall see what we shall see.

By the way… Aruba is 14 miles from Venezuela. Who knew (besides everyone in Aruba or with a working knowledge of geography).


Day Two or One or Whatever

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 8:45 pm by msweet42

Today is our first full sea day. So that makes it Day One of Two Sea Days. But it is the second sunset, so that makes it Day Two. Or something like that.

As I write this, we have made The Turn. After leaving Fort Lauderdale we headed south by southeast and skirted along the coast of Cuba. Close enough to see the high rises of a city during the day and the lights at night. Just before dinner at 8:00 pm I saw the flash from a light house that I’m pretty sure was the eastern end of Cuba.

We’re now steaming (do modern cruise ships steam?) to the southwest through the straight between Cuba and Haiti. I’m pretty sure we have made the turn because the smoke from the stacks which had been blowing straight back behind the ship is now being blown at a right angle to the ship.

Also, the wind on the deck has dropped considerably. Earlier today we went up to Deck 10, the highest point accessible to the passengers, to get some sun. The wind was really strong in the late morning. By mid-afternoon it seemed to be at gale force. We were receiving the benefit of the current weather conditions augmented by the speed of the ship. The ship is doing just a hair under eighteen knots. The net result was a heck of a wind. At one point I was sitting talking to Diane and watching a pair of deck chairs moving on down the deck. One of our dinner mates lost a sandal to the wind, Oh, the tragedy.

Our day started a little after 8:00. We wanted to attend the Meet & Mingle made up of people who participate in the online forum Cruise Critic cruisecritic.com But first, some breakfast at The Windjammer.

I had every intention of sticking just to coffee since breakfast tends not to stay long in my system. Diane got her usual favourites and I got… I got tater tots, scrambled eggs, pancakes, syrup and coffee. So much for good intentions. As usual, everything was delicious. Some of the people on Cruise Critic decry the terrible food at The Windjammer. I’m not sure which Windjammer they visit because I always enjoy everything I find there. Oh, and for what it’s worth, breakfast stayed with me.

After breakfast we made our way to the Anchors Aweigh lounge for the M & M. I had anticipated a setting along the lines of an open room, maybe something like a bar, where we would oh, I don’t know, maybe meet and mingle? Turns out it was a setting like a small theatre with rows of fixed seating. Not much of a chance to mingle.

The promised Free Gift turned out to be a wee notebook thing with slots inside for your Sea Pass and your Driver’s License and a small pen to hold it closed. We are the proud owner of two of these. There were draws were for prizes such as a free dinner at Izumis, free Internet packages, bottles of wine and t-shirts. We didn’t win anything. The Cruise Director who was the MC stressed how important Cruise Critic was to RCI, that they do actually read it and have made changes based on issues that have been discussed there.

I find the whole Cruise Critic thing to be very interesting. This is a site with separate discussion forums for each of the various cruise lines, departure ports, ports of call and pretty much everything else associated with cruising. So far as I know there is no connection between the site and any of the cruise lines. Clearly, though, the lines cottoned on to the possible effects of thousands of people bitching about and complimenting the products the lines offer.

Come to think of it, CC is a marketing department’s dream come true. Every company wants to know how they are doing, what do people think of their service and their offerings. Ergo all those “take our survey online and win a free burger” or whatever. RCI can introduce a new service or tweak an existing one and CC will give them all the feedback they could ever want and more. Good idea? Expand it. Bad one? Pull it. Massive marketing data without having to spend a penny.

After the M & M we retired to Deck 10 to work on our tans and do battle with the winds. For some reason, I started feeling just a touch of vertigo, the precursor to sea sickness. This came as a surprise. I made it through the entire first cruise, all ten days of it, with nary a twinge. I rested in the sun for a while but it didn’t get better. Decided to go take a nap. Diane eventually joined me and we enjoyed the total darkness and soundproofing of our inside stateroom.

When we got up, we were both a little hungry. The only thing open was Park Cafe so we each had a salad and some lemon cookies.

Diane’s been fighting a throat that hurts when she swallows. She’s been treating it with honey and hot water. At breakfast I liberated a handful of honey packets and stashed them in my Everything Bag. She would slip one out during the day and find some hot water. She had that again at Park Cafe while I had coffee.

Tonight was Formal night at dinner. There are those who insist Formal night requires a tux and ball gown ensemble. At the other end of the spectrum are those who maintain it is their vacation, they paid their money and they’ll wear whatever they damn well please. I wear a black suit, white shirt and dark tie. Diane wears a nice dress. We try to stay low if a bun fight breaks out between the two “how do you dress” factions.

Seriously, if your whole cruise is “ruined” because someone wore a t-shirt on Formal night, I would suggest you are wound just a hair too tightly. Fortunately, the two couples with whom we share dinner are of the dark-suit, nice dress school of thought. No one broke into tears at the lack of a tux.

Dinner is fun. The menu always has things with which I’m very familiar, some of which I especially like. There are also items with which I am not familiar. In a normal restaurant setting where you are paying $20 to $40 for an entree, you’re going to want something you know you will enjoy. Here, since it already paid for in your fare, there is the chance to try new, exotic dishes. Don’t care for it? Ask for something else. I’ve not seen it yet but it is not unheard of for someone to ask for and receive two or three entrees.

Tonight, Diane had broiled salmon substituting rice for the chopped veggies and I had medallions of beef tenderloin with a special mushroom sauce and whipped potatoes. Delicious. Don and Carol received a bottle of wine when they came on board and, as promised, shared the bottle with the entire table. Very nice of them to do so.

Don had a shrimp cocktail Diane found enticing. Turns out it’s not on the menu but if you ask for it, they will prepare it for you. But you have to let them know in advance. Diane spoke with our head waiter and, I believe, will have one waiting for her tomorrow evening.

Diane passed on dessert but I made up for it by ordering a strawberry cheesecake and a sort of lemon meringue pie, Bit too much crust on the pie but otherwise delightful.

The only downside of an 8:00 pm dinner seating is that it is pretty much 10:00 pm by the time you get done. That is Diane’s bedtime. She retired for the evening. I found an open bar and snagged a Black Russian and took a table on Deck 9, the pool deck, port side, where I can sit, smoke, sip my Russian and write about the day.

Pretty much the entire ship, myself included, keeps thinking we are arriving in Aruba tomorrow. We are not. Tomorrow is the second sea day. Aruba comes the day after. The big thing between tonight and tomorrow is the ship’s time advances an hour to Atlantic Standard Time. All six islands are on AST so we will spend the next week in that time zone. I changed our alarm clock and my watch. This iPad indicates we are on Havana time which is interesting because I’ve not connected to the Internet since we left Fort Lauderdale. I’m curious to see if the time changes on this by itself. If not, I’ll change it when I get up.

My accomplishments for the day today have been getting a bit more tan and finishing the last of the Outlander series of books. Now I have to find a new book to read. Oh, the work I do!

We get to sleep in tomorrow. Nothing is scheduled, just a day to relax. When we get to the islands, we have to ensure we’re up in plenty of time to be ready for our excursions. The last two, Saint Lucia and Antigua, have excursions scheduled for fairly early in the day about an hour after we dock. That will be a challenge. The Barbados excursion is in the afternoon so no problem there.

I’m really looking forward to Barbados because Diane has such good memories of Barbados from her life before I came along. I hope to make some good memories for us there.

Before Barbados is Bonaire. Nothing scheduled there. We will probably just tour the port area.

But before Bonaire is Aruba.

Here is the description for the Aruba Fun and Beach Cruise for which we signed up: “Enjoy panoramic views of Aruba’s gorgeous beaches, then cruise to Palm Beach – dotted with high-rise hotels – for a day of beach time and shopping. After docking at Pelican Marina, sunbathe or beachcomb on the pristine sands, or take a dip in the Caribbean Sea. Enjoy complimentary drinks and lounge chairs. Sightsee at the busy beachfront, peppered with shops, casinos, and sports concessions before returning.”

We’ll see what we shall see.

2015 Cruise – Embarkation Day

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 8:45 pm by msweet42

We are on our way. Diane wanted to have breakfast at the hotel but they stopped serving at 11:00 and we didn’t get down until just after that. We found her some orange juice and cookies to tide her over. I checked our account on the TV and found we owed the hotel $20. Ah yes, the port transportation fee. Checked out of the hotel with no surprises.

The transfer from the hotel to port went smoothly. Handed off the large luggage to the handlers at the terminal along with $5. The handlers rather unsubtly suggested an honorarium. Inside the terminal we located the Crown and Anchor Gold line and did not have any wait. Checked in, got our pictures taken and proceeded to security.

Bearing in mind that for our license and passport pictures we are forbidden to smile, I asked the woman taking our Sea Pass pictures if we could smile. She said we’d better. We’re going on a cruise, right? We smiled.

The security people had no difficulty detecting my carefully hidden vodka and Kailua as well as our legal bottles of wine. They took the contraband and assured me I would get it the last night of the cruise. On my way out, the security lady suggested next time I put the contraband in a wine bottle. So I need to figure out what she meant by a “cutter” to seal the wine bottle. Helpful lady.

We left the hotel at about 11:45 on the “noon” shuttle. Everyone was there so there was no point in waiting. What with security and checking in to get our Sea Pass we were on the ship before 1:00 pm. I know it was before 1:00 because we were going to head to the Windjammer to finally get some food and found it wasn’t going to open until 1.

So off to our stateroom. Found it with no difficulty. Were surprised to see Diane’s suitcase in the galley way just before our room. Took a quick look out by the elevator and bonus! Mine was there, too. No trekking down to the Naughty Room to claim a bag with alcohol. Got the bags into the room. Our stateroom attendant, Rudy, stopped by to introduce himself and ensure everything was to our liking. It was.

Windjammer opened, we went in along with 500 other hungry folk. Got some food, found a nice couple willing to share their table. Were happy to discover the Windjammer is still making good serviceable foods.

We wandered around a bit to familiarize ourself with the ship. Legend of the Seas is very similar to Grandeur of the Seas so we had a pretty good idea where things were.

Back to the stateroom. Diane continues to tire easily so she laid down and supervised while I unpacked both bags. I enjoy the game of finding a logical, easy to remember place to put each item utilizing all the drawers, shelves and hidden cupboards in the stateroom. Again, having been on Grandeur and having a near duplicate of our previous stateroom helped because I already knew what was available. A new thing this cruise was the addition of three or four shelves in the closet. Come to think of it, the previous closet had a shelf running along the top. The smaller shelves were on the left side wall and because you can see what’s on them they are more useful.

Time for the mandatory Muster Drill. If one manages to make it on board without knowing what that is, there are announcements explaining what it is, where it is, and that it is Mandatory. The drill signal is given and almost everyone attends to their muster station. Actually, attending to the station promptly is a foolish thing. Foolish because you have to stand there. And stand there. And stand some more. You are waiting for the “‘cept you” people. As in “Everyone ‘cept you”. These are the people the crew has to go out and hunt down and herd out to the muster stations. These are the people who cannot be bothered or who feel that whatever they are doing is more important than whatever the other 2000 people were doing when they stopped to do the drill. So you are standing there, standing there, standing… and watching these people walk – slowly – to their station. A word of advice – leaping out of line to bitch-slap one of these people is generally frowned upon. Immediately satisfying but with negative longterm consequences.

We will get to see all these laggards again. Before we arrive at each port, there will be an announcement that “everyone” has to be back on the ship at 5:00 or 6:00. These are the people that will show up at the gangplank five, ten, fifteen minutes after the hour. You can also see these people by going to YouTube and searching “dock runners”. These are the folks who just – just – just missed the ship. And if they miss it, they miss it. The ship does NOT turn around to come back and get them. And all the rules-following people who had to stand there forever waiting for these people are the folks waving from the decks and cheering as the “‘cept you” people get left behind.

We found a good place to sit in the sun near the pool. I went to get drinks. RCI does a thing where there is a Drink of the Day with a special price. Departure Day’s drink was Sex on the Beach. I ordered one and got a Pina Colada for Diane. I noticed the bartender charged me full price for my drink. When I asked him what the drink of the day was he said it was a Bahama Mama. Ok. My bad.

Later on, I had a Black Russian.

We retired to our room. I checked through all the literature that had been left in the stateroom, verified the excursion tickets were the ones we’d ordered and generally had fun reading things to Diane. Hmm… in the Compass it said the Drink of the Day was – wait for it – Sex on the Beach for $7.95, not the $10 I’d been charged.

While Diane rested some more I went to Guest Services with the Compass and my drink receipt. Spoke with a very nice lady from Spain. She checked everything and said I was correct, the bartender didn’t know his stuff, and looked to see what she could do. She couldn’t refund the one drink because it was one of two on the ticket. Instead, she refunded the Black Russian. Sweet.

When we first boarded I spoke to someone about changing our dining arrangement. Because Diane is always telling me it is too late to eat this or that, I signed us up for the 5:30 seating. Oops, wrong, Should have been the 8:00 seating. Couldn’t change it online but I was sure I could change it when we boarded. I was right. Got it changed.

We went to dinner, found ourselves at a table for eight and sat in anticipation of who the other six would be. Two other couples arrived, Carol and Don, and two people who’s names both start with D. The other two seats were vacant. Carol and Don have done a great deal of cruising since 1992 but were pretty nice about it. The other couple have done a few cruises. We had a good dinner with good conversation.

Diane and I both had a caesar salad and striploin with baked potatoes and some chopped veggies. Diane was having difficulty swallowing so did not eat a great deal. I had a chocolate fantasy for dessert with coffee.

Other than taking some time to sit and write all this, that was pretty much Departure Day on the ship.

Tomorrow is the first of two sea days. We are planning to go to our Meet & Mingle at 9:45 so we hope to be out of bed at 8:00 am. The other thing I know about tomorrow is that dress for dinner is Formal. Right.

November 9, 2014

Couple of questions….

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:25 pm by msweet42

Who is this Salle Manger and how come she owns all those restaurants?

And who is this Sentier guy that all these trails around here are named after him?

Bonus question: “Valet” is a French word that has come to mean, among other things in English, the person who parks your car. But… why has Quebec French come up with a different word, Voiturier, for that person. Did Valet become tainted because English uses it?

Just curious.

August 13, 2014

Safety Speach

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:18 pm by msweet42

This is the Safety Speech I occasionally deliver when I am driving the mini-coach.

Hi! My name is Michael and I’ll be your driver. Your names are what they are and you’ll be my passengers. You’ll be traveling today at an altitude of four and a half feet at speeds approaching 120 kilometres an hour. If either of those changes suddenly [pause] we’ll really have a problem. In the event of a water landing feel free to use your seat mate as a floatation device. Thank you for choosing Millennium and if you need anything I’m the guy up front in the suit.

August 12, 2014

The situation has resolved itself

Posted in Family tagged , , , , at 2:16 am by msweet42

Yes, it has been a while since I have written.

There was that week where we spent our days talking. Sharing memories. Laughing at things that were only funny to us. Something off to the side always quietly looking for some sign of the disease that was there. Looking to see if it had affected her yet. But, all in all, it was a good week.

I did not come back.

If you want I can give you all kinds of practical reasons. Scheduling. Money. Whatever.

I did not come back because my mother can talk, can laugh, can answer questions about how do you, what is, should I. The woman who lives in my heart composes poems that capture the truths of life into simple phrases.

I monitored her progression to the inevitable end. I listened to the Care Conferences my brother thoughtfully recorded and made available online. I talked to Dad. I spoke with The Brothers. I even got credit for visiting her once when my son visited her and she was convinced it was me. But I did not go back.

Then the phone call. Dad. She’s in a coma. The next call. 3:30 in the morning. Brother. It’s over. She’s gone.

I went back. To see Dad. To see The Brothers. To see my sister. To see my boys.

To remember Mom.

And to have a light lunch prepared by the Ladies of the Church.

September 24, 2013

Just another head of state

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:00 am by msweet42

Sitting around waiting for someone to need a ride watching the official motorcade arrive.


I find it’s a lot of fun to try to spot the police snipers. Kind of like a weird form of birdwatching.

This is another one of those gigs that shows sometimes there is remarkably little driving in being a driver.

July 16, 2013

Driver things

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 4:03 am by msweet42

Trying to arrange transportation for a group of six at 6:30 pm for an 8:00 concert is not the most brilliant idea. Just had someone approach me white I’m waiting for my group. Gave him the company’s number and wished him luck.

August 15, 2012

I Have Seen the Future and It Is Not Pretty

Posted in Family tagged , , , at 8:05 am by msweet42

On the last day we were in Iowa we spent the morning visiting Mom and Dad.

Mom was much less talkative. Halting in mid-sentence, becoming distracted by spots on the step of her walker that stands in front of her, mumbling. Generally presenting much more closely to what we had been warned to expect.

It dawns on me that I’ve been given a gift. I have been able to chat with my mother for several days. We have talked of everything, anything, and nothing. It has been wonderful.

I thank Mary Jean Logan Sweet for that.

Looking back on that time now, a month later, I think of her as a young girl, playing on the shores of Lost Island Lake.

I’m good with that.

“Let me tell you a story”

Posted in Family tagged , , , , , at 7:26 am by msweet42

When I was born and first put in my mother’s arms I think she looked down at me and said “Let me tell you a story”. This she has done all these years.

Until this week I had not noticed how many times she starts a story with that phrase. She seems to use it to differentiate what she is about to say from just a mere recitation of facts.

Listening to her stories this week, I try to imagine how they sound to Diane. So many of the stories relate to people and events from a distant past that Dad and I know. To Diane, who was not a part of that past, these could just as well be made up tales. I occasionally make an attempt to clarify the details of the story. Unfortunately, like trying to simultaneously translate a foreign language, so much gets lost along the way. But Diane is patient and understands the situation.

Many of Mom’s stories are triggered by something in our conversation. The recollection and retelling of this story prompts the remembrance of more stories. I see a pattern where Mom begins in one place and, like an airplane taking off, goes off to other interesting places related, but seemingly not related, to where she started until finally the airplane of her thoughts returns and lands in the here and now.

This is how I find her here in mid-July, 2012.


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