Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pot Pourri

Had my first experience of credit card fraud. Our insurance agent had been by last week to get renewal information on our policies - he wrote the information on his papers as he sat on our couch. Other than that, the credit card has not left my hand and I have not used it. (we have dealt with this company for 1.5 years)

On Monday afternoon we received a call on our Mexican landline phone (a number not at all associated with the credit card). I am not sure who was calling but they were interested in a transaction made through Ticketmaster using my credit card, and when Miguel told the guy we had not done any transactions, he urged him to tell me to call my card company.

I was suspicious, thinking it was actually someone wanting to 'verify' the information on my card in order to steal it. Apparently, the call was legit, because when I called American Express they told me that a charge for $700 for a performance in Mexico City had been posted on my card. But here's the strange part - they were not challenging it!

So...who called and why didn't American Express know about it? Maybe some American Express office in Mexico? But still - how did they know what phone number to use?

So the card is now cancelled and I am hoping they catch the person sitting in whatever seat at whatever performance on whatever day, but I think that $700 probably isn't enough for American Express to go to all that trouble. But I wish they would. I just hate thieves!!

We called our agent to ask him how the information about our policies is communicated, and he said it does not go outside the Cancun office. So I'm guessing that whoever posted the charge for the policy helped themselves to some free tickets too - I hope they catch whoever did it.

Luckily my daughter is coming next month so she can bring me the new card, otherwise this would really be a pain in the neck. And now it is a pain in the neck to figure out how to pay for our policies - I don't dare trust them with another credit card number at the office.

24 hr stomach upset hit yesterday morning right after my cup of coffee. For once I hit the Pepto Bismal right away and by this morning I am feeling pretty good, although I'm being careful with what I eat and drink. I still have a bit of a headache (which could be the humidity, the air is just hanging today) and low energy, but the tummy problems seem under control.

When Delfino is finished with the spay/neuter clinic this week I'm going to take the pretty stray cat over to see him. Both Miguel and I recall some posters plastered on poles a few months ago and think that the owner is a foreigner and the cat simply got lost. Delfino might recognize the cat, she is distinctly pretty, friendly, and deserves a good home.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dollarama Junkie

When I was trying to furnish my home here in Mexico, I would make the rounds of all the favorite places - Canadian Tire, Zeller's, Walmart, Sears, and Dollarama.

Canadian Tire was great for small appliances, lights, pool supplies, and tools.

Zeller's was great for clothing (gifts for the locals), kitchen gadgets, bath and bedding, and pet supplies.

Walmart was great for garden stuff, personal hygiene items, bedding, and electronics.

Dollarama - it was good for a lot of things - glass and dish ware, ceramics, plastics, utensils, garden supplies, small tools, cleaning supplies, baggies, garbage bags, storage bags, and odds and ends. It was also great at holiday time - to pick up small items for kid's gifts or decorations.

With every trip back to Canada I would stop by the Dollarama, conveniently located in the plaza right behind my condo complex. The first two aisles were the most tempting - kitchen items. Show me a pretty colored dish and I have to have it - and not just that one, but all the colors it comes in.

I had no idea when I was buying this stuff that one day we would be doing a bed and breakfast; I bought because I liked it and figured it would have a use one day. Well, the day is here and the items I lovingly stuck into my suitcases and hauled down over the years are now providing color on the table here at Dentro del Jardin. Take a look...

This is just a sample, and I know there is more waiting for me the next time I visit Dollarama. I can't help it, I guess it's an addiction?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just some pictures

The baby in the garden - Velose (Speedy)...


The pretty stray in the garden, Cappuchino (anyone care to adopt?)...


Loco pondering something, maybe his next tour on the golf cart..


A snake over in the jungle (down at the corner)...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dave and Sally

I don't usually write about our guests, some of them actually read this blog, and  I feel that the details of their vacation are theirs to tell.

However, recent guests at Dentro del Jardin were people I thought would be open to me writing about them. They are Canadians...musicians from the Vernon, British Columbia area.

I first heard Sally's upbeat voice when they got out of the taxi and praised the driver for finding our home. Then she praised me for the great directions. Our introduction to Dave and Sally was a warm hug, fitting for a couple who are such kind and generous people.


Dave and Sally are in a band. Dave plays the drums  and the harmonica, and Sally plays guitar, and of course they both sing. Sally sings with her sister or with the band - in whole or in part. We quickly got used to hearing Sally's sweet voice singing away up in the alcove - and it made us smile, knowing she was happy and having a good time.

One evening after going into town, Dave and Sally told us they were hoping to 'jam' with the guys at Miguel's Moonlight. I couldn't stand it, I had to invite myself (and Miguel) to meet up with them there and watch them perform. Technical difficulties prevented us from seeing a full performance, but we did listen to Sally sing and play the guitar at our table. If Miguel hadn't been overdressed and uncomfortably hot, we would have stayed out late (gasp!), and of course, right after we left the technical glitches were fixed and we missed the main 'jam'.

The next day Sally wasn't feeling well, and the house was strangely quiet, it had lost its energy from the couple upstairs. Dave did a great job taking care of his wife, walking to the store and just quietly staying nearby in case she needed anything. But I don't think you can keep Sally down for long, because by the afternoon she was eating chicken done on the grill, and the next day she was up on the top deck dancing and singing the afternoon away. It was great to have our Sally back!

We enjoyed every moment that Dave and Sally stayed in our home, and we really hated to see them go. We are hoping they will find a way to come back to Isla (I know, it's a LONG way) because I really look forward to seeing them perform and of course, just having them around. They are a wonderful, fun couple, and if you live in the Okanagan Valley area of British Columbia , you might want to check them out at their next gig. The Evans Sisters and The Top Dawgs play rock, rock n roll and country rock! Go to their website for more info about Sally and Dave and their band and where they are playing!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Natural sand boxes

Anyone who has been outside of Centro will have noticed the occasional (and sometimes frequent) piles of sand dumped at the side of a road. The sand is used to mix with gravel and bags of cement to prepare concrete. There are lots of construction projects going on around the island, providing natural sandboxes for some of the local residents.

Dogs love to lie on top of the piles of sand and bask in the sun. Dogs also like to mark the sand and claim it as their own. I'm sure once the sand is mixed it loses its funky additives (I hope that's the case!).

Kids use the piles of sand as sandboxes. No need to build a sandbox, just send the kids out to play and they'll likely find a pile of sand nearby.

There is a pile of sand a few doors down from our house. The master bricklayer is a friend of Miguel's. Miguel's cousin came by the other morning to shoot the breeze, and when I went outside a little later, I found the three men down the road. Sitting in the pile of sand, cokes in hand, yapping away about whatever it is that they talk about. Loco was there too, at Miguel's feet, in the base of the sandbox.

Gradually, as the sand is mixed for concrete, the pile diminishes and all that is left is a tiny pile at the side of the road. Still enough for stray dogs to make a bed. Finally the rains will wash it away, and the sandbox will be gone. But just look around, there is likely another sandbox just around the corner.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Airplane air

The other day I blogged about laughter and at the end I said that it had been a while since I laughed so hard I cried. Well, this morning I read this blog and I'm sorry, maybe I don't have class but the way it's written just cracked me up. As one who spent a good 10-plus years on a plane every week, I had my share of sitting in my seat and suddenly realizing that the air around me carried an unpleasant odor. Nobody in the near vicinity let on that they were the culprit - we all just continued with whatever we were doing but I'm sure that they, like me, were wondering if it came from the person sitting beside them - unless they actually did it, that is. I would shoot a sideways glance at the person sitting near me to see if they noticed it too, but I think to acknowledge it in any way would almost seem like a confession.

The only confession I ever heard was from the child sitting next to me one day. He let one rip as we started to get out of our seats to deboard, and his mother confronted him on it. He loudly admitted it was him, and giggled. And the surrounding passengers, who were all suffering from the odor, had to laugh too. Only a child could so innocently confess to such a thing; not even a cat lets on when it has passed gas. But a dog? They take it a step farther, they usually swing their head around and take a sniff at their back-end. With a dog there is never any doubt. Adults? We pretend it never happened, or we blame the dog.

Another cause of unpleasant odor on airplanes is people, usually men, who take off their shoes and then stick their feet up into the space between the seat in front of them. I would be quietly dozing with my head against the window when suddenly the smell of stinky feet would wake me up. Once I looked down and there was the foot almost on my armrest. I gave the foot an elbow but it continued to try to invade my space, so I finally put my purse into the gap to block access and odor. Men sitting in first class are the worst offenders.

And then we have the women who pollute the air with heavy perfume. It makes me feel sick when someone drenched in perfume sits near me - I'm allergic to perfume. I'm sure they think they smell great, but the only way I can tolerate them near me is to blow the vent at full force over my breathing space. Not to stereotype but it's usually woman with lots of little carry-on bags (often shopping bags) who have doused themselves.

The best smell on airplanes is in first class when they bake the chocolate chip cookies. I have been woken up from a dead sleep by the inviting smell of cookies, and even though I'm not hungry, you can bet I'm going to eat my cookie.

My days of first-class travel are over as I have lost any status I ever had on the airlines - status that gave me free upgrades and allowed me to enjoy comfy first-class seats, early boarding, and questionable meals. But that's ok - I'd rather have my feet on the ground than be up in the air confined in close quarters, breathing in the 'outputs' of strangers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


We all have favorites. Favorite food, favorite clothes, favorite tv shows/movies, favorite vacation destinations, favorite colors, favorite cars, favorite friends, favorite books, favorite flowers...

Here are some of the favorites of the residents of Casa Susana:

Miguel - He likes nature and science shows, and the news. He loves to travel, and is happy to visit anywhere that we end up going. His favorite color is blue. He loves all plants and flowers, finding the beauty in each and every one of them (as you can tell by our garden, lovingly tended by Miguel). He also loves animals - all kinds, and believes that all creatures have a right to life on this planet. His favorite food - baked potatoes, and roasted chicken (not sure why he never says fish is his favorite, I really think it is but he never says that - maybe because I never cook it, he has it when we go out to eat).

Loco - He lives to ride on the golf cart; he will go all day long if we do. He stands on his back legs with his front paws tucked into the front compartment, and his ears flapping in the breeze. When he gets too tired, he sits on the floor and just watches the scenery. Loco's next favorite thing is to be anywhere Miguel is, preferably out in the street laying at his feet while he shoots the breeze with the neighbors or his buddies. Loco thinks he is part of the group, he has grown up while various construction projects have been going on here and over at Miguel's property, and he thinks he is one of the supervisors. Loco's favorite foods are people foods - hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and pizza. Loco's favorite place to sleep is at our feet, or under the bed if we are there, or in the black chair in the living room. Loco loves to be touched, he will go into a trance if someone is gently stroking him.

Minina - Her favorite thing is to lurk nearby and then slip outside when you open the door and look for geckos. She also likes to eat her purple flowers that grow in pots on all our terraces. Minina's favorite treat is mango, but only if it is just right - sweet, juicy, and the correct degree of ripeness. Minina is our mango-meter - if she refuses the mango we know it isn't top quality. Minina also likes potato chips, but just the natural flavor ones. Minina likes to sleep in the black chair in the living room, and if Loco is already in the chair, she will rub against it and bother him until he gets down and lets her have the chair. She immediately jumps into the chair and rolls around in his heat. Minina likes to follow Miguel around as he waters the gardens, but since her fall in December, she is not allowed on the upper terrace. Minina will sit all evening and stare at the wall if she sees a gecko up near the ceiling - she never loses faith that she will win against the gecko.

(picture courtesy of Dave and Sally)

Luna - Her favorite thing is to go in and out, depending on where we are and if she is hungry. Luna is also a hunter - catching mice, lizards, birds, and rats out in the jungle. Luna likes to accompany us when we walk down the road with Loco. She is very sociable, she will get up on the second-level terrace in order to join the people up there, and if we don't close our glass doors, she will open the screen door and invite herself in. Luna loves to sit right beside people and be stroked, and she will 'complain' when you stop - "MEOW!"

Maya - Her favorite snack is a raw tomato or the cut-off top of the tomato. We have to hide our tomatoes because Maya smells them and helps herself to one or two if we leave them around. Maya likes to sleep in things with walls - laundry baskets, the coffee table cut-out, the bathroom sink. Maya is a big, heavy cat - not really fat, just big, and when she runs, she gallops like a little pony. Maya likes to think she can outsmart me when I'm trying to catch her - she will go in and under and around things, and sometimes goes around and around the center section on the first floor trying to allude capture. Although Maya loves to snuggle, she hates to be picked up. Maya likes to be close to Loco - when he is under the counter during breakfast, she is there beside him. When he is on the floor at our feet, she comes over and cleans him up a bit and then lays beside him. Maya is the only cat Loco allows to snuggle with him. Maya is scared of stray cats, and since one learned how to get down into the back terrace, Maya no longer likes to go out there. Twice I have gone out and the stray has been down there, and Maya was cowering behind the planters while Smokey and Minina were confronting the stray. Maya is quickest at catching and killing small lizards - I can often rescue them from the other cats, but not from Maya, she quickly crunches down on them and that's it.

Smokey - She loves to sleep on beds, especially if there is a nice soft blanket on top. Smokey stretches out and takes up a lot of room, she truly is a bed cat. Miguel likes it when Smokey comes into bed to sleep with him (this is the guy who never thought cats should be indoors, never mind in his bed). When left out on the back terrace she will go into the shed and sleep in the cat bed if she gets chilly. Smokey loves donuts and cookies, and anything that has milk, like yogurt. I cannot sweep the floors with Smokey around as she just jumps into the pile of dust and fur and disrupts everything - she thinks it's all a game. Smokey loves to catch insects and play with them before eating them (well, she doesn't eat their legs - often that is the only clue I have that Smokey has found an insect during the night).

My favorite things are our pets and our life here - I feel like I'm actually living instead of existing inside a condo, working too many hours to make a living. I am surrounded by beautiful gardens, and nice animals - even though sometimes I get frustrated with their antics, they really are good animals and fun to have around. I like that we can see the blue water when we go out for a drive. I like that I can see inside people's homes when we go out at night. I like that the neighbor's kids think we're good neighbors (I know this because they wrote us a couple of notes telling us so - although they may have been motivated by the fact that Christmas was coming and they were making sure they appreciated me so I would 'appreciate' them). I like that I really don't get much mail, and that most things I need at the last minute are just around the corner at the local store. I like that our vet makes house calls and will get down on the floor and look under the bed for the elusive patient who has bolted the minute she realized the vet was at the door.

My favorite foods are things we prepare at home. We only eat out to give ourselves a break (and to give Miguel fish), otherwise, eating at home is very satisfying. My favorite color is probably blue, although I have developed a taste for many other colors too - and I love mixing them together to create colorful effects. 

If there was one thing I could wish for here it would be HGTV home shows, although then I'd waste so much time in front of the tv that it might not be a good idea. Oh - I just remembered, I also wish we had a Canadian Tire Store here - I just love the stuff they have there and would love to have that kind of selection and pricing here (or over in Cancun, that would be fine too, although with the increased price of the ferry, having it right here on the island would suit me just fine).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Things you come to know

Over time, I've learned:

When the dog suddenly pulls his lips into a sort of grin he is about to vomit.

When Miguel leaves the house and says he'll be back 'later', that may mean 'much later'.

When someone says they like the food but they leave half a plate, they didn't like the food.

When petting a cat, watch their eyes, because there is a slight change before they suddenly bite you.

When a cat is licking an area too much, it means they have an injury there.

When the dog scratches an area and then comes over to me, it means he thinks he has a tick that I need to remove.

When the three cats are all staring at the garbage can in the middle of the night, in the dark, it means there is an insect they are monitoring.

When Smokey jumps into your bed in the middle of the night and pushes her paws to 'play' with your feet, she is not playing with your feet, she is playing with the insect she found and has brought it into bed to show you.

When you have been monitoring reservation requests all day and finally shut down the computer, one will come in on your ipod and then you can't respond because the reservation database is on the computer and you aren't sure if you have availability.

When you're trying really hard to be quiet, you will drop something or knock against something, making a horrible racket.

The minute you go in for a siesta, someone will either call or come to the gate. Stay tuned, this topic will be a future blog called "The 'almost' siesta".

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Hanging around the house offers numerous moments for spontaneous laughter, from multiple sources.

Our animals are always a source of entertainment.

While preparing breakfast yesterday we watched Minina outside in the kitchen window poking at the screen trying to catch a big fly that was trapped in the closed window. Her paws quickly slapped up and down the screen, but she couldn't grab the fly, although she tried for a long time. We chuckled as we chopped fruit and prepared breakfast with a black cat dancing around in the window in front of us.

In the evenings we are amused watching the indoor cats poking through the front screen door at Velose, the outside kitten. Velose sits or lies in front of the door and the indoor cats take turns playing with Velose. Minina has calmed down now but she used to run from the door to the window, trying to find a way to get a better look at Velose; her tail would be puffed out and she would beat her paws on the glass window trying to dig her way through the glass.

Maya is four times the size of Velose and stands on her hind legs and then almost folds herself in half trying to get closer to Velose through the screen. They poke back and forth, but this is pure play - no hissing, no puffy tails. The sight of the big cat and the little kitten, playing together, makes us smile.

This morning Minina was out on the back terrace all alone. She got into the torn camp chair and proceeded to roll around in the sunshine. Oops, she fell through the big hole in the middle of the chair. She sheepishly made a quick recovery and proceeded to lick her fur, as if she meant to do it.

The other day I was going out with Loco. As always, I hold onto his collar as I open the gate, just in case there is another dog nearby (Loco chases after any dog he doesn't think should be here, and has no road sense at all). As I walked through the gate and stood beside the golf cart, I saw a dog at the corner of our property. Loco didn't see it because the golf cart blocked his view. I hoped the dog would go the other way but it came our way. I stood quietly holding onto Loco, and the dog had no idea I was there. As the dog got to the back of the golf cart, I shouted "Shoo" at it. The dog was startled and jumped in mid-air and spun around and took off. As he ran away, he kept looking behind him, not really knowing what the heck had scared him but making sure it wasn't following him. I laughed out loud at the thought that I had 'pulled a Loco', ambushing the dog and scaring it away.

Our neighbor's little girl, about 6, has a funny voice, and she's a bit loud. The other evening she was playing next door and I heard her laughing - one of those belly-rolling laughs that keeps on going and is infectious. A happy child. I sat inside and started laughing too - just from the sound of her laugh.

I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard I cried, but I'm probably about due. With the help of the animals and the neighbor's kids, or Miguel's animated stories, it will maybe happen soon.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Store Envy

I am in Canada until tomorrow. I've been here since Sunday night. As usual, I made the rounds on my favorite things to eat:

Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese - Jen and Miko picked it up as take-out before they picked me up at the airport because I got in too late to make it there before closing. We don't have this restaurant in Canada, but there is one near the Buffalo Airport. Now that I have Jen hooked on the mac and cheese, she nevers balks about picking me up at the airport. We got one order of meatloaf (that nobody wanted but we needed something for the entree), with three sides - of course, all three sides were macaroni and cheese! We each had a generous feast when we got home from the airport. If anyone knows how to make that macaroni and cheese, please tell me - there are no copy-cat recipes on the internet that even come close. I know this because I made one recipe that swore it was close. It wasn't.

Swiss Chalet Chicken Dinner - white breast of chicken, nice crunchy skin on the wing so I ate it. Great french fries that I doused in vinegar, and a nice soft dinner roll. With butter. Miguel's favorite meal when he's here.

Miko's steak and baked potato dinner - oh, how I love a soft baked potato loaded with melted butter and sour cream. And the steak - so tender. Delicious!

Mimi's Pasta - see yesterday's blog.

Kim's prime rib - my sister decided to cook for me when I visited on the way home from Toronto. I rarely eat prime rib, but she did it in her Baby George roticeri, and it was delicious. Add garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli and it was a great meal.

McDonald's Crispy Ranch Chicken Wrap - sorry, I happen to really like them and we don't have them in Mexico. A side of fries and a root beer too, of course.

Joe Feta's Chicken Pita - I love Greek food, and this is the best we have here, in my opinion. I love pita bread, and the side greek salad, and greek potatoes, are wonderful. Garlic bread too!

Coffee Crisp chocolate bar and Smarties - yum!

I missed the Capri restaurant for my Italian food fix, but Mimi more than made up for it, and since it doesn't look like the Capri is coming back, I guess I have to get over it. But man, what a loss - it really was the best we had in Niagara Falls, for a lot of things - ravioli, fettucini, lasagna, beef or chicken cacciatore, etc. I will keep checking though - I am hoping they open up in a new location one of these days.

And then I shopped at the usual favorites:

Dollarama - I love some of the stuff they have in this store. I can't go in and not buy something. This time it was colorful bowls along with some kitchen utensils and a set of silverware. And a box of Smarties (yes, they are better than M&M's). Bunch of other stuff too...

Canadian Tire - not just tires. An all-round great store with good prices. This time I needed some bedside lamps, and I found a couple with collapsed shades so they'll pack up nicely in my suitcase. I passed a lot of other stuff I would have loved to buy - patio furniture, and a wicker dresser that would have looked great in the new studio. I am so envious of the patio furniture, there just isn't anything that compares to selection and price that I've found in Cancun.

Walmart - to tie up the loose ends of those little things I need that I couldn't find anywhere else. A body pillow case - they just had one, out of the package - but marked at $2, and the color will work for Capi's Apartment. A couple small pictures to put on the wall over the bed in Luna's Studio - possibly a little lively but better than a blank wall, I think.

The other day we went through the new Walmart on the other side of town. It now sells groceries too, and I just drool at the selection of fresh produce, bakery goods, deli items, and meat. And all the aisles loaded with tons of other stuff. I like selection!!

The stores here are clean, they are not packed with people, and they have lots of stuff I like to buy. I have my car, I can drive wherever I want. This is the one thing I miss in Mexico. It's not enough to make me want to live here again. But I am envious.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Everyone should have this kind of friend

My friendship with Mimi goes back to 1975, when we both worked on the children's ward at the local hospital.

Mimi is the kind of friend who always made pizza or pasta when she knew I was coming over. I'd often go after my evening shift and we'd sit and eat her delicious food and then flop on the sofa and talk.

I rarely cooked anything for Mimi - I think I might have made roast beef for her once. But she much preferred that I came to her house, and she did the cooking. "I have time", she'd say. And she loved her food as much as I did.

Mimi has suffered with bad health and physical injuries for most of her later years. The first loss of independence came with the loss of her driver's license. Too many little accidents, and then a failed driver's test because she could not drive on the highway. She never drove on the highway, but to pass the test she needed to be able to drive on the highway. And she couldn't.

After Mimi fell and broke her hip a couple of years ago, she suffered a lot of pain and could barely walk. A hip revision helped, but Mimi fell several times after her surgery and was too embarrassed to tell her doctor about it. She became so weak that her family, who lived in another town, had to come down and help out.

As luck would have it, the tenant renting the apartment in her son's house gave up his space, making room for Mimi to move in. The move happened quickly, while I was in Mexico, and when I tried calling her when I was here in the fall, the phone was disconnected. I thought I'd lost touch, but after several months Mimi called and left her new contact info.

Yesterday I called Mimi to see if today would be a good day for me to drive up to Toronto for a visit. Of course it was ok, she was delighted. "I'll make pasta", she said. I begged her not to do it - making pasta from scratch is a lot of work and I knew her back would give her a lot of pain. She said she wouldn't make the pasta from scratch, we'd eat the pasta from a store. And so I agreed, we'd eat pasta and I would bring the bread.

Mimi now needs a walker when she goes out, and even with that she still takes a tumble. The latest was last week when she drove one wheel of the walker off the curb. When I commented that maybe she didn't get hurt because of her winter clothing, she agreed - plus she'd been wearing 3 sweaters and two pairs of pants under her coat. Yup, she was well-padded, I'd say.

When I got to her home this afternoon, I hadn't even taken off my coat before Mimi was telling me to taste the meatballs to make sure they were good. Of course they were good. It was her way of stalling because there on the breadboard was a lump of pasta dough. Yup, she did it, she made homemade pasta.

So I tasted the meatballs and then we put the pasta dough through the machine. There is nothing like fresh pasta and Mimi's sauce and meatballs. I ate well, but Mimi would always like to see me eat more.

And then she apologized for not having dessert, and would I like coffee? With a stomach about to explode, I had to tell her that I couldn't possibly put anything more in my stomach. I reassured her that I was happy, the food was great. We headed over to the couch to digest our food and chat.

Eventually the heavy meal caused my eyes to droop. "Let's have a little nap", she said. So she laid down on the couch and tucked a blanket around her body. I stretched out on the end of the couch - it's like a lazy-boy. We both fell asleep, neither of us are sure how long we slept - maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour.

After the nap it was time to go. But first I did the dishes, despite protests by Mimi. "I have the time", she said. But I wasn't going to give in - she had done so much for me and I wasn't about to leave her with a dirty kitchen. And while I was busy with that, Mimi was busy filling up pans with pasta and sauce. She would not hear any protest about keeping it for herself - I brought home enough for all of us for dinner the next day. And instructions to heat the bread in the oven - "it will be delicious!".

I feel so lucky to have Mimi as a friend. She never asks for anything other than my company. I can never give back to make it more 'even'. Mimi's friendship is unconditional. No matter how much time goes by between visits, we pick up our friendship just as if we were just there yesterday. And it's always over a meal that Mimi prepares for me. A meal made with love. Everyone should be so lucky to have a "Mimi" in their life.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Comfort Zone

I am back in Canada for a few days; here to take care of some personal business. As usual, I went out for breakfast - to a small diner just a few minutes away. It's a diner that serves comfort food - good old bacon and eggs, or BLT sandwiches, or pancakes. It's the kind of diner that has a crowd of regulars, where the waitresses get to know their customers.

The diner was almost empty, which is unusual. As I sat alone playing with my ipod while waiting for my food, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation of an elderly couple that came in.

First the woman decided that they would not sit at their usual table in the center of the diner. Too close to the door, she claimed. "Let's sit over there".

Once settled into the new territory, the waitress asked if they would be having 'the usual'. The man was all set to have 'the usual', but the woman continued with her decision to shake things up, and decided she was not having the usual today.

She was going to have pancakes, which started a discussion between them as to whether they should split pancakes (and he would forget about his order of 'the usual' eggs). And if they split the pancakes, how many did they usually split. Took some figuring out because apparently when they order pancakes it is for dinner, not breakfast, so they didn't know how many to order. Finally the waitress helped them decide to order three pancakes - not sure which of them would get the extra pancake.

Then the question was whether they wanted bacon. He did, she didn't. Oops, another wrinkle. She was really changing everything about how they usually order breakfast. The man was most amenable to whatever it was she wanted, he went along with it all.

After they got their breakfast, they called the waitress because they could not eat the bacon. "Too well done and we're old, we can't eat it like that", they explained. I guess their teeth couldn't bit into it. They asked how they should order it so it would not be soft, and not be hard, and they would be able to chew it. "Medium", was what the waitress suggested.

As I listened to other parts of the conversation I realized that this was not a married couple. They are either dating or are just friends. He was obviously trying to be a great friend (or more), as he never complained and he listened and commented on everything the woman said, and agreed with it all. I think he is trying to find his comfort zone with the female companion. I wish him luck.