Warsaw – May 9

Simply smiles and styles
Smiles and styles on the green roof of the University of Warsaw Library

A highlight of our tour was spending time with friends, A & O, whom we had met on our Camino Santiago walk in 2013. We met them at the monument to Sigismund III in Castle Square at 12:40, behind schedule after a morning bus tour that was delayed by a naive, enthusiastic, family-friendly, pro-Europe demonstration.  Our bus-around tour had visited the large monument to Frederick Chopin (where our group souvenir photo was taken) and Warsaw’s Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. So we said do widzenia to our group and met our friends.

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A showed me what she thought was a better angle to take a photo of Sigismund on his column and then off we went to Trattoria Rucola for some darn good pizza and wine. Continue reading “Warsaw – May 9”

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Jamaica

Strawberry Hills Swimming Pool
Strawberry Hills Swimming Pool

On April 6 we flew to Jamaica and began a fascinating 8-day adventure by car. We traveled with old friends, W and B. W was born and raised in Trinidad. Almost 50 years ago W and I taught chem and math in the same secondary school in southeast Trinidad. We go back. Lots of stories and laughs then and since. Continue reading “Jamaica”

The Cockleshell and the Camino

Sewer cover in Arzúa sports the Cockleshell symbol of the Camino Santiago
Sewer cover in Arzúa sports the Cockleshell symbol of the Camino Santiago

Last year in Spain on our Camino Santiago my wife and I noticed that many sewer covers in towns along The Way contained motifs that showed the ancient symbol of the Camino: the cockleshell.

This shape of shell is found on the Atlantic coast beyond Santiago de Compostela. Early on in the 1000 year history of this pilgrimage, pilgrims returning home used the cockleshell as proof that they had completed The Way.

Among the blessings one, whether religious or non-theist, experiences are the reflective walk itself, the ancient architecture, the completely unspoiled countryside in some parts, researching the crazy, sacred HISTORY (omg!), the making of new, lasting friendships and, an unnecessary but wonderful bonus for us, spending tons of quality time preparing for the challenge, sharing the walk and sharing the memories – and talking about our next one!

Check out my posts in my Category, Camino Santiago. They vary from brief to very detailed with lots of photos and tips.

My Sister’s Journey With Dr. “Z”

My sister, Anne, has gone through seven eye surgeries in the past 14 months, maintaining her sense of humour throughout. Eventually Anne began a history of her experiences. I suggested her story needs to be passed on, and she agreed.

Here is her incredible story in her own, very funny, upbeat words:

My Journey With Dr. “Z”

I would like to prelude my story by introducing myself. My name is Anne and I am a 66 year old woman who has struggled with severe myopia most of my life. You might ask why, in this day and age, did I just not receive corrective laser surgery as many have. I was told that, in order for this procedure to be a success, so many layers would need to be removed from my cornea that it would become dangerously thin. No one would do it.

Because of my extreme nearsightedness, I am particularly prone to developing an abundance of floaters. Floaters are black or mucous-like squiggly forms that swim around in my vitreous fluid and compromise my vision. At my age, all of my original floaters have now had grandchildren.

I also have an astigmatism: an imperfection in the curvature of my cornea; it affects the light that reflects into my eye, making my vision blurry without a corrective lens.

Finally I developed cataracts, but they were surely to be my saviour, as the surgery necessary to help my myopia could now be done and would be covered by the government. Despite all of my problems I was still confident that the cataract surgery would be straightforward.

My nearsightedness, which was almost a minus 15 prior to my first surgery, (minus 20 diopters is legally blind) has always been a challenge for me. For example, years ago I thought I was trying to coax a cat to come to me only to realize, as I got closer, that it was simply just rust on a mail box. Continue reading “My Sister’s Journey With Dr. “Z””