Saturday, March 31, 2007

Yes this is 6.00 a.m. in the morning!!!!Hence the stupid look on my face!!!! Just to prove I am working here, today the volunteers put on a pancake breakfast for the residents and any one in the park, from 7am - 9am, so here I was literally up with the birds. Unfortunately a huge thunder and lightening and rain storm came thro so i think that kept the numbers down, but still it was fun. Now I am off till 4pm when I do my kitchen chores again. This has been some hard work and long hours this week because I was on driving duty during the day and my kitchen duties in the evening, but I am not complaining. April 1st tomorrow and I would love to post something almost believable but incredible and to get every one going but alas cannot as tomorrow, I am on call and cannot leave the facility to get to a computer, but I shall catch ya all next year (That is Texan). Well down to my last week, it has gone by fast and I am now planning my route back to Nanaimo and it looks like I am going to see scenery that is out of this world, so stay posted. I hope Spring has arrived for you all and that life is good, have a great weekend and best wishes Les

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday evening…. well I enjoyed my day off yesterday driving around seeing new towns and in the evening was treated to some southern hospitality by family of friends that I know from the restaurant. It was a lovely evening and they were very kind to me. The photos are from where I stopped to have lunch. Today was driving day again and I took Gerry to the hospital in the next town about one hour’s drive away. He is fun to be with and the stories he can tell are so interesting and before his wife passed away they went on many trips to all parts of the world. Of course on the way back he wanted to stop at McDonalds for a breakfast muffin and I couldn’t let him dine alone now could I???? In the afternoon I took Pete with her dog to the vets, Pete is a very interesting lady, 85 years old, a published author and a hoot with her stories, anyway we are sitting in this large vet’s office (Don’t forget everything is big in Texas)…and we are chatting and in the waiting room is a very large cage with a parrot inside and one free on top, we are about 10 feet from them and for the longest time the parrots were sleeping. Anyway Pete and I were talking when we heard this loud voice say “shut up” we looked at each other and said was that the parrot… Sure enough the parrot was shouting, “shut up” this was so funny, he kept on repeating this. On the way home about 5pm Pete said to me do you want to stop for an ice cream and proceeded to tell me that the participants when they go out with the volunteers on errands like to buy the volunteers ice cream as a way of saying thank you because they are not allowed to give us anything, so this is their way of saying thank you with out getting in trouble, so being a gentleman I allowed Pete to get me an ice cream. I shall put on pounds as I am driving for the rest of the week. Just want to explain a little bit about how I am feeling, last week I was going stir crazy because I am so active and when not working there is really nothing around to see or do, but now I have a different perspective and know that I came here to work and the times that I am not working or on call I am doing things that I haven’t done in the past, watching the stars at night, listening and identifying this mocking bird that can sing about 7 different songs, when I run, I pass 4 horses that now when they see me come up to the fence on there own. I am looking at all the flowers, I spend hours reading and thinking about kind of motor home I am going to buy, planning the next months, I guess what I am saying is that these 4 weeks have been different for me, weeks that I have really enjoyed and it has grounded me and given me a better understanding of many things and I know when I leave here on April 9th I shall be seeing some amazing countryside and then for the summer running around the soccer fields…so life is good thanks for reading this…Les

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Well now into my third week at the Centre and a very rewarding and humbling experience it is. I d on't know of another place that offers this kind of service and especially for the price. This week I have double duty driving during the day and pots in the evenings. I have made sure the door opens on the van so I don't repeat the performance I had last week!!!!! I drive the participants ( my brother wrote and told me I should call them residents but I tried that and was told by staff that we have to use the term participants when referring to the people that use the service) to their various doctor's appointments, or to go shopping or on outings, it is fun and they love to go driving. Today is my only day off so i am on a small road trip and then going to dinner with the family of good customers of mine from the Granary, so i look forward to meeting them. The weather is still thundery and rain some of the time and I am fast loosing my tan, hope ya all have a great day...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Well I finally got some free time and this is the first time I have left the centre all week, was starting to get a little stir crazy. Anyway my shift today doesn't start till 6pm. It was a really busy week culminating in me being on call yesterday which meant I had to spend from 7.30am to 10pm in the centre, so going for a good long walk today. The weather is not great and storms are in the forcast for most of next week,I am loosing that tan I spent all those hours getting!!!! here are some photos of me "working". I am outside a medical building in a small town about 20 miles from Livingston, picking up the internet. I wish you all a great sunday, best wishes Les..

Friday, March 23, 2007

Let me tell you the story about Gerry and Chuck......Chuck I have mentioned before is 87 years old and three times a week he goes to visit his wife in a nursing home about 6 miles away. Chuck is what I see and hope for myself if I am blessed to reach that age, he has a twinkle in his eye, all his marbles and a great sense of fun...Gerry is 78 years old, a brilliant man who 5 weeks ago had hip surgery, anyway today is the day foer Chuck to go visit his wife and for gerry to go to town for some private shopping. One of the jobs here is to druive the participants in one of three vehicles that the centre owns and today was my turn to drive them in. This is my first time doing this particular chore, so I get the keys for the Dodge Caravan and because of lack of mobility I get Gerry into the front seat and Chuck into the rear seat through the back sliding door and away we go. I decided to take Chuck first to the nursing home, so we get there no problem and I press the automatic unlocking door switch to let Chuck out, but guess what it didn't work!!!!! No matter what i did I could not unlock that door, even with the key!!!! So there is Gerry sat in the front laughing like crazy, Chuck in the back thinking he is there till the day he dies and me thinking what the !!!!!!!!! problem solved I help Chuck climb over the front drivers seat and into the drivers seat and eventually out of the van, he is just cracking up, the nurses are out there with about 10 residents in wheel chairs watching this performance and at last Chuck is excavated from the vehicle and re-united with his wife, what a performance. So off Gerry and I go and do the chores he needs and he then says to me "do you like ice cream??" Of course I do so he says lets go i show you where we can a great ice cream cone. So I am thinking is this in the policy rules, do I risk it, do I get in trouble, is Gerry allowed ice cream.....all these thoughts rush through my head and Gerry convinces me it is OK and he even buys the ice cream for me, I had Vanilla and Gerry had chocolate, now remember Gerry is on crutches, so it was pretty difficult for him to eat and stand but we did but he had chocolate all over his chin, down his shirt and his pants, he looked so funny!!!!! Anyway back to the facility and I said to Gerry there is no way we can go back in there with him looking like that and they not notice, so I take him back to his trailer and let him get cleaned up before he comes over to the centre. Gerry says to me that is the most fun he had in a long time and i am thinking just keep all this to yourself please!!!! Well when I go over for supper, the place is pretty full and every one laughs when I walk in there is Chuck and Gerry telling anyone who would listen about their trip to town!!!!!! I don't suppose i shall get assigned any more driving jobs!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Good evening hope you all(Texan) are having a good day. With my double shifts here not able to get to down town library to post some pictures will try that tomorrow. Had a scrabble game evening last night Mary 92 years old and Chuck 87 years old, anyway that is all I am saying about that!!!!!!Draw your own conclusions!!!! Today spent most of the morning and afternoon getting ready for the huge garage sale the Centre is having this weekend, I have never seen so much stuff!!!! Then I pull another double shift this evening then donate to the poker fund. I enjoy the poker nights we play till 9.30p.m. and we have some good laughs and some real cute stories are told. This week just flew by. The moon was beautiful last night coming down just before dark going to try to capture it tonight with my camera. have a great day....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Good morning and welcome to the first day of Spring!!!!! I have been doing some reflective thoughts on these past few months and realized what huge changes I have made in my life and the new direction I am heading in, many things to think about and I look forward to new challenges and new roads to be travelled. The last couple of days have been a little over cast and I have worked double shifts to make up for one of the volunteer couples that had to leave and this weekend is busy as the centre is holding a huge garage sale. I am really enjoying being here and it is so rewarding, the participants have so many interesting stories to tell and every one is super friendly. Of course in my slightly "introverted" way I seem to be a bit of a hit with the ladies and in many ways it is so similar to my work at the restaurant, the philosophy that I always used there was if my Mum was in this place this is the way I would want her to be treated. One of the ladies is 92 years old and she usually wins our scrabble game!!!!!. Chuck the guy who has rented me his motor home is 87 years old and he washes dishes, by choice, three times a day five days a week. One gentleman is a retired nuclear scientist, boy the stories he can tell. The single ladies group, I think the youngest member is in her late seventies have invited me to their get go together this Friday, they have a BBQ then card games,I am going to go it should be a hoot!!!!! So you can see this is a place of caring and as usual in places like these I am just totally amazed at the love, caring and compassion of the people who work in them. After months of lazing on beaches and travelling it is nice to get grounded and in a small way contribute and to share in people's lives. Sorry no photos again , will take some this weekend, wishing you all a spring full of good health and hapiness......Les

Monday, March 19, 2007

Welcome to the blog on this lovely warm Monday morning, sorry it took a while to get the photographs posted but I have been spoiled in the last few months with having unlimited internet, for some reason I did have a connection in the motor home when I arrived but no longer. It is not so bad, about 400 yards away is a computer where I can receive and send e mails but I have to take my laptop to the local library about 4 miles away to down load the photos, so photos only 3rd or 4th day. These photos today are from a few days ago and the one with the open field shows the view in the morning from the door of the motor home, the others are views inside the park. Then the downtown and train are from my trip to Houston on Saturday, unfortunately no one was allowed to take photographs of the dancers. There are about 12 volunteers here at the centre and we all get assigned shift for each week but one couple had to leave yesterday for a family emergency so all their shifts have to be covered, so I have volunteered to do some extra shifts this week, so I look forward to those. The days and weeks seem to go by so fast and I am starting slowly to plan my route back to Nanaimo next month and it appears that it is going to take me through some new and amazing places…..Hope you all have a great day and thanks for all the e mails keep them coming!!…

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Top of the evening to you, it is late here about 11.30p.m. and I just returned from spending a great day in Houston. Left at 9am and got great directions to the Miller Auditorium where the concert was being held and waiting in line for about 45 minutes for a reserved seat at the concert and was lucky enough to get one 2 rows from the stage. I didn't realize until later that day what a super idea it was to wait in line for a reserved seat as there were over 10,000 people at the concert. My plan was after getting the seat to drive out to the space centre for the afternoon, but I realized this would not be a viable option taking into account the traffic, parking and the fact the space centre is about 25 miles away, so that will have to wait for another visit. So went to plan B, where the Miller auditorium is there are also parks, the zoo and the metro train to down town, so i walked through the parks and took the metro train to down town, what a wonderful service, the cars were very clean and the service top notch and best of all taking advantage of the senior citizen status i was able to ride unrestricted all day for 80 cents!!!!!!!! Down town was lucky enough to catch the last part of the St. Patrick's Day parade. I then walked around down town and realized I haven't been in close quarters in a big city with huge sky scrappers for years. Took the train back out to the park by now it was 3.30pm and very warm so I found a nice spot and sunbathed and read for a couple of hours then went walking towards the zoo. My intention was to find a bathroom but it seems i kept walking into the zoo area and i don't know how but I had not paid any admission and here I was in the heart of the zoo, so I walked around and saw all the animals, I thought it was a better zoo than the one in San Diego ( I know that is not spelled correctly!!) Came back to the van had my picnic supper and then went to the auditorium for the concert. It was incredible to see this great stage with about 1000 seats and then the banks of grass all open and sloped and hundreds of people on blankets or chairs getting ready for the concert. No photography was allowed and the show was just so good!!!! Everything was top class and I really enjoyed this night out and in my opinion they were equally as good as the River Dance performance I saw a few years ago and this concert was free. So I have had a full day of good entertainment and exercise and fun and it only cost me 80 cents!!!!! Only in America....still having photo trouble so by Monday should be lots of photos to see....wishing you all a great weekend....

Friday, March 16, 2007

Good evening on this clear but a little cool evening. I am having trouble downloading pictures from my camera since yesterday and I cannot figure it out I was trying to organize my photographs and obviously did something wrong, sounds like a job for my nephew(Andy are you there?) Went to the trade days in the park today but I was there too early and mainly everyone was setting up, tomorrow is the best day I was told but I shall not be around, so came back and spent the afternoon doing lots of little things before my shift after supper tonight. Some of these participants have some amazing stories to tell, I played yatzee with one lady today, she and her care giver husband are here, she had a massive stroke over 20 years ago, which left her with some serious problems but she loves to play cards and games and is just delightful to be around, so gentle and kind. Every day I am here it opens me up to what life can dish out and how brave and courageous lots of people are, this is a great place to be and very satisfying and nourishing for the soul. Big day in the big city tomorrow want to wish everyone a very happy St. Patrick's Day...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Good evening, sorry I couldn't hook up to the Internet from my laptop tonight so no photos will save those for tomorrow. Just a great day here today sunny and warm, started out with the same breakfast format then my shift today was washing pans at 11am. I enjoyed that and then at 12noon I help serve the participants their meals I really enjoy that because i get to have some fun with them, then back to the pots. It is all very well organized and I was finished by 1.30p.m. Went for a run, I have now set up a system for my exercise and I run every second day, bike every day and do push ups and sit ups every day and then read and sunbathe for a couple of hours before supper. Tonight was poker night again and I also really enjoy this especially when I won four dollars!!!!!!! and no it is time to turn in and read. The park here is very friendly and the pace slow and I enjoy the peace. Tomorrow is trade days in a down town park haven't been before so will check it out. Will have to look for an Irish joke for Saturday, take care everyone...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hello from wet and wild Livingston, still warm but many lightening strikes and thunder storms but the forecast is again sunny skies tomorrow and of course I will not mention that “WHITE STUFF” that was seen on roof tops of Nanaimo this morning. I did have quite a lazy morning, into a routine of going for a shower then going to the centre for a buffet style breakfast choices of cereals, oatmeal and fruits. I usually sit and have cereal and talk with everyone then bring a couple slices of bread back to the motor home and have tea and toast and read the newspapers on line, yes I know hard life!!!! Today because of the rain I stayed close to home and puttered and worked some on my route for next month. In the afternoon I went to the centre and spent the afternoon playing cards and games with the participants. They are an interesting group of people, some single, some with spouses as care givers, but they all suffer from different ailments, but all seem to be smiling this is a very friendly and caring facility but it certainly brings home that very important message about being blessed with good health and trying to enjoy each day as best can be celebrated. After supper I have my evening chores to do, it takes me about 2 hours to do the clean up and then I went for a walk around the park and soon going to settle down with a piece of orange cake and tea and watch a DVD ….so how was your day?? Cheers Les Forgot to mention the one photograph today is taken at 9am this morning before the rain came and I am stood in the door way of my motor home, not a bad view??

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Today was my day off, not bad work one shift and get a day off, anyway I plan to visit somewhere different each time off, so today was to visit the birth place of Sam Houston, home of the world’s largest American war hero statue. It was a pleasant 45 minute drive and this statue is mighty, over 70 feet in height and made out of concrete, I hope you can read the inscription on the plate if not click on the picture and it should be enlarged, how true those words spoken all those years ago. Anyway this world’s largest thing got me to thinking (now I am even talking like a Texan), when I emigrated to Canada I finished up in a small town called Smoky Lake, about 70 miles from Edmonton and a friendly Ukrainian town it was, but what the local council and all small surrounding towns did was to decide that they were going to get on the map by becoming the town with the world’s biggest whatever!!!!! My town good old Smoky was the Pumpkin capital, another town boasted the world’s largest mushroom, another a Ukrainian ring of sausage and yet another an Easter Egg and they all had a huge model made and put out on the entry into town along with the town’s name. Fancy living in a town with its claim to fame being the world’s largest ring of Kubusa!!!!!! Anyway enjoyed the day came back in the afternoon and spent it in the activity room with the participants. After supper I found there is a small regular poker school going on for three hours each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights, so I joined that and I won three large motor homes!!!!!!Just kidding the bet is 5 cents and about 12 of us, two tables, had a lot of fun. In Nanaimo for the last three years I have been involved with a great bunch of guys (but I would not admit this to their faces) playing poker every second week and I really enjoy those evenings, so now I shall enjoy these whilst I am here. Boy the days and weeks go by fast, hope everyone is well… Sorry I hit the publish button twice!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Well today I woke up to rain!!!!!!! Only lasted a short while then back to sunny skies and all is well. I also had my first taste of the US medical system, I needed to see a doctor for a minor complaint and was recommended a doctor from the nurse here at CARE and it was a problem free experience, they took copies of my insurance and driving licence and called the insurance company right away, I saw the doctor within 15 minutes after getting many tests from the nurse. He was competent and friendly and I was out of there within 30 minutes, all very professional and at no charge to me personally. Spent the afternoon sort of lazing although I did do a load of laundry, hung it up outside and dry within the hour. Went for a long bike ride and then went for a run, had supper and started my first shift, as you can see I am not happy in my job!!!! They want us to spend as much time and help with the participants, then I had cleaning of table s, chairs, mopping and vacuuming (yes Heidi and Starr you can laugh at least I wasn't putting cutlery together!!!!) worked up a bit of a sweat but enjoyed the whole thing. Everyone is so friendly I even came home to the motor home to find some one had left some banana muffins for me, how sweet!!!!!! This is a great job, I worked one day and I get tomorrow off, planning to go off some where for the day.....that's all folks take care..

Sunday, March 11, 2007

These are the pictures that i received today from my friends of the day we drove into the mountains and had lunch at this lovely lake, I think the report on this is around February 11th, 2007, if you want to re-fresh your was a really great day i remember it well...

Had a lazy morning for the first day of the time change, went for breakfast in the facility, breakfast is buffet style and includes cerials, fruit, toast, oatmeal, the lunches and dinners are served, so after breakfast tea and reading a newspaper out on the easy chair was in order, then messed about getting the motor home ship shape, it really is a great deal for me 100 dollars and i parked about 100 yards away from the CARE building where i have the use of the showers, laundry is just another couple of 100 yards away and the park is spotless way out in the country and the weather seems constant about 76 degrees and cooling down in the evening. In the afternoon I went to Livingston State Park, which is where the photos are taken ,this is a lovely park and the lake is one of the biggest inTexas, don't know why but I shall find out but the water is very dirty, but there are mnay hiking and biking trails and I can see me spending many hours here. To my Nanaimo readers some parts of the lake remind me of Westwood lake but of course this being Texas everything is much bigger!!!! My work starts tomorrow night at 6pm, my duties vary each day but I start in the kitchen washing dishes, my dream comes tru I finally become a "dish pig" this is a friendly term for the dishwasher, eat your heart out at the Granary!!!!!! After that i make sure all the residents are safely tucked away in their own motor homes and come back and lock and check the centre. Every one is so friendly and the residents are easy to be with...Well it is now 8.10pm and just getting dark, time for a walk around the park before I watch a movie on my laptop(thanks Andy) hope you all had a great weekend, best wishes..

Saturday, March 10, 2007

This is my motor home "home" for the month, it suits me just fine all meals and showers in the facility, took today and found my way around and found out what I have to do, then played this afternoon, went for a long bike ride, did some sunbathing and sorting things out and now time to go for supper, then tonite a walk and a movie, it is a little quiet here at night and for once in my life i think I am the youngest here, but that is Ok we change the clocks tonite and then light till 8pm and evenings I can amuse myself quite well, have a great weekend, best wishes...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Well my first day at the CARE centre here in Livingston, Texas about 50 miles north east of Houston, many people have asked me about the volunteer work and until I arrived this morning, I myself had no idea what all was involved but this web site may help answer the questions you have.
The facility is an Adult day care facility, with varied programs and activities, I have a work schedule which will include such tasks as helping in the kitchen, general cleaning, driving residents to appointments, socially being active and what ever else they ask me to do, there are about 23 residents and I shall start to get to know them and inter act with them soon. I know I am going to enjoy my stay here. One of the older volunteers has rented me his older motor home for the month I am here, it is old but comfortable and he is only charging me 100 dollars. I get all my meals in the facility and also use their showers, so really all set. The park is very spacious and everyone is extra friendly, the town is about 4 miles away so this is going to be a good month to re charge my internal batteries, take things a little easy, get some regular exercise and learn about the motor home way of life. The only draw back is no or limited internet connection, I have been spoiled all these months having the computer up and running when ever I need.I don’t start my work till Sunday so tomorrow I will get chance to go to town and get my bearings and take some photos. The weather is pretty constant around 75 degrees nice and warm and a little cooler in the evenings. Hope you all (as they say in Texas) have a great weekend, take care…

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Day 8 started with a tour around the USS Lexington, all the photos were taken on or from the retired aircraft carrier, which is moored by the beach in the bay of Corpus Christie and it is a huge ship!!!!! Lots of details but it is over 3 soccer fields long, 11 decks and carried over 3000 sailors. The tour was self guided and included a flight simulator and even a movie in an Imax theatre on the ship. There were volunteers all over to answer questions and it was a really interesting morning and I just gaze in awe at the size of this vessel and how it even floats is beyond me. I then decided to take the afternoon and do a long drive to Livingston, where I am doing my volunteer work, it is spring break starting today and roads are crazy and I felt it best to be settled and off the road by tomorrow, so I am now in a small motel haven’t been able to get a sense of the town yet as it is dark, but tomorrow I shall go check everything out.So one part of my journey is complete and ready for the next stage. I have driven over 11,000 kms and the van has served me well and I feel blessed that I have travelled so far in different countries and roads less travelled and have had no mechanical or road problems. In fact looking back on my journey now into the 4th month, I recall one day of feeling sad. Two days of being quite sick with a virus and only one awful event happening and that happened to a small girl who fell off a ledge in down town Pueta Vallarta and I was able to assist her, so I feel very lucky and happy. Thank you for riding along with me all these days now I shall be stationary for a month but will still continue the travelogue

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

These are all photos of the dolphin watching trip, the minesweeper is one of the few active boats left, apparently they are being replaced by new tehnology helicopters. The two small ferry boats that run about 500 yards between the island and the causeway, they run 24 hours and are free!!!Take not BC ferries.... The trip was a good one and the dolphins were playing but not leaping out of the water like their Mexican cousins. I enjoyed the outing. My day has been an easy one, after breakfast I went on a long bike ride, then came back took the van for a wash to get all the dirt underneath off, after this exhausting task I had to sit and sunbathe till it was time for the boat trip. After the dolphins drove about 20 miles towards Corpus Christie where i am planning the day for tomorrow and found a small motel right on the water, more sunbathing was called for, then in the room turned on the tv and there was a European soccer game that needed to be watched.....shower ,now off to my favourite store Walmart for a few items I need. Another wonderful day....

Thursday 5 th January 2023…it was a great run!!!

 This was my first ever blog post back in November of 2006!!! With just a couple of days off I have written a blog every day since and I hav...