Month: September 2011

Day Whatever…

I think I’m starting to lose track of my days….I can’t remember if we visited the sheep farm then had the Scottish dinner that night or if the farm was the day after the din-dins.  Ugh!  Oh well.

So, one of the two dinners my mother and I attended with the group was a traditional Highland dinner.  It was so neat – we watched the “piping in the haggis” ceremony:

Here’s the haggis (at the time, I’m thinking “YUCK!”):

After the piper left, they served us, what I thought was our main meal.  The tour director asked us that day what we wanted for dinner, and I thought when I saw the dish that they brought me the wrong thing.  Oh well, I was really tired and groggy and didn’t really care what I ate, so I started on it:

I’m such a dork – I asked my mother what we were eating and she informed me it was the haggis.  Did I eat any more, you ask?  Here’s the after picture:

I can’t believe how yummy it was!  Everyone who went to the dinner the night before had haggis then too, and they all said that the one we had was much better.  I don’t really see what the big deal is – it’s just sausage in a sheep’s intestine that was boiled in a sheep’s stomach.  Geesh!

Ok, either the day after we had our haggis or the same day, we went on an optional tour to visit the

famous sheep herder, Neil Ross. I think it was one of my favourite parts of the trip.  He has won every sheep herding competition nationally, and is still looking for the international title.  He also trained the dogs in the movie Babe!  Neil and a few of his eighteen border collies met us at the bus when we arrived:


Check out the intensity in this dog’s eyes:

It instantly reminded me of my extremely well trained cat, Abby.  See that hard-core intensity in her eyes?:

Errrr, now that I compare the two a little more closely, Abby just looks like a googly little freak.  Anyway, I was so excited to see the demonstration:

The little puppy running around was adorable:

He crashed on my mother’s feet at one point:

Then he decided to get up and gnaw on some wool:

A cute, little calf was wandering around during the demonstration too:

It was so amazing – every dog had it’s own unique whistle to respond to:

Neil’s wife, Glynis helped out with the demonstration.  She was great – so bubbly and energetic:

Sheep shearing was also demonstrated:

I jumped at the chance when they asked people to come up and help out with the shearing:

It’s so neat how the wool comes out in a perfect sheet (a sheet o’ sheep!):

I asked the sheep afterwards if he felt exposed and vulnerable, but he just flipped me the hoof.  I guess he wasn’t in the mood to talk.

After the demonstrations, we were allowed to feed the little sheeplettes, commonly referred to as lambs:

They were so sweet!

I also had the pleasure of holding the puppy!

Glynis wrote the cutest children’s book.  I purchased one and both her and Neil signed it:

I asked both Neil and Glynis if I could post their pictures and use their names on my website.  They agreed and I gave them both one of my cards with my website address:

I would LOVE to go back to the farm and meet up with the folks (two and four legged) again.  It was amazing!

Jan and I headed back to our hotel room that night with big, sheepish smiles on our faces.

We had a really nice view:

Check this out – a trouser press!  How exciting is that!  We were going to try to press our jeans, but we probably would have done it all wrong and ended up with scorch marks:

Day “whatever” to be continued on the next blog…

Today’s symptoms:  My sinus infection is certainly clearing up.  My headache was quite a bit better today.  I have been having “new” headaches over the last week or so.  I’ve also had a fair bit of pressure in my eyes.  I have an appointment with my eye doctor tomorrow.  My greatest fear is MS causing a problem with my vision, therefore I’m getting things checked out right away.


Britain – Day Four

Continuing with the trip:Day four of the bus tour started with a trip to one of the oldest and most famous golf courses in the world –St. Andrews.  Lots o’ big wigs go there:



None of the golfers were impressed when I started yelling “Swing, batter, batter, swing!”

Jan and I went into one of the nearby shops to try and find a shirt for Chuckles.  I was thrilled to see there was a man in the store that was Jan’s size:

We also walked down to the water and I took a pic of the birds sitting out on a little island:

We were actually quite happy to get back on the bus, as it was REALLY windy that day.  It was a typical overcast day, but I don’t think it rained.

I’m pretty sure I was the only person on the bus that got excited when I saw this plane fly by:

However, I do think everyone on the bus was as happy as I was to view the beautiful buildings we passed:

Our next stop was in Pitlochry – and look, a sale!

I really like the name of this establishment:

Jan and I really enjoyed wandering around the shops in this town.  We went into a store called the Sheep Shop, and I couldn’t believe what I found in the back – airplane socks!  I’ve been looking for airplane socks for over four years!  None of the socks I wear are plain – they all have something silly on them.  I found some really cute sheep ones too:

The store owner said he got the airplane ones so the wife who bought the sheep socks could get them for her husband.  Well, I guess I destroyed that theory!

After leaving Pitlochry, we headed over to Blair Castle.

No, the castle isn’t on an angle – blame the photographer.
There were some cute little peacocks roaming around:

I managed to get Jan to pose with one:

There was also this cute little dude, digging a hole:

Unfortunately, no photographs in the castle except for the ball room at the end of the tour:

This stream was on the castle grounds:

Our next stop was at the hotel.  This is one of the few times Jan and I went to dinner with the group.  That will be for my next blog!

Today’s symptoms:  I was really weak today, I think it’s due to having this sinus thing for two weeks now.  My doc put me on antibiotics yesterday, so hopefully that will kick in soon.  I was so weak and tired in the afternoon, I had to leave work a little early.


Britain and Tillsonburg

I think I missed a part of the last day in my previous blog.  After visiting Edinburgh Castle, we had the option of going to Rosslyn Chapel, which was where much of the movie The Da Vinci Code was filmed. It was amazing – I can’t think of the words to describe it.  

The number of intricate carvings and statues inside were beyond comprehension.  I’m going to try to find a book that shows all of the carvings and an explanation for each.  It’s such a bummer that there was a no-photography rule inside.

Back to our room for the night.  We were lucky in that all of the rooms we stayed at were quite nice.

We stayed at the Thistle Endinburgh for two nights, and all other hotels were only for one night each.

I’m going to break away from the Britain trip in this blog, as I actually did something exciting today.  A friend of mine and I flew out to Tillsonburg for the annual Wings and Wheels Family Day at the airport.  We weren’t too sure if it was going to be doable or not, as the weather in the morning wasn’t too good.  Fortunately, it cleared up and we were able to hit the skies.  As we came in to land at Tillsonburg, it was clear from the air that it was a pretty good turn out for the event.

A few other planes from Niagara landed about half an hour after us.

The announcer told the crowd about the pilots and planes.  My friend Rick went over to the announcer and jokingly asked why he didn’t announce my Cessna 150 Aerobat that just arrived.  The announcer brought me over and started interviewing me over the loud speaker – it was quite amusing!  I’m sure everyone thought I was a complete dork, but it was still fun!

Here are some pics from the event and some of the Harvards:

Of course, the cutest plane there was Vyctor:

It was really a nice day!  The weather was perfect for our flight back home. When we came back to St. Catharines, we checked out our new terminal building – it’s really nice!  We were also told that the jet just outside was Reba McEntire’s – cool!

She had just climbed aboard as we were making our way to the terminal.  She just finished doing a few shows at the Niagara Falls Casino.

Today’s symptoms:  This is the first day in two weeks that my sinus and cold issues have started to improve.  My headache is not as bad as it has been and my congestion has greatly improved.  Hopefully I’ll be back to “normal” when I head back to work on Tuesday.

Britain – Day Three

Wow, I think this is my fifth Britain Trip blog post and I’m only on day three of the trip!  I better get crack-a-lackin!

Day three of our bus tour was one of Jan’s favourite. We met up with a local guide named Keith, in full Scottish attire. He told us about all aspects of the city (The Royal Mile, views of Holyrood House, Arthur’s Seat, Princes Street and Scottish Parliament – at which point he poked fun at us Civil Servants!) as we made our way to Edinburgh Castle.  The sites on the way there were amazing.  It’s hard to believe how old the buildings and structures are in Edinburgh.

Then we came upon the castle:

We had a long stroll up to the castle itself, so a few of us were able to take a mini-bus ride up the rather long hill.  I was hoping people weren’t starting to think I was just lazy!  Anyway, once we arrived at the base of the castle, Keith stepped into military mode and started yelling at us to get it together. It was hilarious and also made me feel at home (since I served in the Army for eleven years and am still part of the Supplemental Reserve). The weather really went for a dump at this point with rather strong winds. We were all quite relieved when Keith stopped yelling at us and let us go into the castle. We first went upstairs to see Scotland’s Crown Jewels – no pictures again.  Back outside to check out the amazing views:

Look – it’s Jan the Guard!  Oh, I’m scared!

Notice how she fills less than half the station!

We visited the shop and finally spent some money on postcards, pens and Christmas ornaments. We headed back out into the blustering winds and admired more views of the city below. We were going to take the bus back down to our meeting point but decided to let the wind just blow us down – took only a couple minutes. We looked like a pair of Canadian tumbleweeds.

After Sergeant Keith ordered us back on the bus, we headed back toward our hotel.  We passed a bagpiper on the way:

Keith bid us a fond farewell and booted us off the bus.  Before departing, I asked him if I could have my picture taken with the sexiest man in Scotland.  He agreed to it:

I think this was the night most of our group went off to a Scottish show.  We were too pooped to join them, so it was another night of room service.  We had a couple hours to our selves to wander around the city and the mall behind our hotel.  Good times!

Stay tuned – the saga continues….

Today’s symptoms:  My sinus and cold issues are finally starting to improve.  Still dealing with killer headaches and sharp pains all over my bod, but at least it’s getting better.

Britain Blog Continued…

Ok, where was I.  I think we were just heading over to Hadrian’s Wall.  Before leaving the restaurant, Jan and I wandered down the road and noticed a community bulletin board:
I thought I would spruce it up a little bit with one of my “business” cards for my airplane:

Ah yes, that looks much better!

On the bus and over to the site of Hadrian’s Wall:

At one point it was a massive wall constructed by the Roman’s. Now there is only this small section left as the rest of the wall was mined for stones. How rude!  Find your own stinkin’ stones elsewhere!


Next we drove through Northumberland National Park. The sheep really started multiplying at this point:

What an amazing experience as we pulled up the England / Scotland border and were piped in by a bagpiper. Check out these great pics:

Jan and I posed next to the bagpiper:

Some more sites after climbing back on the bus.  The landscape really began to change – much more hilly and sheep-ladened:

Notice the heather on the mountain slope:


We got to see the Jedburgh Abbey before heading into Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.

I can’t remember if these were in Edinburgh or in a town on the way.  Our tour director said there is a string of houses that all try to out-do each other with their gardens:

More sites on the way to our accommodations for the night:

They’re so polite here:

In Edinburgh, we stayed at the King James Hotel.  Most of the tour went out for dinner together that night but as usual, I was too pooped to go. We decided to be rebels and order room service for the first time in our deprived, sad, little lives. It was rather amusing actually. We didn’t know if the tip was included in the service so I called down to the front desk to enquire. She told me she didn’t know. Duh – well at least we didn’t feel so silly anymore.  When the garçon came to our room with the noms, I sheepishly (get it – sheeps in Scotland!) asked him if we tip for his muchly appreciated services. He said it was at our discretion, so instead of telling him to bugger off, I grabbed a few pounds and politely handed them over. I apologized for my ineptness and having to ask him, but he said I was “very pleasant about it.”. In other words, I was a dork, but a pleasant dork!  Tee hee!  Jan and I sat at the edge of our beds and chowed down on the half chicken dinner we split. We watched Judge Judy – ah yes, a true Scottish experience. 

Just to scooch away from the trip for the rest of this blog – I took up an exchange student from France this past weekend.  It was only his second time in a plane.  The first time was his flight here.  We flew over to Niagara-On-The-Lake and noticed this large gathering.  I’m not too sure what it was for:

Then over to Niagara Falls:

He had a great time and said he is going to brag to his friends.  I even let him fly the plane for a bit – he did great!

Today’s symptoms:  I stayed home from work today as I’m still dealing with this rotten cold and sinus thing.  I’ve had many more MS pains in my arms and hands than normal – maybe just tricked by being sick.


Britain Trip Part Three

After a good night’s rest, we arose to an early wake up call, and clamored down to breakfast.  We had an early (as was every morning!) start to our second touring day. 

We headed over to Durham to visit the Durham Cathedral.  There were quite a few stairs up to the cathedral, so a few of us took the elevator (lift).  We went through an indoor market and made our way back outside.

Here are some pics I took on our walk to the Cathedral:

Durham Cathedral:

The surrounding university:

Burial Grounds:

The cathedral was amazing. It had multiple levels open for touring, including down into the crypt. The infrastructure was surreal. No photographs could be taken inside. At least we were able to pick up another guide book.

After visiting the inside of the Cathedral, we headed down a path out back and snapped this pic of a birdie having a snack:

A celtic cross:

We headed back down through the market and just before reaching the underpass where our bus was meeting us under, down came the rain.  We were about 35 minutes late leaving for our next destination (lunch) as one of our members became lost and actually had to call a cab to bring her back to our bus. Fortunately, we made it to the restaurant in time to eat, then  back in the bus to drive to our next destination at Hadrian’s Wall.  I shall continue in my next blog.  I’m feeling pretty yucky tonight – I think I’m coming down with something.  Blah!

Today’s symptoms:  I had training in Mississauga today.  It was quite good, although I’m glad it was only half a day.  I crashed just before the course ended and have felt pretty poopy since. 

Britain Trip – Part Deux

Continuation of Tour Day 1:

Next we continued on towards York – one of my favourite stops on the trip.  We passed this interesting little number on the way there:

A slightly more pleasant view along the way:

We passed a large nuclear facility:

While driving into York, our tour director pointed out a couple black cats (considered lucky there) on window sills:

A couple more nice sights:

In York, while most of our group walked along the ancient city wall, Jan and I decided not to be cheap for a change and paid to visit York Minster.

We walked in and I literally stopped in my tracks and was breathless:

It was incredible.

It’s almost impossible to comprehend how something so massive yet so intricate can be built without all of the equipment and machinery we have today.

Fortunately we were allowed to take photos inside, as some of the places we visited later in the trip banned photography (and some just flash photography).

A memorial to the Royal Air Force:

I decided to make a donation and light a prayer candle.  I asked to have energy for the rest of the trip.  Not too sure if that one worked out for me:

Maybe my prayer wasn’t answered because of this post-lighting-of-the-candle pose:

Another thing that Jan and I decided to do at each chapel and Minster was to go against our frugal grain and purchase the guide book. I must admit, their pictures were much nicer than mine.


Our day ended with a welcome drink at the hotel. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to enjoy dinner afterwards with the group. We arrived at the hotel before 6:00 and they weren’t going to have dinner until 7:00. I knew I wasn’t going to make it as I was so exhausted from our first day of travel. We asked our tour director if we would be able to start dinner sooner so I could rest afterwards. We started our dinner around 6:10 but did head over to the bar once the rest of the group arrived.  We finished dinner and headed up to our room to veg for the rest of the night. I was hoping to have more energy than I did that day but let’s face it, despite the CCSVI surgery, I still have MS and will still be fatigued much quicker than “normal” people.

To be continued…

Today’s symptoms:  My first day back at work and I made it through till the end!  I’ve had quite of few of my yucky MS sharp pains in my hands and lower back today.  My headache is much better today than yesterday, at least.

I’m Back!

You’re probably wondering why I’ve become such a little snoot and neglected my blog for so long. Well, my mother and I left for England on September 2nd. It has always been her dream to go, so I bought her a trip there for her birthday in July.  We went through CAA and booked a Trafalgar bus tour through England and Scotland.

Our flight left Pearson Airport in Toronto at around 9pm on the 2nd. As soon as we took off, we both took a sleeping pill for the almost 7 hour trip. When we first booked, Jan and I weren’t sitting together. It was a total bummer. Fortunately, I was able to switch our seats before we left for the airport – together but at the very back of the plane.  It meant we wouldn’t be able to pug our seats back, but a least we didn’t have to worry about someone kicking our seats (which I seem to get on every flight!). 

We had a bit of an issue in the airport. I cleared security with no problem, but not my little mother!  The metal detector went off so they had to scan her with the wand. The thing kept going off pretty much over every inch of her body. I was trying to decide whether to stand there and watch or walk away and pretend I didn’t know her. Trust me, I was really tempted once they made her go into the full body scanner!  On the floor were two foot prints where she had to place her feet. I had no idea how she was going to spread her little stubby legs that far apart!  She managed though. What a perfect picture that would have been – her in the scanner tube, legs spread and hands above her head!  I felt bad laughing at her while she was in there but it was impossible not to. 

We had a nice meal at Casey’s near our gate. Little did we know that they  would be serving us dinner on the plane. We obviously chose to pass on it and try to sleep instead. I think we both ended up with a few hours before touching down at Heathrow Airport.


The weather was quite nice when we arrived. We both brought a jacket and umbrella in anticipation of British weather.  For most of the trip, it was in the low to mid 20′s, so it was more than tolerable.


Our first night was at the Hilton Olympia near Hammersmith in London. Since we arrived at the hotel just before noon, we had a few hours to ourselves before starting the tour the next day. We first took a nap for about an hour, then went for a walk toward the shops and King’s Mall in Hammersmith. It wasn’t quite as relaxing as we would have liked because we spent a couple hours going to different mobile shops to try and get some answers as to why I wasn’t able to text on my iPhone. I paid $20 for an unlimited international texting plan while on our tour. I was going to text Chuck when we landed to let him know we were alive. I tried but I couldn’t connect to a network. Our fourth and final mobile phone shop was O2. The woman who helped us was SO nice and accommodating. I told her that I was trying to text my boyfriend so he’d know we safely made it to London. She checked all of the settings in my iPhone and even tried one of their network cards, but still no connection. She said it is probably because my network company didn’t unblock the international bars so that I could connect to a UK network.  She was kind enough to let me text Chuck via her work phone and also let me send him a email through their computer.  I asked Chuck to contact Telus and have them check my account and see what the problem was.  I emailed him again from the hotel, asking if had had any updates.  I ended up calling him that night and he said he was on the phone with Telus for over    two hours. I felt so bad that he went through that, especially since they weren’t able to fix the problem.  He ended up calling them back the next night and he was still on the phone with the guy when I phoned him.  I think the guy said that someone with Telus didn’t code my phone properly to allow it to connect with a UK network. He finally got me connected, although it was two days of aggravation and a nice chunk of change to phone Canada and email from the hotel to get it resolved. By the way, there is almost no free wi-fi in the UK!


We met the rest of our Trafalgar group and tour guide the next morning. We all piled in the bus and headed to our first destination – through the rolling Cotswolds Hills to Stratford-Upon-Avon. On our way, we passed quite a few houses with thatched roofs:

We had a group photo taken outside of Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

A bunch of little ducklers waddled by in the background:

We then drove into the town to visit the birthplace of Shakespeare and wandered around some of the shops.  We didn’t end up making any purchases, but stay tuned!

There was this funky statue artist-dude performing:

This reminded Jan and I of the clock tower in the middle of the main street in Niagara-On-The-Lake:


Back on the bus and past the statue of Lady Godiva. Wow!  We were so lucky to have Anne as our tour guide. Everyone knew exactly what we were looking at plus the majority of its history, as she was a walking encyclopedia! 

The next visit was to Coventry to check out two Cathedrals. The original Coventry Cathedral was just a shell, as it was bombed during WWII. They had built its replacement along side of the original.  Both were amazing to view – it hard to get your head around the fact that a building (at least what was left it) was hundreds of years old.

Here is a sculpture of St. Michael’s victory over the devil:

My mother would call this a statue of a blond celery stick:

Statue entitled “Reconciliation”:

There were still a few fragments of glass in some of the windows:

These “bombs” were located out front of the chapel:

I’ll stop there for now.  I shall continue with my trip in my next blog.  I’ll try to do one every day or two and share more of our great experience!

Today’s symptoms:  We had our seven hour flight back home yesterday so needless to say, I’m rather tired today.  I also have a really bad headache and have had more than normal sharp pains in my hands and arms.  Blah!

Last Day of the Trip

So we were just leaving the ruins of Tintern Abbey.  There were so many neat business slogans we noticed during our trip.  Check this one out:

We headed to our hotel, for the second last night of our trip.  This hotel was quite funky:

Kind of a neat bathroom too:

This is where Jan fell in love with the portable mirror, which had something like 50x zoom!  I think she could even see her cells dividing!

Anyway, we headed to Bath the next day:

We stopped and admired some of the incredible Georgian architecture:

In my next blog, I’ll show some of the great pictures we took at the Roman Baths.  Cannonball!

I almost had a tragedy earlier this week.  I realized when I got home from going out Monday night, that I was missing a mitten.  It shouldn’t shock anyone that none of my mittens are normal – nothing I have or wear is.  They are really cute cat mittens.  Just like my socks, all of my mittens are goofy.  I know I was putting them into my backpack while walking home from work.  I must have dropped one then.  Ugh.  I was quite eager to walk back to work the next morning, in hopes of spotting it.  Hey, what’s that little black speck in the middle of the sidewalk in the distance?

No way – it can’t be my mitten out front of the Niagara Regional Police station?!

NO WAY!  When I realized what it was, I ran toward my mitten with arms outstretched and tears in my eyes:

I couldn’t believe it!  The poor little thing was outside all night, in the cold and rain.  I’m such a bad mitten owner!  Needless to say, it will need to be thoroughly decontaminated.  Still, the reunion will be remembered forever.

Today’s symptoms: Tons O’ pain today in my hands and arms.  My head is just throbbing tonight too.  Still having a great deal of pain in my left eye as well.  Tomorrow will be better!

Morphing Kitty

One of my kitties is changing into a little, furry mutant.  Cute Pinky is becoming Whitey.  She’s growing these little sections of wavy, short, white fur:


It’s actually really sweet!  Mind you, when I mentioned to Abby that her sister may be a furry imposter, this was her reaction:

Typical googly-Abby!

Meanwhile, Mya kept busy with the shower scrunchie that my mother accidentally sent here:

Nothing phases little Mya.  I will suggest to my mother that she rinses off the scrunchie, since it’s now covered in her granddaughter’s drool.

I can’t believe it’s Friday already!  I have the day off today and am trying to relax and get some strength back since feeling so weak and tired the last couple of weeks.

Today’s symptoms: Feelings a little better today than yesterday.  Hopefully this means I’m on the mend!