It was worth the drive to Alabama Jacks

Four of us had an interesting and fun filled day in Florida even though an inordinate amount of time was spent sitting in traffic.


I was invited to accompany, friends for lunch at Alabama Jacks in Key Largo Florida. It was estimated that the drive to get to our destination would be roughly an hour and a half. It was estimated wrong. It took us over three hours to arrive. We thought it would be nice to take the scenic route along U S 1 instead of I-95. It was. nice. We drove past so many distinct areas- residential, business, industrial and rural. some posh , some very posh, some not so posh and some desolate. The scenery varied from magnificent to depressing. We passed some places that had been affected by the damaging winds of Irene.

Our driver with a straight face but with a twinkle in his eye kept insinuating that he wasn’t sure how to get there or even if the restaurant still existed, Was he serious? Even his wife who stated that he had a wonderful sense of direction and never got lost began to have doubts.that we would find the restaurant. But we of little faith. He knew exactly where he was going and Alabama Jacks was still there.

This unique, and lively, beach bar open air eatery, overlooks a canal and attracts a very varied clientele. Celebrities such as Kathy Lee Giffard frequent this establishment. Bikers, tourists, locals and birds- yes birds- also flock here. I enjoyed the ambiance, the food featuring a lot of seafood and unique cuisine. Entertainment was provided by a singer/guitar player, who I suspect was the owner or manager of this large family run restaurant. He came around to each

We left Key Largo shortly after 3 pm .We took a shortcut and expected to be home around 5 o’clock. .Well we were wrong again.Traffic was bumper to bumper and movement was almost non existent. We didn’t reach home until after 7 P.M. On route we stopped for a delicious and badly needed coffee at Dunkin Donuts. We were in awe of the magnificent buildings we passed in Miami and Miami beach. It was like being on an architectural tour, albeit a very slow moving one. We sat in the car beside an old Protestant church for nearly 15 minutes

It was a good day. Good company, good weather, good food, good entertainment good conversation and fun fun fun. If you are looking to do a different day trip go to Alabama Jacks but be prepared for a long drive and possibly heavy traffic.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


After yet another school shooting, this time at Douglas High in Parkland Florida, teenagers are taking action. The survivors of the massacre are speaking out. They have held rallies, and in an effort to implement change, they boarded buses to Tallahassee to demand tougher gun control from law makers. They are supported by students at other schools and support continues to grow.

Go Students Go.

The adults have failed you. They have failed to keep you safe. They have failed to protect you in your schools. They have failed to rid society of guns. They have failed to recognize mental illness in individuals and have failed identify and take appropriate acton against those who are an immediate threat to themselves and others. They have been unable to curb bullying. Hopefully you can succeed where others before you have failed.

Adults do you think you are safer if you own a gun? Guns kill. An intruder can take your weapon out of your control and use it against you. A young child perhaps your precocious, adorable son or daughter will find your gun in the house or car and inadvertently kill or maim themselves or others. Could you live with the guilt and sorrow? If your gun somehow gets into the wrong hands it could be used in another mass massacre. An easily accessible gun in a moment of rage or in a moment of mistaken identity or in a case of misinterpreting a situation, could be fired causing death or injury. I don’t imagine it would be any fun to spend the rest of ones life in prison or on deaths row. Many accidental deaths and suicides are the result of gun fire.

if guns were banned or restricted to those in law enforcement, guns would not be needed for protection. AS an alternative, perhaps taser guns, rubber bullets or pepper spray could be used as a safer form of protection.

Young People, do not give up your goal. Help make the schools and the world a safer and better place. Good luck to you. We support you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lost and Found-The LADY on the BENCH

I found my homeless acquaintance. Two years ago when I was in Florida I came across a senior with shiny white hair and a beautiful smile sitting on a bench outside a department store where numerous buses came and went.{see my wordpress blog The lady in the Van and the lady on the bench} Her belongings a sleeping bag and numerous bags were in a shopping cart beside her bench. Although she was frail, shivering and in poor health, she was clean and well groomed.When i spoke to her it was obvious that she was well educated and seemed to have had a decent upbringing.

The bus hub was moved to a garage in the mall and the bench, the shopping cart and my lady disappeared. Last season due to a fall and a broken arm I was only in Florida for a week and never saw her, but I thought of her often.

I am currently in Florida. A few days ago I went to shop for groceries and lo and behold there she was sitting outside the super market in a different mall- her belongings in a shopping cart beside her.I sat down to chat with her.She said she remembered me and seemed pleased to see me.I was also pleased to see her and pleased to see that she seemed to be in better health and in good spirits.She told me similar tales from two years ago about stolen identity and attempts by her lawyers and detectives trying to recover it. She also said she recently bought an apartment that was stolen from her. The nights were cold and i asked her where she was sleeping. She said she sometimes slept at a friends house when he was out of town but didn’t like to sleep there when he was in town because he made unwelcome advances to her.Other nights she spent at a shelter or a bus terminal. She prefers the bus terminal because there are guards around the clock who are nice to her and she says there is less chance of theft.She spends most of her mornings outside the supermarket and her afternoons riding the buses. Some of the buses in the area are courtesy buses and I assume for the other buses she has a bus pass from social services.

I asked her if I could get her anything or give her some money to buy something. Unlike in the past she declined my offer, thanked me and said she was fine.It was nice to see her. Whatever her story and circumstances are, she seems to know the ins and outs of living on the street.Good luck my friend.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Goodbye 2017 Hello 2018

Fairwell 2017. Hello 2018. Hello to a new beginning.

I am a snowbird and spent most of the last month of 2017 in a Canadian deep freeze. I am in Florida now. The week before I came I was sick and also dealing with a sore back.I was also in shock as were most Torontonians when a high profile couple were found strangled in their home. Around the same time as this tragedy a friend of mine lost her husband suddenly. 2017 certainly did not end on a high note for me.

The day before my departure there were weather warnings of record breaking cold temperatures, massive snow storms and hazardous driving conditions. Schools cancelled their classes. Would our flight also be cancelled? My travel companions were afraid of poor road conditions so we booked our limo service to the airport much earlier than we ordinarily would have under normal conditions.

It turned out that the weather wasn’t so bad.The highways were snow free and the traffic was light. I guess people were afraid to travel. Thus we arrived at the airport in record time and we had hours to amuse ourselves -not an easy task at this location. After spending so much time at the airport we could have missed our flight because the wrong gate was stamped on our boarding pass. We didn’t discover this until shortly before take off. Thus we were forced to take a not so leisurely stroll to the opposite end of the terminal.

Oh I forgot to mention that I was randomly chosen to be tested for drugs when I went through security. Or was it random? Maybe i look like a drug addict or a pusher. The airport photo taken at checkin made me look more like a gangster than a drug smuggler.

The seats allotted to us were middle and window seats. We were not happy we wanted aisle seats. We were able to change our seats. i sat next to a very interesting lady, a ballerina from Venezuela who gave up her career to become a wife to a Toronto man and a mother to their five children. My friends sat next to a sometimes crying baby, albeit an adorable one.

When we arrived in Florida the weather was warm and sunny. That didn’t last long. The Floridians, as usual blamed the Canadians for bringing the cold air with them. They are probably right. We canadians like to share.

My ears were hurting from the flight and when I entered the condo, my poor ears were subjected to high pitched intermittent beeps emanating every three minutes from the smoke detector.It took a long time to remove the battery and find a replacement for it. Most other things were working except the televisions and a toilet seat that kept falling off.The newspaper that was supposed to be delivered wasn’t.It is very quiet at the condo complex A lot of the permanent residents have left to visit their families for the holidays and most of the snow birds haven’t arrived as yet. But that is okay. I am looking forward to some quiet time. Time to read and time to write.

I wish everyone a good year– a year of peace, good health, laughter and joy. Let this be a year, that is overflowing with good stuff leaving no room for the bad.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Season greetings

Wishing family and friends a Merry Christmas, a happy peaceful holiday season and a New year filled with love laughter and good times. Now go get plastered you b_____ds


Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 7.33.29 PM

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Wonder, a really wonderful movie is based on a novel.. Acting is superb and features many acclaimed stars. August Pullman, known as Auggie is played by Jacob Trembley who starred in “Room”. Auggie was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome – genetic disorder passed down from a defective gene from each parent, causing severe health issues including facial anomalies. the has undergone multiple surgeries. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson portray his parents and Isabel Vidodec, his sister Viv.

The film begins when 10 year old  Auggie is about to go to school for the first time. He has led a mainly sheltered life and has been homeschooled and overprotected by his loving family. He shares an interest in things that other young boys his age like such as X Box games and he is a fan of Star Wars. So much so that when he goes out he insists on wearing a a toy space helmet. This allows him to pretend and use his imagination and hide from the world to escape the stares, averted eyes and whispers of those who encounter him.

This isn’t just Auggies story. It is also the story of his family. One can feel his parents pain and anguish as they walk him to school that first day. They question themselves “Did they make the right decision to enter him into the public school system?” Viv also walks him to school. She loves her brother but has conflicted emotions. She considers him her best friend but has had to endure taking a back seat over her brothers needs and a part of her is embarrassed by his appearance. This is also the story of his teachers and school administers and the role they must play in preventing bullying. This is a tale of his classmates- their desire to be cool and fit in and why some of them act badly–often the result of poor parenting.

However this is mainly about Auggie and his struggle to blend in. HIs sister tells him ‘You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” Indeed he does stand out.He has a cute winning smile, he is bright, he learns to forgive, and he has a delightful sense of humour. His friend asks him if he ever considered having plastic surgery? His answer:  “This is after plastic surgery. It takes a lot of work to look this good.” This is the story of his initial isolation at school, betrayal by his friend, his forgiveness of him and the eventual acceptance of him by his peers who eventually see past his looks and appreciate him for what he is. He is a wonder.

Although this story is based on a novel, Auggie could be anyone of a multitude of individuals worldwide who is  different .This movie should be seen by everyone, particularly school children. In Toronto many teachers are accompanying their students to see “Wonder “ Hopefully this will lead to discussion and food for thought on self acceptance, acceptance of others, inclusion, friendship, forgiveness, looking beyond ones physical appearance , empathy, the unfairness and effects of bullying and how to prevent it. My granddaughter is going with her class to see the movie. I am looking forward to her opinions and  discussing it with her.



Posted in movie review, humour, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A beautiful rainbow and it’s shadow


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

NIAGARA FALLS and Falls View casino

This week I  took a day trip to Fallsview Casino arranged by residents of a nearby condo building. The cost was five dollars and included our round trip on a chartered bus, including a tip for  the bus driver as well as water and snacks for the bus. As if this wasn’t  enough of a bargain once we reached our destination we were given a ten dollar voucher by Fallsview for use in the casino to entice us to gamble.

The drive from Toronto, Ontario to the Falls took about an hour and a half. I was looking forward to the scenery especially the fall colours on the trees and shrubbery. But alas although the leaves were changing ,  they lacked he usual lustre and  vibrant coloration of previous years. The poor trees were confused. They didn’t know what season it was. We experienced a very rainy and cold summer followed by an unseasonably hot September and October.

The colour  and excitement of the casino made up for the dullness of the trees. Over the years the number of slot machines have grown. The bells and whistles and sounds emitted from them have increased in volume and frequency, while the payoffs have decreased in frequency and amounts. A one cent machine isn’t really a  one cent machine. it is often a fifty or more cent machine because most times you have to play a minimum of fifty lines for each bet. To make matters worse it often states to qualify for the jackpots you must bet the Maximum amount. This can add up to many dollars.

I lost my ten dollar voucher quickly, followed by further losses. Most of our group were losers. There were a couple of winners but of course the casino was the biggest winner.

For my friends and me the nicest part of the day was lunch and taking a break from the casino to sit outside and admire the beautiful serene Falls. October 18, 2017 was reminiscent of a warm and sunny summer day. There was a light breeze,  birds were chirping and squirrels were dashing about. Young couples in love were holding hands and admiring the  famous Niagara Falls.

Would I go again to Fallsview Casino even hough i lost some money. You bet I would.

Sent from my iPad
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments


Irma, Irma go away. Calm yourself down. take a dip in the ocean and stay there. There is enough heartbreak and suffering in the world without you adding to it.

I am a snowbird. I have been receiving  emails and telephone calls from the management company of the condo complex where our family owns a unit. Daily updates on the status of Irma are provided as well as advice on hurricane preparation in case Irma targets Florida and in particular our area. There is an evacuation order. Not everybody follows orders. The conscientious lady who checks my condo put rolled up towels under windows, the sliding doors and under the refrigerator as recommended and then she went back to her apartment to wait out the storm with her elderly husband.I spoke to her. She says they have no where to go. She is  not worried and feels safe. I pray she is correct. I also have friends living in the threatened zones. I  pray for their safety too. I pray for everybody to be safe.

My thoughts go back to October 2005 when  Hurricane Wilma, an intense tropical cyclone slammed into South Florida. We were in Toronto at the time. We arrived to the sometimes Sunshine state a couple of months later and couldn’t believe the devastation in our area. The roof of our building was badly damaged and the rooftop air conditioning unit flew off and landed in someones condo. Hurricane shutters and balcony cages disappeared.. Patio furniture flew off, becoming dangerous missiles that caused further damage. The roof of the recreation hall was lifted and the public library a few blocks away was levelled. It took ten years for it to be rebuilt,–And the trees, the beautiful large  century old trees were uprooted and scattered about.

It has been 12 yeas since Wilma unleashed her fury and our condo complex has not been the same since. We were once a beautiful, close knit and comparable  community, but not any more. The buildings were under insured, and there was no reserve fund. Many owners did not have hurricane insurance. As a result a heavy assessment was necessary. Many couldn’t afford the extra expense and  walked away from their property causing extra expense for those who stayed. There was water damage left behind as well as mold and mildew. These issues  hasn’t been properly addressed. Every body blames everybody else for this unfortunate situation. We cant seem to find a compatible board and we have leans against the property from fired contractors. Condo owners are hoping that within a  couple of years we will have gotten our act together and to borrow a phrase from your president who some  of you may still admire–We will make our complex great once again.

However if Hurricane Irma targets us  we will be back to square one or much further back. So please Irma leave us alone .I wish all those in your path to be safe.




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle, a film based on the 2005 memoir by Jeannette Walls, takes the viewers on an emotional  journal, as they become privy to the impoverished  life and unorthodox  upbringing  of The Walls children. A young Jeanette was portrayed by Ella Anderson. Her older self  played by Brie Larson.j The parents aptly played by Woody Harrelson and Naomi Potts, are intelligent,  idealistic and completely out of touch with reality. The mother, Rose Mary a former teacher and artist is so obsessed with her painting that she neglects her children  Her father Rex, has a dream of building a glass castle to house his family. Despite his good intentions he  is emotionally unstable, an alcoholic with a vile temper and an inability to support his family..

This is a movie about the dynamics within this dysfunctional family= especially , the complicated relationship between Jeannette and Rex and the close bonds of the siblings. They help each other and manage to leave the family home.

I have great empathy for Jeannette and I was curious as to what her life is like now.. So i did a google search. I was happy  to see that she is married to a journalist, who was instrumental in convincing her to write her story.. Jeannette  works as a gossip columnist. They have no children but they own two homes and lead a satisfying life.

I recommend this movie, The acting is superb and the story well told.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments