Monday, October 13, 2014

Post Vacation

Vacation seems long ago, and I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I've looked at my photos and relived the fun of it all.  It was wonderful from beginning to end!  When friends here ask me about life in Saudi, I always say that I met exceptional people...people, who if planted on Mars, would throw a party and then go about making life as liveable and fun as possible.  I'd never really been around so many people with such positive and generous natures, and it was a huge growing experience for me.  The wonderful part of the reunion was to discover they have maintained all of that....the joy for life, positive outlook, and easy humor.  It really was like old times, in the best kind of way.

It had been a long time since I'd been to the UK and I was struck my many things that were differently/better than here.
My last airport experience there was Gatwick, which was crowded, long waits in line, etc.  Heathrow was, airy, easy, and that's without the Arab music and dancing girls!  My bag was searched because I forgot to empty my water bottle, but the young man was so polite and helpful that I didn't even mind.  I came back into Dullas and the personnel were rude and unhelpful...and I'm a citizen!  I can only imagine how foreigners must feel...what a disappointment!
As we were driving from Rickmansworth to York we passed several wind farms, each with 6-8 windmills......something you don't see in this part of the country (nor do you see solar panels in one of the sunniest parts of the country!!)  I find the windmills not at all objectionable in appearance, but Martin said they were quit noisy, which I didn't' know.  In any case, it is good to see other countries moving forward with alternative energy sources.
I loved the fact that garbage collection included composted foods!  At both Ann and Jean's there were small kitchen containers with bags to collect kitchen wasteI've been wanting to compost for a while but don't feel secure enough to get started, AND I'm afraid it might smell with the heat of the summer If it were done in conjunction with garbage collection, that would be great.  I think you can also buy the compost for yards at a very reasonable price....a win-win all the way around!  In that same vein, everyone arrives at the grocery store with their reusable bags rather than pay for plastic bags.  We use plastic bags like they aren't an environmental problem.
The train and metro systems are as efficient as ever.  I've always enjoyed train travel there and am glad to have had the opportunity to enjoy it again.
Anyway, I came home to a week and a half of overcast, rainy days, which made me appreciate the wonderful weather we had in England.  It has now settled into our usual fall weather.....low to mid-80s, sunny and nice. I've managed to walk most days this week and hope to start a yoga class on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I wish I loved to exercise, but....

The second Saturday after I got back, I thought my mother was dying.  She couldn't was like she'd forgotten how to chew!  Her body was locked and it seemed to be painful to move.  It took most of the following week for her to show any improvement.  Hospice thinks she had a TIA....a mini-stroke.  Once she was more responsive, she spent every waking moment crying, pleading, praying....Oh, God.....Oh, God, help me, help me!!  Over and over again.  It was heartbreaking.  Finally they gave her a low dose of Ativan at morning and night.  While it makes her sleepy, it does keep her from being so distressed. 

By the time that was under control, I had to go to the doctor myself for my locked shoulders and neck.  That is the area I usually carry stress but now, in addition to being locked, the discomfort began moving up into my head and my movement was limited.  I was given meds and exercises, which have helped a little, but only a little. 

Otherwise, I've kept up with my Living Liberally group, touched bases with friends, attended another concert  at the Unitarian churcg, and signed up for several OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) classes with my friend, Chris.  My most enjoyable new commitment is helping with a feral cat colony.  My neighbor, Joe, who has been feeding several colonies for a long time, asked if I'd be willing to help with the two kitties who separated from the main colony.....they are the two shown in the July 31st post, along with the raccoon!  Needless to say, this was right down my alley!  When I went with Joe to see what he does, another black cat showed up....and appeared when I fed them on my own.  So, we may have a growing colony and I'm happy to be a part of it.  I think I'll really enjoy be prepared for lots of photos!!!