Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘travel’


A thaw was promised. After weeks of frozen temperatures, snow and ice — a couple of days of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Perfect day to go downtown and hand deliver the paperwork for our senior freeze. Of course, first I had to fill in the numbers. I was confused by one of the numbers on the form. I had filled it out in previous years. I had confidence in my abilities — every time I looked at the previous years, the numbers didn’t make sense. Thankfully I saved the paperwork and was able to figure it out.

Heading downtown, I planned on staying on the elevated train. Then I remembered the ped-way that stretched underground to city hall. I hadn’t traveled downtown in months. Even though the weather was good, I decided to refresh my memory on the underground path and switched trains for the subway. And totally confused myself. I had no trouble finding the ped-way but that is when things changed. A new building — many new shops and restaurants shared the path. Signage was different, so different that I was confused and asked directions. Thankfully I was headed in the right direction. And leaving the new building, I saw signs showing the way.

Not only did we have warming temperatures, but the day was the anniversary of the fire. I decide that I would stop in at St. Peters, for Mass or just a few prayers. I was too early for Mass, so I decided to say my version of the rosary — thanks for my family, help in my life, help in the world, ending with prayers for continuing help with my path in life. I was on the fifth decade — path in life. The decade is comprised of ten beads or fingers if beads aren’t available. I reached number five when bells announced the beginning of Mass. I finished the decade on the train back home.

While I was at St. Peter’s, I remembered my quest. My granddaughter was experienceing too many headaches and I wanted to know if there was a patron saint to petition. Three people were in the gift shop , with access to a computer. They found St. Teresa of Avila — patron of headaches, bodily ills, sick people, and loss of parents. A holy card wasn’t available but they had a pamphlet with more information on the saint. I learned that she experienced mystical prayer accompanied by visions and voices. I also learned that she passed over on my birthdate in 1582. I didn’t realize that she was the patron of lost parents until the next day. The date of the fire was the anniversary of the passing of both my mother and brother.

I noted the various synchronicities that I had experienced during the day. I wasn’t done. I stopped in our neighborhood for a bowl of Poke. A Japanese dish that I had enjoyed in Hawaii. The number of my order was the year of my birth.



I know I have mentioned before that I’ve been delayed in what I am doing or planning to do. Often I’ve learned that being delayed prevented me from being in an accident or stopped on my journey. Often the delay causes me to think — “Do I REALLY WANT to do or go or spend?” Sometimes the delay causes me to change my plans. Sometimes the reason for the delay remains hidden.

Friday — at the camper — I experienced a delay. It started with a broken pot. I pulled it from the cupboard, the edge struck something and shattered into shards. One of my favorite pots, one I used often — not every meal but more than once a week. Not only broken pieces but shards to pick up. It took awhile, not only were they on the counter but escaped to the floor.

Once I finally cleaned up the mess, we were heading out for breakfast. Except — delayed again — my scooter was returned. The speedometer cable had broken and it had been picked up for repair. It was supposed to be back on Thursday but plans changed. Finally heading for breakfast, a half hour later. I saw an unusual sight outside the restaurant — a bicycle with bags strapped to its wheels towing a small trailer. I was intrigued. The bike belonged to Mr. Alan Thompson, a 68 year man who wanted to ride around the perimeter of the United States. He started in Ohio in 2015, made it as far as Portland when he returned home to rest for a year. He started again in 2017 in Portland and was finishing his ride. It was August but it felt like Fall, the temperature that morning was a balmy 55 degrees. I asked him if he spent the night in a motel to stay out of the cold. Thankfully he did. He was riding for Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children. Both worthy causes.

Next appearing at the restaurant was a group from a classic car club. I started to chat with them but they had only taken a bathroom break and the gentleman was requested to rejoin the group. I didn’t even get a look at their old cars. My husband has an old car and we both were interested in the group. They were the Summer Knights Car Club — meeting at Buona Beef in Glendale Heights, Il.

Next taking a bathroom break was a group of police men and woman. They didn’t stay to eat either. I was glad that the man riding the bike had stopped for something to eat. I really enjoyed hearing his story. He wasn’t accepting money but I could make a donation at his website: usperimeterride. org — his blog or apt@bex.net.

It turned out to be a very interesting morning.


I have to admit that I usually only have the radio on when I’m by myself in the car. Ash Wednesday our son was going to O’Hare bright and early in the morning. I offered to drive him to the train station. I brought Robin along to treat here and allow my husband to sleep while I was gone. I didn’t have time to take her for a walk before I left. Robin would have woke him after I was gone.

I seldom drive in morning rush hour anymore. And that morning the traffic was heavy, After I dropped our son off, I turned on the radio. Maybe because the traffic was so slow or not moving, I paid more attention. I heard an advertisement from one of our grocery stores advertising a special, that day only. Buy one package of Gorton fish sticks or fish fillet and get 2 free. Sounded good to me. Lent was starting — fish or meatless on all Fridays and a couple of Wednesdays. Meatless for 8 Fridays. I could use the fish, I didn’t know if I had room in the freezer.

I was tempted to stop at the store before going home. The stop and go traffic gave me time to think. I decided that I needed to take Robin for a walk first. Since we live walking distance from the store I decided to park the car in the garage, take Robin for her walk, then walk to the store. She wouldn’t wake my husband up after going for a walk. She would be too happy to go back to sleep.

Most battered fish is too high in sodium for me. I got a surprise when I read that FIVE fish sticks were only 250 mgs. of sodium. I could eat FIVE. Of course, stopping after 5 would not be easy but I decided I could do it. It had been a long time since I had fish sticks. The fish fillets were not as low in sodium but I bought them too. WHAT WAS I THINKING? FIVE packages that would have to find room in our freezer. I planned to use the fish sticks for supper. I saved $34. So glad I turned on the radio and LISTENED.


I’ll admit it. I was worried. My knees have continued to give me problems. They were better — meaning I wasn’t in continuing pain. BUT .. and it was a BIG BUT — I had trouble getting out of the car after we had driven a distance. I was having trouble getting up from a chair, the toilet .. in other words my body wasn’t working as it had in the past. And we were planning to drive to Lookout Mountain, an 11 hour drive away. I didn’t think we would make it in one day. My husband probably could, I knew I COULD NOT! And I was afraid I WOULD NOT be able to get out of the car.

So I began packing for a short stay, including an overnight in a motel. I thought two bags would work out well. One for the extended stay, one for overnights. I forgot that in all of our recent travels, we were staying at places that already had some of our bathroom supplies — toothbrushes, paste, etc. Then I remembered our preferences for drinking and eating. Okay, the bags increased to three for me. My husband was on his own — not only his medicine but also his ham radios. Oh, then I had to add a cooler for his insulin. He remind me that he didn’t have a truck.

Just in case I would forget things, I had help from the other side. My knee hurt, more than usual. Remember the various creams and ointments to help with pain. I had trouble sleeping. REMEMBER TO TAKE SLEEPING AIDS. I was warm in every outfit I put on. I had packed the summer clothes away, putting out the winter wear. WHAT WAS THE EXPECTED TEMPERATURE? Summer 80’s was forecasted. Luckily I had tee shirts and clam diggers still out.

I don’t snack a lot, but while I was packing I was EXTREMELY hungry. Time to buy some snacks and
water for the car. I remembered my tea, my husbands sugar, peanut butter and jelly…. instant coffee and small bottles of wine. Apple cider vinegar was a challenge but I found small glass dressing or wine bottles. Crackers for munching. I was trying to stay with healthy options, so no chocolate.

As more challenges arose, I finally realized I was receiving HELP from the other side. Since we had only been home from the camper for four days before we left again. I will admit that I’M EXTREMLY GRATEFUL FOR THEIR HELP. I will also admit that I was frustrated when so many things were going wrong! My husband took into consideration my traveling concerns and we stopped often. My eyes were bothering me when we left so he did the driving. (He loves to drive!) My feet were also swollen, I brought sandals for the drive. I also wore my half compression socks, only going up past the ankle. Thankfully my knees behaved, the trip was less stressful than I had feared. I could get out of the car. Both of the motels were dog friendly, but Robin had stayed home. Their breakfasts were good, one better than the other. The weather was delightful, sunny skies — dry roads, good traffic. LOVELY TIME!


I have written that I’m never alone. I don’t see, feel or hear those that are with me. In fact, most of the time I forget that I have companions. Our youngest daughter invited my husband and I to accompany her family on a short trip to Aruba. Our passport was still good, we grateful said yes.

On the trip down, we arrived at the airport three hours in advance only to learn that the ticket agents didn’t start work until after 4:00 AM. Less than two hours before our flight. I wasn’t able to confirm our tickets because we were returning on a different airline. The ticket agent needed to see our passport. After going through security, I managed to lose my boarding pass. A through search left it hidden. Thankfully I was able to get a new one at the gate. My husband had a window seat on the plane, and I had the seat next to him for the short flight to Atlanta.

We had enough time to get lunch before boarding our next plane. On the five hour trip to Aruba, the plane wasn’t packed, we had an empty seat and our granddaughter was able to join us so she could watch the Star Wars movie.

Our grandson was celebrating his birthday — the personnel at the restaurant on site blew up balloons and made a banner for the occasion. Happy birthday and a cake with sparklers highlighted the occasion.

Arriving in Aruba, my son in law asked what fish was local. The response was barracuda. He asked the concierge to inquire with the various restaurants to learn were the fish would be served. Reservations were made at the Aqua Grill, only to learn on arrival that they haven’t had barracuda in over a year. When asked what other local fish was available, we learned that they had Wahoo. It wasn’t on the menu but the chef prepared it for our son-in-law. He graciously shared — it was delicious. At a different restaurant the night we were leaving, I had Wahoo. Sadly, although expensive, it wasn’t as well prepared as the first night.

I won’t bore you with the details of our trip, only the special experiences. A Food Store was located within walking distance. My husband and I took a rolling suitcase and wandered to the store. After getting directions again after going in the wrong direction, we followed a couple down the WET, rocky, narrow path to the store. I got a thorn in my shoe. The next day, my daughter and I visited the store again. This time we found a wider path, still rocky but not wet.

The night before leaving, I got lost returning to our condo, and discovered a chapel on site. It was locked for the evening, but I stopped for a visit before leaving for the airport on Good Friday. A beautiful statue of Our Lady graced table by the window. I don’t know Her title, but she wore a crown. I said a prayer for a safe return trip. We learned that Aruba, a Catholic country shuts down to observe Good Friday. Even the gas stations are closed.

We were advised to allow three hours to clear customs, security and the gate at the airport. We needed every minute plus more. The lines went on forever. I had hurt my little toe and my knee was yelling. Standing in all the lines didn’t help. We had 15 minutes before boarding to a completely packed airplane in order to get something to eat. I didn’t have enough time to buy a bottle of water. My husband and I had seats together but our daughter’s family was scattered throughout the plane. We exchanged our seats with our daughter so she could sit with our granddaughter. I had a middle seat, but arriving at the seat, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind changing for an aisle seat so her husband could sit with her family. Surprise, the aisle seat was located right next to my daughter. Thirsty, knee and toe hurting — I remembered it was Good Friday and offered up the discomfort.

Thankfully we had time to eat and buy water before our connecting flight. Still seated in the middle but thankfully my seat companions were slender.

Easter Sunday — I found $20 laying on the sidewalk when I took Robin for a walk before going to Mass where I learned that a friend had passed on Good Friday. I wasn’t surprised that he had passed, he had health issues for years. I was surprised that I had heard — they had moved out of our neighborhood many years ago.


I’ll admit that I’m not bored when my life doesn’t have a bunch of problems surfacing. Sadly ever since the end of June, I feel like I’m going over speed bumps — if not every day, a couple of times a week. Thankfully they are not mountains, just high enough to make me pause, reflect, reconsider, and PRAY.

It all started when I fell and hurt my shoulder — although it is getting better, I still have not regained normal movement. Therefore, I don’t exercise every day, or every week. Little things like writing or peeling potatoes aggravate my arm. I suppose I could stick to a food plan but I’m not doing that either. Of course, the tornado didn’t help!

I’ve already written about the tornado, work is still in progress to reclaim our space. It is VERY sunny, we miss the trees, the shade. A friend of ours planted an apple tree many years ago. We talked to a person to remove the tree stumps when I noticed the apple tree is sending up shoots. Since Muscles planted it, we are going to see if it becomes a tree again. We lost 11 trees but are only having 9 stumps removed at this time.

If there is a silver lining to our loss of trees, we now have better television reception. Before the tornado, we had 4 channels plus the religious stations. Now we have more than twelve. The trees aren’t blocking the signal anymore.

Returning from the camper, we learned that my husband’s company is canceling our health insurance. They feel we can do better on the open market. They have provided a company to help us choose new plans. Since my husband is diabetic along with a few other health problems — a new plan will be more expensive.

June ended, I hoped the bumps would even out. NOPE Our favorite restaurant is closing on Labor Day. Since my husband is particular — finding places to eat that fit his tastes and that we can afford is not easy.
We headed to Florida for our granddaughter’s wedding. My seat companion needed someone to talk too — I fit the bill. She shared her life story and current romantic interest. Our plane was diverted to Orlando because of thunder storms — thankfully the storms ended and we were able to safely return to Jacksonville — two hours late. Our granddaughter planned to wed on the beach. Thankfully they had a beautiful blue sky, dry wedding.

Just to keep life interesting — the alarm system at our daughter’s house sounded an alert at 2:00 AM — a French door shook in the wind. Returning home, — we had a good flight, calm skies, gentle landing. We learned our broken motor home had been removed from our property. Most of the debris was gone. Before we left the campground, I spent some time in the pool. Spotting a friend, I took advantage of the opportunity to talk or listen. She told me that the time we spent together really helped her, she felt better. I also learned that an old friend had passed, we had just been talking about him. Many years ago, he taught my youngest daughter how to dive.

July had finally ended. First of August, we learned that the garage we have taken our cars to for over thirty years was closing, they were retiring. They sold the building but not the business. More challenges — more new opportunities.


At Christmas, my son combined my Christmas and Mother’s day present by inviting me to accompany him to Oahu. We have made the trip before and had a marvelous time. The last time we were there we spent many hours hanging out at the International Market, sipping ice tea in the tree house and watching the world go by. We planned to do the same this time.

A month before we planned to travel, I met a woman in the grocery store whose children went to school with ours. They had just returned from Hawaii — they could not find the International Market. Computers are wonderful things. Returning home from the store, I looked up the International Market and learned it had closed. I have to admit that the knowledge made me sad but it was early enough that we could change the things we planned.

I wasn’t worried. Since I travel with Spirit, I knew that I would find many things that would intrigue me. I WASN’T mistaken. After experiencing Oahu traffic on our last visit, and learning the buses, we decided not to rent a car this time. We did take the bus — to the zoo, aquarium and China Town, but most of the time we used our feet.

The first day, I searched for a store that sold Apple Cider Vinegar. I have found that having a tablespoon in water before meals helps my digestion. We had wandered down the beach after breakfast, heading for the old location of the International Market. I stopped in a store that I thought might carry the product. They didn’t, but the manager told me how to find the Food Pantry. Make a right at Dukes Lane, (the alley) walk down a block, turn left and it was only two blocks away.

Imagine our surprise, we turned down Dukes Lane and discovered an off shoot of the International Market (Hawaiian flea market.) I found a purse that held my camera, cell phone, glasses and wallet that didn’t hurt my back — that I could afford. It didn’t have the tree house for iced tea but you can’t have everything. We learned a new International Market is being built, anchored by Sax’s Fifth Avenue opening in 2016. The new market sounds too pricey for me but it appears that Dukes Lane will remain unless they are forced out.

We found the Food Pantry — they had my vinegar. I would have had a lovely time buying food items but our plan was to eat out — a cooking vacation for me. The Food Pantry was near Wakiki beach., which became our new hangout for watching the world go by.

We wandered to Ala Moana Mall the next day to look for shoes. When I asked about the food store that had been at the mall, I learned it had closed. I was very happy to have found the Food Pantry. The mall now has a lovely food court — food from around the world in one space. Sadly, I wasn’t hungry.

That same week, we found another food court — not as big but with a lovely variety of places. I tried Tai Milk Tea and Vietnamese seafood noodle soup. We discovered that the shrimp truck was close to the time share and ABC store had a variety of fresh salads and sandwiches. I can truthfully say that my diet didn’t resemble the food I ate at home.

I can also truthfully say time spent at Wakiki Beach was worthwhile. Besides watching the surfers and the waves, we found many things to delight us.

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