And I Thought The Mid Air Explosion Was Bad……

I’m happy to report that I am home snug as a bug in my own sweet bed and it never felt better.

What was planned as our get-away to paradise for a “rest” vacation turned out nothing even close…Let the drama begin.

We arrived, as per my previous blog, to our favorite vacation spot at Cayo Levantado – Samana – Dominican Republic after the minor “mid air exposion” of my sharpie pen, leaving me with hands of indellible ink.  And to look back and think I should fret about such a minor incident, which completely ruined my salon manicure….(as Kimmy would say…”Sorry about your first world problem, Auntie Robin).  That was Saturday.

SUNDAY – great day at the beach all day. In the ocean – reading on the beach, wonderful meals and topping it off with a cigar on the balcony with a great glass (or two)  of vino.  Who could ask for anything more!?


Lea, here is your pool…as you can see, it’s still empty and waiting for you!cayo



MONDAY – wee hours of the morning I was awaken by pain my teeth, my face, my head and a cough from hell.  Really?  Seriously?  And it started to RAIN. Oh ya…and it gets worse.  We feel the salt air from the ocean will make me feel better, so Mikey parks us under a palapa to keep dry as the torrential rains intermittently pass through.  I felt like pooh.

TUESDAY – Just when I think I can’t feel any worse, well, I feel worse..I think my head is going to explode; each breath is work.   We have dinner planned for our favorite a la carte restaurant, Don Pablo’s….We have to leave before desert (I know, right?).

From what I could actaully taste, this asparagus, pumkin (yes, Mikey ate PUMPKIN!) soup was yummy!



WEDNESDAY – It’s not letting up – the cold or the RAIN!  We were told there was a system coming from the states (we’ll blame that on Trump) that was suppose to pass through, but decided to stay.  Now Steve, before you get all – “I told you it was the rainy season”…we have been to the Dominican at this time of year many, many times.  Never rained like this before! Not that it stopped anyone from doing what they pleased.  It wasn’t a constant rain – but when it did rain…it poured, as the saying goes.  Cancelled our dinner reservation to the new Rodicio restaurant.

THURSDAY – I’ve had enough.  I know now that the cold is not going to run its course on its own.  I had not slept well since Sunday..actually not really at all with the constant coughing.   I make the dreaded call to the island doctor.  Now when our West Jet Tour guy insisted we meet to discuss all the do’s and don’t on the island (and of course, to try and sell you the excursions) the one thing he did say was “Don’t go to the doctor without calling me first.  Last person that went to the doctor paid over $2500 dollars for an ear infection”.  Bad right?  Don’t call the Dr., right?  Call Herman, right?  Mikey calls him – no answer.  No answering machine.  This guy was as useless as a grave robber in a crematorium and a personality of a brick.  So we call the big bad Dr. and she was able to see me right away.  Dr. A. Figuereo-Garcia is a young, bright and sweet physician practising her trade for the past 5 years.  I immediately trust her.  She had that way.  However, after my examination, she is concerned about my blood pressure; “So Robin, you haven’t taken your blood pressure medication today?”…”Oh yes, I did take it about an hour ago.” Fast forward to an awaiting boat to the island then  greeted by Johnny, the parametic.  My ride is a blue and white ambulance.  Apparently a resperatory infection and high blood pressure in an “older” person is quite dangerous…so this is where the adventure begins…


Did I mention this was the one and only real beautiful, rain free days?  Check out the sky!

With lights flashing at 125kms in a 40kms zone;  dodging dogs, kids and bazillions of motorcycles with Mikey in the front seat of the “bambulance” trying not to allow his terrified screams to escape him.  Now I must interject – I wasn’t dying here, but Mario Andretti apparently had team orders.

We arrived at Las Terrenas at the private clinic and a medical team was waiting..


Before I go further, I want to say that at no time did I feel that my health was compromised.  The team of doctors and nurses treated me with empathy, respect and kindness….all in SPANISH.  Not a word of English.  Funny isn’t it, when someone doesn’t understand what you say it S-L-O-W-E-R and louder…still sounds the same to me…Spanish!  There was an interpretur there…who could speak a bit of broken English.

After the initial examination and sounds of ewwwwww and oooohhhh when I coughed, I was sent for an x-ray and hooked up to IV to input stuff to make me feel better..YES!

cayo-7We thought this would be a great blog shot for effect!  Sent it to the children at home to get their attention…let’s just say they didn’t think it was a funny as we did.  I am still the guilt master…

At this point, all I wanted to do is breath and SLEEP!  So, just before they released us, they shot something wonderful into that IV of theirs…and I was pretty much in la, la land.  Even sitting in the little house where they gave us 5 different medications and  the $1800 U.S. Hospital bill, didn’t phase me.  Wonderful Johnny & Estephan  waited the approximately 4 hours for us to be released from the clinic to take us back to…paradise.

Then this happened about a half an hour into our return trip….



A truck carrying sugar cane rolled over and blocked the road.  It was a free for all!  People running to grab the 50 pound bags of sugar cane over their shoulders onto their motorcycles…some even had two bags!   (pictures compliments of Johnny!)

After our caring paramedics checked out the scene to make sure there was nobody in need of medical attention, we turned around, backtracked and took a different route back home.  Me…I didn’t care…still in la, la land..except when I coughed..which was often.  I ran out of water so Johnny instructs Estephan to stop the ambulance and he runs and buys me more water.  I love this guy!  Johnny  looks to be in mid twenties, and does his job very well.   I find out that he is also part of the Red Cross and helped during the hurricane crisis.  Johnny tells me they work 24 hours a day for 20 straight days, then 10 days off.  Our 45 minute trip home has now taken us through the coast.  The parademedics then turn into tour guides, as you can tell they are so very proud of their country.  I’m pretty much out of it, so they ask Mikey if he would like to stop and take pictures of some of the amazing sites…. Our 45 minute ride turned into over 2 hours due to the detour!


Our tour guides – slash Paramedics.  Two amazing men – BRAVO and thank you to you both!

FRIDAY – Did I mention the rain?  It did stop here and there…


I was starting to feel a little bit human.  Mikey talked me into going for breakfast….cayo-11

We were able to keep our reservation ‘do over’ at Don Pablos that evening and so glad we did.  We had an amazing feast..most I’d eaten in days…which leads into our final …adventure…

Sill looking a little under the weather..


Amazing dinner!cayo-19

Although I had to sleep sitting up, I did sleep most of the night.’s time to go home!!!!    I can’t wait to get home, even though I’m going to be THAT person on the plane; the hacking, snot nosed, sneezing person.. Then it happens….The explosive diarrhea….I can only pray that the 45 minute bus ride to the airport, without an on board toilet is not going to go sideways…Holy shit…literally and figuratively, I need to catch a break…

I have white pants on.

P.S.  I wasn’t the only snot nose, sneezing, hacking person on the plane….I gave it to MIKEY….

Let me leave you with this…although our vacation was nothing like we’d planned, I take away a different understanding of this third world country.  Where the medical staff use an iphone’s flashlight to look down your throat and the only time they use gloves is for a turniquette, this country houses the most kind, real people I’ve met in the world.  Hats off to you …. and thank you.


Life is Good……

All Was Good Until The Mid Air Explosion….

…Ahhh so finally it is time for us to get away and relax.  Our favorite place to do just that is Cayo Levantado in the Dominican Republic.  This is our fourth visit, need I say more..

I digress, let’s get closer to the mid air exposion…

If you’re fortunate enough, you will know the craziness of getting ready to go away for a week.  First and most important is our fur baby, Brody.  He’s in the most capable hands of Suz and Trev and their fur baby, Tam Tam.  The usual guilt was lifted handing him off, as he too will be on vacation!

Next is handing off my duties as Area Coordinator for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  Although this is a volunteer position for a non profit organization dear to our hearts, there is still work that needs to go on when we are not there.  Our amazing volunteer photographer and happy to say new friend, Spencer graciously took over.  Another box ticked on my list of things to do.

Funny that most people will ask when you’re going away..”Are you packed yet?”…I leave my packing until the end, because…well, I just pack everything!

We jumped into bed early in anticipation of a 4:45am alarm.  And, that’s where things started to go awry…”If I fall asleep right now, I’ll get 5 hours sleep….4, 3…You got it…sleep did not really happen.  When he alarm went off, my brain trying to grasp the fact that it was deprived of it’s much needed sleep but understood the consequences of not jumping into the shower and out the door within 45 minutes!

We made it!  Dropped the truck off in the Park N Fly, albeit, turns out to be the wrong lot..hope our voucher works when we return!  We sailed through security, even with the 35 loot bags containing sweets, pencils, crayons, etc for the kiddies who will no doubt greet us at the dock before taking the boat over to our island.  Even the treats for the stray dogs made it through security!  Ahhh…a glorious breakfast  at Finn McCools


..even though they forgot the beans in my full pub breakfast.  Perhaps that’s a good thing considering the tight quarters we will be in for the next 4 hours…

Standing in line in’s getting real!  A little tap on my shoulder from the nice lady behind me suggested that I should check out my husbands derriere.  Really?  Undoubtably, she was checking our my hubby’s bum.  “Um, there’s a rather large amount of hair balls on your husbands hind end”….Dexter, our very furry kitty kat thought we should bring some of him with us!


We’re in our seats!  It’s finally becoming real…Two minutes before scheduled take off and there is nobody in the seat next to me…BONUS!  Why are they not closing the door…Close the door, let’s go.  Dun, Ta Dada…DUN…here he comes…the large, late man running toward me..”NOOOOOOOO, don’t let it be “…ya, it was him.  The 15 minute late, rather large man secured his seat next to me.  Not so bad; at least he smelled ok.

THEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN CAME THE MID AIR EXPLOSION! I’m almost through filling out the many forms the Dominican requires you to do, there was a warm feeling on my hands.  As I looked down and viewed what seemed to be a brides Henna all over my hands.  My SHARPIE exploded!  Yes, it couldn’t be just any pen, it had to be an indelible ink sharpie.  The lovely, large, late man was aghast as the flight attendents were quickly providing me with wet wipes to avoid spilling over on my WHITE (yes, Canada, I know it’s past Labour Day) pants.  I didn’t get any on my pants, but I didn’t get any off my hands…

We divided up the loot bags to our waiting children, who didn’t disappoint.  They were gone in less than 30 seconds..on to our boat and our beloved island!


We’re here and HUNGRY…let the feeding frenzie being…and that it did!


This is what greeted us in our room..


I’ll leave you with this….It may look like a Gecko to you, but it looks like a GILA MONSTER to ME!


Life is good……




…For some reason, I can’t get that “Dora” song worm out of my head.

We all survived….10 days with our 3 granddaughters – 3, 4 & just turned 6, 2 cats and 1 Siamese Fight Fish.  They were all delivered to their handlers safe and sound.  And here is what we learned:

  • We were out numbered..there were three of them and two of us.  Be afraid…be very afraid.14324682_10157488349785224_3752163654659767737_o
  • They are LOUD…except when they are sititng in the very back of the van and trying to tell you something important…then they speak very, very quietly…”Neema, I need to tell you something very important”…..blah, blah, blah
  • They all speak (scream) at you at the same time
  • They fight – especially when you are helpless to intervene…IN THE CAR
  • They miss their mommy and daddy; (not, we just did that to make them feel guilty..tee hee)

  • They are always hungry, yet never eat anything (see # 16)


  • There are never, ever enough baby dolls 14589823_10157705777445454_1820364636023239553_o
  • There is no loyalty to those babys dolls, as they will  trade babies between themselves constantly
  • They speak 90% of their time through their nose..Sounds like a song..“Tho n tho hnt me”….
  • We are on Premiere Kathleen Wynn’s Christmas card list now due to the amount of electricity we have consumed.  All lights, TV’s and electronic devices need always be operational at the same time.
  • Keep all electronic devices in a childproof case as they fling them without warningimg_9557
  • Never put out even remotely good towels.  When they find your makeup, they WILL put it on and remove it with said towels to rid themselves of the evidence
  • Hide your good bedding…see above.
  • Never, ever walk down the stairs with the lights out – there are babies on them and they are very slippery
  • You no longer have dibs on your favorite chair; babies now occupy it


  • Days after your sweet grandchildren leave your home, alarms will go off at mysterious times and your surround sound system will never sounds the same..
  • When you take them to feed the birds/chippie…they eat more than they share (perhaps we need to feed them seeds and nuts instead of proper meals?  See #5)14589652_10157705777750454_1760727356290736888_o


  • Never, ever leave a building without insisting on a bathroom visit (“Neema, I have to.. )smiling-poop
  • They love to bakeimg_9535img_9532img_9536
  • They allow you to be goofy img_3242img_3240
  • They really do love one another 14440965_10157687325540454_2848094078366563656_n

But most important, what they have reminded us is to be patient, to understand, to not make it personal (only 1 I hate you Neema!) and that our hearts are bursting even more with love for these little girls.


I’ll leave you with this…….Someone once said,

“Your Grandchildren Are Your Reward For Having Children”

…..I couldn’t agree more.

Life is good…..

Help! I’m in a puddle of tears……

It’s quite unusual for me to be arranging the beginning of another new fabulous day and be in a puddle of tears…but I am.

The first day back to school brings back so many cherished memories…with the realization that time slips by so quickly…

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As usual for third children…I cannot find one single picture of my Melissa on her first day of school!  This upsets me greatly, as a person that documents everything in photos.  Only thing I can think of is that I lost the original in the divorce (that is suppose to be funny). This official JK pic will have to do…


On this day, our Hannah is entering into Junior Kindergarten….her first day of school.  As you read this, I know you will be reflecting on each and every one of your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, being shuffled either onto a school bus or waiting in line eagerly awaiting the school bell and enter a whole new adventure…..with you trying to disguise your babbling, as you stock them until they disappear into a new world of learning.



14195438_1193460747392109_3073062359578049367_oAs a grandmother now, I have been there to see each of one of our grandkids off to their first day of school and document such via my pictures.




Abbey 1st day of school.jpgThis year, with Hannah, I decided to leave this special time to her mom and dad, as I worried it would be too overwhelming for her; based on Abbey’s first day last year.  We made such a big fuss and I think she was a little un-nerved…so….although I held myself back…I stepped back this year.  Mom and Dad had this…..





With a lump in my throat..I believe this momentous moment when your child steps into their own independence still this has to be the most emotional day for young parents…and young gramma’s too.  Beginnings.

I wish for all my babies to be kind, be focused, make new forever friends, learn, be respectful…and make memories that you will be happy to relive.

Love, Gramma

Life is Good……


Oh Summer of 2016…Thanks for the Memories!

It’s been a while since my last blog…and here’s why:-

It’s been a wild ride!!!

In looking back on this past Summer, it’s almost a blur.  It began with our visit with the Lewin’s to our Michigan “Golden Girls”….


check out the beautiful hand crafted bird houses Jann made for us!  The detail is amazing.

Visit with Jann & Nancy

Visit with Jann & Nancy-70


Then, our Formula 1 Gang

Photo Jun 11, 7 44 13 AM

Photo Jun 10, 7 42 40 AM







…and that was a wild ride (no pun intended!)

Rosie & Connagh extended their vacation and Mikey took them for his 32nd visit to Niagara Falls!  Each time a friend and/or family member comes from England..the first thing they want to see is the Falls!

Connagh & Rosie's Visit-2

Connagh & Rosie's Visit-3

Connagh & Rosie's Visit-4

Connagh & Rosie's Visit-12

Oh wait!!!!  No Niagara Falls Pics..because..  Wait for it……I wasn’t there!

Did I mention our family keeps growing?????……

Michelle and Todd’s Gig

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In the mean-time, we try and make time with our grandchildren and neighbours…



First love…13524519_10157229869565454_3627471675704219753_n





And our beautiful Goddaughter’s confirmation….

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2016 Michelle's Confirmation-15

Ade & Alina’s Visit

Ade & Alina Downton T.O-3

Ade & Alina Downton T.O-10

Ade & Alina's July Visit-34

Yep…yet another visit to the Falls…..Mikey 33rd!

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But it never gets old…

Ade, Alina, Sal & Kevin visit to Niagara Falls-78

Stopped in for a great dinner with our amazing friends, Kevin and Sally!

Ade, Alina, Sal & Kevin visit to Niagara Falls-146

Labour, Delivery and forever BFF’s!

Visit to the Lewin’s Lake House

Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-24Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-7Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-21-2Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-45Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-73Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-136-2Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-17Trev & Suz Trailer with Ade & Alina-34Drop in for dinner @ Ruth & Ken’s…

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Fly in visit from our Golden Girls…

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Journey learning to swim!

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……and the moment our grandkids wait for each year….The Tinker’s Cottage!

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Newest addition to the Tinker’s home…Maya!Tinker's Cottage 2016-107

Maddie and Jordan were delighted to ride the sea doo with Mike Tinker!Tinker's Cottage 2016-53

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Lisa (Tinker) looking on as everyone was enjoying themselves!Tinker's Cottage 2016-38Tinker's Cottage 2016-37


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One of the most memorable days of this Summer was when ALL of our children and ALL of our Grandchildren, daughters and son in laws and even Mum came to the cottage…AMAZING and melted my heart.  A day I will forever cherish.

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Accomplishing new feats!  Rock Jumping!

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and there was this!  The infamous “outside shower” where it took Jordan 1/2 hour each day to arrange the towels so nobody would peek!  Best Shower EVER!day 6!-96

Here comes the music!day 6!-99day 6!-100

Amazing voice Maddie has!

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Joey enjoying the jammin

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Brother and Sister Duetday 6!-136

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..Finally we spend some quality time with Mike and Lisa..

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Thank you Mike and Lisa from the bottom of our hearts.  Your generosity made many of my family so very happy.

Lisa and Mike 2016-28

I have to stop here….and get out there and enjoy the day!

To Be Continued……………

As you can see…



Recap of a cottage get away with our SIX grandchildren ages 3-14

First let me say that we have amazing friends that in return for caring for their fur babies,  insist that we take over their “cottage” (I use that word lightly, as it’s more like a gorgeous house) for a week right smack in the middle of the prime time summer.  Not only do they open the cottage life to Mikey and I, they also include our large family – 6 beautiful grandchildren, their parents and our wonderful Brody dog.  Ok, for those that are counting…that is well, a lot of people.

The first day we arrived, Mr. & Mrs. Tinker (as the kids refer to them) were there to greet us and quickly watch as we completely took over their home away from home.  Three cars/suv’s full of “stuff”….bedding, food, toys, DVD’s for those raining days (of which there were none!) fishing gear, (did I mention the toys?).  Bedroom were quickly filled with pre teen clothing (hello, all you need is a bathing suit and pjs)…and electronics.  Guess what?  No Wifi….you’re unplugged baby!

In a blink of the eye, Mr. (Mike) Tinker was spot on taking the kids sea doo-ing (well, I did go too) and boating…

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Tinker's Cottage 2016-53

Mrs. (Lisa) Tinker looks on as the kids are enjoying all the elements of cottage life..

Tinker's Cottage 2016-38

Tinker's Cottage 2016-37

CourageTinker's Cottage 2016-169

SuccessTinker's Cottage 2016-141

FreedomTinker's Cottage 2016-3

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DeterminationTinker's Cottage 2016-159


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CousinsTinker's Cottage 2016-65

PeaceTinker's Cottage 2016-62

ApprehensionTinker's Cottage 2016-23

Catching up Tinker's Cottage 2016-15

JoyTinker's Cottage 2016-28

HappinessTinker's Cottage 2016-144

After the plethora of fun, we sit down to a meal of lasagna prepared ahead of time to feed a small army.  Mr. (Mike) Tinker sits at the head of his table and tells us, the 11 of us sitting there is the most they have ever had.  I’m sitting around the busy chaotic table and feel blessed, happy and proud of my family and my friends.

After claiming favorite beds (the top bunk is like calling shotgun!), donning pj’s, (ok, a little bit of over tired crying) comes peace to the end of day 1.