Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Odds & ends

  • I still wouldn't say November totally sucks... but it's starting to head in that direction. :p
  • It's year end at work, & my new boss is stressed. Ergo, I am getting stressed too. :p
  • Katie's due date (last Saturday the 14th) was OK. Dh & I went out for dinner that night. Observing a father & daughter duo at the next table over -- daughter being just slightly older than Katie would have been -- dh observed wistfully, "It's when I see daddies with their daughters like that that it hurts the most." I had to point out to him that the daughter was actually completely ignoring her poor dad in favour of texting her friends on her cellphone, lol. (There's the fantasy, & then there's reality...!)
  • Found out today that our office receptionist (who just celebrated her first wedding anniversary) is pregnant with her first baby & due in early April. She lives in the next town over from mine, & will likely be using the local hospital (of which I heard many horror stories from our support group clients). As always, I will be a nervous wreck re: this pregnancy until the baby is safely here in April.
  • Another coworker who is a recent adoptive dad is going to be feted at a baby shower next week. (It's a surprise -- shhhh!) And they're serving pizza (which I can't eat because of my issues with tomatos). Double delight. :p
  • Most of my office social functions take place on Thursday night. Inevitably, they almost always coincided with our support group meetings, which were held two Thursdays a month -- which meant I either had to miss the party altogether ("previous commitment") or leave early (same excuse). Since we stopped facilitating the group last December, I was looking forward to going to the office Christmas party & staying as late as I wanted this year. (Which would not be THAT late, lol. But later than the last several years.) -- Well, guess what? The party this year is going to be on a Wednesday night. The same Wednesday night as our support group's annual holiday candlelighting service, which we never miss & love to attend. Figures....
  • We've been looking into taking our first-ever sun vacation in January or February. I dropped by a travel agency & came away with an armful of brochures/catalogues for all-inclusive Caribbean resorts. But holy cow, the prices are unbelievable. I know some people who take a sun vacation every year. How do they afford it?? Settling for three star vs four & five-star resorts? Last-minute deals vs advance booking?? Huge credit card bills??? (= my guess...!)
  • Any suggestions on good places to go? (countries &/or specific resorts) Dh would prefer not to go to Mexico (too much crime), Jamaica (ditto), Cuba (too much poverty) or the DR (ditto, plus there's cholera next door in Haiti right now). (Coincidentally -- or not?? -- those are some of the cheapest places...)
  • I've read a couple of good articles in recent weeks. Hoping to post some links for those soon (if not full-blown commentary).


  1. Oh, that really stinks about the Christmas party and candle-lighting. Argh. And sorry November is heading south.

    I am suggesting Panama for your trip. My mother is Panamanian, so I am slightly biased, but there is just a great deal to do, and a great mix of things--beach, jungle, city, coffee plantations. I always stay with family or rent a house, but there are some beautiful resorts in Panama, if you are looking for an all-inclusive. Just putting it out there. Eco-tourism is getting very big there. xo

  2. Panama is a great option.
    We're looking at Turks and Caicos for our next trip south.
    (We were in Jamaica in January and it wasn't bad. I think if you're doing all-inclusive you can stay isolated on the compounds, and you can also pick a spot on the opposite side of the island).

  3. Wow - it sounds like Murphy and his laws have been following you around. Who was that guy anyway?

    I don't have any advice on a good (cheap) place for your vacation but I do want to say DO IT!! You deserve a nice sun-vacation. Don't talk yourself out of it.

    I don't know about prices, but I've heard good things about the Dominican Republic. A friend of my is getting married there this summer.

  4. same: sorry your november is bad. sorry is such a trite word...

    re: vacation. check out or

    i've only ever done one 'hot holiday' and it was in cuba. i loved it! it was a totally different lifestyle than ours but i learned a lot. it was a humbling experience for me. i thought i was the well-off one but, really, they've got so much that we don't have.

  5. I'm glad you guys went out for dinner, but sad your DH felt that sting. I know he's not thinking of the sullen teenager thing.

    Ah, just when you clear your Thursdays, it just figures they switch the day of the week. Nuts to that. It sounds like you could use an excuse to let your hair down.

    And by the way, tell them to order a non tomato pizza just for you. They do make them.

    And as for the holiday, I'd say Barbados. No matter where you go in the Caribbean, there's going to be poverty, right? That's just life. There may be poor people, but they are often richer in spirit than the so called wealthy. So I think you're better off going to a small island, like Barbados (my family is from there) or St. Kitts or St. Lucia.

  6. Oh no about the candle lighting and party being at the same time :( Sorry November is being a major pain.

    I have no suggestions, we've never left the state for a trip, although I have lived in other states... (we've never left the country either). We haven't really taken any vacations, just weekend getaways. I hope you go somewhere lovely and have a good time :) I'm with you, I don't know how people afford it either!

  7. Hey Loribeth...that really sucks about all the bad vibes/reminders you are getting this month. And the time conflict surrounding the Christmas Party and Candle Light Service. As far as destinations...I love to travel. I have travelled to all the locations you mention. But high on my list would be to travel to Costa Rica, Hawaii, or some of the newly serviced Carribean Islands that WestJet is servicing includes Bahamas (actually an old one), Grand Cayman and I can't think of the other one but I think is it Barbados? What about Florida in the Keys? I book all my travel online for cheaper deals. I watch;, etc. And of course to check out the ratings of the resorts/hotels, use Have fun!! OH and the catalogue prices are always WAY WAY inflated. You can always find a better deal and it doesn't have to be last minute.

  8. I'm sorry November is starting to suck, and I'm so sorry that you had to see a daddy/daughter duo on Katie's due date. That seems unreasonably cruel.

    I love that you're planning a vacation - what a great thing to look forward to!

    I've never been on a sun vacation, but I hear Bermuda is gorgeous - and, as an added bonus, just a short flight from Toronto! Like two hours or something. I think it's notoriously expensive, but it might be worth checking out.

  9. Sorry your month is going downhill. : (

    You deserve a good vacation! We've taken two winter breaks to all-inclusive resorts around Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This was in 2004 and 2007, before the escalation of drug wars. The area seemed to be very popular with Canadians, based on the number of maple leaf-emblazoned jets at the Cancun airport, LOL. We've also done a Caribbean cruise. If we always had a nice tax refund plus Christmas money from my parents, we could probably do this every couple of years. A winter getaway is awfully nice. We like the 4-day breaks -- about as much sun as I can handle, and we don't get so bored that we have to go on expensive excursions. Last time we were there, we talked to a retired couple who goes to this resort every year for 2 weeks. I can't imagine how expensive that must be!

    I would love to go to a Caribbean island but the number of flight connections from STL would be a hassle. The nice thing about Cancun is that you get on a plane in the cold dark morning and 3 hours later (4.5 from Toronto, probably) your plane has landed, so by 1 pm you can be on the beach. I know your DH doesn't want to go to Mexico, but I'd recommend finding a place with an easy, nonstop flight from Toronto, because who wants to spend vacation time at airports?

    My brother, who is a corporate pilot, really likes Panama too.

    And Key West is really fun -- not much in the way of beaches but lots to do and drink.

  10. Just a thought...but have you ever considered a cruise? You have the option of stopping at multiple places that you can then decide to return to on a future vacation. A cruise for two for a week can be had for a very reasonable price if you know what you are looking for. (My SIL is a cruise agent and has had couples that score trips at the last minute for LESS THAN HALF the price...the ships want the rooms full, even if they don't "make" any money on the room.

  11. don't let the new boss' inability to handle the normal workload at this time of year get to you!

    Sorry about the conflicts, that is such bad luck!

    I wish we couldn't tell how old kids were... I always try to ignore, but I just *know*. And even knowing that Katie would be getting to those tough tween and teen years doesn't really make it better...

    as for trips, depending on how adventurous you are, I would say don't do the all inclusive. But then you might want to go somewhere where you speak the language (english (Belize)/ some of the islands do french). We did both resort and seat-of-our-pants in Mexico (before the crime spike; dh is native Spanish speaker) and the resort style was just not for us.

    Costa Rica and Panama both have a lot of eco resorts on the Pacific side that are gringo friendly. (That's where my in-laws live in panama).

    And yes, of course it costs money! Try booking online without the travel agent in there? It's worth it though!

    Our trip to Mexico after Serenity died was so healing - we just needed to step out of our winter dreary life and take a break.

  12. Bahamas are great (the big island, at least). As was St. Lucia. Those are the only two places I've been. Though I've always heard amazing things about the Grand Cayman Islands.

  13. I came to this site in need of the hug that I always get from it - just knowing I'm not alone in these emotions is often helpful - that you're Toronto based and next door also helps.

    In terms of vacation places, dh and I have been going for over 20 years. It's so worth it. Our first time we went we very quickly decided that it had to be part of the budget for each year. Yes, it can be a bit pricey, particularly once you graduate past Cuba and DR, but wow, the peace of mind and the rejeuvenation that occurs is wonderful.

    We've been to many of the out islands in the Bahamas. Don't go - they're beautiful and wonderful, but the weather is iffy in Jan-Feb. A couple of times we never even put shorts on. We now save them for summer and a quick getaway.

    Our favourite resort is Hawksbill Beach Resort in Antigua and we'll be going there for our 4th time. It's quirky, definitely not five star, but it's quiet and peaceful and not at all crowded. It has four beaches. The average age is 65, but on the one clothing optional beach it's 75. Mostly Brits and mostly repeat customers. To give you a sense on activities - napking folding and hermit crab races are offered.

    Do splurge and pay for the higher quality room. It ran us just over $5K (all inclusive) for this coming February. There are kids but they're not obtrusive and with 4 beaches easy to avoid and I've never really felt the twinge of sadness while I was there watching them.

    We also liked the Mayan Riviera and all it had to offer. There's so much to do in the Mayan Riviera.

    If you want the peaceful, quiet, get away from it all vacation, then read up on Hawksbill - the reviews on TripAdvisor are pretty accurate. If you think you'd like to be a bit more active then I would suggest Mexico. We've wanted to go to the Cozumel area for a while but Hawksbill now calls us back.

    E-mail if you want any other suggestions - I have lots of opinions :)