A Treat For Mom

I went to visit my mother today at the Care Center. On the way there, I decided to stop by McDonald’s and get her a Oreo mcflurry. Mom was just coming back from bingo and on her way to the dining room for lunch. I pushed her the rest of the way to the dinning room where other residents were already enjoying their choice of chicken fried steak or a fresh fruit plate.


When mom saw the Oreo mcflurry she got very excited and wanted to start eating it right away. I told her she should hold off so she would be able to eat her lunch. She said “I’m not that hungry, this will be just fine.”


This sounded like a repeat of the last time I took mom a treat, a McDonald’s frappe…. she didn’t want to eat her lunch after she got that either…

I decided it was no use trying to convince her to wait for her lunch, especially since she was already digging in..


I was happy to see my friend, Bradley, in the dinning room. He is the one with the white pillow around his neck. Bradley has not been able to leave his room for a couple of months now because his power wheelchair broke and he can’t sit up right in a regular wheelchair. Bradley amazes me with his patience and cheerfulness. No matter what he is dealing with he always has a joke to share like today as he was talking to the activity assistant, in the red, about her cell phone and what all it could do… When the activity assistant went to leave, Bradley smiled and said “be good, and if you can’t be good, be good at it..” Then, after lunch I met up with Bradley in the hall and he was very excited to share his joke of the day with me. He asked if I knew why a chicken coupe only has two doors? I said no, why? He got the biggest boyish grin on his face and said “well if it had four doors it would be a sedan..” I laughed and told him he is just too much, and he is.. talk about long-suffering with grace and dignity… Bradley, at 58 years old, confined to a wheelchair in a care center for the rest of his life…, has cornered the market on that. The man must be a saint, and  I am proud he calls me his friend!


When mom’s fruit plate arrived of course she pushed the food around her plate and said she really didn’t want to eat it. I was able to get her to eat some watermelon and strawberries and a bite or two of her blueberry muffin.


When mom was finished eating, I pushed her back to her room which I was nicely surprised to see still remains neat and clean from when I last cleaned it for her a few weeks back. Her doll was tucked neatly into the bed.


and her TV stand and night stand remain, for the most part, clutter free… Yeah!


I had another little surprise for mom today but I didn’t want to tell her until I could get some quiet time with her. So, I suggested we go outside and sit in the garden.


When we got to the garden, I told her I wanted to read a letter to her from her grandson, Tom III, my oldest, late brother, Tom Jr’s son. Mom loves to get letters from him, or anyone, so it was a really nice surprise for her.  Anyway, Tom reads my blog, and when I posted the St. Patrick’s Day pictures of mom’s tattoo, Tom said it inspired him to write another letter to his grandma. Thanks Tom, it really made her day extra nice.. Mom sat quietly while I read Tom’s letter, then she asked me to take her back to her room because she wanted me to put it in a special folder she keeps in the bottom drawer of her night stand, along with other “special cards and treasures..”


After mom had her letter from Tom safely tucked away, she said she was tired and would like to take a nap. I pushed the call button for an aid to come and assist her with getting into bed. Mom said she would sit in the doorway and watch me leave as she waited for her aid to help her get in bed for her nap. Sweet dreams mom, sweet dreams…

Stay Tuned!







Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yesterday I found the “pet” setting on my camera and took some cute pictures of my precious cat Carmen. Then I messed around and found a “food” setting and I wanted to practice using the “food” setting, like I used the “pet” setting yesterday. However, I didn’t want to just take a picture of our dinner without at least letting  you know how I made it… So, if you want to try this easy to make, delicious to eat, chicken tortilla soup, here is the recipe… Now, let’s get started!


3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 cups chicken stock

4 cups half-and -half ( I used fat-free)

One 10 oz can cream of chicken soup (I used 98% fat-free)

1 cup prepared salsa, mild or spicy

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, and cubed

2 15- oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

One 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained (I used 1 cup frozen corn)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

One package fajita seasoning

1 small can diced green chili

One bag tortilla strips

Sour cream for garnish (I used fat-free)

Monterey Jack and sharp Cheddar cheese grated for garnish (optional)

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion and sauté until softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the broth and half-and-half. Stir in the cream of chicken soup, salsa, cubed chicken, beans, corn, cumin and fajita seasoning. Continue to simmer over low heat until ready to serve.


When serving: Put some tortilla chips into individual bowls and top with some soup. Sprinkle each serving with cheese (if desired, I didn’t use cheese this time) and add a dollop of sour cream.



Side note: Unlike when I used the “pet” setting where I could see a difference in the picture…To be honest, I can’t tell that much of a difference between using the “food” setting on my camera or just using one of the automatic settings…  The food pictures look the same as they always have to me. Except to say that by the time I get the food setting all set, if I wanted to take a picture of the steam coming off the bowl of soup…like you see in the magazines… too bad, the soup would have already cooled down… I guess more practice is needed. 🙂 What do you think?

Stay Tuned!


So my frissy, who is a fabulous photographer, told me I have a good camera and I should learn how to use all the settings on it. She said you don’t have to have a big lens or filters to get great pictures, you just have to understand composition, lighting, etc. I plan to take a class when I get some free time, and I have been looking into where I can learn how to use the camera I have more effectively. I’m really not so much interested in being a photographer, but I am interested in learning how to take sharper pictures for my blog.

I have been reading the owner’s manual that came with my camera and trying to decipher what the heck the instructions are trying to instruct me to do. However, if  you know nothing about photography, like me, this is like trying to read a foreign language you never learned how to even speak… For example : I was trying to read about how to take a close up picture. The instruction manual says “for stationary subjects indoors… sensitivity lowered to avoid interference.. but they don’t say how to lower the sensitivity… Then it goes on to say “maximum level for ISO sensitivity can also be set (then they refer me to P.51). The instructions go on to say “If the maximum level is set to ‘800’ or ‘1250’, this will reduce to ‘640’ when using the flash.” What the h##l does that mean? See what I mean? No, I need someone to show me how to do all this and explain to me what all this means…

I will find a class/teacher, that I can afford, for my Lumix 10x Panasonic DMC-TZ3 camera…hopefully, sooner than later. I did find a one day workshop that I got real excited about until I found out it is held in Rockport, Maine. Not only that but the workshop costs $175.00 tuition, $55.00 non-refundable application fee, $300.00 course deposit, and a $100.00 lodging deposit, not to mention flight cost, lodging cost etc…so needless to say… that’s out!

Determined though I am… so I just started turning knobs and pushing buttons on my little Lumix 10x camera, and lo and behold I found some little picture symbols within some of the settings on my camera. Who knew? Why do they hide them like that? So I saw one that was a picture of a dog… I pushed that and the word “pet” showed up under the picture of the dog… I thought to myself, this must be the setting for taking a picture of  your pet…! Again why do they hide it..? How was I to know? Anyway, I got real excited and went looking for my precious pet, Carmen. And this is what I got when I took her picture using the “pet” setting…


I think that is pretty clear and sharp don’t you?

Well, now I’m thinking I’m on to something so of course I had to keep taking her picture to see if they keep getting better and better. Carmen, however, was not interested in sitting for a photo session for me. No, she wanted to go take another nap… but I was not letting her off that easy. I had my camera set on “pet” setting so I had to take pictures of my pet right? Right, and I did. See, here is another picture taken on the “pet setting… 🙂


and another, you can see she is really losing interest in my excitement… but I don’t care, I need to practice now… sorry Carmen…


Finally, she hit her little paw on the bed as if to say… would you please STOP!!! Touchy little princess isn’t she?


After Carmen got so annoyed with me I gave up and left her alone to take her nap… not that I was going to give up, but because I happened to notice a symbol/picture of a plate of food next to the “pet” symbol/picture… Imagine my surprise when pushed it and the word “food” came up under the symbol/picture… OMG!! A “food” setting!!!

I’m off to the kitchen to take pictures of dinner…! I figure I saved myself $630.00 of what it would have cost me to go to the workshop in Rockport Maine, not counting the travel costs…! All I have to do now is keep practicing, and I know how to do that… 🙂

Stay tuned!

A State Of Mind

I’ve been on a very hectic schedule for months now. Driving my daughter, Shantel, to school everyday which is a 42 mile round trip adventure, taking her to all her weekly appointments, checking in on my mother and taking care of all her needs as well as trying to keep up with the daily routine of taking care of my home and family..

So today, I decided after I got Shantel to school to take her biology practical lab test, I was going to take myself on a little mini vacation custom-made just for me… Just look at this beautiful little beach front vacation spot I took myself to today..


Who wouldn’t be able to relax here?

They have adorable little table huts where people talk nice to you and bring you food and cold drinks


They even know your name. Look, they said I’m Virginia and I’m a 10…


I said “yes, I am.., thank  you for noticing… 🙂

This place is spotless, and full of cheerfulness with all the bright colors I love.


They are known for fresh fish and even have them hanging on the walls to show you how good they are at catching them.. Wow, I probably have to book a deep-sea fishing boat tour to catch one like this.. Too bad I didn’t have time for that today…


Since it is Friday in Lent, I ordered a fresh fish taco… YUMMERS!!!


That fish was soooo good. Crispy on the outside but soft and flaky on the inside. Served with cabbage and a white sauce to die for… They also have a self-serve salsa bar so you can add more deliciousness if you want… .

They offer outdoor seating if you like. Lots of pretty flowers there. Probably due to the nice ocean breeze and humidity.. don’t you think?


Where, you might ask, was this mini vacation escape I found…?


I’d like to say it is in one of my all time favorite vacation spots, San Diego, but the truth is it’s just around the corner from Shantel’s school… Didn’t matter to me because today I pretended I was in San Diego and it worked… you see, sometimes, it really is all just “a state of mind” Ha!!! 🙂

What’s ya think?

Stay Tuned!

Just Between Friends

Like most Monday and Wednesday afternoons, after classes, yesterday our daughter, Shantel, was out with her best friend, Jaz. These two girls have been best friends for the past four years. They go everywhere and do everything together. Jaz also tutor’s Shantel at least twice a week, helping her with all her math and/or science related courses. Jaz and Shantel will stay up half the night on the phone studying for a test, or Jaz will just help Shantel understand course related things that are extremely visual in content. So, needless to say, they have a special bond that is reserved for special friends… And, because they are young… they sometimes have a special language they share just between them…

Yesterday, while Jaz and Shantel were out and about having lunch, going to Sally’s Beauty Supply to get their beauty products, then Wal-Mart for whatever they need to pick up there… Jaz was explaining something to Shantel about items in the store and apparently Shantel kept asking her something over and over pretending she didn’t understand… Finally, Jaz caught on to what Shantel was doing and said in a joking manner ” Oh, go to hell Shantel…” Shantel, being blind, but with a quick wit… said “OK, where is it and how do I get there…?” Well, another customer who was standing nearby spoke up to Jaz and said “that is no way to speak to a person with a disability.” Jaz smiled and said “oh, we’re best friends.” Jaz told Shantel the customer shook her head and said “still, you should be ashamed of yourself for talking to people like them like that..” Then that customer just walked off.

I asked Shantel what she and Jaz thought about the incident. Shantel said they just laughed and said “everyone our age says things like that to each other so why is it different just because I’m disabled, or like the customer put it, I’m one of those “people like that?”

Today when I was taking Shantel to school she told me she was still laughing about what the customer in Wal-Mart said. I’m glad Shantel and Jaz have that special bond of friendship. They are young and they are not hurting anyone…, and to be honest, I love the special bond I have with special friends that allows me to relax, and be myself, even saying little things that only real friends can say to each other… Albeit, I would never say anything intentionally to hurt anyone, ever!!

So what do you think? Were the girls just being young girls, and do you have a special bond, with a special friend, where you can just relax and kind of say little things from time to time knowing they won’t be taken seriously? I mean personally, I would not tell one of my friends to “go to hell.” even as a joke… but I’m a bit older…. However I do have special friends that I have a special bond with and we do sometimes speak a language that is reserved for girlfriends only…

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments…

Stay Tuned!

Mom Got A Tattoo!

I went to see my mother today. I knew the Care Center where she lives was having a St. Patrick’s Day party on St. Patrick’s Day, and this was the first opportunity for me to visit her and see if she participated in the party, but more importantly, did she have fun!!

I can say for sure she had fun…!! First off she wanted me to see the little leprechaun hat they gave her. She said “it’s too small because it’s for a leprechaun.” I said “of course it’s small because leprechaun’s are tiny little creatures, but, you always told me they are as real as Santa.” She said “that’s right.”


Mom went on to tell me the Care Center had all kinds of Irish food, Irish music, and lots of Irish activities… like getting a tattoo!!! I said “I didn’t know getting a tattoo was an Irish thing..” But, according to my now 86-year-old mother, it seems the Irish do all kinds of things on St. Patrick’s Day that they most likely wouldn’t do on any other day of the year. Coming from my mother…all I could say was “who knew?”

Then she showed me her tattoo. She said ” your father and I always asked all our children, and grandchildren, not to get tattoo’s, but no matter how much we tried to tell them when they get old, and their skin starts to sag… they will regret getting tattoo’s…, most of them still got tattoo’s anyway.” So she said she thought she would get one so she could show them what their tattoo’s are going to look like if they live to be her age… (86)”

This, she said, is what a tattoo will look like for anyone who gets a tattoo at a young age, and lives to be my age (86). OMG!!! How funny!!!


But, she was dead serious about this when I questioned her about it as you can see here…

So I asked her if I could take pictures of her “tattoo”  and post it on my blog (not sure if she understands what a blog is) she said “yes, I want them to see what they are in for when they get my age.”

In my most serious voice I could bring up I said “well, mom, what should I say if anyone asks me why you did this?” She put her hand to her mouth and said “tell them I was just kidding.”


Gotta LOVE that right?

Stay Tuned!

Finding Gold

Well I didn’t find any leprechaun’s, or even the pot at the end of the rainbow…, but I sure enough found a lot of gold, or gold like colors, as I went about my St. Patrick’s Day looking for those darn, elusive, leprechaun’s… And, believe me… I looked everywhere… You must understand, I believe in leprechaun’s because as a small child, my mother, who is full Irish (Sweeny was her maiden name) told me, “leprechaun’s are as real as Santa.” Well everyone knows Santa is real, so of course I believe it…  And yesterday I looked and looked for one…  I looked everywhere… I looked high in the trees.


In every parking lot.


In church before adoration


I just knew I was going to find one in this sweet acacia tree because they smell soooooo good.


I looked at the nearby school just knowing those little leprechaun’s would be playing with small, laughing, children..


I looked in the vines growing along the fence


And what self-respecting leprechaun wouldn’t want to be playing in this lovely field of wild flowers?


Perhaps one is hiding in the leaves of this giant sunflower


or in the spines of these lovely things that look pretty but I don’t know what they are..


I didn’t get too close to this palm tree cause bad things hide in there… like scorpions.. no thanks!!!


No leprechaun’s here either, just more gold…


I sure wasn’t having any “luck of the Irish”, so I had no choice but to give up and go home… Oh well, better luck next year! At least I saw a lot of pretty gold things to brighten my day. 🙂

So, did any of you see any real, live, leprechaun’s? That weren’t a result of too much green beer??? 🙂 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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