Destination: Miami, FL – Part 4


While I was having a “war” of sorts with the waffle maker at breakfast, Fern was having a “battle” of sorts over her tests in the hospital.

South miami hospital

She called me around 10:30 to say the first test had to be repeated, which meant an extra 3-hour wait for the results.  I can only imagine her anxiety about what was happening that morning:  the not knowing; the what is going to happen next?

Fern called again around 12:00.  She was still waiting for the results of the first test, a second time around, and didn’t know if there would be time for the other tests (and how long they would take) and when she was going to be discharged.  She was concerned about the fact that we might need to extend our stay at the hotel.  (Reservation was for only the one night we had already spent there.)  Upon check-in, Fern had asked for a later check-out time the next day and it was extended to 2:00.  (Usual check-out time is 12:00 noon).  There was no problem with that.

Our original plan, before traveling to Miami, was:  Fern was going to have her tests, and we would travel home that same afternoon.  The best-laid plans, right?

So, at noon, Fern was still waiting for the results of her first test (second time around), and had 2 more tests lined up.  I decided to wait until 2:00 to ask for an extension for another day.

I had plenty of time for lunch before asking for an extension of our stay.  In the mean time, I had asked at the desk for directions to the hospital.  Carlos wrote them down for me and handed me his card in case I needed to contact him.  (As it turned out later, I was glad I had his card.)

My plan was to go the Dadeland Mall,

dade mall

order a take-out lunch at Cheesecake Factory, and come back to the hotel, and enjoy it while watching TV in the dining room.  Good plan, right?

cheese fact

Everything went well at the Cheesecake Factory.  Their Chinese Chicken Salad is a favorite of mine.

chinese chix

I got back in the car, and back-tracked my route; only, I lost the route in the maze of the parking lot around the stores, after going around J C Penney.  I made a wrong turn somewhere.  Found myself in front of Macy’s.


The card Carlos gave me came in very handy.  I told him where I was, and he guided me back to the hotel.

Dadeland Mall is a crazy maze.

Dadeland Mall is a crazy maze.

I don’t like to be lost.  I don’t like to not know where I’m going.  (If you read my first post, Destination:  Miami, FL – Part 1, you will have a perfect example of what not knowing where I’m going will do to my psyche.)

Only half of my salad was consumed (it’s a huge salad), and I saved the rest for Fern, thinking she will probably be so hungry when her tests are finished.

I decided the best thing for me was to take advantage of the shuttle service and be driven to the hospital.


While waiting for the shuttle van (it took a half hour to arrive), I extended the hotel stay for another night.  I also had to call my pet sitter to increase the visits to take care of my cats for another 24 hours.

Finally, I was at Fern’s bedside.  By that time, she had already had her second test, and she was going to be discharged:  there was no time to do the third test.  This meant another trip to Miami.  We were almost jumping for joy!  Not really.


[images from bingdotcom of:  Dadeland Mall; Dadeland Macy's; Dadeland Cheesecake Factory; and South Miami Hospital]







Destination: Miami, FL – Part 3


Well, having that wonderful dinner at Cheesecake Factory in the Dadeland Mall was a great ending to an anxiety-filled day.  The next day would be one filled with anxiety as well.

Fern had to be at the South Miami Hospital at 5:30 am.  That is not a typo!  She had to take a taxi to the hospital, since the shuttle service from the hotel starts at 6:30 am.

South miami hospital

Needless to say, not much sleep was happening in room 230 that night.

Breakfast was alone, while Fern was in the hospital for the start of her tests, and it was courtesy of the hotel.  I was amazed at the selections.

a great breakfast

Eggs; sausages; cold cereals; fresh, hot oatmeal; fruit; muffins; bagels; juices; and BELGIAN WAFFLES!  Love those.  It was “make it yourself” in the waffle maker.  Couldn’t wait.  Filled a cup with the prepared batter and poured it onto the hot waffler.  Uh, oh.  The batter overflowed down the sides of the hot waffler.  I didn’t know why that happened.  I wasn’t familiar with this kind of apparatus, and couldn’t imagine what went wrong!   I covered the batter with the top part of the waffle maker anyway, and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me to take a photo of the overflowed waffle maker; however, this is the machine on which the dastardly deed was done.

that dastardly waffle maker

I gathered some other items offered for breakfast, went into the dining area, got some coffee,

coffee-tea round the clock

and sat down at a table.

Completely forgot about my waffle!  At my age, I’m susceptible to that malady – forgetfulness.  When I remembered about it (several minutes later), I hurried into the breakfast area to get my waffle.  It was not there; the waffle maker was clean, and waiting for the next pour.

There was a nice young boy, about 9 or 10, standing near the waffle makers.  I mentioned that I had a problem with the waffle maker, telling him about it overflowing.  He told me that I have to fill up the cup to the line, and not to the top.  OMG.  I never read the instructions, and didn’t notice the line on the cup before.  It was embarrassing to be instructed by this young boy on how to use the machine!  I politely thanked him.

A glutton for punishment, and a glutton for a Belgian waffle, I made the attempt again; this time, making sure I stopped the batter at the line.  Everything seemed to go well, but there still was some batter that overflowed – not much, though.  I closed the cover, and again hoped for the best.  It came out alright, but would have been better if I stayed there and turned the waffle maker once, during the cooking:  one side was quite done, and the other side wasn’t done enough.  I have hope that next time, things will turn out even better.

And, there will be a next time.  We have to go back very soon, for Fern’s last test.

Destination: Miami, FL – Part 2


The Hampton Inn Dadeland was a welcome sight, for sure, after that harrowing trip along US 1.  A smiling Pedro at the reception desk was also a welcoming sight.

A great welcome from Pedro

We checked in and went to our room.  Of course, we had the last room at the end of the long hallway!

At the end of the hall

We were happy with the room.  After stowing our gear, we thought we’d tend to the task of treating ourselves for dinner:  Cheesecake Factory!!

Got the directions to the Dadeland Mall, and were looking forward to that meal.

cheesecake factory front

We were shown to a cozy, quiet booth.  Just right for conversation as well as enjoying our dinner.  Brian was our waiter – a good-looking tall young man; so congenial and friendly and smiling.  A pleasure.  Flavored iced tea for beverage.  Hmmm.  Everything looks so good.  Hard choice.  Finally decided we were going to have FUN.  We were in a festive mood – loved the Cheesecake Factory, and Brian made the event even more pleasant.

Fried calamari, Crispy Cuban Rolls and Warm Asparagus Salad.  What a selection!  Couldn’t wait.

Service was pretty quick, and we started our FUN FEAST.  I really didn’t think we would finish it all, but we did!!  Just thinking about those great flavors and textures, is making my mouth water all over again.

Of course, after the dishes were cleared off, Brian asked if we would like dessert.  Oh no!  We were too full, and besides, we don’t usually have dessert after a meal.

All of a sudden, words popped out of my mouth:  Do you still have that chocolate cake with the chocolate fudge and chocolate mousse layers?  Fern looked at me as if I were crazy.  We really didn’t plan on having dessert.  “Oh yes,” said Brian.

We got the cake.

12 layers blackout cake-with choc mousse


Naughty Nudists



Too many of our animal neighbors on Earth are listed as endangered or worse; mostly because of human activity. All we can do is try to educate and bring attention to the problem in all four corners of the globe. Gator Woman is one who speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Originally posted on Walking with the Alligators:

Royal Terns on Passage Key Wildlife Refuge in Florida
Picture credit: USFWS

When this came on our Noon News yesterday, at first I thought that it must be a joke, but as it turned out, it was quite the opposite.

A Florida Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast near Tampa, called Passage Key, with a resident population of rare Native birds like Royal Terns, is being disturbed by Nudists.

The Nudists are allowed to wade in the water offshore, but are forbidden to go onto the Beach, where the Birds are Nesting.

There are signs and the area is patrolled.

This Federally protected habitat is off-limits to the public, but a seemingly ignorant and determined group of Nudists have been going ashore and the birds who are not used to having humans on their Nesting Beach area, are flying off.

This is not good.

Anyone who knows anything about wildlife, knows that when they are disturbed and their habitats are invaded,  or their daily eating routines are…

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Chronic Fatigue & M.E.



A most important post regarding M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and its symptoms. I was particularly impressed with the observation, “Another reason the diagnostic criteria is so important is that researchers will never get to the root cause of M.E., and ultimately find a cure or effective treatment, if they’re studying people who don’t have the disease to start with.”

Originally posted on Mast Cells & Collagen Behaving Badly:

M.E. is one of the most abused diagnoses of the last Century and the disease is definitely the most misunderstood, neglected and fought-over of our time.  For many years I’ve avoided the politics of M.E. because of any topic it’s the one that can make my blood boil in a nano-second and the stress isn’t good for my health.  Having said all that, it’s still worthy of a post (but I’m not going to make a habit of it).

The reason it’s worth a post is that many of the people I’ve come across over the years with a variety of other diseases, eg. Ehlers-Danlos, Lyme, Lupus, Sjogrens, Coeliac and many others, were initially diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome before the real cause for their fatigue was found and their diagnosis was changed.  Over recent years M.E. has been reclassified as CFS and the diagnostic criteria watered down to such…

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Destination: Miami, FL – Part 1


Many of my followers are aware that my daughter, Fern, is suffering from the chronic illness known as M.E. – myalgic encephalomyelitis.  This week, she had an appointment for Wednesday, at the South Miami Hospital, affiliated with Baptist Health South Florida, for some testing ordered by her new cardiologist, based in Coral Gables, FL, which is part of the Greater Miami area.  We had a one-night reservation for Tuesday night at the Hampton Inn Dadeland,

Hampton Inn Dadeland

which, as its name indicates, is less than a mile from the fabulous Dadeland Mall,

Dadeland Mall

and is a short drive to the hospital.  We figured we’d stay the one night; Fern would have her tests, and we’d leave on Wednesday afternoon to return home.

The drive down along I-95 and then onto US 1 was actually uneventful; that is, if you didn’t put into the mix that I was feeling nervous and not without trepidations about the trip due to not being sure exactly how to get to the hotel, it was uneventful.  I tried keeping my sense of humor (Fern could argue about that), and she finally secured some info from her phone’s GPS the driver (me) needed as to where to turn left or right and which streets were involved.   Just in the nick of time, because the driver was getting a little hot under the collar and anxious and it’s not a good idea to have the driver maneuvering in heavy traffic on US 1 in such a state of almost panic.  I had visions of driving around the Miami area on an ill-fated mission and never finding the hotel, especially after having stopped for a red light at the intersection where the cardiologist was located, and my saying, “We could stop in and say hello to Dr. D.”  I don’t think Fern appreciated that remark.  If I were sitting in her seat, I wouldn’t have.  It was a telling remark:  Mom was getting a little upset.  I know daughter got the instructions from mapquest, but they happened to have been accidentally put into the trunk with our belongings – quite out of reach at the moment.  And the atmosphere in the car at the moment was getting thick.  We both were feeling it.

We still weren’t positive about how to get to the hotel; it seemed there was more than one way to get there.  A call to get more precise directions was a little helpful after getting no answer, then a message that no one was available.  Panic mode was instituted.  Here I am, still driving along US 1, and still not sure where I was going.  The info received, after finally speaking to someone, was a little misleading.  We were taken in a kind of round about way, turning left off US 1, but then crossing it at another point, and finally getting to the hotel; but not before traveling on a crazy, crooked street, and not before almost passing the hotel which was hidden from the road.  It was easy to  pass the entrance.  It is not easy to describe the feeling of accomplishment and RELIEF of finally reaching our destination:  the most out of the way hotel I’ve ever traveled to.


[images from bingdotcom]