Today is our last day in wintry Ontario for a couple of weeks. Our suitcases are packed and tomorrow afternoon we are trading the cold of Canada for the warmth of Cuba. for some reason, we are more excited this year than ever before.

Over the past forty years, Glenn and I have morphed into boring creatures of habit. You see, when we find what we consider perfection, we stop looking. For us, Cuba’s Iberostar Varadero with its beautiful beach, turquoise ocean, flamingos and pelicans, delicious food, spotless rooms and friendly staff fits the bill.

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I am leaving my laptop at home and have packed  scads of reading material. Yes, I still like to hold a book and smell its brand new pages. In years past, I have chosen authors like Maeve Binchy, and I usually read a book a day. My list is anything but easy reading this year and I will not be chewing through a book a day.

Melda’s Reading List

I have an insatiable thirst to increase my knowledge and understanding of mental health disorders.

The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music by Steve Lopez.
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison.
Back from the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder by Graeme Cowan.
Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER by Julie Holland
Beyond Borderline: True Stories of Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder by Brandon Marshall.
Not My Story to Tell: My Journey Through Grief: Loving and Losing a Daughter with Bi-polar Disorder by Cathy Lynn Brooks
Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them by Ross W. Greene Ph.D.

When my mind needs a break, I’ll daydream or tear through some crossword puzzles. I hope the angel of inspiration pays a visit offering more ideas for blogs and fresh ideas to increase my mental health speaking opportunities.

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A Typical Day

We are boring to the nth degree, doing the exact same things every day ―  a bit like the movie “Groundhog Day.” A typical day begins at 6 a.m. when Glenn, one of those annoying Canadians, takes our towels and reserves lounge chairs around the pool. He chooses full sun and I choose almost full shade.

Around 9 a.m., we mosey down to breakfast at the Ambrosio Buffet where I binge eat………………….sweet, pink grapefruit, melons and whatever fresh fruit is available accompanied by a few cups of espresso and hot milk. If your goal is to grow hair on anything except your bald head, this drink is for you.

At 10:00 we move over to our reserved lounge chairs, get comfy, crack open our books, read a few pages before nodding off for an hour. Servers make the rounds taking drink orders. Boring me, I order agua con hielo over and over.

Lunchtime begins at 12:30 p.m. We head back to the Ambrosio Buffet, sit in exactly the same place, with the same server. I have another plate of fruit and add a second plate of raw veggies.

After lunch, it’s off to the beach for the afternoon with many dips in the bathtub temperature water. Nosey me, I love to people watch and eavesdrop in French and English.  Various groups occupy the beach, ranging from snow white Canadians lathered in sun block, large men with bigger bellies wearing Speedos that trigger my gag reflex and seasoned, all the way to leather-skinned sunbathers lying in full sun for hours. And where am I? You guessed it ― stretched out on my lounge chair in the shade of my palapas.

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Fine Cuisine

Late afternoon, we leave the beach and make our way back to the pool area to play BINGO.  Glenn snags a few bottles of rum which is funny because we don’t drink. And then it is time to shower off the sand and salt of the day and get all gussied up for dinner. There are a few à la carte restaurants, but we prefer the Ambrosio Buffet, same table, but evening staff. The aroma of roast turkey, roast pork, roast beef with all the fixins’ greet us.  In the past I have treated myself to a plate fancy pastries and a bowl of strawberry ice cream every night. I promise to practice moderation.

We call it a day.

It all begins again tomorrow. Same old, same old and that’s the way we like it. And that, gentle readers, is how we plan to spend fourteen nosy, cozy, and dozy days in Cuba. Hasta Mañana.

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