About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Robin's Retirement

Last night I attended my sister's surprise retirement party. Although she's been on disability for the past 8 years because of a heart problem, her two sons organized a spectacular party for her at one of Vancouver's premier spots, the Sequoia Grill in Stanley Park. Sheltered amidst giant cedars and overlooking Burrard Inlet, this is a favourite for locals and tourists alike. As a matter of fact, nephew #2 was married on the lawns overlooking the water before we retired to the Conservatory for the reception. Last night, the party was at the opposite end to the Conservatory, in another idyllic area, complete with roaring fireplace, magnificent chandeliers, and a half-glass ceiling with windows overlooking a garden thick with palm trees and hydrangeas. The perfect venue for this surprise party.

Everyone was there early, ready to yell "Surprise!" when she entered, on the pretext that her son and daughter-in-law were taking her to dinner before attending a charity function. She truly had no idea what was going on and the look on her face was priceless when she realised what was happening. I don't know who started, but suddenly we all burst into song "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow," ending with applause.
Overwhelmed though she was, Robin graciously went around the room greeting each guest so it was quite a while before we settled down to a dinner of medium-rare steak, whipped potatoes, and asparagus spears. It didn't matter, though, because we were all having a wonderful time drinking wine, Caesars, spirits - whatever we wanted from the full bar provided by my nephews. Dessert was the most phenomenal cake that was decorated with a hospital bed, complete with patient, syringes, stethoscope, and other sundry nursing equipment. And standing tall on the cake was a photo of Robin on the night of her graduation from Vancouver General Hospital's School of Nursing in 1965. Robin received her Registered Nurses Diploma then and her career was spent mostly at this same hospital. After graduation, she went on to further education to become a specialist in the operating rooms. She was well known at VGH as she was on transplant teams and assisted during many difficult and dangerous surguries.
For the past 8 years, Robin has been on disability because of a bad heart (cardiomyopathy) and it was a very frightening and difficult time when she had to start taking medication for it. They caused a lot of side effects that were finally overcome after several years. Then when this problem seemed to be, well if not cured then at least controlled, she found out she had breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy in April of 2006. She's having the final touch-up on her reconstruction in January. So she's been through some pretty hard times over the past several years.

Usually, when one retires, the "office" arranges a party of sorts, everyone celebrates and the retiree goes on with life. Robin hasn't worked at the hospital for 8 years, so her sons got on the phone and called up all her friends, most of whom she worked with and/or have become their "Aunties." After dinner, several special friends spoke about how they knew Robin and related some funny and some touching stories. Gifts were given and received with laughs, grins, and hugs - and a few tears. In honour of my sister, who gave over 40 years towards the care of the people of our fair province, here are some photos from last night's extravaganza.

Schmoozing and boozing!

With sons Graeme (left) and Aaron.

Cake and flowers! You HAVE to enlarge this to see the detail on the cake!

89-year-old former colleague presents Robin with her "biggie" prezzie, an amythest bracelet. She got to choose from three different styles.

Barb giving everyone a chuckle.

Di really got everyone going with her speech!

My D#2 came but D#1 was so disappointed that both her little ones came down sick so she had to stay home with them. Daddy works the late shift.

And finally, a standing ovation for all these nurses.


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

What a beautiful surprise party :-)

Your sister has really been through some tough times, hope this really really cheered her up..

Well done to her sons, they have done her proud!!

starnitesky said...

What a great surprise for your sister, it must have been wonderful to see all her friends from work. Her sons are so thoughtful.

Country Girl said...

Oh, I loved this! Your sister is beautiful, and how loved she is! What fantastic sons to throw her this party, and how gracious she was when she was surprised like that. I would have been totally mortified, I think. A surprise party with THAT many people?

All in all, congratulations to your sister!

peppylady said...

It all sound like a wonderful time for all.
Your nephew did a wonderful thing to put it all together.

Coffee is on.

RiverPoet said...

I wish your sister all the best. Boy, she has really been through a lot of health crises! May she find some good health in the coming years....D

Liz said...

What a fantastic cake!

Looks like a great time was had by all. I hope Robin thoroughly enjoys her real retirement!

Mickle in NZ said...

Well done to all the family, for such a pleasant suprise "do". Of Course Sisters get a special well done and huggles from me.

Leslie, once again, sincere thanks for sharing this, hugles and care, Michelle in NZ

sally in norfolk said...

how lovely to have such wonderful friends and family :-)

JoAnn's-D-Eyes said...

heeh Leslie,
Nice to see you with your sis, both you are nice looking women and also a bit look-a-like...

Greetings JoAnn

nancygrayce said...

That is so sweet! You and your sister have great cheekbones! It looks like a great time was had by all. She does have thoughtful sons. I'm just trying to imagine mine doing that.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You all look so elegant and happy. And you two are so alike!

Ruth D~ said...

Awesome! Few people manage to carry off a surprise these days. I see the family resemblance. Beautiful women. :>)

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