Tag Archives: aruba

missing my palm trees


a year ago today, i left for aruba. here is the blog post for that travel day! the strongest memory is of the trip from waterloo to the airport – thanks to ice rain and *perfect* temps, it was the most harrowing and nerve-wracking drive down the 401 of my life, no exaggeration. let’s all sit and sigh as we gaze upon the loveliness…

hello, blue sky!

hello, divi tree!

hel-LO, sunshine!!

i do not know when i shall return to my favourite tropical paradise. i DO know i love everything about aruba – if you ever get the chance to travel to this tiny island in the caribbean, take it!

…ok, one last shot of heaven!…

well, guess what – this movie hugely surpassed my expectations! she is cute, he is hunky, the story tugs at the heart…it is a good one. i was quite captivated, and was sorry when the movie ended – the time flew! i give “the vow” *** (three stars) and *** 1/2 (three point five) stars if we only consider it for the chic flick genre. if you have not seen “the vow,” go!

vacation down south: would you choose cruise or resort? in january, some running friends went on cruise to run – they had a blast! i am not picky. i will take any holiday that involves sun and HEAT!

Aruba Blue + Grocery Blues

I was paging through the newspaper on Canada Day at the store (seeing as how I had *a little* time on my hands) when this full page ad in the Shoppers Drug Mart flyer caught my eye:

notice the name of the nail polish colour??!

Hey hey! Only my favourite hot spot on earth:

file photo from my trip, march 2011

Some Essie-brand Nail Polish Colour-Namer must ♥ Aruba to pieces, too. Question: are they referring to the blue water or the blue sky? Both are fantabulous shades of gorgeousness.

As you see, the nail polish is available for $8.99…hmmm, remember the $10.11 I still have left on my Adidas Amex card? And after I tell you this next little story, I really think I’m meant to use it on “Aruba Blue“….

Inspired by “Aruba Blue,” (and the thought of writing this blog post), I decided to slap on some nail colour give myself a manicure last eve. Of course, my colour choice had to be blue.

I no sooner got out the little bottle of colour and look what happened:

i really am a full-fledged blogger now: for the first time ever, i thought to grab my camera before starting clean up

the crash 'n' smash happened so suddenly, i swear gremlins were at work...

Wah. (For the record, Wet ‘n’ Wild  – at about $3 a bottle – makes the best nail polish, in my books. I would choose it any day over OPI or another $$ brand. Doesn’t chip easily and dries super-quick).

Luckily, my pause to snap photos did not impinge on my ability to wipe up the (quickly drying) spilled nail colour. No harm done. I switched to my back up blue:

i have a whole series of metallics: this blue, a silver, a pink and a light purple

very summery. shall we call it "lake huron blue?!"

So, I’m feeling severely tempted to go pick up some “Aruba Blue” later today. I’m still chuckling because I’ve never dropped a bottle of nail polish in my life – it’s a sign!!!

Although, after you hear this next story, you’ll agree that I should be putting my $10.11 towards groceries…

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Following Holly‘s lead, back in May, I conducted my own May Grocery Challenge which basically consisted of me tracking grocery expenditures and also trying to use coupons. I loved doing it! For June, I kept up the practice of saving all my receipts (and searching out coupons). I didn’t tally my money spent until June 30th.

Ho-ly. S*#& !!!

There is no way in H – E – double hockey sticks that I am going to tell you the final result. I was floored, completely and utterly (yes, that is double adjective usage, but that just shows my shock level).

I’m singing crying the grocery blues.

Now, of course, I’m going to justify my expenditure. Here goes:

  • I lump food, vitamins, toilet paper/bathroom necessities etc all together as “groceries.” So what I spent is not for food, alone.
  • I did a lot of stockpiling this month (except for coffee! Still good from May’s stashing!) when I found oft-used items on sale – maybe I over-stashed, but I can’t contain myself when I know I need and will eventually use an item. This month, I loaded up on: ~toilet paper ~peanut butter ~almond milk ~Puffins ~vitamins ~contact solution ~eye drops ~stevia ~tinned tuna, salmon, and shrimp – – > I am set on these items until 2012 for a while, I sure hope.
  • I refuse to go without fresh produce. Apples, lettuce, avacados, zucchini, cucumbers…these items are on the “daily edibles” list, and I will pay whatever I need in order to have them on hand. Sadly, you can’t stockpile fresh veggies and fruit. Happily, the grocery gods are smiling on me this coming week: both lettuce and avacados are on sale at Valumart!

With any luck, all this bulk-buying in June will impact the July totals (I do like tracking my bills, so I’m going to keep doing this). We shall see at the end of the month!

Favourite nail polish brand and/or colour? I like black, but it’s too heavy for July, IMO. And, Wet ‘n’ Wild is the way to go, friends, trust me.

Did you do any stockpiling in June? I’m now very low on storage space. TP is piled in the guest bathroom shower!

Happy Sunday, all!

Oh – I’m patting myself on the back because here we are at July 3rd and I have not spent one red cent on groceries this month (although I will have to make a run to Valumart later this eve).

A Real Head-Scratcher

Our timeshare in Aruba has an online forum where people can ask questions before their visit to the resort. Usually, people are curious about restaurants, amenities, activities, that sort of stuff.

I was perusing the website the other day because I was all caught up on blogs bored homesick for my natural habitat when one of the posted questions caught my eye. The Topic Heading was simply “Wifi.” I was curious to see the question, because after my own freak out intermittent internet access experiences, I like to see what the resort regulars advise new guests.

So, BuddyD’s (seriously, that is his online name) question was, and I quote:

“Can you get a connection on the beach?”

WTF???! BuddyD!! You’re on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!! The beach is for chillin’, sunnin’, strollin’, nappin, and drinkin’.

Now, I enjoy internet access as much as the next person, and really appreciate staying connected to my usual world when I’m on vacation. But to *need* internet on the BEACH?!!! Guy, you need a vacation!!!

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I experienced my own head-scratcher moment this week! I met Mom for coffee, and she handed me a square package that was wrapped up:

floral wrap then wrapped in brown paper wrap

What could it be? [scratch of head]

Under the wraps, I found…

NO WAY!!! hahahahaha!!!

If you’ve been reading the blog regularly, you know that I’ve referenced this book TWICE, recently, here and here. As the story goes, Mom bought a copy of this book for SIL Ana and me a while back, with the intention of tucking it away ’til Christmas. With all the press the book has been receiving – and me talking about it – Mom feared we might purchase it ourselves…so it was an Xmas in June moment! Thanks, Mom!

my great-grandma used to make these!

many of the recipes are GF, too - my grandma, in her prime, made the BEST wareneki

i bet apple platz would be as good as an apple crisp...

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Great Great sadness in the Casa-of-Coffee Condo:

four VIA pacs, "tribute" blend

I was having a hard time locating this flavour at Starbucks. My Uptown location was sold out, so I tried the S’Bux location near The Brother and SIL Ana‘s where I have hit pay dirt before – nada.

Went back to my location, and the buddy at the til had heartbreaking news: Starbucks has discontinued this Tribute blend in the individual serving pouches. Boo hoo hoo! As you know, I love these instant coffees, and my favourite of them all is the Tribute. What you see above, then, is what’s left of my current stash. Not. much.

Now the Starbucks employee was a little helpful – he suggested I try Craigslist or eBay to see if I could locate some coffee stock. He indicated that when the word came out that this blend was nearing the end of its days, some employees bought their own stashes with the intention of reselling to us desperate types. I appreciate his tip, but I don’t think I am that addicted that I need to scour the internet for Blackmarket product! But I will be savouring my Final Four Tributes, let me tell you.

So, I’m left scratching my head over why this coffee type is to be no more…

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Have you seen/read/heard anything lately that’s made YOU shake your head? Very large, sweaty, overweight men should not ride bicycles while shirtless.

Ever buy anything *under the table?* I would buy a scalper’s ticket to see Madonna in concert. No joke. Life Bucket List.

New Experience #9: Travel to Aruba Solo

This will be the final Aruba-themed post, I promise. Even I am sick of talking about Aruba! 🙂

although not tired of looking at palm trees!!

While I’ve been to Aruba several times in the past decade, I have never travelled there by myself. So this vacation was a new experience in that sense.

Here are the reasons why I made the trip on my own:

~ with B’s current job, he can no longer get away during the month of March; I really appreciate that he graciously allowed me to go to our timeshare without him (B will have his chance for a solo trip this summer when he goes hiking in Colorado!).

~ since we had been to Aruba before, I felt comfortable with, and confident about, flying internationally on my own. I had a direct flight from Toronto, and was familiar with travelling to our timeshare once I landed in Aruba.

~ I knew a lot of people who would be at our resort while I was there.

~ I was only going to be gone for one week, so the chances of getting bored or homesick were minimal.

In summary, I had a very fun week, and am grateful for the opportunity I had to enjoy the sunshine, heat, and relaxation time.

Below, please find a compilation of all the blog entries from the trip. This may go down as the “furthest distance travelledNew Experience of this year! (unless I go visit my cousin Joel in Australia, haha!)

[Sidenote: if you have any specific questions about Aruba, please feel free to contact me – in a nutshell, it’s a fabulous vacation spot].

Aruba Predictions

Aruba Report: Good Karma

Monday in Aruba: Reunion Day!


Tuesday in Aruba: Poolside!

A Walkabout Tour

Wednesday in Aruba: Peachie to be Beach-ie!

High Nine

Thursday in Aruba: Aah and A-Ha

Grocery Shopping in Aruba!

Friday in Aruba: Sunrise, Sunset

Of Gardens and Greenery

Saturday in Aruba: I’m a Gamblin’ Fan

Aruba Outtakes

Sunday in Aruba: Tick Tock on the Clock

Aruba Predictions Recap

Bon Bini!

Aruba Predictions Recap

Back to life, back to reality

I’m faaaaaading!!!…


I swear as soon as I enter the Aruba airport, I always start losing my tan. I’ve been slathering on lotion, vaseline, and aloe gel about every 17 minutes in an effort to ward off the inevitable dry skin and flaking that appear within seemingly seconds of setting foot back on Canadian soil. But enough cryin’. The sun is out and I just ran some errands without wearing mittens! We could be inching closer to spring, people!

Before I left on vacation, I set seven goals for the trip. Let’s see what ended up going down….

~ Read two novels. Well, I started off great guns with Good Enough to Eat, and had it finished by Wednesday. Then I fizzled out with Chelsea. Not that she’s not funny, and I do look forward to reading this book. But I bought a magazine, read the Aruba newspapers, and just didn’t get very far with Chels. I’m currently on either chapter two or three.

~ Find a couple of pieces of eclectic kitchen dishes. I searched high and low for a mug, but didn’t find one that totally grabbed me. But!! I DID score with this purchase!!! It makes me smile every time I look at it:

a souvenir plate!! an look what i paid for it?!

I am in luv with this map plate. It’s slighty kitschy, just-this-side-of-tacky, and I knew as soon as I saw it that it had to come home with me. Score zero for a mug, but one for the dishes collection!

~ Stick with 5 a.m. wake-up routine. 100% success rate, here. I think the latest I woke up (on my own, I never use an alarm as I don’t like the shock factor) was 5:17 a.m. and one morning I lay in bed from 4:30 a.m. on, til I got up. Basically, I just jumped onto Daylight Savings Time a week early! When I came home last night, I had no time change to make, no “loss of one hour sleep” to make up (although since I got to bed after midnight and was up at 5 a.m. today, yes I am feeling the need to make up sleep!).

~ Finish A’s sweater. True to the prediction, this did not happen. BUT, the front and back of the sweater are completed, so that just leaves the two sleeves and the neckband to knit. My new goal is to finish A’s sweater by the end of March. (*Perfect* timing: a cosy wool sweater…just in time for Spring!).

~ Blog every day. Actually, it ended up being two blog posts a day! I had no intention of blogging in this manner pre-trip. I realized once I got to Aruba that I had a lot to say/share, and two shorter blog posts worked with my “schedule.” There are two reasons why blogging worked so well in this manner: 1) easy Internet access (at the resort, if not always in my room!) 2) before leaving, B helped me change the resolution on my camera, so uploading photos only took 2-3 seconds each as opposed to the 45-60 seconds it had been taking me, up to this point (duh, wish I had clued in to making this change earlier in my blogging career).

~ Buy one pair of flipflops. No go on this predicted purchase. I didn’t see any pairs of cutesie floppies that I totally adored. Instead, though, I found…

a totally kiki slogan + colour combo!

After consulting with both mom and BFF Debbie, I bought the shirt. Why the hesitation? Because I own at least 317 (no exaggeration) tshirts, 251 of which are likely white. What can I say, I love a tshirt. (A-Ha! How’s that for a future Kiki Project – wear a different tshirt every day for a year! Could do!).

And my most favourite buy – please note I spent ONE WHOLE DOLLAR on this piece of jewellery:

yes, that is the pope and mother teresa you see there, among others...

A Catholic-themed bracelet. Quirky and unique to be sure. [Please note that I sincerely mean no disrespect at all in wearing this bracelet. It’s fun to me, yes, but I also take religion seriously, and am not mocking faith nor cherished symbols at all].

~ Return home with Gumby muscles. Success! Definitely feel more limber. My body loves a sun bath, and lots of heat. While I am not quite ready to pretzel myself like this…


…my muscles do feel relaxed and loose. Hope the feeling lasts (longer than the tan, maybe??!!).

Unexpected Outcomes:

~ I would have predicted that a BINGO win would come my way. Other years, usually I win once. Not meant to be, this trip.

~ I didn’t watch TV at all. In Aruba, we can pick up a lovely selection of U.S.-feed crap TV channels, so in the past, I’ve watched my fill of entertainment shows and popular MTV programs. This year, I flicked through the channel choices one time, nothing caught my eye, and that was the end of TV for the week.

~ I am completely content with my point-and-shoot camera. Since last fall, I’ve been debating the purchase of a dslr camera. After this trip, I can say, with confidence, that the point-and-shoot is my type of camera. I love that it’s easy to transport, easy to operate, and takes a quality of picture that is just fine with me. Glad I realized this before I committed to a $600 + purchase!

So there we are! Some hits, some misses, some surprises. Just as a trip should be.

Sunday in Aruba: Tick Tock on the Clock

It is a beautiful day in Aruba:

i think i've run out of descriptives for the blue sky/palm tree/resort view!

There is no BINGO on Sunday.

It must have rained heavily overnight, though:

drainage systems are not the most efficient...because there usually is not a need!

I didn’t hear a thing – been sleeping like a (good) baby all week.

I almost thought I was going to have to report that it was an overcast day in Aruba – the sun did not really come out til about 9:30 a.m:

sky starting to clear...

Just enough time for some knitting, then one last beach stroll, this morning…

the beach is pretty quiet on sundays as it's the busiest travel day of the week

And now…

The Final Tanning Report!!

B-4…(just a little BINGO joke, haha!)

monday march 7...

And today…

ta da!

Amy, Hannah and I are sharing a taxi back to the airport, leaving about 2 p.m. So I’m back to hanging out in the lobby, passing time with my computer, saying good-byes, and knitting. (I was going to take my knitting on the plane since the trip would give me 5 solid hours of needletime, but have decided not to; even though knitting IS once again allowed during air travel, I don’t want to chance the vagaries of Aruban, American, and Air Canada security. Better safe than sorry!).

little buddy says "don't go home!"

But homeward bound, we must be.

thanks for a great week, playa linda!

Aruba Outtakes

the ever-chipper senora froggie (senor frog is a new restaurant on the strip - a few characters greet you out front!

funny little truck! love the orange colour, though!

breakfast of champions; hey, i had a coupon, buy 3 get 3 free for dunkin' donuts - $4 total! can't beat that!

how do you get a blister right in the middle of your heel?! luckily, not as bothersome as it looks

check out the pretty graphic graphics on this bike! would this even be legal at home?!...

this one deserves another shot - little e and baby c, cover your eyes!

loved these fridge magnets!

can't say i've ever seen a sand skull + crab design before!

the aruba daily newspapers: mis-spellings (plural of bus, anyone?) and creative headlines are pretty much the norm!

a kiki-quirk: whenever i do a beach walk and reach the turn around point, i must have SOMETHING to physically walk around; here, i circle round the seaweed clump!

...as opposed to "slight" tire damage, i guess!

Saturday in Aruba: I’m a Gamblin’ Fan

It was a beautiful day in Aruba.

i was standing ocean-side for this shot, looking up at the beach and the resort

I did not win at BINGO.

Saturday tends to be a bit quieter here because it is a travel cross-over day – lots of departures and check-ins. The BINGO pots were only in the $80 range today – I would not have complained, though, had I won!

I stayed by the pool this morning because I managed to score a prime piece of chickee real estate!

chair in the sun, water in the shade...

There’s even a nail so you can hang your bag!

is the number in case you forget where you are??! maybe that happens after a couple of mojitos n mudslides!

I changed the background for today’s tanning report:

i'll be able to squeeze out about 3+ hours tomorrow, still, before Project Black must come to an end!

I was a little knitting machine this morning. I am making great progress on A’s sweater:

the cable pattern is a mind-twister! i hope to get this front piece finished by the end of tomorrow - think i'll knit on the plane!

Sitting poolside in 98 degree weather, knitting, is a great conversation starter! I happily knit and socialized the morning away. And read:

i think the last "marie claire" mag i read was in aruba three years ago!

In chatting with My Moms earlier this week, it came out that they had played penny slots over at The Occidental the other night. Ginger won $600! Since my BINGO luck was non-existant this week, I decided to head over there, and see if I could make a little of Ginger’s magic happen myself.

Since I am secretly 88 years old, I went over at 3:30 in the afternoon. Not exactly a rockin’ time o’ day to go gambling.

casino at the occidental

Now. A couple years ago, we went over to The Holiday Inn down here and played slots. My mom and dad were down here at the time, too. Not being up on Casino Culture, we were snapping photos left, right and centre, when suddenly security came up and gave us a rather stern warning that no pictures were to be taken in the casino.

But…I really wanted some photos this aft of my slot machine adventure. So I turned off my flash on my camera, and stealthily snapped away…

i'm no cool hand luke

I forgot to ask Ginger exactly which machine she played.

which one is the lucky one??!

So I wandered around til I found “my machine.” It ended up being…

oh yea, party time!!!

I only brought $5 with me to play with. The Girls said you need to play the max number of lines possible. So 20 lines per hit it was.

I started off with a couple of good ding-dings!

at least we're heading in the right direction!

then i got to pick one of the presents on the screen to win extra credits!

Sadly, it was all down hill from there on out. Seven minutes after the Party started, I was outta credits. Game Over. Obviously, Ginger took all the luck back with her to New York.

Ah, well. To be honest, I had more fun playing James Bond with the secret photo-snapping than I did with the slots!

Tonight I need to pack up, check out, get my boarding pass organized, and knit. I won’t be going out drinkin’ and gamblin’ on my final night in Aruba – told you I was 88!


Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour tonight – Daylight Saving Time begins! Hallellujah. This time adjustment works perfectly in my favour: since Aruba is already one hour ahead of the time zone at home, and they DON’T go ahead one hour tonight, I already made the change when I arrived!

Of Gardens and Greenery

I went on a sight-seeing excursion in my Aruba ‘hood, looking for some of the best examples of indigenous foliage to show you. Mission accomplished!

[Sidenote: Aruba is unique because of the diversity of its landscape. The resort-heavy side of the island is a beach lover’s paradise; however; if you travel to the other side of the country, you will see uninhabited and completely different sights. We have never ventured away from the resort section; one year, we walked to the Lighthouse and back…


…what a hot trek that was! – but our ambition always wanes within 7 hours of arrival…just be aware that there is a lot you can see, and many places to explore should you choose!



The Divi-Divi tree is a unique sight to North American eyes:

the trunks are pushed sideways because of the constant ocean winds

But my favourite tree is the palm tree. If I could have my own personal tree-as-symbol, it would be this one.

a grove!

Let’s take another look!


Indulge me – one more!

maybe i should get one for inside the condo casa! it IS a two storey loft!

OK, last one.

how can you not love the sight of palm trees

You’ll also find giant cacti!


The best place to see gorgeous foliage is next door to us at the Hyatt. BFF Debbie: if you ever travel to Aruba, you are only permitted to stay at the Hyatt. Every square inch of this luxurious property exudes your vibe and style. Here is proof:

the "grotto" restaurant; i adore the stone architecture and tranquil environment; not technically a garden, but close enough

adjoining rock gardens...

look what we found?!

 For Little E!

how many fish can you count?!

 For Baby C!

can you spot the birdie??!

 I would consider camping if I could do it on the grounds of the Hyatt. Just a wonderland of beauty and class. The upkeep is perfection.

The Radisson also has divine landscaping.

is there anything more stress-reducing than the lull of a waterfall?

"silver dollar" leaves??!

vibrant pink!

and delicate pink!

There you go – just a taste of the captivating natural beauty in Aruba!

Andnowanotherpalmtree – bwah-hahahaha!!


Friday in Aruba: Sunrise, Sunset

It was a beautiful day in Aruba.


there was very little breeze today and zero cloudcover!


I did not win at BINGO.

But Elaine did!

elaine had to share with another winner, but still ended up with $50!


 My moms



…go home tomorrow. Boo hoo. So I will be playing BINGO solo tomorrow. Just my luck, watch I will win with no one here with whom to share my joy! I’d still take that situation, though!

This morning, I moved house down to the lobby…

why don't i just show you my downstairs workstation?!

…as is my new routine. It was just me and the birdies, singing away (the birdies, not me, that is).

I got to witness the sun come up…although I had to go to the other side of the lobby to do so. My computer perch faces west.

photo taken about 6:45 a.m.

...and a few minutes later.

 Although I have crossed paths with many friends and resort staff, there was one special person I really wanted to see this week. I made a few inquiries yesterday, and found out that, yes, she still does work here. We had a joyous reunion!

one of my favourite people down here!

Mildred was our room attendant the first year we stayed here (and I think the second year, too). We clicked with her right away. Mildred was always quick with a joke or funny line (and she kept our room super clean).

One time, B did not apply his sunscreen liberally enough, and came up to the room mid-day looking rather crispy red. Mildred took one look at him and said, “Ooooo, you red like lobster!” ‘Twas an apt description. We also taught Mildred the correct usage of the phrase “See you later, alligator/In a while, crocodile.”

Mildred remembered my name today! What a memory. A few years ago, she received a promotion, and is now a housekeeping supervisor. That’s just great for her.

a self portrait! mildred also has a sharp new hairstyle since I last saw her!

All I really felt like doing today was knitting. So I did. Yes, it is rather wackadoo to be knitting on a 100% wool sweater in the heat of Aruba, but I’m really enjoying the challenge of the cables on A’s sweater. (Even after I had to rip back eight rows…)

Tanning update:

today i tried really hard to balance my sun angles in order to achieve even-ness of glow

One point five days left. I envision more knitting + sun time tomorrow. Maybe I’ll move back to the beach.

I also made some more purchases! I’ll show all when I do a recap at the end of the trip, and see how I fared with my predictions. Let’s just say I am 110% thrilled with the items I’ll be packing into my suitcase home!

I just watched the sun set. Kind of a “stop and smell the roses” experience. To be honest, it drove me a little nuts, just standing there waiting for the sun to go down. But I could not have asked for a more magnificent sight!

the sun was not quite out of the sky...

finally the golden globe hits the water

i moved up to pool level for this shot...

...and with that, the sun has set for another day in aruba

The neat thing is that these sunset photos were taken within a few minutes of 6:45 p.m. – exactly 12 hours from my sunrise photos!

Tonight I want to check out the New Balance store at the mall across the street. They were closed the other night when I was there, and I want to see if they have any minimalist footwear. They better not. If they do, and if I am weak, I will be wearing a pair of shoes home on my hands; my luggage is not going to accomodate a pair of shoes!

Have a great weekend!


[Sidenote: My prayers and thoughts are with anyone affected by the earthquake and tsunami. I thank BFF Debbie for mentioning this news story in her email this a.m.; I had no idea as I have not been checking in on news websites. The TV in the lobby here is tuned to coverage right now, so I am getting more details, but am absolutely horrified by the situation. It also makes me ashamed of my freak-out over losing my Internet connection in my room the other day…such small potatoes compared to this disaster].

 [Sidenote to the sidenote: I am now GLAD I have no Internet in my room! I am not obsessively checking email every time I go upstairs. Since I am in the lobby, there are people constantly coming and going (well, not at 6 a.m.) so I am meeting friends, chatting with people, commiserating with those who also have no in-room wifi – which is everyone, it appears. So this whole fiasco situation ends up being a blessing in disguise!]

[ETA third Sidenote: Now I DO have Internet in my room again! I tried it on a whim, and it works perfectly. Oy yoy yoy...]