Monday, March 30, 2015

Up to 50+

As I reread yesterday's middle of the night blog post listing things I want to experience before I turn 50 I realized it might appear quite unrealistic and unattainable.

That's fair. 

I'm very aware that some of those things - like seeing penguins in their natural habitat - may not happen (or at least may be extremely difficult to pull off). But I'm completely confident that others - like dog sledding or swimming with the dolphins - will absolutely occur. 

As I read the list I also thought about more experiences I'd like to have. I'm now to over 50 on the list but I figure that will give me some wiggle room in case some can't be arranged. My new additions: 
46. Ride a bike
47. Hike Diamond Head
48. Watch a bear catch a salmon 
49. See the Grand Canyon
50. Go to the ballet
51. Learn karate
52. Ride in a pedicab
53. Jump on a trampoline 

Even started looking at bikes, just in case. Isn't she pretty? If I ever own a bike  I want it to look like this. 


Anxiety or Adrenaline?

When I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t return to sleep it is usually because thoughts race through my head. Typically they are either anxiety-producing irrational thoughts or adrenaline-producing suck-the-marrow thoughts.

Tonight my brain is torn between the two.

The other day I read about someone trying to do 50 things before their 50th birthday. Being I will be turning 50 this year the article led me to start my own list. Things I want to accomplish before turning 50. The great thing about the list is I've already knocked some things off the list over the last few months. The bad thing (actually, a good thing) is that I have a long way to go. In no particular order:

1. Swim in the ocean
2. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
3. Ride in a helicopter
4. Go dog sledding
5. Visit Iceland
6. Ride a Segway
7. Learn to snorkel
8. Ride a zip line
9. Overcome fear of lizards
10. Go salmon fishing
11. See the Cabo arch
12. Learn to stand up paddle board
13. Swim with the dolphins
14. Walk a half marathon
15. Fly in a seaplane
16. Ride in an outrigger canoe in Hawaii
17. Visit Norway
18. Ride in a race car
19. Walk on a glacier
20. Take a hot air balloon ride
21. Go para sailing
22. Take a long distance train trip
23. Ride a mule
24. Take an air boat ride
25. See the Hollywood sign
26. Shoot a gun
27. Cross the Arctic circle
28. Visit Machu Picchu
29. See penguins in their natural habitat
30. Ride in a zodiac raft
31. Take a Hobie Cat ride
32. Visit Greenland
33. Publish another book
34. Lose 25 pounds
35. Go inside a wind turbine
36. Tackle another suspension bridge
37. Ride a Ferris wheel
38. Take a water aerobics class
39. Learn yoga
40. See the Northern Lights
41. Lie in a hammock on the beach
42. Ride an ATV
43. Tent camp in the woods
44. Live on a cruise ship for a month
45.   Learn to dance

As much as I tried I couldn't get to 50, at least not yet. (Does that mean I’m 45 at heart?) Either way it’s an adrenaline-producing suck-the-marrow somewhat-rational list.

Now for the anxiety-producing thoughts.

Sucking the marrow over these last few months has been expensive and I’m running out of money. Our Marsing house hasn't sold. Hubby isn't working and hasn't yet had a determination about disability. I've quit my job only have a few months left of income.

The two hour commute to work is killing me. The energy left for self-care is limited. My eating habits suffer. I drink too much caffeine, have been eating some carbs and sugar, and am not keeping true to my plan. My exercise habits suffer. I am too pooped to do anything once I get home. I start a great plan of daily walking at work and on weekends, but one day of overdoing it and my joints scream out to stop.

My pillowcase sewing project has netted 45 pillowcases for a local children’s home. Another dozen for a foster home organization. Another 20 to be hand-delivered next month to an orphanage in Honduras. I’m passionate about the project. But my family cut me off. Stopped me from doing more. Arthritis in the neck and looking down to sew isn't working out so well. While I was on the infusions and chemotherapy I could sew longer without an issue. But off the treatments? Not working so well.

Then the suck the marrow adventures make the arthritis flare up big time. A great day of adventure equals a few days of being down and having to take it easy. Life shouldn't be this hard.

My family wants me to cut back. They tell me on a regular basis:
Work from home. 
Cut back on sewing. 
Don’t be so adventurous. 
Take it easy. 
Stop walking. The doctor told you so.
Calm down.
Go back on your arthritis treatments. You need to be able to play with grand kids.

I am so torn. I know in my heart everything will work out. I don’t know how it’ll all work out, but it will. The money will come when it needs to. I may need to go back on my medications (I SO don’t want to) if I want to continue sewing and adventuring.

One single day spent snorkeling in Cabo last week may have made me rethink my life. Maybe it's time to swallow my pride and listen to them. But I can’t give this up. Could you?




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pillowcase Project in Play

After yesterday's post I realized I've made quite a bit of movement on the 50 by 50 list. And the list keeps evolving.  

1. Swim in the ocean
2. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
3. Ride in a helicopter
4. Visit Iceland
5. Learn to snorkel
6. Ride a zipline
7. Ride in an outrigger canoe in Hawaii
8. Overcome fear of lizards
9. See the Cabo arch
10. Take a long distance train trip
11. Ride a mule
12. See the Hollywood sign
13. Ride a ferris wheel
14. Ride in a zodiac raft
15. Take a Hobie Cat ride
16. See the Northern Lights
17. Lie in a hammock on the beach
18. See a ballet

19. Visit an orphanage. 

The pillowcase project for an orphanage in Honduras is in play. 

Stay tuned. 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Notes to Self

Sucking the marrow sure can be rough on the body.

I may not have any broken bones, but I’m battered and bruised. Several days of being tossed around in high surf. (Note to self: You may not be able to read what the warning sign says in Spanish, but when the red flag is up at the beach you probably should stay out of the water.)


A full day of zip lining in Puerto Vallarta. Stretching the shoulders, lifting the legs, flying high over the jungle and river over and over again. (Note to self: Remember to get to those high, long zip lines you will need to hike up multiple steep uneven paths and stairs and your knees might not be happy with you. And don’t forget you only have one lung working. That will really be a problem.)

A mule ride. (Note to self: Mules are amazingly sure-footed over super-steep rocky paths.)

Snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas from a Zodiac raft. Jump out over the side, climb back in. (Note to self: It is a heck of a lot harder getting back into a raft than getting out.)


Bruises up and down my legs, my arms and shoulders, and my hands. Rheumatoid-arthritic joints overused and swollen, leaving extremities numb. (Note to self: That’s the price you pay for working on being a suck-the-marrow adventurous person.)

Rheumatoid arthritis.
One lung.
Two knee replacements.
175 pounds lost.
(Note to self: Remember to keep pushing yourself, but not too much. Know when it’s time to take it easy.)

I’ll take a lesson from the sea lion in Cabo San Lucas. Just hanging out, waiting to the tide to come in. No worries.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Finally Cool in LA

I'm finally cool. 

Flight from Boise to Seattle. Shuttle from airport to hotel. Drop off luggage. Shuttle from hotel to light rail station. Take light rail to downtown Seattle. Spend time around Pike Place Market. Take light rail back to airport. Shuttle back to hotel. Sleep. Shuttle back to light rail station. Take light rail to International District. Walk to Amtrak station. Get on Coast Starlight train, Seattle to Los Angeles. Arrive 35 hours later at Los Angeles Union Station. Take a taxi to hotel. Sleep. Walk to the metro station. Catch redline train to Hollywood and Vine. Spend time looking around Hollywood Walk of Fame. 



Catch hop on hop off bus red line tour. Take tour of LA. 


Transfer to yellow line hop on hop off bus tour. Go to Santa Monica. Walk the pier, have lunch. 



Catch hop on hop off bus to finish yellow line tour. Transfer to redline hop on hop off bus to finish tour of LA. 


Get off at Grauman's Chinese Theater. 



Redline train to LA Union Station. Catch cab back to hotel. Sleep. Take shuttle to cruise ship port. 

Before we left home, I made sure to do my part in giving back. I hand delivered 45 homemade brightly colored pillowcases to a children's home. I thought that was pretty cool. 

Being able to pull off all those travel arrangements without getting lost could be considered a major accomplishment and maybe even cool. Having seen and done all I have in the last few days could be considered pretty cool, too. 

But it took one single incident that made me cool in my daughter's eyes. The picture I took outside Grauman's Chinese Theater where they were filming America's Next Top Model. Cool? I guess. (Personally I'll take sewing pillowcases or sucking-the-marrow adventures as being at the top of my cool list.)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chicago

In my home I have a map. A huge wall map covered with stickers, with each sticker representing a spot I've visited. For a location to earn a spot on the map I need to have either eaten, slept, or gone to the restroom there. I have long stopped counting how many places are marked. 

Chicago is one place that is marked. Ate there? Yes. Slept there? No. Gone to the restroom there? Yes. All in the Chicago airport. It has always been a stop over on the way to someplace else. My husband has been there for business and enjoyed it but Chicago hasn't ever really been a destination location for me. 

But lately I have been wondering if it is a place I am meant to go. Someone at work had mentioned how much they would love to go to Chicago. And since that day the number of Chicago references I have noticed has been astounding.

On that very first day after hearing that person's enthusiasm about Chicago -on my way home, stuck in traffic - I heard on the radio that Oprah was closing down her studio in Chicago.

That same night on my Yahoo page there was reference again to Oprah.

Then when I went to book an Amtrak trip what would appear on the booking page but an advertisement for lowered fares to Chicago?

Another day in an email Chicago pops up again. 

One of the people I follow on Twitter has something going on in Chicago. 

Another day, another person from Twitter that I follow, another Chicago. 

Out to eat at the Village in Meridian and what appears?

Sitting down to watch a couple minutes of TV with hubby. Chicago on the movie. Then the nightly news talking about Chicago dying the river green for St. Patrick's Day. And a man in a Chicago Cubs tshirt in the Mexican restaurant. 

Then we get on this Amtrak train from Seattle to LA. The faucet manufacturer in the restroom? Yep. 

With all this Chicago in just the last couple weeks I'm guessing this means at some point I will be going to Chicago. Too many coincidences for me not to. 

But why? Only the Universe knows. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pillowcase Adventure Project

I thought I knew what poverty was. I've traveled the US and seen depressed areas. I've seen the homeless in the big cities. I've seen ram shackled homes in the country. The cycle of poverty is difficult to break and I always worry most about the kids.

Which is why my life plan is shaping up the way it is. I had to go all the way to Belize and Honduras for it to make sense.

Belize City, where people are proud and happy. And poor. A place where education is important. Where the windows and shutters of the schools are wide open and have no screens but students are learning English. Where a little boy ran to the school fence and waved to me as we drove by.

Roatan, Honduras, where the level of poverty is beyond what I ever could have imagined. Where kids don't have much of a chance. Where five year olds have already started walking the beach, trying to hit up tourists for money in exchange for their trinkets.

Then throw in the sewing. Throw in the need for adventure. The need to give back to others. And this pull I have to quit my job.

It's all falling into place. Soon I'll be visiting an orphanage in Honduras, delivering homemade pillowcases to the kids. I haven't forgotten about Idaho, either. I'll be delivering pillowcases to a children's home here, too. A home full of failed-adoption kiddos, kids that no one wants.

A year of love, gratitude, and giving. Of being happy everyday. Might just call it the Pillowcase Adventure Project. (Still working on the name.)

Soon I'll be up, up, and away. Like the planes in the morning.