Wednesday, April 26, 2017

First Time Flyer Adventure

My husband used to read the blog when I was writing everyday but now that I'm more sporadic he doesn't visit it anymore. So tonight I was reading one of my recent blog posts to him and found several mistakes.

I've always tried to read and re-read the posts to cut down on those mistakes. But being that I find myself doing more of the writing during the middle of the night I am not nearly as cautious. Some of the mistakes are pretty stupid. It will be a surprise if I later don't find a few mistakes even in this post.  Another late middle-of-the night writing.

Actually, I haven't yet been to sleep.  An afternoon-evening-night of adventure for me.  An even bigger adventure for my son-in-law.

Two mechanical problems on two airplanes. Two delayed flights. A period of no working toilets while sitting on the plane waiting for repairs. Once off the ground, almost three straight hours of pretty nasty turbulence. A medical emergency onboard. A safe but late after midnight landing. A scarcity of cabs. A long line for hotel check in. Finally receiving our room key, putting it in the door, and finding it not to be working which then necessitated a trip back to the front desk at 1:30 in the morning.

For us, all part of the ups and downs of travel. While we have experienced each of those things in our travels, we have never had them all wind up happening in one trip. It has been quite the day for us all.

I'm not sure what our son-in-law is thinking right now. He is on this adventure and today was his first airplane ride ever. Poor guy. Sure hoping it hasn't scared him off.

Local time here is after 3:00 AM and all I can say is what an adventurous day we've had.
What an amazing picture of the Phoenix area from above. I think one of my best aerial pictures yet.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Other One

Who or what is the other one? It's the other blog.

Last year when I finally published my book on cruising, I gave the whole social media presence a go. A halfhearted go, actually. Twitter, Instagram, and a blog dedicated to cruising. But it didn't last long. I was forcing myself to have this Internet thing going on. Except it wasn't me. I was trying to intertwine travel and cruising and gratitude. And I gave up on it.

So back to one blog. I'll gradually start moving things from the other one to this one. (But who knows? Maybe I'll change my mind again and go back to two. Why am I so indecisive???)

The first move-over is a post I wrote about gratitude from last year. Looking back it was more about money than gratitude:

Whenever I talk to people about cruising, I talk about the value. Compared to a night in a hotel, cruising can be downright cheap. A year ago we paid a total of $549 (not per person) for seven nights on a cruise ship. That ship took us to Belize, Cozumel, Mexico and Costa Maya, Mexico. With that price we received lodging, meals and snacks, entertainment, beautiful scenery, and transportation to three different ports. We also received $250 in credit to use on board. For one full week.

I'm wishing we were on a cruise right now. Because today I walked out of a hotel we just spent the last six nights in. In the city we live in. In a room with a king bed and a very limited breakfast. For a price of $1027.31.

Why in the heck would someone as smart as me pay such an outlandish rate at a hotel? And not even in a fun, new destination? We're just a few miles away from our own home. And we're doing it again, in a different hotel, in our same city. But this one is (thankfully) being paid by our insurance company. In fact, they will be paying for us to stay here for at least a couple more weeks. (They reimbursed us this afternoon for that $1027.31 bill. Whew.)

Let's get to the bottom of this with some more questions.

Ever heard of the word mitigation? According to FEMA, mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. I hadn't heard the word until last week.

Did you know the bottom of a hot water heater can leak? Did you know it can flood the area around it? (In our case that area included the closet, the bedroom, and the bathroom.)

Did you know that manufactured home floors are made of pressed board? That if those pressed boards get really wet they don't dry well? In fact, in some cases they need to be pulled up?

Um, yeah.

Hello, bedroom floor.

Hello, living room/dining room/kitchen.

Hello, mitigation.

Wonder if I could convince the insurance company to send us on a cruise instead of paying for an overpriced hotel. I'm sure I could find us a voyage that will be cheaper than the payment they will be making to the hotel.

Yeah, probably not. Grateful for insurance anyway!

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Yesterday I was thinking the last month wasn't all that productive for me. I take that back.

I taught a dog to fetch. To sit. To stay. To walk on a leash. To shake his paw. Not bad for someone who doesn't like dogs. (Except for this one. He's a keeper.)

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Friday Five

With February here I was thinking about how I've spent my 2017 so far and have boiled it down to five photos.

#1 Snow, snow, and more snow. Thankfully after 54 straight days with snow on the ground it is finally starting to melt.

#2 Charity quilt making.

#3 Puppy dog and kitty cat babysitting.

#4 Ebay sell-off of some of my fabrics.
Dozens of boxes are now down to just a few packages.

#5 Protein shakes. I'm not sure how many cases we've been through in the past month but it has been more than one.

A sort of productive year so far.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Yep, a Big Help

Yep, he sure is a big help.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Big Helper

This week's project? A Valentine heart wall quilt for my daughter.  This week's helper? A dog named Baloo.

Monday, January 30, 2017

We're Still Frozen

The weatherman on the radio this morning tells his listeners here in Boise, Idaho We're still frozen. While I wouldn't typically be in my car listening to the radio in 10 degree weather, I have puppy duty today so a drive is required.

And thank goodness because otherwise I would have missed an inspiring sight in my driveway. Something about a sunrise being reflected in my speckle-frosted car window makes the day a bit brighter. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Done is Better than Good

Recently I've been checking out ebooks and audiobooks from my local public library. Because I mostly never leave the house unless it's puppy sitting time being able to check out an electronic book and have it downloaded on my device without ever having to leave said house is AWESOME.

Today I finished listening to a book by Elizabeth Gilbert, the Eat, Pray, Love lady. I listened to Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear to get me motivated to get back into the writing game. She makes several great points and I took mental notes of many of them. One of her mom's sayings was, "Done is better than good". It is a pretty freeing thought. Getting stuck in perfection isn't a productive place to be.

Except when it comes to my colorful contribution-to-society project from the other day. This one:
This colorful project, after the cold water wash, now has a middle section that looks like this. See all the red blotches?

Despite all the color catcher sheets, despite the cold water and the delicate cycle, the one color I hadn't prewashed - the red - bled through. And won't come out. So the question I'm asking myself...Is done better than good?

Perfection or no perfection I just can't send this off to The Painted Turtle Camp. So change of plans. It will go in the thrift store donation pile. I'm certain someone will purchase it and be able to make something out of it. Heck, if I saw something like it in the store I would probably buy it and work on it.

I can't believe I just talked myself (actually wrote myself) out of giving it up to the thrift store. I can figure something out, figure out a way to fix it. 

So yes, done is better than good. I guess it's just not done yet! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017


I'm rusty. Not just my joints, but my writing. It has been a long, long time (a year maybe) since I've written anything or even spoken more than a few sentences to anyone. So apologies ahead of time if this blog and the writing you've been reading seems choppy.

It's a practice thing. I promise to practice. Daily. Please be patient, I (think) I'll get back to writing clear, coherent, grown up sentences.

Today might not be the day.

Today might be the day I remember the old days when I published two books with Amazon. Oh, those were the days. Hopefully again...someday...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Contribution to Society

Over the years there has been one important requirement in my life - to make a contribution to society. For 20+ years it occurred through my work in the public school system. Since I'm no longer - and probably won't ever be again - employed in the school system, I keep working with my number two contribution-to-society activity. Sewing for charity. 

Something I've done for years, my sewing for charity has continued despite some pretty bad times. I still plug along on it, just quite a bit slower than in the past. I almost always have a project I'm working on and right now I'm on one that has taken me several months to complete. Thanks to Paul Newman.

Did you know it was his birthday yesterday? He would have been 92. He was the co-founder of The Painted Turtle, a camp for kids with serious medical issues. I've worked with this charity before, sewing turtle pillows for campers. This tim around 've been working on more turtle pillows as well as bed quilts. I'm finally nearing the end of the how-did-I-get-myself-into-this? project.

One of my brighter quilts is a quilt-as-you-go project. You'd think as long as I've been quilting I would have tried out the technique before but not until now. A new and yet different small contribution to society.

(To clarify... it's not technically Paul Newman's fault it is taking me several months to finish this project,  It's my fault - my hands' and shoulders' and back's fault - that I'm taking so long. But it is because of him I do have this project to work on!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Caught in the Surf

As someone who likes to swim and snorkel in the ocean I have some experience with how difficult it can be getting out of the water. Sometimes the sand is firm and the slope is gentle, making it easy to get in and out. Other times there is a ledge either before the waterline or just under the waterline making a graceful and easy entry and exit (especially with two fake knees) a struggle. And sometimes the extra time it takes to plan your escape has you sinking deeper into the wet sand. Quicksand at the shore line? Sure can feel like it. Talk about hard to get out of.

And then there are those times when a wave catches you. If you haven't timed it correctly - and even when you have - you can find yourself being slammed by the surf. Occasionally once or twice, but sometimes several times in a row. Then just when you've finally fought through all the waves, and gotten past the "shelf", and pulled your legs out of the "quicksand" and are just about on dry land, another wave may hit and knock you on your bottom again.

Just like a chronic disease.

When I last posted to the blog, I was riding high working on the 50 by 50 list. Feeling good, accomplishing physical feats I never thought possible. The sand was feeling firm under my feet and the slope gradual. It was only a matter of time before a wave knocked me on my bum. Again and again and again.

In those situations - at the shore and in life - you can't give up. You have to keep fighting. So, following my own advice, I guess I'm back to blogging. Maybe it can help support that fight and bring me back to the living yet again.

Better than when I've been doing lately. Like the time in Antigua with a beautiful beach, beautiful water, beautiful day. The time/energy/effort to even think about getting into the water had been too much so I just stayed in the lounge chair, feeling miserable, wishing I had the strength to go in, longing for the days I used to be able to make it. Instead I drank a strong rum punch and slept in the chair until time to leave.

Here's hoping for less sleeping, less drinking, less feeling miserable, less longing for old days, less feeling inadequate. And hope for more living - and writing - instead.
The photo of the beach in Antigua was my background picture for quite some time
before I had to finally delete it because it was too depressing. Reminders of my inadequacies and all.
As to why I thought 4:30 in the morning on a Wednesday was a good time to start blogging again...I'm not sure.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Closer to 50

Respond to every call that excites your spirit. ~rumi

I guess that's what I'm doing with this 50 by 50 list I've been working on. My 50th birthday has passed but my list of new experiences continues. In the past few months I have completed quite a bit:

Swim in the ocean
Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
Fly in a helicopter
Travel to Iceland
Learn to snorkel
Go zip lining
Ride in an outrigger canoe
Overcome fear of lizards
See the Cabo Arch
Take a long distance train trip
Ride a mule
See the Hollywood sign
Ride a Ferris wheel
Ride in a zodiac raft
Have acupuncture
Ride a Hobie cat
See the Northern Lights
Lie on a hammock on a beach
See a ballet
Visit an orphanage 
Try stand up paddleboarding
Visit Mayan ruins
Foster kittens
Swim with dolphins
Swim with stingrays
Ride a bicycle
See a Shakespeare play
Hold an alligator
Ride in an airboat 
Learn to paint
Join the YMCA
Try Reiki
See a sunset over Greenland
Be able to cross my legs
Walk in the Muir Woods
Feed iguanas
Fly without a seatbelt extended
Go sailing
Walk on the Wall of Fame
Do a 5K

Today's picture is proof of the Y. Who is crazy enough to show up at 5 AM and spend the next two hours working out?  It may be crazy but it's worth it to walk out to a pretty sunrise.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Commitment to Self

Two days.

Two straight days of my self-imposed two hour long workout. But that was easy. It was the weekend and I could sleep in and take my time getting to the Y. 

The hard part starts tomorrow on the first day back to work. A full work day, an 80 mile round trip commute, and a two hour workout. I've got it planned out. 

A commitment to myself. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

1 + 1 = Nap

Long before the rheumatoid arthritis was diagnosed, long before the dozen or so screws were used to put my shoulders back together, long before my right lung became non-functioning, long before my two titanium knees were implanted, long before I became mobility-scooter bound, and long before I weighed 400 pounds, I used to belong to a health club.

I had a set after school routine. Drive the 20 miles to the gym. Bike for less than 15 minutes, treadmill for about 5 minutes, lift a few weights, and then get myself into the pool. It wasn't a very challenging workout but one just long enough to make me feel like I was trying to be healthy. In hindsight it probably was a big waste of gas and time, driving that far for so little. But at least it was something.

Fast forward to today.

I now live less than five miles from the YMCA. No longer 400 pounds, no longer mobility-scooter bound, no longer expecting to do a minimum amount of work at a gym, I made my way to my first session this morning. Knowing I haven't done much but ride my bike this summer I anticipated a bit of a rough start.

One hour on the treadmill and bike and one hour in the pool. Seemed like a great plan, a great way to get me to focus on me, to get a jumpstart on an exercise program. And it was a great plan. Up until the time I got home. That warm water pool I spent my time swimming laps in and doing exercises in and walking in turned out to be quite kind to my achy joints. I felt warm and comfortable and relaxed and...tired.

While one plus one usually equals two, in my case today it became one hour plus one hour equaled a good long nap.

And almost five miles on the bike. While I didn't push myself too hard on day one, it was a place to start. I think I'll stick with my plan.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Catching Up

You'd think I'd have a good excuse (or multiple excuses) as to why I haven't being keeping up on the blog. But I don't. Call it lazy, call it...well, just plain lazy. I've been keeping up on the pictures. Been taking one almost every day. Except the writing hasn't followed. It takes brain power to write and quite frankly my brain power has been lacking lately.

So here's the what's been going on the last few months scoop.

It has been a summer of mostly non-travel. Sticking around home. Building relationships with others. Buying a bike and riding it. Doing home improvement projects. Fostering baby kitties. Quilting quilts for kids' charities. Hanging out with hubby who is now on disability. Deciding to go back to work, even though I was pretty confident I would quit and never return. Joining the YMCA. Learning to paint. Gardening. Going to baseball games. Turning 50. Still working on my 50 by 50 list, those 50 new things I wanted to do before I turned 50.

And here's a slew of pictures I've been holding on to. Some have made it to Instagram and Twitter, a place of very few words.

Guess it's time for me to find my brain power and fire this thing up again.