Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Daughter the Tour Guide

My daughter tagged along on one of my most recent Mexico adventures and became my fact-filled Mayan ruins tour guide.

We got on the ferry for a 40 minute ride from the island to the mainland. We walked another half a mile or so to catch our tour bus. An hour's drive later we arrived at the Tulum Ruins. All along the way the tour guide told stories of the Mayans.

I should mention I am totally clueless when it comes to history of any kind. You’d think being married to a history teacher my knowledge and/or interest would be high. Nope. Obviously our daughter picked up her dad’s history genes because all the way to the ruins did she not only quiz me on Mayan culture and history, she gave me a lesson. Multiple lessons. There is no doubt in my mind that she could have assumed the tour guide role right there and then on that bus.

Between the lessons of the tour guide and the lessons of my daughter that day I certainly felt “schooled”. But my lackluster interest in history left me confused – there was so much new information! (I did learn that our calendar is based on the Mayan calendar.) Geez, I’m a sorry example of a history student.

Even my pictures from the day reflected my disinterest in history. There we were at the Tulum Ruins in Mexico and most of my pictures were of the iguanas all over the place.

Sorry, kiddo. You were an amazing tour guide but I’m a terrible (history) student. I can take the pictures, though!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Morning Walk

I was lucky enough to get up and get out walking by 6:30 this morning. I've got almost five miles in one day. Woohoo!

I also got in lots of pictures along the way. Blooming shrubs, evergreen trees, and even a friendly squirrel. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Adventure Soft as a Baby’s Bum

I imagine there aren't many adventures that could be described as soft as a baby’s bum. But there are such adventures and I had two of them in one day.

What could they be? One was on my 50 by 50 list; the other wasn’t but it was such an amazing experience I just have to count it.

Clue #1: They both happened in the Cayman Islands.
Clue #2: The first adventure happened when I jumped into water that looked like this:

Clue #3: I wore my snorkel for this first adventure.

Clue #4: I touched an animal. (Here’s the picture to prove it.)

Clue #5: That animal’s underside looks like this:
The first adventure? How about snorkeling with stingrays? Their skin was so soft, just like a baby’s bum.

The second adventure also included an animal and swimming but no snorkel. It did include kissing.

Soft as a baby bum’s dolphin swim and kiss.
What a day. What a life.

Creepy Crawlies

I'm not sure what I did to get all these creepy crawlies around me, but every time I turned around in Florida something was close by. From a multitude of lizards to a dragonfly on my iced tea outside Cracker Barrel to the love bugs, it was clear I was not alone. Thank goodness I'm not fearful of lizards anymore!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Thing About Poverty

The taxi turned into the entrance and drove up the pothole-pitted dusty road. At the end of the driveway, near the entrance to the building, broken playground sat deserted to the left. To the right a dog could be found resting in a shady spot in the dirt, seeking escape from the uncomfortable combination of hot temperatures and high humidity. 

Also on the right near the dog and dirt and shade and weeds and garbage and dumpster could be found a busted up picnic table.  On what remained of the bench a person could be found sleeping on her side. As I've been around enough to know a homeless person when I see one, I looked away from the bench and focused my attention on the front door. 

The taxi driver honked the horn. 

The lady on the bench awoke and approached the vehicle. She appeared to be the one in charge. She took me inside the building and had me sit down at the large table where all the meals were served. Where holes could be found in the wall, where a sometimes-functional TV sat. Where I visited with the only other person on campus, the cook. That high school Spanish class paid off as I spoke with the cook about the pollo and plantains she was frying for the children. I was shown around the small, steamy, non-air conditioned rooms where up to six boys shared a single room. 

This lady, the one who I thought was a homeless person sleeping on a bench? She was the gal who runs the orphanage in Honduras. As I delivered the homemade pillowcases I had sewn for the kids, I wished I had made ones for the adults, too. The level of poverty I found at this orphanage is beyond description. 

The thing about poverty is that you really can't understand it, even when you see it. And just because someone looks to be homeless doesn't mean they don't bring value to others' lives. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

One and Done

It’s not often I say I’ll never do something again. But today I ran across one of those things.

Two years ago I was a mobility-scooter bound person. During that time I remember a visit to Leavenworth, Washington on a hot summer day. My biggest thrill of the day was being able to take my scooter down to the river and put my feet in the water. Even took a picture of it.

I also took another picture that day that has been stuck in my mind ever since. I saw someone stand up paddle boarding. I remember thinking that while I would have loved to try it, I would never be able to do something like that. Scooter, one working lung, bad knees. Odds were so far against me.

But I didn’t give up on that dream and today in the warm waters of the Bahamas that never-gonna-happen dream came to fruition.

Was I scared? Absolutely terrified.
Was it difficult? So much harder than I could have ever imagined. One of the most difficult physical (and mental) things I have ever done.
Could I balance without my son-in-law holding the board? No way.
Did I fall? Lots of times.
Was I graceful? Nope, not a bit.
Will I ever do it again? Heck, no.

Check that one off my 50 by 50 list.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

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, April 15, 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. 

Multiple NSVs

My husband likes to snuggle. Some might call it spooning but I call it annoying.

As a big girl, it was easy for him to snuggle. Throw the arm on top of my large body and call it good. But now...

Now I don't take up as much room in the bed. I pretty much lost a person - 175 pounds - and that has freed up space in the bed and changed his snuggle routine. Now the arm is tightly gripped around my waist. On my side of the bed. With snoring in my ear. Which is why I am here, unable to sleep, writing in the middle of the night. While I find it pretty annoying when I'm losing sleep I am absolutely thrilled with the extra space in the bed. An NSV - Non-Scale Victory. Not tied to the morning's number on the scale. Based on life.

I have accumulated several NSVs over these last few months. These life changes have brought me much joy.

Just look what this rheumatoid-arthritis, one-lung, two knee replacement, former mobility-scooter-based gal has done:

Swam in the ocean for the first time in Hawaii

Walked a 5K with my daughter

Walked the Golden Gate Bridge (both ways)

Visited Iceland

Snorkeled in Belize and Mexico

Flew in a helicopter over Kauai

Walked on the Walk of Fame

Witnessed sunset over Greenland.

Paddled an outrigger canoe

Went sailing

Walked 7.47 miles in San Diego

Zip lined in Puerto Vallarta

Flew without a seat belt extender

Sat in a hammock on the beach

Fed iguanas in Honduras

Rode a mule

Slept on an Amtrak train in the top bunk

Walked in the Muir Woods in California

And just this week, I can now cross my legs when seated. First time in over 30 years.

And those are just the things I have photo proof of. Can't wait for my next NSV!