Monthly Archives: June 2013

~Coffee with the Big Kids

~Coffee with the Big Kids
So Saturday morning owe about 11 am I was at the watering whole with the BIG KIDS. Yes Starbucks! I do live in Seattle. Once everyone trickled in we were nine in number. Six of the nine were over 60. Oldest coming in at 86. At times there were up to four little conversations going on at once. At times the group would come together in one united discussion. Oh and of course SOME form of caffeine in every cup. BEAUTIFUL.

In one of those departures from group conversation I found myself talking to a big kid. I was asking her about friends we shared in common that had since moved away. While she had talked to them recently she couldn’t quite remember the particulars. She attempted to grasp the recent memory of her conversation with them. Then she shrugged her shoulders, took a swig of her drink and said Alzheimer’s disease. I smiled and chuckled figuring she was making a joke. She giggled too. Then she ever so gently touched my arm and said seriously. I still thought she was being her joking self. But she continued talking.
She told me her mother had Alzheimer disease. And I..I knew that. It just took me back. I wasn’t expecting those words out of her mouth. I felt like I had just miss judged a hell Mary pass from Russell down field. Instead of catching the ball, I took a shot to the head. I asked if she was diagnosed? She patted my hand and said no but she knew what it looked like. Her Mom had and did all the same things. They just didn’t know what it was. Oh well she said, what you gonna do about it.

I felt compelled to tell her my truth. The MS is starting to bother my left hand. It’s getting hard to straighten my fingers. It was the first time I said that out loud to a non-family member or a doctor. As the words slide off my lip I felt lighter. She pulled my head sideways into hers and said, but we aren’t ones to cry. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. With her words the conversation got weightless again. She spoke our truth. I almost forgot for a second. Our disease DOESN’T design our realities we do.

I looked around our little group everyone was smiling, talking and laughing. You’d never know it was a group various health issues of type one diabetes, bursitis, MS, Fibromyalgia, bad knees and etc. The BIG kids have grace. They sip there coffee and enjoy every mouth full. I’m not saying they don’t have fear or anxiety. They just don’t let it run their life. I mean WHY ruin a good cup of coffee?

We didn’t talk about Alzheimer’s or MS progression again. We talked about Alaska and my upcoming trip to Spain. Yes friends you heard me right SPAIN. I’ve never been to Europe. An old friend is getting married and she asked Albee to marry them. I was scared to go at first. Europe as a whole isn’t an accessible place. However, my sister-in-law read Barcelona is a very assessable city. What is holding back but me? There was such peace among the group. Why worry about tomorrow today? They knew what lie ahead them but it didn’t allow it to take away from today.

It’s funny I got a text from a newly diagnosed friend. She’s in her twenties no health insurance. So MS came at a shock. She sent me a website that she thought was cool. I checked it out. It was all about beating MS with diet and supplements. RAINBOWS & SUNSHINE JUNK! I’m not say’n diet or supplements don’t help. Heck I lay in a hyperbaric chamber as often as I can. But when people throw around the word “cure” that’s WRONG. Worse is when people are nieve and believe it. Then they have unrealistic expectations. When things progress they are dashed to pieces. Balance is needed. You can’t out run time and disease often rides its coat tells.

The BIG kids don’t fall for that one. They aren’t trying to change the direction of the tide. Health Insurance is just a part of life. Use it when you need it don’t when you don’t. Just slow down life is only as serious as you make it.

Think I’m going to make it my mantra “Live Like a BIG kid”. Except unavoidable truths, time and tide stop for no one. Diseases may come. Doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Acknowledge them, respect them and other hardships. Yet, don’t be ruled by them. Sit down when your knees hurt. Walk when they don’t. Travel when you can. You never know when you no longer can’t. Oh yea sip your coffee while it’s still hot …I’m just say’n…

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~A trip of a LIFE TIME!

~A trip of a LIFE TIME!

WOW! Alaska was an ADVENTURE of a life time. I really can’t believe it took me until I’m 40 to take the trip. The approximate 2000 international head count on the boat felt the same. When I say international I mean IT! We met people from Deli to New Zealand and mainland China. That in itself was half of the adventure. We met a simply GORGEOUS family from Puerto Rico. The mother of two boys talked about how she’d read and seen pictures of Alaska for years and couldn’t believe she was actually there. I realized I had WRONGFULLY took Alaska for granted.

I mean for YEARS now I’ve watched the Alaska bound cruise ships out my living room window RATHER non-chalantly. Albey and I could walk to the cruise terminal from our condo. I mean if I COULD walk (finger out gun style point click with-a WINK). Who knew Alaska was a hot ticket for people around the world?

I’ll tell you what though, after a day in Glacier Bay I’m a believer. I DON’T know what took me so long to go. I think I just thought I’d seen snow, seen mountains, seen snowcapped mountains before. Alaska Malaska! What’s the big deal with Alaska? Nope..Nope. I was wrong. It’s a BIG deal. So at 40 I’m not old but I’m not young either. I’ve never seen a place where no one has been to. I mean not in this country. There is a road you can drive on through the desert part of this country. You can ride a mule down the Grand Canyon. But Alaska?! There are no air ports or roads to Glacier Bay.

There is however a mountainous channel. It’s CRAZY! Here it was we were on this HUGE cruise ship, right?! It was dwarfed by seemingly endless mountain ranges lining both shores. Ok. OK. I’m still trying to process the experience. Mind you, the ship was at sea level. The mountains shot straight up out the water. If you were to jump out the boat and swim ashore you would get the shock of your life. There was no shore to be had. You would stop when your forehead hit the mountain. Then you need to start climbing a mountain immediately. Not a hill. A mountain. These ranges ran between 5,000 to 14,000 feet. Oh yeah almost forgot. Said mountains were covered with snow and ice. Oh and the channel? Y-e-a-h it was 5000 feet deep.

Then the channel dead ends at a HUGE glacier. As you get closer to it you begin to see icebergs in the water. Now this is a guided tour. Along the way three Forrest Rangers board the ship. They are on the ships intercom giving you facts, telling you were to look and so on. When we arrived at the glacier he excitedly told us bundle up, grab your cameras and meet the Rangers on deck. I felt like a kid at Disney Land for the first time. Heart beating fast, quickly putting on my coat, doesn’t know what to expect but you know it’s going to be good. As soon as you step on deck you know you not in Kansas anymore. Willikers it was cold. And you know GIRL HATES being cold! I didn’t even bat an eye.

Once we were at the front deck it was like BAM it was right there. In spots the ice was actually BLUE. It was like a sista was looking at Superman’s Arctic hang-out. I was TRIP’N. Oh and it wasn’t just the sight. I learned a new word, calving. Calving is when pieces of ice break of the glacier and fall into the water creating icebergs. The sound it makes is called white thunder. It’s deafening like thunder and happens expectantly.

We were fortunate enough that it happed a few times while we were there. If your eyes were quick enough to follow the sound you would actually see a large section of ice break off and fall into the water. That whole area is untouched by man. It doesn’t need to dare man to try to get its oil, gold and rare gems. All of which it has. Man is irrelevant to the area. It stands fortified, luxurious and strong. The only thing man can do is marvel at its beauty. The ship was abuzz after the glacier. People you didn’t know would stop and talk to you. 2000 strangers became a small village. We had just experienced mind bending beauty and power.

The next day we docked in Ketchikan. We went ashore for a tour. Our tour guide was a Klincet tribesman. Ok so at the get go he told us we could see bears on the tour. We stopped at a place to take pictures and low and be hold there was a BEAR! Now I was on the tour bus watching this unfold. At first I see a man pull his camera away from his face obviously not believing what he sees. Then he gestures to people to come to him. A GRIP of people descend on him snap’n pics like paparazzi! I couldn’t see the black bear but heard the people yelling BEAR! Next I heard and saw a tour guide yelling, running, waving his arms attempting to wrangle the crowd in. Apparently they forgot they were in Alaska not their city zoo. There is NO protective fence between you and him. I don’t care how close the tour bus is you’re NOT going to out run a bear.

On second thought, you don’t have to out run a bear. NO not at all. You just gotta be able to run faster than the tourist next to you.

Lastly, I would like to take a second to talk about “Washy Washy Happy Happy”. When we boarded the cruise in Seattle we were greeted by this cute, petite Asian woman. She held a spray bottle and motioned towards your hands smiling and nodding her head saying, “Washy Washy Happy Happy” as she sprayed. This ritual was repeated every time you got off the ship for port and back on. Oh and ambush “Washy Washy Happy Happy”. We would round a corner on the boat and THERE she was “Washy Washy Happy Happy”. It was always a cute little Asian lady that seemed to speak little English. Keep in mind she said “Washy Washy Happy Happy” to every person as she sprayed their hands. You never knew exactly where she’d POP UP! I have to admit it got to be a little creepizoid!
Ok but the best..the ABSOLUTE best was Ketchikan reentry. We enter the boat from port to a tall, 30 to 40, black man 6 feet plus all grin saying, “Happy Happy Washy Washy”.

Honestly none of had a CLUE of what was being sprayed on us. I just figured it was Norwegians attempt to steer clear of mass illness you hear about on cruises.

Most of you know I believe in God. The whole experience humbled me to his power and beauty. I really don’t know of another place I’ve been in wonder of him. In this modern world I’ve never been to a place where no one is looking at their cell phones, iPads, lap tops etc. You couldn’t! Yeah Alaska is the US but even in port a signal was very hit and miss. The Verizon dude probably is like, yeah you can’t hear me now and I don’t care. I’m not dealing with no snowcapped mountain. It was cool! A table in the game room was a hot commodity.
I really could go on forever about the experience because it was an experience. Alaska you ALL-ITE. WE COOL. WE COOL. I’m just say’n…