Friday, January 29, 2016

We ride bicycles up north; but do they really ride pink flamingos down in Florida??

     So we all know by now that I'm obsessed with bike riding, and it's been a long process in and of it's self just modifying my bike to fit my every need.  And as you also know my trip down to Florida is only a week away now; YAY!!  You have no idea how anxious I am to get down south in the nice warm sunshine!

     These past few years I've been slowly but surely starting to cross things off of my bucket list, and as you know, on my trip last February, two things I was able to put a check mark next to were Hang-gliding and Parasailing.  I told you I had a couple more things waiting in the hopper for this trip as well. 

     The first item may seem like a "drop in the bucket" to most, but it's huge to me.  My cousin, Keith, knowing how much I love to ride bikes, suggested we go on a critical mass ride while I'm down there. For those who don't know, it's an event where hundreds of cyclists ride in a group through the streets of a major city to raise awareness of cyclist's rights to share the road. 

      I've taken this challenge before in downtown Detroit, so I knew I was capable of it.  However, this bike ride in downtown Fort Myers would take place the evening I arrived, after a half day of travel.  We both knew there was a good chance I would be a big hot mess.

     But knowing I rarely pass up a challenge, he suggested we get a tandem bike in case my legs turned to rubber.  This was a great idea!  I've never rode a tandem before and I was anxious to give it a try.  As it is, I have one super strong leg, and one that spends much of the time freeloading off of it.  How awesome would it be to have three strong legs to carry that dead beat... the leg, not my cousin:)  Bonus (and Keith doesn't know this yet), but I just may put my feet up from time to time and see if he even notices, He,He...

        Now, up north, this is the bike I always ride, and it fits me like a glove.  But my friend, Lisa, recently sent me this picture below, hoping to help me fit in while I'm down in the sunshine state.  I'm so lucky to have friends who look out for me:)

        Now as practical as this idea may seem to you, you know I had to think this through logically. After all, I'm no fool! I asked Keith if he thought this would count as a carry-on.  While he doubted it would, he made the comment that maybe Flamingos are considered service animals in Florida!  See what I mean?!? Always looking out for me:) 

     Of course, I've already got enough of a side show going on just trying to get through security,  so maybe I shouldn't press my luck, and I'll just stick with the tandem idea...

     I'll let you know when I get back just how well this tandem thing worked out, and you'll just have to wait and see what other crazy stunts I'm able to mark off my list:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, January 22, 2016

What's on YOUR Bucket list??

     I mentioned last week that since the winter weather has finally hit us full force, I knew I had to do what ever it took to try to stay positive so I could get through this challenging time.   

    You may remember, last year about this time I took a trip down to Fort Myers Florida to visit my cousin.  The main reason for my trip (besides catching up with my crazy family down south...) was to see if I could actually survive all of the challenges of traveling across the country on my own, knowing that the flight alone came with many obstacles.  It would be a miracle in it's self if I even made it through the security check point, with all of my bionic devices. I'm a real walking circus!  However, I must have looked Innocent enough, because  half an hour later, after practically giving them my right kidney... they let me "breeze" right on through... 

     Well, I decided to start a new annual tradition to take a trip south in February just to regain some sanity again.  After all, the cold winter months up north are enough to send anyone to the loony bin.

     This picture is from my trip last year, and these palm trees are a sight for sore eyes.  I sure miss the warm weather...

    Looking at this picture of Fort Myers beach below is enough to make me forget the all of the hoops I had to jump through just to get there.
     But this trip was about a lot more than just the warm tropical sunshine.

     It was a chance for me to step outside of my comfort zone, and face my fears head on.  I've never been a fan of high places, but after I went parasailing and Hang-gliding 1500 feet in the sky...

   I discovered I'm safer up there than I am walking on the ground with my own two feet.

     If you're like me, you most certainly have a life dream, and the time to go after it is when you're alive.  People are always doing crazy things they never would have dreamed of doing, just so they can cross them off of their bucket list.  The thing is, they usually wait until they're ninety before doing them.  I'm starting to cross them off before that bucket is staring me in the face:) The time to live is now!

     My trip is only two weeks away, but you'll have to wait and see what I get to cross off this time:)

Have a great weekend!!



Friday, January 15, 2016

Okay, so maybe we didn't dodge winter; but at least the sun's still shining:)

     I'm sure we remember all too well, that the past few winters in our neck of the woods have been one great big arctic freeze.  Sub zero temps and three feet of snow have made us all think we would be better off living in Alaska.

     But this year I decided I was sick and tired of the freezing cold weather and maybe by mental telepathy I could convince Mr. Freezemiester to leave us alone this year.

     I was beginning to believe it had worked, because all the way through the month of December we practically had bathing suit weather.  I just knew this year I might actually dodge winter.

     Sure, freezing cold, snow, and ice isn't any big deal to the average "Joe"; but just as my crazy body turns into the tin man (or to be PC; tin person...) in the heat and humidity, it's also a crazy mess in the freezing cold as well.  If you can imagine walking on stilts, wearing roller skates...on a sheet of ice... ugh!

     Through the second week of January I was more and more convinced that this was going to be a tropical winter; however this week I had a rude awakening.  That white powder decided to rear his ugly face; and he brought that awful arctic chill with him.

     Looking at the glass half full has always been my way of getting through life, though at this point I was trying very hard to find anything positive to fill it with.  But If you know me, I don't quit looking until I find that silver lining.

     I just had to go to my happy place, and I knew that silver lining would find me.  So I went to my favorite park; my safe place; the place I go when I want to ride my bike by myself and just think.  Of course, it was no condition for a bike ride this day, but I still had the memories and I certainly could still think.
          That silver lining was waiting for me right in that park.  True, there was not a single visible human being in the entire park, but I certainly didn't feel alone; the sun was shining brighter than you could ever imagine; in spite of that blanket of snow.

     It may not have been hot enough to melt the snow and ice, but I could feel it's warmth from the inside out.  it was like a great big hug, telling me that good days were ahead of me if I could just be patient.

      I have a feeling this winter isn't going anywhere, anytime soon, but with the sun over my shoulder, I absolutely found my glass half full... and then some:)

Have a great weekend!


Friday, January 8, 2016

I might not be perfect; but I'm certainly good enough!

          Growing up with three brothers and a baby sister, my childhood seemed, at the time, insignificant.  Nothing about me stood out, and it was easier to sit back and say very little, than to wonder if what I had to say was of value.

     This was the case all through my grade school years, and it wasn't until many challenges and life lessons that I realized that what I had to say was, in fact, important.

     A few weeks ago, my long time friend, Lisa McCutcheon who I knew since I learned to walk, informed me that there was talk of a mini St. Clement class of 77 grade school reunion, hopefully taking place over the holidays.  All these years the only ones I really kept up with were Lisa and Anita Schmitz, and my curiosity had gotten the best of me.  I really wanted to go and see what had become of my peers.
     The person in charge of the details was Michael Duffey, who was the most popular kid in our class.  We may have exchanged two words in that eight year period if any, but those were different times.

     I was the second one to arrive, and though I could have never picked Michael out of a police lineup, standing there was a man who seemed to look like he recognized me, and it turned out to be him.

     Now, for any of you who know me today, you can imagine I've already told my whole life story before Michael had gotten his first word out.  But when he did, his comment to me was "You were so quiet in grade school!"  I told him that was because back then I didn't think I was good enough.  He asked me why I thought that, and I explained to him that that little girl didn't know any better.  She felt like she wasn't smart enough, or rich enough, or pretty enough, therefore, she felt like she had nothing to say.

     Michael replied that he remembered me being pretty, but I was extremely quiet.  I told him "was" is the operative  word.  I've since learned that I have plenty to say.  After raising three children, while surviving breast cancer, and living with MS for over thirty years, along with the many battle scars I've endured over time, I now know that everything I have to say is important; maybe not to everyone, but "someone".
     It was great seeing my old classmates; though unfortunately, only a mere handful were able to make it.  As the evening progressed we somehow got on the topic of going back and changing things in our life, and I admitted that there is not one thing about my life that I would ever want to change.  My life has made me who I am today. 

          I've come a long way since that little girl from 40 years ago, and it's all due to the many hurdles I've crossed.  And after riding my bike 55 miles with my team of 40 to cross that finish line in the MS Bike To The Bay last year, it confirmed that no hurdle is too high if you want it bad enough.
     To that little girl who thought she had nothing to say so many years ago, I say "It's true, I may not be perfect... but I'm certainly good enough!"

Have a great weekend!!


Friday, January 1, 2016

A new year means a chance for a lot more firsts!

        Well, the new year is finally here, and I'm definitely looking forward to a lot more firsts.  Last year proved to be filled with many firsts for me, and I'm happy to say I made it through unscathed.

     I've always thought of myself as an adventurous person, but I also liked living safe and sound inside my comfort zone.  That was until a couple years ago when I felt the need to start taking risks, just to prove to myself that nothing could stop me.

     I know we haven't had much snow this season, but for someone like me who is fighting an ongoing battle to keep from landing on my behind, I don't mind it one bit.

     However,  a couple of years ago my brother asked me to go snowmobiling  with him.  At this stage in my life I wasn't a fan of winter outdoor sports, but it would become one of the first times I did something outside of my comfort zone.  And the kicker was that I would be driving myself!
        I've always dreaded walking in the snow and ice for fear of falling, but a snowmobile seemed safe enough. There was no way I could lose my footing. Of course, when I was done riding I eventually had to walk through the snow; hence one of my biggest fears came true...  Yep! I lost my footing and landed flat on my back.  For a split second I wanted to say "what the heck was I thinking, playing in the snow anyway??"

       But as I was laying there I started to feel the snow flakes on my face, and it reminded me of when I was a little girl and I loved making snow angels.  Now, as a lady in my fifties would I ever lay down in the snow to make a snow angel??  Probably not; but I was down there already!!

     As I look at this picture two years later I see one thing that I never noticed way back then; my strong leg, even while doing something as simple as making a snow angel, had to go above and beyond to take up the slack for it's not so strong side kick.

     But that seems to be the story of my life.  There are somethings I can't do by myself, but with a little help, there is nothing I can't do.  Just watch me this year:)

Happy new year!!