Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pre-cruise control......

Tomorrow at this time, the floating party will be underway on board the cruise ship as it pushes away from the dock, and I will be sitting on a deck chair, glass of champagne in hand, as I watch the fun.

I was introduced to this brand of vacationing about three years ago, when I went on my first cruise shortly after my father passed away. Since then I met a man who is a veteran of over forty voyages (not counting his Navy cruises, which I have a feeling were quite different than what I experience on these huge cities on water), and we have visited the Caribbean and Bermuda together so far. Last year we took my daughter and a friend of their first cruise, and THEY are hooked now, too. (For an account of one of those earlier journeys, you can catch up at

At first I wondered, too, what the big deal is about going on a cruise. But, we have to keep in mind that my life has not been one filled with money or extra time, so I didn't take many vacations anyway....anywhere. Now I get it, though.

It's about freedom. And being disconnected from the grind of whatever wears you down each day. We all spend a lot of time eking out a living and things have been even tougher in the past few years, hasn't it? So, to step into a world where other people wait on ME, where no money changes hands, where I can act ridiculous if I want to and no one back at home is the wiser.........well, it is intoxicating. I hear Vegas is much like this, but I don't gamble and I love the ocean, so a glitzy city of chance in the desert doesn't entice me much.

So, I'll be basking in the sun by tomorrow, listening to party music and watching people dance--and doing some dancing myself--eating great food, and leaving everything else behind for seven days. The deadlines, the traffic, the everyday toil, it is gone while on board ship.

I will take you along with me, though, through my journal, and I'll begin sharing that with you upon my return to normality in a week. 

So, the anticipation is nearly over. Let the fun begin!

Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today's world it has become a necessity.  
~Author Unknown

Sunday, March 24, 2013




You remember that song, right? I think it was Carly Simon who was lamenting that anticipation was makin' her late and keeping her waitin', but that refrain is dominating my mind right about  now.
Oh, you want to know why (or what) I'm anticipating? Let me share.....

A week from today, almost to the minute as I write this, I'll be boarding a ship for a 7 day cruise to the southern Caribbean. Heaven.....

Worth a little anticipating, as far as I'm concerned.

Some folks, upon learning of my upcoming trip, look at me aghast, wondering why I would agree to get on a CRUISE ship! Don't they run aground a lot, or lose power due to on board fires, or forget how to back up? How about diseases that run rampant throughout the ship way out there in the middle of the ocean, with no easy escape?

Well, yes...all of that could happen, I imagine. But I know an intersection near my house that makes Daytona Speedway look like a senior citizens' exhibition, and I still travel it every day. And even though planes fall out of the sky once in a while, I get on one occasionally if I want to get where I need to be.

In other words, I play percentages. The chances of disaster befalling ME on the cruise I chose are miniscule, taking into considering the number of voyages these ships make with no incidents at all. Could it happen? Sure, but I'm betting on the side of most likely not.

And I've learned, since I've reached the point in my  life where I can take some trips like this, that the anticipation of the journey is almost as fun as the actual voyage. We booked about three weeks ago, and ever since we've noted the number of days on the calendar in a variety of ways: 

"Do you realize that two weeks from RIGHT NOW we'll be boarding the ship??!"  

"Seven nights from tonight we'll be dancing in the night club on the cruise!!"

"It's only five days until we'll be arriving in [name of port] to take the sightseeing tour!"


And the other thing I learned from my previous cruises is that the actual event lives up to all this pre-excitement, something that is not always the case. No phones, no computer, no demands at all: just people waiting on me hand and foot, lots of quiet time to read, write, snooze, whatever I choose to do. As I have aged, I have become a world-class cloud-watcher, with the ability to sit and do absolutely nothing for long periods of time, with no guilt about it at all. For someone like me, a former Type A personality, that is huge. And wonderful. 

And a cruise plays to that new ability. 

A writer has to write, though, so I'll keep a journal and share some of my experiences on the cruise when I return, especially for those of you who think I'm a little crazy for getting on that ship to begin with.


“Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!"
Dr. Suess

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Something else happened for sure......

Who would have thought?

Getting older--aging to perfection, in other words--is tough, there's no doubt. Especially in a society that idolizes those who are NOT older, wiser, more experienced. We are discounted every day by those who think it will never happen to them.

Just like we did.

So, when an event like this happens, it shouts to be shared. You deserve to know that some part of one's body can actually get better as it ages.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was ten. And I endured all the mean comments from my classmates: four-eyes and brain jump immediately from my memory banks. Today I guess some of that would be called "bullying" behavior, but times were different back in the olden days. I learned to maintain a poker face, and coupled with the fact that I was moved all over creation as a cog in a Navy family, I knew I would be in a new classroom soon anyway. I was a kid; I always thought the next one would be better.

So, imagine my surprise, and delight, a few years ago when my eye exams began to show something odd: my eyesight was actually improving. I thought that the fact that I was having to blink a lot to read my book meant what it had always meant: my eyesight had slipped a bit more and I needed a stronger prescription. How thick can lenses get, anyway?

Not so, said my eye doctor. It turns out my prescription is headed down the number scale instead. What??!

Well, you know me: I had to research this phenomenon. But all I can find are articles about natural ways to work at improving your vision, foods that promote good eye health, exercises you can do with your eyes (I think I exercise quite enough already, don't need any more), but nothing about an unprompted improvement. The optometrist did tell me that it happens, though; I'm not weird or anything (OK, OK, stop the jokes). But it didn't occur to me to question her in more detail at the time, even though my vision has shown improvement for the past five or six years. Now I'm really curious, though, and will keep searching the Internet to learn more about it.

But, we don't have many chances after 60 to find some part of our bodies that haven't turned on us so completely that mirrors are forbidden in our homes. Especially anywhere near where we change clothes. 

But new frames with thinner lenses? Maybe some day I can go look up all those mean kids and flaunt the new look.

Every time I think that I'm getting old, and gradually going to the grave, something else happens.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Is that silly jester joking THIS time?

Apparently not.

He showed up in the patient holding area, where my friend lay in a silly hospital gown and an IV dripping into his arm. The pointy hat with all the tiny silver bells all a-jingle was missing when the jester arrived--maybe he left it in his Porsche--but it was certainly him standing at the foot of the bed, Dr. "Smith" stitched across his white lab coat.

At least he had the grace to look marginally sheepish. You know the expression that steals across someone's face that whispers, "I really messed up this time, but how can I get out of this without coming right out and admitting it"? You know...THAT look.

Do you remember the test that had to be administered before a final determination could be made about this life-extending procedure? The test that was done right there in the doctor's office in plenty of time prior so the procedure could be scheduled? Yes, that one......

The patient, in his medical-establishment naivete, assumed that when the hospital called to confirm that the procedure was, indeed, on the schedule that the doctor had in fact READ THE REPORT. And that the results indicted it was a "GO." Sounds logical, right? 

Perhaps in a sane world.

So, here he was, IV stuck in his arm, all ready to get it over with when the jester shook his tambourine in our faces. Again.

And told us that the patient was no longer a candidate for the procedure at all. Due to the successful tweaking of medication over the past few months, the function in that body system had improved to the point where the procedure was no longer indicated.

Good news, right!  Of course.

But why wasn't that pesky report read before the final go ahead from the hospital? Before the patient was subjected to the pre-op process, AND the costs associated with all of that?

Because we all know those charges will be showing up, both in the patient's mailbox as well as within the gargantuan Medicare system.

For me, aging to perfection means getting older with some dignity intact, learning from my mistakes, accepting some of the unfortunate side effects of the whole process.....

.....AND staying away from the jesters in white lab coast at all costs....literally and figuratively.

My doctor tells me I should start slowing it down - but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let's all have another round.