North to Alaska

Day 3 of a 12 day trip. This place is majestic beyond words. We have now changed hotels every night because we are on the move and everywhere is far!

Late flight in and had reserved a couple days at Aviator Inn in Anchorage. Let me start my defense with “they had good reviews!” It was NOT good! Old and sketchy.

We left the next morning for the most amazing resort. Hotel Alyeska was beyond words. I could’ve stayed there for weeks.

The tram up the mountain ascends over 2000 feet and was about 15 degrees cooler up there. Breathtaking.

We then drove back to Anchorage for our first official day of our land/cruise. Last night at Hotel Captain Cook. Amazingly good customer service. Daddy has bought so much stuff that his suitcase is too full and the nice guy at the front desk (Brian) found him a box, had it delivered and picked up and they will send it home for him. I love good customer service and they have it!

Saw our first moose on our drive yesterday.

The mountains are breathtaking and everywhere…they never end.

And evidently pot is legal here.

Off to Mt. McKinley shortly.

Classy and sexless!

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This is the new-age dilemma. Some version of this conversation has been going on for days amongst my friends.

If you are my daddy or my kid, don’t read on from here. And if you do, well it’s your own fault. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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I know this is an age-old dilemma for women but I think it gets worse as you age.  As a single woman, how can you have it all?  This is the catch-22….you like being single; you like sex; you want to be classy.  For whatever reason, these 3 can’t seem to co-exist.  Toss in online dating and the MANY conundrums associated with it and you have the modern day grown woman’s dilemma.

Now I get that I am a grown-ass woman and I can do whatever the heck I want to do…one of the great plusses to being single.  However, I also don’t want to take on the life of a nun either.  And being classy is a state of mind….so logic should say, “do what you want; you don’t answer to anyone.”  I think this may be a product of my southern upbringing.

My BFF and I have had this ongoing discussion for a while now because can we (women in general) separate sex from a relationship?  I’m not sure it’s possible.  The men I’ve discussed this with don’t seem to have this problem.  They have “boxes” for things and evidently they’re not related to one another at all.  This videoexplains it perfectly and it’s quite comical.

Another friend contends that we (me particularly) are placing too much pressure on men to be in a relationship too early.  In all fairness (to me), this is Amy’s position and she’s kind of a hippie anyway.  But the question remains, can older woman have a man-toy without then changing the rules on him and wanting a relationship of some sort?  And should class (or lack thereof) be tied to sex within a relationship as opposed to sex without a relationship?  And most importantly, why aren’t men having these issues?

The Lies

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I had the most interesting conversation with my oldest grandson recently.  We were discussing school and goals.  He is under the impression that having a YouTube page and followers is a career goal.  So I challenged him to give me specific examples of this actually working.

He cited some 17 year old boy that “quit high school, has a bunch of followers, and is making millions.  He even bought his mom a new house.”  Hmm…really?  I countered with, “but how do you KNOW he’s really making millions?”  To which he replied, “because his mom said so.”  Hmmm…this was heading down an interesting road.  I said, “you don’t think his mom would say anything to help his rating?”  And then the statement I feared, “Mom’s don’t lie!”  Wow…where to go…”Need I remind you of the Santa Claus incident?”  Yes, I went there!

Now, this is not the first time I have heard this line of thinking.  We have seniors writing senior papers about this career goal.  So I will concede that there are people with enough internet followers that they are making SOME money.  But millions?  In actual money…like money you could pay the bills with…not free stuff?

Our next step was for me to “walk down this road” with him.  So I said, “let’s assume that there is someone making millions with a YouTube channel.  What specifically could you offer that isn’t already out there?”  He said, “I want to make a YouTube channel of me playing my video games.”  Hmmm….next problem.  These kids really believe that they can make millions playing a game.  I stated that this was already done.  He needed something unique…not eating Tide Pods…not doing stupid stuff…but a real unique “need” for the world.  I even gave real solutions…find a math problem you yourself couldn’t solve and show how to solve it…find a real world problem and find a solution…something actually useful.

I know that media is the best babysitter ever…I get it!  I totally get it!   Matter of fact, I’m a little jealous it wasn’t around when I raised my own children.  And I’ve witnessed the on-off switch that happens when a child is handed the cell phone.  It’s magic!  So it’s no wonder that kids are enamored with the hopes of finding eternal “magic” and career possibilities with this “thing” that can make you millions without any real work.

And if you haven’t watched kids “watch” media these days, you’re missing the boat.  They are no longer interested in movies and music.  They want to watch real people doing real things…for hours!  Media is changing so quickly and so are our kids.  The things we feared on the Internet 10 years ago are no longer of interest to our kids.  They’re in awe of fellow teens doing stupid stuff.  Once again, I don’t know the answer to this dilemma…I just know that it is one.  And if you think you’re kids aren’t part of this…what did Santa bring you last year?

 

Cellular Detox

Ugh!  Day 4 of pneumonia and strep is killing me!  And not in the terrible-to-be-sick kind of way, but in the bored-out-of-my-mind way. I have so many meds I need one of those pill reminder boxes. The upside is I haven’t been hungry so it’s possibly the only weight loss plan that might actually work for me.  Thus this experiment!

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Recently I had my students watch a couple of videos that are very thought-provoking. One is “Are you living an InstaLIE?”

The other video is by Simon Sinek and he discusses Millennials in the workplace.  This is a fascinating video.  Please take the time to watch it to the end because what he says should terrify you.

As I ponder my own cell phone use, I wonder, “Am I addicted?”  So, in pursuit of answers, I downloaded an app to track my cell phone usage.  Ick!  Trust me when I say that you will be stunned by your usage.  I kept track for several days and it depressed me terribly.  And if I’m addicted, what does that say for my kids?

All of these things did make me more aware of the down moments when I would just reach for my phone because I was bored.  I’m trying to be more mindful of that and force myself to get up and do something…anything but be a passive participant in my own life.

For the record (and in the spirit of transparency), I deleted that app about a week later…nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life.  I’m searching for JOY and evidently it isn’t at my fingertips.

The Loudest Whisper

A student in our area took his own life today. As I fumble with the emotions that I feel about a young man I didn’t even know, I’m keenly aware that, as a parent, we are all precariously close to this _____ (I don’t even know the word that goes here!). Because unless you’ve been there I’m not sure you can possibly know. It seems insensitive and unjust to even think we can even comprehend the tragedy of it all.

As a teacher of teens, I also have a front seat view of the public face these kids put on for us, for their parents, for their peers…but it’s that private world that made this young boy decide none of those people were worth staying for. How, as a parent and as a teacher, can we know? The Facebook and Instagram, I have no doubt, showed a happy face to the world and inside he was slowing letting go…

As I stopped and talked with a colleague on the way out today (she’s a counselor) we talked about kids and resiliency. I thought she said a very powerful thing…I always tell my own kid, “there is NOTHING we can’t deal with…not fix…but deal with!”

As you say your prayers tonight, pray for this family and the many others that deal with these things. And pray for your children and the world’s children because in the end they are all ours. And as you say goodnight to your own babies, remind them that there is NOTHING you can’t help them deal with. Yes, they’ll think you’re talking about the little things but hopefully when it matters the most, your whisper will be the loudest sound in their heads.

Senior Orphans

The struggle in real people…we never see ourselves as “old” until it’s too late. Today I read an article from AARP (see! -that kind of “literature” sneaks up on you) that discussed “senior orphans” and how to begin working now on your circle of friends so that when you needed them, you’d be set.

Got me to thinking about how we could find our own local “senior orphans” and develop some system to help them. Don’t you think it’s cute that I’m still in the “we” and “them” mindset?

I clearly have too much time on my hands!  People that know me are laughing hysterically right now. They know I teach all day, work 2 different auctions on the weekends, do after school tutoring, and homebound student services a couple days a week. And yet, I do feel like I have time left…not to jog or workout or anything like that (ick!)…but to help someone.

So I was brainstorming away and took a break to call my son to ask him to drop by this week to bring my small heater downstairs now that it’s getting cold. See the irony!!! I’m already the senior who needs help. Lord!  When did this happen?  That’s rhetorical…do NOT actually send me a response to that question!

You need to…

It’s easy to tell others what they “need to do” isn’t it? I think as a mom and teacher, that (whatever “that” is) is in my gene code somehow.

But if I’m honest, I have a lot of things I “need to do” about my own life. And what gives me the right to judge other people’s choices when I can’t even get my own life under control. And I’m not sure I want it “under control” anyway…how boring would that be!

And the reality is…no one has all their crap together…and if they say they do, they’re lying. We all put on a public face that makes it appear like we do but if we are LIVING…we are evolving…we are changing. And change is messy. If you do have it under control, you are stagnant…and that’s a place I never want to be.

I think self-reflection is good. The problem is it’s hard to be truthful about our flaws. And real change requires that real hard look. So in the spirit of self-reflection, my new goal is to take “what you need to do” out of my vocabulary. It will be hard. I’m bossy by nature. But that doesn’t make it right.

So feel free to correct me when I try to tell you what you need to do with your life when I don’t even know what I need to do with mine.

In this age of Fakebook and InstaLIE, everyone’s life looks better than yours. It isn’t. It’s distorted reality and it’s impossible to live up to a lie. And why would you want to? So examine your own life and vow to judge less, love more, and just be a little more kind. ‘Tis the season and all…it’s a great time to start while others won’t be suspicious!

2nd Deck Spritzer

A nice refreshing spray of salt water to the face is exhilarating and a tad bothersome when you’re on the back of a 2nd floor observation deck. The swells were 5 feet. Dramamine should have been dispensed out of a candy machine. I did take Dramamine and made it, but barely. And having to pee was an ordeal in itself. Remember those Susanne Summers exercise videos where you could learn to strengthen your inner thigh? That would have been helpful then. If you can imagine yourself straddle a ting toilet and holding on for dear life…that was about it. At one point during the rough seas, I seriously reconsidered my stance on adult diapers. It takes 2 1/2 of choppy seas to get to this beautifully remote tropical outpost.

A balmy 83 degrees was perfect for snorkeling but alas the water was cloudy. Still I found some cool things in the surf. The round thing had a critter in it. The nice shell did not…it came home with me….shhh!

The Dry Tortugas was an oasis in the beautiful turquoise waters. We spent the whole day there just exploring, lunching, sunning, and making new friends.

Key West was an odd little bird but nice people, some quirky, and an island that is trying to recover from the latest hurricanes. Very laid back and beachy…which is interesting because they don’t really have a “beach” there at all.

Extended weekend trip done. A few hiccups but nice learning lessons. Beautiful morning for a return trip home. However, that first layover in Charlotte was a bit chilly in shorts. Lol

There’s a chicken!

Yep, I’m driving down a beautiful, colorful, tree-lined street in old Key West and a chicken runs across the street. As if the bikes are not hard enough to dodge, now it’s chickens! They are everywhere!

I’m on my first “vision board” adventure. I flew into Miami yesterday…the first time I’ve flown in about 30 years. Thankfully, I met the sweetest young lady (a student at a Chattanooga girl’s private school) who answered all my old lady questions. I was very impressed with 16 year old Carmen.

The Miami airport is not for sissies. I had to remind myself several times that I was on an adventure…and one shouldn’t cry on an adventure. Lol. It was massive. I know I walked 5 miles before I got my rental car.

Some things I’ve learned:

  • Key West doesn’t really have a beach.
  • There are about 20 “keys” between Miami and Key West.
  • The Keys are really still recovering from Hurricane Irma. Looks a bit like what I imagine a third world company looks like.
  • Always insist on a rental car agency INSIDE the airport.
  • Sitting in the middle seat during a flight sucks…especially is you’re not a twig.
  • Yes, you can totally travel with only a carryon. Rolling clothes really does make for more space.
  • If it’s ever an option, always choose Hilton. The customer service is divine. I’m a sucker for good customer service.
  • If you can finagle the “government rate” you might save a lot of money.
  • What you save in hotel charges, you will spend in parking fees in Miami. No free parking anywhere.

I’m off to the Dry Tortugas tomorrow. So excited. It sounds amazing. I’ll keep you updated.

Still not enough!


“Can you believe this is your life right now?”  This from my friend, Lisa, who was “helping” me pick out cruise excursions for my summer trip to Alaska. Actually I was forcing her to cull through everything fabulous, talk it out, and narrow down the choices. Good friends…find them and keep them. 


But she’s right, my life is in an amazing phase right now. So, why is contented-ness such a phantom to me?  I have a great job, great friends, a home I absolutely adore,  my health (for the most part), and enough income to finally travel…at least enough so that I can actually budget for travel anyway. 

I’m an over-analyzer so I recognize that I’m not necessarily unhappy or unsatisfied…just always searching. For what?  I have absolutely no idea! In my head…whatever “IT” is currently resides in Alaska. That trip is really a dream come true for me. 


I could never have imagined my life would be like this.  It is really good. And calm. No drama. No real world worries. So what the hell is wrong with me???  I know logically that peace comes from within.  Did i get the gypsy gene?

Is there a peace gene…and if there is and it’s attached to the skinny gene, I’m gonna be pissed!