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Thoughts from the Road

Traveling over the holidays is usually hectic at best. But a recent travel companion made me rethink the way I interact with people. I sat next to a woman named Lee on a flight from Dallas to Orlando. I was way behind on my book club book, but I asked her where she was going when I sat down.

She was on her way to visit her sisters. I was on my way to visit my sisters. And that is about the only thing similar about our stories. Lee is an attractive woman in her early 60’s. She was taking a break from her disabled husband. He has been dealing with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) for over five years. She has been taking care of him.

As a caregiver to someone with a chronic illness, the stress can be overwhelming. For Lee, it was worse for two reasons. One, her husband had turned mean and selfish. Two, Lee’s cancer had come back after 15 years of remission. She told me she wasn’t going to do it again. No more chemo, no more radiation. She said it is bad enough when you don’t know what you have to face. It is too much when you do know. She had a year to live.

To say Lee has a lot to deal with is an understatement. I listened to her for the entire flight as she unloaded her guilt about hating her husband and wanting to enjoy the rest of her life. I had no advice to give her. I couldn’t fix her problems. But I could listen and encourage her.

As a mom, my natural tendency is to fix things. I hope I can resist doing that unless someone specifically says “I need you to fix my problem.” Not many people ever ask you that.

On my return flight, I opened my book as soon as I sat down. I thought it would be a nice escape from strangers’ problems. It is a book called “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. It is her memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone. Boy was I wrong.

Be thankful.

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Where is it?

I had a senior moment that is too funny not to share. Whenever I go out of town for a few days, I hide my valuables; things like jewelry, laptops, and passports.

I recently had a virus attack on my computer. I was searching for some new hairstyles, and my vanity was punished with the “FBI” virus. My computer locked up and the “FBI” wanted me to send them $200 to unlock it — for my pirating crimes. I am fortunate to have a husband that rescued me.

However, during the rescue, I needed to back up my hard drive. And here starts the ‘where is it’ part of the story. The backup drive wasn’t in its usual place which means I hid it on my last vacation. I have some regular hiding places. Thieves, please stop reading. The rest of you honest folks, I hide my stuff in shoe boxes, under furniture, wrapped up in clothes, etc. I searched all my regular spots, twice. During the search I found the key to our safe deposit box. Ah ha, perhaps I put it in there. Off to the bank I went.

At the bank, I searched the safe deposit box. There was nothing in there but ancient papers. Shy person that I am, I complained to the bank teller about how I was turning into a forgetful old lady. I blabbed about how I couldn’t remember where I put my backup drive. She was half my age and very nice. She told me to calm down, relax and it would come to me. Did I mention she was very smart? On the way home, it did come to me. It was hidden in my bookcase; in one of those fake books someone gave me as a gift last summer. Below is a photo of the backup drive, in case I forget what it looks like.

Now whenever I can’t find something, I will go to valsroad and read this blog. That is if I remember I have a blog!