Distractions, distractions

As is frequently the case with me, I have been distracted from this task, the writing of more than a few words on a Facebook post. I’ve also been distracted from some serious reading that I had planned to do. In fact, I have been distracted from all the reading I had planned to do. But finally, as we leave Hawai’i and head north east for Vancouver, I am going to write a post. I REALLY AM!!

We spent yesterday in Kona, the ‘dry coast’ of the BIG Island. It’s where they grow Kona Coffee, pretty famous coffee I understand. I’m not a coffee drinker any more, except when I’m on a cruise ship or when my brother comes to visit for ‘coffee.’ I had samples yesterday. But I’m getting a bit distracted again. Kona gets about 10 inches of rain annually. Of course, a to of it fell on our excursion yesterday, most of which involved walking outdoors.

Our first stop was the Ueshima Coffee Company (UCC), one of the larger family coffee plantations. These folks supply most of the Kona coffee exported to Japan, where it is apparently very popular. Our guide led us to a viewing platform, but since it involved going down several flights of stairs (and climbing back up   them), and since it was pouring rain, I retreated too the ubiquitous gift shop. Samples of coffee and chocolate covered coffee beans kind of made up for missing the learning experience of coffee growing. Our tour group bought a great deal of the coffee available for sale, as well as some other stuff. Mr. Ueshima was gracious, and glad to see us!

The next stop on our afternoon excursion was to be a walk in the Cloud Forest, so named because the clouds often descend below the tree tops. The forest receives its moisture as the vapour from the cloud condenses. There is a pathway. But, remember, it’s pouring, so the path is muddy and slick and there are lots of exposed roots. Such a path is really NOT a place for a 76 year old who walks with a cane to take a pleasant stroll. I stayed in the bus, along with another lady (from Sarnia ON, about 60 miles from home). Here are a couple of photos, taken through the rain, from the bus window.

Our last stop was the beach. Yes it was still pouring. Still, since I had managed to get wet somehow, and since our guide assured us that the path was much better than the one in the cloud forest and that we might see turtles, I decided to give it a try. The path was pretty dry, but it was lava rock, much like large cobblestones, uneven and quite slippery in spots. I didn’t walk very far before choosing discretion over curiosity. Some pics here are Doug’s since I never made it to the beach. The things that look like logs in the water are the turtles.

I’ll leave you with one more picture, also Doug’s from this morning’s walk. I forgot my phone in our cabin. The sea is a special place, one where I feel incredibly happy and content. i’m sure I’ve said before that it’s one of the places where I feel closest to God, so I keep coming back. Our first cruise post-pandemic (is it really post?) has been good so far, but there is a different vibe to it. I’m working on sorting that out.

Bear with me please, as we journey homeward. I will make the effort to write, but I won’t promise every day. I need to soak up all the sea and sun that I can for the next few days. There won’t be any more until next April!!

Be kind to one another and say hello to a stranger every day. You may make someone’s day!

MY HAPPY PLACE
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OOPS!! And not all sea days are alike

OK, so I haven’t been posting every day. Or every month, it seems. Lots of Facebook shots of sunsetsĀ  and other interesting things, but not here. Now that I amĀ  once again on the high seas, I shall endeavour once more to do this thing more regularly, even if I don’t have anything to say.

Like today, nothing much to say. We’re somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Vancouver, British Columbia (not Washington) and Honolulu, Hawai’i. We’re on the Crown Princess, in case anyone cares.

Yesterday I posted a picture on Facebook of a dull, cloudy day, with a reasonably heavy sea. For all those who think that all sea days are the same, let me disabuse you of that thought (I think I made up yet another word, at least one that my spellchecker doesn’t like). There are some captions to read, maybe clarify why I’ve included these pictures, as well as the why I disagree about the nature of sea days.

Yesterday (October 19th) was overcast and nearly brooding, and the sea was quite lumpy (a term used by an old sea captain once)
Kind of different today. Blue sky, blue water. Still not calm, but better.
Sunshine! Really the first we’ve seen of it since we’ve been at sea.
Where we’re going.
Where we’ve been.

One thing I’ve learned is that each day is a gift from God, a gift that I want to enjoy to the fullest. Clouds, rain and chilly weather ought not deter me from doing so. They haven’t so far. Typhoons and hurricanes have caused me to change my daily agenda, but they have not stopped me. This cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii and back is going to be a blast!!

I miss my friends; we always find people on our cruises who are destined to be friends forever. Hopefully, they will be reading this and know

Stay tuned and I’ll talk about our ship and our ship board experiences. Perhaps even tomorrow. Tonight is designated as a ‘formal’ night on board. Many people get dressed up. Doug is going to wear his tuxedo, and I will find something to wear that is appropriate to accompany a guy in his tux. We’re going to celebrate an anniversary of sorts. Our first date happened on October 21, 1989; that’s 33 years ago. What a wonderful time we’ve had, and yes, the best may be yet to come.

Stay safe. folks!

There’s always something …

I realize that I had made some sort of commitment to write more, to try to understand how and why Doug’s cancer diagnosis had challenged my faith. I just seemed to be too busy or to tired to do it. Don’t ask me what was keeping me so busy, because I can never figure that out either. Maybe it’s laziness. Or an unwillingness to confront things. It will happen because … there’s always something.

As if we didn’t have enough going on right now, we were involved in a 3-vehicle traffic accident yesterday. WE’RE FINE!! THE OTHER TWO DRIVERS ARE FINE. We were the middle vehicle, the jam in the car sandwich, except that the car that rear-ended us was an SUV and the vehicle into which we we thrust was a pickup truck. Our sedan, mighty though it is, was going to lose that battle.

As if we didn’t have enough going on right now, we were involved in a 3-vehicle traffic accident yesterday. WE’RE FINE!! THE OTHER TWO DRIVERS ARE FINE. We were the middle vehicle, the jam in the car sandwich, except that the car that rear-ended us was an SUV and the vehicle into which we we thrust was a pickup truck. Our sedan, mighty though it is, was going to lose that battle.

The light had just turned green when an ambulance came toward us, wanting to turn left. The driver of the pickup stopped to let it cross in front of him, as most drivers would. We stopped. The driver of the SUV did not stop, essentially driving into our trunk at the speed limit (50 KMH, which is about 30 MPH for my American friends). The force of the impact was sufficient to move the truck. Our poor car needs significant repairs at both ends.

We are lucky or blessed, again. There is always something in our lives. Is there a message here for me? I wonder what’s next!!

Me and My Blog

I haven’t been here in a while. It’s not that things haven’t been happening because they sure have. My absence from the blog during what has been an incredibly stressful little journey makes me question the relationship between me and my blog. When I started the thing many years ago, I was facing the news that my image of myself had to change. A good friend suggested that both of his parents used blogging to work out some of the major things that were happening in their lives, that they found it helpful to write things down, and that maybe I should try it. It was a good thing for me.

The blog morphed into a travel journal as Doug and I began to visit the world on cruise ships. That part of it will always be there, even though COVID limited our travel to a 100 km. road trip. We have travel plans; in October, we sail to Hawai’i from Vancouver, thus not having to cross into the continental USA. It’s a 15-day trip, using up some credits that would otherwise expire. There will be posts and pictures galore. We’re far more excited about our 2023 adventure, a month-long experience in New Zealand, followed by a trans-Pacific sailing back to Canada. But I digress.

Why, I wondered, if I found writing about the challenges of growing older so helpful in navigating them, have I not been writing about our most recent crisis. We do seem to have these things quite often, in one form or another. Many of them have been health-related, the most serious of which occurred in 2014 when each of has had an encounter with death. Clearly, each of us also prevailed in the encounter! The writing helped me deal with hubby Doug’s heart surgery and I wasn’t around much for my own problem. If you missed that fun time, I was very ill, in a coma for 3 weeks, barely connected to the world for another month or so, then too weak to move for a while longer. The whole episode lasted four months. It was eventually diagnosed as a viral infection, the culprit having been identified as Epstein Barr.

The current situation began on March 15, when during a routine eye examination, our optometrist noticed a suspicious spot on Doug’s retina. On April 15, a retinal specialist confirmed that the spot was a rare cancer, a retinal melanoma. On May 10, Doug saw a team of incredible professionals at the Ocular Oncology Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. The Canadians among you will likely know that PMH is the premier cancer treatment and research centre in Canada. Skipping the details, now, on June 16, Doug has complete his treatment except for some eye drops. He has had no loss of vision, the tumour has begun to shrink and there is little likelihood that the cancer will spread..

That’s all good, right. It’s the best possible outcome. So why am I writing now? That’s precisely what I’m trying to figure out. I did post to Facebook a lot, because many of our friends are on that social media platform. Those who aren’t got regular email updates so perhaps I just decided that I had had enough of sharing. Perhaps it was because of the overwhelming outpouring of love and prayers and positive vibes and hugs that had emerged. Perhaps I was tired of writing about scary things like cancer. Perhaps I was afraid to look carefully at how the episode had challenged my faith, because it had, very seriously, challenged my faith.

And that’s what I will think about now and write about tomorrow. Or the next day. Soon for sure.

Thanks for sticking with me, even though my appearances here have been so sporadic.