Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Panic Buying ...

Like many people around the world, I made the decision not to travel for leisure this year. That means I get to explore my island home. This past weekend I went camping with my uncle Everton, godfather Keith and his wife, Marla. 

I had a plan. The weekend before, Mark and I went shopping for a small tent. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money just in case camping wasn’t my thing. He and I went back and forth over my options. He wanted me to get a $400 tent (he wasn’t planning to join us) and I was going with the cheapest option.

 

With a $50 tent in my possession, I was now ready to take on nature. I packed everything I thought I needed for camping. Sleeping bag. Check. Change of clothes. Check. Wine. Check. Cigars. Check. Nature. Here I come.

 

I was excited about my adventure. I haven’t been camping since I was a child – under controlled conditions. I arrived early. I set up my tent for maximum breeze, positioned my chair to take advantage of the shade, organized my camping culinary contributions and sat down to relax. We listened to music, talked, laughed, reminisced. Time passes quickly in the wilds of Bermuda and soon it was dark and we felt sprinkles. We secured the campsite and quickly retired to our respective tents.

 

The sprinkles soon turned into a deluge but I was comfortable in my tent until the monsoon invaded my miniscule living quarters. As the rain gushed through the porous tent material, I quickly realized that while the top of the tent wasn’t waterproof, while the floor was made of plastic. Soon the water levels in my tent began to rise. I did all that I could to quickly sop up the water but it was coming in faster than I could bail. I was sinking quickly. I soon understood, there was nothing I could do, I was going down like the Titanic. 

 

I figured, if I was ever going camping again, I needed to take drastic measures. I needed a new tent. Stat. I found my phone in a puddle of water, and like any forward-thinking, drenched, camper I logged on to Amazon and purchased two waterproof, easy assembly tents. One for me and one for Uncle Everton who had a similar tent to mine but it seemed to be waterproof. I felt we both deserved a better quality tent for our next excursion.

 

The rains soon stopped and Keith, bless his heart, had a solution. We quickly moved my tent under the food pop up and that protected me from the next downpour.

 

With no options in sight, I settled down to sleep on my sopping sleeping bag, in wet clothes and shoes and on a hard ground. I felt every rock and twig under me. I didn’t sleep for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. I was tired, cold, wet and maybe slightly hung over from the wine we consumed during the dry portion of our evening.

 

At some point, I called out to Marla and Keith – who are camping experts and have a top of the line tent that can sleep a family of 120 comfortably. They even have cushions which they sleep on. So in my most pitiful voice, I called out and asked if I could come into their tent to sleep. I may have heard muffled laughter – I could be wrong but I did not mistake the joint, one word response. No.

 

In the dead of night with the rain beating on the top of the pop up I revisited my tent purchases to make sure they met my requirements, I awkwardly positioned myself to wait out the night, listening to the wild animals foraging in the undergrowth nearby.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Wild animals and good intentions …

I’ve been working from home since mid-March, thanks to COVID-19 – you know, the global pandemic virus that has everyone wearing masks, washing their hands and using sanitizer like never before.

 

I have loved working from my dining room table. I enjoy taking a break periodically and wandering outside to get a different perspective and some fresh air. 

 

Yesterday, while working, out of the corner of my eye I saw the dog from next door walk past the dining room window. At first, I thought it was a bear but it is a little on the small, fluffy side to be a bear, coupled with the fact that Bermuda has no bears. Fish. Yes. Cats. Yes. Bears. No so much.

 

I went out to get a closer look and watched as the dog flopped down in the shade of my car. I thought – are you lost? Being the great neighbor that I am, I figured I would pick it up and return it.

 

I’m not much of a pet person – unless you count the goldfish my brothers and I had as teens. Now that think about it, we replaced the fish quite frequently due to their high mortality rate. 

 

Anyway, I digress. Not wanting an incident to befall the dog on my watch (or in my yard), I went to pick up it up. However before my eyes, this seemingly playful dog turned into wild bear, I mean canine, and tried to nip my hand. I think that was a warning bite, or as my husband would say, a shot across my bough. I thought … okay, I don’t need Cujo attacking me in broad daylight, not when I have a Zoom meeting in five minutes. I left the dog to its own devices and went back to work. It eventually wandered back through the hole in the hedge onto its own property.

 

My brush with wildlife was over, or so I thought.

 

My neighbours (on the other side – not where the dog lives) are Romanian and seem to be breeding chickens. Periodically the chickens would strut through my yard. I don’t mind because I have found some great chicken recipes on Pinterest. 

 

This morning when I arrived at my dining room desk, I heard lots of noise outside. I looked out and saw four chicks trying their best to get up a step. They were all struggling. I watched for a few minutes and knew they would figure it out eventually.

 

An hour or so went by – there was still a helluva racket … I went out and watched these poor new born chickens getting a tough lesson in life and perseverance. I couldn’t take the noise anymore so I decided to get a two-inch thick piece of discarded wood and put it on the step so they could get back home. 

 

Boy! Who told me to lend a helping hand. The mother chicken all but attacked me. The closer I got, the more hysterical she got. She was poised to fly at me, if I didn’t Back. The. Fuck. Up. (excuse my language but that was her clear message). I now understand the term – mother hen. She was not playing.

 

I left the chicks to their stepping and went to start my Zoom meeting. (I seem to have a lot of Zoom meetings).

 

Attacked by wild animals two days in a row … I think I should go into the office tomorrow. Surely there are no wild animals at work and if there are, they won’t misunderstand my good intentions.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Questions for a loved one

Yesterday I read an article about end of life conversations. As I read the advice being given I reflected on the only end of life conversation I’ve participated in. 
My mom, Cynthia Bademosi, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in January 2016. Before being given the official analysis, in our hearts we already knew. Auntie Marlene, my mom’s younger sister, had had Parkinson’s, as did her son, Kwame. So as a family, we intimately understood the disease and recognized the symptoms when they started showing up in my mother. We were in denial at first but after a while, we had to face facts and accept reality.
My mother was pragmatic. She maintained her health regimen and focused on wellness. My brothers and I supported and encouraged her to live fully and do everything she wanted.
We started on the journey to learn more and do more to help our mother. As part of my research I had a conversation with a friend who is a healthcare professional. A piece of advice she gave was to have an end of life conversation with mommy so we could understand what she wanted when the time came when she could no longer make decisions for herself.
In October 2016 my brothers and I decided we had to have the conversation. I went to my mom’s house to carefully broach the subject. How do you say to someone that you want to talk about the unthinkable – death – hers?
I still can’t remember how I worked up the nerve to say we have to talk – but I do remember my mom’s reaction. She was all over it. She indicated that she wanted to have this talk. She had been discussing it with her friends and wanted to sit down with us, her kids, to share her thoughts and wishes. 
I did not see that coming!
We picked a Sunday afternoon to go to my brother’s house to talk. The four of us were there. I was armed with my researched questions and I lead the conversation. Tears. Choking emotions. Overwhelming denial. We experienced this and more.
The only thing that made that hour better was my mom. She was ready and prepared. She knew what she wanted and didn’t hesitate to make her thoughts known. She was clear of mind and focused. Having worked in healthcare most of her professional life she knew what to expect when her health started to decline. One of the things I will always remember was her saying, hearing is the last thing to go. “Read these bible verses to me and this is the music I want playing.” She provided a long list of both.
Here are some of the questions we asked:
When you can no longer make decisions for yourself who do you want to make financial decisions for you?
When you can no longer make decisions for yourself who do you want to make medical decisions for you?
Do you have a preference in a care giver – male or female?
When the time comes, what type of service do you want?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Zen in Kuala Lumpur

Yesterday I was reminded of the day I promised to listen more and not speak for five hours.

I was helping a friend who was getting her life coaching certification. She needed real people to work with in order to get the mandated hours she needed. Always in search of new tools, I agreed to be her client. We started the process in Bermuda and it continued while I traveled. I remember I was in Kuala Lumpur for one of our Skype sessions. I had already mastered my commitment to exercising. I now needed to focus on my inner health and wellbeing.

My assignment was to be in silence for five hours. How hard could that be? I was alone in a country where I knew no one and I didn’t speak the language. This was a done deal.

I carefully chose the day I would experience heightened consciousness. I knew I could do this. I knew I would be that much wiser and more in touch with my inner essence by the end of the five hours.

That morning I got up and went for breakfast. It was buffet so I didn’t have to talk. Hold on, how do I order coffee? I had to get coffee. So I delayed my silence start. After I signed my tab, my silence clock began.

This was the day I had also decided to do a tour of Kuala Lumpur. It was an on and off bus. Each stop you could get off or stay on the bus. I was two hours into the tour. All was going well. I was on the top deck, experiencing the city, listening to what was going on around me. I was in silent bliss. Then some folk sat behind me. I felt a tap on my shoulder and they asked where I got the city map.

Like I said, I was two hours into the silence experience. Did I open my mouth and tell them where they could find the map or pretend I didn’t understand? I was compelled to speak. I couldn’t help myself, I told them.

Damn! The end of my silence. I couldn’t do it for more than two hours? This was not good. I hadn’t discovered my inner calm, I hadn’t focused on my breath, I hadn’t quietened my mind and become a genius.

With a sigh, I got off the bus and headed back to my hotel. Clearly the only way I could discover zen in Kuala Lumpur was to sit in my room and be in silence.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

OCD at 35,000 Feet

I recently returned from a vacation in the Middle East. I was on ten flights over a three week period. 

This was my itinerary:
September 1: Bermuda – NYC – Dubai – Bahrain
September 9: Bahrain – Dubai – Lebanon
September 14: Lebanon – Dubai
September 17: Dubai – London
September 21: London – Dubai – NYC – Bermuda 

Let me make a confession here – despite all the leisure travel I have undertaken over the years, geography isn’t my strength. My travel details looked good until you get to September 17. In my defense, when I booked my tickets I didn’t realise London was seven and a half hours away from Dubai so when I decided to get a round trip ticket from Dubai to London, I thought I was doing a two or three hour flight. 

Needless to say, September 21 was the longest day of my life. I left London at noon Bermuda time on Friday and didn’t get home until 10pm Bermuda time on Saturday night. Basically almost 24 hours in the air. (Don’t try this at home kids).

Having said that, I had some interesting conversations on the flight from Dubai to London. This helped to pass away the hours, considering I was in a middle seat in the centre aisle in the middle of a full plane. Yes, the struggle is real – and so is claustrophobic. And no, I didn't buy business or first class seats.

I had a Ugandan-born business man of Indian descent on my right and a white South African woman on my left. Talk about international travel companions.

I knew I had found my OCD soulmate when the lady on my left pulled out some wipes and started cleaning down the tray in front of her, every aspect of the tray and the arms of the seat. I asked if I could have a wipe because mine were in my backpack in the overhead compartment. Not only did she give me some wipes she also put antibacterial gel on it because the wipes weren’t anti-bacterial.

Who could ask for more than that? I then proceeded to share all my OCD knowledge with her - research has shown that the dirtiest things on planes on the trays because cleaning staff don’t pay close attention to them and parents use them to change their kids’ diapers. 

I then went on to share my thoughts on being germ free while traveling – clean the light switches and door handles when you are in a hotel and for God’s sake, sterilize the remote control. Never walk barefoot through security and how often do you think the condiment containers are cleaned on restaurant tables?

The lady listened patiently as I shared my scary knowledge of germs and she added a few thoughts of her own. Luckily, we ran out of frightening OCD facts quickly which allowed us to have a conversation about South Africa and why she lives there as a white woman and the contributions she wants to make to her country.

Together with the gentleman on my right, who shared with me the basis of his company and his plans for the future, I was not at a loss for conversation. I felt as though I was able to get some unique insight into my travel companions, insight I wouldn’t have gotten had I stuck to my usual travel routine, sit down put in my earphones and pretend to listen to music while reading my Kindle.

Now, back to my travel itinerary. Yeah, probably not the best way to move around the world. I knew this when, near the end of my travels, one of the Emirates Airlines staff said she had never heard of anyone flying from London to Dubai to get to New York. I figured, I have three weeks to get there and back. Why not double up and go to Dubai airport, just one more time.




Monday, June 4, 2018

Have passport, will travel

 Traveling can be extremely stressful. What time does the flight leave? What time do we have to leave for the airport? Will there be long security lines? Will the flight be on time? Will the plane be full or can I stretch out? Do I have my passport?

I made the decision to visit Sierra Leone a week before I was due to leave. As soon as I made up my mind I sent my passport off to the embassy in Washington DC so I could get a visa. Once the passport was safely in the hands of the courier service, I started planning my trip.

My friend Ngadi and her family were already in Freetown, I knew she would take care of all the on-the-ground arrangements, I just had to arrive. Easier said than done.

I was traveling: Bermuda - London - Belgium - Freetown. I had to overnight in Belgium.

My flights and hotel in Belgium were booked. It was now the Wednesday, before the Friday I was to start the first leg of my journey and everything was ready for my impromptu vacation except I didn’t have my Bermuda passport back. I called the embassy. A very nice gentleman assured me he had my passport and it was sitting right there on the desk – ready to leave. I thought – cool. All is in order. I had a return tracking number so I would know where my passport was at any given time.

Wednesday evening, I checked on line – no movement. Not a problem. I was confident, it would still arrive by Friday. I called the courier – just to make sure I had the latest information. The person corroborated what the website tracker said – no movement from the embassy. Thursday dawned bright and clear. A great day to receive a passport. Just to be on the safe side, I called the embassy. In fact, because each time I called I didn’t get a warm body, I ended up calling 17 times, to no avail. I didn’t talk to anyone. 17 times!

Friday morning dawned equally bright and clear but panic was setting in. The courier website said, ‘keep dreaming, you aren’t getting a passport today!’ I knew drastic action was needed. I called the embassy. The first attempt – I got a live body. Yes. They have my passport. Still. I was incredulous. Why haven’t they sent it? Instead of creating animosity by asking uncomfortable questions, I asked if I could get someone to collect it on my behalf. They were extremely cooperative. I gave them Angie’s government name (because Angie isn’t her real name) and told them she would collect it on my behalf.

I called Angie and explained the situation to her. Mark and I had talked that morning and he suggested that I not involve Angie in my drama as she was in Washington DC to attend her daughter’s graduation, not run around the city trying to break into embassies. However, I didn’t heed that piece of advice. I knew my girl Angie would move heaven and earth to help me.

Needless to say, she is one of the heroes in this tale. She got the passport and FedExed it to my hotel in Brussels. I had the tracking number so I knew where it was every second of every day. I started my journey on another passport (having more than one is extremely handy), secure in the knowledge that I would get to Sierra Leone with minimal fuss. Although I was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning, the passport wouldn’t arrive until Monday. Starting my vacation a day late wasn’t too bad.

I got to the airport in Brussels with every intent of changing my ticket to Monday, only to learn, there are no Monday flights to Sierra Leone! How is this possible? I won’t arrive until Tuesday evening? I would only have two full days in Freetown before I had to return to Bermuda? Sigh. Such is life. I was too jetlagged to make a 400 euro flight change fee decision. I figured I would sleep on it. I checked into the hotel. Went to sleep for a few hours. Upon waking up, I talked to the front desk and added two nights to my stay.

I got a good night’s sleep and woke up after 7am. I was lying in bed and leisurely checking my messages. I casually stopped at the FedEx site to see where in the world my passport was. Whoa! It was in Belgium. I Googled the location of the Machelen facility and found out it was ten minutes away by car. Ten minutes. It was 7:30am. Why not get up, get dressed and take a taxi out to the processing centre and see if they could find my passport and then I could leave on Sunday at 12:10pm as planned.

I hurriedly dressed and ordered a taxi. There was enough time to grab a coffee (of course). I gave the driver the address of the facility and off we went. Ten minutes later we arrived at a deserted FedEx facility. I banged on doors, looked through windows, hoping to see someone. Walked around the building and found two guys working. Luckily the taxi driver spoke Flemish and English and so was my interpreter. The guys couldn’t really help but offered to call the boss. The taxi driver called no less than ten times. We couldn’t raise him. I eventually asked if there was someone else who could help. The assistant manager. We got her on the first try. She speaks English! I explained my predicament. She agreed to come in to help find the package but needed the workers to help her. They agreed. She wouldn’t arrive for another 30 minutes.

I decided to go back to the hotel, pack my bags and return. If they had my passport, I could grab it and go straight to the airport. If they couldn’t find it, Plan B would go into effect, three unexpected days in the city of, arguably, some of the best chocolate in the world.

As soon as I arrived, they said they had the package!! I provided the appropriate ID and signed my life away. Jumped back into the cab and dashed to the airport. We made it in record time. I was ecstatic until the driver’s credit card machine didn’t work. I was like, I’m not missing my flight when I’m this close. I started wondering what I could barter if the machine kept declining my card. He turned if off and then started banging on it – I didn’t think this was an effective turn-on method but far be it for me to criticize the man who was responsible for driving me between the hotel and FedEx and who learned English 25 years ago for precisely this day. The machine finally worked, my card was accepted and I sprinted to check-in and gleefully showed my Sierra Leone visa firmly affixed to my Bermuda passport.

Thank you FedEx for going over and beyond in your customer service! Thank you English- and Flemish-speaking Belgian taxi driver who gave me his personal number for next time ... Thank you Angie Farquharson (my go-to BFF who will ALWAYS get the job done)! Do I have my passport? Check.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Investing 101100010101110001.0

I haven’t written in a long, long time but I felt the urge to put something on digital paper to share my thoughts.

By now you would have heard about bitcoin, blockchain, distributed ledger technology. If you haven’t it’s not too late … Google is your friend. Google the heck out of these words and then hold on for the ride of your life. I’m serious. This stuff is serious. Life is serious – well maybe life shouldn’t be serious. But that’s a topic for another blog.

Three months ago, I knew nothing about these topics, I knew they were important but I didn’t know what they meant and how they pertained to me. Then I had to write something significant about it for work. So, I did what you are going to do. One evening I sat at my dining room table with a glass of wine, some music in the background and started Googling. First I went to YouTube, sometimes watching a seven minute video is the fastest way to learn. Then I started jumping from site to site, page to page, learning as much as possible as quickly as possible. 

This is exciting stuff!

So now that I am semi-fluent in blockchain technology. I want a digital wallet. Then I want to make an investment, because you know, ‘there’s gold in them tha hills!’ My first (well to be honest – my seventh) attempt to open an exchange account hasn’t borne fruit just yet. I keep doing something wrong. You have to scan a QPR code, you have to write down a 16 alphanumeric passcode and then catch six numbers that last for 30 seconds. If you don’t do all of these things in the exact order and within the timeframe dictated, your digital life may not be worth living. 

That being said, I’m going back in. I’m not going to be head off at the (digital) pass (see how watching those old Westerns is finally paying dividends). Speaking of dividends, I will open a Binance account, I will get a digital wallet and I will make gazillions. I just have to figure out the 30 second passcode. 

Join me in the blockchain/bitcoin/etherium learning adventure. Together we will go places.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Today at 50

I woke up early on May 25. I climbed out of bed and moved to the outside balcony so I could contemplate my life. I honestly expected a lightening bolt to strike me with sudden wisdom and I didn’t want my roommate, Frances, to become collateral damage.

While I sat outside in the early dawn I thought – this is it. I am now 50 years old. I am in an amazing hotel in the middle of Ubud, Bali in Indonesia. I am exactly where I wanted to be when I started planning this trip some 18 months ago.

Part of my journey was to discover myself at 50. My plan was to travel around; me, my journal and my camera. In the end I found that in reality it was just me. The other things were accessories and not absolutely needed for the trip.

I am currently sitting on the flight from LAX to Miami, en route home. I wanted to return with the wisdom of Yoda, the lyrics of Khalil Gibran and the story telling ability of Maya Angelou (who passed away while I was travelling). Instead, I have been imbued with the knowledge that I am still who I am, no matter what part of the world I happen to be in.

I am truly grateful for the fact that I have been able to take advantage of the opportunities that came my way. I have also learned that regardless of where I am, I still have to be able to face myself, look at myself in the mirror and meet my eyes and like the person I am, the person I am becoming and forgive myself for any perceived missteps or short comings.

Part of my goal for this trip was to be open to whatever happened, whatever came up.

One of the more random things I did was travel to a place called Yogyakarta with Frances. Before the trip, I had never heard of the place and we were going to be there for less than 24 hours. But what the heck -

Later in Melaka, I randomly stopped to taste the wares of a street vendor. I sat at the only table with an empty seat. There was a lady beside me and we started talking. She was from Singapore and told me about the research she was conducting for her Masters thesis. She asked me if I have been to the museum. I hadn’t, so decided to accompany her to the museum.

Initially I didn’t want to take the guided tour but in the end I took it. I’m happy I did. I learned a great deal about the Baban and Nyongo (need to check the spelling) – these are the descendants of Chinese men who came to Malayasia and married Malay women.

I am eternally grateful to the women who joined me in Bali to kick start the celebrations. Frances traveled from Bermuda, Sharon from Singapore, Mariam and Fatima came from Bahrain. There is something special about women gathering. We all come from different backgrounds and perspectives. We came with open hearts and a willingness to be together and experience Ubud.

All I can say, is I had a fabulous time. I learned from them. I laughed with them. I appreciated them. They each helped to define this journey.

So what did I learn? Everything and nothing. Everything I need to know is already inside of I and I don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to discover it. I can sit on the front porch of my house and know all I need to know about myself. However sometimes you have to make the journey in order to absorb the knowledge and rest assured that you really aren’t missing anything.

As I reflect on the last three weeks I am left with a profound sense of gratitude. I am still teary – I have been assured the tears are a process of going through menopause. I have also been told that I am still at the start of the process. I’m not deeply into it yet. Yay! I have that to look forward to!

My closing thoughts? 50! Wow! What a feeling! 

Along the way ... the journey at 50


 So I went to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. So much happened, I don’t know where to start. I had many wonderful experiences.

When Frances Marshall and I landed in Bali, it was scorching hot and humid. At the end of our time together, Frances reminded me that my first comment was, “Great, I brought the right clothes.” You have to admit, there is nothing worse than being on vacation and not having the right clothes for the temperature.

Frances and I were roommates during our time together (Bali, Jakarta and Yogyakarta). We had a huge bathtub in the bathroom at our hotel at Junjungan, Bali. When I say huge, it was the size of a small room. It was so large you had to step into it to reach the taps – a minor design flaw, the taps should have been on the nearside of the tub. Needless to say, I enjoyed many baths in that tub. I think I will miss it.

One word about jetlag - it sucks – okay two words.

En route to Bali we flew over, or maybe through, the International Date Line. That was incredible, well it would have been if I had known exactly when it happened. I was probably asleep during that momentous occasion. Obviously I’ll have to do it again in order to make sure I’m wide awake to experience it.

The exchange rate in Bali is something like 10 ringetts or 11 ringetts to a US$. While out shopping we found a store that was selling a dress for 1,000,000 ringetts. I looked at the price tag. The dress was beautiful. My friends assured it me was only US$100. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that it was a 1,000,000 and I couldn't see myself paying 1million anything for a dress. It stayed on the hanger.

I learned that not all airports are created equal. The airport in Yogyakarta was quite casual. You get off the plane and walk to the terminal. Nothing unusual there, except we had to dodge rolling planes and speeding airport vehicles. I learned that culture might dictate how you get off the plane. I expected the rows to empty into the aisle in an orderly fashion, where you wait until the folks in the row in front of you move off before taking your turn. This isn’t always the process. You don’t stop or wait, otherwise you will never get off the plane. As soon as the plane holts, you make a mad grab for your carry on and then you get off the plane as quickly as possible, the best way possible.

In Jakarta I found out that I'm no photojournalist. The morning of our only full day in the city, we caught a cab from the hotel to the mall. After a few hours I had fulfilled my mall roaming quota for the city and decided to venture out and take pictures of the environs. We did notice a large number of police officers on the streets en route to the mall. I didn’t give it a lot of thought, I didn’t know if this was a usual occurrence or if something was happening that day. While wandering around I found out there was a demonstration taking place in the city.
As I walked around I noticed about two blocks away there were police in front of a huge mob. I took a few pictures until a security guard from a nearby building came over and said to be careful, it could be dangerous.

I had to make a snap decision. Was I going to take my photography to the next level or run scared and return to the cool safety of the mall? Needless to say within a few minutes, I found myself inside of H&M contemplating the red shirt or the blue?

One comment about the cab drivers in Jakarta – none of them knew where our hotel was located. The driver of the cab we took from the airport spent an hour driving around in circles looking for the Morrissey. He would occasionally get out to ask for directions. It took us longer to find the hotel than it did to fly from Bali to Jakarta.

By the end of the ride, we all got out of the cab with the view of making sure we all got directions, despite the fact that we didn’t know the language or where in the world we were. Needless to say, we were extremely happy to finally get to the hotel. An experience, I’m sure, none of us will forget.

Have you ever been through the airport in Kuala Lumpur? OMG! It is brand spanking new and very sexy, if airports can be sexy. Once I cleared immigration and was walking towards ground transportation I felt as though I was in a James Bond or Jason Bourne movie. I lie to you not, I started thinking like a spy. I gave myself the name James Bourne or was it Jason Bond. I looked around for my contact and sports car while planning how I was going to nab my prey. I was cracking myself up at my overactive imagination and would have laughed out loud as I walked through the airport if I thought it wouldn’t get me arrested and put on international stop lists. How do you rationally explain to an airport official that you were laughing because you aren’t really an international spy!

The whole spy thing stayed with much for much of my time in Kuala Lumpur. Whenever I was out alone, I scoped out hiding places of my imaginary nemeses and determined how I was blending in with the local folks. Keeping in mind most of the people are Malay, Chinese or Indian. Since I am none of these ethnic groups I didn’t blend in well. Perhaps I should ask M for a West African country assignment.

Lost taxi drivers, spying in Malaysia and Bali belly (yes, my stomach did not act right the entire time I was in Bali) aside, I could never have anticipated the adventures, camaraderie and fun that highlighted my birthday celebrations. I encourage everyone to turn 50 at least once in their life!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sports Related Injury

As you may know by now, I will be 50 years old on May 25. In my attempt to be 50 and fine as fux, I have revisited my exercise regime. This renewed interest in my muscles began a few months ago when I was challenged by my childhood friend, Janice, to join her job’s weight incentive program. It seemed like a no brainer, eat right, drink lots of water, exercise and get weighed every week.

Janice and I had a side competition between us. Given my do or die attitude towards all things competitive, I was right there. I even went out and purchased a trophy that was claimed by the week’s weight loss winner.

The realization that my strategy of eating everything with no exercise wasn’t helping my weight loss campaign, I decided to step up my game. I figured actually getting sweaty through prolonged vigorous activity would help my cause.

Early morning exercising doesn’t work for me. I have to have coffee to start my day, check on clients and get work out the door. I started walking in the evenings, leaving my house and following my usual routes. Given that I have done this on and off over the years (I’ve lived in my house for 20 years) I know every possible street within a five mile radius of my house. I thought I would try something new. Each afternoon I would drive into the city and drop the car off for Mark and then walk home.

After the first couple of days I realized a direct route was too short. I started finding circuitous ways home. This worked! I usually arrived home just after Mark so I knew I was onto something.

On this particular day, everything was going well. I had found a new route, some steps to run up and down (had to increase my heart rate) and was making good time. I was seven minutes from home, enjoying the feel of my muscles, listening to some slamming tunes and soaking in the fresh air. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car had slowed down and it was Mark. I couldn’t hear his comments but he was smiling at me. In turn, I waved widely and wildly as he drove by. Next thing I knew I was sliding across the side walk.

What. Just. Happened? How was I laid flat out on my stomach in the middle of the street? I lay there for a few moments, stunned. I took stock of my position. I began searching around frantically for my glasses. I couldn’t find them. I had to make sure I didn’t tread on them as I stood. All this while traffic whizzed by. One lady stopped to ask if I was okay. Gathering my dignity, I replied in the affirmative. As I looked across the street at her, I realized I could see her clearly. I put my hand to my face and found my glasses. With my glasses no longer in danger, I gingerly rose to my feet.

As I took stock of my injuries, I found a huge gash on my left hand where it had glided gracelessly over the surface of the pavement. I considered looking around for the lost skin but thought better of it and started the injured woman’s hobble home.

I walked in the kitchen door calling for Mark to provide me with medical attention. He came down to see what all the fuss was about. Sure enough he ran off to gather the antibiotic and band aids. I have no idea where these items came from, I didn’t even know we owned such things.

Wounds and pride bandaged, I went to lie down to recover from the trauma of my unexpected trip. Over the following few days I was asked repeatedly about the damage to my hand. Not wanting to provide embarrassing details of my publicly humiliating fall, I would look the person in the eye and answer with a shrug, “it’s a sports related injury.” End of discussion.