Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Staging Complete!

Twelve hours in a conference room and staging is over. Tomorrow we leave for Saint Lucia. As I anticipated, I have met some amazing people and I also learned more than I hoped I would.

There are thirty-eight of us and age-wise we have a good span of diversity which makes the group far more interesting.

I’m feeling confident. I’m sad as I look back at what I’ve left – but incredibly excited as I anticipate the future. After arriving in Saint Lucia tomorrow, we will stay at a retreat for three days then volunteers will disperse to their islands of assignment for seven weeks of training. We will not have internet access for at least three days.

The L.A.Times article will be printed tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Staging in Miami - August 24-26

I left yesterday and I’m in Miami. It’s 11:00 on August 25, 2008, and staging starts at 1:30.

My boys along with Theresa and Ava, Kristie and Rich and the Girls, Taylor, and Jerene came to visit the night before I left. Kevin made a great chicken Cesar Salad and it was nice to have one last night with friends and family.
Jay is recuperating from his latest back procedure. (picture removed)

Maria and Myra came over earlier in the day with a Baskin and Robbin’s cake and beautiful roses and orchids.

Leaving my family was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – for them and me. I have to say I was stressed. We left the house at 5:30 a.m. to catch a 7:55 flight…and it’s good we did. All the luggage – Were they going to go through everything? Did I take too much? What did I forget? Am I overweight? My son who did Peace Corps Honduras said not to stress about this, but not stressing is something I don’t do well. The flight was very long – ten hours to get to Miami – late planes, lots of waiting. Lots of time for more second guess questions – Why did I ever think this was a good idea? Is this right for me? Should I leave my family? I was totally exhausted when I got the hotel at 8:00 at night, exercised for 30 minutes, called home and went to sleep.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane

Cards and Letters are welcome!

The last thing I need to do is pack my laptop. My plane leaves at 7:55 in the morning for Miami where I will spend a couple of days filling out more paperwork and meeting the other volunteers in EC78 (my group number – EC=Eastern Caribbean). I leave with the group for Saint Lucia on August 28 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.

For all of you who have said, “Please let me know if I can help you in any way”; I’ve been thinking about that and I have an answer. I would love a few cards! So, if you would like to send a card my Saint Lucia address is on the top right side of this page. Also, a few pieces of Eastern Caribbean Peace Corps advice:

  1. Mail service is neither efficient or predictable. I will probably receive most of my mail
  2. Postcards are a bad idea because they will be found on the wall of the local post office. The probability of me not receiving it is great. Interesting, huh?
  3. A couple of you have said you want to send me my favorite nutrition bars, nuts, and other little things that will be missed. This would be amazing, but please send in a padded envelopes vs. boxes. Boxes will be opened and taxed and according to Peace Corps, a total nightmare.

The Los Angeles Times article about me is suppose to run sometime next week, but I'm not sure when. If I have access to the internet I will post information here, along with an explanation of why I would tell such a personal story in such a public manner.

So, with that, I’m almost out of here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Party People - August 16, 2008

It’s early Sunday morning and I’m resting after one great party. My family is the best! They know how to throw a great party – the Caribbean theme, complete with pirates, tiki bars, grass skirts and leis was so fun. The food was bountiful and tasty. The Snow Cone Machine a hit. And how fun was that bouncer! I feel lucky that I didn’t break any bones. The cake was absolutely the best I've seen!

Brendan toasted with wonderful words while Jay looked on and Kevin recorded the footage. CHECK OUT THE FEATURED VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE!

All my friends were in one place at the same time – amazing.

Leslie and Ron brought a special present for me, the Hurricane Hat. Now, I’m prepared – ah you shouldn’t have – REALLY. But it was worth it to see you wearing it.

Barbara dear, you have a flair for the ridiculous.

Jerene, my stylish friend, what can I say? This looks good with your


Linda, you should have stayed longer and you too could have looked like us! Your mother is such a kick.

Adell, my friend – my biggest fan – I owe you so much. I will miss you but we will be in touch.

Linda and Jim, I know you think I’ve lost my mind. Thank you for your support.

James and Judy: it’s nice to have friends like you – and what an adorable grandson – now I need a grandson QUICK so we can complete in Little League All Stars again! Those times were so much fun. Theresa, Brendan – can you hear me? Mike and Tom, thanks for the wine. Jay found a VERY chilled bottle in the freezer this morning - care for a glass?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Working at Staying Young . . . I’m not ready for the Rocking Chair!

Peace Corps has made it abundantly clear that they are looking for experience. The new director is making the rounds. Newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are all part of their new campaign . . . the 50+ Initiative (http://www.peacecorps.gov/minisite/50plus/index.cfm). I know I’m getting older. It’s just that I don’t feel like I’m in this category!

I went to Rite-Aid yesterday to pick up a prescription. It seems I’m always picking up a prescription for something now. I don’t remember it being like this until now – but maybe it’s because of the way people respond to me.

The pharmacist at the counter was young, probably in her 30s. She is petite and professional. I told her I was there to pick up a prescription. She turned around to look for it and I pushed a few items to purchase onto the counter. . an ice pack and an ace bandage to nurse an ache here and a pain there. She found the prescription and looked down at the counter, which prompted her to give me their new “senior saver” card that I can use on Tuesday’s. She was genuinely trying to help, but am I really a senior now? I’ll be 59 in September. Is this a precursor to my “later” years in life?

My AARP Magazine came in the mail today. One of the articles is “50 Reasons to love being 50+”. I don’t have the heart to read it.