Posts Tagged With: family

This time of the year

I find myself more reflective than normal. While I always try to remember where I am, and where I am going, I find myself melancholy this time of the year. Memories come and go, with the ebb and the flow of tide of the day. I have quick flashes of truly delightful Christmases with my siblings back in the day.

I gleefully remember waiting for my younger sisters going to sleep so my brother and I could put their presents under the tree that we had all worked so hard on. Stringing popcorn and cranberries, along with my brother and I trying to figure out which bulb was burnt out so we could get the lights going again and hung up on the tree.

I remember laughing quietly as we went through the wee hours of the night trying to make it all look good. I know my mom who was at work at the bars being either a waitress or a bar tender while teaching school during the day would come home to a worn smile, knowing that she didn’t have to do it all herself. I realized I probably received more happiness from that alone than almost anything else.

My younger sisters would bound out of bed early on, only to squeal in delight as they opened the hard earned presents that my mom had bought with her tip money or had put on layaway the equivalent of a credit card back in the day. On one hand the delight my sisters and I got out of the gifts almost outweighed the underlying guilt I felt that my mom had worked her butt off so hard only to spend it on us kids.

However, my mom, long black hair and her stunning indian features would sit in the dining room of our trailer and look down on us with such a bright smile. It was a moment that I know she treasured. We bought her gifts as well, nothing quite so grand, but we all did what we could do to either make them or buy them to present to her as kids do.

Some of the gifts, long since faded into history, were hand made. Nothing wild, but often it was clothes or some type of plaything that we enjoyed for awhile. During those times I learned that all things, as fun and as enjoyable as they are, fade over the years. The clothes become tattered and eventually discarded. But the emotion, the memories, have stood the test of time.

I often have coffee at home, and sitting at the kitchen table, the memories flood back of my mom sitting there with  her smokes, laughing, chatting about the events at the bar or at school, and at the time, they were amusing. I loved sitting at that table at christmas time, the white octagonal table that we spent so many years rushing in and out of the home, but somehow seemed to find the time to sit, have coffee, and enjoy each others stories.

Those memories remind me that life can be fleeting, but can also be relived over and over as the years go by. and the enjoyment often grows over time. I sit here in our home in Colorado, and I have a small kitchen table where I can pour a cup of coffee and sit back to remember those days. What a true delight it is.

To those that are just beginning families, or have families that are growing, do you and your family a favor, put the electronics away when you come home, turn off the TV, start a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, and have a conversation if even for only a little while. In the years to follow, those will follow you and your children for a lifetime, and in that, provide you memories that last for generations.

Mom? I feel your presence to this day, here in our home.

Merry Christmas.

 

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Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Cancer, Downhill Skiing, Family, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, Religious, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Ccccchanges… think that is a song…

Well, the fun part about this road trip for a lifetime is that we are fluid. Like the blades of glass in the wind, we know when to bend with the wind, and let go that of being as a tree that can often be broken in the gale force of a storm.

Lynda has taken on a masters degree in complimentary and alternative medicine. She and I have spent the last, what, 8 years researching alternative methods for treating cancer, as the standard therapies just didn’t sound all that good. And truth be told we will never truly know what was the better of two choices, alternative or standard, except that against all odds, she is still alive and very very healthy.

I am quoting statistics here, and for those fighting this disease, please PLEASE skip this paragraph, you do NOT need the following information rattling around in your noodle. Based on standard medicine’s therapies, once a cancer metastasizes to another place, it is referred to as stage IV. and that is considered to be terminal. Just a matter of time. The best they can do is just that, maybe, is buy you time.

There are, however, many people that have gone on to survive and for whatever reason, live on quite well, with no signs of cancer. Everyone that has survived has a different story. Some claim it was God, while others claim science, and still others claim a mixture of all of it. Lynda and I feel that what works for one person, may or may not work for another. We remain of the same opinion that while cancer is a devastating word to hear in the same sentence with your own name, it is seldom a health emergency.

Your doctor, depending on who that person is, may feel differently, and that for their own reasons. Our opinion is this, try the alternative therapies first. Those that promote healing, a healthy environment that cancer has a hard time growing in, and boosting your immune system as well as you can. Become your own advocate, research, listen, ask questions on EVERYTHING… and at the end of the day if these less invasive procedures don’t work?

Go give the western medicine a roll of dice and see what you get. If nothing else you may be in better shape to deal with chemo and radiation. It may fix you if the other did not… but remember, it is toxic, it is physically devastating, and may or may not work, that is something that you, unfortunately (or fortunately) have to find out on your own. But long and the short of it, you are on a path that is scary, full of trials and tribulations and will rock your world forever, regardless of outcome.

Yet, in that, for the first time in years, Lynda and I are truly planning on a future. I mean that. This road trip? It was the result of having a conversation with my younger sister, Daonne, while I was dealing with Lynda’s cancer having resurfaced. Lynda had some blockage, her intestine swelled shut. No reason why, just did. They finally agreed on surgery after a few days in the hospital. Turns out she had a single cell of cancer called a “strand” in the lining of her intestine.  Not on the outside, not on the inside but actually inside the wall of the intestine, just a single cell, but enough to piss off her intestine to the point of closing.

The surgeon that did the work said he had never seen anything like that before. And Lynda has heard that statement more times than we care to admit. So while I was home pretty much freaking out about all this as I had true flashbacks of watching my first wife, Connie die from cancer, my younger sister asked me what I was going to do if I lost Lynda.

Stopped me in my tracks. Cold. Never once, even during my freaking out did I truly think that was possible. I never let my mind go down that path. Ever. But, there I was, finally having to face my absolute worst fear. I spit out something to the effect of “Disappear” “Vanish” go on a permanent walkabout, travel the US, go skiing, go backpacking, but leave people alone for awhile…

I knew that if that happened, my world would be gone.. Just as it had done when Connie died. That was the day my world ended. and it started back up again when Lynda walked back into my life. and to be honest, if that happened, that would be it.. There is no other “Lynda” in my life..

Little sister processed that… not sure how or when, but later on, Lynda approached me and asked me if that is what I said. I told her “Yes, without you, I have no world to be in”. She said, “Well, if you would do that without me, why not do it WITH me”? and so our road trip for a lifetime began. Short spurts, buying the rig, living in it while we figured out what we could do or not do, and it came together. At the same time, we went for another PET scan to see what more damage had been done. The last time we ran one, we found four spots total. the original on her shoulder, two spots on her spine and one in her hips.

We were prepared for the worst. Lynda and I had finally tried out last shot, Lynda did a regimen of baking soda and black strap molasses for 3 weeks or so. She started off with one tsp of baking soda mixed with 1tsp of black strap molasses once a day, then three times a day, then 2tsp three times a day until she was up to something like 8 tsp of each a day… she started getting a bit loopy, so she came back down to 1tsp a day and started taking milk thistle as well as the baking soda made her liver feel “weird”…

We went into the PET scan with the expectations of “holy shit batman” it is worse. Dr. Sinclair gave us the results. two spots were dead. two were seriously fading and no signs anywhere else… Whatever you are doing? Keep doing it. Lynda took him up on that and began adding other items in. Raw Veganism, supplements that fight cancer without being toxic, boosting the immune system and removing every possible toxin she can from her system and from what she is exposed to.

So, for the first time in over two years? We are truly planning a future beyond next month. She is pursuing her degree. We are trying to buy a house in Grand Junction. I am interviewing for a position with Mesa county. We are looking at a timeline beyond next month. The road trip? I think for both of us, maybe subconsciously, was to avoid thinking too hard about next month or next year. Instead, focus on the now, the present, the journey, and that is still our focus, but for the first time in a while?

It looks like the journey might just be a bit longer than we imagined. Will see.

Thank you all for sharing our trip with us, as it will continue. We may settle in Grand Junction, we may not. It truly depends on a myriad of “things” coming together. We may not be able to get a loan for the home, and in that case, we will keep doing what we do.. The name of the game? Stay fluid, and enjoy the ride.

Hippiness

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Cancer, Downhill Skiing, Family, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, Religious, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski, Spiritual, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Legends

A friend of mine today, placed a post on FaceBook that I found amusing as hell. It was about how Batman was no superhero, and how when they made his costume, inside it says essentially, you can’t fly in this outfit.

But Cointreau Mon Cherie! You can indeed! I am living proof that anyone can be a super hero. My mother hand sewed a Robin outfit from the characters of Batman and Robin from the 60’s. I could FLY! Well, maybe not. I saw my older brother come into our bedroom and I decided that I could fly. I launched into the void and used my face as a weapon against his shoulder. Broke my nose blacked both my eyes. But provided my brother with a laugh that he still has today.

I was a die hard fan of Batman. Even had a dance that went along with the song of  BATMAN! I was mesmerized for life. The idea that the average schmoe (well not so average) could change the world for better by fighting bad guys in a costume that gave him extraordinary power or at least tools that allowed him to be courageous in any situation? This was for me.

The WHAM and BAM and SOCK EM was in my veins.. Later, my parents let me buy comic books where I learned to truly read. I could tie visuals to the words and in turn lit my imagination on fire. I could now see Superman flying through the air, fighting Lex Luthor with his heat vision and super strength. I could see Flash running so fast no one could see him until it was too late. The Green Lantern was another who could create shapes from his ring with his mind.

Each of the characters had flaws, weaknesses to overcome. They had their powers, but each could be brought down in a multitude of ways. It was always so cool to see how they over came them for the better good. Time and again they vanquished the villains. and as the years went by the comic books matured. On again off again, I will stop in a comic shop to browse, and yes, as an adult sometimes purchase a good graphic novel. It propels me back to my childhood when a book and some imagination was all you needed.

Later, as I grew into this rather insane world, I realized that we had super heroes.. they wore costumes and changed the world for the better. Gandhi, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Mother Teresa… These super heroes all wore costumes of a kind and made huge changes in this world for the better. They had their weaknesses to overcome, and their challenges to stand up to. These were the true hero’s of their time.

I look around to day and we seem to be lacking this basic leadership. Role models that kids can look up to and say “Wow”, “when I grow up this is who I want to be like”.  Those are few and far between. Our leaders today seem to be more interested in the 15 second sound bite of how they can run down someone else. The days of true hero’s, I look around and wonder where they may be… Then I realize something.

Today, it is the parent, the father, the wife, the brother, the uncle, the sister, the aunt, those that inspire us to be more than who we are… Those are todays heros. The firefighters that died trying to rescue people from the 9/11 attacks. The teacher that put her life first so that the kids might survive in school shootings. Our veterans who put their lives on the line for our country.

These are today’s hero’s not the world shaking kind, but those that make a small difference in the local neighborhoods.. In our homes. When you look at your child today, remember that he or she looks to you as the new age Hero… It is a tough order to follow, but you must become more than who you are in order to lead these new kids to a better place.

Welcome to the world of super hero’s… Let me hand you your cape.

superman

 

 

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Downhill Skiing, Family, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, Religious, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski, Spiritual, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Holidays with the family

The ski season (as early as it has been) has been great. We have taken our time getting our ski legs underneath us, not pushing too hard so that we end up with accidents… Just enough to enjoy a good leg burn and soak in the hot tub at the end of the day… all in all, it has been better than expected.

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We are now in Albuquerque, NM visiting my sister, Daonne, then heading to my other sister’s home in Midland, where Ellen and the girls will put together a Thanksgiving feast! woot woot. It has been a great time just hanging out in New Mexico, but Lynda and I both realize that we do not miss NM that much. Our families? yes, but the Land of Enchantment? Notsomuch. Remember they tested the first nuclear bomb here in NM.

truman_ps_groves

We both have been reflective of our pasts here in NM. My mom’s place out on the edge of town with a couple of  acres, and further down the road, Lynda’s parents place of about 80 acres. We have funny and happy memories (probably swiss cheese memories) of Roswell and all that unfolded there. When I say “Swiss Cheese” memories, they are memories that often have gaps or holes that we fill with the pleasantness that we choose to remember. I shy away from the shadows of those days, as the holidays for the most part, were family time… True magic of getting together and for a while, putting the “junk in the trunk” and enjoying each others company.

Junk-n-Trunk

They were times of warmth and love spent over the white octagonal table my mom had in the kitchen, or on the bean bag in the living room that in and of itself had many slap happy memories. Including catching my brother with one of his sweet hearts while he was attending New Mexico Military Institute… He had spent a lot of time enticing that young lady to come over to the house, and in walks little brother, who, in the dark, thought it was the babysitter on the bean bag. I walked over, turned on the light, saw who it was, and very nonchalantly turned the light back out and left.

denim-bean-bag-chair-w-pocket-for-kids

Giggling the entire time.

My brother; never; in 35 plus years, has ever forgot that episode…(Neither have I!)

Other memories included our family dog, Duke, rolling on that beanbag in complete abandon, or just snuggling with Lynda my girlfriend at the time, who now, decades later, is my wife. That living room, encompassed so many pleasant family episodes, that they often blur together, as the years have flown by. Memories are tricky things, they have a tendency to change through the years, and often, it is hard to discern what really happened versus what the mind believes happened. But all in all, the love, the warmth, that, above all, shines through.

In that mindset, it is here that I wish the younger generation the same warmth, family love, and caring that we shared so many years ago, and still do today. It is a precious gift that is hard to bestow, and often harder to accept. So, to all those that read through this post, please find the time this year to put life aside for a moment, and share the season with your family. That family can be your biological family, your adopted family, your foster family, even your military family… regardless, may this season be one of many happy thoughts and memories.

From our home to yours.

Erick and Lynda Carpenter

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Categories: Family, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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