Monthly Archives: January 2012

Time to buy some long johns…

When I was a kid and we went on vacation or to family reunions, we always drove. It didn’t matter if it was 5 hours to the beach or 12 hours to Texas, we would pile up in my dad’s Fleetwood Brougham and make the trek with stops every few hours to pee.

The soundtrack to many of these trips was Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion“.

As a child I used to roll my eyes when my dad would change the channel from Z-93 to NPR. This was before I had my own Walkman so I was a prisoner – trapped in the back seat, forced to endure, gasp, talk radio! Except when A Prairie Home Companion came on. Even as a 6 year old, I loved the show. There was something about the combination of comedy, music and storytelling that always had my attention. My favorite was always the “Lives of the Cowboys” and I often quoted their jokes (not always realizing some of the double entendres behind them and not understanding what would make my grandmother gasp in shock in the retelling!)

I also loved the music – bluegrass, hymns, folk music, gospel – such a spectrum that wasn’t the normal listening tastes of a kid in the early 80’s. But as I loved singing, I would use the songs’ harmonies to develop my own abilities.

When I entered high school, APHC went off the air, and we spent less time taking long road trips. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I rediscovered Garrison and his friends again.

When Keillor had a stroke in 2009, I got the idea in my head that I needed to see the show live.  I was so excited to hear that they would be coming to Atlanta on tour, but when I went to get tickets they were sold out!  The idea stayed in the back of my head for some time, so when I put together my Big Adventure List, “See A Prairie Home Companion Live” was at the top of the list.

Then I decided to go crazy with the idea.  Not only would I see it live, I would make the trip all the way to Minnesota to see it in the Fitzgerald.  And why not just get completely wacky and do it in February!  In Minnesota!  This Georgia girl is going to experience a Minnesota Winter.

So, the tickets have been bought, plans have been made to join my friends Joann and Matt, along with my husband Matthew to head to St. Paul, Minnesota for the February 11th show.

Now, how to convince Garrison to let me get up and sing with him on the show… ?

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The New Normal (Or, Seizing The Carp)

When I decided to start this blog, it was solely to chronicle my adventures during the next 12 months.  Why I chose to do these adventures wasn’t  to be a big part of it, and I didn’t want to bore everyone with why I have this bucket list.

Yesterday, however, I received some news that shook me to the core.  One of my oldest friends here in Atlanta died suddenly.  He had been battling melanoma, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for him to go so suddenly.

It brought into sharp focus how precious this gift of life is to us all.  We are lucky every day that we are on this earth, and the idea that it could all go away suddenly makes you want to squeeze every last drop out of it.

About 4 months ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  This was definitely a life changing moment, and everyday has been an exercise in learning what my “new normal” is.  From now on, it will be normal for me to have to take nerve blockers daily for pain that make me sleepy and cognitively fuzzy.  It is normal for me to jab myself with a needle once a week with medicine to keep me from having another exacerbation of MS.  It’s normal for me to open a new doctor’s bill every time I get the mail.  And it’s normal for me to have that niggling fear in the back of my brain that while my MS is manageable now, one day it might not be.

Also, I’m re-learning what I can and can’t do physically because of the fatigue associated with MS.  That was the real reason behind this list.  I wanted to make sure that everyday the list of things I “can’t” do shrinks, and the list of things I “can” do grows and becomes a list of things I have done.

This year is the year for me to push the limits and discover what the next “New Normal” is.  I’m looking forward to it.

So, in the spirit of Mr. Keating and Newsies, I shall let 2012 be the year I seize the day!


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