Beware of Thanksgiving Travel and Latex Gloves

Are you flying the friendly skies this holiday season? Oh, how grateful we are to be home base for our family Thanksgiving and not fighting the Atlanta airport’s holiday rush this year! I feel for you travelers! So glad you get to visit family, but I wish it were under less congested circumstances.

When we fly it is an adventure with a wheelchair and service dog and, of course, my battery charger, travel shower chair, etc. Sure, travel is complicated by disability – maybe not as much as traveling with babies and toddlers though!. There are, however, a few perks…one is that we go to the front of the dreaded security line and I am escorted around the body scanners…ahhh, I miss the body scan and the line! Now the fun begins…

As my personal items are shoved into the gray plastic tub and pulled through the X-ray machine like groceries through a checkout line, I am escorted to the wide gate like a princess…but wait, the blue (or are they purple?) latex gloves are coming toward me. Will they tear off my belt this time? Are my feet safe from shoe removal? Well that depends on the agent, TSA security agent that is. Always female for female as we engage in the ‘PAT’ down. With raised arms I watch the agent as she never fails to ask me to stand up! Joke’s on her because that’s not happening. The golden rule of polite gestures is applied as she feels my breasts with the back of her hands. She grasps my bottom and legs as she continues to feel. Could she be a cute guy instead, please? Just kidding! Fortunately, I’ve only had to remove my shoes and belt occasionally and normally clear security after merely a few checks for explosives with small papers rubbed against different areas of my chair and body. With my personal items returned by the agent our trek to the plane begins.

Periodically, an ‘over-zealous’ or ‘new’ security gal puts me through the ringer and removes my shoes, jewelry and belt and feels a bit too much of my body. She searches behind every movable part of my power wheelchair. On more than one excursion the wheelchair batteries were dis-assembled and removed from their case. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry.

The last time we traveled with Tahoe, he didn’t go through the scanner or get a pat down, and he loves a pat down. They didn’t even take off his vest. Go figure. He could be a terrorist with a weapon in his vest pocket!

For the most part, the security experience is a nuisance of air travel particularly for those of us who get the thrill of the pat down. Pack a little humor, a lot of patience, and an attitude of gratitude to conquer the hassles of Thanksgiving’s travel rush. Give yourself some extra time this week, and be thankful if you evade the latex gloves! Leave a comment and share your funny or challenging stories and we will gratefully enjoy our no-fly zone!

Tahoe and Toddlers

Occasionally we get the opportunity to talk to children about service dogs on behalf of Canine Assistants. Tahoe demonstrates general obedience, picks up objects on the floor for me, opens doors, and turns on lights. It’s fascinating and educational for the them.

He is an affectionate, ‘people’ dog. His favorite part of a visit is when we take him ‘off duty’ and allow the children to gather around him for a gentle pet. He rolls over enjoying every second…talk about the center of attention!

Tahoe has an innate ability to bring a dose of cheer to a day and his ministry touches people everywhere we go!

A cheerful heart makes you healthy.
Proverbs 17:22

Comfort in Cold Weather

Autumn is unwelcome weather in my life.  I don’t mean to be a grinch because I realize many people love the cold weather. I’m all for the temperature to cool from 98° to 78º, or maybe even 72º, but once we drop lower than that, introduce a few showers and cool winds….ugh!  I’m such a wimp. And autumn is a sign of the inevitable upcoming winter! I try to be positive about cold but just need a little time to vent. As the cool blows in, clothes become cumbersome and it is nearly impossible for me to stay warm. Sometimes it’s hard to sleep because I’m cold. It’s just a side effect of most high level spinal cord injuries. Often, the brain is not able to correctly interpret thermostat signals from the body.  I think I’m cold even when my temperature is actually fine.

Things I dislike about fall…
– I’m nearly always cold…well I think so anyway and that’s what counts.
– Fall is the beginning of cold, yikes! Winter is coming!
– More layers of clothes makes getting dressed/undressed more difficult and time- consuming.
– Tahoe wants to play outside, but it’s cold so we play less.
– Every year I burn myself trying to stay warm.
– I get obsessive about searching for ‘warm’ solutions. It wastes time.
– I buy more wool socks, shirts and sweaters even though I have enough.
– Wool is expensive.

Enough rant.  I have hope.  My medicine of adding gratitude is in order.

Things I love about fall…
– Our wedding anniversary.
– Trips to the beach…if it’s warm!
– Trips to the mountains.
– Pumpkins.
– Bonfires.
– Tahoe loves cool weather.
– Children love to play in the leaves.
– Snuggling with Brent and Tahoe.
– The air is crisp and clear.
– Trees are extravagantly colorful.
– Stars are bright.
– Wool. The soft kind.
– Two of my nieces birthdays.
– Hot soup.
– Hot water.
– Heat.
– Pedicures are unnecessary.
– Online shopping for wool.
– Did I say I love wool?


Today I’m thankful for fall and glad I’m alive to experience another one. It’s therapeutic for me to realize that all the reasons I don’t like cold weather stem from my perceived temperature and comfort. I let cold impact me more than I should. Maybe I’ll find a new way to enjoy the cold weather this year. That’s my resolve.

Are you warm and cozy today?  Got any ‘keep warm’ tricks to share?

Tahoe’s Vet Visit – One of ‘Those’ Days

Tahoe had a recent trip to the vet to get a check-up and to get his teeth cleaned.  I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing him get drugged, but I was told he walked around with his leash in his mouth – resisting sleep and finally collapsed with his leash squarely planted between the very teeth that were about to be cleaned.

After his teeth were clean, he recuperated on the floor….would you look at that tongue?

He was plain tired out.  I’m glad he’s a dog and not a human.  A child might not forgive his mom for posting photos like these!!

Some days I feel a bit like Tahoe looks in the above pictures.  It’s OK when it happens, right?  We all have ‘those’ days.   When ‘those’ days strike, I try to strike back with a bit of faith – and quote a couple short verses for inspiration:

March on my soul, be strong.” Judges 5:21   or

Rely on the Lord! Be strong and confident! Rely on the Lord!” Psalms 27:14.

An ‘attitude of gratitude’ is another effective weapon.  I tell myself, ‘Name 10 things you are thankful for in less than a minute.’   Then I go on with my day, knowing there’s hope that it’ll get better today…or…tomorrow may be more like this:

…or even like this!

Tahoe jumps for the kong

Today, I’m praying for my niece, Crystal, who lost her young husband to cancer last January when she was six months pregnant.  She’s an inspiration to me as I watch her navigate being a single, working mom of three.  My hope is that she has less days like the first pictures and more like the last ones.

…..what do you do to get through ‘those’ days’?

May your day be filled with wisdom, faith, hard work and fun.  Love to all from Madge on a ‘Tahoe Tuesday’!