Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So many wonderful things to do

Yesterday after space camp, Christopher and I met my friend Bob at the movie theater to see Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows Part 2.  I have known Bob since I first started with the Department almost 26 years ago.  He is a dear sweet wonderful person and I treasure our friendship.  I know that people say that men and women can not be friends, but Bob and I have been friends for so long, and it is based on mutual admiration, trust and keeping things simple and uncomplicated.  

The three of us sat in a mostly empty theater sharing a barn size tub of popcorn and watched what I think is the best Harry movie yet.  There are so many beloved characters in the last book that are killed and they handled it with a sensitive hand and played to the story line, instead of focusing on the deaths.  It was a beautiful movie, and unlike part 1, which I just could not make it through again the other night when Christopher and I watched it, this movie, even with the war and being outnumbered, there was a sense of hope that good would overcome evil.   

I am a pretty simple person, in many ways.  I love stories of simple good kind people who triumph over evil. I love to get dressed up and go out to wonderful places and eat exotic and amazing foods, but I also like picnics.  The simplicity of some fresh hearty bread, cheese, olives and fruit, a blanket, friends to share time with, a pretty perfect day.  I love flowers, but I am just as happy with a single flower or a few wild flowers as I am with a box of roses.  A phone call or email makes me as happy as a present wrapped in ribbons, although you all know that I do love packages tied with a ribbon.  But honestly, a garden, my animals, books and beloved friends and family, and my life is perfect.  Oh wait, that is my life!!!!  And yes, it is perfect.

Perfect in so many ways.   I have wanted to get Ednarose for a while, but was worried that it would change my relationship with Bob, my 3 old lab.  He has been the center of our universe here at Labrun and the baby for his entire life, and as much as I hoped he would finally grow up a bit, I was also afraid of loosing that sweet affectionate puppy in him. He has matured, but in such sweet ways.  Last night Ednarose was pestering Harry.  She loves to climb over him like Mt Everest, which he is fine with, but then she also bites him, and that he does not tolerate well.  He does not snap at her as much as just gobble her up in his giant mouth and then spit her out with a huge bark.  It scares her to death and she will lay there in front of him shrieking like a banshee, while Harry looks around, like, I have tried to tell her over and over.  I am not putting up with this!  Bob will race over to her, and nuzzle at her, lick her and just overall try and soothe her.  It is so precious to watch my baby Bob be such a wonderful big brother to his new little irritating sister.

Both Bob and Harry allow her to snuggle up and sleep with them, as long as she does not bite or try to nurse on them.  Also both of the boys are very much like me, in that they like their schedule and want everyone to go to bed and to sleep at 9.  Ednarose sleeps a lot, being a 6 week old puppy, but when everyone is laying down and moving into the sleep mode, she often gets a second wind and wants to play and bite and chew and nurse.  It is hard on all of us, but especially the boys.  From the first day I brought Bob home, he has gone to bed 90% of the time at 9, with or without me.  He just goes and gets in the bed and snuggles up with his pillow and goes to sleep.  I really like that in a child, whether a dog or a human one.  Endarose is learning fast, and I am sure that she will get used to our schedule before too long.  And she is really a very good puppy and adores both of her older brothers and her human cousin.  She is such a cutie and also a very sweet and affectionate little thing.  I am so glad that I have her now.  Christopher has enjoyed her, and Harry is not too old to tolerate her.  So as things go in my life, the timing once again was perfect.  

I am still floating on that cloud of happiness.  I only had a few minutes yesterday with the imaginary boyfriend on the phone, but that is really all it takes to make me smile and my heart flutter.  He is so busy and they are coming up on the height of the season.  From here on out things will start to get tight for bidding and timing and getting jobs done.  And so he flies his helicopter applying fungicide to 900 acres of corn yesterday.  That is a long time to sit, focus and fly.  There are so many things you much be focused on making pesticide applications.  You must respect the chemicals, not fear them, and use them carefully.  You must be even more aware of any variance in weather to prevent drift and damage to other crops.  I know it is not popular to approve of pesticide applications.  But as someone born in Florida I have lived and survived in my beloved home state and eaten some of the healthiest foods produced in the world because of pesticides.  Prior to the malathion spraying in the 50s, Florida was not a place for humans.  I do have mixed feelings on that, but I also have no desire to live anywhere else.  The chemicals we used in the 40 - 60s are very different then the ones we use today, and the farmers and chemical companies are constantly looking for environmentally friendly products, trying to improve on how we impact this glorious green and blue orb all the time.  IPM, Integrated Pest Management, has come a long way in changing how we use pesticides, and even though I think that Rachel Carson got some very basic things very wrong in her book, Silent Spring, she got some other things very right.  It did appear that she blamed a lot of things on pesticides, and many of those products, which where very good products are no longer labeled for use as they were then.  That is a good thing.  It was not that the pesticides were as bad as made out, but we were using them in a very unsustainable way.  But that was a time of great industrialation and rivers burned with the pollution from the factories, the air choked with smog and pollution must also be taken into account.  It is not as simple as saying pesticides are bad.  Disinfectants are pesticides, and if used correctly they save lives everyday by keeping down the spread of certain diseases.  No, this is not as simple as chemicals are good or bad.  It is a multilayered situation where chemicals of all kinds are just one piece of the giant puzzle we call our world.

I do agree that we should go more "organic"  but as an inspector with the Department of Ag for 25 years, I have seen an awful lot of problems and misuse in that industry also.  It is hard to grow large scale food without some type of assistance.  And because only the standard registered pesticides are the ones tested for, I have seen a lot of chemicals that should not be used, be used by some of the larger less trust worthy organic farmers because they knew that there were not tests for them.  It was a long time that I would not buy anything organic unless I had been out to the farm and knew the farmer well.  And trusted them.  I am happy to say that mostly by self regulation a lot of those people are no longer in the business.  I am also happy to say that most of the organic farmers I know up here are working on a scale where they can control things with good farming practices instead of having to use things that sometimes are worse for the environment and the people and animals that eat them, then the registered pesticides that under go years of testing and research.  There are a lot of things that we still need to get right on this planet, whether involving the environment, relationships between peoples or how we grow food, transport it and package it.  But I am hopeful that each generation is improving, and as the tide turns and smaller home mostly organic farms start to become the trend again, I think that is one of the greatest hopes for our planet.  Locally grown food, by people who respect the land, the industry and sell their products with pride, that is one of the best solutions for this very complicated issue.

And I am proud to have been part of that world for as long as I was.  I had always wanted to be a farmer.  I am a gardener, and will be very happy when I can get my veggie gardens back up and running.  I love that I may actually be around long enough to see the fruits of my labor in my orchard, vineyard and blueberry patches pay off.  And I can say with pride that I tried to be fair and use common sense when dealing with growers, golf courses, aquatic applicators, and the rest of the industries that use pesticides, fertilizers, seed and feed.  I am glad to see that we are looking at a bigger picture these days to include home owners.  Sometimes they are the most wasteful and harder on the environment with their limited knowledge then our trained and certified applicators in their various industries.  The University of Florida IFAS Extension Offices I think are as important today as they were when they began.  Now they focus as much attention on the home owner and back yard "farmer" as they do with the big industries, educating and training anyone who wants to know more about growing things, and having a healthy environment and diet.  They are asked to do more and more with less, and these people rise to the challenge over and over.  They love their jobs, and it really does help make a difference in this world.

And the conversation circles around again to my world.  Happy, content, grateful, missing Ms Moon and worrying over my Vicki and she continues to deal with health issues.  I know she will be fine, and this too will pass, but I hear how much she is suffering in her sweet voice.  I know Ms Moon is so very happy to be with Vergil, Jessie, Hank and her Lis, and I am happy that her birthday is going to be so special and sweet.  I can't wait for her to get home so I can wrap my arms around that neck.  I am also feeling a little less lonely these days because of my imaginary friend.  Oh he is real, but not here, so it hard to believe he is real.  But just a few sweet words on the phone and knowing that he is where he should be and is doing what he is doing, makes me so happy.   And here I sit, taking a little break for lunch and writing this post before doing a little more house cleaning and then going up to pick up the boy.  
A wonderful life.
custom made for me.
A happy, joyful, grateful
life full of twists and turns and journeys that I could never have dreamed of
but my journeys
all of them,
even the cancer is pieces to the greater puzzle of me.
And I like me
just the way I am

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Morning Sunshine

I feel so good today.  Well, that is funny, my heart and mind feel happy, but my body is showing signs of being worn out and tired beyond its years.  But mind over body, and I am alive and appreciating the yellow sunshine of summer.  In winter the sun on a crisp blue day feels and looks white, but on this clear blue sky morning as I drove Christopher to space camp, looked so golden yellow all around us.  The trees, bushes and grasses have their deep dark healthy green of summer.  A summer day that promises rain, if not today then within the next couple of days, and the plants are just busy fattening up and growing and stretching reveling in the yellow sunshine that heats up the earth so quickly at this time of year.

And as I left the boy off at camp my heart felt pulled in two different directions.  The first strong emotion that I felt was missing him.  For the last several weeks we have only been apart for a few hours a day when he attended art camp.  He was right here in Monticello surrounded by the love and safety of so many dear beloved friends of all ages.  So it never really felt like he was gone.  But this morning, driving all the way into the big city and walking him to Classroom A and then watching him walk through the doors leaving me standing alone in the hall way, well, I just wanted to run in there and make sure that he would have friends, that some of the teachers from last year who loved him so would be there again.  That he would have fun and learn things and have friends already.  But he is 11 and I did not see any familiar faces, so what a terrible way to start him off having to make all new friends again for this week by his over protective insane aunt racing him and "helping" him.  Instead I turned around and walked back out to the parking lot.  

As I pulled out from the dark of the parking garage and turned left to work my way out of downtown Tallahassee and head back to my home, my dogs and cats, chickens, fish and rabbits, I realized that I also had a feeling of peace.  I know he will be fine, I know he will have fun, and I have a day to get things down, but also time to myself.  I love having Christopher here, but he is 11 and enjoys watching the Disney channelsssss.  There are an awful lot of channels for Disney.  And he loves banging on the piano as he tries to pick out songs.  He has a much better ear then I do.  He can play the first few bars for several different songs, that he just picked at with a couple of fingers.  I don't have that keen of an ability to play by ear.  And I am so happy that he does.  But admittedly with a small trailer house filled with labs and cats and 2 humans, the constant noise of Disney or the piano does tend to get on my already worn out nerves.  I try to not let him know how I feel, because he is a very sensitive person and it would take a lot of enjoyment and freedom he has to just be a kid here if I said anything.  

To watch TV that is appropriate, if not loud and for the most part inane to me, and to play the harmonica, bang on the piano, play with the dogs and cats, perch on the arm of my red chair as we watch Doctor Who and he explains about all the characters and histories of the show.  I love having him here and the fact that I can ask him to give me an hour to just have both of us sit and read, and that although he will not be totally engrossed reading and quiet, he will try hard to do that.  But right now, all I hear is the breathing of my labs, the purr of a cat, the whir of cicadas, and noises and songs of various birds as they feed their young and search for food.  

The sunlight outside my door beckons me to bend over and pull weeds that are taking over all of my gardens.  To fill buckets with them and empty them into a freshly cleaned chicken coop.  But that would mean getting up and changing into work clothes and cleaning the chicken coop and then pulling the weeds.  And as much as my heart says, yes, my head says, slow down, there is time.  First right your post, answer some emails, pay a few bills.  Then you can go outside for an hour or so and work in the yard.  Then come back in, fix some lunch and do a little cleaning before going to pick up the boy.  To take him to see Harry Potter with my friend Bob from work.  We will probably go to the 3D show because of timing.  I could care less about 3D, but I am sure that Christopher loves it.  Boys of his age seem to think 3D is as natural as color movies.  

And the heat of the day is settling into its pattern, but the hope of rain fills the air with a thick humidity that adds more golden to the sunshine.  My children are adapting to the puppy.  And Ednarose is growing up so quickly.  Yesterday she looked so long and square, like a fur covered block of wood, today her legs have sprouted overnight giving her a more balanced look and her paws trip her up as they also seemed to have doubled in size in just 24 hours.  Sleeping is still a challenge with her, but she can sleep for 5 hours or so in a night.  She is so sweet and affectionate which would warm my heart if not for the sharpness of the baby teeth.  She is a baby and tests her world like all babies by chewing and biting.  She learns each day what she is not allowed to chew or bite, and what is acceptable, but by the next morning the lesson has been lost and must be relearned again.  

Marina is still living in the house.  This is almost a month now that she has not left the house.  That is a record for her since we have lived here.  She is sleeping on my lap now, so sweet and peaceful.  The same creature that took a swipe at Christopher yesterday because he stood too close to where she was sleeping.  She did not break the skin, but she scared the life out of him.  He has always been nervous of the quiet strange creature that can take your arm off as quickly as she can surprise you in bed snuggled up next to you acting like a perfect little black angel.  But for now she is doing her impression of loving, and like the hot golden sunshine, not something you get to enjoy everyday, so I will appreciate and be grateful for the awareness of it for this moment.

We have one, maybe 2 rehearsals left for the play.  I am exhausted from all the life I have lived these past several weeks, and will be happy when this production is ended and the stage lights are turned off for the last time on the Sunday matinee.  But as I tell Christopher's parents, he is not wearing me out, it is my own self that is doing this.  And we are usually the first and the last actors to show up for rehearsal and then leave with the Director and Stage Manager.  All the things in my life right now, I am completely aware of how I have invited them in.  That I have chosen to take the responsibility for them, good or bad.  And at this very moment, I feel such joy and peace and happiness as I sit in my red chair and look out the front door at all the sunshine and millions of shades of green.  Today is my own, and this afternoon I will go and pick up the boy and get to do things to bring him happiness.  And I will be right there next to him as he is happy and looks up at me with that smile.  Those eyes so alive and blue surrounded by dark lush long lashes.  Such intelligence and happiness.  

Life is so rich and full and I have filled mine with such love and happiness, real, passing and even some only imagined.  I miss Ms Moon in Asheville.  I am worried about my Vicki and the health issue she is dealing with this week.  I miss my Dad.  And all of these things mixed in with just the sheer joy and splendor of the day fills me with gratefulness for a life balanced with joy and worry, love and longing.  Happiness and reality and imagination.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Famous

The interview that Christopher and I did last Monday is out.  And yes, I am on the cover of the TLH magazine, and there is a full page article.  And I very much appreciate the free advertisement for the radio play, but there are a few tings that I really don't like.  First, I am not "fighting cancer."  We all know that here, but I didn't emphasize it enough during the article.  And of course this was before I had gone to the doctors and got the good news about my cancer.  OK, it really wouldn't change much of what I said during the article, because I still have the "c".  The reason the cancer is doing so well is because of the chemo.  If we stop the chemo, the cancer starts taking over again.  But we do not have to worry about that right now, the chemo is working out just fine.  

The second thing that bothers me is that I must have talked about Mary Moon in every story.  Every story.  That is because Ms Moon has been standing by my side for every show until this one.  She is half of the Miller Sister's Foley team.  But that is not mentioned in the article.  Oh, she tells the stories that Ms Moon and I have, but she somehow managed to not mention Ms Moon by name.  sigh.  I had tried to get the interviewer to interview both of us at the same time and she did not want to do that.  She said the agreement is that she does individuals and the Democrat does events.  OK, but I would like to go on record stating that as great a job that Rich is doing, I still having Ms Moon by my side.

Other then that, she got 90% of the facts correct, and trust me that is very good for a newspaper article this complete.  And it is fun, and hopefully great advertising for the show.

Yesterday Christopher and I took it easy.  We slept in, and then went to the antique stores here in Monticello.  Christopher enjoys going to antique stores.  He is such a boy.  Sweaty, dragging sticks in the sand, exploring creeks, OK, that could be a boy or a girl, but he really is all boy, but he is mature beyond years in some ways, and going to the antique store with his wacky old aunt if one of the many pleasures of having him here.  

The afternoon was spent rehearsing for the play.  We went over our scripts, practiced the harmonica and went over his commercial.  I worked on the glockenspiel.  The show opens up next Friday night and I still have a lot of work I still need to do to get ready.  And I need to send in another article about the Radio Show to the Monticello News tomorrow.  

Last night we took the toy into town to go see the Pirates of the Caribbean.  But they had changed movies, so we missed it.  We tried to go see another movie, but there really wasn't anything we we had to see and our timing was off.  So we drove up to the Tallahassee mall and checked the movies there.  Mostly all the theaters are showing Harry Potter and we are going to see that tomorrow after work with Bob from work.  

Since we could not get to see a movie, we decided to go out and have dinner, his choice.   He picked Golden Corral.  OK, it has been literally years since I have been to a Golden Corral.   And I have to say this was not a great experience.  The food was pretty awful.  OK, very awful, and the place did not feel clean.  In fact I got something on my arm and shirt that I have no idea what it is or where it came.  And I don't want to know what it was.  And there was every kind of person there that you can imagine.  No disrespect to GC, but oh my lord, that place was packed, and I really don't know how everyone is not having the same stomach problems today that I am.  I don't care if I sound like a snob.  I have eaten at McDs more then I ever dreamed possible, to make sure that Christopher eats, but I think that is even going to stop, because my stomach can't take much more, and I am not really eating much in the way of food there.  

We picked up a redbox, Alpha and Omega.  It was adorable.  Then to bed.  But it was late, and then we woke up early.  I mean like I was up at 5:30 with the animals, and then Christopher got up at 6.  By 8 we were walking to McDs for breakfast (maybe our last time ever going to that place) and then walked home.  At least we got our 2 mile walk in.  And then we took all of the dogs, all three of them in the car to pick up the Tallahassee Democrat.  I have had an email and a phone call already about the interview.  So that is where this post began, so I think I will get the harmonicas out and the xylophone and do some practicing.  After all we have a show next weekend.

I am so tired, I hope to get to bed early tonight.  But today is all about rehearsing.
Life is pretty amazing.
A little tiring, but definitely amazing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What an exciting day

We had a good rehearsal last night.  The play is coming along beautifully.  Today Christopher and I got up and headed out early to the Junior Museum.  We walked through the park and saw the animals in the zoo.  Then we walked around the farm and through some of the exhibition buildings. It is summer so hot, but really it was a wonderful day, and not so uncomfortable.  We both very much enjoyed all of our trip to the museum.  

After having lunch at the cafe there we headed over to Border Books.  They are going out of business.  What a horrible idea, any book store going out of business.  So we went and picked up a couple of books each that we had wanted.  I am always happy to get to spend time with my nephew, but to get to go to a museum and a natural area and a zoo, and then a book store, what a wonderful time.  

Then we had a little fender bender in the parking lot of the credit union.  A teenage girl, not paying attention, had to back up and as I was already stopped behind her I could not move.  I had pulled into a spot and was pulling out to leave, when she had the car in front of her back up, so she threw it in reverse and hit the passenger's side of the toy on the back bumper.  She was not going very fast, but she did have about 2 car lengths to build up speed, and I think she was talking on her cell phone.  Well, she jumped out of the car and starting calling me names and using quite foul language saying that I had run into her.  I calmly said, "No, I was sitting perfectly still and laying on my horn trying to keep you from running into me."  Well, her language continued and she kept calling me "an old woman".  Then she said something to the effect of don't get my panties in a wad.....old woman, generously sprinkled with colorful language.  I had had enough at that point.  I looked her in the eye and said, "Honey, I don't wear panties."  Well that did the trick.  She started making vomiting noises and said a few more choice obscenities and then got in her car and shut up.  That was all I wanted, for her to shut her filthy attitude mouth.  Don't get me wrong, I have been known to use colorful language myself, but never towards anyone like that .  Anyway, the police did come, even though they usually do not go to fender benders in parking lots.  But I explained to the dispatcher that I could not get any information from her because of her language and repeatedly referring to me as an old woman.  The dispatcher said she would send an officer over to get the information for us.  I said thank you very much.  They sent 2 police officers, they heard my side of the story, saw the minor damage and they told us to go, and she was left staying with the officers, who were rolling their eyes and talking about the young girl.  We drove us, she was left standing there by her car.  Christopher and I were both shaking a bit, partly from the shock, partly from the language directed towards me.  But neither of us were hurt in anyway, just a little upset.  OK, Christopher was upset, I was thrilled that I had actually thought of the right thing to say at the right moment.  Yeah, hear it for the  "old woman!"

We had planned on going to see a movie, but after our little excitement, we decided to just go to the redbox and we rented Nanny McPhee returns and the Harry Potter Deathly Hollows I.  We are going to see part 2 on Monday with my friend Bob from work.  So we thought it would be good to remember the movie by seeing it again.  We have tacos left over from the other night, and Klondike bars, so we are in for the evening after a very exciting day.

I had wanted to do so much more, but as I got tired at the museum, I cut off half of the things I had listed as a possibilities for the day.  Yes, I actually used a little common sense and instead of pushing myself on, we stopped.  The museum was a full day.  And now I am resting, and will go to bed early.  Well, after we watch our movies together.  We both love to watch movies and read books.  And museums.  It is a wonderful match of friends.

He is such a treasure
And thank you to everyone for all the sweet and kind wishes about my good news.
I am still so happy.
I still feel wonderful and grateful to the amazing Dr. M.
Life is really so good.
Especially when you actually get to say something clever at the right time.
hee hee

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Great news from the Doctor

So I went to see Dr. gorgeous today.  I had gained one pound.  That is good news.  Because this is muscle weight from the walking and exercise I have started getting.  

The doctor came in and said that he knew I would look good because my blood work was wonderful.  My cancer markers are down as low as we could have hoped for.  My liver enzyme is down almost to normal.  My blood work for my immune system are all up and strong.  Basically, I am almost normal.  
I am healthy.  
I am strong.  
I am tolerating the chemo.  My body has finally adjusted so the higher concentration of Tarceva can keep the cancer under control, and my body is not being killed by it.  

I am doing so well, there was not, "You are doing better, but......"  I am doing so well, that the doctor has okayed me to join the HOPE project.  This is the exercise program for cancer patients to help them build muscle and strength.  The doctor has been promising me that he would get me in, but has not taken any step until today.

I am flying high!  I feel so strong and healthy and happy!  The doctor said whatever I did in Spain, I should keep doing it.  I talked to Judy and she said well, don't discount the fact that I don't have the stress from work.  I am not under stress and pressure anticipating and preparing for the trip to Spain.  I agree with her.  Stress can certainly affect your immune system, and I am so much happier and have way less stress then 2 months ago.  I also ate a very healthy diet when I was in Spain.  Lots of fruits and veggies, fish, cheese, ice cream and eggs.  That was it.  I drank as much water as I could.  I  did not get more rest, but I did get more exercise.  Oh, and I was surrounded by people pouring love at me.  And of course, the ladies in Spain covered me in Saints.  The doctor said I might want to keep wearing the saints.  He smiled when he said it, but I could tell that he feels that it does not matter whether it is science or not, if I get better, that is all that matters.  

So I will continue to wear my saints, eat a healthy diet of veggies, fruit, eggs, cheese, ice cream and fish, start an exercise program and continue to live each day.  And be happy.  Enjoy life and be happy.  
And I am happy.
Very happy
I don't feel like I am dying. 
I feel like living again.  
I am living again.
And I am more like a normal person again, I have no idea when I am dying anymore then anyone else does.
But I don't think you can go back. 
I think once you see the line between life and death
you can't go back
But that means that it is not the cancer's fault that I have been so emotional and silly lately
It means it is just me doing too much and wearing myself out all by myself
So I need to slow down and appreciate life again
That I don't have to do everything
I can still do things.
But I need to be like everyone else in the world. 
Take care of myself.
Be good to myself
Be kind to myself
I am bursting with happiness
This is the first time I have talked to a doctor in almost 2 years where there was not a 
no but
in more ways then you can imagine
or would want to imagine
life is good!!!!!
And Christopher is here and tomorrow we are hoping to go to the Junior Museum
and maybe a movie
but we will celebrate life

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maybe I have been too much. This is my pattern:  go until I cannot longer go. Then lie down until I can get up again and repeat.  I have tried many times to changes this cycle, but it is like trying to change the spots of a leopard.  I have been given some good talkings to lately.  But I don't seem to listen until I can't move.  And so this is what I have been doing lately.  So today, we took it a little slower.  We headed to Wakulla Springs and took the boat ride.  We saw manatees, gators, birds of every description and turtles.  It was glorious, restful and beautiful.  Then Christopher went swimming in the spring.  I stood calf deep in the 68 degrees.  I do not swim in water that cold.  We walked through the lodge and looked at the body of Big Joe, the alligator that is famous for his life and death there at the springs.  We looked through the gift shop.  We both love gift shops.  

And now we are home watching Rango.  A lovely day, and filled with beauty and wonder, but a little more restful.  And tomorrow Christopher will spend some time with Ms Moon and Owen while I go to see the doctor.  

Here are some pictures that Christopher took today at Wakulla:

And then we came home and watched Rango.  It was really cute.  It was international night, so we had tacos.  Christopher tried out the new bottle on the Ednarose.  She is only 5 weeks old, and we will try and wean her ourselves:

Now time for bed. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Sunday I had Christopher go to bed at 9, so he would be able to get up at 7 and leave for space camp at 8.  I wasn't sure how long it would take us to get to camp, but I was sure it would not take an hour, but to make sure that we had plenty of time for the first day, we might as well leave early.
Yesterday morning wetn smooth.  He got up with no problems.  Took his shower, got dressed, we got our breakfasts together, fed the "kids" and off we headed.  It only took 40 minutes to get to camp. So that was great.  Unfortunately, we were a week early.  I told him that it was just a practice run, but I don't think he bought it, he is a clever child.

So since we had all this free time and were in downtown Tallahassee, we decided to do some of the fun things in the downtown area.  First we went up to the 22nd floor of the new capitol and looked out the windows at the city.  It is so beautiful with all the trees and green space.  We tried hard to see if we could find anything of Monticello, but maybe with binoculars we might catch a glimpse of something.  That is pretty far away.  Then we walked around the old capitol and bought Ms Moon's birthday present at the gift store.  I admit to not being particularly comfortable in the new capitol for fear I will run into the criminal we call a governor.  I have no respect for the man, and therefore, to be respectful to the position, I would just as soon not have to speak to the person who claims to make jobs for Florida, but so far as only fired people.  People.  Not positions, people.  People that worked hard and served the citizens of the state of Florida.  Citizens who like state workers are struggling to make ends meet.  Citizens who must rely on the government right now for more assistance because of every one's tight budget.  As a state employee I know first hand that I worked as hard as I could everyday, and that my staff worked very hard.  Sometimes they would slip off and fall behind because there was just too much work to do, and day after day working your hardest with little thanks and no relief in site.  So we simply spent more time in the old capitol, where there is a video of his-self playing, so we simply avoided that room.

After the capitols I wanted to go ahead and see if we could find the COCA office.  We walked the several blocks there and found the building way too early to go in, so walked a little farther and had something to eat and drink.  It is amazing how often you have to feed children, even those as old as 11.  Dogs and cats can be fed once a day, or you can leave food in a bowl, but humans must be fed on a regular basis.  This of course includes me, but I don't eat very regularly lately and so have had to make an effort to make sure that I feed him often enough.  He will tell me he is hungry, which could mean thirsty or hungry, and of course we are working things out.  Last year, I was working, so we had a set schedule for me to make sure I fed him.  And I was sick part of the time, and he fed himself.  This year is different in that I am new at this journey I am on now, and so all of a sudden I will look down and realize that he has not eaten in so many hours, and even if he is not hungry at that time, he will be soon.  I am sure that parental units are amazed at this simple task I find so curious, but remember my mind is altered a bit with the drugs I am on, so new tasks, or responsibilities seem so much larger to me these days.  It seems that I spend most of my energy just trying to live my life, and I have not fully recovered, rest wise from the trip.

The interview went just fine.  The writer was very sweet and intelligent and interesting and I think she only asked me 3 questions.  Two to get the ball rolling, then one at the end to wrap things up.  I have been interviewed, or interviewed enough people that I just go from where they start me, and try to logically provide a basic chronological history of how I got where we started to where the interviewer is focusing.  I try to provide anecdotes and facts and if they are going to write 500 words, then I try to give them at least twice what they need, so they can pick and choose.  It means that I will have no idea what the article is really about, but that is kind of fun.

After the interview we walked over to the Florida Natural History Museum.  I really wanted to see the Florida landscape exhibit with the highwaymen and Clyde Butcher, being a huge fan of both. And this was an excellent exhibit.  The juxtaposition of Clyde's black and white photos of Florida and the Highwaymen's garish oil/acrylic colors of the landscape made both more fascinating.  I love the highwaymen's art.  The fact that they basically had no training, poor tools to work with, often painting of gipson board and the like only having canvas when they could afford it, makes their talent and work seem all the more amazing.  Some of the artist are basic folk art, beautiful and simply and rustic.  But some of the work is as technically talented as famous artists in the world's great galleries.  I means these men had pure raw talent and passion.  So opposite from Clyde's focused cool passion.  Then we looked at many of the exhibits.  We apparently missed a couple of rooms, like with the fossils and the skeletons of ancient creatures, but that will give us another reason to go back.

After the museum we walked back to the car and then ran some errands then stopped by to see Ms Moon before we headed home for a little rest.  I had the most wonderful time with Christopher, but was completely exhausted from all the walking and activity.  And I love spending time with him, but this has been a lot of weeks where I have not had any just alone with me time, and it is wearing me out.  I try to plan alone time in, but I also treasure the little amount of time I have with my nephew.

And last night, then this morning a few events occurred that just broke my heart.  I of course will recover, but it was again a reminder to me that even though I am surrounded by loved ones, I am alone.  And honestly do not have anyone to rely on, to lean against when I am tired, or worn out, or sad.  There is nothing wrong with being alone, and I do thrive on that most of the time.  But I was also married for almost 25 years and even though we had many difficulties and challenges, in my mind, I still had someone who loved me and would be there for me.  That was not always true, I mean the "would be there for me" part.  But now I can not say that about anyone.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I can call family and friends near and far, but I can not let down my guard and be completely vulnerable and just be held by someone special.  That person no longer exists in my life.  And I am as afraid as clueless as to know how to find someone that I could learn to trust and lean on.  There is something to be said for having that one person, who is not perfect, but that for whatever reason you feel like you can just let go completely, be totally open and lean over into their arms and just feel loved and safe.  

Christopher is a very affectionate child and often balances on the arm of my chair like a parrot, wrapping his arm around me and resting his head on mine.  He pats my arms, he hugs me.  And he is a wonderful child.  His love and affectionate sweet and innocent.  Bob, my lab is also an affectionate creature who will often let me wrap my arms around him as he rests his head on mine.    And his love is sweet and affectionate and innocent.  And these loves are so precious and I am grateful for them, and very aware each time one of these moments occur, but it is not the same thing as an adult that you have an attraction for, a grown up you can trust to handle your moment of vulnerability, of need.  That is something that I have a hard time putting on my grown friends, let alone a child or pets, no matter how much like "kids" they are to me.  

I am so grateful for yesterday with Christopher and the look on Ms Moon's face when she opened her birthday present upon Christopher's request.  The look of love on that woman's face just melts me, and at times I can be vulnerable around her, and my Vicki, but most of the time, my hard head and shell do not allow me to run into their arms and weep and admit that my heart is breaking out of loneliness for someone to love me in that way that one person can give.

Enough feeling sorry for myself and weeping.  
It is just my heart breaking, and there is a young man practicing the harmonica who loves me with all his 11 year old heart can love his old wacky aunt.  And I love him with all my heart and he does not need to see my tears.  How could I ever begin to explain to him.
So, we shall work on our harmonica, our scripts and I think we shall head out in the hottest part of the day to go to the Junior museum, so that we can be back in time for rehearsal.  
I believe that a broken heart has more room for love, so although I am sad this morning and confused about what to do, or how to do whatever it is I am supposed to do, I know that this too will pass, and regardless if I fine that love again or not, I have so much love in my life, that once my tears have cleared away a little of the debris, I will be happy and enjoy my life and see what is to come next.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


It was a long day.  Christopher and I met Mr. Rich at 1 to review our scripts and make sure that we had all of the sounds effects covered.  We only have 4 rehearsals until the show.  Two weeks, but only 4 rehearsals.  The show is coming along wonderfully and Ms Judy is doing a great job directing.  The sound booth is up and it really makes the stage look great.  Especially the "on air" sign.  Rehearsal went until 6, so when you are running on little sleep that is a long time to try and stay focus.  I really need to get more sleep before the show, because being a Foley isn't difficult, but it does take a lot of concentration.  

Ms Judy and Ms Denise has come up with some very clever things.  Like Christopher carries this red carpeted step up to the mike to do his part in the Library commercial.  It is really cute.  And we do a song at the end that now has choreography and will look very cool.  Then the bows are pretty neat with how she has us make lines and then step forward and back and stuff, pretty cool.

Sleep, I need sleep.  Maybe tonight.  Tomorrow Christopher starts space camp, so that will be an early morning.  And then tomorrow the interview for the article in the paper, hopefully that will give us some free advertising for the play.  I wanted Mary to be in the article with me, but he wants to do it on one person at a time.

Here are some pictures from rehearsal.  enjoy:

 Yes, those are red cowboots I am wearing with a 1940s handmade dress.  They make great walking noise sounds

 Christopher hard at work getting his harmonica 

 Chuck, Ms Moon's brother and our announcer for the show.  He is pretty amazing, just like his sister
and Mandy's head

 Mr. Rich with the mini door.  See the cabbage?  That is what we use to make fighting sounds, and it looks funny as the cabbages fly apart throwing cole slaw all over the stage

 Ms Judy, our Glorious Leader

Carolyn and Karen acting like they are in a 1940s radio show
hee hee

A Little Sleep

Other then finally getting the last of the trip posted, I did nothing yesterday.  Well, it took me all day to get the posts written and photos attached.  I had not slept well at all.  I was up every 15 minutes with Ednarose.  And if there is anything my friends know about me, I need my sleep.  Now with the "c" it is even more important that I get the rest and sleep I need.  And I am still not fully recovered from the trip with Dad.   I am so happy to have Christopher here, but my mistake to not realize how long it would take me to recover, because I am really too tired to give him everything I want.  And everything I want to give him is my attention and joy.  He is such a great kid, and very understanding and kind and silly and as he puts it weird.  So we get along wonderfully, but with my old worn down self, I am not bringing the joy and laughter and energy to this relationship that I had hoped to bring.  

So getting my rest and sleep is more important then ever, so that I can be here fully and enjoy my time with him, but I don't nap.  Sometimes I try and if I am completely and utterly exhausted, maybe I can sleep during the day.  But then as often as not, then I have a terrible time falling asleep at night.  And Friday night being the first night with the puppy there was little sleep.  So I sat in my chair.  So with great trepidation I threw in the towel around 8:30 to go to bed.  My plan was to read for half an hour and get back on my normal cycle of bed at 9.  

How was I going to accomplish this with a puppy in the house?  I had given in and I was going to crate her.  Give her a safe, secure cave like environment that would after she had exhausted herself crying fall asleep and I could sleep.  But I could not rest while she howled and cried and sobbed and wailed.  I tried covering the kennel.  I moved the kennel into the showed and closed the curtain.  I tried putting a blanket on the kennel.  I moved the kennel into my walk in closet.  It is small, but with more then enough room for the kennel and to have space around it.  I tried singing to her.  Maybe that made things worst.  So I finally (I might have lasted 30 minutes) gave in and opened up her kennel.  I closed my bedroom door and thought, I would limit the damage she can do in the house to the bedroom.  She was no happier.  So another hour goes by, she is crying off and on.  I am getting up and down, up and down, trying so hard to find something that will help her to sleep.  I tried warm milk.  I tried taking her outside to do her business.  I tried snuggling with her.  I tried "no".  She is not even 6 weeks old and she has already beaten me.  

Bob is confused and freaked out.  He is fine with the puppy if she just wouldn't come up and try to nurse on him or bite him.  Same with Harry, only Harry does not have the ability to run away from her. Bob came home with me after i had carried him around for 5 or 6 hours and put him in the bed and we slept.  He did have to go out a couple of times in the night, but he would nudge at me, I would get up take him outside, he would do his business and then come right back in and go to sleep.  But he was older.  Ednarose is still just a little tiny baby. 

I finally gave up and figured I could take her biting and wanting to play in the bed, I could not lay there and hear her cry and wail.  So I reached down and picked her up, snuggled down with her and I guess all the crying and drama had worn her out, because she stretched out and slept most of the night.  Poor Christopher has a lower tolerance to Ednarose's distress then I do, so even though I had closed the door, he kept going back and forth between his bed and my room.   But everyone got to sleep once the baby had stretched out and slept.  Although Bob was not able to sleep in his normal spot next to me, which is affecting his sleeping, he did manage to get some sleep in the living room.

I know that she is growing up each day and it is only a matter of time before she is sleeping through the night, and the household has settled down.  And I am still glad that she is here while Christopher is here.  He loves playing with her.  It is funny his parents first response, was he is not bringing Ednarose home.  I was taken aback by that in that I would never ever do that to Christopher.  Make him think he could have a pet without talking to his parents first.  Last year he had a rooster her, David Smith.  I do remember some good nature teasing, but there was never a moment when Christopher or I seriously considered him taking David Smith home.  

And it was his parent who said he could have a kitten at Aunt Kathleen's house if she agreed, before anything was mentioned to me.  Christopher and I knew that I wanted a black female lab. I wanted my Ednarose.  I did not call his parents and ask them if he could have one of the other puppies.  I never even considered it.  Neither did Christopher.  And now after the short time he has spent with Ednarose, I don't think he would be interested in a puppy for a while.  He loves her and playing with her, but he has seen how much work it is with a puppy.  He tried to give the wiggly little thing a bath, and he did a fine job, but it did not turn out to be as much fun as it is on TV.  So he is more then happy to spend this time with her here and then when he comes up for visits.  So I hope we finally have laid this to rest.

One of the most interesting benefits of having this little chunky creature is getting to be with three generations of dogs.  For the past many years I have had a mother dog and her puppies, but once the puppies were a few years old, there wasn't that much difference between the generations.  But now with Harry at 13, Bob at 3 and Ednarose so very young, the generation differences .  Harry is slow, older, more tolerant, easier going.  Bob has grown up in less then 24 hours.  He has been a puppy for his 3 plus years, the baby in the house.  And there was very little maturing going on in his brain.  But now with the puppy, he is more mature.  He looks more mature,  He acts more mature, and although he has been a good dog and mostly listened and did as he was asked.  Now, he takes pride in being the bigger brother.  He misses being the baby, but Christopher and I are trying hard to make sure to give snuggle time to all three dogs, and the cats.  There is a lot of loving going on in this house right now.  And really all things considered it is going very well.

And by being able to sleep for 6 hours fairly uninterrupted last night has made all the difference in my attitude this morning.  We have rehearsal today, and it will be a long one, but I am ready, and hopefully enough rest to get what needs to get done today, be pleasant and enjoy all the love and joy I have around me.  

I am grateful to have this time with my Christopher.  
I am grateful for our new puppy
I am grateful for my other kids
I am grateful that with all the animals in this house, that we relly do get along so well.  
I am even grateful that marina has moved back in the house with us.
I am not grateful for the mess she adds to my life.
But I am grateful to have her
It is Sunday morning, I have had some sleep
feeling happy this morning
I think I will make pancakes

Saturday, July 16, 2011

finally coming home

The next day we were all packed and ready to go, but dreading the time to leave.  We walked over and had breakfast with Paco y Teresa one last time.  They asked us what we wanted for lunch.  I said, please, no more food.  They agreed it was a late breakfast and we needed to leave around lunch to head to the airport.  So as soon as the breakfast dishes were cleared away, Paco started bringing out lunch.  I know he knew what I said about no more food, but they just can't help it, they love to take care of us.  So after we had spent the morning eating we loaded up in Paco's car and headed to the airport.    Again, we drove past the fields of olives, sunflowers, tomatoes, oaks and grapes.  We got to the airport and talked Paco into leaving us there.  It is a small airport, and the Iberia Airlines office wasn't even open.  It would be a few hours wait, but every minute putting off saying good by to this dear man was getting harder and harder.  It was a small flight, and the same service guy that had rushed Dad to the medic to get his hand taken care of, was one of the service people to take dad up the stairs into the plane.  As soon as he saw us, he asked about Dad's hand.  He was so sweet, and loading dad up and into the plane went on with out a hitch.  The flight was very pleasant and we landed in Madrid and were met by some nice service people who whisked us through the airport, got our luggage and then out to a cab. 

We stayed in the Wellington, which always makes me laugh, it just doesn't sound Spanish, but it is a Madrid standard.  It is the most popular hotel for the matadors and toreadors.  In fact, now in front of the hotel is a giant fiberglass bull dressed as a matador.  A little ironic don't you think?

I called the concierge as soon as we were checked into our room to see if we could get into Botine's.  The earliest they could get us a reservation was 11:30 pm.  I said, no, I couldn't take another night that late again.  So reservations were made to have lunch there the next day instead.  Instead, we made reservations at the main restaurant at the hotel.

Europe is not like the US in that there are no requirements for ramps or accessibility issues.  So we can take the elevator down to the lobby, but there are stairs to get to just about anywhere from the elevators.  And even if this country does not have accessibility, it makes up for that with lots of manly men who would just show up in force, grab the wheel chair and off they would go.  No warning, and it would shock dad to all of a sudden being swooped up and swept away.  They were efficient, but not gentle.  

The restaurant is nuevo traditional cuisine.   You know the type, everything looks like a magazine photo.  The cold poatato soup was served in a shot glass garnished with tiny strips of dried seaweed.  Dad was not impressed.  I thought it was delicious, and so rich, that it was very filling.  I then had cod two ways, one with peppers and saffron sauce.  The other piece was served in a chili, lime, and butter sauce.  The fish was perfect and the sauces amazing.    Dad had the most amazing insalda mixa.  The white asparagus was the most ginormous asparagus I had ever seen.  Dad was very pleased with the salad, and I think that might have been enough for an entire meal.  But he had a fried shrimp dish that was fabulous.  They use butter and flour to bread the shrimp, so when you bit into it it just melts in your mouth.  Desert was a cookie kind of thing.  It was caramel and hazel nut flavor it was about 8 inches long and was thin and crispy and looked like it had been baked on a 4-inch diameter pipe.  Really wonderful.  The olives were meaty and salty and perfect with the hot fresh baked bread.  Traditional white bread, pan, then another white bread that similar, but not quite, and a whole grain rustic bread and then a nut and raisin rolls.  When the cheque came, it was amazingly affordable and we were once again stuffed to overflowing.  The manly men showed up again and whisked dad back up to the elevators.  

These were the first American style mattress we had slept on for the entire trip.  Most of the mattresses our friends sleep on are nothing like we have here.  No pillow tops, just a few inches of stuffing, lumpy and adequate.  But these beds had glorious Egyptian cotton sheeting, thick luxurious firm but pillow topped mattresses.  And we slept well.  

We had breakfast in the breakfast room of the hotel.  They have a buffet, that is not the best I have had, but was the same as when we had eaten there in 2004.  First is a table with salmon and everything you would want to put on your salmon, cream cheese, capers, finely minced onions, lemons, thin fresh baked bagels and so on.  Then there is the salad area, the fruit area, the sweet area, the bread area, the hot bar with eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, potatoes.  Then the drink area with several kinds of juices, champagne and waters.  Coffee and tea are served directly to the table.  The staff is professional and competent does not give them full credit.  The food was hot and fresh and wonderful.

After breakfast, we caught a cab over to the Prado and Mother's favorite store next door.  We bought presents for our beloveds at home and then headed over to Botine's for lunch.  Some people claim it has been owned by the same family in the same location for 600 years, hmmmm.  Maybe, but I know it was rebuilt in the 1700s and has been in that location and run by the same family at least since that point.  Which is pretty amazing in its self.  

We grabbed a cab back to the Wellington to take a little siesta.  I tried lying down, and I was tired, but I didn't want to lie down.  I wanted to walk in the park.  So I told Dad I was going to the park and would be back in about an hour.  I walked over to the park, just a couple of blocks away and even in the triple digit temperatures in the park under the green canopy with the fountains splashing and the little lake filled with paddle boats it was cool and one of my favorite places in Spain.  The park was filled with families, kids attending camps, tourists, lovers, artists, entertainers and sellers of every kind of item imaginable.  I walked the familiar paths, and saw completed buildings where when I was last there they had been under construction.  They were still working on the crystal palace, but it was beautiful and I believe will be a conservatory when it is finished. 

I was being so careful keeping track of where I was and how I had gotten there, but then I got distracted by a bed of white petunias and then the agapantha's and the next thing I knew, I was lost.  I tried to retrace my steps, but under the chemo, my mind does not work as well as it used to.  I had completely lost my sense of direction and this park is huge.  And not a simple 4-sided park, but a green space that covers several blocks and is shaped with  5 or 6 sides.  I ended up coming out as far away, from where I needed to be as possible.  I was not worried about myself, but I knew dad was going to worry.  Finally my brain started to work again and I saw a cab, jumped it, and he took me to the Wellington.  I was 30 minutes late, and yes, Dad was getting worried and trying to figure out who to call.  

After each of us recovering from my little adventure, we went down to the bar and had dinner.  Just sandwiches, olives, chips and soda water for me, nestea for dad.  We just sat out in the lounge area and listened to the piano player and ate our light meal and reminisced about our trip.    It was one of the nicest moments of the entire trip.  No schedule, no rushing, just a lovely place familiar to both of us.  We laughed and talked and then headed back up stairs to sleep before taking our big trip back across the pond.  

The trip back was long.  Nine hours where we could not move our legs and turbulence so that they kept us all in our seats with our seat belts on.  It was really hard physically on dad having to sit in the cramped space for so long a time.  We landed in Atlanta and were met by a very nice service guy who took us through the airport to our luggage.  As we waited for our luggage to show up on the baggage area, out comes the customs people with beagles.  I had never seen this before.  I asked our guy who were these people.  He explained that the beagles sniff through the luggage as it comes over the belt and report when food is noted.  

Ok, I am not one of these people who break laws, but if you state that, you have food products on your custom sheet then you get put in the long line.  We had less then 2 hours to make our next flight.  There used to be a place to list dairy products, but not any longer, so I took a chance and did not list the cheese I bought in the Netherlands.  The cheese I bought is legal and you can bring it in the US, but if I listed it, it would take us so long to get through all the lines, so I cheated.  I lied by omission.  My heart was racing, my pulse pounding, my eyes dilated.  The beagle cop was not a pleasant person.  His gait was similar to John Wayne, he followed the beagle glaring at all of the tourists.  I know he kept walking past me.  I have taken classes on how to tell when someone is using deception.  I ran down the list in my head, I fit every detail.  I don't know how the beagle could smell anything with the stench of fear dripping off of me.  But the beagle didn't seem to give me any notice.  The beagle's man, I know was watching me.  I was holding my custom's form.  I looked at it to see if I could simply add the cheese in and not be obvious.  I know having to go through the longer lines would drive dad crazy.  He was already a little grumpy.  Understandably after that nine hour prison.  I could see how much pain he was experiencing.  

There was no way to change my form with out it being very obvious, and there wasn't a place for cheese, so I wasn't sure how to list it now.  I thought about quantum physics, every possibility is out there.  I tried visualizing what I needed.  I needed an opportunity for beagle guy to be distracted and for our luggage to appear and escape.  Just at that moment, the luggage started coming up, and at the same time the beagle detected food in a back pack of a 20 something girl who was in a group of college age students who were just returning from back packing across Europe.  They had all made ham and cheese sandwiches at their last hostel, and had not declared them.  Homemade ham and cheese sandwiches are not legal.  My cheese was, but neither of us had claimed our "food" products.  Of course, on their part, who would think that you would have to list a ham and cheese sandwiches?  I on the other hand, knew that I should probably list the cheese.  But as the beagle cop along with his partner and her beagle, they went through all the luggage of these kids.  The problem was that the kids had laughed when the cop got upset over their sandwiches.  This was exactly what I was hoping to have happen.  Now, can I take advantage of this turn of events, and I looked sweating and heart pounding to see my luggage come out of the gate and onto the belt.  Our Service guy grabbed it, a few more suitcases and here came dad's.  I was keeping one eye on the luggage, one eye on beagle boy.   We threw the luggage on a cart and took off.  We had made it.  The beagle guy had been so busy yelling at the kids with the sandwiches.  So around the corner and there was the agriculture customs X-ray lines.  Oh no, I have not beat any system, but I had made it past the angry beagle guy.   So I took a deep breath and figured, well, it can't be as bad as beagle boy.  We moved through our line and the luggage ran through the X-ray machines.  Our luggage went in, came out, went back in, out, in and out.  The Customs man, a kind looking person said, "What are the heart shaped things in your suitcase?"

I can lie, of course, we all do it all the time.  "Don't you look good today!" "You have aged a day...” and so on.  But lying about real things, I am not so good.  In fact I will spill every bean I have if confronted for the truth.  So when he asked me about the heart shaped things, I actually was relieved and blurted out "Cheese!  I bought cheese our first week on the trip and I had not remembered to put it on the form, and I didn't see where to put in on the form."  He looked at me and smiled and said that this happened often these days since they took dairy products off of the form.  How much cheese did I have and where did I get it?  I gave him all the information, truthfully, completely and maybe even confessed to things I did when I was in grade school.  I am not sure.  Again, he smiled, marked my customs sheet and let us go on our way.

Getting through customs took us every minute we had, the ride thing that takes you to the different terminals quit working when we were on it, they saw dad's back brace and had to take him around the corner to some private area and go over him with a fine toothed comb so to speak.  He was not pleasant about it.  They had separated us, and he was worried over me and making our connection and he was tired and hurting and just generally not at his best.  I asked our new service guy to please take me to the TSA so dad could see me and know I was ok.  I could hear arguing getting louder and louder.  I knew Dad would be in the middle of the maylee, and he was.  When TSA saw me, they moved me right in with dad and as they swabbed and checked for ammunitions, I explained to dad what they were doing.   The security people thanked me for my assistance, and we made our connection with no problems.  

A comfortable flight home to Tampa where JongAe and Jessica met us at the airport and a quick drive across the skyway and we were home.  Home

We gave JongAe and Jessica their presents.  They had made us dinner and bought juice and milk and breakfast things the next day.  The girls loved their presents we appreciated the kindness.