Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012

The hoidays have  been wonderful.  I recieved so many thoughtful cards and gifts.  I am still working on my cards and will continue sending them out even though the year is ending and the holidays are slipping away.  My favorite gifts were given to me by my oldest and youngest brothers and their families.  My oldest brother and his wife and daughter bought me 2 flocks of chickens.  These chickens will be given to one or two families in the Caribean and provide them with eggs, fertilizer and meat.  Children will learn how to take care of the little feathered creatres and watch their antics as they grow into full feathered clucking joys.
My youngest brother and his family gave me a share of a rabbit and a goat.  Heifer International is wonderful and the opportunities they open for the world.  And it makes me so happy to know that other people will have the joy of animals in their lives.  Thank you so much, dear family.

And I recieved so many thoughtful messages and gifts, thank you all.  It was wonderful hearing from everyone.  I hope to return the favor soon.  But for right now, I think I will sit back down again.  I feel okay, just lost in space.  I don't want to move too fast or try and do too much.  I just want to sit and pull myself back together.  I had wanted to have lunch with Geeta, Marsha and Darlene, but I just can not face leaving the house and having to talk to people.  Conversations are hard.  Focus and concentration is hard.  But I fee fine.  Bug and I are watching football, an there have been some amazing games.  I can sit and watch football.  No interaction, just sit and stare. 

Tomorrow is the day we start another year.  Another year with so much potential.  Happy new year everyone.  Love to all

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve

Here is my holiday letter, love to all and may this coming year be overflowing with Joy for all of us.

Thank you all for spending a little time on my porch, and those who leave comments, whether regularly or just once.  Thank you for taking that moment to write.  I do appreciate every comment I receive.  Like hugging a friend, only one you may have never met.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanuka, Happy New Year and Peace on Earth.
Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy, Happy!!!  We find ourselves at the end of another year.  That time when we look back and remember our precious loved ones spread throughout the world.  I love this time when we scurry to and fro.  Shopping, writing cards, baking, making traditions of a life time come alive again.  That is part of the magic of this time of year, where loved ones here and gone share the memories we make today.  My life has been so full this year.  I still cannot believe what a wonderful life I have, just so filled with joy and love and adventure.  Oh there are downs with the ups, but they seem so few and fade where the memories of happier times seem to grow bigger and brighter.

In January I met Bug.  He was living in Lake Park, GA.  He is retired Air Force and a full time RVer.  We got to be good friends and started spending more time together.  This should not surprise any of us.  After all, I am an Entomologist and he is well, Bug.  So after only knowing each other about six months, in June we took my Dad back one last time to Spain.  It was the 50th Anniversary of the sister cities.  Bug lived in Spain when he was in the Air Force.  He is fluent in Spanish and the people of Barcarrota fell in love with him immediately.  We had a wonderful trip.  It just wasn’t long enough time to spend with those dearly beloved precious ones.  It is like tearing my heart out each time we leave there.

In July Christopher came up to stay with us.  I had won a flight in a small plane and took Christopher. He had never flown in any plane, and before you knew it, the pilot had turned over the controls to him and he was flying, I mean really flying.  Bug had gotten the golf cart running, so Christopher spent a lot of time taking Bob and Harry for rides.  Harry really loved that.  Then Christopher and I jumped in the Toy, put the top down and drove to CT to visit Susan and Jim for their son, James’s high school graduation.  During our perfect stay at the Grantham’s we took Christopher to VT, MA, NY, and RI.  Then we picked up Bug in NJ who was visiting his lovely daughter, Shireen and grandson Kensington, and the trip stepped up a notch.  Christopher was hoping to get his citizenship badge and had already visited the Florida state capital and toured around Tallahassee and Florida government earlier this summer with me.  We took him to Philly and the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall.  After consuming our share of cheese steaks sandwiches we headed to DC.  There we saw the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  We spent a long day taking in as much as we could before heading on to Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown and the surrounding historical areas.  Here we started encountering Civil war history as well and kept heading south into Charleston, then Savannah.  We took boats and horse drawn wagons; we drug him into every museum and historical site we could find.  We visited a total of 16 states in two weeks.  The only state Christopher did not get to on the Eastern Seaboard was Maine.  It was a trip of a life time.

But after I dropped Christopher safely back with his parents, I put on my Harley jacket that weighs more than I do.  I pulled up my boots and climbed on the back of Bug’s black cherry Classic Electra Glide Harley and off we headed, trailer in pull.  Our first stop was the retirement of one of Bug’s dearest friends from the Air Force.  The tropical storms charged up behind us and after spending as much time as we could with friends, the road called to us and we headed off again on this almost 6 week adventure covering 22 states.  We spent a week in CA with his parents.  Sweet wonderful people and I also got to visit with my cousin Ned and his precious family.  I hadn’t seen Ned for about 35 years.  Our trip evolved as we road skirting snow and rain.  We saw one of the three old faithful geysers in the world, a petrified forest of giant redwoods, the Mojave desert, Grand Canyon, Napa Valley, The Spruce Goose, Yosemite NP, Santa Fe, Little Big Horn, mountains, grasslands, oceans, rivers and lakes.   In Napa we took the wine train, a boat ride on Lake Tahoe, and a train ride into San Francisco and then on the trolleys.  We visited Bug’s brother Ron in OR and his cousin Kim in CA.  We visited friends here and there as close as family.  We saw sun rises and sun sets, we drove when it was so hot you fried like bacon on the bike flying across the black cooking surfaces of roads.  We rode up the CA and OR Giant Redwood coast where the temperature dropped from the upper 70s to the 40s in like 15 minutes.  We left Omaha with frost on rooftops.  Every day was a new adventure with places to see and people to meet.  We rode over 7500 miles on the Harley alone.  It was one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life. 

We lost Harry just a few months ago now.  Rest in peace dear sweet giant Harry boy.  We still have Bob and Edna, the 4 cats, John C Bennett and his flock, as well as gold fish in the lotus pond.  Blessings overflow in my life.  I am back in treatments waiting to see what my options might be for this year.  So come and see us, and know that I am thinking of you with a big smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye.  Love you dearly!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I am here

I am here!  I have not fallen off the face of the earth, but I do sort of feel like I am free falling.  Between the Amazing and Wonderful Dr. McCutiepie, and my new doctor, I am back in treatments.  Just one chemical in the infusion treatment, and I am still taking the Tarceva but I am not doing well on the treatment.  Well,my mind isn't.  Everything else seems to be tolerating things just fine.

So I have gone to Atlanta and visit Dr. M and I have had the two treatments.  One in Atlanta, the other one back in Thomasville.  I have had a little bout of the stomach bug, which came when Bug and I had driven over to St. Augustine after Thanksgiving.  We did get to drive down to Sebring and walk around the car show, and our first night in St. Augustine we were able to waunder around that beautiful old city dressed up in her Christmas finest.  White lights shining golden and bright wrapped around palm trees and bushes, people walking around with 3D glasses on singing Christmas carols and riding on the tour bus trains.  It was beautiful and one of the most magical ways to start this time of year.  But by Sunday I was not well at all, and other then a quick drive out to the lighthouse, I spent the rest of our time sick in the room. 

So many things have happened since I last posted.  Part of that is because of my computer, the other part is that I am struggling with things.  I had a little break in my crazy meds, and it took me a couple of weeks to get myself back.  And then on this came the infusion treatment.  One measly WMD, and that one is one of the best working with the least amount of side effects, and yet it is like a perfect storm of insanity.  Crazy chemicals swimming through my system, each with their specific job to do.  Each with their own range of side effects.  The result is me sitting on the couch, practically drooling, barely able to keep my head up because I am so very exhausted.  And like someone who has not slept for a week, but who is altered with drugs, my head spins and I can barely focus.  This  makes me naseous and dizzy, but honestly, if I could think clearly I would be just fine.

Dr. M wants one more treatment.  Dr. May has already scheduled two.  Honestly, I would rather go for the two treatments.  Even though I am unable to carry on much of a conversation or to accomplish the many tasks this time of year allows, that functionin above bare necessity is difficult, I would rather take the 4 treatments of WMDs, hope that they stall the cancer, and that we can work our way back to a maintenance situation. 
I don't know what that means.
I don't know if we are going to have to add in another of the WMDs that we are fairly certain will impact this cancer.
I don't know if we can knock it down enough so that I can go back on maintenance.
Is there a maintenance?
Have I lost what little mind I had left?
I am not sure about anything.

Isn't that the way life is?

I did the Radio Play.  Mary Moon and I did our last stint together as the Miller Sister Foley Team for the Stage Company.  I am no longer able to tolerate the rehearsals and performances.  I love the work, but the late nights wipe me out.  And I am not really enjoying the performances because I am working so hard trying to stay focused.  To not fall over, to no retch on stage.  It was wonderful getting to Foley with Mary one more time.  I love that woman so much.  She is a fine Foley, and a dear sweet funny woman.  We also had an apprentice.  Our favorite 15 year old, Zach Holly.  We have worked with him on several plays in the past and he is one of our all time favorite people.  He is funny and quiet and a little shy, but charming and a wonderful quirky sense of drama and silliness.  He had to bang a cymbal so we gave him big pot lids.  The first time he had to bang them, he does this dramatic extension of his arms, and then BANG he brings the lids together.  They make this horrific clatter of lids, not very cymbal sounding at all.  And you just can not help but laugh.  It was wonderful getting to work with him and for Mary and I to know that the Stage Company is in good hands for the next generation of Foley work. 

It was also great to do the Radio Play because I get to work with some of my most favorite people ever.  Of course, Mary and Zach, but it is always wonderful to get to do this play with Jan.  She directs us and her Dad was with the NBC Radio Company half a century ago, so this type of show has some of the best memories ever for Jan.  We have some very talented actors in our Stage Company, but to get them go in a completely different direction and shine so bright makes this production one of my all time favorites.  Cami and Mike were back in the play with their two daughters, Mary Rose and Lily.  Cami was in Casablanca with us, so she is a special joy for me from the beginning.  Like getting to work with Carolyn.  She and I joined the Stage Company with the Casablanca production and I still love getting to work with Carolyn.  This year to get to work with Cami and Mike, and their 2 precious lovely daughters, just seemed perfect.  And Judi Persons, another one of our talented group got to perform with granddaughter and with Jon Taylor, who is like a son to her.  I got to watch my Amanda perform.  She is amazing, and I love that young woman like a daughter.  So this show is layers upon layers of family and loved ones.  Dancing on the boards with the bright lights on.  It brings out the best in all of us, and the bittersweet reality that this may be the last time I am on stage with George or Jack, Mary or Amanda, or Judy and Denise.  That I may never again get to play with Pat or Marcy and so many dear sweet precious friends is tempered by the reality of how very very blessed I have been to get to spend 4 years learning the Foley Trade with the most generous and delightful people in the world.

No regrets, really.  I wish I felt clearer, stronger, but between the WMDs, the holidays, the stomach bug and wearing myself out, I would do it all over again.  Yes, I would.  But I don't have to.  I got to do it the first time.

So much
so much
wonderful life
and sweet reminders of how lucky I am to still be here.

We had to put Harry to sleep.  He was 14 or maybe 15, I am not sure.  But he was still hanging in there after the summer of travelling.  Then within a few days he just went downhill.  I called the vet and they of course fit us in right away.  I was not feeling so great at the time, but Bug found me digging his grave and the two of us were able to put him next to his mother, Maggierose and his sister, Lily.  He went quickly with Bug and I with him as Dr. Baxley administered the drug.  No pain, he just slipped away.  My giant Harry boy.  The child like creature that has been such a major part of my life for a decade and a half.  My three labs all gone now.  We buried him in his blanket with his food bowl, a dog cookie, a glow in the dark star to help him navigate to never never land, a candle to light the way and matches.  I stood at the grave of my three labs.  Marina is the only one left with me from my life before here.  Marina was Harry's cat.  We brought her home and put her with him.  A tiny black creature that had barely opened her eyes.  A giant labrador whose head was bigger then Marina when she was full grown.  But they loved each other.  Marina loved Harry more, but he tolerated her constant loving and attention with the dignity of a jowl heavy giant. 
Now he is gone.

We are heading over to Apalachicola today.  Bug and I are staying at the Gibson Inn.  We saw the PSA in May's blog blessourhearts about the deal they have at the Gibson about dinner and a free overnight stay.  I have always wanted to eat at the Gibson and to sleep in that old blue gray cracker hotel.  We have a room on the second floor on the balcony.  I am so excited.  The weather has been amazing lately.  Perfect for riding the motorcycle.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to ride.  That would require being able to sit up right, balance, think.  Nope, that has not been me.  But now, a beautiful ride along the coast over to Apalachicola. 
It is raining.
Oh well, we will take the toy, and  hopefully the weather will clear and we will be able to ride around with the top down.
I wish we were able to take the bike.
I know Bug really wishes we could take the bike
But for today, not such a good idea

Bug and I bought ourselves a giant screen TV
Ok, not giant compared to a lot of TVs, but giant for us
You can see the hair in someone's mole. 
Yep, pretty clear
We are enjoying it

I am hanging in there.
No pain
Really, nothing to complain about other then loosing my mind
I really miss my mind
no seriously, I really miss my mind
But I am here.
I am "well"
I look well
I am happy
I am busy with the holidays

I was able to spend thanksgiving with Rob, JongAe and Jessica.
Dad spent a week with us and we got his Christmas shopping done
It was great having him here, but a lot of work for everyone

I have missed so many birthdays and calls and just hello how are yous.

I am sorry, I am just not up to carrying on a conversation
I get lost
and then I stress
and then my head spins and I just want to run and hide
But considering how much people with sinuses or arthritis or migraines have to deal with, a few days, or weeks of confusion doesn't seem worth mentioning

Bug took my back deck/porch and has closed it in and we are going to get the windows closed up with screen and roll down canvas/vinyl windows, and I can sit out there. When it is sunny or rainy, cold or warm, I have a lovely place to sit. A real Southern screened in porch. I am now sittin on a porch in style. Thank you Bug, you are the most wonderful!

So I am good.
I hope that all of you are
Thank you each for trying to crack through my shell and find out what is going on.
Love to you all
Happy Holidays
I am happy
and well
and living my life


Monday, October 29, 2012

So much to say

I keep trying to blog but my computer is being difficult when it comes to writing.  My cursor jumps from where I am writing to other places and deletes things, and well, while I am at, it is not very a good speller.  Okay that last part is my fingers, not the computer, but it has been a chore to write, and so after getting a few sentences done, I give up and go about other things.  And yet, so much is happening in my life these days.

Bug and I went to Biketoberfest in Daytona.  We stayed at friends who have a house on the inter coastal.  Bill and Felecia.  He is a Colonial in the Air Force Reserves.  A full timer.  She is the Colonel's wife, and also a personal trainer.  She has also been a baker and they have really cool professional ovens.  And they are wonderful people.  Funny, full of life, laughing, intelligent, love to party and are all the best parts of Daytona.  Bill went to Embry Riddle to become a pilot, so he has lived in Daytona off and on a very long time.  They love to drink, Bill beer, Felecia, diet coke and vanilla vodka.  But they call a taxi whenever they are going farther than they can walk.  We got there on the Thursday before my birthday and had planned on staying until Sunday, but had so much fun that we did not come back until Monday.  We did all the things you are supposed to do in Daytona on a bike week.  Oh, except we did not make it to the Iron Horse.  We did make it everywhere else.  And I had the best time.  My memories of Daytona have not been good memories.  I remember that every time I have been there before it involved someone in our group getting arrested, usually Bruce.  Someone getting into a fight, someone getting so drunk that they hurt themselves.  I remember water half way to my knees, port-a-potties, no showers, tents, rain, mud and being left for hours while everyone road their scoots off to get drunk and then try and figure out how to get back to the camp, and what camp, and where. It was not fun, and I quit going.  But this year, with Bug, no one even considered getting on a bike or in a car if drinking might be involved, and we were at Daytona, so we knew that drinking would be involved.  And everyone was included, and we ate wonderful food, and when it did rain one afternoon, Bug and I were safely in the Rendes Vous restaurant watching all the other bikers struggle with the rain.  When the rain and roads cleared, then we rode back to the house.

On our way home, we took a side trip and stopped in St. Augustine.  We walked around the San Marcos fort and then walked through the old part of town. Bug had never been there before and the magic of St. Augustine swept around him and we promised each other to come back soon.  It was so tempting to have just slipped into one of the funky little places to stay there and not come out until we had visited each was tech nook and cranny, but it was tech week for The Evening of Suspense and so reluctantly we got back on the scoot and headed west, home to Labrun, home to where my "kids" were waiting for me.  Home where I needed to wrap up the last details for the Suspense Program.

We had our rehearsals and practised with the dry ice on how to make it bubble.  Carly got the making fire in your hand on the first try and our witches from Macbeth were ready.  The other readers had practised and were all wonderful.  So with a small audience on Friday night we put on or show.  It ha some sound effects, some special effects and lots of very talented people ready to share the world of the macabre.  We had Poe, Bradbury, Louise Fletcher, WW Jacobs, Roald Dahl and Bram Stoker.  A taste from the masters of the genre across the centuries.  We were supposed to do 2 shows, so that we could hopefully draw from the ghost tours, but the second show was very small and so we only did the portion they were most interested in seeing..........the witches.  Angie also read he piece, but other then that, we decided to take what has now been done for the past two years, and next year add even more.  There was so much going on, theater wise Friday night, we were lucky to have had anyone. 

Carolyn and I had sat at the corner door Friday nigh from about 5 - 7 giving out candy to the trick or treaters.  I love giving out Halloween candy, but admittedly I was a bit disappointed in that less then half the kids had costumes on, many did not even have a bag or jack-o-latern for the candy.  Very few even said trick or treat.  But it was still fun, and it gave Carolyn and I time to just sit and enjoy the down town of our beloved Monticello.  A chance to catch our breath and relax before the evenings performance.  I had been busy all day picking up the last minute things, like the dry ice, and baking cookies.  I love baking and I had made three types of cookies and had such a nice time the evening before and the day of the show mixing and scooping and sliding sheets of raw dough into the oven and then 12 minutes later pulling out small golden brown rounds of sugary, gooey delight from the warm oven.  As a typical southern woman I bake more in the winter.  It is too hot in the summer to fill the house with all that heat, but in the winter, to open the door and feel the initial blast of hot air enveloping me in the warm smell of oven is such a joy that is filled with half a century of happy memories.

I have been off the Tarceva for almost 2 weeks.  I had tried to email the amazing and most wonderful Dr. M, but my computer has been  bit persnickety lately and he never received them.  I finally figured this out and managed to get an email to him.  He sent me literature about treatment on the Tarceva, and it says not to go off the tarceva because the cancer can grow back quite aggressively.

"... switch to a totally different therapy. Chemotherapy is more likely than not to work in these patients. One caution, however, pertains to the phenomenon of flare. Even though the cancer is growing, in a patient whose tumor has developed acquired resistance to erlotinib, most of those cells remain sensitive to erlotinib. So, if you stop the erlotinib, those sensitive cells will start growing. The resistant cells, particularly the T790M-containing tumor cells, tend to grow more slowly. You need to cover the patient, or the tumor can grow more rapidly and lead to a flare phenomenon.
When we looked at our experience, one fourth of the patients in whom we abruptly stopped the TKI were either hospitalized or died of their illness. So, it is important to keep them covered. If you are going to switch to chemotherapy and you choose not to continue erlotinib, make sure you give that new chemotherapy quickly. Do not keep the patient off of therapy for any period of time, even if you have a small period of overlap."

Dr. May has me off the tarceva, opposite of the recommendations made in this paper.  I will talk to the amazing Dr. M today, and me am seriously considering going to Atlanta to resume treatments with him.

Okay, I always try to act like I am okay.  That I willingly and fully accept this and I am not fighting or denying this portion of me.  But I admit to being anxious? Scared?  I am not sure what is the appropriate term.  It was easier to accept that I had cancer and that I was going to die within a few years because of it, when my life was settled and I was alone. I was not happy with the idea of leaving all the amazing and precious beloved friends and family.  I was not happy that I will most likely not hold Annie's or Jame's or Nathaniel's or  Christopher's or Jessica's children.  I have not had the opportunity to hold Corie/Andy's or Cole/Amanda's babies.  I did not like leaving my Dad,  knowing how hard it will be on him to loose his only baby girl.  But now I have this life with all the wonderful things I have had all my life, and now Bug also.  A man who loves to travel, explore, and plan adventures.  Who doesn't just dream about adventures, but lives them.  A man I fell in love with almost from the first look.  A man who is in my life and supports me and loves me and who I will have to leave too soon.  This is just one too many straws in the camels load, and it has given me a sense of panic.  No, I was ready before, but now I want more time.  Not yet.

I did not want to be at this place, with a sense of anxiety and stress.  I wanted to take the pills until they did not work any longer, and then let nature take its course.  Not go chasing after treatments that may add a month or so to my life.  Just be gracious and make it as easy on everyone as possible and just slip away.  But now, it is different.  I am not looking for a magic pill to make everything all right.  But I am strong and healthy and I want to go back to Dr. M, who I have confidence in, whom I love, whom I know is going to know what is best for me.  Who knows this cancer so well.  Who knows more about what my body can take then Dr. May could.  So, I will talk to him and see what we can do.  And I know that there will come a time when the meds will no longer work.  But for now, give me the WMDs and let me get back to life. 

It is time to be brave, as my ring whispers against right ring finger.  It is not time to weep and feel sorry.  It is time to feed the dogs, as they are pushing their faces into my his hands on the computer.  It is cold and it is time to make oatmeal and drink hot tea and  look into Bug's eyes and laugh with him.  It is time to clean the house and get ready for company.  Maybe Marty will fly down tomorrow in the plane that Bug helped him build.  He will take us flying in this little plane.  Up around the blue blue sky of autumn to look down to see the spots of color where the leaves are changing.  Thursday Sparky will be here.  Saturday friends will come by to share time together and laugh and talk and then head up to the Opera House for a Gatorbone concert including the cicada ladies.  Then the following weekend Sioux will be here, then Thanksgiving around the corner.  The holidays are upon us.  Samheim is Wednesday, news years for some of us.  Yes, the seasons are spinning ever closer and time will start to speed up like warp drive, but now, right this minute it s time to feed the kids.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It is a gray morning here in Lamont.  I am sitting in my red chair with my sweet shy Bella Luna on my lap.  Such a sweet precious one.  Constantly out shined by the more demanding Stella Bella, the charming Henry and the diffcult Marina.  But here we sit companionably as I struggle to post.  I have downloaded something on to my computer and it is making my usually easy going piece of machinary into a stuttering and obstanant difficulty.  Bug has looked at and cleaned it and has made it where I can at least post, but it far from the compliant machinethat I have loved writing on in the past.

Stella has joined Luna and I on my red chair and is not happy that Luna has somehow managed to get to my lap first.  Ednarose is a sleep at my feet, Bob in his Chair and Harry is stretched out part way in the living space, party in the kitchen.  It is nice to be able to sit here and write again.  I miss my time here, but life has changed and I have more in my life now then cancer, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 14 chickens, a handfull of goldfish and a stray rabbit hopping across the yard.  I love my place here and my gardens and the quiet joyful peace that surrounds my little family like a bubble.  But I also love to travel, and my life has been so rich with that lately.  Spain, the Eastern Seaboard, the west an midwest of this country. 

I have made a couple trips home to Palmetto to see my Dad and family. I went down last Wednesday and came home on Friday.  My trips are quality, not quantity.  Dad and I went to Applebe's for dinner on Friday night.  This is the place that my older brother, Rob takes Dad.  They go every few weeks or so and it is obvious that they have a good time, in that Dad wanted to take me there.  Thursday I drove him in the toy with the top down to his podiotrist appointment to have his nails done.  Then we drove over to Marie's to visit her.  She is doing better these days, and they are so good for each other.  Then we went to Home Depot where I bought a pre made railing for Rob to install on the ramp in Dad's house.  I bought too much, but I gave him the receipt and told him to take back what he doesn't need and to pick up whatever else I did not get, like the hardware, with the store credit.  He was pretty excited about the railing, and figured out how he wanted to install it.  After Home Depot Dad and I had lunch at Bob Evan's.  It has changed tremendously since Dad and I ate there.  It is now more of a cross between Denny's and the Cracker Barrel, white midwestern food, consistently prepared.  Dad's kind of food.  I had a grilled cheese.  Grilled cheese, my kind of food.

After lunch Dad and I went shopping at Wally World.  My birthday is next Monday and my family wanted to have a family party, as is our tradition.  They had suggested we go out, but that is so hard on Daddy and Marie would not have come, and it is expensive to take a couple of big eating kids out to eat.  So I suggested we just stay at Dad's and pick up some fried chicken and fixin's.  Rob had asked me to pick up a couple of mats for the ramp.  With minimal railings, not reachable from all parts of the ramp, and no mats, it can be a bit treacherous for Dad to manuever.   I hate the carpet in my place, and so I suggested that Dad buy me a couple of nice throw rugs to cover some of the animal stains on the carpet that will never go away.  We looked at the carpet together and settled on the things we wanted and then we picked up so milk and OJ for Dad.  That man loves to shop.  He rides the little buggies and just putts along looking at all the things to buy.  He found a Christmas present for Marie, he loves to buy clothes for the woman in his life, and he just tooled along happy to be out and about. It wears him down, but he needs to get out more.  We drove back home with the top down.  I could not put it up because he railing were in the back seat, too big for the trunk.  Christopher and Nathaniel came down and helped me remove the railings from the car and then Cristopher and I finished cleaning the house for the party that evening.  We set up the tables on the back screened porch and pulled the chairs out and wiped the dirt and grime they aquired from sitting for so long with no use.  Then after making sure Dad was comfortably resting, Christopher and I hopped back in the toy, he over the top of the door in the old Hiawii 50 fashion and we drove up to Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.  We picked up boxes of fried chickens, extra legs, then potatoe and macaroni salad, cole slaw and baked beans.  Dad and I had picked up animal planet party supplies at Wally world, so so flowers for the table and the all important cake were our last big decisions.  A pot of spider mums in gold and bronze and a fancy decadent chocolate cake rounded out the fare.  I also picked up a package of cupcakes with icing the color of the mums so Dad could have cake, he is not a big chocolate cake fan, and also so everyone could take a cup cak home with them.  Gift bags with posters and cards and glow sticks and a cup cake, nice treats to take home after a party.  JongAe had lost her voice and obviously did not feel well, but she was there.  Tom and Pat had picked up Marie, then Pat had been taken home to rest.  She is having seriou siatic nerve problems, and even though she was adorable with her short haircut, the pain showed on every inch of her body.  I was so taken back that she would stop by at all.  I don't think I could have done that in the same pain.  I would have just gone home from the doctors and crawled under the covers until the pain meds they have prescribed for her had kicked in.

The rest of us gathered together and filled plates to over full with the Southern fare so familiar to all of us.  We ate and laughed, and then filled plates again.  Twenty two pieces of chicken disappeared like wheat with loqust.  Sweet tea splashed in the red solo cups and we looked at each other, aging brothers an sister, a father frail with age, kids getting taller by the day and it was just magical.  All of us kept repeating how much we enjoyed getting together like we used to do.  How nice it is to once again gather at my parents home around the tables in the back yard, the screen room, Mother's little oak, now huge reaching over the fiberglass ceilings.  A place so familar, so a part of the happy times in our life as a family.  It was good.  And I made out like a bandit.  I had wanted a folding bike basket and Rob and his family got me the exact one I had asked for.  Jessica picked out my birthday card, which was a dog, and was very cute.  Tom and family bought me the latest release of Rick Riordan's heros of Olympus series.  Christopher and I are reading that series together.  He was a little taken back that I should get the new release before him.  hee hee, ah, the joys of age.  The candle was lit on the cake, a wish made, a breath of air to carry it on the wind to the place where wishes come true, and we all dug in again. 

After the meal was done, everyone helped to put the porch back to right, hugs were shared and my brothers drove off into the night to dream in their own beds.  Dad and I left in the quiet after all the noise and confusion of a loud happy family and driven off.  We smiled and taked about what a nice time we had had.  We reminisced over past times and looked at photos from our trip to Spain in June.  Then I walked back to my bedroom, still there at 57 in my parents home and laid my head down and dreamed.  My wish already come true.  A happy birthday with my precious beloved ones.  And still more time for more time to celebrate with precious ones.

Returning home I threw myself into the details of An Evening of Suspense.  Rehearsals are under way and I am enjoying this modified play time wth my precious friends.  Yesterday Bug and I went up to visit Dr. May, my Oncologist.  I had had a PTScan last week, blood labs run this week and I was to hear the good news that I am a miracle and still doing better then anyone could have predicted.  But life is about change.

The PTscan shows that the lymph nodes in my neck and behind my breast bone are fully engaged with cancer.  One node is extremely enlarged.  Change.  The Tarcevia alone is no longer able to keep the cancer at bay.  Change.

But I am stronger these days, physically and mentally and Dr. May is not giving up on me.  We will go back and revisit some of the chemo that Dr. M started when I first came to his care. My body was not strong enough then to handle the infusion, but it did a great job halting the cancer.  Maybe this time I will be able to tolerate it better and it can knock this cancer back down, and then we can go back on maintenance.  Maybe. 

Before I met Bug, I was ready to stop treatments when the Tarcevia quit working, but now, as long as we can maintain quality of life, I am willing to try some of themore aggressive treatments if it means I get another year.  We will see.  I don't know what is to come of all of this, but I am ready to see what will happen.  Tomorrow Bug and  I will mount up on his red Harley again and drive to Daytona for Biketoberfest.  We will stay with his friends, Bill and Felecia in their home on the intercoastal.  I have not been to a bike rally in many many years, but I am looking forward to this. When we get home on Sunday, it will be a week of busy while we prepare for the Evening of Suspense Friday night.  After that, I am not sure.  I will find time to be with my precious ones to celebrate yet another birthday I was told I would never see.  I will rest a little and then get busy on the house and property as the days fade from fall into winter.  It is already chilly here.  The oaks have dropped more acorns then normal and the wooly bear catepillars are mostly black. A hard winter ahead.

But for now, I am happy, strong and healthy, despite the news about my cancer.  The busiest time of the year for me has already started and I am ready to dive in.  And maybe I can get my computer to work better.  Sorry for the misspelled words, but I can not get it to autospell because of the stutters and slow down.  It won't be the first misspelled words I have posted here.  I am just happy to have had the chance to remember all of this and write it down now.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Saint George Island

What an amazing adventure Bug and I had.  What an amazing summer we have had.  Bug and I have been living the life as world travelers.  June was the trip to Spain with Dad, July/August was the trip with Christopher where we traveled up the eastern seaboard taking him to 16 states plus Washington DC, covering 5100 miles.  Then August 21, Bug and I and a friend, Sparky loaded up on the Harley's and headed for Shreveport, to attend Keith's retirement from the Air Force.

We got home September 27 after travelling on the scoot over 7500 miles and 22 states.  We also took a couple of trains, a boat and made some trips in cars.  It was the opportunity of a life time.  An adventure that people dream of, but never seem to take.  We heard that over and over from people who wanted to stop and talk to us when they saw we were on a Harley with out of state tags.  They were amazed and intrigued by our trip.  More then once we heard couples walking away talking about how they had always talked about doing the same kind of trip and how now it was too late. 

It is interesting to have strangers walk up to you and within a few minutes are telling you their hearts desires.  Like we were magical fairy godparents who could make their dreams come true.  Maybe they were able to whisper hopes to us, strangers, that they could not tell family and friends.

I was amazed how easy it was to do.  I do not mean that it wasn't physically challenging at times.  Or that it wasn't a lot of work unpacking and repacking the scoot and trailer everyday.  That sitting for 6, 8, 10 hours or more riding for 300 - 500 miles a day did not wear on us.  But to get to see this beautiful country.  To travel where you are in the environment.  No air conditioning when we drove through the Mojave desert.  No heater when we headed out some mornings and the temps were in the 30s.  No air filter to protect us from the smoke in Montana that burned our eyes, nose and throat.  No roof if it rained, but we only had a moment of rain for the entire trip.  The smells of the trees, vegetation, the soil and rocks.  The smell of water running down a sheer rock wall.  The smell of the mossy, fern fens of black organic soils around the base of the giant redwoods.  The perception of  sizes and distance as we rode up the Oregon coast line.  Riding among the coastal redwoods as we slipped through the sun shaded world.  To be so small, so close to the earth compared to the tops of of the branches soaring up through the blue of the sky to touch the clouds.  Then to fly out of the middle earth to the top of the planet as you look done the Pacific coast line.  Rough rocky cliffs dropping away from the road we swooped along.  The marine layer rolling up the vertical cliffs on to the road and up the next cliff.  Fingers of thick heavy gray clouds masking our view of the Pacific far below us.  Now we were the giants in the clouds looking down to the rocks below, tiny in our perception from the precarious perch.  On a trip like this, we are the journey we are so much a part of it.  Traveling is like that, sometimes you are on a trip and you are so in the moment.  Enjoying the adventure, not missing the journey because of the end. 

Today I sit in the funky little beach cottage on St. George.  I am at the beach.  I am at the beach with my Vicki and Nancy.  Vicki and I are home.  We have white sand under our feet, in our clothes, scrubbing us clean and still stuck to the back of our legs.  We have walked the beach and watched sunsets and storms rumbling across the Gulf towards us.  We saw blue skies today, and gray clouds yesterday.  We have walked in the rain, and we have bent over waves of shells, bags whipping in the wind as we choose our most favorite ones to take home.  I am drawn to shells with worm holes in them.  Some day I will make jewelry with these shells.  In fact, today, our last full day, I did go through my shells and pick out some to make necklaces to wear as we leave this place that holds our hearts.  I strung glass and wooden beads on earthy colored hemp line with shells at the heart of the necklace.  Necklaces I have worn over a life lived by the gulf.

Bug rode his red Harley over from Lamont to spend the day and night before heading back this morning to check on the animals.  It rained while he was here.  We walked on the beach in the rain.  We sat on a bench on the beach watching the rain and the gulf and sand.  Gray, rain, storm and the Gulf.  Simply beautiful and one of my favorite ways to spend time on the beach.  This is October, not August.  This is fall.  The weather can be angrier as we transition from summer to winter. 

A summer of travelling.  Thousands of miles, more then two thirds of the states in this beautiful country.  So diverse, so beautiful.  So much to see and enjoy.  Wild flowers in Arizona, desert in the Mojave, Rocky Mountains, the northern plains, the grasslands, the Pacific ocean, the Gulf of Mexico.  Friends and family.  It was just the most wonderful and very best adventure I have ever taken.  And those of you who know me, know I have had some pretty wonderful adventures.  And so has Bug.  Maybe that is why it felt so "easy".  It is natural for us to travel.  To plan and plot routes.  To look for places to stay when we make a goal.  How to make the miles, without pushing yourself too hard.  To stop and enjoy the journey.  To go to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, San Francisco and the redwoods. 

To dream a dream and then share it with someone.  To share it with someone who loves to travel, who you enjoy spending time with.  To learn about each other and places you go.  To share seeing things so that both get to see things important to each.  And to get to share them together.  We have been home for a week now.  Most of that time I have been at the beach, not our little place in the woods.  But I am home, I am back in Florida and on the Gulf.  But I long to be back in Jefferson County with Bug and the animals, the kids.  My gardens and our life there.  My friends with the Stage Company and the Garden Circle.  The precious people at the Art League.  Back to Monticello.  But I need to put our last trip here on this blog.  So that I can go back and relive parts of the adventure.  To remember things previously missed or forgotten.  So when I get home tomorrow and get settled back at home in my lovely little world.  I will start posting a few photos and to try and remember as much of our adventure as I can.

What a wonderful summer filled with spending time with sweet precious friends and family.  But I miss my friends and family back home.  I look forward to sharing this fall and holiday season with them.  I have missed them, and I am coming home.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hello! I am in California

Hello, hello!  getting on the internet and posting on my blog has been more of a challenge then I had anticipated.  But I have been trying to post on facebook to keep family and friends up to where I am.

In short we left and drove to Shrevesport, LA.  We stayed there for 4 days and left the morning of the 5th day.  We drove to Witchita Falls, TX, then to Alburquerqure, NM.  We stayed there 2 days and did a day trip ride up to Santa Fe and Taos.  We drove about 325 miles on that day trip and were able to ride part of the Enchanted trail.  We rode across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and saw so many wonderful things.

From Alburquerque we headed to Flagstaff for 2 days.  Did another day trip up to the south rim of the grand canyon.  We started at the east end and drove around the south side of the canyon to the west end, then back into old town Flagstaff.  From Flagstaff we made a stop in Tehachapi, CA and then onto Galt,CA where we have been ever since.

We are staying at Bug's parents home which is in the greater bay area.  From here we have done day trips to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park.  We have taken other trips just around this area where Bug has lived and seen so many wonderful things.  Tomorrow we will head to Sacramento and then Monday we will get back on the bike and head to Nappa where we plan on camping and doing some wine tours. 

I am able to get on Facebook easier then I can into my blog, so if you are interested in keeping up with cross country tour, visit me at Facebook.  When we get home at the end of the month, I will post blogs of the trip so I can add more details.  I do not want to forget this most amazing adventure of my life.

We have travelled more then 3500 miles, especially when you add in car and train trips.  We are about half way through the trip and will probably cover as many miles as we have already driven.

It is hard, I guess.  It has been so hot at times, and other times I have already had to wear everything I brought.  I have named my two hip bones that press into the seat, the Filmore twins because I can feel more of the seat then anyone should.  But nothing has been hard enough to regret the decision to do this.  We are having such an amazing and wonderful time.  I am loving this more then I could ever express.

More later, if I can get on the internet, otherwise, I will keep posting on Facebook, just so I don't forget too much.  We are doing so many  things, there is no way I will ever be able to remember it all. 

life is amazing and cancer, whatever, it can't hold me back!
on to life

Monday, August 20, 2012

Off on a new adventure.......tomorrow

I have been packed since we got back from our vacation up the Eastern seaboard.  Actually, I unloaded the dirty clothes out of the suitcase into the washer.  Washed, dried and folded, many of the same clothes went straight back in the suitcase.  I am so excited.  Well, who wouldn't be?  I mean we are getting ready to ride cross county from Florida over to CA, then up through OR, into WA state and maybe even into Canada, maybe.

I have criss crossed this country visiting 49 of the 50 states.  The only state missed is Hiawii, but as I was saying, I have driven across the country by plane, by VW Camper bus, a Saturn SC2 and in my parents station wagon, but so far, I have never crossed the country on a Harley Davidson.  I have driven an equivelant number of miles across AK on a BMW, but still not the same thing.  I have bought a big girl jacket.  It weighs as much as I do, I think. I have taken the lining out, so that helps a bit.  It is all weather proof, with vents in the front and back and the sleeves.  It is gortex so I can literally roll across an interstate at 70 mph and not loose a piece of skin.  I might only be a bag of broken bones if that were to happen, but I would not be covered in road rash.  It is made to ride from the heat to the very cold.  It says Harley Davidson on it, and it might be the most expensive jacket I have ever bought.  Shoot, even at almost 50% it was still by far the most expensive coat I have ever bought myself, it might be as expensive as all the jackets I have bought myself in the past 5 years.  But it is so cool.  And all I will have to do to remember this trip is to slip that monster Big Girl Jacket on.

We leave tomorrow and will be back in time for me to spend a week with Vicki and Nancy on St. George.  I have such an amazingly life.  Anyway, VIcki and Nancy sent us a troll doll to take on the trip with us.  He was a simply troll, blue hair, a football in his right hand, and a pair of white sports pants with a red stripe.  We worked with him to get him ready for the trip.  Here are a few pictures of the troll, now known as The Troll, Skulman:

With his "colors" on, not really, it is a group of Veterans

Skulman standing with the Sangria Bandit Veterans Riders Group from Europe. 

On the bike ready to go

In his rain suit
So Skulman is ready and on the bike.  I told OB I was going to get Skulman a rain suit.  He asked in bewilderment, "Are you making him a rainsuit now????"  I laughed and pulled out the ziplock bag, "No, this will work just fine."

I have also put a couple of stickers on my new helmet:

There is also a peace sign on the back and on the visor
And we have worked on the bike and the trailer and we are set.  The map looked at and routes planned, back up routes planned and back up routes to the back up routes planned.

A friend of OB's is riding with us for the first leg to Shreveport, LA.  Sparky and OB have been friends for a while but I think this is their first trip this long.  It should be fun!!!!

I will try and post on the road as we go along and attach photos of Skulman as he flies across the country on a big red Harley.  Life is wonderful. 
Oh yes it is!!!
We made it home Monday evening around 7:00 pm.  We unpacked most of the car and collapsed in the house.  Of course I had brought the dogs their McD hamburgers.  They forgive me immediately for being gone when they smell those burgers.  Henry, however, was not in such a forgiving mood.  I walked up to him lounging on the bunny bench and he got up and turned his back on me.  I laughed and hugged and cuddled with him and he softened a bit.  Then he walked over to OB's place and waited for OB to come out the door.  OB stepped out, looked down and said hello to Henry, who got up and turned his back on OB and just sat there.  OB was a little surprised, but I laughed and explained what was going on.  After we had had a good laugh at Henry, OB picked him and petted him and all appears to be forgiven.

We drove over 5150 miles in 12 days.  We stepped out on to the ground of 16 states: FL, GA, SC, NC, TN, VA, WV, MD, PA, NY, CT, MA, VT, RI, NJ and DE.  We  also went to Washington DC.  We did so many wonderful things during that time, interspersed with very very cool things.

So since Christopher has been with me this year he has driven a golf cart and a lawn tractor.  He took his first airplane ride and even got to fly the plane.  On our trip we spent a lot of time in the car, but we also took a ferry from Jamestown, a boat from Charleston to Fort Sumter and a horse and carriage ride around Savannah.

On our trip we looked on the pad and learned about the areas we drove through, we looked up stuff about the things we were seeing and we learned lots of cool things.  In CT we drove up to VT to see the sweet and wonderful Annie and her Sam.  We drove to RI.  Christopher and I took a tour through the Mark Twain house in Hartford and I found the perfect chicken for OB in the Ace hardware store in West Hartford.  I love that hardware store.  Susan takes me there each time I visit her.  I bought a chicken.  Actually a china rooster wearing leathers chaps, and jeans with tattoos and riding a motorcycle.  I knew OB would love it, and he did.  It was funny when he finally got to see it.  He looked at the box it was in and said he was glad I had bought mys self a fancy chicken, but it would be part of my collection.  Then he pulled it out of the box, set it down on the table in front of him.  He looked at for a second and then he realized what it was, and oh yes, it was his chicken.  He put it in a place of honor in his place, and yes, he loved it.  We found some interesting chickens on the trip including a beautiful rooster he found at a thrift store and a rooster magnet from South of the Border.  And yes, it is just as tacky and funky and fun as it always was............on even bigger.  oh my.

We drove to NJ to pick up OB.  We met his lovely daughter and her youngest, Master K.  He is absolutely adorable.  And as how some children can be, just amazing in some of the things he says and how child like and yet so grown up this little 4 year old was.  Just up the road from OB's daughter is where the Hindenburg exploded.  We were able to drive out to the air base and see the spot where they have a couple of small signs and a memorial.  There are also Then we were off to Delaware on our way to Philly.  In Philly we saw the Liberty Bell and took a tour through Independence Hall.  I got goose pimply all over as I looked around that room and saw the exact same room, and furniture that the Greats sat at and set up this country.  I mean how cool is that????  OB found a small rubber chicken on the side walk for me.  I put it in my purse and as I went through the security check the young woman pulled out the chicken and looked at me......"A rubber chicken?"  she asked.  I said, "Yes, I like chickens."  She smiled and passed me through.  Then we ate cheese steaks and cheese chicken sandwiches, I mean we were in Philly after all.  Then we walked through a few of the parks and around the historic downtown seeing all kind of historic places, drove to the Museum of Natural History to see the steps that Rocky had run up in the movie and took a photo of Christopher at the Rocky statue, then we headed to MD.

We spent the night in a lovely hotel that all the windows looked out into tree tops.  Most rooms looked out on a little picturesque creek burbling through the trees.  We got room service, Christopher was thrilled.  The next morning we got up early and headed into DC.  OB knows this city like the back of his hand and he drove directly to his favorite parking spot, right in front of the Museum of Air and Science.  We did the compressed DC trip; Air & Space Museum, The archives to see the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  We walked down the mall, then past the Viet Nam Memorial.  Christopher sat in Einstein's lap in front of the National Science Museum.  We saw the Capitol, the White House and the Washington Monument.  We walked up through the Lincoln Memorial and the Museum of Natural History.  We saw lots of other memorials and sculpture gardens as we walked up and down Constitution Blvd and Independence drive.  We picked up Christopher a copy of the Declaration of Independence with biographies of the signers at the national archives.  Then over the beautiful bridges and we headed to Williamsburg, VA.  On our way we stopped and walked around Yorktown and the battle fields.  We also drove through the scenic little city, but the weather was rainy or we would have stayed to hear the concert in the downtown area park.

For Williamsburg, I had delayed in getting our reservations and ended up going through one of those travel sites on the web and had booked a Travelodge, not expecting much, but it was in a perfect location.  It met my expectations, but yes, it was in a good location. 

The next morning we were up and walking through Williamsburg before 10:00 am.  OB spent the day with his son.  It was a great day for all of us.  Christopher and I wandered through the old historic town, walking through homes and herding in and out of buildings like cattle.  But there were just so many amazing things to see.  We started at the Palace and the first room had like 540 weapons displayed in a very artistic style that was supposed to impress the guests on the wealth and security ability of a home or palace.  It was hot, but we walked and he filled out a form where he had to get so many stamps to get the Williamsburg button.  The prize was no where as cool as the journey had been.  But fortunately he is a 12 year old who understands the journey.  He also enjoyed the cow button.  Later we caught a park bus over to Jamestown.  The park where they are excavating the remains of some of the original buildings.  There was a 3D view finder where you could switch from current view to a view of what would have been there when Jamestown was first founded. 

We were in the mode, up early and heading for the ferry from Jamestown.  We were there at the perfect time and were put up front with a group of motorcycle riders from the local American Legion.  It was a beautiful morning for a ferry ride, followed by a long ride from VA south to Charleston, SC.  The interstate was a parking lot, so we got off and drove the back roads.  Christopher had enough Dramamine to sleep most of the trip and so I did not have to worry about him being sick.  He was a trooper.  We woke him up at South of the Border.  Every child growing up on this side of the country in the 1950s remembers what an amazing treat it was to get to stop at South of the Border, just over the border from N Carolina into S Carolina, to get hamburgers and shakes and look at all the stuff.  Well, it is only bigger, cheesier, brighter and more in your face then ever before.  But the kids just don't seem to be as amazed with it as we boomers.  I guess going to a theme park is normal for them, so a big cheesy tourist spot isn't so exciting.  Well, OB and I had fun and we even found a refrigerator magnet of a chicken.  Oh yeah!  Another big chicken score.

From South of the Border we drove to our hotel just outside of Charleston.  Our first stop in the grand old city was the visitor center where we purchased tickets for a bus tour of the historic town and then a boat ride over to Fort Sumter after the bus tour.  Christopher worked hard on a Information questionnaire about Fort Sumter to earn his Jr. Ranger badge.  You really had to ask questions and listen to all the people to get the information and he did a good job.  It was all of our first time ever to this fort and it was very cool.  The young Park Ranger who gave the brief history of the fort when we first got there was excited and passionate about history.  He projected well and stirred a small love of history in all of us, even if it was washed away by the kick front that kicked over us.  A boat ride back to Charleston, one of the best meals I have ever eaten at Hyman's seafood, a Charleston tradition, then in the car and once again we were traversing states, this time to Savannah, Ga.  It rained the whole way there, and rain came up early and hard our last day on the road.  But we had time to take a horse and buggy cart around the historic city, a walk along the riverfront with the required photo of the waving girl, then one more stop before we covered the miles back home. 

Our last stop was the 8th Airborne Museum just outside of Savannah.  It was a very cool way to spend a rainy afternoon, and one of the best museums in terms of interactive exhibits.  We had sat through a lot of films the previous 12 days.  But these were broken up into 10 - 15 minute movies, shown from the view of the various people involved.  Whether an aircraft carrier, or the ground crew, or a pilot, navigator, gunner, etc.  You were in their world, physically and emotionally, and it was very moving.  The last movie they had a cluster of various size screens and had them jig sawed in front so you saw the action from the ground to the sky from different screens.  The people were very nice, and it had been a good stop and a fine ending to a trip around the USA.  From the Magna Carta through the struggle from independence to history as viewed through war up until current history.  Not a bad way to spend a few weeks in the summer for a 12 year old.

We made it home, and time just started slipping by.  Soon, Christopher and I were driving again, this time to Palmetto to taking him back to his parents, who were missing him.  I turned towards Dad's to spend a weekend with him and my sister Sioux.  She was only there until the birthday party Saturday night for Pat.  Heidie, Sioux and Pat all have birthdays within 9 days.  Dad and I went out to breakfast and then I headed home.  I love Dad, but I really needed to be home.  My home, back to my animals, my gardens.  Back to the life that OB and I share here.  Friends who laugh and work together.  Support each other and have fun. 

It is good to be home.  But I am getting ready to leave again.  And it takes me so long sometimes to be willing to come out of my hole when I get home.  I love my home.  I love my life here.  I love being able to putter around my home and yard and play with my animals, and watch my chickens.

I am sorry to my friends who are hurt or worried for me.  I am fine.  I am just living, rather then writing about it.  Since I got home, I have not been living a big exciting life.  No, I am living a quiet life filled with short stories by Mark Twain, purchased at the Twain House.  I have been working in my gardens, I have been cleaning the house, sort of, and just walking around and staring.  It has been raining a lot, no complaints from me.  But in between the rain, I walk around my yard.  Stop and visit my chickens, stare into green.  Think about how to improve various gardens.  But not now.  Now it is time to prepare for the next trip.

Here are pictures of my chicken eggs since I have gotten home:

Iris and Hyacinth have started laying eggs

One of my new hen's brown eggs and Iris's first egg, sky blue and the size of a piece of Easter candy

Rainbow eggs

They blue eggs are getting bigger

so pretty
I am home, but we are leaving tomorrow.  Yep, Tuesday morning we will try and leave as early as possible to dance around the thunder storms and see if we can get above them to head west.  More details to come..........

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rhode Island

This morning Christopher and I got up and after time spent with Susan we headed over to Hartford from where Susan and Jim live in West Hartford and took a tour of the Mark Twain home.  I had been there before, but this was Christopher's first time.  I liked our tour guide, she was well informed, pleasant and not over the top in anyway.  The guy in the group behind us was way toooooooo hyper for my taste, so we lucked out getting the docent we got.  It is a gorgeous house, filled with books and art and everything you would want in Mark Twain's home.  The interior design is gorgeous and the over the top Victorian period.  You just have to go their yourself, there is no way to give it justice with my description.

After Christopher's and my tour through the house we spent some time perusing the beautiful gift shop.  I bought him a mug with a picture from the original book, Tom Sawyer.  It has a boy white washing a fence only the fence is black.  But when you put hot liquids in the mug the fence turns white.  We both thought that was pretty cool.  I bought a small book with 4 of Twain's short stories for something to read on the trip.  We enjoyed all of our time there and took photos and laughed and then headed home to pick up Susan.

Susan drove us on this gorgeous spring day over to U of Hartford so that I could get Christopher his first none FSU college shirt, maybe.  The sun was shining and the weather cool and clear and the short jaunt from their home to the University again reminds me how smart Susan is.  She is an extremely intelligent person, but she also has smarts.  The house they bought when they moved up here is on a flat driveway, so no skidding up or down the drive when you come and go.  It is literally less then 5 minutes from her house and the neighborhood is just lovely, right on a golf course, so their back yard looks like it is endless green.

Susan took us across campus to the bookstore where we bought him a U of H shirt with the hawks logo.  She then walked us over to the conference center where we were able to see her office.  I was very impressed!  A window with a gorgeous view.  You go Susan!

Once we had decided on the shirt and visited the office we got in the toy, top down with the afternoon blue sky over head, trees forming canopies across the roads and we headed to Rhode Island.  It was a little over an hour, but it was truly a glorious ride.  Up and down and around the beautiful green mountains as we headed east to a state he had never stood in.  Susan and I chatted and laughed, the wind blowing our hair and our words in a vortex that flew out over the windows.  Christopher fell asleep and slept most of the way over and back.  It is hard for a 12 year old to sleep when there is an 18 year old in the house and giving them a little attention.  It is so nice to see how well Christopher and James get along.

Susan found a lovely spot in Foster, RI for us to get out and take a few steps in RI.  After about 5 minutes in RI, we got back in the toy, belted ourselves in and headed back to CT.  Susan and I talked as if we talked everyday like this, purring along with the top down, the sun in front of us, the air crisp and clean and green.

And now it is late and I am getting ready to go to sleep.  We had a lovely dinner with the family.  The boys are now playing video games.  Susan and I are heading off to our respective beds and Jim is watching the Olympics down stairs.  A family.  A sweet precious wonderful family.

Tomorrow we head to NJ and a new part of our adventure begins.  We will meet with OB tomorrow and go to see where the Hindenburg exploded.  Over the next many days we will go to DC, Delaware, Williamsburg, Yorktown and Philly.  Then once again we will change up and head to NC to spend some time with Kim at Loving Springs.  We will be staying at the Dragon's Inn.  Yes, another precious beloved ones to wrap my arms around and get to look into her sweet, lovely face.

But first to sleep and then to drive to NJ and to wrap my arms around that beautiful man and kiss his beautiful face.  And Christopher?  He is charming all that meet him.  His sweet, young boy with an imagination that is colorful and fun.  Those blue eyes, that precious smile, and to add onto it that intelligence and wicked humor, all wrapped in a 12 year old boy man.  It has been fun and there is more fun yet to come.

From CT to MA, VT and NH

Good morning!  It is a beautiful New England morning here.

View of Susan and Jim's back yard

Yesterday Susan, Christopher and I were in the Toy heading for VT by 8:30am.  Christopher would have preferred to have slept a little more, and it was drizzling rain, but today was the day I would get to wrap my arms around Annie and her Sam.  It has so very wonderful to get to wrap my arms around James, but now I was getting to see his magical, beautiful sweet sister.  So with the top up and Christopher ensconced in the back seat we headed north driving through picturesque New England towns.  We drove over and up and around the green mountains of VT.  Susan explained to Christopher that the word VT means green mountain (Verde Mont). 

One of Christopher's hearts desires on this trip was to touch a cloud and he had his chance yesterday.  The clouds sat low in the mountains and as we drove up to the peak of one of these mountains of green you could see the cloud resting it's thick gray bottom down through the trees wet and heavy on the road.  We rolled down a window for him and he reached his sweet boy hand out into the cloud.  His eyes sparkled and that laughter always on his lips gurgled out.  "I touching a cloud!!!"  Yes, he did.  We were in the clouds and at that moment Susan and I looked at each other and the joy of this young boy's excitement of touching the clouds spilled over us and we all giggled like children.  Instead of grey wetness on the windshield, it was the magic of a cloud and we were riding in it, up the green mountains heading toward our Annie.

We drove into Sharon, VT where Susan takes classes at the Law. School there.  It is a beautiful campus nestled in a town filled with tall beautiful old homes right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  We circled the school and town, Susan doing an excellent job, as always, of playing tour guide.  Then we headed north again to meet Annie and Sam at Cockadoodle pizza.  Yep, a pizza place with a chicken name.  Sounded right up our alley. 

We parked behind Annie's car and standing there right on the side walk were the two precious beloved ones.  This was my first time meeting Sam, but Annie's Aunt Linda had already given him her seal of approval, so I did not have to ask too many questions.  Just one look and I knew he was Annie worthy.  He is tall and handsome and charming, but he looks at Annie with such affection and fondness and respect that I loved him for her immediately.

Sam and Annie
It was the most wonderful moment as I jumped out of the car as it came to a stop and threw my arms around that darling girl.  And then to hug that sweet man of hers.  We were not able to eat at Cockadoodledoo pizza because they are not open on Sundays.  It was not a good day for chickens.  But we just drove back to a restaurant that Susan knew from the law school and ate right on the square of this lovely little town.  We walked out onto the green where they hold the town celebrations and got pictures of my dear family in CT. I also got to talk to my friend Debbie who only lives about an hour from here, but life is so packed full right now that I was not able to get over to see her new home.  Okay, it is not so new anymore, but I have not been there, so it is still new to me.  I hope to get to see her next time I am up this way.......

The drive home was beautiful and we were able to put the top down and drive over to New Hampshire......
Christopher in NH
Back on the road.......

And out in MA....

Christopher in MA
We also drove past the John Smith birth place.  The home of the man who starts the Mormon religion.  It seemed appropriate this year with the presidential election.  Although I am very happy that we are not focusing on religion in this election.

For dinner we all snuggled up in the family room watching the Olympics and eating subway sandwiches.  It was a lovely day filled with precious beloved ones, touching clouds, adding 2 more states to our growing list this vacation, and seeing the world through the sweet freshness of a 12 year olds imagination.

Christopher is up and we are heading off to the Mark Twain house.  After our tour we will pick up Susan and take a tour of the University of Hartford, where Susan is a professor and James will be starting school this fall.  Then a kick hop over to RI and a family dinner out tonight.

Having fun and building sweet memories.  Sweet as the peaches of the season.  Sweet as the giggle on a child's lip.  Sweet as looking into a friend's face, so familiar, so loved and so filled with lives lived.  More adventures are yet to come!