Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Last day around the house.

Today’s picture is a fun one of Don and I the day we hiked down into Pololu Valley with Steve and Mary. (Don told me to get up there so he could take my picture and I could say that on the blog; he’s such a nut.)

Today has been another day around the house, here in Hawi. Don is working hard pulling weeds in the pasture, again. He works like a young man could, but I don’t know many who work as hard as he does. He has this passion to get that pasture clear of some weeds that bother him. I’ve worked in the yard, raking leaves and watering. It hasn’t rained here at all in 2 days, so the plants on the west side of the house and the garden have to be watered. We usually get at least a shower, but there have been none for a couple of days, so I enjoy the watering.

I’ve also cooked today. I cooked a pot of pinto beans, which we’ll eat whenever we need a quick meal and can throw together some cornbread. I baked a pan of chicken breasts; as soon as they’re cool enough to handle I’ll slice them and freeze them so that we can have them for sandwiches or wraps or burritos while Tom and Linda are here. It’s good to have some food cooked ahead, so we don’t have to spend much preparation time in the kitchen for the next two weeks.

It has been a gorgeous couple of days, so we were happy to be spending them at home. Even when it rains, it’s wonderful to be here. We can always drive just a few miles to a dry spot. From here if we go east it rains more. If we go west it’s dry and rains very little. It’s such an interesting place. They tell me at home it’s up around 100 degrees or more. It’s good not to be there for that. I thank God for the opportunity to be here and the health and strength to do the travel and the chores. This is all such a delight. I also thank God for friends who trust us with their home, animals and plants, and for wonderful friends who come and share it with us.

Tom and Linda will be here tomorrow. We’re going to Kona early in the morning to do a time share presentation. If we do that they give us discounts on activities while we’re here and our guests can use it, too. Steve and Mary saved a bunch of money on their helicopter ride and their bird tour. We’ll save some money on our zip line adventure and Tom and Linda will save some on their fishing adventure. I don’t know what else Tom and Linda or we may want to do. We figure it’s worth it to do, though, plus we want to learn about this timeshare company as they have an agreement with one of our main ones, so that we can use our points with them. We’ll meet Tom and Linda at the airport and then take them to pick up their rental car and they’ll follow us home. We have so much fun with them; we can hardly wait to see them. I talked to Tom a few minutes ago; they’re visiting their son and his family in San Antonio and it was 105 today. They’ll think they’re in heaven when they get here at 80 degrees! Of course it’s closer to heaven there with their family, but this will be a sweet change of weather and they’ll get to see them, again, on their way home.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Air drying.

This picture was taken last week when we went on a hike with Steve and Mary to see a great display of petroglyphs. We went through this forest, which had obviously had a fire. I remember thinking how much it was like the storybook trail and I sure hoped that the fire hadn’t gone there. Sure enough we got to the storybook trail and it was even worse; it was GONE. If I touched anything on this hike I got black and I had to really work on getting the stains out of my shorts when we got home, but I did it.

Today has been a glorious day. The weather is perfect. We could even see Maui from the lanai and it’s often covered with clouds. I washed 4 loads of clothes and hung them all out to dry. I’ve kept a watch out to be sure a shower didn’t soak them, but so far I’ve had no problem. For someone who loves to hang out clothes like I do, I should sure have a clothesline pole at home. We don’t have much place for one, but I’m going to give it some real thought when we get home. I really love sheets that have air dried.

We’ve hung around the house, working on the laundry and the yard. Don is out in the pasture pulling weeds, now. Bob doesn’t expect him to do that, but Don thinks he’s helping, so he enjoys it. There are some weeds out there that the cows won’t eat and they just get taller and taller, so Don is at war with them. I’ve watered the garden and flowers good; they are accustomed to some showers, so they hurt on dry days like this. I’ve raked up leaves and raked Hehe, the outside cat. He won’t give you peace if you’re raking until you rake him good.

I’m going to wash my hair and let it air dry today. I don’t like how it looks down and drying, but it feels good after wearing it up all the time. Hair washing and drying day is relaxing. I thank God for this hair. It’s like a symbol of my recovery. It is thick and curly and long enough to capture and keep out of my face and off my neck. I thought I would want to cut it when we got here and I even brought my scissors. I haven’t been tempted once, though, so I guess the hair will survive. Thank you, God for helping me to be patient and for a healthy, hairy body. (My hair came back everywhere; legs, head and face; I’m a really woolly thing, these days. My razor has its work cut out for it.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A monk seal!

The picture today is a monk seal! Can you believe it? I don’t know how many times we’ve been on this hike and never saw him, but we’re going to be really watching for him after this sighting!

Today was the rest of a wonderful visit with our friend, Harry. He and Don really had a good time recalling great times from way back to high school, even. It was fun to be a part of their fun. We went on our favorite hike and he enjoyed it as much as we do. That’s where we saw the monk seal, which we had never seen in Hawaii, so that was a new treat.

Harry left this afternoon and we’re getting some of our jobs done. Don is out on the spider attack (Spiders really put webs everywhere if we don’t stay after them and Don does a great job with them.). I’ve watered the garden and I’m headed out to pick up leaves and blooms off the grass.
I’ve called home and touched base the best I could. It’s really a challenge to find a time that I can get service and it not be the middle of the night at home. I stay confused about what time it is here and there. I know that we are 5 hours behind home, but that becomes a math problem and I go chemo brain figuring out anything like that.

I sure thank God for wonderful friends and wonderful memories, old and new. What a delight to be here and have this experience, for which we also give thanks!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Meet Harry at Pololu.

Meet Don’s friend from college days, Harry Widdifield. He is really a good sport. He not only wanted to go see Pololu lookout, but he also wanted to hike down into the valley. It was a great hike and we took him all the way to the swing. Then Don cut our legs off when he took the picture. He got our happy faces, though. I put the second picture on so you'd see where we were headed; this was taken from about half way down the trail. The swing is located about half way across that beach, back into the trees a little bit.

We’re home in time to post at a somewhat decent hour. I’m headed up to take a bath before we go out to eat supper. I slipped on the loose rocks as we were first going down into the valley, so I have some scratches on my left knee. I need to get them cleaned up good and sprayed with colloidal silver water so I don’t have any infection problems. I had a little vial of colloidal silver water in my pocket, so I cleaned it off immediately when I fell. I thank God I wasn’t close to the edge and that I didn’t break anything but a little skin. God is so good to me!

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for your patience with the time change and the weird times the posts make it online. We’re having a wonderful time and I report the best I can, but the time element is a challenge.

One of our favorite places: Waipio Valley

This picture was taken the other day when we did our trip to the Hamakua Coast. This is at Waipio Valley lookout. Waipio Valley is one of our very favorite places on the island. This day we were tempted to hike down into the valley, but it was raining when we got there. By the time we got down to the lookout (quite a steep trip from the parking lot), we’d decided against going down into the valley because it was so slippery. It quit raining while we were standing there, but we stuck with the plan to not hike down into the valley. We had a really full day of seeing lots of things, so it’s a good thing we gave up on hiking down into the valley. It’s really an all day adventure in itself to do Waipio Valley right. We’ve done it a couple of times before, so I doubt if we’ll go down into it this trip. The only way to get down in there is either hike it or in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, which means take a tour. We’ve done both and, believe me, hiking it is a big deal! I thank God for giving us the strength to get back out of there the time we hiked down in there! I’m up for it again, but I know it’ll be hard. (It was hard before and I was 8 years younger, give or take a year or two.) It’s so gorgeous down there that it’s worth it to go, however you can get there.

Steve and Mary treated us to breakfast at the local café that we all love. Then they visited with us a bit and left for a last whirl of the Kohala Coast and the Kona area. They are returning their car right now, I imagine; it was due back at 9 tonight. Their flight leaves at 11. I thank God for our special time with them and for good friends like them in our lives.
We spent the day cleaning house and getting ready to spend a fun weekend with Harry, one of Don’s good friend’s from college years. He lives on the other side of the island and he’s coming up to spend the weekend with us. We look forward to his visit, and we wanted to have our chores out of the way so that we can enjoy his time here with us. We thank God for another good friend and for getting to find him, here, and share some time with him.

Tomorrow is a fun day in Hawi. At the banyan tree in town they always have a farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. People take whatever they want to sell and display it there. I love to go. There is everything from fresh, homemade bread to yard sale ‘stuff.’ We’ll do that in the morning before Harry gets here around noon. It’s a real local atmosphere kind of thing and I really enjoy going. We missed it last week because we spent the day in Kona. We hit the farmers’ market there, but that’s more of a touristy sort of thing. I like the one in Hawi, where we are best.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Storybook trail burns!

We had a really full day today, but it was so wonderful even if some of it was heartbreaking. The picture tonight is Don and I at what used to be Storybook Trail to us. You may remember it from pictures we took when Tom and Linda were with us 2 years ago. The trail was thick with trees and the water was in the background. We took Steve and Mary there today and it was GONE, except for the water and the beach. We walked the whole path, hoping that some of it had survived, but there was nothing left but piles of dead or black trees. You can see in the background where there are clumps of trees; this area used to be thick with trees, too. It was really sad to see the devastation that a fire left.

We had gotten up this morning and Don mowed. I picked up leaves and Steve swept the driveway, while Mary did laundry. After lunch we went down to the ‘Storybook hike’ and then into Waimea to see Karen’s house where we will house-sit next. Karen was home, so she gave us the tour of her place and our instructions. It was great to see her and to share with Steve and Mary where we will be next time.

After our visit with Karen we drove out to a place where Steve and Mary expected the Hawaiian Owl to be just about to go ‘on the job.’ They learned this on their bird tour earlier this week. Sure enough, we spotted the owl and got many good pictures of him. Steve got great pictures of him. I didn’t; but he’ll share his and I’ll post them sometime soon. On our way home we got great sunset pictures, so our day was complete with many great visions of God’s great handiwork.

Steve and Mary leave for home tomorrow and we have plans to get up and eat at a local café for our last flare. It’s been a great visit.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Volcano Day

How tired we are! But we’ve had a great day. Today was volcano day. Wow! What a day! It’s about 2 ½ hours to drive to the Volcano National Park from here. So just the drive is tiring, but beautiful! We stopped on the way at the ‘Sea Gem’ beach; sure enough tide was out and we were able to get a few gems. I hope we’ll get more next time we go with Tom and Linda. We have a good start and it was a fun and new adventure for Steve and Mary.

We went on a bird hike looking for birds up near the Volcano and it rained on us the whole way. It rained from then on all day. It never poured down rain, just a drizzle. It was enough to keep us wet and cold all day. Yes, cold. We got our clothes wet at the beach getting sea gems, then we never got dry after that, so we chilled all day.

The volcano was awesome, though. So much that we’ve seen on previous trips was closed due to recent activity. We got to see whole new things, though. My camera didn’t get good pictures, but Steve did. I’ll share those soon.

Tonight’s picture is of Don and I as we crashed for supper at Ken’s Pancake House in Hilo around 8 tonight. We started at 6:30 this morning, so we were really tired. We’re even more tired, now. I thank God so much for the opportunity to have these experiences and for the health and strength to do it. We are so blessed to have wonderful friends with whom we can share the fun, too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pay no attention to the dates.

This is Don and I at Akaka Falls today. We also did Kahuna Falls, but that’s another picture for another day. We did a trip of the Hamakua Coast today. It was wonderful! This wasn’t the best of the trip, but it was Don and I together and together is the best part of everything.

We went to gather sea gems for Robert, but there were NONE! It was high tide and we couldn’t get into enough of the beach to find anything. However, we did find 4 blow holes that we’d never seen before. We’re going to the volcano tomorrow, and we’ll go early enough to go back in search of sea gems when the tide is low. We’re going to be way disappointed if we don’t find any sea gems. Actually, it’s sea glass, but Rob likes it when we call it sea gems. I do my best to keep Rob happy. They only thing he wanted from Hawaii was sea gems, so we’re going to keep hunting them. I’ll post pictures when we find some.

We also hiked in Kalopa State Recreation Area this morning and it was great. It was full of great huge trees and ferns. Mosquitoes were all over me everywhere today, but the Colloidal Silver Water takes away the itching. Woo-hoo and thank you, God!

We also stopped at Waipio Valley lookout this morning. It was raining when we got there, so we didn’t attempt to walk down. It would have been way too slippery, not to mention that it is so steep. Within 5 minutes it had quit raining, and we never got rained on again! We’d already accepted the concept of not going down into the valley, and it’s a good thing because we got home at 9 as it was.

It was a very full day, but so much fun! I took pictures until my camera card was full, so I have lots to share on slow days. Steve and Mary are getting way awesome pictures that they’ll share with me and I’ll share with you, too. What a rich experience this is. Thank you, God!

Monday, June 22, 2009

My turn to swing!

My turn on the swing! Steve had just talked me into getting on the swing and then he gave me a push while Mary took pictures. Don had gone on another direction and we brought him back to swing; I posted the picture of him swinging the other day. Tom and Linda, you may have to do this!

We are taking another day off. Steve and Mary have gone to do a ‘bird tour’ where they will see lots of island birds. It’s an all day adventure that they’ve really been excited to do. We enjoy birds, but they are really serious bird watchers. They have inside birds at home and they are real students of birds. We didn’t want to go to the expense of the adventure, as there are other things that we want to do more while we’re here. While they’re gone it gives us a chance to get some yard work done and some errands run, like an oil change, etc. It’s been raining off and on all day, so I’m glad we got a lot of our work done yesterday and we can rest today.

It’s so interesting how it rains here. It is really like someone turns on a shower. The sun is shining and here comes a sheet of rain. Then it’s gone. That happens several times during the day. No doubt the plants love it because they thrive so well. I remember now, why I always wanted to cut my hair when I came here; between the wind and the rain, there was no prayer for a style and the best thing to do was cut it. Thankfully, it’s long enough that I can wear it up and the wind and rain don’t bother it that much. It’s surviving and I haven’t been tempted to cut it.

My knees are really mad about all the hiking we’ve been doing, and my back is complaining, but I jiggled twice yesterday to help my back and I’m wearing my knee bands. It works. Some guy even told me this morning that he liked my knee ‘straps.’ It’s so funny how people notice them and even make remarks. The funniest is when they don’t say anything but you can see by their expression that they’re stumped by them. I thank God that I managed to bring the jiggler and that the bands really do give me support for my knees. It makes the trip so much easier to handle when I can manage the pain. My arm is doing very well, so I have no complaints with it. I sure thank God that I don’t have to wear the sleeve all the time; that would be such a nuisance!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day!

This picture is one I took of Don going back up out of Pololu Valley Friday. It’s a long way back, but it’s a doable thing. Notice that path; the locals RUN up and down that path, BAREFOOTED! They amaze us. We huff and puff our way WITH sticks AND shoes! I think Don is doing great. He and my brother-in-law, Phil, and my brother, Jim were the same age. They were all born in 1940, and Don was born in Jan, Phil in July, and Jim in August. Don was the oldest of the three. I see him climbing all these mountains and mowing here, etc. I think he does great for 69, and I sure thank God for him and his health. 1940 must have been a good year; it produced some fine men in my book.

Today we are taking it easy by not going anywhere. Steve and Mary took off to go to the Hilo side of the Island. They have a helicopter ride and they’ll do some other adventures while they are there. We took the opportunity to soak up the Father’s Day wishes and do some relaxing around here. So, Don is out killing spiders and sweeping down their webs. I’ve done 3 loads of laundry and I’m headed out to pick up leaves. This is a beautiful place, but only if you keep it that way! We love it, though. The weather is perfect for us, and we’re so grateful for the opportunity to do this. We thank Bob for trusting us with his haven and we thank God for the health and freedom to do it.

Happy Fathers’ Day, everyone! We thank our heavenly Father for always being there for us; what an awesome concept!

A fun day in Kona.

I know it’s so late there, but this is my first chance to post on the blog today. Probably you are used to reading it the next day by now. I’ll do it early when I can, but that may not be so often because we stay really busy until it’s time to wind down for the day.

This picture is one Mary took last night when they took us out to The Bamboo to eat. It’s a really nice restaurant, here in Hawi, and they have wonderful entertainment. John Keawe sings and plays and his beautiful wife does the hula. They are raising two beautiful granddaughters, and they also did hula dances for us. I’d guess they are about 9 and 6; the dancers made the whole entertainment awesome. We’ve seen these people perform before when we were here and they are favorites, so we really enjoyed the night.

Today we went to pick up the rental car for Steve and Mary, and then we did Kona things. Kona things would be like shopping the tourist traps and shopping for necessities like soap, corn meal, and bread. After we got the shopping done we went with Steve and Mary while they snorkeled. We were happy to watch them and all the other people, while I made phone calls. Once a week I call back to go over the mail with Joan so she’ll know what needs to be forwarded and what can stay there. Saturday and Sunday are free cell phone calls, plus I had coverage in Kona and it’s so hard to get coverage out here. I talked with Dorothy and she and David are doing well. I thank God for great friends at home and here.

I talked to Gretta after she and Elena had gone to the family reunion, so that was fun. We hated to miss it, but I was sure glad she could go collect and distribute hugs for us.

After snorkeling and phone calls, we picked up Bob’s car and came back by a hike to a big petroglyph field (ancient rock carvings). From there we came on home and started dinner while Steve and Mary stopped by a couple of other places on the way home. They’ve got to see everything they want to see before they go home this Friday, and we’ve got another 7 weeks, so we can take it easier. Tomorrow they’re going on their helicopter ride and to some other adventures, but we’re staying home to rest. We’re doing fine, but we just don’t have to be in such a rush. They know their way, so they can go without us. I’m so grateful to have plenty of time here and not have to make a rushed trip.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Wedding, John and Holly!

Oh, my; it’s late, but I’m here for a little bit, so here is today’s post. The picture is of me giving Don a push on a big swing we found down in Pololu Valley. Our schedule got all changed around today because the helicopter place called and had to postpone Steve and Mary’s trip because the helicopter needed a couple of days of maintenance. (YIKES!) So, we put off picking up their car until tomorrow and we did things close around here. Linda and Tom, “Don’s Tours” is flexible!

Boy, did we EVER do things around here! We ate at a local breakfast for breakfast and it was delicious. Then we hiked all the way down into Pololu Valley and all around down there. We all loved that. I got lots of great pictures that I’ll post over the next few weeks. We hiked back out of Pololu and were starving and thirsty. We’d brought water, but drank most of it, so we stopped and got drinks in the closest town and had our picnic lunch at the park. Then we went on our favorite hike. Oh, man. We sure love THAT hike. It’s so funny: Mary asked me if we ever have seen anyone back there and my answer was, “Nope.” About 10 minutes after that an SUV drove up! They circled around and drove back, so we saw them twice. Between seeing them, Gretta called and we don’t even get cell phone calls at the house most of the time! Then on our way out we saw two groups of kids of four wheelers. I guess our favorite spot has been discovered.

Gretta called to tell me that she’d been to her cousin’s wedding and it was the most beautiful wedding she’s ever seen. How wonderful for him to be able to move on with his life after losing his daddy just 9 days ago. It’s what his daddy would have wanted. I’m so glad that Gretta was able to make the effort and go. Tomorrow she will go to our family reunion and represent our family. I’m so pleased that she wants to go and that she can do it. I thank God for a precious family and for our ability to get together. We nearly always go, but it’s too far to go from Hawaii!

Everyone else is cleaning up and it’s my turn. We’re going to the local nice restaurant, The Bamboo, tonight. We really like the guy who is playing at the restaurant tonight, and it’ll be great to have a meal. We had peanut butter sandwiches on our picnic which seems about two days ago. Ha!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pac Man Shoe.

I’m home at a decent time to post. The first picture is Don with his “Pac Man” shoe. The sole of one of his sandals separated from his shoe, so we cut our last hike short. I was ready, anyway; pretty tired of hiking around the rocks and hills. Steve and Mary finished it and we took a shortcut back and waited for them. The second picture was taken earlier as we were hiking around one of our favorite whale watching places. We miss the whales, but we’re finding lots more to explore. We couldn’t hike Pololu Valley today because it was raining this morning. That’s okay. There were lots more places to hike just a little down the road where it wasn’t raining. Pololu is toward the wet side, so we went toward the dry side.

Tomorrow we’ll be late getting home because we’re taking them to pick up a rental car. They wanted to get a car so we wouldn’t put so many miles on Bob’s car and they want to do lots of going while they’re here. We’ve done the close stuff these first days, but they’ll go get the car tomorrow and have it until they leave.

The rains are good for us because it takes care of our outside watering. I did the inside watering this morning, so we’re in good shape for chores for a while. We sure enjoy exploring with Steve and Mary. We thank God for friends like them and great places to explore.

Late may be how it is while we're here.

I’m late, again. I think I still need to do the blog at the end of the day, because we get up and get busy around here and I’m not always available to do the blog during the day. Plus, if I do it early then I don’t get to tell and show you what we’ve done.

Today’s picture is us at a nearby beach. We went to hike down into Pololu Valley, which is 9 miles from here, but it started raining just as we got to the top of the trail to hike into the valley. So, we came back to this park and climbed around on the rocks. Steve got some great pictures of a Hawaiian Cardinal family that I may be able to share with you some day. I couldn’t believe he found them in this huge tree, but he spotted them. After this adventure we hiked out to the light house, which is a great hike. I got pictures of Steve on the very edge of the cliff taking pictures of crabs on the rocks way below. I’ll post that picture another day.

We came home and found that it had rained here, so we didn’t have to water outside today. Don had already picked up leaves and swept off spider webs this morning, so our chores were done. We relaxed this morning and had biscuits and eggs for breakfast on the lanai (porch). It was sure a good day. We’ll hike Pololu another day; maybe tomorrow. We’ve got to work on scheduling before we go to bed.

I thank God for making this trip possible for all of us; for health and safe travel for all of us and for Bob and Mimi. We are so blessed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oops; I'm late, again!

This little rascal is someone we met when we stopped to eat at Tres Hombres, a Mexican restaurant between here and Kona. Can you believe it? We come to Hawaii and eat at a Mexican restaurant! It’s perfect for us.

Wow, I’m sorry I’m so late, again. I hope nobody worried. The blog will say that it’s nearly 2 in the morning of the 17th when I post this, but it’s really only almost 9 at night on the 16th here. I couldn’t post before we left this morning and this is my first chance to post since we got home. We had a fine day, but it’s been a long one. We got up at 3:15 this morning to take Bob and Mimi to the airport to leave on a 6:30 flight. We had breakfast and then shopped in Kona for food for the next month. Then we went to an information booth and worked out an agreement to sit through a time share presentation in exchange for some discounts on prices for adventures while we’re here. We have plenty of time share time, so we won’t be purchasing anymore, but this one is affiliated with one we own, so it will be good for us to learn more about it.

We left there and went to pick up Steve and Mary at the airport. On our way home we stopped to eat and on our way in we found this little guy. We got some pictures of him; then after we ate we got more of him. I guess he pretty much hangs out around there. I imagine Steve’s pictures are better, but I was pleased to get any at all because he moved so quickly. Lots of the ones I got I deleted because they were blurry or I only got the tail or something. I loved the markings and colors on this guy and especially his feet! Isn’t our God something to give us little details like this and even to give me the brain to appreciate it even if I can’t count how many toes he has!

We got home and put away all the food and we’re all crashing. For some reason my mouse is not working on my computer, so I’m using the touchpad and I’m not handy with it at all. Maybe I’ll be clear enough tomorrow to figure out what setting I need to change. Thank you, God, for safe travels for all our friends!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fun dinner and new friends.

This picture is one Bob took last night after dinner. Mimi is on the left, then me, then Don, then their guests, Joe and Uki. Joe and Uki have a bed and breakfast in Waimea and Joe also plays the bass with a couple of local bands. We hope to see him in the July 4th parade. Joe and Uki had lots of information to guide Bob and Mimi through their struggle with immigrations to get Mimi legal in this country. Mimi was born in Taiwan, but she has lived in London for the last 20 years. It was a wonderful dinner and visit with this whole group.

Today Bob and Mimi are packing as they leave in the morning. Mimi’s flight goes out at 6:15 and Bob’s goes out at 8:30, but he’s hoping to get an earlier flight so that he can get out around 6:30, I think. We don’t care. It’ll be an early morning, but we’re all planning to go to bed early so we can get a good start on tomorrow. While we have the car down in Kona we’ll pick up groceries. Then our friends, Steve and Mary will come in around 2, I think.

We’re having such a wonderful time. This morning Don and I walked up to a nearby subdivision and then back. It was really a nice walk. I took pictures of a chameleon yesterday and today, but I like the pictures of people best. I’ll post the chameleon when I don’t have people pictures.

Happy Monday! And, thank you, God, for wonderful places and people in our lives.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Is this picture freaky? It’s my back with acupuncture needles in it. Bob’s fiance, Mimi, is a jack of all trades. I’m serious. She does just about everything. She put these needles in my back last night to relieve my back pain, and it did a wonderful job! I wasn’t hurting any more than usual, but it was such a nice relief to have this treatment. After the acupuncture she gave me a brief massage and I slept like a contented baby. I always do sleep well, but I woke up feeling sooooooo good! Thank you, Mimi!

This morning we went to church with Bob and Mimi and it was another treat. Of course, everyone was so friendly and the sermon was wonderful. The preacher has just been through 3 months of being very sick, surgery, a fall, etc. His lesson was wonderful for me. I felt like I was really on the same page with him. One of his 6 points was to go on faith, not on feelings. Expounding on that concept he said, “It’s better to act your way into a better way of feeling than it is to feel your way into a better action.” I think he’s so right. I’ve found that if I don’t feel so good, it’s better to find something good about it and go with that like I feel good. That works so much better than to feel bad and just sit and hope it will get better.

Another one of his points was to accept God’s plan. We do the best we can, but knowing that God is in charge is really a relief. It’s hard to be old, I’m finding. Either we have our own health issues, or the people we know and love have health issues and we ache with them. Many people we know and love DIE, and that’s heartbreaking. It’s God’s plan for us to be human, though, and humans have health issues and die. I’m working on my attitude to learn to accept these things better. I’m so happy to be surviving and I thank God for giving me another chance at life and for being in charge of my life. God made us and He gave us feelings, so I think it’s okay to have feelings. Jesus wept when his friend died; he did go on with life, though. I guess it’s okay to be heartbroken, but the deal is to get over it. God gave us that ability, too, so I’m claiming it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My bag is finally delivered!

Tonight’s picture is one of Jim and Ruthie, my brother and sister. At some point she had gone to visit him and you can see that he’s so pleased. He looks so much like our dad here, and Ruthie looks a lot like our mom; it’s a nice picture to bring back good memories for me and to be reminded how much Ruthie’s visits meant to him and to me. She lives about 4 hours away from where he was, so it wasn’t an easy trip for her as she has her own health issues with MS. She’d come home and always report to me and she’d take pictures that allowed me to share the visit. Sometimes they’d call from right there with him and let me talk to him. I appreciated it so much! Thanks so much, Ruthie and Phil!

The great news here is that my suitcase was finally delivered just about 15 minutes ago. You know there was nothing fine in there, but it was my clothes and toiletries. It feels like it’s the rest of me. Now I can go ahead and get sweaty because I have something else to wear. I can brush my hair. Whew! It feels good. Thank you, God.

We got a call from Don’s college buddy, Harry Widdifield, who also lives here on the Big Island and made some plans to spend a day with him this month. Don gives Harry credit for his passing some EE classes. Their time together is fun to witness and enjoy, so we look forward to seeing him. I had managed to lose his email address; it was on my laptop and the laptop is in a coma. It comes on, but I can’t retrieve any information from it. I got this one just in the nick of time, I think. So, if you haven’t had an email from me and you think you should have, send me an email, so I’ll be sure to have your email address.


Adjusting to different time zone.

Tonight’s picture is one of my brother, Jim, in the wheel chair and my sister, Ruthie, behind him. That’s his son, John in front of him. John has been responsible for Jim’s care for the last several years, and what a wonderful job he did. John was good to bring Jim to our family reunions every year.

It’s been a gorgeous day in Hawi, which is the town where we are in Hawaii. I’m still waiting on my bag. They called this morning and said both bags are here and they wanted to deliver them. GREAT! Then, the guy got here and he only had Don’s bag. No lie. I’ve been on the phone with them all day, numerous times and they have my bag, but who knows when they are bringing it. It’s okay. I’m in Hawi; I have my cut offs and a couple of tank tops and flip flops. I’m good for another day or so. I’ll admit that my patience is wearing thin, because I can’t imagine an excuse for this. Maybe the folks in charge have chemo brain? If that’s the case, I understand and I’m so happy for them that they are able to work. (I wish they could do a better job, but I’m happy for them. Maybe they don’t have chemo brain, but they just aren’t bright. In that case, I’m really glad for them that they have jobs. I need to be patient. I’m sure life is tough for them and they may have bad stuff like cancer happening in their lives or even worse! I’m learning how much my brush and comb mean to me. It’s interesting how God has ways of teaching us things. I’m determined to learn from this so that I don’t have to go through it again!

It’s wonderful being here with Bob and Mimi. We’ve really had a great time today. I’m so glad we got to come early so we could spend some time with them. Thank you, God!

Tomorrow I’ll do the blog earlier. It’s about 9:45 p.m. here, but I realize you all are in bed and won’t see this until tomorrow. I’ll adjust to the time change and do it earlier tomorrow; thanks for hanging tough with me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Arrived safely in Hawaii!

Well, it’s been a good day, but a picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Don took this of me as we were having a bite of breakfast (shared a banana) before we left Oklahoma City this morning. I hadn’t even had time to get tired, yet. Yesterday had many blessings because we got to see Trish and Rob and their family. We had breakfast in Hobart with Jo Ann and Frank, who were just home from their trip to Germany; and David and Dorothy, who are healthy; and Leroy and Deanna, who are our new neighbors from church. We got the shocking news of my brother’s death, but because of that I experienced lots of precious conversations with family members and the celebration of his life has begun. I refuse to accept his death as a bad thing, as it ended his suffering and began his reward. I have to admit that I’m stunned, still and I keep thinking, “How can this be?” I included another picture of Jim with my brother-in-law, Phil; two really special guys in my life and I thank God for both of them.

I was up until about midnight last night on the phone and computer. Then we got up at 4:15 to get ready to leave. I couldn’t find my make up ANYWHERE. All the suitcases were on the floor and I had to bend over to pilfer through them. That was killing my back, so I gave up and figured I forgot to pack my makeup. We got to Kona and our luggage didn’t make it; it was sent to Honolulu. They’ve called and it’s here on the island, now and they’ll deliver it in the morning. But, I found my makeup in Don’s carryon bag; sure, that makes sense! God had me stuff it in there so I wouldn’t find it because He knew I needed to rub my eyes all day. That’s not a smashed lip, you see. It’s a blister that’s healing from Saturday’s day at the ballpark. I know to wear sunscreen on my lips, or they’ll blister, but I forgot that, too!

I slept a lot on the plane today, so I really think I’m getting enough rest. I forget all this stuff because of the chemo brain. We didn’t have any catastrophic things happen today. Gretta called and a car had run into her car today, but she wasn’t hurt. I’ve got to get more details; she called when we’d just arrived here and I was rather rattled and don’t remember exactly what she told me. All I know is that she’s okay, so I consider that another good thing.

It’s wonderful to be here. Thank you, God. There’s no telling when the blog will say I posted this; it’s 4:10 a.m. at home, but it’s 11:10 p.m., so this is not all that unreasonable. Smile, and thank you for your love and support.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The celebration has begun.

Ruthie sent this picture a little bit ago, and I can't wait until tomorrow to post it. It's a treasured memory of last year's Fox family reunion in Nashville. I was so glad to be there and to see Jim and Ruthie and everyone else. Jim would have been 69 if he'd lived until his next birthday on August 19th. He looks very much like our dad in this picture.
Time is so short with folks we love. Hug someone today; maybe even smile at a stranger. Everyone needs to know that someone cares. I was so blessed to have a brother and a sister!

Precious memories; how they linger.

We went out to eat tonight with Trish and her family. This is a picture of Raynie after Robert moved her plate and she wondered what was happening. The kids make life happy, no matter what sad things are happening.

Last night I wrote an update that my brother, Jim, was doing well. My sister had been to see him Monday and he was doing better than he had been, so my translation of her report was that he was doing well, considering that he was recovering from a collapsed lung and has COPD. Well, last night around 10:30 Jim’s son called me to tell me that Jim had come home (in Murfreesboro, Tennessee) from the hospital yesterday but he was not doing well. This morning they were taking him back to the hospital in an ambulance when he passed. This is really so hard to realize and grasp, but it is real. I thank God for his life and for all he was to me. All my life I had the pleasure of having a big brother. He was 8 years older than me, but he always made me feel special. I looked up to him. His body is gone, but he will be with me through my memories and through his sons and all our memories. I’ve said before: one of my favorite quotes is, “How long does a man live? Is it as long as you can touch him or is it as long as he touches you?” I thank God for his good days and I ask Him to help me to learn from his bad times and his struggles; it was easier to learn from his victories, like quitting smoking after so many years, and like his big loving smiles and hugs. His whole life was an example to me, though, and I don't want him to have struggled and me not learn from it.

We have baby pictures that were taken of us when we were each 6 months old. We looked alike at that age, only I was fatter. Because of those pictures I grew up thinking I would someday look like him, but I never did. I was always a scrawny little kid, but they said he was too, until he got into high school. I kept dreaming that one day I’d be tall. Ha! My hair never got dark and I never got tall. I copied him in many ways and did my best to be like him as much as I could, but I don’t think I’ve EVER played 7 tiles in a Scrabble game and he did it two or three times every time he’d play a game. It turns out we were just very different people, but we enjoyed the same family and many wonderful experiences together. I thank him that snakes don’t scare me to death because he was always bringing them home. We did both love chocolate!

His last couple of years have been very difficult, so this was really a shock. He’s not been well, but he’s always been strong and he still seemed young to us. Just a few months ago he had surgery for NPH and he was doing SO much better since then. The COPD kept getting worse, though; then this collapsed lung. He wanted to donate his body to science, like our mother did. There will not be a service, soon, so I think I won’t miss anything by going to Hawaii. When his immediate family comes to terms with this sudden loss, there will be a celebration of his life and I hope to be back from Hawaii for that.

Death is a part of life; it’s a transition from this life, as we know it, into territory none of us have traveled. Jim always paved the roads for me, so he’s doing that, again. I thank God for my big brother and for his son, John, who has been so devoted to him and his care.
I have pictures on my computer at home, but I don't have any of Jim on this computer. I'll post some at a later date when I am recalling some special memories.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aloha to my blooms!

This picture is one Don took of me admiring the last of the blooms on the magnolia. We should have taken pictures when it was in full bloom, but we didn’t think to do it. There are still blooms that will last a while, but we’ve enjoyed what we got to see and smell. I’m glad I got to see the irises and the rebloomers will treat me, again, this fall. I thank God for Joan, who will take care of the flowers while we’re gone so that we’re not covered with weeds when we get home. She’ll also keep an eye on the house to make sure we don’t have water leaks, etc. She’s such a good friend. She’ll also be monitoring the mail for us while we’re gone.

We’re just about ready. We’ve got all the last minute things to do in the morning. Everything else is ready. We’ll go to Oklahoma City tomorrow and spend the night. We’re staying at a hotel near the airport because we have to be there at 5:30 a.m. Trish will drop us off at the hotel tomorrow night and then take our car home with her for safe keeping, while we’re gone. Then Airport Express will take us to the airport on Thursday morning. It’s such a trick to get all the pills ready, etc. I find all this really confusing. I only take ONE pill, but then there are all the herbs and vitamins, eye drops, etc. Ha! I think we’ve got it all set, though. I’m going to wash my hair and finish up a few last details before I go to bed tonight. Woo-hoo!

Thanks for keeping up with us. I’ll do my best to keep the posts coming, but realize there is a time change. I think when it’s noon here, it’s 8 a.m. there. So, I’ll get there Thursday and I don’t know what time it’ll be here by the time I get the Thursday post done. Don’t worry; remember that no news is good news, and I’ll check in with you as soon as possible.

Updates: My brother, Jim, is doing fine, recovering from his collapsed lung. Don is recovering fine from his fall; he mowed the grass today, even.

Monday, June 8, 2009


This is today’s picture with my first blooms of Echinacea. This clump is about to burst out in bloom, and I may miss it. Maybe it will burst open tomorrow or Wednesday morning before we leave. It’ll be fun to see, but I’m sure I’m going to see lots more beautiful flowers in Hawaii. These are mine, though, and I love them when we are here to enjoy them.
Several of you are worried about Don, as I mentioned his fall and sore hip and shoulder. He’s a tough dude and he’s mending fine. He walked with me today, and while he could feel the soreness in his hip, he managed just fine. Thanks for your concern.

We did his haircut today, trimmed toenails and all that grooming stuff, so we are so nearly ready to go! We’ve eaten most of the food here, so we went to Subway to get a sandwich for supper tonight. I’ve done laundry all day and keep changing my mind about what to take. It really makes no difference; I’ll wear the same 3 or 4 things the whole time we’re there I imagine. I’ve got one more load of laundry to do this evening.

I’ve got to review the airport rules and make sure I know what has to go into plastic bags, etc. I hate these kinds of details. I’ll be glad to be there and be done with rules about travel, etc. I’ve got to make sure our flights are still on schedule, too. I’m asking God to help me sort through these details because this stuff is really hard for me, now that my brain is so ‘curly.’ I need help, but God provides. Just think, I’m alive and strong instead of in a box! I’m so grateful for that and all the great times we are having.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Purple Finch.

I’ve done lots of research and I really believe these are purple finches. They are easy to confuse with the house sparrow. However, these have a VERY melodious song and they have the tail (which is not in this picture) of the purple finch. Anyway, we sure love them. They keep us entertained when we’re watching birds around here. This picture was taken as they sat right up above us on our back deck. He was singing something fierce to her and we loved it.

Saturday our new preacher moved into the house next door. We had been in the city at a ball tournament, so we didn’t get home in time to help unload the truck. However, when we got here we did go over to see if there was any way we could help. Josh and his wife, Ashley, who is about my size and maybe smaller, were working hard to get a huge sofa into their bedroom. The door wasn’t big enough for the sofa to fit, so he and Don decided to carry it around the house and into a different door. That was a great idea except Don tripped over some carpet in the garage and fell. He got up fine, but today his hip and shoulder were sore. He’ll be okay, but he was afraid to take off on an hour long walk with me, so I walked by myself today.

I always miss him when I walk alone, but it’s empowering to me to go do something by myself. Also, I enjoy just being in the outdoors; I feel like I’m IN the song My God and I. You know the words? My God and I go through the fields together; we walk and talk as good friends should and do; we clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter . . . etc. I really enjoy it. It was especially good to be right there with God when I ran upon a big snake today at the lake. I’m not scared silly of snakes because my brother used to always bring them home. I’m always really interested in them and get up for a close look until a little voice tells me to leave it alone. (I think that’s God taking care of me.) I came home and looked up the snake and I couldn’t find him. He didn’t have rattlers; he wasn’t a cotton mouth or a water moccasin. He was bigger than my cane. I think he must have been some kind of rat snake, but I didn’t see any that looked just like him online. Anyway, it was kind of exciting. He was there the first time I went around the dam and the last two times I went he wasn’t there, so I was really watching for where he WAS! I had my business and he had his; God put us both here, so I think we both had a good afternoon.

Speaking of my brother; he’s doing better. He is in the hospital, still with a tube in his lung. I researched collapsed lungs online and learned that COPD can cause such a thing. I continue to learn and thank God that he is doing better.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's a downy woodpecker.

This is the downy woodpecker we caught on our pole in the alley the other day. There were two of them, but I couldn’t get them both in the picture. They were really checking out the pole. We sure enjoy watching birds and we were pleased to have this pair in our view for the first time, here at the house. When we lived in Tennessee there were 29 different birds that came to our house. Besides family and friends there we miss the birds the most. Here we might have a dozen different birds. I should list them; I might be surprised to find there are more than I think. We really enjoy watching birds and thank God for the treat that they provide for us.

We had another treat last night and today, watching Bruce play ball. His coach is really working them hard and he’s suffering with leg and arm problems, so he didn’t play as much as we would have enjoyed. It was fun to get to learn some of his teammates and their families, though. Bruce played 1st base last night and today he pitched and played first base. He does a great job and makes it look so easy, so it was fun for us to watch and a proud time for us. It was a great day to be in the ball park! The wind was pretty gusty, so that was a problem for the players, but it sure made the heat tolerable for the fans! We got a good share of vitamin D today! I thank God for that, too.

There is so much hoopla about getting too much sun, skin cancer, etc. Getting sun BURNED is a bad thing, but getting a good share of good sunshine is the best way to get Vitamin D, and Vitamin D is great for the immune system and a great healer. We’re real believers in Vitamin D. Vitamin D also helps us to use calcium, so it’s important for those of us who have bone density issues. Arimidex, the drug I have to take to block estrogen is hard on bones, so I have to take lots of calcium and the Vitamin D is its partner.

Friday, June 5, 2009

At the ball park.

Don and I were sitting on our back deck yesterday watching birds and he got this shot of the back of my head. I usually pin it up shorter than this, but I think it had fallen some through the day. Anyway, I look something like this from the back. Nice curls; compliments of God!

We are in a motel outside of Oklahoma City tonight. We came to watch Bruce play ball. We thought we might go home, but we brought our clothes to stay just in case. I’m glad we did. We have no business driving at night because neither of us see that well. Plus, it’s late and we’re tired. It’s a good time to stay all night. He plays again in the morning at 10. It would be terrible to drive home, sleep and then get up and get back here by 10 in the morning. I’m glad we decided to stay. I’m glad they have WIFI so I can get the blog done, too!

It was so nice to be sitting there in the stands watching a ballgame. We’ve missed too many games this year due to lots of rain, etc. It was a perfect ballgame night. Tomorrow will be hot, but hot is good for baseball. Bruce played first base tonight and we were really proud of him, but they lost the game. I sure thank God for our family’s health!

Oh, several of you were concerned about Don’s temporary crown holding until we get back from Hawaii. The dentist glued it really well and told him to get some bonding cement to have in case it comes off before we get home. We’ll get that tomorrow, but it’s holding good, so far.

My sister Ruthie called when we were on our way here to tell me that our brother, Jim was on his way to the hospital with a collapsed lung. I don’t know much about those kinds of things, but I will ask God to take care of him. My brother has COPD, but does a collapsed lung just come out of nowhere??? I’ll keep you updated.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The tooth saga.

Here is a shot at the back of my hair that Don took last night. I nearly always pin the bottom half of it under, but I left it last night, so I thought it was a good time to take a picture. When Don’s sister got to Lawrence, she wanted to see the back of my hair because she said, “We always see it from the front on the blog and I wondered what it looks like in the back.” Soon I’ll ask him to take one of the back with it pinned under like I usually wear it, but this one shows what a year of no haircuts can do for a head of hair. The last time it was cut was when Gretta cut it for me in Pigeon Forge last June around the middle of the month. I didn’t roll it last night; I hardly ever do anymore. Those curls seem to be here for the duration?

The night before last Don broke off a piece of one of his teeth. The dentist couldn’t see him yesterday, but he had a cancellation today, so he is now sporting a temporary crown. He’ll have the real crown put on when we get home from Hawaii. I guess it’s good that it happened here. It cost more to have his tooth fixed than his ticket to Hawaii cost! It’s amazing how when we need work done on a tooth, we just do it. When we have an opportunity to spend that kind of money for most anything else we really have to think about it. It’s a wonder we have any left to go to Hawaii after all we’ve spent on surviving breast cancer. We figure it’s all worth it and we’re glad to spend the money while it will buy something.

Anyway, today we’ve skipped lunch and he’s ready for dinner to be ready right quick. I’ll go get with the program, as my daddy would say, or ‘get this show on the road.’ It’s fun to have sweet memories.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sweet Grace and her shadow.

Tonight’s picture is back to Gracie in her swimsuit; those are ‘new’ shoes that Sasha handed down to her, too! She was loving this day!

This has to be a quick post. We’re headed to church and I’ve got to shut the computers down because we’re supposed to have storms tonight. I’ve got to get ready before we go, but I wanted to get this post done.
We are so getting ready to leave for Hawaii. This is fun. I’m glad I got the herbs and vitamins all done over a month ago, so nothing is stressing me. It’s fun to be doing it right and relaxing as we go.

Bruce has games in Oklahoma City (nearby) this weekend, so we hope to go to those. I’ll be all packed before we go there, then we can really enjoy the weekend. We can hardly wait to see him play. He’s playing with the Junior Varsity team at the high school where he is transferring to from Wichita Falls. He’ll be a freshman, but he made the junior varsity team, so we’re really pleased for him. He plays first base and pitcher. We’re excited. It’s always been fun to watch him play and we loved the other players we’d gotten to know over the years. This is a big move for him, though. It’ll be new for us, too. Go, Bruce!

I’m headed to dry my hair and do something with it in time for church. I usually let it air dry, but it’s been too cool to dry quickly enough today. Here I go in new territory, again. Ha! I thank God for new territory . . . ANY territory! God is so great!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Packing the Hawaii suitcases.

The picture tonight is one I took of our great nieces and nephews at the celebration of Gene’s life. The girl on the front right is married to the guy behind her. The blond right next to her is married to the guy right behind her. The blond and the guy on the back right are the ones who married into the family, but they fit so well. Emily is the girl wearing the black belt; she is married, but her husband couldn’t make it from Nigeria. She and her husband have been working in Nigeria for the last two and a half years; they’ll come home in July. I would love to tell you about all these ‘kids.’ We are so proud of all of them, but it would be too much information and too confusing on this blog. Just take a look at them and see what a fun group we got to enjoy for the weekend. The three guys on the left are brothers; the youngest of the guys, Samuel, is the tallest and is probably pushing 6’6”. Notice he’s standing on the step below the other guys and he’s still as tall as they are. His older brother appears to be the tallest and he’s 6’4”. Their sister, Molly, is standing on the top step and she’s the youngest of this group; I think she’s 15. I think they’re such a gorgeous group; I know them and their hearts speak love. Hugs from this group sure sent us home feeling great. The couple on the end have Gene’s only great grandchildren and our great, great niece and nephew. That sure sounds old, but what blessings all these are to us! Thank you, God!

Today was a big day. A long time friend from over 25 years ago was in Hobart today doing a program for the kids at the library. We went to see his program and then had lunch with him, so that was a real treat. I also sang at a devotional at the nursing home this morning. We started the day right with breakfast at the Kozy Diner with David and Dorothy.

After all our visiting I did 3 loads of laundry, then put the Hawaii suitcases in the floor in our bedroom and started loading them. We’ll be wearing non-Hawaii clothes from now until we leave. I want to have those suitcases ready except for toiletries by Friday. This weekend we’ll probably go to Oklahoma City to watch Bruce play in a baseball tournament. We’re going to miss a lot of baseball while we’re in Hawaii, so we’ll do this weekend if we can.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy June, already!

This picture is of our son, Jeff, who came to Lawrence this weekend from Las Vegas. We were not surprised to see him because he was particularly close to these cousins, but we were surprised because we didn’t KNOW that he was coming. It was sure fun to spend some time with him, as well as all the others who could be there. Mary Beth (Gene’s daughter, who lives in Lawrence) had most of the family (I think about 17 people) staying at her house. She had a friend, who was going to be out of town, who offered her house for people to use so that we didn’t all have to go stay in hotels. Don and I and his sister, Doris, and her husband, Jerry, and Jeff all stayed in these nice people’s really nice home. Aren’t people wonderful!

We are headed to David and Dorothy’s house to play cards tonight, so I’m getting the post done early. We’ll fall right into bed when we get home.

Our friends Jo Ann and Frank are in Germany with their daughter, Kristy. Kristy’s son Jacob is stationed there after his tour in Iraq, so they are having a wonderful visit with him. This is their celebration of Jo Ann’s freedom from cancer. We got an email from Kristy saying that they are having a great time. We’ll miss them when we play cards tonight, but we thank God that they are able to make this trip.

My magnolia is blooming its heart out. I’m so pleased! This is its best year. I thank God for this treat!