Monday, August 31, 2009

AC is coming soon!

The picture tonight is one Bob Dwyer took of Don and I when we went with him on our favorite hike. We couldn't believe he'd NEVER been on this hike! He loved it, too. It's too cool to go there and show HIM around the island! Bless his heart; he works when he's there and when he takes time off he comes back to the mainland to see his kids and we get to go there and hike all the great places. We look back to two wonderful months there. Coming home to this heat and mice makes looking back look so good! Ha!

The good news is that the AC man came today and he's coming back with a crew on Thursday to put in the new unit. I am more thrilled that I can express. I am so grateful that Don can shuffle around and come up with the money to pay for it. We love our house and it is very comfortable unless it's 100 degrees and the AC is not working! Now, all you people who were thinking of coming to visit, come anytime after Friday; it'll be cool. We haven't seen any evidence of a mouse since the one we caught Saturday, so I'm hoping we're done with that problem, too. Whew! I'm excited.

My nephew, Shannon is doing better. They still don't know what caused his problem, but one of the antibiotics have kicked in and he's doing better. They have moved him out of ICU and into a regular room, so that's a really good sign, I think. Thank you so much for caring and praying!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Judy!

Today is Judy's birthday and she doesn't like to admit it, but she's as old as me, today. Bob Clark was in our class and his birthday was the 21st, so all three of us turned 61 this month. YIKES! We all think that sounds older than we feel. Judy doesn't even do senior drinks at McDonald's! It's my favorite thing at McDonald's! I took her with me to get one once and when I asked them how much a senior drink would cost, they said, "For YOU it'll be 50 cents, but for YOU (Judy), it will be 99 cents." Judy said, "I rest my case." I busted into a conniption fit. She never wanted me to let my hair go gray, so I had to admit I look older. She's the one who talked me into going back to eye make-up. I listen to her a lot. We are still 14, though. That 61 is just a number that people who can count use. We live in the land of 14 year olds. I'm keeping my hair, no matter what color it is; I'm just so glad to have it! I don't care how old I am, either; I'm just so grateful to be alive. I thank God for great friends like Judy and Bob to keep as friends forever (and many more!) and for the opportunity to live and enjoy them and family.

Today was a busy day for me. We had been to the grocery store yesterday and they had a bunch of beef on sale. I bought a bunch, so it had to be put into patties and put in the freezer. I mix chia seeds with the patties, so it takes a while. Anyway, I did 53 patties today and put them into the freezer on a cookie sheet, all separated by wax paper. Tomorrow I'll take them out and put them into plastic bags. It was a big job today, but it makes fixing hamburgers such an easy job and I do that 3 or 4 times a week or more. (Don's middle name is Wimpy. Ha; he loves burgers.)

I have a dental appointment tomorrow at 8 a.m., so it will be an early day for us. We're headed to bed early, so I can get up in time to get there on time. I'm just going for a cleaning, but they usually find some issue, so I'm not looking forward to it.

Have a great week! We're hoping for cooler weather this week!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Please pray for Shannon.

This picture is taken from the beach in Kiholo Bay. Kiholo Bay is worth the hike it takes to get there. Of course we hiked the long way, but it was still worth it. It's a difficult hike because it's not on flat ground. It's not hilly, but it's on gravel that's not packed. It's about 18 inches deep and it's almost like walking in quick sand. You sink, but you can get out of it; it's just hard. I huffed and puffed the whole way and Don kept saying, "Are you ready to go back?" I kept saying, I'm not going back until we see a turtle. Well, check out these turtles! Look on the black on the left side of the picture. There is a gray patch and to the right of that but before the water cuts into the island you'll see TWO turtles! When we first got there we saw only the one that is up on the ground. The other one we spotted in the water. We scurried closer as we watched the second one climb out of the water. Then we hiked around to the black you see on the right and we got some really good shots of these two. This is a prettier picture of the whole area, though, so I chose this one to post. I was so excited to see these two. Then, while we were standing there on the edge there were TWO more turtles swimming right below where we were standing! I thought I had been richly rewarded for my tough hike! There are miles and miles of beaches like this in Hawaii. They are nearly empty because you can't drive to them. I thank God that we could hike and find these places. After we saw all these turtles I didn't want to leave at all. I was greedy to see more!

Today has been a nice day here. We had two birthday parties; our friends keep getting older! So, we've been partying all day. I finally got the clothes piled in my chairs in the bedroom put away, so we can sit in there, now. I had taken everything out of the suitcases and piled it on the chairs to sift through it to get what needed to go to Houston. Then we rushed off and left the chairs piled with clothes. It feels good to have chairs available in there since that's the cool place in the house. So, we've been home 11 days and I finally got 'unpacked.'

I thought we had come to the end of our mice, but I found one more tonight when we got home from our neighbor's party. How rude! I'm still on the war path, so I'm ready for them. They won't be here long!

My brother's son, Shannon, is in ICU in Murfreesboro, TN with a high fever of unknown cause. Please pray that they will determine what is causing it so that he can be better treated. Right now they are just guessing and throwing high powered antibiotics at him, hoping something will help. They suspect everything from swine flu to tick, flea and mosquito bites, but have confirmed nothing, yet. This isn't too big for God, so please pray with me for his recovery. Thanks!

Friday, August 28, 2009

That old desktop is still alive!

I had to come up with a beach picture because I'm so hot. Then when I got there, I remembered that I was usually pretty hot at the beach, too because we were always hiking. HA! So, I had to find a special beach picture. This one was a good one. It was a beach we visited the last day as we were waiting on time for our plane to leave. It was a beach that had behind it a walking trail and different places that different organizations had decorated. This one was all fixed up with feeders for birds and they were all filled! The birds were really loving it. You can see that someone was really taking good care of this site for them.

The AC guy called today and he's going to have figures for Don on Monday. We survived another day. It really wasn't all that bad. I'm so grateful that we have power to keep the fans going! It sounds like we have a an airplane in our house, but it's bearable. I'm also so grateful that we have air in our bedroom; it gives us a cool retreat when we need it.

I somehow managed to breathe life back into the desktop computer today. I wouldn't give up and it must have had a little life left in it. So far it's working. It's the worst crash I've experienced, but it has survived. I'm really in awe that it is working. I thought for a minute that I may have turned into a geek, but there's no hope of that because I don't know what I did. I just wouldn't give up and kept on until it started working. I think I out-toughed it. I sat there all day and I'm really sick of THAT!

I think we may have caught all our mice, too. We haven't caught any in a couple of days and we haven't seen any more evidence of them. That might be too good to be true, so I'm still after them. We have sticky traps EVERYWHERE. I never want to see another mouse!

Actually, I give thanks that I can see! I give thanks for a wonderful home and power and AC that will be here one day! God is great and I thank Him for all He has given to us; especially health, family and friends. (I thank Him for a husband who corrects my spelling, too, even if it's sometimes too late. If you read this earlier, you'll know I left the last e off of 'breathe,' but I got it right, now!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweet memories keep us going.

The picture tonight is from Sunday afternoon when Emily (our niece) and Monty came over to visit at Doris' house. Gregg and Stephanie were there with Colter, so Colter climbed right up into Emily's lap. He's such a hoot. He loves to play with hair and when he's tired those two fingers go into his mouth. This was such a good shot! What sweet memories!

Today has been a tough one around here. We still don't have AC in most of the house. We have it in our bedroom and bathroom, so we can sleep; that's a blessing! The guy was supposed to come back and give us an estimate today, but this is Hobart, so he hasn't been here. I'm about to melt. We've got every kind of fan going to survive in here.

The desktop gave it up, though. I don't imagine it's the heat, but it's dead. It started out today with some kind of crazy message saying that we had some kind of bad virus. My antivirus didn't see it. I called my guru and he said THAT message is the problem; back up everything you can and strip the computer and reinstall everything. I was doing that, but only got everything backed up and it quit. I need to work with it, but it's too hot. I'm about to blow a fuse. I'm going to post this blog and then go work on it some more. It has made it 8 months longer than we expected, so if it's dead, then it's dead.

Isn't it interesting how things happen all at once? Our AC in the house dies. The compressor on our oldest van dies. The desktop dies. The good thing is the mice are dying, too. Hehe. That's my doing and I'm so happy with that. We haven't caught any today, so we must be getting to the bottom of them. I'm still at war with them, though. I'm not quitting too soon on the war with the mice.

I thank God that I feel good! If I were sick, I couldn't take this heat or everything crashing. We have power, so we have ice for iced green tea. That's a life saver in this heat! We are really very blessed; this is just a tough time, but we'll survive it. We stored up a lot of good times in Hawaii, so we can handle this. We'll get it all put back together and be up an running soon enough. I hope things are good at your house. God bless!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back home to storms.

I've got to get this posted quickly as we are home and there are storms around us. I've got to shut everything down. It's so good to be home!

This picture is one a guy took of Aki and Judy and Don and I. That was Don's joke; of course it was him taking the picture and getting that animal head in with us.

We left early this morning and got home at a little after 3. I've been working since we got here cleaning up after the mice. We got 2 more while we were gone. I found a nest they had made in the closet where the hot water heater is and threw all that away. We stopped at Wal-Mart in Lawton and I bought a slew of sticky traps. They are so in trouble; it's all out war on them, now that we're home for a while.

I didn't get cleaned up in time to get to church tonight. I really wanted to go, but I lost track of time. I wouldn't quit until I had the kitchen ready to go and could cook dinner. Then it was too late to make it to Wednesday night class. I'm really a bad judge of time, but I wouldn't have been worth much, anyway. It's been a long day and I'm really tired.

The doctor's office called today with the report from my bone density scan. The osteopenia that I had in my back is GONE, so that is GREAT news! My femur still has osteopenia, but it is stable. I don't have to go to any additional medication. I'm just to keep up my walking and keep up with the calcium. I can and will do that. I sure thank God! It's so wonderful to be recovering!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MD Anderson report good.

This is a picture Aki took of Judy with us at the Goode Company Barbecue place where they took us to dinner tonight. I am still hurting from eating so much. Maybe it's from laughing so much! Judy and I had so much fun, as did Don. We got to spend the whole afternoon together and Don got to shake his head in wonder at both of us. Aki worked a really long day yesterday, so he got to be the first one off today, and we got to spend more time than usual with him, too. It was a wonderful visit.

The report I got at MD Anderson was, as I expected, uneventful. She didn't see anything about which we needed to be concerned. My liver numbers were higher than usual on the blood tests, so she wants me to have blood tests on my liver run again next month and fax them to her. She noted that it's been over a year since my last bone scan, so she had me do a bone density scan today. She'll call me with the results of that. She was content to see me again in six to eight months as long as I assured her that I will call her if I have any issues develop. I was very pleased.

When I was having treatments here I never wore any make up and I had no hair. Essentially I looked like death warmed over, but I was up and walking. So, when they see me now with a mop of curly hair and makeup, I have really come to life. They think I look great. That's an easy trick. You women out there go without eye makeup for a couple of years and shave your head; then when you grow hair and start wearing makeup people will think you look awesome! (That year that you abandon makeup and have no hair is really an easy maintenance year, too! It's nothing to get up and get ready to go somewhere; you just throw on some clothes and pull on a handful of hats so you don't freeze. I really don't recommend it, though.)

I thank God that I feel like wearing makeup and combing my hair. I thank Him for the opportunity to live and tell this story. I thank Him for great care and for family and friends to encourage me through it. I thank Him for getting to share today with Don, too; I sure missed him yesterday. Today felt right.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reliving the Houston Apartment.

This is a picture I took on the beach at Pololu Valley. I loved the red rocks someone had collected and formed into a heart. There's no telling what it meant for them; maybe some honeymooners? It means to me that I love Hawaii and I miss it. I can't believe we aren't still there. We must be crazy. Ha! It was good to be home for a few days and it's good to be seeing friends and family in Houston. It will be good to be home, again, later this week. We'll get back to the war on the mice.

I'm having an emotional day, but it's a good day. Today Doris and I went to the apartment that was our home for 3 months last year when I had surgery and radiation. We were checking in a new lady who has a little preemie baby who will be in the hospital for several months. Don didn't go; he had to go get a direction light replaced on the car. I sure missed him because it was very nostalgic to be back in that apartment. Those were three good months we spent there. I guess I was silly to get emotional, but I did, and I missed him. It was a time I would have enjoyed sharing. It's good to share time with him, here, at Doris' too. It's pretty emotional to think of how they've opened their home to us and shared us with their family and friends. Everyone treats us so well and everyone has been so compassionate. It's sure good to be here and be healthy! I thank God for everyone who has made this whole breast cancer experience more special than terrible as it is for many women.

Two years ago I was sitting here working to figure out how to go do my chemotherapy in Hawaii. I couldn't make it happen. I look back and realize it was best to stay here and do it. It's all done and we got to go back to Hawaii, anyway. Now, that's in the past, too. Life passes quickly. We are so blessed to have many wonderful experiences. You are, too; stop and smell the roses. (Tom and Linda Rose, we love and miss you!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The cleaned up version of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn?

This is the picture I would like to have gotten yesterday, but I could never catch them being still long enough! However, Pawpaw discovered them sitting there one day when he happened to have his camera handy, so he shared this great picture with me. It must have been very recent because this is exactly how the boys look. This is Colter on the left, and Luke on the right. They are both 2. These are our great nephews and they are wonderful to fix us for our grandkid withdrawals when we are in Houston. They are great, great kids! (Kids, can you tell which one is Gregg's? Ha! I told Stephanie, he looks more like Gregg than Gregg does!)

We had a wonderful time today. We went to church this morning and saw lots of friends and all the family there. Then we came home and I took a nap. I can't seem to get caught up on sleep since we came back from Hawaii. I thank God that we have good beds everywhere we go. I sleep good; just not enough, it seems.

Today our great niece, Emily, and her husband Monty came over to visit. They have lived in Nigeria for the last couple or maybe 3 years and they have just moved back to Houston. They hope to find work here and live here. I got pictures of them today, so I'll post one tomorrow. I just had to get these boys on today. What fun it is to see family and friends. God is so great to bless us so much.

Tomorrow Doris has to put a new couple into the same apartment we had when we 'lived' in Houston for my surgery and radiation. We're going to go help her clean the apartment and get them settled into it. I love doing this. It was such a blessing to us to have the apartment available and the time we spent there was good. I really love to be blessed to be on the helping side instead of the needing side. I am so grateful.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big boys move too fast

This picture is of little Logan, who was born while we were in Hawaii. I'm tickled I could get a good picture of him! His brother, Luke and his cousin Colter move too fast. All the pictures I have of them are blurs. They are both 2 and on the move!

We had a great trip to Houston; no hitches. Then Gregg and Brett and their wives and sons came over for dinner because we were celebrating Heather's birthday from yesterday. It was so fun to see the boys playing together. We hadn't seen them since February, so they have matured a lot. They both talk a blue streak, and move like a flash.
We are thanking God for a safe trip and for wonderful family. Tomorrow will be another fun day of family gathering and friends at church. After church our great niece, Emily and her husband are coming over. It'll be great to see them. God is good!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bob Clark!

This picture was taken our last day on the Big Island as we were touring around like tourists. This is called Magic Sands beach because the waves sometimes come and wash the sands completely out into the ocean, leaving only the lava until the water brings back the sand. It's a pretty cool beach. See how all the people are riding that wave? We enjoyed watching.

We spent today getting ready to go to Houston tomorrow and I still have some things to do right quick and get to bed. We went to a banquet with Dorothy and David tonight and that was really nice. On our way we stopped to see Don's 2nd cousin who turned 90 today. We also stopped to see our friends who used to live next door and preach for us here. It was a great day of visiting and we thank God for the opportunity to have these folks in our lives.

I got 2 more mice in the sticky traps last night. I also found that the mice had found my stash of chia seeds in the basement. Ugh. So, I cleaned up that mess and put a sticky trap down there to get whoever the culprit is down there. It's a battle, but I will win. I'm not bigger than many people, but I am bigger than a mouse. I'm learning to be a bully. Ha!

(Bob Clark is my friend who went to school with me at Itazuke; he and his wife, Diana, live here in Hobart and they are great friends! You saw them on the blog when they came to see us when we were 'living' in Houston for surgery and radiation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The 'magic' moss hole.

This is another time it takes two pictures to appreciate either one, so hang tough with me all of you on dial up! These pictures I took on our last day as we toured beaches around Kona. I'm not sure exactly where this was, but I was in awe at this growth of some kind of moss and how it was totally covered as the waves rushed in and then when they pulled back out to the ocean this big hole and moss appeared. I climbed out onto the lava to get these pictures. It was pretty scary because my hiking stick was packed, but I HAD to do it. Don stood on the beach shaking his head and rolling his eyes. He has such a big job containing me, sometimes.

Today was blood drive day in Hobart. I couldn't give blood, but Don could. I went and helped serve cookies and juices and pop to the donors. It was a fun thing to do. The first half hour or so I got to keep a two year old on my lap while his parents gave blood. His little 1 year old brother was content to stay in his stroller, but I had my hands full with the bigger brother. He knew how to give me five and he was pretty amazed with counting to five when I used my whole hand full of 5 fingers to tickle him when we got to the magic five. The little brother was mostly amused with watching us, thankfully! There were a couple of bigger kids who helped by watching the one in the stroller, as did another lady from church when she could get away from the serving 'job.'

I have to tell you the results of the mice saga. I cleaned out all their food supply, so they might be getting weak. I haven't seen them anymore. Likely they don't like us invading 'their' space, either. I was pleased when we got up this morning that there were 2 in the sticky traps. The regular traps that I set were not tripped, but the popcorn I'd put on there for bait was gone. So, I went to Wal-Mart and bought more sticky traps and put them beside the ones loaded with popcorn. I'll get those rascals!

The AC man came today and pronounced our AC dead and not repairable. That's not good, but it was not a surprise. We've been limping along with it for the last few years and knew that it's lifetime was limited. He's working up an estimate for us on a replacement unit. It's not good news, but we aren't emotionally attached to the AC, so we just have to pay for it. We won't be mourning it's loss. I think that's a good thing. There are lots worse things than having to buy something expensive. You know facing breast cancer was a worse thing, and we've lived through that. Facing death of loved ones is certainly a worse thing and we've had to do that. Everything is relative, so this is tough, but it's not the toughest thing.

I thank God that he gives us the strength to face what we need to face. I ask Him to help me to keep priorities straight in my life and thank Him for so many rich blessings. We're blessed that the AC in our bedroom and bathroom, which we added several years ago, is working, so we have a cool place to sleep and go to when the heat in here is too bad.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A hot day at home.

This is a picture Don took on our last day of touring around Kona. I really haven't figured out what beach this is, yet! I thought it was beautiful and there was nearly nobody here. The water is such beautiful shades of blue. Isn't it amazing that this white sand is right here by the lava? We found several such spots on Monday.

Today has been HOT. We have AC in our bedroom and bathroom, but in the rest of the house it is hot and there is no other way to describe it. I didn't even hear how hot it got here today, but I felt it was VERY hot. We bought traps for the mice, but we haven't caught any, yet. I guess they're waiting until midnight or so to do their raiding. I'm going to bed and leaving them with the traps.

You know what? I was giving thanks for my clothes dryer today! I loved hanging out clothes in Hawaii, but it was sure nice to be able to have them done and ready to go in a couple of hours today, lint free! Of course I always play 'Chinese laundry' and hang as many as I can in the closet where our water heater is. It's toasty warm in there and things dry quickly. That may be as close to a clothesline as I get because our yard is really very small except in the front and I think the neighbors would frown on us putting a clothesline in the front yard.

We got to go cut David and Dorothy's hair today. Then tonight before church I went to the nursing home to sing. So, we're getting back into what is normal for us around here. Hopefully, the AC man will have time to come by here tomorrow. If not, it's no big thing; we'll survive. We go to Houston on Saturday, so we won't be after him to heavy duty until next Thursday, when we'll be home for the rest of the summer. Ten of us met at the Kozy Diner for breakfast this morning; that was sure fun! I thank God for these wonderful friends and for their health and ours!

I also thank God for our preacher, who had a great lesson tonight and our great class teacher, who has a very thought provoking class. The preacher's devotional tonight was about how Moses did all his really great things after he was 80; what an interesting thought that is. He's a young guy (early 30's I'd say) and he was pretty smart to point that out to a congregation of folks who have a lot of members over 80. I'd say he has begun his great works already, but I appreciate him pointing out that some of us can do great things as old folks. We're blessed to have some great young people working with us. Our Wednesday night teacher is an awesome guy who is probably in his middle 30's. He's a quiet kind of guy, who farms (after several years of being a stock broker), and you don't want to miss what he says because it usually exhibits a lot of good thought. We're studying angels; another great study, and I'm so grateful to get to go through this with this class of thinkers.

HOME, again!

This is the final bouquet we left to Welcome Karen home. We got to enjoy it a couple of days before we left.

Okay. We're HOME. We had robbers again: MICE! I had left a bag of bird seed in the laundry room closet. Pretty dumb, huh. A family moved into the closet, and noticed the kitchen had a stash of popcorn, too. So, I had a mess to clean up. I vacuumed up 3 mice and tied the bag up in two plastic bags and tossed it into the dumpster. I doubt they'll live to tell it. It's not over, though. I've seen two more since all that and heard one in another place. Tomorrow will be all out war with the mice. We've never had mice in this house, so I'm not going to let them win. We'll go buy traps. Then I'm cleaning like a maniac.

We've got to go to bed, now, though. Don is already in bed. I'm next to take my bath. Then I'm going to bed. I just had to get up all the seed and popcorn and what mice I could. I'm not crazy about the idea of them running around in here as we sleep, but I know they don't have anything to eat anymore. I doubt they'll just leave, though. They'll be hunting and I'll be there with traps for them tomorrow. I may get some poison, too. I want them to be history. And to think, all I was chasing in Hawaii was ants and mold. Home is still sweet.

I thank God it wasn't a two legged robber. Although, the last intruder we had left no evidence and these mice were messy! I also thank God for a safe trip home. We KNOW we're home; it's storming outside, so I've got to get this all shut down before it gets done in by lightening. We need rain, maybe we'll get some!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From Denver

This is a picture of Karen's bed; we sure missed that last night! We had a safe flight and the best landing I've ever felt, but other than that it was rugged. We were on the last row of seats in the airplane, so we couldn't lay our seats back. Don had the window seat and I had the middle seat. That was not a pretty picture for a guy the size of Don or for me a claustrophobic. We did get to sleep some, but not much. Several United Flights had been cancelled during the week due to storms somewhere, so many people from those flights were on our flight and there was not an empty seat in the plane. There were no crying babies or grumpy old people (besides me), so other than the logistics, it was great. Our friends from church got to the airport just a few minutes after us, so we did see them and stood in line with them for a couple of hours. They got to sit in row 11, though and we were in 34, so we didn't see them after we loaded the plane.

Flying is NOT my favorite thing to do. In fact on a list of all the things I like to do it doesn't appear and it's somewhere near the bottom of things I'm willing to do to get to Hawaii. Anyway, we've made it to Denver, now. Our flight from Phoenix to Denver was pretty great. I woke up to order orange juice and drink it and slept all the rest of the way. We got to sit on row 2 and Don had an aisle seat and I had the middle seat. As long as he could escape and I could sleep and the person in front of me didn't lay down in my lap I had no claustrophobia issues. We were the first ones off the plane for a change (we were the last ones off in Phoenix)! Don watched our belongings while I went to the restroom and combed my hair and washed my face, brushed my teeth, and did the fresh mascara thing. I feel better. I'm so ready to go find food and then head for home, family and friends! Woo-hoo! I thank God for safe traveling.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Packed . . .

I took this picture to show the giant jade plant that is growing like a tree. There are many of those on this property. As I was looking back through all the pictures to put one final one on of this place, I thought this one was pretty good to show the feel of how it feels to be right here. It's been a real joy. That's Kiamanna, one of the little dogs you see in the picture. (She's the biggest one.)

We're all packed and ready to go except for the last minute things we'll do in the morning. We'll get up early in the morning and feed the dogs and have breakfast. Then we'll clean up the kitchen and load everything into the car. We'll pick up a rental car at the airport at 11 and switch our luggage into the rental car. Karen's plane is due here at noon. We'll hand off her car to her and then we'll spend the day touring around the Kona area. We have been there very little this trip and there is still a lot to see and do. Our plane doesn't leave until 11 p.m.

There are 3 ladies from church going back on the same flight with us: a mother and her daughter, who is going to Flagstaff to college and a good friend, who is going to support them. They are a wonderful 3, so we're hoping we get to sit somewhere near them. It's kind of fun to know someone on the plane besides just the person sitting next to you. It won't make that much difference because we'll all be sleeping, I hope! It was easier to leave church this morning when we were looking forward to flying together tomorrow night.

I thank God, for good friends here, as well as on the mainland. I thank Him for putting us into families, but also giving us each other as family members because He is our heavenly Father. What a concept and joy! I thank God for traveling with us everywhere we go and staying with us at home; another awesome concept!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dogs are clean and their beds, too.l

This is a picture I took last night at the Paniolo Country Inn Restaurant. It was such a wonderful evening! Auntie Mabel was there, again, and she's here dancing a hula dance. She is really a dear lady. Her grandson, Shawny was there, and he danced, as well. The really fun thing was this table of people who were in front of us. See the lady on the left with a gray jacket on her chair? That's a wheel chair. She 'danced' many dances from her chair just using the hand motions. The lady to her right sang many songs along with Braddah and his guys, but the guy to her right sang almost every song. He has a beautiful voice and he sang full throttle. He didn't need a microphone. They just sang right from the table. He's singing in this picture, but you can't tell it unless you blow it up bigger. Braddah didn't seem to mind at all that he had accompaniments. In fact, he seems to love it when people join in with him. He's a great, big hearted guy, and it was so much fun to introduce Bob to him. Bob had never heard him, and he was as impressed as we were. Braddah even mentioned that we would be leaving this week and he dedicated a song to us. Can you believe it? I can't, but I pinched myself, and it was really happening.

I bathed the dogs today and got all their bedding washed and dried. It's been a beautiful day for getting things done. We went to the farmer's market and I bought a bouquet of flowers to put with some others I've gathered to make a big welcome home bouquet for Karen. I've packed all I can. We have to pack church clothes after church tomorrow and then toiletries on Monday morning. Everything is ready. I've even got plans B and C for what to take out of the bags if we are over weight.

Home will be sweet. We look forward to seeing friends and family when we get home. This time next week we'll be in Houston, so the traveling isn't done until we get home from THAT trip. We don't mind the travel to get to see lots of people, though. Thanks for keeping up with us through the blog. God bless.

Really winding down in Hawaii.

This is really a different beach than we are used to seeing. You, who have been here (Hapuna Beach at the Prince Resort) will notice the difference. See how there is ocean, sand, WATER, then a little sand and then the green umbrellas? Usually there is ocean, a lot of sand and then the green umbrellas. Today they had signs up everywhere stating "no swimming" due to rip tides. There were people in the water riding the waves, but not out very far and no swimming and no snorkeling. Actually there were kids snorkeling in the water up high on the sand. I guess they were watching the sand crabs who were frantic about the wild waters. There would be a few waves like normal and then a series of huge waves would come rushing water almost up to the umbrellas. It was also difficult walking on the beach because the sand wasn't packed. It was something we had never seen in all the many, many times we'd been to this beach.

During the day we did things around here to get ready to go home. We cleaned all the sand out of the car, so we are done with the beach. Tomorrow we'll get the suitcases out and pack, as well as bathe the dogs, and a bunch more stuff.

Tonight was our last Friday to go see Braddah Smitty and Bob Dwyer joined us. We had a great time visiting with him, and Braddah Smitty was great, too. Bob had never heard him and he enjoyed it as much as we did, I think. Auntie Mabel and her grandson, Shawny were there and danced, so we enjoyed them, too. What a wonderful way to finish off our trip. Monday we'll do some more touring around Kona, but we're pretty much finishing up this trip this weekend. Thank you God for a wonderful experience.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recalling a day at the beach.

This picture was taken as we hiked around some beaches a week or so ago. I was so tired. We had walked and walked. This was such a beautiful view, though; I did my best to smile for the picture. That water against the white sand is so pretty. To tell the truth Don and I are both confused as to which beach this is. I think it is the beach at the Marriott, but I'm not really sure. How fun is that; to have been to so many beaches we can't even remember which is which? We've had such a great time here.

Today Don cut the grass and it was really high. We've had a rainy month and Karen didn't expect that. She thought we wouldn't have to mow at all, but this was our second time. I say our, because I helped him rake up the cuttings. It was that high! For the last 3 or 4 years they've had a drought, so she really didn't expect it to grow like it has. It looks really good, now that it's all cut and trimmed. It was nice to be able to do it in 80 degree weather, instead of 100 degree weather, or worse, at home. David's grandson is keeping our yard cut for us at home; thank you, Shane!

I mailed a (flat rate) box of stuff back to the house today, hoping that my suitcases won't be too heavy when we head home. I'm going to package up some things to pull out and leave at the airport if they are too heavy. I think we'll be okay, since I haven't bought much and I sent anything that was heavy in the box. Shipping and weight are really big issues from here!

Speaking of weight, you'd think we'd lose weight with all the exercise we get. Don eats enough m&m's to keep his weight maintained, however, I think he may have lost a little since we've been here. He looks slimmer to me, but he says his clothes feel the same on him. I struggle with Arimidex. Two of the side effects of it are weight gain and arthritis. I have fallen heir to those, but I could have a lot more like nausea, fatigue, etc. and I don't have any others. I don't have breast cancer, either! That's the goal, so I keep my eye on that. Thank you, God!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reflecting . . .

This is a picture looking down toward the main road, off which 'our' street turns. If you look almost in the middle of the picture there is a little red spot; that's the stop sign on our street. The street dead ends into this property. The roof you see in the middle left of the picture is the next neighbor to us on this street. The flat area that you see at the bottom of the picture is the third level of this property. For some reason it's in 4 levels. The cottage is actually sitting on this level. There are two more levels about the size of the one you see between this level and that house. Those trees that you see are at the edge of the first level and only the tops of them are showing in the picture. See how the grass looks kind of high on the edge of this level? That's where we stop mowing and nobody mows the area that slants down to the lower level. The property managers mow the first two levels and Karen mows this level and the one behind the house. I explain all this so that you get a concept of how much space we have. It's really nice to have this much space. Nobody is close to us, but we are right in town.

We are winding down our 'work' here, so I'm reflecting on the fun it has been. I am so grateful to have had the health and freedom to be able to do this. It's not perfect, because we miss things like our high speed and the power plate, not to mention friends and family, but it's sure been a wonderful experience.

God bless; I leave it all in His hands.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dorothy!

Now, you might think this is silly, but this picture is of a wonderful, sweet lady who also comes to hear Braddah Smitty often. She brings her grandson with her and they both do hula dances to his music. This is a shot of her doing one of her dances. There is a lamp just above her head that looks like she has on a red cap, but that's just the lamp in the background. (I couldn't have done that if I'd meant to do it!) She dances with such intensity and love. It's beautiful and I can't help but love her. They call every lady who they love and respect 'auntie' here, and this is one we all love. When the neighbor, Jeannie came to visit last week I asked her about it and she said it's a lot like being called "mam" on the mainland.

Today we waited for Felicia, again, but she hasn't shown, yet. We went to the beach and walked it. We really like walking the beach. It sure beats any walking we do, anywhere. When we get home we'll have to get up at 5 to walk in the way early hours while it's cool enough to walk. We'll be glad for an alarm clock then. Also we'll be glad we're just getting up to walk and not to feed dogs. Ha. There's always a slant to help us with gratitude. These dogs are precious, but they are dogs. I'd rather schedule my life around my walking than around the feeding of dogs, unless it's my housing permit for a month; then I can love the dogs!

We also sat out on the lanai and simply enjoyed sitting out there. We have a deck in Hobart, but it's rare that it's that nice to sit out there. It's home, though. We're grateful for home and for house-sitting opportunities like this. We are so blessed and thank God!

Monday, August 10, 2009

No sign of Felicia, yet.

So far, so good. This is the 4th level (part of this property) behind the cottage. These trees are HUGE and we have some concerns about them standing if we get a lot of wind. If any of them were to fall, it would smash this cottage, which is right to the left of where this picture begins. Two dead trees were blown over last week (on a lower level), roots and all. I hope the operative word there is DEAD; they were dead trees and these pictured are alive. It has rained every day since we've been here (not a continuous rain, but none the less, rain), so we know the ground is wet. It's not soppy, but the winds concern us. However, today was beautiful. The news tells us that the storm is going north of the Big Island, so we really only expect some rain or wind and we get a lot of that, anyway. We'll see what happens. By the way, that big brown house in the picture belongs to the lady who came to visit last week. She is a breast cancer survivor and they have a cat, so we could talk! She said they might call us to house sit sometime; thankfully, that house is actually two condo units. They own the whole thing and rent out one of the units, so we'd only have half of it to keep. The cat is their biggest concern. We would love such an opportunity and it would be fun to be here when Karen is here.

Today we took it easy around here, thinking that any moment a storm might hit. It happens really quick like that in Oklahoma, so we didn't dare to leave. We didn't have anywhere to go, anyway, so we just enjoyed being in Hawaii. I took pictures around the place since our time here is getting short and Don did some yard work. My back was happy to have another day of rest! I thank God that we were able to bring my Jiggler; I had a session with it this morning. This place is small and I don't have a great place for using it, so I don't use it every day, but it's great to have it to use from time to time.

Happy Birthday, Doris!

Doris, these flowers are for your birthday! I'm enjoying them for you. I know you love cut flowers like I do, so I hope you like these. When we first started this 'sit' Karen had a beautiful arrangement for us. It lasted for a little over 2 weeks, but when it just couldn't stand alone any longer, I pulled out the dead stuff and added to what was left from the yard. That has really been fun, because there are some beautiful flowers in the yard. I don't know what they are, but I'm enjoying them. I figured the wind from tomorrow's storm will get a lot, so I had fun cutting today.

I got up before church this morning and did two loads of laundry. They told us today would be beautiful, so I figured I'd better get the wash done while I could. (It takes most of the day to dry, so if I'd waited until after church it wouldn't have all dried; you know our sweats had to be dry for sleeping!) I expect a lot of rain and wind the next couple of days. We're ready. I filtered a bunch of water today and filled every jar I could find. This place is small and Karen isn't a pack rat; she keeps only what she needs, so she didn't have any jars. I've been here 3 weeks, though, so I had quite a collection going. Ha! They recycle here, so I had everything washed to recycle, so it was handy enough. I'm not sure how the recycling works, so I was washing it to leave for her to do whatever is supposed to be done with it. It's handy to have it to fill with water in case we lose water. If we lose power, we'll be in trouble, but not serious trouble. We have peanut butter. We'll lose whatever is in the freezer and fridge; but we can work with that. We think it's not going to be that bad, but we're braced. We have peanut butter (Raynie would say peammmmmm butter.) and we have plenty of drinking water. We'll manage and thank God for safety. I thank Him for a beautiful day today to get ready for a couple of stormy days.

We've been laughing as we begin to wind down for our last week. Most people come and only have a week to be here, so we've been so fortunate to have two months here. It's been a grand time, but we're like horses who smell the barn: we're ready to go home. Our memory foam is missing us and I'll be so glad to have a bath after 3 weeks of only showers. One more week of showers and then I get a nice bath. That'll be a treat!
PS: Connie, I've answered you, but your mail keeps coming back to me. I can't get on facebook, either. This blog seems to be working, but we have some problems for some reason. When the storm hits I may not be able to post or send or receive mail. Everyone hang tough with us and take no news as good news. If we get blown away it'll be all over the news. God will take care.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The picture tonight is Bob Dwyer and I. We took him on "Our Favorite Hike" today! He had never been where we took him! We couldn't believe he'd never been there. We've had more time to explore this island than he has because he has to work when he's here! We are so blessed! It was fun to go with him. He was amazed, so that made it even more fun.

Last night was too cool. We continued my birthday celebration and went to the Paniolo Country Inn Restaurant to hear Braddah Smitty, again. During the evening, he mentioned, "It's so good to have you folks join us every week." I thought that was really nice. Then later he said, "Where are you folks from?" I told him Oklahoma, and the evening went on. We got up to leave and Don was already out and I was following when he said, "Oklahoma!" I thought he was cheering for Oklahoma, so I just waved back at him with my thumbs up. Then someone in the crowd said, "Come back; he wants to give you something." I went back in and he presented me with one of his CDs! I was so thrilled. I had looked on the Internet to see if I could buy a CD, but they were listed as 'not available.' How cool is that? We'll get to hear him one more Friday night. Bob Dwyer is coming down to join us next Friday.

'Our' hurricane, Felicia, has been downgraded to a tropical storm. Thank you, God!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Susan!

This picture is one I got of Don mowing. Karen didn't think we'd have to mow because it's usually dry around this time of year. Not this year. It has rained every day since we've been here. The ground is so porous that it sinks right through and isn't muddy, and it doesn't rain all day; it just rains at some time every day. So, the grass has really grown in spots and we were about to lose the dogs in some patches, and Don thought he should mow. The people who lived here before Karen had a nursery, so she thinks there is plastic under much of the yard and it doesn't grow hardly at all. So, it only took him about an hour to mow and weed-eat. I do laundry, so he does grass. Ha.

This evening we are going to celebrate my birthday some more; we're going to the Paniolo Country Inn for supper and to hear Braddah Smitty and his band. I really love to do that. Susan (our daughter-in-law), we'll be celebrating for you, too.

We've got our last grocery list made. I think we will be coasting on the food we have for the most part. We hope we are prepared for the hurricane if it hits us. We expect it will be down to a big rain/wind storm by the time it gets here. However, there were two dead trees on the property that fell over the other day with some big winds. They were dead before, but we'd had a lot of rain, so the ground was soft and then when the big winds came, over they went, roots and all. We had to move them off the driveway. The property manager was here the week after Karen left saying they were coming to remove those trees, but they haven't come, yet. I just hope none of the big ones around us fall over onto us if we get big winds Monday. God is taking care, so I trust Him. We've done all we know to do and leave the rest to Him.

A day around the cottage.

This picture is the refurbished flower arrangement. I had taken out some of the flowers that were dying and changed the water last week. Today I took out the dead flowers and changed the water and there were only a few flowers left. So, I raided the yard. I don't know if these flowers are good cut flowers, but I'm giving it a shot. It was fun to go out in the yard and collect beauty and bring it inside. That vase, by the way is lead crystal. It is really gorgeous. I could hardly lift it to wash it, and the detail on it is really awesome. How fun to have such a beautiful thing to enjoy. I have beautiful things at home, but it's really a treat to have some to enjoy here, too. Karen has this little cottage fixed up so nice. Everything in it is VERY nice, and she is so generous to share it all with us.

Today we stayed around the house. I washed the dogs bedding and gave them baths. They have two little houses on the lanai that they sleep in during the day and a crate inside, so all that bedding needed to be washed. They are so good for baths; I can't believe them! I washed a load of our clothes, too. That load didn't get dry, so it's still on the lanai. It'll be dry tomorrow.

We're watching the news and making plans to be ready in case we lose power next Monday when the hurricane comes. Well, Don is watching and coaching me. I haven't seen anything about it; is it Felicia? Anyway, I'm praying that God will change it's direction or fizzle it out in the ocean. If we lose power, I wouldn't know what to do with all Karen has in her freezer. It's mostly dog food; she makes all the food for the dogs. Without that I guess they'd have to eat whatever we can get at the store and be like real dogs? It will be interesting, but I trust God to take care of us.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Karen's Hawaiian Cottage

This is a picture of the little cottage we are 'sitting.' Notice how there is an area that is brown grass instead of green? Karen said the people who rented this place before her had a nursery here and she thinks they must have plastic under the grass because it never will stay green.
If you click on the picture and make it huge, you'll see the little dogs on the left end of the lanai (porch) watching us as we walk around the property. This only shows one level of the property; I guess it's about an acre. It's in three levels and we only have to keep the top level. There are property managers (Karen rents this place from an estate) who take care of the bottom two levels. From the bottom level you can't even see this little cottage. We took this picture the day I washed after we'd gotten that bag of shirts at the thrift store. The laundry has to hang out most of the day to dry and if it rains, then it has to hang out for two days. It works. Notice Nob Hill is behind the cottage. There are some really fine houses behind here, too; it's a very nice area. One of the houses behind us is for rent right now for $3700 a month. We're very content to be here and thank God for this opportunity!

Today we went to Hapuna Beach, but it was VERY windy, again. We couldn't even lay on the beach because the sand was blasting us so badly. We walked the beach twice to get some exercise and then we went up in the grassy part for a while to get some vitamin D. We didn't stay too long, though. The wind was just too brutal. I came home and washed all the sand out of my hair. So, I got an extra shampoo; my hair is happy and curly. I look like little orphan Annie, only my hair isn't red. I had sand even in my ears. I'm not crazy about the beach when it's that windy, but it was so, so beautiful!

We're on our last two weeks, so we're working hard to make our food come out even. We don't want to leave a bunch of food that Karen won't eat, so I think we'll be eating some odd combinations for a couple of weeks. Ha! Karen eats all organic foods, so I don't think she'll want anything we leave for her. Man, we do well to eat, let alone eat organic food; everything is so expensive! Most things are 30-50% more than they are at home. We think it's high at home, but this convinces us that we should be grateful for better prices than this at home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fashion Statement?

Here's the picture I promised yesterday of me with the big turtle. He was really pretty magnificent, in my opinion. By the way, Don says we only saw about 15 turtles; I thought it was nearly 30, but you know I don't count well! And, remember I nearly never am making a fashion statement! My sister sent me a picture today that was taken on my first birthday. I had on nothing but a diaper and a pair of panties on my head (Trish, Raynie got it from me!). From birth I have not cared much about style I guess. However, when I go hiking my fashion statement is comfort and bring WATER! Thus, the huge water bottle in my pocket. The other pocket carries my camera and phone, silver water and lip gloss. I have to keep this rump and belly to keep my pants from falling! (However, I'd gladly carry a bag for all that stuff if I could get rid of the belly and rump, but they seem to be here for the duration and the pockets sure come in handy.)

Today has been a nice, nice birthday. Gretta called from New York at 11 her time, but it was 5 in the morning here. I was so relieved that it wasn't bad news! Plus, I got to go back to bed and Don let me sleep in until 7 when I had to get up and feed the dogs and cat. Then I got to go back to bed and sleep in again until 8. I love sleeping in!

Don wanted to go do something special for my birthday or go out to eat. I didn't want to go anywhere; just hanging around here and not working at anything was a nice day for me. I think he was kind of bored with it, but he's a nice guy and didn't complain. Tomorrow we'll probably go on some adventure and I'll be braced and ready for it. We ate out Sunday night and we'll eat out again Friday, I hope (go hear Braddah Smitty, again); those are good celebrations for me. I didn't want to go somewhere just to be going, so we had a good day here.

Thank you all for your good wishes. I thank God for another birthday and every day.

Another day beaching.

Today we went beaching, again. We spent a big hunk of our time at A-bay, which is the beach at the Marriott's resort. They have a great, long white beach, which we walked, but we tend to gravitate to the rough parts. I love it if I find a swing or piece of driftwood for climbing or sitting. This picture is me on such a piece of wood. I move along pretty good, but if I can find a place to sit I'm sure happy to sit a spell.

I, like a dummy didn't even think to get a picture of the great, white beach. It was all full of people and it just didn't look so great to me. However, we must have seen 30 turtles as we walked and I got pictures of all of them. None of them look so great because they were in the water up close enough to see, so there is sand all around them. It was so fun to see them, but the pictures just don't do them justice. We did come up on one who was coming out of the water to rest. He was huge, and beautiful. I got a bunch of pictures of him, plus Don took one of him and me, standing right above him on some lava. I'll post that one tomorrow.

We climbed over a pretty treacherous lava trail to see some fresh water ponds out by some mansion someone built out on the beach. I'll post some of those pictures someday, too. It's just amazing how much money some folks must have, to build these mansions. The mansions are one thing, but the land is so expensive. I just don't know how people do it. Don says they have to be dirty, filthy rich. Ha! If you are dirty, filthy rich, congratulations. Call us to come house sit for you; we're great with cats and these perfectly well behaved little chihuahuas!

I think we are rich to be able to get to come and see these places and to have the health to be able to climb around on the lava and hike in the sand. It was TOUGH, but I'm so glad we did it. We are finding more places to take Tom and Linda and Steve and Mary! We don't have gobs of money, but we have health and love of family and friends, so that's plenty rich for me. Thank you, God!

After we came home, a neighbor stopped by to visit. I had been expecting her, because Karen said she would come. She came in and said, "I've been trying to call, but I always get a busy signal." Dial up! So, she got in her car and came to visit, anyway. I was so glad that she did. She is a breast cancer survivor and she is 60, so we have a whole lot in common. It was really fun to visit with her. She lives right behind us here, but you have to drive to get there because there is so much growth between us. We could yell at each other and hear, though. Anyway, it was sure fun to visit with her. I give thanks for a new friend!

Monday, August 3, 2009


This picture is to show you the delight we found tonight when Don took me out for my birthday dinner. My birthday is not until Tuesday, but we celebrate every day, so it doesn't matter. The Paniolo Country Inn Restaurant was having a Kanikapila tonight, so I wanted to go. It's a time when Braddah Smitty plays and many of his followers come and play and sing along with him; they do this the first Sunday of every month. There were two players in his group with him and there were 5 other people in the crowd singing and playing with him! (5 of them were women!) The lady with her back to the camera (in green) was having her birthday today, so many songs were directed to her. She was also one of the people who were playing and singing along with Braddah. The three ladies facing the camera are doing a hula dance together in honor of the birthday "Auntie." The hula lady on the left did a few hulas by herself and she does such beautiful hulas. They called her "Auntie," as well. The lady in the middle, they also called "Auntie." She and the lady on the right were also playing along and singing with Braddah. The "Auntie" in the middle did a special hula where she sat in a chair facing us all and did only the hand, arm and facial movements; I don't know what it all meant, but it was very touching to everyone there, including us. It was such a delightful place to be. Most of the crowd were in their 40's or above, but some younger people were there. EVERYONE seemed to love everyone. It was so cool how they called all these ladies "Auntie." I think that must mean someone they love and respect, not absolutely their blood kin. It was a really special time, though. Toward the end they sang happy birthday to the lady in green and the Restaurant presented her with a huge dessert with a candle in it. Also during the evening a young lady came in and put a beautiful white ginger lei(smelled wonderful and we were 15 feet away from her) around her neck, kissed her on the cheek and left. The evening was a wonderful present for me; I enjoyed it so much! Thank you, Don for taking me. Thank you, God, for letting us have this experience and share "Auntie's" birthday celebration!

We started the day with church and a potluck dinner afterwards. I had mixed up a meatloaf and a corn casserole Friday and just cooked them this morning, so it wasn't so hard to get it done. I made some biscuits this morning and took some of them, too. It was fun to fellowship; with the church, here. We've rested good this weekend, so we plan to go to the beaches tomorrow and find some things we missed in our adventures last week. I sure thank God that rest helps me to brace for more hiking. After a couple of days of it I have to take a break, but my body seems to heal. Thank you, God!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Happy August!

This picture was the other day when we went to Hilo and found these tide pools. It was a great day and a great find. This was a part of Hilo we'd never had time to explore.

We are so blessed to have the opportunity to be here for a month or two at a time. We can relax and enjoy the visit. We go hard for a day or two and then we relax. I have to do that. My joints are very unhappy with all this activity, but I can only imagine how they would freeze if I gave in and never moved. I imagine it wouldn't be long until I wouldn't be able to move at all. It'll be good to get home and use our Power Plate. It's a full body vibration unit and it sure helps keep the body moving. I thank God for the Power Plate, but also for the opportunity to come here! It's such a wonderful opportunity to be here and get to see so much. We are so in love with the Big Island. We've spend 3 days on Oahu and a week on Kauai on previous trips. We loved Kauai, but we saw all we could see in that week. Oahu is way too busy for our liking, although there are some beautiful spots. We'd like to see Maui sometime; maybe on another trip. If we only come back to the Big Island, we'll be happy with that opportunity.

It rained all night last night and was still raining when we got up. It has been dry for about an hour, now. Maybe we'll get to go out and do some yard saling after all. I wonder if anyone will have any with all the rain. This much rain is uncommon for here, but there was a hurricane south of us and I think we got some extra rain from that.

We went to hear Braddah Smitty last night and he wasn't there! Typical Hawaii sort of deal; everything is 'penciled in.' So we came home and I made hamburgers. We'll catch him next Friday I hope. It was actually nice to have some time to kick back and read on a novel.