Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Treasured friends.

Tonight's picture is of Floyd, Joan and their brother, Donald. Donald died with lung cancer 4 years ago, not too long after this picture was made. Floyd is the oldest. He is 83 and will be 84 on November 1. He is doing very, very well. They have him scheduled for surgery tomorrow afternoon. Due to the kind of break and his age, they feel it is necessary to do a partial replacement. We're taking a walker tomorrow and they say they will have him up using the walker soon after his surgery. That sounds great to all of us. We expect the surgery to last a couple of hours and for him to be in the hospital for a couple of days. Then they will release him to a rehab and he will be there until he can navigate the walker on his own. He is in great spirits. He is not in so much pain, thanks to a morphine pump, traction, and some muscle relaxers. I praise God and thank Him for Floyd's great spirit and patience with all this. Thank you for your prayers, too!

Last night was a rugged night for me. My knees were so angry that I had trouble sleeping and sleep is the thing I do best! I've decided that I am NOT going to continue with any jogging. My back and knees are too fragile to deliberately abuse them. It's one thing to hike, but I have a stick to steady me and there are great treats to see when hiking. Jogging serves no purpose except to make my heart beat faster and blow out my knees and back. I'll speed up my walking and if that doesn't help my heart to beat fast enough, then I may not live as long, but I cherish the ability to walk too much to trash it with a few seconds of running. I gave it a good effort, but I've got to read the signals my body is giving me. I know that more women die of complications from falls than breast cancer and ovarian cancer put together, and I'm JOGGING? Someone who walks with a cane and hikes with a stick is JOGGING with NOTHING to steady her but imagination? Okay; I'm done being stupid about jogging. Spending a day in the hospital with a friend with a broken hip was the final clue. I pray that I wasn't so hard headed and stupid that I had to see Floyd suffer to get the message, but it sure looks like it! God forgive me!

I'm headed to another soothing bath and a better night's sleep. Thanks to you who coached me to cease the jogging! (My sister, Ruthie, especially; she's taught me so much all my life, and she went into a conniption over this jogging; I thank her for caring so much and for her wisdom and love.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Please pray for Floyd Johnston.

This is my most recent bubble bath: tonight! This interval walking we're doing (walk 4 minutes, then jog 30 seconds) is wrecking havoc with my knees and all the rest of me, too. I'm getting it done, but my body begged for a soak tonight. It's so dumb; we have this whirlpool bath and I only use it about 3 or 4 times a year! How stupid is that? It just seems like there is never time for such a luxury, but tonight I went the whole nine yards, candles, bubbles and shampoo. I'm clean to the bone.

I just got out of the tub when our good friend, Joan, called. Joan is the one who checks mail for us when we're gone and takes care of my flower beds, etc. Her brother, Floyd, and she play cards with us and Floyd helped us do most of the remodeling we did on this house when we moved into it. He was a fine carpenter and is a good friend, but he's had problems with macular degeneration, open heart surgery and bladder cancer over the last 10 years. Anyway, today he went on a trip with his Sunday school class and stopped at a restaurant in Lawton to eat and fell and broke his hip. I think he'll be 83 in November, so this will not be easy for him. He's in Comanche County Hospital in Lawton tonight and a surgeon will see him first thing in the morning. We'll go with Joan to Lawton in the morning. Please pray for a speedy recovery for him if it's God's will.

I'm so scared of falls and here I am jogging. I don't know if this is so smart or not. I'll give it a few more days, but it looks like we're taking tomorrow off from walking. We'll do a lot of walking around the hospital, but I'll take the day off from jogging! I sure thank God that I'm able to walk and jog! I thought tonight as I took that bath how much easier it is to get in and out of the tub than it has been in the past when I was weak from chemo. It's so wonderful to be able to get wet all over and soapy! I think back to the time when I was having radiation and I couldn't wash my chest. I had to just rinse it off and preserve all the markings they made on me that made my chest look like a landing strip. I am so grateful for the recovery and the bath!

Thank you for your prayers for Floyd. I'll keep you updated on his progress.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Congratulations, Nate!

This may look like a regular kid, but he's the new Battalion Commander at Northwest Classen High School ROTC in Oklahoma City. He's a real regular kind of guy in many ways, but he's some kind of special dude to have this honor. He started at NWC in his Sophomore year, so this is only his 3rd year in ROTC and this is the first time in the history of ROTC at NWC that a 3rd year student has been named to this position. I could list a whole million ways he is special, but I'm the grammy and I count everything, including that he likes my pie. It's pretty cool that the staff at NWC thinks he's special, too. Congratulations, Nate; you make us very proud!

Today was another gorgeous day! We started a new thing, interval walking. Don read that we should walk for 4 minutes and then for 30 seconds increase our speed to build up our heart rate. We walk pretty fast already, so we really couldn't imagine walking faster. So we jogged for 30 seconds. I didn't think I could jog, but I did make it for 30 seconds after 4 minutes to 'rest.' I pretended I was running to a shelter from a tornado, carrying a grand baby; so, I had to do it. My knees cooperated and I managed to not fall on my face. We'll see if I can walk tomorrow. We cut about 5 minutes off of our regular walk, so that was interesting. If it was hot I don't think I could have done it. But we'll get better by the time it gets hot, again, so maybe I can do it even then.

My next big challenge today was installing the MagicJack that came today. It's a gadget that lets me make long distance phone calls for free, using the computer. Cool! And it works! Woohoo! Our number is 405-241-6306, so if you're in the 405 area code you can call us for free, too. It took me a couple of hours to do a 3 minute sort of thing, but that's how I do things these days: the LONG way.

Then I spent the rest of the day figuring out how many herbs and vitamins we need to order to have for the next 7 months. That'll get us through our next trip to Hawaii and spring break in Branson as soon as we get home. Whew. That was exhausting and expensive! It's done, though, and I thank God for getting me through this day in one piece. I feel good and I thank Him for that, too. Now, I'm going to bed and give thanks for my great bed!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Erica!

This is our first grand baby and she's 19 today! We are so proud of Erica; she's in her first year at Oklahoma State University, but we treasure the memories of her growing up; I never put on a pair of flip flops without recalling how she called them be-bops, and I always miss her when I yard sale because we've had some great bargain finding days at sales. She always loved to clean and I do my best to get into the 'Erica mode' as I go about the house cleaning; I can never get into the spirit of it like she does, though. I always work on it, though.

Today was a fun day. The town had a town wide church service this morning at the high school baseball stadium. That was exciting for us. Many people stayed to eat hamburgers and hot dogs, but we didn't stay. We're kind of hooked on eating in a chair, at a table, and with real dishes and forks. We can picnic, but we do that best at a beach and in hiking clothes. So, we stopped and had lunch at the Mexican Restaurant on the way home. This afternoon I went to the nursing home for our devotional there, so the afternoon was pretty full. I had a little lull time between and cleaned out some drawers in my bedroom. Why is that job never complete?

I didn't walk today. There was just not enough time to do it and clean up afterwards, so I skipped it. I'll get back into the swing of things tomorrow.

Our Wednesday night class teacher is a guy who is one of the owners of Premium Beef, a local company who raises and produced pure beef. I'm so glad he is doing this because I need pure beef! We all need pure beef, but it's not available to most people. I feel so blessed to have this available and they are even going to deliver some to us Tuesday! That cuts out my day for me on Tuesday; I'll be making hamburger patties; mixing them with chia seeds and patting them out to freeze. Yeehaw! I'm so excited and thank God for this company and the families who run it. (check out

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We were blessed at the 40 foot hole!

Tonight's picture shows the 40 foot hole as we were leaving it. You can see the grassy patch that I came down (about the middle of the top of the picture) and the yellow lichen on the rocks to the right to help to get it in perspective. This is taken from up much higher than where last night's was taken. The pool of water that you see in tonight's picture can't even be seen in last night's picture and last night's pool can hardly be seen in this one. It's a very interesting place; we think it's one of Oklahoma's best kept secrets.

We played cards at our house tonight and Joan told us that one of the guys who were rescued at the reserve last Saturday was hauled out of the 40 foot hole! He fell and broke his ankle and couldn't get out. They had to take him out with a helicopter. Goodness. We didn't even hear the helicopter, so it must have been after we were there. As soon as we climbed out of there we went to Meer's Restaurant (a real hole in the wall that was moved to the spot where it sits in 1902).

It's been a great week for us. The weather has been beautiful. We've gotten our trip to Hawaii pretty well in shape. We're on hold for some condo time, but I think it will happen. At least we have tickets and friends who live there who won't leave us on the street. The beach is always nice, too! I feel great. I thank God for keeping us safe as we travel and even as we hike. I thank Him for health for us and for our family and friends. We are richly blessed.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Last Saturday recollections.

This is a picture taken a week ago, tomorrow. We went hiking with Steve and Mary in the Wichita Wildlife Reserve. That was the day we called 'Elk Day," even though we also saw buffalo, deer, longhorn, and prairie dogs, not to mention various birds. This particular place is called the 40 foot hole because of the 40 foot drop. It's been a dry year, evidently, because there is normally water flowing here where you see the gray at the bottom. Don and Steve and I hiked around even on the rocks in the bottom of this creek bed. We've never been able to get in this creek bed because the water has always been too deep and rushing. It was cool to hike around down in there. The issue came when I got into position to take this picture. I wanted to go down to the gray rocks where I could easily walk back to the side on the left where we entered this area. Don thought we could go over these pink rocks you see on the front and right and climb down there; then go along the gray rocks to the right until we could cross over the gray rocks in the middle. He really did that. I got to where he went down and got scared because my legs are shorter than his and I didn't think I could make it. I was also squeamish about getting along those gray rocks on the side. Somehow my chemo brain convinced me that I should climb up over the rocks on the right and come back down the grassy part you see up on the right and top. Steve and Mary and Don were all on the left hand side coaching me along the way. Obviously, I made it, but I look back at this picture and know that I suffer from chemo fog. It was sure fun to do. I guess lots of people my age ride motorcycles and I climb around on rocks; we're all crazy.

So, this week the local news ran a piece about how this great weather we've had has been great for hiking in the Reserve, however, 12 people have been killed (from injuries, not shot or anything like that) over the last 24 years and two had to be rescued last Saturday! YIKES! That's when we were there and I was climbing around like an idiot! I thank God that he has protected us all the times that we've hiked at the Reserve. Many times we've been lost, but we always found our way.

Today was another awesome day for walking and sunning. It's great to be outdoors in weather like this.

I'm throwing herbs tonight to get us through another couple of weeks. Soon I'll have to do a bunch to take to Hawaii. Ugh. Right now I'm just doing a couple of weeks at a time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More southwest Oklahoma wildlife.

This picture is of 'Don's walking stick,' who was on Steve's hand when we were hiking at Quartz Mountain State Park on Saturday. Don spotted him, so we called him Don's. Steve got him on his hand so we could get good pictures. I'd say Don has pretty good vision and good spotting skills to see this guy!

Today has been so nice. It's great here when it's cool in the mornings and then turns warm in the afternoon. We love it. Yesterday I dusted and vacuumed all the hard floors and today I mopped and Don Vacuumed the carpets. Whew. I so appreciate him doing the vacuuming; it makes it less of a job, plus it's fun to work together. It feels good to have the house all clean. We'll have folks here to play cards Saturday night, so we're ready.

David got to go home from the hospital today, so we're so pleased with that. This weekend is his high school reunion, so he's sure glad to be able to attend the festivities.

I washed my hair today. I am always surprised at how curly it is. I wear it pulled back all the time, so I forget how curly it is. I am really grateful to have hair, curly or not doesn't matter. It keeps me warm! I feel really good. I feel best when I remember that I'm 61; it's when I think I'm 25 that I do too much and get so tired. God has been so good to me. I thank Him for life and so many blessings.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

David is better and going home in the morning!

This picture is one I got of a collared lizard last Saturday when we went to the butterfly garden in Granite, Oklahoma. I love these lizards! Notice that he is in the process of shedding his skin.

I love that concept of shedding skin. It reminds me that we can shed our skin and we do. Our God made our bodies so fantastic. I love that I can shed cancer and walk right out of it and still be whole. This lizard so reminds me of that and I can only give thanks and smile.

Today has been beautiful here. We walked and it was great. It would be so nice if it were like this all year. It was cool this morning; less than 50, but it got up to 74 today. That's a nice day, and we really get lots of nice days here. The weather is only really brutal a couple of months out of the year. Hot in August and cold in January. It's a pretty good place to live and I thank God for this place, too.

Tonight I confirm our tickets to Hawaii this winter. What another blessing! Here we come; Aloha!

Thank you for your prayers for David. He is doing really well and is going home in the morning. PTL!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Please pray for David's recovery.

This picture I took last Saturday morning when we went with Steve and Mary to Quartz Mountain Park, which is about 20 miles from here. It was so cool. We saw more deer than we could count, but this bunch we could count! If you click on the picture and make it big I think you will be able to see patches of fawn spots on the hips of the little ones; at least the little one the most to the right. The one closest to the doe was nuzzling the doe to nurse. We were going birding, but we were appreciative of the deer shows we got!

Today David woke up having (more than common) trouble breathing, so they took him to his doctor, who put him right into the hospital. After running some tests they determined that he was headed toward pneumonia, so they've started his antibiotics and hope to nip this in the bud so that he can bounce right back. Bless his heart; he's done well for the last several months. My theory is that all the stuff that has all of us with allergies in misery is bothering him, too. I'm taking a 24 hour allergy pill and I'm still using a ton of Kleenex and coughing. The Netti pot is my best buddy these days!

I spent the day working on our Hawaii tickets and schedule. We've got tickets on hold and we're on a waiting list for a condo in Maui. It's beginning to take shape. Needless to say, I'm excited. There is a lot to do before we go, so I've got my work cut out for me to get prepared.

I thank God that I can do all this. I get confused with all the travel details, but I CAN do it. This time 2 years ago I could never have worked out these details. I know that I am so blessed to be alive and functioning pretty well. I thank God every day!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rested and back to work.

Here is the picture of me with the buffalo behind me; looks like he's on my head! We were so tired last night that we went to bed at 9 and slept until 8 this morning! Here I am up late, again, tonight, so I must have got all the rest I needed.

I've done some sewing today, changed our bed, done 3 loads of laundry, cut David and Dorothy's hair and we walked. We went to the Kozy Diner for lunch and then out to the Mexican restaurant with David and Dorothy for supper, so I haven't cooked much today. It's been busy and beautiful, though. It was 80 degrees and not too windy; pretty much a Kona kind of day, so we loved it.

I'm headed to bed and looking forward to a good night's sleep in fresh sheets. I didn't hang them outside, but I did hang them in the hot water heater closet to dry. :) I loved hanging the clothes outside in Hawaii, and I'm thankful when we can do that. I appreciate having a dryer, but I love the hot water heater closet which I use for hanging lots of things to dry and it's great for drying tennis shoes.

God is so good to us and we thank Him for so many blessings. Thank you for being in our lives.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We must be crazy!

This is Steve and Mary, standing a few feet in front of a buffalo. We must all be crazy; we hiked right past this guy, TWICE! These buffalo are not tame, but they don't bother you if you don't bother them, they tell us. They also tell us that if they charge you, you should lay down and play dead. I really can't imagine I could do that. But, I was able to walk past him and keep right on moving on our hike. We walked right past this guy going into the hike and he was still there an hour or more later when we returned. We had done some pretty heavy duty climbing on these rocks, so if he had charged us when we were done we probably could have played dead, come to think of it! Don took my picture standing in this same place; I'll post it some other night.

Today was elk day! It was awesome! We went to the reserve and saw 20 elk! We first saw 3, grazing, then later found one single male. Then after that view we spotted 3 more and parked so that Steve and I could move to the fence and get pictures. I don't even remember if I got any pictures; I don't think so. I wasn't close enough and I was too excited just watching. As we stood there, we saw 4 more behind the first three and then more moved into our view from behind the trees! There were a total of 16 at that one place. We go to the reserve a lot and we always see buffalo, longhorn and prairie dogs. But, today we saw all of those, plus the elk, a bunch of deer, a scarlet tanager and a rock wren. It was such a fine day of experiences. We thank God for blessing us so richly.

Steve and Mary had to go home tonight, but it was a wonderful visit. We are totally exhausted from the busy 3 days we've had, but it was so worth it! It was great to have them in our home and, as always, wonderful to spend time exploring with them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Great exploring day!

Tonight's picture is one Mary took of Don and I in a cave we found at Quartz Mountain Park today. Man, we had such a full day and saw so many incredible things. It's amazing the wonderful things we found right here so close to home! It's so wonderful to do anything with Steve and Mary because they help us to see and appreciate every single thing!

We hiked until we are all exhausted. Steve took over 700 pictures! I took about 45, I think, but lots of them aren't worth keeping. I'll show them to you from time to time; everything from a beautiful butterfly garden in Granite, Oklahoma to a collared lizard in that same butterfly garden. It was a great day and we were in awe all day of the magnificent work of our God!

I'm headed to bed, so we can get up early and go at it, again, tomorrow! Thanks for following us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Frazzled from the fun.

This is a picture Mary took of us tonight at the Cracker Barrell in Lawton. It's Friday, so I'm wearing my red shirt and Don wears a shirt with red in it. Hawaii shirts; one track minds, you know! Regardless, we wear red on Fridays to support the troops.

We had a great day. We got up at 5 so we could get going early to watch birds all over southwestern Oklahoma. Steve got lots of great pictures. We saw lots of wonderful birds. Don and I were amazed at the swamps and marshes right here in southwestern Oklahoma! Tomorrow we are headed another direction, but getting up at 5 again to get a good start on admiring God's handiwork right here on 'our stage.'

I should have looked at how many miles we went today, but none of us thought to do that. We were gone 14 hours; we know that. It was fun and we know that. We sure thank God for so much to admire and enjoy and the health to do it and friends to join us!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Davey!

Mentally, I'm still in Hawaii, so here's a picture of me laying in the hammock down in Pololu Valley. We won't go there this next time. We'll spend every possible moment watching whales, so I'm glad we did this the last time we went.

I've worked all day to get the plans made for the trip this winter. It's not falling together easily, but I'm getting closer. I will not give up on it. I will keep on until something works. I know it will work. God will help me; He always helps make things happen if they are good and this is good. I'm going to take the weekend off and let Him work it. Steve and Mary are on their way and will be here in less than an hour. Woo Hoo! We're going birding and it's so much fun to bird with them. They don't miss a thing.

I'm feeling so good. I think it's because I'm not doing anything physical. I'm just sitting here working on the computer. I can't veg out like this all the time, but a break is probably good for me. It sprinkled today when we were going to walk, so we didn't even do that. I just took the day off from everything except travel agency stuff. Ha. Well, I did make some chocolate chip pies. What a great recipe; it's so easy and seems to please everyone. I get sugar free cookies. I miss the pie, but I thank God for life, so I'm not eating pie that could be a setback for me. I figure I'm way over quota for my lifetime of chocolate.

Davey turned 45 today. I'll dig out a picture of him and post it soon. He is Erica and Bruce's daddy and I got pictures of them instead of him last weekend. How dumb was that? Grandkids really rate. Ha!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My body is in Hobart, but my mind is in Hawaii.

I don't remember if I posted this picture back in June when it was made. I was so in a dither then because we were so busy seeing all we could and house-sitting at the same time. This was when Steve and Mary were with us in Hawaii and we went hiking around the beach at Mahukona. Great memories! I had to dig up a Hawaii picture because, while my body is sitting right here at home, my mind has gone to Hawaii! Bob called this morning and wants us to come back to house-sit for the month of January. That's WHALE SEASON, our favorite thing about Hawaii! So, of course, we can't resist it. I've spent all the time I could today looking to see what options are available for us. We want to stay as long as we can while we go and we have the timeshares we would use in Branson, so we can use them there instead, if I can make that work. We'll see what I can do.

In the meantime, things are hopping here. Steve and Mary will be here tomorrow night. They have done some research and found some great birding places around here and we're going to chase birds around here this weekend. That'll be fun. I've got tabouli and beans made, so we won't starve. Tomorrow I'm making chocolate chip pies that everyone except me will eat. I'll have some sugar free ice cream. Anyway, we'll be having a fun weekend with them here. We'll enjoy sharing our area with them. They visited us about 10 years ago before we moved into this house. We'll love having them here and showing them our favorite restaurants, etc. We'll have a great time here, but we'll be doing a lot of Hawaii talk, I'm sure!

We thank God for great friends everywhere we go and opportunities and health to do the going. We always miss home when we go, but the going is so wonderful. We thank God for home, too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Trish!

This picture is Trish talking to Raynie as Raynie was 'petting' a couple of pairs of bunnies that I keep sitting on my island in the kitchen. Trish is celebrating the 19th anniversary of her 21st birthday today. I hope it's been a great day for her.

Today was a nice, nice day. We walked and got sweaty from walking, but not from the sun beating down on us. I think it was in the low 70's; that makes for nice walking! The wind wasn't making it hard to stand, either. It was just perfect.

Besides, we slept until 8 this morning. I love it when we can sleep in like that. Sleeping is the thing I do best next to holding babies. I thank God that we've had lots of babies to hold over the years and that they're all growing up to be (or have already grown up to be) fine, fine people.

I'm throwing herbs tonight for just the next couple of weeks. That's not such a huge job, so I'm going to do a couple of weeks at a time every now and then and plan to save up some each time so that I can build a stash to use when we travel. We'll see how that plan works.

Thank you for keeping up with us. We know that we are especially blessed with family and friends and we thank God for you and your love.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No water!

Here's the beautiful picture I've been promising of Erica and Don. No wonder he's smiling so big! Erica is a freshman at OSU (Oklahoma State University) this year. She's been grown up since she was 2. Ha! It was so good to see her this weekend.

Today we woke up with no water in the house. There was no water anywhere in town; a pump broke down or something like that. They had it fixed before lunch, though, so it wasn't a big deal. It was a big reminder, though, that we must count our blessings and not take such important things like water for granted. We had that reminder about AC, now water. I'm not crazy about these reminders, but I am pretty crazy about the conveniences! I thank God that our lives are really pretty good, even when they are complicated.

We went out to walk today and got less than a block when we were feeling sprinkles. We had gotten wet at the ballgame on Saturday, so we weren't too excited about getting wet as we walked. Plus, if we walk in the rain it's also slippery and we are really gun shy of falls. So, we turned around and came back home. I gave thanks for the treadmill and used it! My ingrown toenails are all better, by the way. I was able to trim them out of my toes and they don't hurt a bit. I'm giving thanks for that every day; what wonderful relief!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mason! (9)

Today was Mason's birthday, so I wanted to put his picture on the blog. He's so tired of me always showing up with the camera, but he's patient with me. He really wanted his creation in the picture, but I really wanted him in the picture, so I got both of them. He's a proud nine today.

We didn't get to see Rob, Nate and Gabe; they were at Civil Air Patrol exercises this weekend. Bummer, but it's a good activity for them. We did have a wonderful time seeing Davy and Susan and Erica and Bruce, yesterday. Tomorrow I'll really post the great picture I got of Erica and Don. No kidding; it's great, but it's Mason's birthday, so they got bumped today.
We got home this afternoon and we're taking it easy this evening. The trip to the city always wears us out like we ran the whole way or something. It's crazy, but it happens. We'll go to bed early tonight and get up in the morning to get the week started right.

I thank God for safe traveling and for wonderful family. We are so blessed!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bruce is growing so quickly!

This is a quick post. We've been 'playing' football all day, and I'm ready to crash. In the picture is our grandson, Bruce, who we've always followed around to be his baseball fans. He's getting so TALL, that I'm in shock. We've always been so proud of him; he's always needed an extra large t-shirt to cover his heart, but now an extra large will hardly cover his body. At 15 he's already 6 feet tall, so I guess he'll be 6'4" or more before he's through growing. I am in awe of all that height! Tomorrow I'll post a beautiful picture I got of his sister, Erica, with Don.

It was great fun to go to the OSU game, but OSU lost and we got wet in the rain. It wasn't an embarrassing loss, but a loss. Actually, I thought it was a good game, but what do I know about football? We came back from that game and watched more football in the media room in their new home. Then it hit Don that's we'd better hurry and get out of Norman before the OU game was over and we were bogged down in traffic, so we rushed off and our fun day came to an end. All good things must come to an end, but we can treasure the memories.

We are checked into a motel and tomorrow we'll go celebrate Mason's 9th birthday with him before we head for home. (I'm so glad we didn't opt to drive home tonight in the dark. Driving in the dark is not in our comfort zone anymore!) I thank God that we are this close to 8 of our 15 grandkids, so we can see some of them from time to time. We're so proud of all of them. How people manage without grandkids I can't even imagine. I think if you don't have any, you should borrow some!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11; red shirt day; thanking our troops for keeping us safe!

This picture is one of Raynie signing "cheese" for the picture. That's proud mommy, Trish with her. When we take pictures we always say, "Say cheese!" Raynie signs cheese and all the rest of us burst out laughing; she thinks that's really cool, and so do I! What a joy to be able to share this phase of her life. (We sure miss Elena, but thank God for the computer, the phone and digital cameras for keeping us in touch so much more than we could have been even 20 years ago!)

Today we've gotten ready to leave for this weekend's travels. We're going in the morning to David and Susan's new house in Norman. Then we'll ride with them to the OSU game in Stillwater. This is a first for us. We've never been to an OSU game. If you watch it on TV, watch for the only people in the crowd not wearing orange; that'll be us. We don't own orange shirts. I have black picked out for us to wear. Davey may be embarrassed and dress us in some of his orange; we'll see. Anyway, we're most excited to see their daughter, Erica, who is a freshman at OSU this year, and Bruce, who we've missed playing baseball all summer. He is growing by leaps and bounds at 15; that's what guys do so well. He's 6', weighs 210 and wears a size 14 shoe. We really can hardly wait to see them!

Then Sunday is Mason's birthday, so we're spending the night to be there Sunday, too. It'll be a fun weekend and then we'll come home and get back to real life, again.

Real life is pretty good stuff and I thank God for it. Arimidex is the pill I take to block estrogen because my cancer was fed by estrogen. Well, Arimidex is quite the devil, too. It makes me gain weight, like I didn't already have a problem with that! It also causes my feet, toes, and ankles to hurt and swell; the day before yesterday my left thumb started hurting. (More and more of these symptoms keep appearing.) It also causes arthritis, like being 61 wouldn't already push me in that direction. So, I feel really good, BUT, I ache a lot. The way I see it, I can deal so much better with these things than I could have dealt with death from breast cancer! I had aches and pains before I had breast cancer and all the treatments, but I just have it a little worse now. I'm ALIVE! I hope to be able to discontinue the Arimidex after 4 more years.

So that's how it is around here at this point; I feel achy and fat most days, but I feel ALIVE and blessed and I thank God for it. Being alive, I got to enjoy last weekend with the kids here. This weekend we get to see two more grandkids and go to the game with Davey and Susan. Every day I walk and do everything I need to do at home and Don even vacuums to help me. I thank God for so many blessings. I look forward to seeing all the rest of the kids before too long; alive is fantastic, even if I'm creaky and sometimes cranky.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New cell phone day.

This is precious Sadie as they were leaving to go home on Monday. She is a tad taller than me these days and we wear the same shoe size. She's only 12, but she's so grown up that I forget she's only 12 until I think about it.

Today has been another hairy technological challenge. We've been on a family plan with Trish and Robert with our cell phones for the last several years and our contract was up, so we decided to do something different. We were looking to do something that would allow us to use the cell phone connection to use the laptop for high speed service when we travel, but that was way more money than I wanted to pay. So, we got to searching and decided to go with the TracFone. Man! All the research is driving me crazy! Trish did all the research for the last many years and we just piggy backed with them. Now, I'm looking at all this and it's wild! The technical aspect of getting all the phone numbers plugged into the new phones, another trip! That's just going to have to wait until tomorrow. My brain is so scrambled tonight. We have the new phones; we have the new service; our phone numbers are the same; so you can call us and we'll answer. I just don't know how to call using these phones, yet. I'll figure that out tomorrow. I'm at home; if I need to call anyone I'll use the land line.

Otherwise, today was a good day. We walked and it was cooler than usual, so it was a great day to walk. My big toenails that I lost after chemo came back ingrown, so they have been really hurting me. I found my battery operated nail file today and was able to file my toenails right and it really relieved the pain. I hope you don't find this disgusting, but it's an issue directly related to the breast cancer, treatment and recovery. Who would have thought that my big toes would be such an issue? Trust me, when your big toes are hurting it's hard to be calm and relaxed about anything, and it's hard to walk an hour every day! If you've never had experience with an ingrown toenail, you don't know that they need to be filed so that there is the shape of a V on the end of the nail. I really couldn't get to my big toes at the right angle to file them like that with a regular file. The battery operated one did the trick so nicely. I can't believe they already don't hurt. I hope it lasts! (I haven't done my nails in a french manicure since before chemo, so I'd forgotten that I even have that fancy filer. Everything that touches skin or nails goes into the body and I don't trust that not to cause cancer, so my nails go natural. I just clip them and file them with a little glass file. I'm a little paranoid.)
Today I'm especially thanking God for reminding me of that battery operated file. I know He led me to it, because it was so out of my mind; I hadn't used it in 2 years. It really was a big help. It amazes me how God takes care of me in all the big and little ways and I so thank Him.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gracie, ever the model!

This picture is Gracie, ever the model. Bless her sweet little heart; she is always happy to pose for the camera. She is so proud to be in the 1st grade and loves school.

Today we walked and while I was hot and sweaty I thought I should spray for weeds. Also it wasn't windy, so I have to take advantage of a non-windy day in Oklahoma! Anyway, after I did that it made sense to me that while I was hot and sweaty I should clean out the pounds and pounds of bird seed and thistle we had in the shed. The mice love it out there and I never minded them being out there until they moved into the house. Since I got rid of them in the house, it's been bothering me that I was still feeding them out there. So, I tackled that job. I am so done with mice! It felt good to get all that done, but I keep forgetting that I shouldn't push myself so much. No wonder my back and legs hurt! I think I must feel so good that I forget I'm 61 until my body reminds me that I went too far. I thank God that I feel good enough to forget my age. What a blessing to feel so good.

I've spent the afternoon researching all the cell phone plans. Our 2 year commitment is fulfilled, so we're ready to make a change. It's pretty confusing. (Just what I need: more confusion!) We're keeping our number, though, so it won't be a big deal to anyone but us to figure out which plan to use.

I'm headed to the jiggler and bed. This is the best way to mend this body!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My last paint job.

This picture is Mason holding his prize he found here. It's a beautiful dragon fly. (Too bad it's dead.) He left it here, but I've saved it for him and have it ready to take to them this weekend. This weekend is his birthday. He'll be NINE. I can't believe he's that old, already!

Today Don was my hero and vacuumed the whole house for me, so the house is really good! It feels good to have it totally clean. We came home from Hawaii to mice and their messes, plus no heat. I cleaned all I could as I went, but it was really hard to do a good job without air conditioning! We've gone over everything, now. We didn't leave it dirty, but you know that dust happens in 3 months and then there were the mice! I couldn't rest good until everything was clean. Now, everything is clean.

Not only is it clean, but I painted today, too. The furnace closet needed painting because the new furnace fits differently. There were places that the old furnace covered that didn't make the last paint job, so that really needed painting. There had been a huge hole in the ceiling for the other furnace and they put in new sheet rock to fill that hole, so that needed painting. I don't know what made me think I should paint it, but I did think that so I did it. I won't do that, again! I'll know next time that there is someone out there who paints for a living and I'll find him or her. I lived through it, and it feels good to have it done. It also smells good. Actually, it smells like paint, but that has a fresh sort of smell. While I had the paint out I touched up a few places around the house, the whole time giving thanks that the whole place is old fashioned white. Old fashioned is okay with me because it was easy to cover smudges and worse. Clean; I like that!

Now, my back is really mad at me, again. Also my feet and legs are mad at me. So, I'm headed to the jiggler and then bed. I thank God that I can do this crazy stuff and I ask Him to remind me of my limits because I forget! I guess I think I'm still 25. I have so much trouble counting! Ha! I recognize the counting problem. Now, if I can just remember that I can't paint!

We even walked and voted today. I sure thank God that I can walk. I am so blessed!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Donna!

This is a picture of the handsome chauffeur Trish has these days. Nate has his learner's permit, so he can drive as long as a licensed driver is in the car with him. I got lucky and he took me to Wal-Mart/Sonic/grocery store this weekend. We also played lots of cards, but didn't get to play any Rook. Trish doesn't like Rook, so we played Hand and Foot Canasta.

They're all home safely, as are Deanna (our niece) and her 3 sons. Good; everyone is home, safe, and getting back into the 'home' groove. We miss them, but I've got all the sheets changed and floors mopped. Don will vacuum tomorrow. I'm so grateful for AC! It worked fine all weekend and kept me cool as I cleaned today.

My back is really mad about all the cleaning, but maybe I can make peace with it with a session with the jiggler and then a nice bath. Home, sweet home! I thank God for home, family and health.

I just got an update on my nephew, Shannon. He is home and recovering from what they diagnosed as viral encephalitis. He had a rough time, but he's on the road to strength. Thank you for your prayers for him. I thank God for his recovery, too!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Raynie is so much like Sadie and Grace!

This is a picture I got of Raynie tonight. She is so much fun! She looks so much like Sadie did at this age. We've looked at pictures of Sadie and Raynie thinks they're all her. :)

Woo hoo! It's so fun to have the kids here. We sure miss Gabe and their dad, but we're still having fun. Raynie is such a chatter box; it's really fun to get to hear her say so much. Just think; this time last year she was just getting back to eating good after her surgery on the roof of her mouth for the cleft palate. She is talking beautifully and you'd never know she had a problem.

We've played lots of cards and eaten lots of favorite things. The time is flying past, but we're enjoying every moment and we're so glad to have them here. I thank God for some kids close to home! I thank Him for all our other kids, too, and for opportunities to go to see them.

Our niece, Deanna lives in Tennessee and her husband, John, is in Missouri for a month of training with the Army guard (he's full time with them). She took off this weekend for a quick trip to Missouri with their 3 boys since they had a long weekend and John had a day off. I thank God for their safe travel and a weekend together, too.

I hope your holiday weekend is as good as ours has been!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More beach houses.

If you click to make this picture big you might be able to read the sign on the tree. It says, "Aloha. Private Property. Beware of falling coconuts. Mahalo." Mahalo means thank you. I always smile when I see these signs. I guess it may help them with liability issues if someone gets konked on the head by a coconut. It always strikes me as meaning that if you get on their property they'll kill you with a coconut. Remember I said Hawaii law says you have to allow public access to the beach, but that doesn't mean people have the right to roam around your property; just the beach. This was one of the houses that was no mansion, but, obviously, it's a very nice place. There was a girl on the beach in a lawn chair and reading a book when we walked past her. When we came back, she was still there. There was also a small herd of wild goats, and I asked her if they were her goats. She said they were just a wild herd. I asked if she lived there and she said, no, the house belonged to her family and she was just there relaxing. I'll post the picture including her, the house and the goats some day soon. It was cool to see someone and to get some answers about the house. We walk past these places and wonder if people live there or what. Notice another house next door to this one, to the left? It's plainer, but remember LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Speaking of location, our location is cool today. I guess the reason it was warm last night is that the guys had it off while they worked on it yesterday. Today it's been 75 all day, right where we have it set. I am so grateful for it and that it is WORKING!

Trish, Nate, Sadie, Mason, Grace and Raynie are coming this evening. Rob and Gabe have gone to the lease to hunt. I'm making chocolate chip pies for them to have while they're here and we'll save some to send home for Gabe and Rob. it's fun getting ready for them and anticipating their arrival. They'll go home Monday after lunch, so it'll be short, but it'll be so nice to have them. We're going to play cards, cards, cards, I hope! This is 5 of 15 grandkids, so that's not bad. We need these fixes and we thank God for them. I hope I can get some pictures to share with you, but I tend to forget about the camera when they are here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Not all that cool.

This is another of the big houses on Kiholo Bay Beach. This one is not close to any of the others. It's not quite as grand as the two from the last two days, but it's pretty awesome. I'll have this house on another day from a different angle; maybe tomorrow.

Trish and 5 of her kids are coming tomorrow night. Gabe and Rob are going hunting, so we won't have the house quite full. We'll miss them, but we'll still have lots of fun. We'll play Hand and Foot Canasta and Rook until all hours, I imagine.

Tonight I fixed dinner for Dorothy and David just because I wanted to sit down and have a real meal at our table. We haven't done that since we've been home because it's been so hot. Then we went over to Floyd's house to play cards and we just got home. The girls won 2 out of 3, so it was fun for me.

Now, the bad thing is that our AC isn't getting the job done. I imagine it just needs some adjustments somewhere, and we'll get by until they get it tuned. It's 80 in the house right now. It's been as low as 77, but it should be doing better than that. It's a holiday weekend, so I'm not sure they'll do anything before Tuesday. We'll see what happens, but I am so thankful that it's doing this well! I think Trish and the kids will be fine even though it's not all that cool. It's comfortable and with ceiling fans it'll be fine. It is so in the right direction compared to how it's been the last few days!

We are really excited that the kids are coming. We got to see some of them when we came home from Hawaii, but not for long. This will be some good, quality time with them. We'll sure miss Gabe and Rob, but we'll be glad to have all the others. I thank God we have them this close and sure miss all the others. This weekend I should get some good grandkid pictures to share!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's getting cooler!

This house is called the Bali House. It was built by some guy who has a ton of money from advertising for hair products, I think. I forget who he is, but he had all the wood brought from somewhere else to build it. Then when they got it to Hawaii it swelled up or something, so they had to make lots of adjustments. It's very interesting looking. Notice that deep 'gravel' beach; man that makes it so hard to walk! I'm so happy to have been there to see this house, though. Most people who go to Hawaii never see stuff like this because it's not on the main road and they don't have time or energy to do the hiking it takes to view these things. We love this kind of thing, so we're so pleased to be able to go for a month or two at a time; how blessed we are! This house is not far from the one I posted yesterday, both on Kiholo Bay.

The big blessing today is that the AC unit is in and RUNNING! The temperature outside is 73, but it's only down to 84 in here. They just cranked it on about an hour ago. It's got a big job to pull all the heat out of this house after it's been heating up all summer. Yesterday it was 101 outside. Today it wasn't that hot, but the house has a lot of heat to give. It's going the right direction. It was 87 in here when they cranked on the new unit. I am so grateful! They have to come back in the morning to set up the furnace. It's in, but it's not working yet. I think they have some other final things to do, too. The important thing is that they got the air cooling!
Today I cleaned the pantry where the mice had gotten into Don's can of peanuts. I had thrown out the can of peanuts and gotten all that was easy to see as soon as we got home. I kept smelling their odor, though, so I pulled everything out and cleaned the shelves; threw away a bunch of stuff; cleaned the rest and put it all back like it belongs. It felt good. I really think they are gone. Those little monsters had drug out peanuts and stashed the skins everywhere in there.

I vacuumed the basement stairs really good and then vacuumed the Florida room. The basement stairs don't get a lot of attention from me, but I wanted them clean in case the kids come this weekend. They'll go to the basement a lot. It was cooler outside than it was inside today, so I propped open the outside door and cleaned the Florida room. It really needed it because it sure doesn't get a lot of attention from me and the spiders had been busy building webs out there. So, I got some deep cleaning done today and it feels good.

My legs and back are really mad about today, though. I'm headed to some time on the Power Plate and Jiggler and then a good bath. Ah. I thank God for home, my exercise equipment, and cool air!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Surprise by the AC guy!

This picture I took one day when Don and I were hiking a difficult beach. What's difficult about this hike is the gravel on the beach. It's not gravel like we know it. It's LOOSE rocks and when you walk on it, your feet sink down and you have to lift them out of the rocks with each step. It pulls on muscles that haven't been used for much of anything else in a lifetime, it seems. The water here was absolutely the most beautiful on the island in my opinion. This house is owned by the guy who invented the pacemaker. He has a full time staff of 5, who live on the property, who keep it in perfect condition. It was awesome. (Click on the picture to see more details.) Hawaii state law says that the public has to have access to all beaches, though, so we could walk there. We sat down at the picnic table right in front of Don and had our picnic lunch. It was a beautiful spot. They have a driveway to this house, but it's gated. There's no law that says they have to make it EASY for people to access the beaches, so it wasn't! It was worth the hike to get there, though. Keep in mind that this house is sitting out on the beach, but all around it for miles is nothing but black lava. Up and down the beach are a few other houses that aren't nearly this nice, but none too close. They are all very nice; this is just the biggest one. I'll post pictures of some of the others in days to come.

We had a nice surprise today! The AC guy called and said they'd finished up a job early, so they'd start on our job early this afternoon if it was okay. Okay??? I was thrilled to get them started! So, I think we'll have AC by Friday for sure. This makes me a really happy camper!

Everything is going smoothly here and we still haven't seen any more mice since Saturday. I think the eviction may be done! I thank God that we're getting our house back into home as we know it! Whew! I am so grateful to have home; people think we must not like it because we travel so much, but that's not so. We just like to travel; we still love home and are grateful for it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy September!

This picture is one I took of a Jackson chameleon when we were at the Hilton one day. This girl works there and she was wearing him. They are not allowed to touch the creatures, but they can't stop the creatures if they want to climb on them. So she was walking around showing him to everyone. These creatures go around the island on the loose, but we never saw one except here at the Hilton. Bob told us he'd seen one in his yard, but I'm glad we never saw one. It was interesting to see him, but he doesn't look inviting at all to me. She said that he can turn really brown when he's on a tree trunk and he's really hard to see. When he's this color he's pretty content. I think they are new to the island; we had never seen them before this trip.

Things are getting back to normal around here. We went to David and Dorothy's tonight and played cards. The girls won 2 out of 3 games, so that was fun! Don and I have walked the last two days; it's not nearly as fun as walking on the beach, but not nearly as hard as walking in the rocks on the rocky beaches, either! We miss the sound of the waves and the beautiful waters of Hawaii. We thank God for the opportunities we've had to enjoy it as much as we have and for the ability to walk wherever we go!

I'm counting down the days we have until we have AC, again! Tomorrow is our last full day. Thursday they'll be here putting in the new unit, but it will take all day so that counts as a 2nd day. I really hope it will be running and cool by the time they leave Thursday night and that is their goal, but if they run into any complications, it could run into Friday to complete it. That's okay. I'm just glad they're getting it done this week! Woo Hoo! My sister reminded me that we never used to have AC when we were growing up. She also reminded me that there are tons of people today who still don't have AC (and need it). She's right and it makes me give thanks even more that we can live without it but we don't have to live without it! It's sure nice to be comfortable, and it's great to have a sister to help you keep your head straight!