Friday, April 27, 2012

I started on my Spring adventure on Sunday April 22.
I left about 8:30 AM and headed north encountering stormy weather just above Tampa, and the rest of the way on and off showers.  When I got gas somewhere around Ocala, I parked for a while and had some lunch.  Further up the road I stopped at  the first rest stop in SC and rested for about an hour.  I saw some people walking their pet rabbit on a leash.  

I had a little to eat and I felt good so I drove a couple more hours up the road, stopping at a rest stop at Tubeville, SC.  I watched TV for a while then went to sleep about 10 PM  I am up at 4 having coffee and breakfast and running my generator.  It was cold in the night and rainy, got down in the 40’s, I  had to run the heat. Heading out about 5:30, I got some more rain and about 8:30 and in the heaviest downpour my windshield wiper unattached from the arm, I could not see but somehow made it to the shoulder.  I waited til the showers passed and I got out to fix the wiper. I was so glad that it did not fly completely off.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy to be here!

In September 2011, I underwent open heart surgery to repair my clogged arteries. I had cardiac bypass surgery which involves taking a vein out of your leg and using it to "bypass" the clogged arteries. My father died in 1973 from this same ailment (which is hereditary) and I have been aware of my condition for several years having been treated for it with a "stent" in 2001. My mother also had this disease and had bypass surgery in 1999. My surgery went well and they bypassed six (yeah 6!) arteries. The first days of recovery were the toughest days of my life. I was bloated up and looked like a big puffy clown. I could hardly move and had several blisters the size of golf balls behind my knee that continuously drained. If they told you that you would feel like this or that they pump about 40 pounds of water into your body, you would never have this surgery. I was in such pain & discomfort that I spent the first six weeks sleeping upright in a chair (when I could sleep). Initially, I remember thinking that I had made a bad mistake. If this was my quality of life, that I should have just died. My "Angel" was with me every step of the recovery and without her I don't know that I would have made it through this. She bathed me, wiped my butt, helped me stand up & sit down, waited on me hand & foot, fixed my meals, regulated my medications. I am diabetic and I have to take insulin shots. It is dangerous to have surgery when your blood sugar is not regulated and it also slows the healing time. I had to keep a close watch on my blood glucose. Somehow, I made it through this. Now, almost four months later, I am starting to feel better again. It takes time to heal when they saw open your breast bone, take your heart out and fix it, then sew you back up with wire! My leg was a problem too. Once they remove that vein, your leg takes a long time to heal, my leg still swells up daily. I continue to feel better everyday and life is bearable now. This operation is truly a miracle of modern medicine!
It is true what people say - what does not kill us makes us stronger!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Catching up

I want to keep up with this blog, but it seems like I never do! Anyway, in an effort to catch up, here is what has been happening. I traveled to New York City on the 4th of July. For several years now I have wanted to see the Macy's fireworks display "in person". It was not to be again this year. Even though I was on the tenth floor of my hotel in Brooklyn, I was too far away and facing east and the fireworks were west of my location! I had to go to bed a 9 PM anyway because I was going with my brother to the hospital early the next morning. Maybe next year for the fireworks!
My older brother, Doug, discovered that he had low iron when he went to give blood in May of this year. Further tests revealed that he had a tumor, a Leiomyosarcoma, which is a rare form of cancer that occurs in only about four of a million people. Doug had no symptoms of this disease other than the low iron. The slow growing tumor, resistant to chemo & radiation therapy, was about this size of his fist. There is no cure for Leiomyosarcoma, the only treatment is surgical resection. So on July 5th, at 4 AM, my brother, his wife & daughter and I were in a car traveling up FDR drive in Manhattan, en route to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. Dr. Murray Brennan, the leading sarcoma surgeon in the county would op
erate on my brother in an attempt to remove the tumor and save Doug's life. I remember the beautiful drive in the car in pre-dawn Manhattan, hoping that this wasn't Doug's last view of his favorite city.
Doug went into surgery around 7:30. We waited several hours until the doctor called us into a private room. Dr. Brennan told us (in his New Zealand accent) that he got the tumor, got the whole thing, and that no further treatment would be necessary. We were so happy and relieved. We found out days later, from his "fellow" surgeon, Dr. Jennifer LaFemina, that Dr. Brennan is retiring and only takes a very few cases. We feel like Doug won the lottery by going to Sloan-Kettering and getting the leading Leiomyosarcoma expert for a surgeon! After a week in the hospital, Doug has gone home to Virginia, with hopefully no recurrence of this dread cancer!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


We traveled to Tennessee by flying to Asheville, North Carolina via Atlanta, Georgia. We were on a small 50 person jet from Atlanta to Asheville and it was bumpy & exciting, like a roller coaster ride into Asheville with cross winds! We rented a car and drove an hour over to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to the condo. It is a beautiful place, with a large back porch that backs up on the golf course. It was very peaceful & quiet. We did NOTHING for four days and just enjoyed ourselves, hiking & taking photos. The foliage is on the change, going from green to gold & red. We spent time in the Smokey Mountains National Park. Angela's parent's condo is really nice, two bedrooms, two baths, plenty of room. the mountains are nice, a stark contrast to the flatlands of Florida. The weather was stellar! 70's in the daytime & 40's at night. We had a fire in the fireplace. the only downside is that both of us caught a cold- we think from all the re-breathing on the airplane! No matter where we caught it, we were miserable for a few days when we got home!

I like to visit the mountains, but I love my home in Florida - I wouldn't live anyplace else!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer end

Today is the first day of Fall, but you would not know this by the Florida weather. The long hot summer continues, with a few days of low humidity to make you think it might be cooler. I have done a lot this summer. I am always busy doing the everyday house/yard work. I went to New York City again. This time my son and I went to see his girlfriend off as she moves up to New York University for her Freshman year of college. I was lucky that my brother, Doug, was up in city at the same time and we got to hang out. My brother is very knowledgeable about the city. Plenty of walking when you are up there! My blood sugar gets out of whack when I do so much walking. If I lived in a big city- my diabetes would be under control! I love the city. There are so many things to do, places to see, great food, great shopping. It is fun, but certainly not cheap! It is difficult to get a nice hotel room in Manhattan for less that $180. a night. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Soho, and it was $200. a night. It was a small but clean, nice room. They have a nice free continental breakfast. I am sure I will be going up to the city a lot more now. I am looking for a campground to drive the RV up and camp, but still be close enough to go into the city. I have checked out Liberty Harbor in Jersey City that is right across the water from the Statue of Liberty. Staying there is $60. a night, and it is an asphalt parking lot, not a fancy campground, but I would enjoy staying in my own digs just a stones throw away from the city! Next month I am going to Tennessee for a few days to spend some time in the Smokey Mountains!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Surprise visit

Matthew traveled from Naval Nuclear School in South Carolina in his new car to visit us over the Memorial Day weekend. He called on Friday and told us that he was en-route. His mom was happy & we had a nice visit with him. Our little dog, Idgy, loves our boys and was glad to see Matt & play with him. After he left on Monday, Idgy sat by the door overnight waiting for him to return. Dogs really are our best friends!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last look

I went to the beach today. I am trying to get my last looks at a beach with blue/green water before it turns brown with oil. I went to Caspersen Beach in Venice, Florida - I haven't been down there in about 15 years. It is a place that people used to frequent to look for shark's teeth. Years back they were abundant, every handful of sand had many sharks teeth. Now it is a little harder to find them & you see people using sand baskets to scoop them up.

Years ago, we took a trip there with my friends Barb & Enita from Texas. Enita took a recipe from a cookbook called "Manifold Destiny" (I think that was the name of it) and cooked our lunch on the hot engine of her van as we traveled the hour it took to get there. Imagine the looks on people passing by as we stopped along the highway half-way there for Enita to check her roast. She was under the hood of the van with oven gloves, unwrapping her meal so she could turn it over, then wiring it back onto the manifold! What a sight! We had a wonderful hot lunch when we arrived at Caspersen Beach! I fear that soon these beach areas will be gone, and all the sea life will be dead. I hope by some miracle the Gulf can recover - but I don't see how.