Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yeah, I know....

This morning Zeus mentioned that maybe it was time to shut down this blog since it has been severely neglected for the last three months. To be honest, that thought has crossed my mind. As I look at many of the blogs that I have followed for the last few years it seems that most of them are in the same boat, if not a total lack of posts for months then certainly a slowdown. I have a feeling that Facebook has much to do with that. It is much easier to put up a photo and not have to worry about a lot of words to go with it.

The last seven months have been filled with all kinds of activities. Seems like I've gone from one large project to the next, each one unique and challenging. Along the way I've been fortunate to have the support of family and friends to make the end results successful. Together we have celebrated, laughed, cried, sweat buckets and then laughed some more. My daughters have held me up emotionally through anger, exhaustion and disappointment, always willing to listen to the rants no matter what time or where I called or texted. Zeus has been steady as a rock right beside me, there for advice and comfort whenever needed.

This post has been delayed for so long because I just wasn't sure how to cover everything. It finally occurred to me that the easiest way was to utilize the Shooting blog. Feel free to click on the links.... or not.

May turned out to be an eventful month! The dimple became a permanent addition to my right cheek with no complications. Three months post-op and I have accepted that it is just part of who I am. Photographs can be cruel and the first few times I actually had to confront my new "look" it was tough. Just this morning while out riding it struck me that I will never be able to rob a bank.... too easily identifiable. I guess I could wear a mask...

Bubba graduated from high school! How did that happen? Those eighteen years flew by way too fast! He has grown into a fine young man and we are very proud. Next task, college!

Our Buddhist Obon Festival was held two weeks ago. This year Jubee joined Little and Littlest Miss in dancing with us! She was really nervous but after three weeks of learning thirteen dances she was perfect, as well as beautiful! Two new yukatas were required, along with the accessories, so some construction time in my lair was necessary. The practices are two hours, three times a week. The movements are slow and precise, similar to Tai Chi. Unknown muscles ached for weeks. Who will join us next year? Ice cream treats after every practice. Also, if you dance with us I will take you to Tuacahn as a reward! We had a blast singing along to Glee all the way down to St. George where we saw an amazing production of The Little Mermaid!

My mother celebrated her 80th birthday last week! An open house was held in her honor and it was fun to watch her greet old and new friends at the party. She was absolutely beautiful in her new suit and with that big smile on her face! I love you, Mom! Can't wait until your 90th!

Other activities this summer are the usual riding, swimming and field trips with the kids. Inflatable kayaks are now part of our recreational equipment but so far have only spent two days in the water.

August brings no large events, just relishing the last month of summer before my playmates return to school. Hoping to put many more miles on the bikes, rides down the slide at the pool, kayaking on the lakes and rivers and more coinage in the Lucky Penny jar. And maybe a blog post or two....

Life is grand and I am a very lucky woman.



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dimple complete.

The dimple has been created, although it is currently in the healing stages. Sorry, no photos.

We had been warned that the day of surgery would be long even though it was to be done under a local anesthetic. The procedure is basically cut, pathology, cut, pathology, close. It took two cuts to have clear margins which leaves me with nearly a 100% cure rate! I'll take that!! I do carry a higher risk of developing melanoma in a different location so it will be sunscreen and hats from here on out.

For the next week I will be sporting large bandages on my right cheek, along with some bruising and tenderness. The incision is not pretty, almost two inches long. They assure me that in six months it will be barely visible. In the meantime I'm sticking to a story involving a bar fight and a broken beer bottle.

$1.23 (collected on our DC trip)


PS. Wear your sunscreen!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

We did it!

It seems like forever ago when Zeus first mentioned a family expedition to Washington D.C. I listened and then forgot. He brought it up again, this time to the kids. Of course, Eris jumped right on it. The rest were lukewarm (or downright cold) to the idea. Zeus continued to discuss and plan.

The timing soon became critical and this spring seemed to be the logical time to do it. Bubba is a senior in high school and at the time it looked like he would be leaving home shortly after graduation. Littlest Ms. is 5 1/2 and old enough to participate and remember the sights and events that we would see.

Preparations would take months. Books about Washington D.C. were handed out, suggestions for an itinerary were taken, maps were studied, Internet searches were conducted. Monthly meetings were held. Assignments were made for researching airline tickets, ground transportation, ticketing, availability of sights, hotels, etc. Christmas gifts were luggage and spending cash.

In the last two months the trip really started to come together. Spreadsheets magically appeared, sometimes color-coded. There was an abbreviated course on U.S. History 101 taught by Eris. Reservation confirmations finally arrived and dog-sitters were all in place. Binders were made with all necessary information tabbed and organized. Little and Littlest Ms. received ID tags. Our trip mascot was named and prepared for the journey.

We met at the airport on April 2nd and began this once-in-a-lifetime journey. For eleven incredible days my family shared the sights and sounds of our country's capitol and other historic sites. Starting with five spring days in Washington D.C. began with Arlington Cemetery. We toured five Smithsonian's, the Capitol, Library of Congress, The National Archives, the White House and countless National Monuments. We walked the Tidal Basin where the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. After leaving D.C. we headed east to Pennsylvania where we spent a very rainy afternoon doing the auto-tour of Gettysburg, a very sobering and beautiful place.

The next day found us in Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the rooms where the documents that formally established this country were signed. Our final day was back in Baltimore where we finished up our fabulous vacation with an afternoon of our national pastime, a major league baseball game with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.

While in D.C. the family was out sightseeing each day for 10-13 hours. According to pedometers and GPS we walked an average of 10-15 miles daily, plus hours taking in the various museums. We used many different modes of transportation: airplane, metro, bus, taxi, shuttle, light rail and rental cars. Even the little ones were experts at navigating the metro by the time it was over.

Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that this adventure would go so perfectly! As we arrived in Salt Lake City and collected the piles of baggage there was a profound sense of sadness for me. After being a family of eleven moving in unison for over a week we would now head for home in separate cars, a situation that I found totally unsettling. There were long hugs goodbye and even tears shed.

One week later we are all recuperated. Feet and legs are not achy anymore. Returns have been made to school and work. Dogs have been properly pampered and reassured. Suitcases are stowed and ready for the next adventure. There were seven cameras in action with over 1,200 shots.

Photos have been edited and printed. My scrapbook is nearly complete. If you are interested please click over to the Numismatically Shooting blog where you will find my favorite images from our trip. There are eight separate posts.

And one more thing: I now know for certain that I have the best family in the entire world! Thanks to all of you for making this dream come true!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What happened to March?

A quick catchup before the big post:

I'm exhausted just thinking about all the happenings around here in the last few months. It is April 14th and my brain is screaming that it must be at least June!

Three weeks ago we made another trip to Arizona, our second one this year. The purpose of the last trip was to get my brother-and-sister-in-law's home ready to sell so they can relocate here. The little town of Ajo is quaint and quiet, but it is also a two hour drive to get medical care other than the GP variety. With advancing age and some pretty serious health problems the timing seemed to be right. I spent a week prepping the house to be put on the market. Thanks to the wonderful ladies of SIL's church it was ready to have a "FOR SALE" sign placed in the yard. I will freely admit that I was running on empty by the time we boarded the plane and headed for home on the seventh day.
(Yes, that is a cat on my blog. Sam lives in AZ and is the only cat in the entire world that I would allow here. She is a cranky 14-year-old cat whose sedentary life was turned to chaos when I stepped in the door and started dismantling her home. I also slept on her bed and wouldn't let her in, even at 4 am as she cried at the door. By the end of the week we had made peace and actually shared some nice kitty moments.)

My poor suitcases didn't even get put back in the closet. Our long-awaited trip to Washington DC with Athena and Eris and the gang was only five days away! Mike and the girls had been working on this educational experience for months. Reservations for hotels, tours, cars and shuttles were set. We had been holding regular planning meetings for months and Eris had prepared us with a 90 minute history of the United States. It seemed like a dream when all eleven of us boarded that airplane and headed east for what turned out to be the best trip EVER! We returned home three days ago and each one of us is still working through the exhilaration and exhaustion.

My goal is to have another post and photos up in the next few days.

Quilt report: finished one! That's right! Bound and ready for auction at a church dinner this coming Saturday! It felt so good that I might just do another one.

Dimple report: Have been off medication for four weeks. The unpleasant side effects are now gone, which means that I am sleeping at night. Surgery is scheduled for the first week of May, a procedure that hopefully will be simple and easy. It's done as an outpatient but requires an entire day at the hospital. I'll just be glad when it's over because that means summer is here and it's time to play, slathered in sunscreen of course!

New wheels: I now have a new-t0-me mountain bike! Trail riding is much harder than on pavement, also muddier! Doubtful that I'll ever be a true mountain biker but so far I have really enjoyed coming home with mud up my back!

Coinage was counted before our DC trip. Unfortunately, the total for the last eight months was a paltry $84. Bicycling has really taken a toll on the numismatizing.


(Apologies for the random spacing. I'm out of practice at blogging!)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This is not what I had intended to post today but the other one is not quite ready. Hopefully tomorrow. In the meantime I'll share this photo.

Zeus and I just returned from a five day trip to our old stomping grounds in southern Arizona. The town of Ajo was once home to a thriving copper mine. It is now a winter home to northern snowbirds and an ever increasing population of Border Patrol and Homeland Security.

During the old mining days burros were used in the hauling of ore, or something like that. At some point they were replaced with trucks and other heavy equipment. The unneeded burros were turned out into the surrounding mountains and became wild.

In twenty years of living in Ajo my brother-in-law has never seen these animals, even living as close as they do to the edge of town. Leaving his home one afternoon Zeus noticed a herd of seven beautiful burros wandering out on the desert. They stood nervously as I took their photos until I got one step too close. Then they trotted back out to the hills.

It is good to be home.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Done and Done.

Our beastly cold weather, along with the cold that turned me into a beast, kept me in the house for about three weeks. I spent much of the time finishing the knitting project that was started after the holidays.

I haven't quite decided if I prefer knitting over crochet. They are very different forms of needlework, each with advantages. But oh, I do love the cable knits.

The other "done" is the book series Chronicles of Narnia. I started reading these way back when. A set of BBC dvds that were given to us at Christmas that spurred me to finish them up.
I have watched one of the dvds and really enjoyed it.

So many things on my list are waiting to be completed. Two flannel pj quilts are cut out and sitting on my sewing machine. Hopefully there will be another "done" soon.

$1.12 plus .32

Treatment progress note: Three weeks in and my face hasn't fallen off yet! Swelling, redness and burning on the right side, but so far not too noticeable. Not nearly as worried anymore.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The creation of a dimple

Here goes. Lots happening in the last three weeks and it's time that I write about it.

I have spent my life in the sun, especially summers at the pool. From the time I was young I relished playing in the water and being with friends and family. Sunburns were not unusual, especially on the ski slopes where the white snow reflected all those rays right back at my unprotected face. I wore my deep, dark tans proudly. Sunscreen? For sissies.

In the last few years I started using a good screen daily, both summer and winter. Too little, too late. On December 22nd the doctor patted my knee as he smiled and used the words "I'm sorry" and "melanoma" in one sentence. He was then quick to reassure me that we would grow old together and become very personally acquainted. (I love this guy.) He also explained that even though it was caught very early I would be referred immediately to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for treatment.

Let me introduce you to Melanoma in situ. This was taken in July. Today it is just a red spot, barely noticable after the biopsy.

I had watched this spot grow on my cheek from nothing to pea-size for about two years. It was not a mole, just a new spot that resembled my many other freckles. Over the last six months it doubled in size and took on some dark and irregular features. Still, the doctor and I were surprised when the results came back.

Waiting the long three weeks for the appointment at HCI was difficult. They had already told me what the treatment plan would be and after researching both the medication to be used and the eventual surgery I was terrified. Athena and Eris warned me to stay away from the horror stories found on the internet. I took their advice and felt much better after that.

The idea that there are malignant cancer cells lurking in my cheek like an oil slick is disconcerting. The reality is that I am extremely lucky that it is Stage 0 and 95-100% curable. The plan of attack is in three stages: topical chemo for two months to reduce the size of the tumor, two months for the chemo damage to heal and then surgery. The first stage was started last night and I will admit that there were a few tears shed when I spread that cream all over my cheek knowing what it would do to my skin.

Dad lost his short battle with lymphoma but Mom is a 16 year survivor of breast cancer. Two years ago I watched in awe as Zeus went through his successful (and unpleasant) prostate cancer treatment. I am surrounded by supportive family and friends who will stand by me while I navigate this very small bump in the road. For that I am more grateful than words can express.

The plan is for treatment to be finished by the time the pool opens in June. I'll be there with SPF 150 on my face, a large hat and a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "Put On The Sunscreen, Stupid" on both front and back! The bikes, kayaks and running shoes will be back in service.

And hopefully I will be sporting that new dimple on my right cheek that I've always wanted!


(due to a persistent cold, both in my chest and outside, the numismatizing has not gone well. The few ralks I've done were not very productive and not ready for counting. Hoping for a fresh start soon.)