Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Journey of Another Kind

The day before we left on our Oregon adventure in July, I had my annual mammogram done. When we got back there was a message that my radiologist wanted an additional one. I went in Aug 8th and waited while she went over the new films. 

She discovered some minuscule calcifications in my left breast and suggested that I have a Stereotactic Biopsy. They had an opening that afternoon so I decided to just do it before I had time to over think it. The procedure is a minimally invasive one that uses computerized three dimensional imaging to pinpoint suspicious areas and allow samples to be taken with a needle. Much to my surprise and relief it was not uncomfortable. By Thursday I had results and an appointment with my Breast Care Coordinator to discuss results and talk about options for treatment.

"Don't Panic" from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

What I have is called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - most in situ (in the duct) and some outside the duct, hence the "invasive" moniker. The area is quite small and thought to be Stage I at this point. Early detection may well play a role in my future. If it's been awhile since your last mammogram I have three words for you "JUST DO IT".

Ladies with Attitude
My girlfriends are women with attitude and several are breast cancer survivors. All have embraced me with love, knowledge, humor, and offers of the occasional kick in the butt as needed. The most important message thus far is "be your own advocate and don't hesitate to ask questions or get a second opinion".

Leaning on a Friend

Needless to say, I'm calling all my spirit guides back from their reveries, retirement and galactic roadtrips.

The Appearance ~ Guardian Angel

Time to cowgirl up! It is what it is and I intend to face it with my usual optimism and the love and strength of my knight/chef and friends. Writing is good medicine for me so I have decided to blog about the journey.


Thought for the Day: Quit sitting around waiting for life to happen and start chasing your dreams. Just breathe deep and jump!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Furball in a Calico Jumpsuit

Our neighbors are off on a month long adventure to deliver their two eldest to colleges in the north central and south eastern US. Their housesitter fell through at the last minute and they asked if we could take care of the cat. I have a slight allergy to some cats, but she's the very independent outdoor type so we figured it would be fine. One of the boys carried her up the morning they left, put her and her food bowl on our deck along with a 25lb bag of kibble. She's a small calico with amazing green eyes.

Around dinner time I was cleaning up in the kitchen and turned to ask Rod if he'd fed her yet. As soon as the words were out of my mouth I hear a thunk and look up to see four paws attached to the window screen over the kitchen sink. Like most cats she is a quick study.

We have a couple of padded rockers on the deck, she has already claimed one and spends her nights there atop a folded up sleeping bag. If her bowl's empty she'll knock on the screen door or follow you around outside until you get the message. Her given name is Princess Paddy Paws but she goes by Kitty. She's only been here a week and is already growing on us.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Post Scripts

IPhonea: Land sakes, not only does an IPhone have a yellow pad for notes you can email to yourself, it also makes videos (Showing my age, eh? Well I'm at an age where I don't really give a rat's patootie what people think and that's a very liberating state of mind). Little did I know, until we got home from this trip, that Rod had made a video while I was taking photos at Sweet Creek Falls. Dignity be damned, the shot was worth it and so was the video.  

Bird Straifing: Our rig has two small (10" x 10") screened skylights for ventilation and light, one in back by the kitchen and one up front. The first thing you do when setting up camp is to open them. Instead of a sleeping area up over the cab there's a television flanked by storage cabinets. After a walkabout day and dinner one night we decided to watch a movie. I noticed something splattered on the lower corner of the screen that looked like bird poop. Sure enough a wet paper towel confirmed it. When you think about the physics of a straifing flyby that made it through a 3" opening and screen at the proper angle to hit the TV screen it was pretty amazing.  

Dogs in pickups: I always worry about dogs riding loose in pickup truck beds. Many owners have their pups safely tethered but a majority don't. We were stopped at a red light in Bandon, OR when an older Jeep Cherokee pulled up next to us. The rear driver side window was down. A happy looking German Shepherd was sitting in the seat with his head out the window and his seat belt on. That's what I call a responsible owner or one smart dog!

When eating out in Oregon always ask your waitress about portions: We were totally shocked at the lumberjackesque portions served at restaurants in Oregon and learned to ask questions first. When we asked our waitress at a Coos Bay eatery if the half portion of a particular salad would be enough if we split it she simply smiled and said "Oh Yeah". We did our best to finish it, but it may have been enough for a family of four.

So the point is: Plan less and wander more. Don't take things so seriously. There is something amusing in any situation. Squeeze the life out of every day before your head hits the pillow. Sweet Dreams!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Turn for Home

Did you ever ride horses when you were a kid? A horse always seems to sense when you make the turn for home. Ears perk up and each step has a little more spring. We've been out for a little over two weeks on a grand adventure: some places familiar and some new ~ but for the first time in ages it's been on our terms, at our pace. Once back to the coast we begin the journey south, excited about getting home.

We camped in the Redwoods north of Crescent City and spent the next night with old friends in McKinleyville. Our last night out was at Richardson's Grove on the Eel River just south of Benbow. There's magic in the grove that's enthralled me since I was a kid. Posted on the nature walk in one of the groves are words from John Steinbeck:

The redwoods, once seen,
leave a mark or create a vision
 that stays with you always...
they are not like any other trees we know,
they are ambassadors from another time

An afternoon walk along the river and up through the redwoods back to camp for dinner, cribbage and reading was the perfect last day out. We read seven books between the two of us ~ time well spent.

We got "back to our barn" around 1pm yesterday and took a deep breath. As much as we enjoy travelling we love getting home even more. Friends and neighbors cared for the house and gardens in our absense. The weather is quintessential summer with foggy mornings and warm breezy afternoons. A few chores have piled up, but we have ripe tomatoes, blackberries to pick and the Gravenstein apples are almost ready to harvest for pies and applesauce. The Sonoma County Fair is in full swing so that's next on our to do list. Hope you've enjoyed the journey.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Add a Little Sweet to the Lemonade

07/31 ~ Day 3 on the Siuslaw River dawns on a bit of a sour note. We emerge from the rig to find that our Grillmaster grill and propane case have been pinched. Good thing we packed everything else up last night! The girls next door had left for the coast before we got up so we couldn't ask if they'd heard anything. The bicycle campers down the way thought they'd heard a boat about 11:30pm.

Our theory is that it was probably the disgruntled speed racers from yesterday getting back at the owners. Our rig was on the perimeter of the camp area open to trees and the riverbank and no doubt the path of least resistance for the local opportunists. The violation of trust initially ticks us off, but truth of the matter is that it's just stuff and can be replaced. We have a hearty breakfast, report it to the owners and then take off on our adventure to Sweet Creek Falls. Once on the trail the morning's disappointment is quickly forgotten.

Following the ancient trail ~ hieroglyphics from another time

 The Upper Falls

Trail to the Homestead

The walk from the upper falls down to the lower trail head of Sweet Creek is about a mile. The morning is cool and as the sun rises in the sky the light continues to change providing great photographic opportunities. Back to the rig and off to the coast.

Rod's thinking he'd like to get more fishing in before we head home so we spend the night in Coos Bay and tonight just north of Crescent City in a place called the Redwoods. Tomorrow we'll start to check out the rivers along the coast route to home (Klamath, Mad, Van Duzen and Eel). No hurry, we still have five days to explore.

High Drama or High Comedy?

7/30 Day 2 on the Siuslaw River - the morning dawns calm and cool.

We spend most of the day reading in the shade and Rod once again tries to catch something with fins ($36 for two day license, no fish = recreational therapy). 

Early afternoon some new neighbors move in a couple of campsites away, three women on a girl's weekend, to relax and do some clamming on at the coast tomorrow. 

River etiquette requires you slow your boat down when passing other boats or docks where boats are moored otherwise your wake can reek havoc. A couple of idiots in a speed boat keep racing up and down the river towing someone on an inner tube. Truth be told it looked like fun, but the waves were banging the moored pontoon and pleasure boats against the dock.

One of the pontoon boats evidently belongs to the owner of the Park, who was up visiting for a few days and checking in with the camp hosts. All of a sudden the four of them come running down the knoll between our sites, yelling at the boaters to slow the bleep down and trying to get a hull number so they can report them to the sheriff. The boaters flip off the "river rangers" and continue the joy ride. The park owner then fires up his pontoon boat and parks it in the middle of the river prepared for a showdown.

At this point we share a double take with the neighbors. One of them shouts "I thought we were here for some peace and quiet?" to which Rod responds "It's Days of our Lives" and we all disintegrate into laughter (out of earshot of the owners of course).

Things calmed down for a bit and then we figure the owners and camp hosts get their wires crossed again. One of the guests has a small boat that didn't need to be moored so it was pulled up on the bank and tied to a piling. He's taking his dog and some gear back his site further up the hill when the owner's wife asks what he's going to do about his boat battery. He calmly replies that he'd be back for it since his hands are full. The next thing we know the camp host's wife is in screaming hysterics because this poor guy (I'd say harassed camper) came somewhat unglued when she too asks him about moving the battery. File this one under "too many cooks in the kitchen" or "who's on first?"

Geeze Louise what a side show - towards dusk they all retreat to the barn and us peace loving campers get on with fixing dinner and settling in around our campfires.

We did see a couple of more meteors but the fog was starting to roll in so we called it a night. Got most of our gear put away that was outside, but had to wait until we can retract the slide out in the morning before we can stow Rod's Grillmaster Grill and propane bottles.

The saga continues...