Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Novapalooza - lite

 I went to a high school named Nova and one of my classmates, Alex, has a talent for getting people together. She has property near Gainesville, FL and we love parking our RV there. When she is able to gather classmates together, she calls it NovaPalooza! We've attended twice before, once in 2012 and again in 2015. She had hoped to put together an event for 2020 but a global pandemic brought that to a full stop. It will be late 2021, or maybe 2022 before that happens now. 

Meanwhile, we keep hearing about our friends - mostly over age 65 - getting vaccinated. That paves the way for real get-togethers again! When one - Jeff - successfully beat not one, but two bouts of cancer, Alex wanted to celebrate and she put out the word and 3 days of a Palooza-lite began. 

A core member of the group is Cary Tennis who now lives in Italy. He actually considered getting on a plane to be here, but his doctor said no. He is still recovering from a bout of Covid. (read his story here) So, we did what we've been doing all year and brought him in via Zoom. Here we are in Alex's living room with Cary from Italy and Arynne from California on the TV ...

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The need to get away - scratching that itch

 As much as we like our townhouse in Fort Lauderdale and as much as we've been enjoying this year+ of alone time, there's still a big part of us that is bothered. We have a need to get away, do something different. Thank goodness, our friend Chloe, gave us a reason to do just that.

Chloe lives in North Carolina and runs Big Mill Bed and Breakfast where we've stayed a few times. In her past life, she lived on boats all over the Bahamas as did her friend, Joy. These days they make a point of traveling to the Florida Keys for a week each year to get their boat fix. They booked a condo thru VRBO and invited Jim and me to join them for a night or two. It took us all of 30 seconds to say, "Sure!"

Jim and Chloe

We drove our camper van down to the keys, but we took them up on the offer of the bedroom in the condo to sleep for the night. It takes less than 2 hours to drive to the north/middle keys but you really feel like you getting away. 

The first night, they took us out for a sunset boat ride.

Chris and Chloe - I like to ride in the bow

Jim and Joy - Jim likes boats from the captain's point of view

The next day, we went to lunch by boat to a "Keys-perfect-funky" place called Robbie's. One of the main attractions is all the Tarpon - BIG fish - that swarm around the dock waiting to be fed. That also attracts one of my favorite birds - the pelican. With Joy's help, I remembered all the words to the poem I used to recite as a kid:

A marvelous bird is the pelican
His beak can hold more than his belly can
His beak can hold all of his food for a week
And I don't know how in the hell he can


Monday, April 05, 2021

Easter with Family

 Easter is traditionally a family affair with the Gulds. Jim's sister, Debbie has always put on a big spread and invited multiple generations over to get together and celebrate.

We didn't "do" Easter last year ... or Thanksgiving ... or Christmas. This year, since the 4 old folks have all been vaccinated - the meet up was ON. The 3 younger folks were also invited but told to keep their distance. It felt quite normal, and the food was awesome!

Even a homemade cake for family members with birthdays this month.

I was especially impressed with the orchids they had around their house. What a beautiful flower! And, nothing says spring, like beautiful flowers.

Thanks for being such a great host Debbie!

My contribution was making some fun JibJab videos:

Debbie, Jim, and 3 kids/cousins dancing

The 4 old folks dancing


Saturday, April 03, 2021

Isolation elation

If this past year has taught me anything, it's how much I love our home. I thank my mom every day for finding and buying this place back in 1989. I'm also grateful that I didn't sell it back in 2010 when she moved into assisted living and Jim and I were still Fulltime RVers. It is a little piece of heavenly jungle in the middle of a big, busy city. 

Both Jim and I have separate office spaces and we've both used this year to improve our spaces to our liking. 

I've learned that I like to stay home!

Yesterday was the first time I ventured out on my own to do a little shopping. I was in for a rude awakening. Traffic was abysmal. The stores were busy. Wearing a mask is uncomfortable. And the stores  didn't even have what I wanted. I was so happy to get back home to the views of the trees and the sound of the birds. I'll stay content to get anything I need delivered from Amazon or Publix.

Is this how agoraphobia starts?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The world stops ... again

I get my regular mammograms--they say there may be something suspicious, keep a close watch.
Get your mammogram girls!

Bad News

Several months later I feel a lump and call the doctor to arrange a follow up mammogram and an ultrasound. They still come back inconclusive, so it's off to a biopsy. The doctor says, "it doesn't look like anything to worry about, probably just a cyst." So, I was surprised when it came back positive.

Yikes, what now? My personal doctor sets me up with appointments with a surgeon and an oncologist. She says treatment is usually several months of chemo and or radiation. That means we have to cancel all travel this year ... again. The world stops ... again. Luckily, we've gotten accustomed to staying home and we have a wonderful home. All is ok on that front.

Luckily I'm old enough to be on medicare, so at least we don't have to worry about the financial burden.  

I have several friends right now going thru breast cancer at various stages. It's not fun, but it's doable. It's definitely survivable. So I'm not worried. I go to the surgeon and arrange a date - April 8. Then I go to the oncologist ...

Good News!

The oncologist was happy to see me. He likes patient visits where he has good news! We chatted a bit, he looked at the biopsy results and tells me that the cancer is so tiny that the biopsy procedure got rid of most of it. The surgery will surely get the rest, and I won't need any chemo or radiation therapy. Travel should not be a problem!

What a relief. I can breathe again. I have a hard time believing it. We think about our summer travel plans again - put them back on the calendar. 

Bad News

Just as a precaution, since I have a history with asthma, I'm scheduled for a chest xray and visit with a pulmonologist. I breathe just fine - haven't had any bouts with asthma in many years. Should be smooth sailing. 
Not so fast. I'm told the Xray shows a spot on my lung. Once again inconclusive - don't know what it means - but I need a CT scan before they'll clear me for surgery.

stay tuned ...

Good News

I had my surgery on April 8 and all went well. The final pathology came back April 21 and all was clean, including the sentinal lymph node that they removed for testing. I will still have a follow up visit with the Oncologist and the Surgeon, but all looks good. No chemo, no radiation, just a daily pill (Tamoxifen - for 5 years) 
The CT scan for the spot on the lung showed nothing. Maybe it was just a spec of dust on the xray? No one knows, but I'm good to go. We are planning our travels this summer to present seminars at two big RV rallies in Wyoming in July.