Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sightseeing Today

We decided to go to Cincinnati Union Terminal that houses the Cincinnati Museum Center. We chose to see The Human Body in Omnimax and BODIES ... The Exhibition. The terminal is one of the best examples of art deco architecture in the country. Beautiful mosaics were displayed throughout in its heyday as a train station but to save them when its future was uncertain, the flat panels were moved to Greater Cincinnati Airport. Two curved ones remain. It is a beautiful, beautiful building.

The movie's photography was awesome and the exhibit mind boggling. I find it hard to believe people can look at the complexity of the human body and not believe in a supreme being or to take in the fetal exhibition and not question abortion. We were especially interested in observing the esophagus, hip joint, gall bladder and knee. We spent close to three hours at the museum.

We then rode through our old neighborhoods and stopped by a friend's service station to say hello and ask how his wife is doing. She is undergoing chemo and asked that we wait until July when we return to get together. Her son was there and said she is doing well but is very tired. We continued on to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy shotgun shells since Ted can't make any.

At 6:30 we met Bev (P&G) and Paul at Whisky's in Lawrenceburg. We had a 3-hour dinner and then stood in the parking lot some more. It was so good to see them. On the way home Ted asked if I wanted to stop at the casino. After all he did have that $25 winnings to work with.

We stayed just one hour. Ted was still up $10 and I won $60 so it was a good visit. It was very late when we got home.

Our time here is passing quickly. We paid for a week upon arrival so had to pay for the remaining four days today before we forgot. We will be pulling out next Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

For The Good Times

Tonight I met Mary and a group she got together from St. Bonaventure for dinner at Olive Garden. Charlene, Dianna, Mary, Cookie, Donna K and I had a three hour dinner that was mostly talking. We had such a great time catching up with each other and learning about others that we individually have stayed in touch with. We agreed to meet again in July before I return to Texas.

Cookie, Donna K and I were in the same class. Dianna and Charlene were a year older and Mary was a year younger. Her brother Joe was my first boyfriend in sixth grade I think. He married and named his daughter Donna. She has great fun telling people she was named for her father's first girlfriend! I loved that story.

Ted went to the Fairfield Gun Club and shot skeet while I was at dinner. We had gone to Karen's and done laundry today. We're enjoying this 60 degree weather overnight and pleasant days. There is rain forecast for later in the week however.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Three Donnas

First, I want to show you a picture out our back picture window. We are backed up to a lake and this is our view. The rest of the campground is gravel but it certainly looks good in this photo.

Now the story of the three Donnas. In the Fall of 1950 I started kindergarten at St. Bonaventure School. So did Donna K and Donna B. We had all been baptized at this parish church. We made our First Communion, were Confirmed and graduated grade school from there in 1959, going on to Mercy High graduating in 1963. Donna K and I went on to work at P&G with me leaving in 1981 to move to Michigan and she continued on, retiring in the late 1990s. We all were married there also. It has been torn down in the last decade which broke all our hearts.

Today we met at our RV for lunch. I made BBQ using a recipe Donna B's mother had given me almost 50 years ago. We had such a GREAT time. There were tears and hugs, with lots of pictures. They brought our First Communion picture, the next class's First Communion picture where Donna K and I were "leaders" and our 8th grade graduation picture. There were other pictures of dances and proms we all attended. And guess what? I still have the same date as I did in all those pictures from sophomore year on!!!! I played the DVD our girls' made of our whole life that was shown at the 40th anniversary party they gave us three years ago.

Ted took off to allow us girls a gabfest and headed to Argosy Casino. He came back a few hours later and said he left when he was up $25. If we run out of people to see and things to do, we may make another trip there to give me a chance to lose that $25 for Ted.

These are the events that make our visits to Cincinnati so enjoyable. I've heard from another grade school friend and she has invited me to dinner tomorrow night. I hope to have some more pictures.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

We arrived at Indian Springs before noon on Friday. We backed into our lake spot and started setting up. When I pushed the button for the bedroom glide it went out about six inches and stopped with a big CLUNK! It wouldn't budge in or out. We checked the electrical system and 12 volt system but they were OK. We called the factory and they said we had to get to the mechanism under the bed.

This entailed dragging the king size mattress to the living area and taking up the false floor of the storage bin under the bed. To get that out we had to take off the hydraulic arms that hold up the bed platform. We had to depress a lever and push on the slide. We realized we needed a third pair of hands - one to depress the lever, one to hold up the platform since the hydraulics were removed and one to push the glide. We saw that the chain was broken.

A fellow was running a bobcat next to us working on the visitor parking and playground areas. He came and asked if we had a problem and offered to help. He was able to walk the chain off the sprocket where it was hung up. He told Ted if he went to the hardware store and got a new master link he could fix it for us after his shift. And he did!! Praise the Lord!

We had just an hour to get ready for the wedding but arrived at Moonlight Gardens in plenty of time. We enjoyed seeing Ted's Aunt Ann (age 96) and Aunt Eileen and Uncle Bill (80s). We love them dearly and are so grateful for opportunities like this to spend the evening with them. Kath, Peg and Kevin and families were all there - 11 nieces and nephews plus spouses and 9 of Kevin's grandchildren. Everyone looked great and I'll see them all next week at a baby shower (for #48 great-grandchild) arriving in six weeks. And we learned #49 is coming in November. The 5th great-great grandchild is due in the fall also. What a family. We arrived home after midnight.

Saturday morning Ted took me to the nail salon since I was unable to get my manicure and pedicure on Friday with all the hullabaloo about the glide. When I was finished we left for Elk Lake at Owenton, KY to my sister's cabin. We had tickets to a Jimmy Buffett Legends concert with dinner at the Elk Creek Winery. We had a table at the front edge of the patio overlooking the amphitheater. We were the only ones wearing parrothead hats. They gave out leis but ours were nicer so we wore both! Everyone kept stopping to take our picture. We bought 3 bottles of wine and two funnel cakes to go with the dinner provided. There was a beautiful sunset and we had a great time.

Sunday we went to 8 a.m. Mass (the only one they have all weekend) and then Ronnie made a goetta breakfast for us all. My nephews David and Brian plus Laura his fiance came by in their boat to tell us how they made out working at the winery the night before. They worked the wine tent on the lower level nearer the stage. They said they sold over 1000 bottles of wine. The bar by the patio also did a brisk business. I think it was a big moneymaker for Curtis the owner. He's a friend of my brother Dan.

When they left, we got on the pontoon boat and took a long ride up and down the many coves of the lake. It's fun to see the renovations and new construction that has taken place since last year. It was a beautiful day and a nice ride.

We grilled out for dinner and then watched Road to Perdition (SP?) with Tom Hanks. I had a hard time staying awake for the news.

This morning we ate breakfast and lunch with Karen and Ron before heading back to Cincinnati. We stopped at Wal-Mart to get some groceries for my lunch tomorrow. More on that later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Some Pictures from our Campsite

The river flooded the campground this spring and they are still removing the flotsam and jetsam that collected along the shoreline. All the electric had to be redone.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two Days in Memphis

We arrived at Tom Sawyer Campground around 2:00 on Tuesday. This park is a little less than 5 miles south of the I-40/I-55 interchange in W. Memphis, Arkansas. It has such an awesome view of the Mighty Mississippi right on a levy at the river's edge that it is worth the few minutes drive. We got a front row site and we had a bench right on the levy to watch the river. You can see big bends at either end of the view of the river and tugs push 20-25 barges lashed together.

The song "Sitting on the Levy, Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" comes to mind. Also, I can visualize the paddlewheels coming round the bend, calliope playing or the shout "mark twain" floating across the water.

The moon was full both nights we were there and the shimmer across the water went from shore to shore. It's one of my favorite places to stop and I'm glad we had two nights there.

Tuesday night dinner at Rendevous and Beale Street didn't work out for us. Rick and his brothers were not home from golfing by 6:30 and they were more than an hour away. We were both tired and hungry and just opted out of the evening.

The next morning Ted met the fellows for 36 holes of golf and Brenda picked me up and we and her sister and sister-in-law went to Tunica. I'm not sure how but I won $99 playable dollars within the hour of arriving. You can't cash it out, you have to play it. We had the buffet lunch at the Sheraton casino and it was pretty good. I even had enough "points" that I got $1 off! After 6 hours I had lost $15. That's not a bad entertainment fee for six hours of fun.

We were invited back to Rick's brother's house for dinner. There were 15 of us for lasagna and homemade bread. His sister-in-law is quite a cook! We had a wonderful time visiting and it was after 10 when we got home.

Wednesday morning we had to say goodbye to the river and we headed north towards Nashville. We drove about 7 hours and stopped in Shepherdsville, KY just south of Louisville. We are at Grandma's RV Park and it's a great little park right off the interstate. EZ in, EZ out. That's what we look for when we're traveling.

I called our friends Rita and Wayne Overton who now live in Louisville. Rita had to go to a school function for their grandson but Wayne drove down to see us. He drove us to a BBQ place and we bought him dinner. It was a nice visit but I was diappointed not to see Rita. Maybe we'll still have a chance while we're in the Cincinnati area.

Next stop is Indian Springs (Cincinnati) and 11 nights in one spot. We have a pretty full calendar. No matter how long we stay in the area, we never get to see everyone. We have a wedding tomorrow night and then Saturday we're off to Elk Lake in Owenton, KY to spend the weekend with my sister at her cabin on the lake. We won't be home until Monday. There's no wi-fi; there's not even cell phone service. So until then ...

Monday, May 19, 2008

We're On Our Way

On Friday Ted pulled the RV to Rayford and parked next to Jay who came in on Wednesday. I filled up my Expedition with food and things and drove over. It amazes me that we can fill the truck and car twice each and find room for it in the RV.

We went to Pit Master BBQ for dinner when Jay and Stella arrived after work. Half way through the meal Ted broke his front tooth off his upper plate! After a lot of laughing about our heading to Arkansas, etc. we decided to drive home and get his old plate. It didn't fit real good anymore so we glued the tooth with Gorilla glue and for now it is working! I called Kara and got the phone number of our old dentist in Michigan who made the plate. That is where we are going to spend the most time and we thought perhaps it would be enough to get a new plate made. It's way past time to get a new one.

On Saturday Joanne drove their truck to Rayford so Ted could take the 5th wheel hitch out. Dwight had a stroke over a year ago and she has gotten rid of the trailer. She had no one to do this for her. Ted offered to go to Willis and do it but she was looking forward to a few hours out by herself.

John and Sherida (our TV guru) came for dinner Saturday night. Before we ate John got us all set up with our new digital boxes. He also did something to Jay's surround sound. Two wires were crossed. They stayed until after midnight and we were pooped by the time we got into bed.

We always attend churh at St. Simon and Jude when we are at Rayford. We went at 9 a.m. We decided to grill some burgers for lunch for all of us. I made some beans and fruit salad to go with it. Afterwards Jay and Stella started to pack up. Dee and Rick stopped by when they arrived home from San Antonio. They are living at Rayford now. After a shower and some TV I went to bed at 9:30 p.m.

Monday we received a call from Dr. Bushon's office. They normally need a month but are going to do a new plate in three weeks. Ted has four appts. while we are in Michigan. I left for home so Carol could pick me up for bunco. When we arrived we determined that there was one extra player because of a mixup in subs. I called Ted and told him he could come get me so we could get an earlier start. We got on the road around 11:30 and stopped in Texarkana, AR a little after 5:00. We filled up, had dinner, then went down the feeder road to a new campground. We'll be here one night and head for Memphis tomorrow.

It hit 94 today so I hope the weather cools off as we head north. It's only May!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Rest of The Week Before We Leave

Ted's trip to the dermatologist went well. He froze a spot on his nose and gave him "chemical warfare cream" for a spot above his eyebrow and the edges of his ears. Ballcaps don't protect the ears and I need to convince him to wear a hat with a wide brim all the way around. My job is to watch for red spots on his face and forehead so he can put the cream on them too if any develop.

I played bunco Tuesday night but didn't win even though I was a sub. In fact, the whole group was subs but it was fun because I got to see people I normally don't run into too often.

Wednesday night was a birthday party at the country club for Jody's husband Dave. Happy hour was at 5 p.m. with just the girls and then at 6:30 the party was in the library. This is where Ted's 60th birthday party (2004) started before we went in to eat brunch. There were cocktails and several appetizers. The cake was decorated with huge magnolias (out of icing). The gal did a marvelous job on it. It was a great time and it was after 10 when we got home. I hit the couch and was out like a light. Ted left me alone and at 2 a.m. I got up and moved to the bed.

Today was the Newcomer's End of Year luncheon. I received a certificate for being an Activity Chair and also a "halo" for being an angel. Someone nominated me because of my willingness to hostess things even when it isn't my turn, taking food to members in need of a hand, driving people to doctors when necessary, etc. I just think of it as "the right thing to do." But it was certainly nice to be recognized and appreciated.

Tomorrow we head to Rayford. I'm having trouble with the clothes I'm taking. It is still cool up north (compared to here) and I have several social things that require more than my "camping" clothes. Then you get into special lingerie, jewelry, dress shoes, etc. that I never carry in the RV. And to have several things to attend only complicates that matter. Once we get set up tomorrow I'm going to take stock of everything I took over there and may bring some of it back home.

The next time I write will probably be from Cincinnati. I don't know which of the campgrounds have wi-fi and even when they do, a lot of times it isn't too reliable. I know I can go to the Comfort Inn breakfast room down the road from Indian Springs and use theirs so that's what I'll be doing for the two weeks we're there. When we hit Michigan I use Kara's wi-fi at home or the Rochester Library. Until then, safe travels and God bless.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Post Script

Raynor from Dr. Ertan's office called this morning. He said the pathology on the "brushings" from the healed areas all look good. Ted is doing very well.

I told him about the "bug" he seems to have picked up. His take on it was that it doesn't have anything to do with the procedure. What we need to watch for is a sustained fever and/or difficulty swallowing. His fever was only for one day and that was five days after the procedure and five days ago. He has never had difficulty swallowing. He is better and is at the dermatologist this morning for a routine check-up. We've had enough of doctors for awhile.

We set up the next endoscopy for July 22. That gives us plenty of time to get results back and schedule anything else if necessary. We should be able to leave August 5 to stop in Slidell to visit Tim's widow Bloss and then arrive in Topsail State Park on August 7.

We are so grateful that things are going along so well. I have to admit I've been surprised by the people you least expect that are there for you as support and the ones you expect to be supportive just aren't. Everyone deals with difficulties in a different way I guess. There are more ostriches out there than you'll ever know.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Last Weekend Before Leaving

Ted continues to be bothered somewhat with whatever it is he has. He is still visiting the bathroom too frequently. I can find no connection between this and his procedure. We're thinking lunch at the Wok or samples he ate at the other stands may be responsible. We ate the same lunch but he had several samples that I didn't. However, he is getting better.

We went to the Methodist Church Home Decor Sale on Friday. Marleah had to cancel so Ted said he'd ride over with me. We are looking for an oil for above the mantel. We didn't find one but I did find a brand new changing pad cover from Pottery Barn Kids for $3. They are $19 at the store and this still had the tags so I put it in my "present pile." With the constant stream of invitations and announcements we receive from our large families, someone will be able to use it down the road.

Saturday night we played Canasta. We both scored in the middle so we didn't win anything for play but I did win the $5 consolation prize ... and I randomly picked my own scorecard. But I didn't look!

Today is Mother's Day. I received cards and gifts from all the girls. Kara sent tickets to the Hoopee Dee Doo Review for our trip to Disney in August, Kelly sent money to buy tickets to Neil Diamond but they are already sold out and Kristin sent a Talbot's Gift Card. Also, Kara called just as we were leaving for church this morning and Kristin called as we were on the way to church. Afterwards we went to an Italian restaurant for lunch. I received a long stem red rose and a free glass of wine to go with my food.

Ally was Confirmed yesterday and Cassie went to the prom. Kara said it got to be a real race because Mass went for almost two hours and Cassie, who was Ally's sponsor, needed to be ready by 7:00. They had to "jump the line" to get a picture with the bishop. Ally knew a family from dancing and they let them cut in. Kara was the photographer and she wasn't leaving without the proper photos.

Tomorrow's Canasta has been cancelled. Jennifer has the same "distress" that Ted does. Ted has a dermatologist routine appointment in the morning. We have some stuff in the trailer but need to gather the rest up. We also have to go to the post office to Premium Forward our mail for about six weeks and then have them hold it for 30 days. I'm glad we're going to Rayford because we can open the RV, put everything away, run home for what we forgot and leave with some degree of peace of mind.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Very Quiet Week

Monday I had a doctor's appointment to have blood work done for a new Lipitor prescription. And then I left the doctor's without it! I had Dr. Chang look at a growth on my foot that I've had for years. He said it wasn't a callous or a plantar's wart and said I should see Dr. Barclay down the hall. I made an appointment with his gal for Tuesday.

While I was waiting on Dr. Barclay the next day, Ted walked down to Dr. Chang's and got the prescription so we could drop it off at Walgreen's. It's important that we get my Lipitor and his Previcid all set before we take off for two months.

Dr. Barclay said what is on my foot is a clogged sweat gland that has built up skin to protect it from the pressure of being walked on. He cut some of it away and used an electric file to wear it down. He advised a cream and pomice stone three times a week. It doesn't hurt so I'll do what he says and learn to live with it. I just wanted to know it wasn't anything to worry about.

Wednesday I had my hair cut and colored. After lunch I had a pedicure. When I got home Ted was not feeling well. He said he felt achy and he was running almost 101 temp. He took some Tylenol so I'm hoping he feels better today. He is hardly ever sick and it worries me when he gets the least little thing.

We've received no calls from Dr. Ertan. Baylor Clinic did call on Monday to see how Ted was doing. I'm not sure if they'll tell us what the cell brushings indicate or not. That may be more for their information on how things are going. They are looking for genetic markers. There are 3 markers they have identified that increase your risk of BE turning to cancer. Without them the chance is nil, with one 6%, two 25% and all three about 80%. Research is being done on this at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center at Washington University in Seattle. It's still in clinical trials and routine testing is not available just yet.

We're getting our ducks in a row to leave on 5/16. We're spending the weekend at Rayford close to home. That gives me an opportunity to run back and forth to get whatever it is I've forgotten. We always make bets on how many times we'll run home over the weekend. We bought the TV boxes we'll need for the RV analog TVs and we'll try to get that hooked up. John, our TV guru, is coming Saturday for dinner and will have a look. WalMart had them for $50 and we had the $40 government coupon we sent for. My tax dollars at work!! The guy at WalMart didn't know what to do with the $40 card. I told him I didn't either because I've never had the government give me anything before. He ran it like a credit card and it worked. The boxes ended up costing $10.68 each and we may really need only one. John will figure it out.

Next week will be busy as we do the countdown before we take off. My entries may get more sporadic but hopefully more interesting. Our two months will be spent with friends and family. The only "new" place we're stopping is Davy Crocket Birthplace State Park in Limestone, TN. And we're doing that to visit Howard who lived across from us in DeBary. He and Ted are best buddies and great shooting partners. We'll stay in that area 4-5 days so they can shoot together before heading for home.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ted is doing Well

Ted slept most of Friday evening and all night into Saturday morning. He asked for two Tylenol before heading to bed saying his throat was a little irritated. In the morning he got up and went to shoot in two different heats. We went to church at 5 p.m. and then to Sweet Tomatoes with Terry for dinner. Carol is in Indianapolis.

Today we hung out and went to a neighborhood party at 3 p.m. Dave and Betty are moving to Colorado. They are getting to the point in life they feel they need to be near their children. I believe they bought into a senior's housing development. We learned who is buying and who is selling in the neighborhood, learned another neighbor has cancer and is not doing well and that another's long term boyfriend had died from melanoma. A couple marriages have taken place also. We really should stay home more. We are certainly out of the loop.

We talked to Rick and Brenda today. We are spending two nights in Memphis on the way to Ohio with them. In July they are driving back here for an anniversary party and will stay at our house. They'll get here before we get back but we expect to get home before they leave and head to the Northeast for the summer and fall.

I just wanted to let everyone know Ted is suffering no ill effects and we're grateful for that.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tequila and Success

After our fruitless sojourn downtown on Wednesday there was nothing to do but wait for the appointment today. So we went to the country club last night for tequila night. I didn't know there were so many kinds and so many rules about the plant used to make tequila! I had six different SMALL drinks plus decaf coffee with 1921 Tequila cream. They had Mexican food to go with it. They must have been pouring lightly because I had absolutely no effects. It was a good time and we enjoyed being with friends.

Today we gave it the old college try (third times a charm) and headed back down to Baylor Clinic. This time we were successful. Ted was taken back about 2:30 and the procedure takes less than a half hour. I was able to speak with the anesthesiologist and told her of all his tribulations while under (coughing, waking up, pulling on the hose, aspirating liquid). When she came out she said she had no problems but she gave him a second medicine because he was fighting them a little. This meant it would take longer for him to wake up. It was the end of the day and these people wanted to go home.

Dr. Ertan came to speak with me. He said 85% of the Barrett's that had been removed last time was covered over with healthy appearing squamous cells. These were brushed for cells to be examined under the microscope. Then he proceeded to touch "tongues and islands" of leftover Barrett's with the 90 degree ablator. Then he went back and did it a second time. He told me Ted was going to make a big contribution to his research. I took that to mean he is doing well and will get written up in a positive manner. I don't think he'd be excited about a failure of the treatment.

We finally got Ted into the car and he slept most of the way home. I stopped and got him a large vanilla Frosty at Wendy's. He is on liquids for 24 hours and a soft diet for a week. He said he could feel it moving down his esophagus but not as much as before and no pain this time.

Dr. Ertan did not do any biopsies because you can't have bleeding in there right now (thus the brushed cells). He said the 3-month endoscopy with biopsies will be the big thing. Since we got pushed back, three months will be the first of August now instead of the end of July. We need to leave here August 6 to keep our reservation at Topsail State Park at Santa Rosa Beach, FL. We'll try to do it early enough that we can get results before we leave just in case they need to do some follow-up.

So for now we can only keep praying that all will continue to go well. We are way ahead of the first pronouncement last November that the normal treatment for this was the removal of the esophagus. It appears that the gastroenterology community is now calling that a knee jerk reaction in light of the success with this Barrx treatment.