Monday, June 30, 2008

Blood Orange Sun

Even before the lightening strikes that occurred during the Relay for Life event on June 21st, our air quality was pretty bad. Then it got worse. Here in the valley we were caught in the middle with fires stretching from this side of the Coastal Range to the Sierra. You could look outside and it would leave you with an eerie feeling. There would be a thick blanket of smoke. My eyes have itched, been irritated, and have watered off and on. I have caught myself holding my breath, not wanting to inhale this bad air. But, you have to breathe. I have taken some pictures of the sun setting and rising. There, you can see the gray matter in the sky. Today we could actually see the first glimpse of blue sky. Oh, how I have missed the sky! During this past week I have often thought of what it must have been like or would be like if we had a real disaster like the Chernobyl disaster. I have noticed the effect not being able to see the sky has had on me both emotionally and psychologically. I could only imagine... and not wanting to breathe the air.

This was taken at 8:02 P.M. on Saturday night.

This was taken at 6:43 A.M. the next morning.

This was taken today at 7:24 P.M. and you can see the sky but...

at 7:50 P.M. just a several minutes later, you can see that there is still quite a haze coverage. There is a nice breeze tonight. I am hoping that it will blow the rest of it away. BUT, not flame any fires!

We are only getting the smoke... my heart goes out to the people who have been touched in a more personal way. I am also grateful to the fire department and all of the volunteers that have fought these fires.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

To A Gardener ~

To a gardener there is nothing more exasperating
than a hose that just isn't long enough.

- Cecil Roberts

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Their Dreams

In an Old Barn

Tons upon tons the brown-green fragrant hay
O'erbrims the mows beyond the time-warped eaves,
Up to the rafters where the spider weaves,
Though few flies wander his secluded way.
Through a high chink one lonely golden ray,
Wherein the dust is dancing, slants unstirred.
In the dry hush some rustlings light are heard,
Of winter-hidden mice at furtive play.
Far down, the cattle in their shadowed stalls,
Nose-deep in clover fodder's meadowy scent,
Forget the snows that whelm their pasture streams,
The frost that bites the world beyond their walls.
Warm housed, they dream of summer, well content
In day-long contemplation of their dreams.

Charles G. D. Roberts

Monday, June 23, 2008

Walking Toward Cure

My daughter Diandra was one of hundreds of people who braved scorching, triple-digit heat-as well as an unexpected rain shower-to participate in the American Cancer Society fund-raiser. A cross-section of people-young and old, men, women, children, cancer survivors, and those who've lost friends and loved ones to the disease- were on hand for the event. Modesto alone raised $409,000! The figures were not yet in for how much Turlock had raised.

Charlie had a bag lit in his honor.

A cluster of hearts could be seen in the clouds after the rain had washed away some of the heat.

Every tent had a theme. This was for breast cancer.

Ladies~ don't put it off. Get your mammograms!

Diandra is the first one in the center of the picture.

Luminaria lit remember those who have been lost to cancer as well honoring survivors as hundreds of others walk laps.

It was hard for Charlie to be at this event at this time in his walk against cancer. Before we went to the fund raiser, Charlie had suggested that he, Diandra and I go out for dinner. His spirits were good until we were standing admiring the different tents themes. He became very quiet and seemed like he was in a far away place. The reality of it all just hit home for him. The day before there was an article in our local newspaper about a woman who had breast cancer off and on for 20 years. I was inspired with what the woman was quoted as saying, "Look at how long I've lasted," she said with a smile. "It used to be the recurrence (of cancer) was the end... Back in 1997, I thought, 'Well, this is it. I'm going to die.' But you just kind of learn to live with it. You appreciate each day, and God's the one who will decide when my number is up.
"People have asked me before how much time my doctor said I had left to live. When I get that question, I just say, 'He's never told me, and if he did, I'd look for another doctor. The doctor doesn't know how long I'm going to live. And I don't know how long he's going to live. All I know is that I feel good right now." As I tried to read this to him, he had interrupted me, only to say he had already read it. Charlie looked overwhelmed. He is just trying to get through this last episode of chemo treatment let alone the thought of having to do it off and on in the future or for the rest of his life. We have a little over two months until he is scanned again to see what is going on with the cancer image that could be seen on his last one.

My mom came to support the cause and walk a lap with Diandra. She whispered to me that she too could see that it was too much for him right now and to take him home. We all understood.

In October, the annual Report to the Nation on cancer showed that death rates are dropping faster than ever, largely thanks to progress against colorectal cancer, the nation's No.2 cancer killer (behind lung cancer). A turning point came in 2002; from 2002 to 2004 death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year. That might not sound like much, but from 1993 to 2001, death rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year. "The significant decline in cancer death rates demonstrates important progress in the fight against cancer that has been achieved through effective tobacco control, screening, early detection and appropriate treatment," said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Julie Gerberding, in a news release at the time.

It is so important to raise money for this cause. It is getting to the point that we have all lost someone we love and close to us, known someone or someone that has it, to this disease.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


They sailed away over her
head, purple and violet-
colored, but far quicker than
the clouds there flew a flight
of wild swans, like a long
white veil, over the water
towards where the sun
stood. She swam towards
them; but the sun sank, and
the roseate hue faded on the
sea and in the clouds.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The sign of the times

I have posted about Moss Landing before. We took a couple of trips into this quiet little town while we vacationed.

From the road, you didn't notice the sea lions unless you were really looking at the scenery. Our friend stopped and we went to investigate... the closer you got to this little dock, you could see how many were on it!

A baby snoozing on it's mommas back. Ahhh! I remember my kids doing this to me.

Don't they have the sweetest eyes?!

This seems to be the sign of the times. On the side of the road, there is a pottery-garden shop that always catches my eye when we drive by. On the property, this peace sign is way up high on a pole with white lights wrapped all around it. I know it may seem silly of me to take a picture of this, but it was my sign.

Here, in the same area as the sea lions, were some sea otters playing and having a good time. The one that is looking at the camera, I think kept posing for me.

It is interesting to me now that I am thinking about our trip, how we would take our time and appreciate everything that came into our path. We spent a couple of hours doing this! I also loved how the sea animals seemed to make eye contact with us. They were as much aware of us, as we were of them.

Exercising the Fruit of the Spirit

My husbands family from Tennessee have been visiting for two weeks and they stayed with us the duration of that time here in California. Without saying too much... has anybody seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? The movie had it's funny moments, but I was living it and was not laughing. There was one day towards the end of their stay with us, every open minute that I had, I was reading pages of the Bible on how to love the unlovely and the unlovable only to feel unlovely feeling like I had been. I needed God's help to love. I kept going to the fruit of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I noticed that love was the first mentioned and self-control was the last one mentioned. These fruits are placed like book-ends to very meaty self help books sitting on a shelf in the Bible. There was a reason why Galatians had the fruit of the spirit in that order. I wasn't feeling any of the fruits at that time, but when I focused on love and self-control I noticed that the rest came more easily. It was a lesson that I thought I already had down and realized that I had not anywhere come close to arriving to. I still haven't and probably never will, although I will always strive too.

I kept asking myself why was this happening at a time when our family should be healing from six months of pain and suffering? There is always a lesson to be learned from our experiences in life, even if it is BIG or small.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Closer Look

When you are going through anything that life throws at you, it always allows you to look at things differently. One day on our "week away" to the beach, our friends suggested going to the Village of Capitola. California's oldest seaside resort is a charming, eclectic coastal town. The beach is enclosed between two bluffs, and reminds one of a Mediterranean resort. Capitola Beach is bordered by the Esplanade, lined with shops, galleries & dozens of restaurants. It is beautiful and the people are too! Although it sounded wonderful, once we got there I felt like we were so out of place. It was hard to go into the shops where I once loved to go through as my husband, who could be seen from the shop's window, stood outside waiting. This time, however, the look on his face was a feeling of just being uncomfortable. He was skinny as a rail, and looked the part of having full blown cancer and had gone through intensive chemo treatments. As he encouraged me to go through these shops, I just didn't want to be there, let alone trying on clothes or toe rings. The first shop that I went into was called Ome and the lady who was behind the counter asked me how I was enjoying my day. I could have said, "Oh, it is good!" but I didn't. I was honest and told her about my life from the beginning of this year in a nut shell. As she looked at my husband, her eyes got watery. She understood. I explained to her, it just didn't feel right being there, doing the shopping thing. As I poured out my heart to this lady that I had just met, she listened, shared her experiences and what she was going through also. You just never know. I felt a peace and knew it was okay to feel what I was feeling. She was an angel. Instead of pretending to be happy with all of the others walking the wonderful village of Capitola, I was honest with someone who cared. I shared my day with my mom, and she said I was supposed to go into that shop first, and meet this lady. It was a divine moment. Going through something like this, has allowed me to take a closer look at what is important in my life, what matters and to be really honest with myself. It is nice to feel grateful in all this turmoil.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Tide's Design

This is what the Tide's wave left behind on the sand. :)

Hey Everyone ~

I thought I would let you know what is new with Charlie. Tomorrow he will be getting his stint taken out. This entire time he has had problems with it. He has experienced low/high grade temperatures, urine/kidney infections, and it is uncomfortable (he can feel it... he experiences a pulling, like he can't stand up straight sometimes). He has been off and on antibiotics. He is only supposed to have the stint in six months at a time. If he has more problems after getting it out, he may have to get another one put back in. He has been four, going on five months now with it being in. Our Doctor feels it is time.

Charlie weighed in at 141.6 lbs. this morning! Whooooo HOOOO! He has fought like hell to put it on (I am sorry ~ it has been so frustrating to see him eat, eat and eat when he feels nauseous, and then step on that scale to see he has gained nothing and sometimes he has even lost weight). It has been hard to watch my husband go through that.

He had a bad night sleeping last night... he is experiencing pain where his stint is and he also said it is where his cancer is located on the scans (the pain). We are hoping that when he gets this stint taken out that it will eliminate a lot of his problems. At this time we don't know how many problems this stint is causing, so we are all anxious for him to get it out. He still feels nauseous and actually vomited this morning after taking his pain medication. We both wonder exactly how long this will go on. Geeez! Poor guy... He is getting stronger everyday though! He is even growing a little hair back.

That is where we are at. I wanted to let everyone know and also to thank you for all of your prayers. Keep praying... we are not out of the woods yet. He gets another scan in two in a half months to let us know exactly what his cancer image is doing without any chemo. We will have a better idea exactly what is going on. Our Doctor said that Charlie will start to feel better six weeks after his last chemo... we are exactly at three weeks today.

With much love

P.S I feel like this is a fast and furious written post. I have Rob's old room to get ready for some visitors coming in very early July. It has been my "catch all" room for a year now. I have so much to do and get rid of. I only have a couple of open days to take care of some of it this week. I have a couple of fun days planned too! Did I also mention that I am working in the cafeteria for the summer school program? I have been working in the yard too (I do NOT like snails!). ~~ Whew! I better get busy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

with all your heart

Diandra's shadow

Diandra went with me to take some pictures of the sun setting. When I was taking pictures, I also kept a watchful eye on her. She looked so small next to the ocean, andthat is when I took this picture. Although, I hadn't realized that she had drawn a heart in the sand until I loaded my pictures onto the computer, I started noticing it in all of the pics I took of her.

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sincere & Simple

Our vacation was different... there were some days that Charlie had slept a good part of the day away, because his body needed to recover from all of the chemo treatments. He walked over a little sand dune to get to the beach only once to find that he wasn't strong enough to do that. My walks included my friend and my daughter Diandra, who drove up the last two days to stay with us, so she got to take some walks with me too. Charlie really enjoyed going to the produce stands to get fresh fruit and vegetables. I would watch him pick up each one and smell them, putting some back down and going to the next one. He's never been much of a fruit or vegetable eater. His taste buds are coming alive and watching him eat them was like watching someone taste something for the first time. Something simple like that was wonderful to watch. He is getting stronger everyday and weighs 139 lbs. today. These days I don't have a lot of bells and whistles, I am just enjoying the simple things in life and trying to feel at ease and sincere with each moment I am experiencing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Don't lose your hope...

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.

The Martin Luther King, jr.
Trumpet of Conscience

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Castles in the Sand

As I laid on the beach with my friend, she had noticed that I was in a far away place and asked me where I was. I shared with her that I was there on the beach, but in a different time. My husband was playing horse shoes with his friends, occasionally glancing over my way to get a look at me and then flashing me with his Matthew McConaughey smile. I would then be interrupted with one of my kids calling for my undivided attention, "MOM! Look at me! Look what I can do!" and another one following with, "Mom! Look at the neat sand castle I made!" I would also make sure that I slathered sunscreen on every inch of their bodies, asking them if they needed something to eat or drink. I couldn't help but feel sad as I drifted with the breeze of memories and knew too well with where I was in the present. I was feeling lonely and couldn't believe how much had changed. We had some good times on that beach, and it went by too fast. Although I was grateful for the time I was spending with my girlfriend, who was sensitive to my feelings and treated them with great care, what I would have given to go back in time. I had to think of the positive, there will be more good times. In the future, I was also hopeful that I would be taking walks on the beach with my girls (Diandra and Nessa giggle ~ not the dogs), combing it for shells, talking about life and how it was treating us. I also knew that someday, I will be with my grand-children, building castles in the sand.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


“In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.”

Anne Sophie Swetchine ((1782-1857))

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


and take a walk with me.

Just over this little sand dune is the ocean.

Every morning, I would take my walk on this beach. There is something about being the first one to walk on a fresh canvas of sand.

Walking up and down the shore line, I would find the familiar exoskeleton (test) of sand dollars.

After my walk, I would have to climb these stairs back up the ocean side of the dune which was much steeper. By the time my walk was over, I figured that I got a good work out that also included the stair master and squats. It felt so good to go for my walks every morning and breathe in the sweet ocean air. I loved every minute of it!

Monday, June 2, 2008


Wanda's Water colors

Charlie and I will be taking a much needed break. We are going to the coast with some good friends of ours. During this week, I will be lovin' on my hubby, waking up with the sun and taking walks along the shore, sitting on the beach and having some time to reflect. These last two days I have been emotional, crying for no apparent reason and the tears do not want to stop. When this happens, I feel silly and embarrassed. They need to flow ~ I have been so busy with everything that has been in motion that I haven't allowed myself to grieve. I will embrace these feelings with care and let them go back out like the ocean waves. I also look forward to what the future will bring and live for today.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Three months

Charlie and Sophie

I have been extremely quiet lately... last week we found out the results of Charlie's c-scan. They showed that there is a considerable amount of shrinkage. It is still there. Charlie will not have anymore chemo treatments for three months and then have another c-scan to show us what is going on. Our doctor feels that Charlie is on his way to remission. I knew that the c-scan was being done to soon after his last chemo... we are talking three days. We have to give it time and then we will really know what is going on inside of him. Shrinkage is good. I want to hear, "IT IS GONE ~ NOT SEEN." I want more than a feeling.

During these three months, Charlie will try to put on some weight and regain his strength. I was worried that he would not have been able to handle another chemo at a 123 lbs. or be strong enough to go through a surgery. We need these three months.