Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thrilla in Manila

As we walked across the street coming from the doctor's office on the twelfth of June (bone cancer being confirmed), Charlie had a strong demeanor as he started doing the fighter's dance swinging his arms in the air, as if he was hitting the cancer square in the face.
In a deep growl he said, "I will fight this and win!"
Boxing has always been my husbands favorite sport.
I asked him, "Which fight of Ali's (his favorite boxer) would you compare this to?"
He didn't hesitate and said, "Definitely the Ali/Frazier fight."

Charlie went on to tell me why and the history concerning the two boxers.
He asked me, "Do you know who won the third fight?"
I said smiling, "You."

#1 fight
#2 fight
#3 fight

*NOTE ~ I feel bad about putting Frazier and cancer in the same boat. Sorry Frazier!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Maintenance ~

Charlie had a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day last week and I met him there at the medical clinic. He had asked me how my day was going as we were waiting for the nurse to call his name. I told him that it was going okay. He wanted to know what I had done and I proceeded to tell him that I had bought a body scrub and was trying to get rid of the dryness on my legs. I went on to tell him how lucky he was that he didn't have to take so much time trying to keep himself up.

In my early twenties, my girlfriend Evie cut my hair at the salon that she worked at. I mentioned to her how the lady next to her station always looked so polished; her skin, nails, hair and make-up. Evie just smiled at me and nodded her head yes. As soon as the lady had walked in the back for her break, Evie told me that this lady would take Saturday off and spend it on herself. She would start the day with a body scrub and massage, facial, tweeze, give herself a manicure and pedicure. Every Saturday. She didn't have any children and her husband traveled. I can remember feeling sad for this lady. She looked polished from head to toe, but something told me that she would rather have no time to do this because she had to run errands, watch her children's play or game and start dinner. She is a sweet lady and I run into her from time to time. Nothing has changed.

I think about her every time I try to find time for myself in that way.

I told Charlie this story and it made him think about what women have to go through to take care of themselves. I added that was just part of it. There was another part of maintaining that was also spiritual, mental, and physical. There just isn't enough time! Honestly, I dread scrubbing myself and when I do, I only think about the things I really want to do. I guess it is like exercising; you dread it, don't want to do it, but feel better once you have.

Friday, July 24, 2009

June 12, 2009

We took our first vacation of the summer in the beginning of June. We were surrounded by good, loving friends and family. Looking back last year at this time, Charlie had just finished his last chemo treatment and our trip to Sunset Beach was a fog memory for him. It was a huge change from last year. It was nice although it was hovered with thoughts of coming up test dates in the week to follow from our trip by the ocean. Back to reality.

It was June 12, 2009 the test results started coming in. One of the tests stated that Charlie had a mass lesion in the Lumbar section of his spine and had also three small fractures. Charlie still had one more test to do and it would be a week before we would meet with our Dr. to go over all of the results together. Bone cancer. The first weekend learning about the mass was a tough one for us. Charlie's spirits were low and thinking of only the worst (The "worst" for him, was the thought of being disabled). I couldn't have any of that and wanted to only concentrate on the positive. He accused me of being mean and said that I wasn't allowing him to feel what he was feeling because I couldn't handle it. He was right. I couldn't. To be honest, at times I feel like I am in the middle of the ocean doing "dog paddle" trying to keep my head above water. When I feel like I am going under...

God is my life preserver and I have faith that it will work out no matter what. I don't know what the outcome will be. I do know that negative thoughts and "what ifs" will only suck the life out of me/us. I realize that the "what ifs" help with making a plan and making good choices. That is all good, but you have to stick with the facts and not detour from it too far. Charlie and I worked through it and I am so thankful that we can talk and be honest with one another.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Six Degrees

During one of my walks in the morning on my vacation I met a Mennonite family. The sun was shining on the water making all the shades of blues stand out and there was this family splashing around. Anyone watching them couldn't help but notice how excited they were. One of the women asked me if the tide was in because they wanted to make a sandcastle for the children. Our conversation took off from there and I asked if I could take some pictures. I found out that they were visiting from Pennsylvania, attending a convention in Waterford California, and it was the first time they had seen the ocean. I couldn't believe that they had just come only miles from where I live! We started talking about some people we might have known in common and we found we did indeed have some connections. They were thrilled that I was taking their pictures and capturing this memory in the making. We exchanged addresses and I will be sending them their photos. These are some of my favorites.

Can you imagine seeing the ocean for the first time? How enormous the ocean might seem? Tasting the salt on your lips from the air? Feeling the waves come and go under your feet? I couldn't help but feel privileged being able to take their pictures.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To The Wonderment of Children

& um ... the child that still live in us.

We had our arms wrapped around each other, snuggling as we walked over the sand dune.
I heard my niece gasp and say, "Auntie Tia, I seen a mermaid!"
I held her hand and replied, "Darn it! I missed her."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Unforgotten Friendships

My walks around my little town has given me friendships that I would otherwise not have if I didn't walk. I had the pleasure to have met an older couple that lived in the house in these photographs. As I was walking by, it started with a comment she made while she was doing some gardening in her well-kept yard, "My goodness, you are dedicated and faithful to your daily walks!" On another occasion, I had my dogs accompany me on my walk and of course they started barking at her. I immediately used what I had learned on the dog whisperer and put it into affect by saying, "SHhhhh. SHhhh." Without the dogs obeying my command, the lady started laughing as she recognized it right away and said to me, "So ~ your not the leader of the pack either." She also had two dogs that barked and were unruly. That is how our friendship grew.

When we learned that my husband had cancer, my walks almost were non existing. I just wanted to be with him. I noticed as I drove by on my way to work that the house was closed and showed no signs of life. A year had gone by and I seen two women that I had never seen before loading up their cars. The ladies were there off and on for a month. As I was driving home from work one day, I saw the ladies and decided to park my car and introduce myself and ask them if everything was all right.

I had learned that their two dogs had died several months apart and the man had passed away. I couldn't believe it! The lady was their daughter and she was packing up the house. I asked her what happened to her mom and she went on to tell me that her mom had to go into a home and passed away also. I couldn't believe it! I couldn't contain my tears. The daughter's expression on her face watching me looked as if she didn't understand how I couldn't have known. I had to explain to her how I met her parents and why I stopped walking. I apologized to her for my reaction because learning about this, I was in complete shock. They were all in good health. How could this have happened? I then started thinking about how my life had changed in one year of time. It was a sobering thought.

During this last Spring, as I would drive by her house on the way to work, you couldn't help but notice all of the flowers. The whole lawn was covered with golden poppies. They were popping up everywhere! It would leave a smile on my face knowing how she loved her flowers and cared for her yard. She would have been pleased. As the season went by everything dried up. There house now sits lifeless. There are boxes stacked up by the front door waiting to be filled.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

One of Many Walks

On my vacation at Sunset Beach, my day would start with a walk on the beach with my girl friend. In addition my mom, step-dad and niece also got to come on this vacation and were included on these walks which was also nice. The mornings were so calm, cool and relaxing. What a great way to start your day!

On parts of the beach it was roped off to protect these birds and their nests. They are so small and fast that you didn't even realize that they were there. You can see how small this one is against the dried sea weed. They also have tags around their ankles.

I saw a lot of this type of bird feeding on the shore.

There is a story behind this little one. It broke my heart. Our first night camping after the sun went down, we could hear a sea lion barking. We didn't think anything about it at the time until the next morning on our walk. My girl friend and I walked up on the pup and scared each other half to death. We all just froze for a few seconds and it scurried into the waves. I looked around for the mom and realized that it was all alone.

The entire week that we were vacationing at Sunset Beach, it would swim along the beach bobbing its head as if it were looking for a safe place to rest. It would do this off and on all day. I couldn't take it and flagged down a Ranger to see what we could do to help it. The ranger explained to me, that as long as it was strong enough to swim, they needed to leave it alone. They only rescue when it is absolutely necessary. It actually causes them more stress to be hospitalized.

He went on to say there was a recent surge in weakened and malnourished sea lions found along the Northern California coast. It could be a result of a decline in populations of smaller fish that young seals and sea lions eat while developing and is likely a problem with the food web, something lower in the food chain that is affected.

A shell to add to my wreath.

Sand dollars buried in the sand.

When they look like this, you leave them alone.

They belong to the sea.

Is it a shark?

No... it is just a dolphin. You could see dolphins swimming with the surfers on their boards. Once in a while they would come flying out of the water and do some flips. It was almost as if they were saying to the surfers, "Oh yeah... I bet you can't do this!"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Time Traveler's Wife

I just got done reading this book and I am so excited that the movie will be coming out in August! What book are you reading?


The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

- Derek Walcott

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Short Jaunt

While camping at Sunset Beach, we experience some overcast days; which do not bother me, but everyone else gets a little antsy. In stead of hanging out on the camp grounds, we take some short jaunt's to (on separate days) Capitola and Pacific Grove.

In Pacific Grove there are some rocky parts along the ocean, that you can walk around and inspect the tide pools. In this photo, I see a rock formation of a seal basking in the sun, with it's nose up in the air. Do you see it?

I talked with this nice lady who works for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Her job is to keep track of the sea otters that have been tagged by logging where they are and what they are eating. The newspaper this morning had an article stating that, "Scientists are reporting a decline in the number of sea otters on the Central California Coast. Lab tests show the marine mammals are mainly dying from disease carried by parasites, viruses and bacteria found in sewage as well as urban and farm runoff."


Returning from our venture out on the rocks, Sophie heard some odd chirping and wanted to investigate what it was coming from.

How cute! It kept Sophie occupied!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Owl

Although I forgot to change the setting on my camera, I still liked the pictures that I got. The owl is on top of the pine tree in the first and second photo's. In the last photo, it is taking off.

One of my favorite ways to pass the time while camping is relaxing around the fire. One evening on a recent trip, there was an owl that came and landed on the top of a pine tree next to us after the sun went down. The owl would hoot to an owl in another tree and they would go back and forth like that. I couldn't help but wonder what they were saying to each other; "Hey, I don't see any rodents on this side, how about over there?"