Thursday, October 29, 2009


As you all know, I work part-time for my friend Bonnie in her travel agency. My job is mostly clerical.  Yesterday a client called and she decided to get a cabin to bring her nanny along.  Only problem is, the nanny is only 19 and in order to have a cabin on Norwegian Cruise Lines, one must be, or have a roommate that is 21.  All the 21 year old friends the nanny knows are busy and can't go.  So I offered to be the old person in the girl's room.  I am happy to go, take care of little junior here and there, and enjoy a week on a cruise ship scott-free!  Nanny will be doing most of the childcare.  She gets to be free in Tortola, and I'll be free in Samana, and we'll both be free in St. Thomas.  When the 2-year old is on the ship, one of us has to keep checking into the childcare room to see if he needs a diaper change.  Oh, that's all?  For a free cruise??  Okay...We leave Halloween Saturday, Oct. 31, and return the following Saturday.
Cruise is Norwegian Cruise Lines, Pearl.  Mark and I went on this same ship a couple of years ago.  It's nice.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Snake In The Livingroom!

      David saw a snake slither under a chair in the living room!  I put the dog in her family room crate and David, Audrey, Mark, and I armed ourselves with brooms in an attempt to coax the snake to find freedom and go out the open front door.  After several attempts, the snake insisted on hiding under/behind the couch, so we had to take things to the next level and get the shovels out.  We couldn't tell what type of snake we had, so trying to catch him humanely wasn't an option.  It was almost dusk and having a snake slithering around the house at night was not a comforting thought!
      Mark pulled the couch out, saw the snake, screamed like a girl, then ran to Audrey's side, a safe distance from the snake.  David trapped the snake under the big flat head shovel, I pinned it under my pointy shovel, and then David gave the snake a neck chop with his shovel.  Not bleeding on our carpet (whew), but injured enough to be able to shove into a garbage can, the snake was taken outside and Mark - the only person with shoes on, went ahead and stepped on the shovel and severed the snake's head.  After a couple of pictures, David gathered the dead snake on the shovel and tossed it into the woods.
      Comparing pictures of the snake with online pictures, I find that it was a harmless garter snake.  How sad that we killed it, but our bedroom is just off the livingroom and I didn't want it hiding under our bed!

Mark's Birthday

Yesterday was Mark's 53rd birthday, a beautiful 90 degree day, not very much like fall at all.  Mark wanted me to join him for breakfast at Bubbalou's BBQ, justifying his huge sausage and chees-laden omelette with the quick morning walk he took.  I am not wild about eggs (especially restaurant cooked eggs), and had a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on wheat toast and a glass of water.  I got the mayonaisse on the side so I could control the amount they slathered on my toast.  I'm not on a diet, but I don't want to be any fatter.  I should be on a diet!  We got home and looked at the many yard sales, as our neighborhood was hosting the semi-annual event.  Having just returned from NC and spending a catch-up week working, the date was once again inconvenient for us.  I'm glad.  I don't like doing garage sales!
        We went to the big hardware store and Mark got a new  weedeater gas string trimmer.  We looked at Christmas decorations in the store, and were happy to not want/need anything, but it sure was pretty.  Next, we went to the mall, specifically JC Penney's, where they have a tall man department.  Momma and daddy sent Mark a check, and he bought a new belt (it's an annual birthday purchase) and two shirts.  Finally, we swung into Costco for some groceries.  $75 later, we went home with meat, fruit, vegetables, and a pumpkin cheese cake for Mark's birthday.  I am glad we have enough groceries on the shelf to sustain the minimal purchase we made, but I still need cream cheese.  Sure, Costco sells that, but who wants a wholesale club-sized vat of cream cheese when you just need an 8-ounce block?
        Last night our sons Robert and David, girlfriend Audrey, and Mark's good friend Kevin and his wife joined us for dinner at Olive Garden for dinner.  I had shrimp mezzalunas, the first thing you see in that link.  Yummy.  The kids left and Kevin, Marisa, Mark, and I went to Congo River Golf to play miniature golf and feed the alligators.  It was so fun.  Guess who won?  Yep, me.  I was so much fun, but the most interesting of all was feeding the alligators.  You get a little wooden fishing pole with a thick string and a plastic point on the end, which a slice of a hot dog is pierced on.  Oh the gators come alive when they see that!  Don't get excited, they were all small; about 2 to 3 feet long. When we got home, we all had a slice of birthday cheesecake and reminisced a nice day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NC Fall Trip

Mark and I left home on October 9th after work at 8:30PM, drove over to Alan and Sigrid's house and picked them up.  Mark drove from 9PM-2AM, announced that after five hours on the road, he was seeing double and was ready for a hotel!  Alan said he wasn't tired at all, and so he drove from 2-5.  Since I slept soundly for a few hours prior, I stayed awake, concerend that Alan would fall asleep at the wheel, and so I chatted with him from the back seat.  Sigrid slept soundly.  After three hours driving, Alan pulled over and asked if we wanted a hotel or if anybody wanted to drive.  Oh we were so close, and being the only awake person, I took over.  I drove under the speed limit through sometimes heavy rain and we arrived in Boone at 9AM, four hours of driving for me.  The sun was up at about 7:30, so early morning driving was perfect for me, albiet in the rain, as I am happy to see the sun rise and the world open up.  I passed the turn for Banner Elk and Beech Mountain and continued on to Boone, where Sig and Alan were to rent a car.

That Saturday, October 10th, was our 28th wedding anniversary.  Because we arrived so early in Boone, Sigrid and I decided that the Saturday morning Farmer's Market would be good.  Everything is home grown, mostly organic.  We got apples, small white sweet potatoes, free-range eggs, salad greens, tomato, onion, an eggplant, and organic ground beef.  Alan and Sigrid bought us a bouquet of flowers for an anniversary present. We took them to the rental place for a car.  They have a home on Beech Mountain, and they went to their home and we went to ours. 

I made a good dinner using the ground beef, eggplant, and canned tomato sauce from a new cookbook. We invited our friends over for dinner, played cards, and had a nice evening.  The next day, barbeque chicken dinner at their house with two other couples, neighbor friends of theirs.   Again, we played the card game that I hope NOT to forget.

On Wednesday we picked Sigrid up from the car rental place, where she returned their car, then on Thursday we drove Alan and Sigrid to the Tri-Cities airport so they could fly home.  Twelve hours by car is only one and a half hours in a plane.  Amazing!  They have two children still in high school and needed to get back home.

Our week was so nice.  The leaves were all vibrant reds and yellows and oranges, and the air was crisp and chilly.  It rained on and off all week, but it wasn't miserable weather at all.  When Friday came, the temperature dropped drastically and we got snow!  It snowed in very teeny tiny dots of white with an occasional flake drifting down.  Saturday morning the snow covered everything with a thin veil of white.  Mark and I went to the Valle Crucis Fair and the ground was so muddy, covered with a layer of hay, but it was still gross.  Then we went to the Wooly Worm Festival, which usually isn't as nice as the Valle Crucis one, but this year it was better!

The snow continued and Saturday night, we had about an inch and a half.  Sunday morning there was about another inch and the temperature was 21F. 

We had a fire in the fireplace Saturday night, but ugh, even though the fireplace people came and checked everything, cleaned the pipe, etc, and even though I verified the flue was open with a flashlight, and even though we had NO wind at all, we got a house full of smoke!  The wind drafted up, we could see it was blowing upward, but somehow still, the house fills with nose and eye-burning smoke.  Our fireplace is awful and Mark and I are both so frustrated.  We are looking to see what we can do to make it a better fireplace.  We like wood-burning, and wonder if a simple fix, like glass doors, would be the charm?

Update on homefront

The air conditioner was fixed cheaply, a little electronic capacitor.  Guessing it wasn't used to working at full power (since the last big fix) and just burned out.  That said, everything was once again cool at home.  Just in time for packing for NC!  We left on October 9th.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Broken Air Conditioner.

Remembering the heat in our house on September 23rd, we are once again without cold air conditioning.  Yup, broke again.  I called the man that fixed it last time and, but also called someone my friend Janine recommended - her neighbor (left messages at both places).  Janine's neighbor called first and is due here any minute.  Then the original repairman called immediately after, saying he's on his way.  A little uncomfortable!  Let's talk uncomfortable - today's temp will be 96F but will feel like 104F.  Yikes!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Books Books Books

I love to read, but rarely make time and my stack of books just keeps growing. I must catch up!   I am halfway through Waterlily, and next is Tea, but the reading order for the rest is the luck of the draw.   Black White Jewish was stolen from the coffee table by Juliet and she ate part of the cover.

The Twilight books is currently a four-book series, but by the time I get to those, there may be five!  After reading a few of the Charlaine Harris vampire books (True Blood on TV), plus my fear of scary dreams, the idea of reading more about the blood sucking un-dead just doesn't appeal to me, but  everybody raves about Twilight and the movies are very popular, so I may have a change of heart.

Second Rituxan Treatment

Tuesday I had my second Rituxan treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Starting an IV is a challenge, as my veins like to blow, but after one painful vein in my hand went, she switched to the inside of my elbow and it worked like a champ!  Anticipating another hive reaction, the doctor ordered double Benedryl, which was another great idea!  My appointment was at 9AM and the IV meds started at about 10AM. I remember getting some juice and crackers around 11:30, but after that, I slept.  I slept so soundly (Benedryl induced), that I didn't wake up when the nurse removed my IV at 1PM, and she didn't want to disturb me, so I woke up at 2.  I was pale and weak after the IV, but drove myself to a hair appointment and then home.  As with the first infusion, I noticed that I slurred words, but this only lasted the first day.  My hands were weak and when I cooked dinner, I knocked a box of corn starch all over the tile and halfway swept that up, then spilled a box of couscous all over the floor.  David came to the rescue and cleaned up both of my messes.  Dinner was simple, a baked chicken, couscous (there was another box), and green beans.  I felt weak, my long bones ached, but Tylenol checked that, and I went to bed early.  Day two was much better.  I did some laundry, played with my dog, and hung around home, resting a lot.  There won't be another infusion for four to six months.  Yay!  I'll keep you posted on any RA improvement.  So far, I notice my large joints are less compromised.

Squirrel's Winter Bedding

Sitting in the sunroom at my parent's house, I watched a little squirrel pulling soft dried material from a banana tree.  She's making a warm bed somewhere up high in an oak tree in anticipation of winter.  The squirrels seem smaller in Jacksonville than at my Central Florida house.  Maybe they're better fed, with the constant supply of sunflower seeds at my bird feeder.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I got my car, with the intake valve repaired ($327, ouch) and drove home on Monday.  I was supposed to have chemo for my rheumatoid arthritis Monday, but was able to delay that until Tuesday.  So Tuesday morning I had the Rituxan.  I arrived at 9 and didn't leave until 2.  Because I got hives with the last infusion, I was given double Benedryl along with a regular dose of Medrol (a prednisone) before the infusion began.  I fell asleep somewhere around 11.  When I woke up at 2, I was surprised to see that the nurse had removed my IV around 1, but she left me there to sleep.  I won't have to go for another dose for four to six months. 
I had a hair appointment at 2:15 and arrived a little late.  My face was pale white and I was a little cloudy and shaky.  I went home and layed in the recliner for the afternoon, getting up to cook some dinner.  I knocked over a box of corn starch and it went all over the floor.  A little hand vac got most of it up.  Then I spilled cuscus all over the floor.  David helped me out with that mess and finished cleaning up the corn starch too.  I cooked a chicken, cuscus with garlic and olive oil, and green beans.  David made some brownies for dessert.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Uva Uvam Vivendo Varia Fit

I never watched Lonesome Dove.  Not because I don't like western movies, oh I do...I didn't watch because I knew it lasts six hours and that I would cry.  And I did.  There is a reference to the Latin proverb, Uva Uvam Vivendo Varia Fit, which means "A grape changes color (ripens) when exposed to other grapes."  How appropriate.  *sob*  What a wonderful movie.

I now have a new favorite movie.

Feeling Strange

Friday, after a busy week at momma and daddy's house, and trying to tie up all the loose ends on my day there, ready to hand everything back over to Kat, I felt wierd and wired at bedtime.  My body buzzed, my stomach was shaky, like butterflies, my ankles felt weak, and my feet felt numb (from exhaustion), and I was hot again, that "core of my body" hotness where the heat shoots out my palms and feet that I got from the first chemo arthritis treatment two weeks ago.  I had these on and off the first week after chemo, but it appears to have returned.  Maybe exhaustion caused it.  Or maybe an illness?  I woke up yesterday morning feeling a little more normal, but after putting forth the smallest effort - a suitcase and a bag in the trunk, I was again feeling very much the same as when I fell asleep.  You could have knocked me over with a feather!  I couldn't drive 2-1/2 hours to go home.

Did I mention that my car broke on Thursday?  In the week before I left, Mark smelled anti-freeze and  couldn't find a leak (parked my car on a piece of cardboard), but had to put about a quart into the radiator before I left for my drive up to Jacksonville last Saturday.  He warned me to watch the thermostat, which I did, and everything was normal, no smells, nothing.  When I drove across town to take my father to pick up a car, and when daddy got out of my car, I smelled anti-freeze.  Uh-oh.  I watched the temperature rise on the gauges as I drove home.  Off went the air-conditioner, and I drove home with windows opened, thankful that the outside temperature was starting to get close to open-windows season, better known to my northern friends as "winter", but in Florida, it means tolerable outside temperatures.  Daddy poured two jugs of anti-freeze in and I watched it pour out of the pan underneath my car.  Daddy drove my car to his repairman Danny, and it turns out that the intake valve was broken, it will be fixed on Monday for about $200 to $300.

So back to feeling strange...I decided not to drive dad's loaner car home on Saturday while feeling so strange, and then spend Sunday at home, then on Monday after chemo, drive back up to Jacksonville to get my car back, spend the night, then drive again home on Tuesday.  Instead, I remained in Jacksonville, visiting my mom and dad and sister and brother-in-law.  I feel weak, not really sick, just strange.  I can't put my finger on what's wrong, but I hope it goes away soon.