Saturday, July 4, 2015

A New Adventure

...and my words to him were, "What? Cancer...again? Is it melanoma, kidney metastasis?"  He gently said, "No.  Its esophageal.  A whole new kind, malignant.  Probably Stage II...maybe III.  Can't stage until we remove it.  Tomorrow, we need another CTscan.... "  

It took me 2 days to Google my prognosis, yeah, I was apprehensive about learning about this one.  The numbers are scary, can't lie.

There are two things I want to say here. 

Most Importantly - If you are living with GERD, be aware that it is a serious condition, and you must be diligent that it doesn't turn into Barrett's Esophagus.  Talk to your doc.  Read up on it at a reputable site like the Mayo Clinic's site.  Please enlighten yourselves and your loved ones that may have GERD.

Secondly - I am undergoing Chemo and Radiation for the next few months, and am getting pretty shaky and weak.  I find it difficult to type, so I probably won't be posting often.  But I do hope to continue to upload some pictures and link up when I can.  Please know, I'm reading and following you all, so keep me entertained, okay LOL.  Seriously, I truly treasure you, my Blogger Family, and wish I could share with you stories of all the AMAZING people and sweet souls I'm meeting along my New Adventure.  So many wonderful folks with wonderful gifts they share generously.

Until next time




Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Posting, At Last!

Julie and Katie, Katie's graduation from OUCOM
It's been quite awhile since I've invested time in my blog, and I'm sorry I've not been keeping up as I normally do.  I've no good excuses I must say. Until now, I've just felt at a loss for words as well as photos to share.  Although we've had many fun, exciting and interesting things happening, I've chosen to just enjoy the experiences, and not report on them....being somewhat selfish, I guess (plus I've frustratingly forgotten my camera for all the good stuff).  I'll try to remedy this now.

The big news, of course, is that our youngest, Katie, graduated from college, and moved to Roanoke (much closer to us, I'm happy to say).  We all gathered for her graduation (from Ohio University's Heritage College of Medicine), her big sister, Julie, hooding her in the ceremony.   (Yes, I forgot my camera, and my cell phone died - Dagnabit!!)  Afterward, we all celebrated with a family reunion.  We rented a cabin in the Hocking Hills of Ohio for a few days, and drove there from points far and wide to join together, again.  Its been so many years since we've come together, and it was such a grand time for the 14 of us.  A true homecoming to a place Lee and I and our kids have always enjoyed visiting during their growing-up years.  A very happy time, indeed. 

On our way to Ohio, Lee and I made a side-trip to Lexington, KY, where my sister and her family live.  We stayed overnight, and spent two days visiting and catching up.  Its been about 3 years since I've spent time with her, so it was nice catching up.  Last year, she and her husband moved into a retirement community after living in the same house since 1960.  Its a very nice condo, but they just don't care much for it--it doesn't feel like home.  I can understand, completely.  We plan go to see her more often in the future.

After leaving her place, we drove the backroads of Kentucky up to Maysville, KY, to cross the Ohio River into Ohio.  We chose to take a drive along the River eastward towards the Hocking Hills and Athens, which is Southeastern Ohio .  As we approached Portsmouth, we saw a sign pointing us towards Shawnee State Park.  Well, it was nearly suppertime, so we decided to check it out, hoping there was a lodge with a dining room. It was a delightful drive, and we found the lovely Lodge, and got a room for the night, and yes, we enjoyed our supper there, overlooking the treetops toward the lake in the distance.  What a glorious afternoon and evening we spent there. So peaceful, so comforting, and just a wee bit melancholy.  It surely was good to be home again.

Sunday afternoon, The Family checked out of the cabin in the Hills.  Vince and his family headed back to Maryland.  Julie and her family headed back to Charlotte, NC.  Katie headed toward Columbus to visit with some high school friends, and Lee and I headed toward Cuyahoga Falls, where Katie's old apartment awaited to be packed up for her move to Roanoke.  That evening, the three of us started packing, then went to bed early, exhausted.  Packing continued in earnest on Monday.  The next morning (Tuesday) I left Lee with Katie to finish up, and I came back home, here, to tend to our cats who had had the run of the house unsupervised for a week (yikes).  On Friday, they left Ohio -- U-Haul truck, pet and car -- and I left Norfolk  (traveling light) heading to Roanoke.  The three of us met up at her new apartment, where 2 guys she had hired awaited to unload her things into her new digs.  Smart girl.  We spent the next 2 days unpacking and shopping around for curtain rods and such, and setting-up her new household for her future adventure.  Lee and I got back here this past Monday afternoon. 

Tuesday morning I had an appointment for an endoscopy to see why my stomach has been hurting for the last few months.  That's when I learned that I have a "growth" on my esophagus. It means major surgery and a feeding tube.  So, Lee and I are off onto a new adventure.  Of course, I plan on keeping up on life as normally as possible, but there will probably be periods that I won't be posting.  I know you all will understand, but please know I'm still reading you posts even if I have nothing much to share, myself.

On the up-side...I hope ya'll are having as lovely a Holiday as we are here in Newport News.  The weather here couldn't be more delightful.  Do take time to remember our fallen Heroes that have kept us safe through the years.  God Bless.

Dad before leaving for France, WWI
Until next time

~~ Karen ~~


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Olden Days

Lucky me.  

My parents grew up in the early 1900s.  (I was a late-in-life baby).  As a result, I know many of the "old ways" passed down from Mom to me...canning, cooking, slaughtering chickens, sewing, driving a stick shift....etc.  

One of the adjectives I'd assign to Mom would be Self-Reliant.  She was also kind, patient, fun-loving, and flexible....but her self-reliance was something many folks wouldn't see readily.

My step-mom, whom I refer to as Mom, raised me after my mother died in a car accident when I was 5.  So, many of my photos are of her family.  Here are some of them.  

This is Mom's mom taken on their family farm back in 1910.  Back then, the chickens and ducks ranged free around the house and roosted in the trees at night.  They were farmers, and had just a few livestock for their own use.  The land was used to raise hay and grains for the local communities, and their front yard was used to plant vegetables and flowers.  Mom's mom inherited the land from her father.  He came the Central Ohio in the mid 1800s and bought several acres of the rolling terrain which was well-suited to farming.  Before he died, he divided his land between his two daughters, and moved in with Mom's family to spend his remaining years. 

Mom had 3 siblings, Nellie (above, on the right), Charles (the tall boy in back), and H. C (Harold Charles).  Mom is on the left.  

Here are the three older children (H.C. wasn't born yet).  Mom is the baby, and this is the only picture of her in the early years with a bit of a smile.  All the rest show her as a grumpy-gus -- not like Mom at all.  The oldest is Nellie.  She lived to be over 100 years old -- living independently well into the late 1990s.  Nellie was charged with watching over the younger children, and according to Mom, this is why she's so grumpy in all the rest of the pictures - haha.  Nellie did have a tendency to make suggestions to Mom, which always irritated her.  Mom always called her "bossy", but she really wasn't from what I saw....the bossiness must have happened long before I entered the scene, and Mom was still sensitive to it decades later.  But they loved each other dearly, and Nellie was always a great friend to Mom.
Mom (right) and two cousins

Nellie and H.C.

Nellie going Finishing School
Mom's older brother Charles with his friends
Nellie was sent to finishing school (something like high school) when she graduated from their one-room school.  But, by the time Mom got old enough to leave for finishing school, times had gotten tough, and she had to stay on the farm to help.  Her older brother, Charles, had died from falling from a tree goofing off, and her grandfather had died from a farming accident.  Mom always resented not being able to go to finishing school, and I think this really affected hers and Nellie's relationship for years later.
Article by Nellie re Newspaper boys being honored
Mom, smiling again
 The farm had become too overwhelming for many families during the War (WW1), and her family sold the farm and moved into town (the county seat).  Mom's father got a job as the grounds keep for the fairgrounds, and Mom got a job, too, at what is now know as AT&T.  Nellie worked at the newspaper, and got married to a barber, Ross.  They started their new life, then Mom's dad was shot one night while making his rounds in the fairgrounds.  He came across a group of rough and drunken men conducting an illegal poker game, and was found dead in the cattle barn the next day.    Her mom had a stroke subsequently, and Mom took care of her during the days, working the night shift. She lived with her mom for many years until her mom died.  

Mom went on, buying a house with money she saved while working.  She bought a car, and carved out a nice life for herself in an era where women were 2nd class people.  She had a long-term boyfriend while she lived at home, but they never married.  They would go to the dance halls to listen to the famous Swing Bands of the day, and had lots of friends and fun times.  But, he died of a sudden heart attack before he was 40.  She didn't marry until she met Dad at age 51.  This is when she became my mother, and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  

So, as I said, I've been lucky.  And truly Blessed.  Happy Mothers' Day, Mom.

Dad, Mom, Me, and Nellie (the baby is one of Mom's nephews)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Yard Working

Its so nice seeing Spring arrive.  Virginia is truly beautiful in the Spring.  The white dogwoods, pink redbuds, yellow forsythia, and all sorts of azaleas all in bloom all at once while the sun starts to warm the Earth. 

Over the last two years that we've lived here, we've done some work in the yard, but most of the work has centered around renovating the interior of the house. This year we're pretty much done with the house, and we can now set our sights on the yard.  One of the things that has bothered me are these sweet little bulbs that have been scattered around our small yard.

 And so are these.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do love these beauties.  However, after the flowers are gone, we're left with several large areas of weediness.  Very unattractive. 

All the daffodils are spent now, so this week, I'm going to dig up some of the bulbs and transplant them into flower beds, and the rest are headed for the compost.  Then we'll have to put plugs of Zoysia grass in the holes, and hopefully, the barren spots will fill in this summer. 

Do you have any projects you plan to attend to this summer?

Until next time......