Wednesday, December 28, 2011



Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.

Mark Twain

Reflect upon your blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

Charles Dickens

Be at war with your vices; at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Benjamin Franklin

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R  E V E R Y O N E

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I want to welcome a few new followers:  "Bud Russman" is the "Arizona RV Guy." Check out his website at: for a lot of great information.  Also, our grandson, "Allen" has joined as a follower.  Allen rode with us from Arkansas to North Carolina back in October and we had a great visit.  Hated to see him go home -- he is a wonderful cook and wants to be a chef someday.  He can cook for us anytime!  "Joe and Betty" of has joined us.  Take a few minutes to check out their blog -- you'll be glad you did!  And "Teri" -- Teri, I did not find a blog for you.  If you have one, please share it with me, so I can share it here.  Welcome to all my followers -- I hope you will find something interesting here.  Right now we are in a holding pattern until I complete treatment for breast cancer.  We are thankful for early detection and my prognosis is GREAT!

I also want to recognize the website of a friend:  It contains a ton of wonderful information, so please take a minute and check it out.  You might find answers to some of your questions.

Where did 2011 go?  Time seems to be flying -- faster than ever!    If time is flying by, does that mean we are getting old?  Most of the time, I don't feel old, even though our grandkids think so.  We just turned the corner on two years as fulltimers.  We workamped for the first time this year and it was a positive experience.  We met a lot of great workampers that will be friends for life and we are currently looking for another workamping experience for the summer.  

We are so blessed to be able to live the fulltime lifestyle and we are especially thankful for the good report we received following my recent surgery...just in case you missed it, NO CANCER IN NODES and CLEAN MARGINS!  Although my Mother died with breast cancer 15 years ago, I never knew how complicated it was.  She was Stage 4 and it was very aggressive when it was discovered and cancer quickly invaded her bones.  It is a painful disease and took her life rather quickly -- a short 17 months after she was diagnosed.  

Okay, guys, you may not want to hang around for the rest of this post because it's pretty telling and is really for the ladies out there, so this is your warning if you want to exit, feel free to do so.  Or, if your wife doesn't usually read blogs, you might want to encourage  her to read this one -- or you could just read it to her.  It's a little longer than most posts, but it contains a very important message

I didn't do the research when my Mother was diagnosed that I have done since my recent situation.  I am so thankful for the Baptist Breast Center and my doctor in Arkansas, who only orders "diagnostic" mammograms.  What's the difference you ask?  Well, there is no difference in the mechanics of the mammogram -- you still get the girls squeezed and it still hurts.  The difference is the technicians and/or radiologists are looking for something -- they are looking and searching for anything that looks odd, etc. In 2010, instead of traveling back to Arkansas for my yearly mammogram, I opted to have one here in North Carolina.  It was the WORSE mammogram I had ever experienced.  It hurt more than ever and I left in tears telling Alan I would not be going back there for another one.  I waited ten days and got the report in the mail that all was well.  For some reason, I didn't trust that report.  For 15 years, I had seen the same doctor in Arkansas -- had my mammogram and went directly to the doc's office for the report, so I decided to return to him for my 2011 mammo.  I had the mammo, then an ultrasound -- I had been down this road before so I tried not to be too concerned.  Next the radiologist came in to talk to me -- said there was an area in my right breast they had been watching since 2008 and it had changed.  But, in addition to that, there was a new area in my left breast that was "suspicious" and recommended I have a biopsy of both areas.  I left the ultrasound room and immediately went upstairs to see my doctor, who is a breast surgeon.  He recommended a biopsy of each breast, or a lumpectomy of each area.  I chose the lumpectomy, and the rest is history.  The right breast was negative, but the left was a 1.3 cm tumor, positive for infiltrating ductal carcinoma.  If I trust my doctor so much, why did I leave and come back to North Carolina for treatment?  I came back to be near our daughter and to go to Duke, one of the top ten hospitals in the country and ranked number eleven in breast cancer treatment.  

I say all this to say -- to all the ladies out there, make sure you get diagnostic mammograms -- it could be the difference in early detection.  Why wait for a week to ten days to find out the results...find a doctor you trust and can see you on the same day you have your mammogram.  If I hadn't had the gut feeling things weren't right with that 2010 mammogram and followed through on those feelings, there is no telling how advanced the cancer would've been when finally detected.  I'll hush now but wanted you to know how important mammograms are.  I couldn't feel the tumor, neither could the doctor.  Without being diligent about having a mammogram -- a diagnostic mammogram and a trusted doctor -- it is a good possibility I would not have received the good results I did.  SO, go make that appointment and start the New Year off right by having a mammogram!  I'm off my soap-box now!!

As Christmas is only a few days away, may we not forget the Reason for the Season and Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish friends.

Merry Christmas and may God continue to bless our voyage in 2012, as well as our family and friends everywhere!

Friday, December 9, 2011


I AM CANCER FREE -- YAY!!!!  No cancer in nodes or margins.  Thank you for your prayers and good wishes.  I will meet with oncologist on Tuesday to discuss radiation and where we go from here.  I could not have made it without the prayers of family and friends.  God hears and answers prayers -- even today.  We are very thankful and blessed!  Now we can soon move on with our plans!!!

Again, thank you...and that means Y-O-U!!

God bless

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Surgery and Duke's Chapel

On Thursday, December 1,  I had surgery to check my nodes and to excise more tissue surrounding my anterior margin, which was positive on my September 30 surgery.  However, I won't have any answers until this Friday, December 9, but I'm still praying NO CA IN NODES.  I was happy to wake up from surgery to find no drain tube and little pain!  YAY!!  The surgeon removed the sentinel node plus two more nodes that were stuck together.  Yesterday my arm was achy.  The pain meds made me nauseous, so I opted for 500 mgms of Tylenol and it worked, thank goodness!  Today I feel much better and actually got to take a shower.

On Friday, before we left Duke, my daughter wanted to see Duke's Chapel.  So, we made our way there.  Unfortunately, parking is limited, so Alan dropped us off and drove in circles until we came back out.  On our walk up to the Chapel, I fell.  I stepped off the stone walkway and down I went.  My daughter was horrified, but thankfully, I didn't break anything -- hurt my pride more than anything.  I did scrape my knee and it jar'd me and gave me a headache.  But, we pushed on to the chapel, which is beautiful.

We didn't expect to see "Occupy Duke," but there it was as we made our way to the Chapel.

Nobody was around -- they had abandoned their post, probably for class.  

When James B. Duke selected the site for Duke University's West Campus in 1925, he chose to locate the Chapel on the site's highest ridge.  The Chapel was the first building planned for the new campus, but the last one to be completed.  Construction started in 1930, was completed in 1935, and cost nearly $2.3 million.  Although the Chapel was inspired by other buildings, including English cathedrals and chapels of other American universities, it is not a copy of any other specific building.

The architect was Julian Abele, chief designer with the Horace Trumbauer firm of Philadelphia, and was widely acclaimed and highly honored.

This was a very quick trip to the Chapel.  I'm sure we will have plenty of time to explore the Chapel and surrounding areas, as I move into treatment mode.  Our plan is to move the Motorhome to the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.  Don't know when this will happen -- I meet with the Oncologist on Tuesday, the 13th.  Campground options are limited.  There is a state park -- Falls Lake -- but their sites are 30 amp, no sewer, $25 a day.  The fairgrounds are full hookups with 50 amp, $25. It is 23 miles from Duke, interstate all the way, so we've decided that is our best option.  

Thanks to everyone for your prayers -- it means a lot to know people are praying for me and I felt those prayers on Thursday.  God bless!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just Couldn't Resist...

Coroner's report revealed Razorback Garrett Uekman died from a previously undetected fatal heart condition.  I agree with comments that life is fragile and fleeting -- we never know from one minute to the next what we are going to face.  The unexpected death of a young athlete also puts into perspective that football is just a game.  We love football, especially college football, but it is just a game and doesn't even begin to compare to the life of the young men who live to play the game.  We will continue to remember Garrett's family, team mates and friends in our prayers.  May God bless them, comfort and strengthen them all!  

I just couldn't resist sharing this pic...LOL!!

Go Hogs...hold those Tigers!!  Garrett will be watching over his team mates, helping push Razorbacks to victory!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tragedy Strikes Arkansas Razorback Team

Early this afternoon, we learned that one of the young Razorback players passed away.  Garrett Uekman was a 19 year old Sophomore and was a tight end.

The team returned to Fayetteville late Saturday night from Little Rock after beating Mississippi State 44-17.  Garrett played his position and showed no signs of distress.  He was seen around 10:15 this morning by his roommate playing video games.  Another roommate found him unconscious  about an hour later.  Emergency services were called and quickly responded.  He was in cardiac arrest and was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead early this afternoon.  Cause of death has not yet been determined, but I was told by a student at the UofA that he had a heart condition.  

Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and teammates.  May he rest in peace!


We are very proud and sad of our Razorbacks all at the same time.  Due to the losses in yesterday's college football games, today Arkansas is ranked #3 in the Nation! I do NOT remember the Razorbacks ever being ranked this high -- it's been many years coming and all I can say is, IT'S ABOUT TIME!!  However, we are sad by the loss of this talented young man, who we understand loved  his teammates -- he will be missed!  

God bless Garrett's family and bring them peace that passes all understanding!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What a Day!

WOO, we are WORN OUT after spending the day at Duke, but thankfully, we survived.  After spending five hours at Duke and discussing my situation with four doctors, we have a plan:  1) In the next couple of weeks I will have surgery to check my nodes for cancer; 2) Following that, I will have 4-6 weeks of radiation; 3) If ca is present in my nodes, we will "discuss" chemo; and 4) I will also take an estrogen-reducing drug for five years.

If you will remember, my first inclination was to have a dbl mastectomy.  However, all four docs felt that was totally unnecessary, considering the small size of the tumor, grade 1, stage 1, non-aggressive, etc.  They are the experts, so I will follow their advice.  I am ready to get this over with so I can continue living and enjoying life!

Thanks again for all your good wishes, prayers and means a lot.  If the cancer returns, I will cross that bridge then.  The docs tell me following treatment, there is a 5% chance it will return over a 10-year period.  I will take those chances!

God bless you, one and all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ready to Rock 'N Roll

Duke has received ALL my records and I am all set for my appointments tomorrow:  Surgeon at 12:00 Noon, Oncologist at 1:00 and Radiologist at 2:00.  I'm all set and ready to go in the morning!  I am very anxious to hear what they will tell me.

We will get this behind us so we can get back on the road!  We never know what life will throw at us -- we are thankful we both retired early to follow our dream of fulltiming and have no regrets! 

Thank you for your good wishes, your prayers and support.  This too shall pass!  God bless.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I am sooo irritated.  Before I left Little Rock, I went to the doc's office and requested my records fax'd to Duke.  Duke said they only wanted the records fax'd.  NEVER -- NEVER did the doc's office tell me they didn't fax records -- they never even returned my calls when I tried to check on this before we left.  Today I called Duke to see if they had my records -- they NEVER returned my call.  In today's mail were my records, with a note on the release form that said, "We don't fax records."  Why didn't they just call me and tell me that and ask what doc I wanted them sent to?  Now, when I have my appt at Duke next week, the docs will not have had my records to review beforehand.  

Why do medical personnel make it so difficult for patients -- one little phone call could have alleviated all the frustration I am currently feeling.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Here's the Answer

Several of you wanted to know what the Splendide tech told me.  It's a little embarrassing because it was rather simple.  

When the machine wouldn't come on, I moved the dial to the "reset" button -- still nothing happened...the light never stopped its rapid blinking to release the door.  I then turned the dial back to where it was when we turned the machine off -- "Anti-Crease."  It started but stopped again when the "Anti-Crease" was complete, but the door still would not release.  That's when I called Splendide.  The tech told me to push the "Easy Iron" button off -- it was in the "on" position.  (Somehow he knew that -- guess it's happened before.)  He explained that since I did not have the dryer portion set to dry -- time was at zero as I intended to remove some shirts I didn't want to dry in the dryer -- and the "Easy Iron" button was "on" and there was no dry setting on the machine, it  basically didn't know what to do, so it just stopped.  I pushed the "Easy Iron" button off and everything was fine.

I hope this makes sense.

On The Road Again

Judy -- of Judy and Emma -- Please tell us about the bird in the header picture...we are sure you know:)

Arkansas is now in our rear-view mirror, as we left Maumelle Park Monday morning.  We drove to Texarkana where we picked up our grandson, Allen.  

Allen is riding with us to North Carolina and will fly back home.  We haven't seen Allen in a year and it's nice to have him with us.   He graduated this year and is planning to join the military -- either the Navy or Air Force.

Our first stop was Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Louisiana.  

Allen wants to make sure everyone knows he picked out this park.  We had no idea when we drove the three miles from I-20 what we would find -- what a pleasant surprise this park was.  And the price was perfect -- $20 for full hookups.

Before we left, I had my hair done at my favorite salon...

...with my favorite stylist, Sue.

Sue has done my hair for years and when we are out on the road, I REALLY miss her...she's the best!

I am typing this as we are driving down the road.  I will answer the question of what I was told by the Splendide tech when we stop and I can look at my machine again -- want to make sure I answer it correctly and need to look at the dial.

I am behind with my blog -- this is Friday and the information on Lincoln Parish RV Park happened last Monday.  As usual, I will be attempting to catch up -- again!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Splendide Washer/Dryer

For those who have a Splendide Washer/Dryer in your Motorhome, Fifth Wheel, etc. -- listen up:)  I started a load and then we decided to do a little shopping.  Not wanting to leave the machine running while we were gone, I pushed the main button to "off."  After we returned home, I once again pushed the button to resume the washer.  NOTHING...I was like, "oh no."  Couldn't open the door or nothing.  I looked up the Splendide technician number, which is located in Clackamas, OR.  It was 6:19 p.m. our time and they close at 4:30, Pacific Time.  So, I jumped on the phone and called.  The technician promptly answered, asked a few questions, told me exactly what to do -- and viola, prob fixed!!

I was so impressed -- I simply had to share that experience with other RV'ers.  So nice to have a corporation who is willing to share their expertise without charging a penny for their service.

Thank you Splendide!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sight-Seeing with Friends in Little Rock

Welcome Karen -- we are happy to have you as our newest follower.  Hopefully, you will find something useful, interesting or just plain funny here as we try and figure out what we're doing and where we're going!  Welcome!

With everything going on, I am still a very blessed woman.  We have so many wonderful friends and family members who continue to stop by for a visit. 

Last Friday, October 14, Jo and John -- fellow workampers from Branson -- arrived on their way home to Florida.  Jo and John, along with Takota, who is an Portuguese Water Dog, live on a boat in the Florida Keys and travel during the summer months in their RV.


I truly LOVE Takota -- Jo and John have worked very hard to train him and even tho he is still a puppy, I am really impressed with his behavior...he is sooo well-mannered!

Jo is a breast cancer survivor and an inspiration -- her cancer recently returned, but she's not letting it stop her from doing what she wants to do!

On Saturday we went to the 19th  Annual Pinnacle Mountain Rendezvous.
Jo and John

As we walked the path to the entrance, there were various signs with statements about Arkansas history:

At the Rendezvous, we stepped back in time with mountain men, American Indians and pioneers.

John bought a feather for his hat.

Next we were off to the Clinton Presidential Library

The Presidential Limo

Replica of the Oval Office

Currently, there is an exhibition entitled "The Art of the Brick," and created entirely by artist Nathan Sawaya out of LEGO bricks.  Check out some of his work:

Self portrait of Sawaya

Our Beloved Razorback

In 1999, the Clintons invited world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly to provide artwork for the White House Millennium celebration on New Year's Eve.  Chihuly created two identical towers of glass.  In 2004, one of the crystal trees was donated to the Clinton's Presidential Foundation and installed permanently in the Library.
Crystal Tree of Light

Recently, Clinton was in Little Rock to dedicate what was once an old railroad bridge -- and is now the latest walking-bicycle bridge --that crosses the Arkansas River and connects Little Rock and North Little Rock. 

Little Rock skyline from the bridge

Across the bridge is a new RV park

You can also see the USS Razorback

The 311-foot USS Razorback was present in Tokyo Bay at the signing of the Peace Treaty ending WW II.  

We had a great visit with Jo and John.  As fulltime RV'ers, we don't believe in saying "good-bye," so we said, "Safe travels, Jo and John -- we will see you again -- down the road."

Thanks for stopping by.  May God bless our family and friends everywhere and may God continue to bless our voyage.