Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Double-Dog Dare

Last night, all of us in blogland were double-dog dared by Judy here.  Being someone who often cannot resist a challenge -- of course it all depends on the dare -- I am willing to share my ensemble with the world.  
So, here it is...

My multi-polka-dotted flannel bottoms with my pink-polka-dot fluffy socks in my ugly old brown house slippers -- not to mention my "dreams" shirt and my robe with half-moons and stars all over it.  My husband keeps threatening to throw away the robe -- simply because it's about 10 years old!  This is my kick-back, hangin' out, warm winter ensemble.

Thank you -- thank you very much.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Almost There

My grandson Allen called one night last week to ask for a favor -- and it didn't include money...LOL  He has a friend, Sarah, who is starting a new business -- she makes clay charms.  Allen wanted me to mention it on my blog and list the Facebook page that shows her work, so here it is:  

Good luck Sarah and thanks Allen for being willing to help a friend.  

Radiation is almost over -- 6 more and I will complete six weeks of radiation.  It has gone by relatively fast.  The docs say they want to see me every three months for the first year -- not sure that will happen, as I have a life to live!

Tomorrow Duke's new $235 million cancer center will open.  Since Friday was the last day in the old building, we took a few pics of my last walk into the building and down the hallway to my treatment room...

This butterfly bench was donated in memory of a cancer patient.  The inscription on it states, "Like a tree, accept the rain, take deeper root and reach for the sky."  

Everyone is excited about the new building and I'm excited for all the workers, doctors, researchers, technicians, patients, etc.  Everyone will be in one location, instead of scattered throughout separate buildings.  Hopefully, I will be able to take some pictures of the new center without being intrusive. 

Yesterday we drove to the Crabtree Mall in Raleigh. 

 I had an appointment for an eye exam.  It has been years since I have had my eyes checked and wore prescription glasses.  I first started wearing glasses at the age of 14 for distance vision.  As most of us experience, as we age, it's our farsighted vision that gets worse.  My distance vision improved with age and I started wearing reading glasses that I purchased at Walmart for $5.  Recently I noticed a change in my distance vision and decided it was time for an eye exam.  If you have problems with distance vision, why is it referred to as nearsightedness?  And if you have probs seeing things "up-close," why is it called farsightedness?  Shouldn't it be the other way around, or am I just confused?  

Anyway, during the exam, the doctor said I had a small cataract on my right eye, but it was so small it would be years before it would affect my vision.  She further stated that radiation sometimes causes cataracts -- OH GREAT!  But, my grandmother had cataracts, so I'm chalking it up to heredity.  Anyway, we walked out after purchasing a pair of glasses and sunglasses as well -- cost, just under $300.  YIKES!  

Today has been a quiet Sunday.  We watched church via the Internet where our daughter and family attend.  We took about a mile walk -- it was nice to be out in the fresh air.  It was a nice sunny 50-degree day.  We would prefer temps in the 60s, but we'll take 50s after last Sunday's snow.  

We have enjoyed all the beautiful cardinals we've seen in the campground.

Thanks for stopping by.  May God bless our family, friends and fellow-bloggers -- wherever you may be!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bennett Place Historical Site

As I stated in a previous short post, it rained all night Saturday and most of Sunday.  Then the rain turned to sleet, then it got very quiet as the snow began to fall.  The snow didn't last long but apparently caused havoc on early commuters Monday morning as we heard of numerous accidents.  Schools were delayed two hours and by noon, the snow was pretty much gone!

Taken out the window when it first started.

After my appointment on Tuesday, we decided to visit the Bennett Place Historical Site.  We had seen the signs and wondered exactly what it was.

As it turns out, the Bennett Place was the site of the largest Confederate surrender of the Civil War.   We stopped at the Visitor Center where we saw a film, along with displays from the era.  Then we stepped outside and back in time.  

The simple farmhouse belonged to James and Nancy Bennett and was situated between Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's headquarters in Greensboro and Union General William T. Sherman's headquarters in Raleigh.  On April 17, 1865, General Joseph E. Johnson and Major General William T. Sherman met at the farm house of James and Nancy Bennett to begin negotiations of the terms of surrender for all troops still fighting in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.  

Their negotiations would continue on April 18th and were finalized on April 26, 1865.  As a result of this peace treaty, 89,270 Confederate soldiers laid down their arms and returned home.  As I mentioned, this was the largest surrender of the American Civil War.  

This is actually a portion of the original Hillsborough Road, which connected Hillsborough from the West to Raleigh in the East, and the road the two generals traveled to meet at the Bennett farm.  Awesome to think about it actually being part of the road they traveled.

Although efforts were made to preserve the Bennett house, a mysterious fire destroyed the house in 1921.  The house that stands in its spot today was built in 1840 and belonged to the Proctor family, who lived 4 miles from the Bennett farm.  In 1960, this house was moved and placed on the original foundation of the Bennett house site.  

The rock fireplace is the only surviving artifact of this landmark.

We couldn't go inside, but we were able to look in the windows.

We learned from the film that the Bennett family left the main house and went  to the kitchen house to allow the two Generals to talk.  The kitchen was a separate building because of the intense heat and frequent fires that often occurred in the kitchens.

A lot of lives were lost during the Civil War -- more than 625,000.  We enjoyed seeing a small part of history and learning about one of the significant steps in reuniting the country.

Today was my last day of regular radiation.  Tomorrow I will start eight days of the "boost," where the radiation will exclusively target the area where the tumor was.  That means that after this week, I have one full week and one day left.  We are so excited to be near the end -- the six weeks have flown by.  Thanks to all of you who have prayed for me and encouraged us during this time.  We have committed to a workamper job in Cherokee, North Carolina, for the Summer and are looking forward to checking out the Smoky Mountain area.

Thanks for stopping by -- May God bless each of you and keep you safe!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


We now have snow:)


What a boring Sunday.  I'm still in my pj's.  It's been raining since last night -- not a hard rain, just a soft rain.  We've watched about all the TV we can handle, we've read, done some laundry, played computer games, tried to take a nap, made cornbread and ate it with left-over soup.  We've watched a few birds outside the window -- we've done just about everything we can think of within the confines of the small space of the Motorhome.  I could probably clean, but who wants to do that on a rainy day?  

Rainy days always get me down 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Basketball, "The Triangle," Squirrels and More

We welcome Debbie as a new follower.  Debbie recently started her own blog and you can find it here.  We went to church with Debbie and Tom in Arkansas, so please take a minute and check out her blog.  

As I mentioned in a previous post, our granddaughter Sarah is in college, majoring in Graphic Design.  We got this picture of Sarah today -- it's part of a project she is working on for one of her classes.  Good job, Sarah...

This is such a busy place!  No matter where we go or what time of the day we travel, there are signs all around that this area is extremely busy.  Traffic is continually moving in all directions and parking lots are full.  This is one of many parking lots we pass on our daily trek to Duke.

Not only are the parking lots full, but parking is allowed along the streets as well, by permit only.

Most know that basketball is VERY big in North Carolina and everyone knows Michael Jordan, who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  There are three top-notch teams just miles from each other -- UNC at Chapel Hill -- the Tar Heels; North Carolina State -- the Wolfpack -- in Raleigh; and of course Duke's Blue Devils in Durham.  All three play in the ACC and are very competitive.  Duke played UNC last week, with Duke winning by only one point.  UNC led pretty much the entire game, with an 11-point lead at one time.  I was ready to give it up and go to bed, but my daughter text'd me and said, "Don't give up...Duke is known for coming back."  The Tar Heels led by 10 with 2:38 minutes left to play.  After a big rally, Duke was down by three when freshman Austin Rivers made a long three as the buzzer sounded, allowing Duke to win 85-84.  The Tar Heels were ranked #10 and the Blue Devils #5 before that game.

We have heard the term "The Triangle" on the local news and we also saw signs on the highway indicating "Research Triangle Park" (RTP).  I wanted to know more -- just exactly what is "The Triangle," so I did a little research.   

During the 1950s, business and government leaders were worried about North Carolina's economic future.  Back then, North Carolina was home to a deteriorating economy that was rooted in tobacco, furniture manufacturing, small-scale farming and textiles.  North Carolina had the second-lowest per capita income in the nation and their economic future looked dismal.  That's when leaders in the community, including Robert Hanes -- the president of Wachovia Bank and Trust Company -- and Romeo Guest -- a Greensboro contractor -- started planning what they could do to  attract modern industries to the state.  They came up with the idea  of establishing a research area -- a park if you will -- that would provide a physical infrastructure that would attract research oriented companies.  The advantage of locating such a park was that the companies could employ the highly-educated local work force and be near the research being conducted by the state's research universities. 

After much thought, those involved decided they did not want the government involved, so the RTP became a private endeavor, with cooperation from the universities.  The developers, however, had to overcome a few problems.  They had to work to rehabilitate the state's image to attract companies and their employees from across the nation.  They also had to convince prospective companies the South was capable of handling such a research park and they  needed to raise money and purchase land.  

With Governor Luther Hodges' endorsement, the Research Triangle Committee was formed in 1956. In 1957, the executive director of that committee approached a developer, Karl Robbins, to develop land for the proposed research park.  Robbins created Pineland, Inc, a stock venture to purchase land for the center.  However, very few people purchased stock, so developers sought corporate and institutional funding.  The Research Triangle Institute was formed in 1958 and operated independently from the area universities.  In a year, the institute raised $1.5 million.  At the end of 1959, five companies had located to the RTP.  By the mid-1960s, public confidence in the park's long-term success was solidified when IBM announced its plans for a 400-acre, 600,000 square foot research facility in the RTP and the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare publicized its plan to establish its National Environment Health Service Center there as well.  Over the next four decades, the Park averaged six companies and 1800 new employees annually. 

Today, a number of various industries have a strong presence in The Triangle, including IT, telecom, pharmaceuticals, biotech, agrochem, healthcare and banking/financial services.  This diversity makes for a healthy economy.  The RTP is a 7000-acre campus that is home to more than 170 global businesses and organizations that employ nearly 40,000 Triangle residents, with an additional 10,000 contractors. The Triangle area continues to experience a solid job market and even new business growth, despite the overall downturn in the economy. It remains one of the most public-private partnerships in national history.

The 2010 census indicates the three cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill have a population of over 1.7 mil.  

We now better understand why there is so much traffic and why the parking lots are always full.  It appears the economy is alive and well in this area, but we are told the construction business has slowed considerably, as it has in many other areas.

As we travel to and from Duke every day, we see a group of panhandlers at the same intersections.  They wear safety vests and carry signs that say things like, "Homeless, Anything helps...God bless."  "Disabled, Please Help."  I asked locals if this group was a part of an organization and was told they have been there for at least 20 years and could be part of a local men's rescue mission.

Alan snapped these pics of the squirrels outside our window munching stale ciabatta bread he threw to them...

We continue to see deer -- they blend into their surroundings so well...

I forgot to mention that Judy of "Travels-with-Emma" said the hawk pic I posted a week or so ago is a Red-shouldered hawk.  Thanks Judy.

There are several places we would like to explore, but my treatment gets in the way of that exploration.  Since my rad appointments are 2:00 in the afternoon, it's hard to do much of anything else.  However, we hope to visit some places before we leave here in mid-March, early April.  

This is my fourth week of radiation, with two more weeks and one day to go.    It seems to be going by fairly quickly.  I have days when I am tired after my treatment and days when I am fine.  Towards the end of next week I will get what's called a "boost."  Each session will focus directly on the bed where my tumor was.  Thanks for your encouragement -- it helps to know folks care.  

That's it for now -- thanks for stopping by.   May God bless you and keep you safe in your travels!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Feel Great Fast Food"

First a big welcome to our granddaughter Sarah who has signed up to be a follower.  We love her so much and happy she is now an official follower of our blog.

I had a few things I wanted to accomplish today.  First, find a post office so I could mail a birthday card to my sister-in-law, whose birthday just happens to be Valentine's Day.  With that accomplished, the next thing was to get my hair cut -- actually just a trim.  It's not always easy to find a good hair dresser when you are not in an area long enough to establish yourself with one.  I asked the good folks at the Radiology Oncology Clinic for recommendations.  One suggested the salon near Trader Joe's, so I decided to check it out.  

I walked in and was relieved to see there were older folks like me -- both customers and stylists -- not just young folks.  Since this is an area with so many college students, I was afraid what kind of a cut I might get.  "Mary," sitting at the front desk, immediately said she would be happy to help me.  She took me to her station where she first washed my hair and then proceeded to trim it.  The cost -- $39 -- WOW.  I was told it was $150 for cut and color in this area.  We will be coloring my hair ourselves!  Even where my daughter lives 1 1/2 hours from here, a haircut averages $35-$40.  When the media says everything is going up, they are correct -- the cost of EVERYTHING is definitely on the rise.  I don't mind paying $25 for the few hairs I get cut, but $39...WHEW!

I came out of the salon and Alan pointed out a restaurant nearby that caught his eye -- it said "Feel Great Fast Food."  

Interesting -- so we decided to check it out.  "EVOS" is actually the name.  I learned that EVOS originated in 1994 in Tampa, Florida,  and can also be found in Georgia.  EVOS serves all-American food -- hamburgers, fries and shakes -- without the guilt.  OH BOY, just what we've been looking for.  We've been trying to eat healthier and haven't had a burger, fries and shake in FOREVER! 

No deep fryers -- no dirty brown grease -- it's all Airbaked!  The beef is naturally and humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free. Airfries made with natural potatoes, homemade milkshakes made with organic milk and sugar.  Chicken and turkey are lean white meat only.  All natural fruitshakes are made with real whole fruit -- no sugary syrup here.  Salads are made with organic field greens and green leaf -- no iceberg or romaine.  EVOS stores are built with sustainable building materials and energy efficient lighting and equipment.  The plastic take out bags are biodegradable.  A pamphlet states, "We live as examples of tolerance, understanding and respect towards all."

Since it was guilt-free (hehe), we each settled on the burger, fries and -- on Saturdays, buy one shake, get one free, so of course we had to try it -- two chocolate shakes please. 

And we enjoyed every bite!

And you have a choice of flavored ketchup...

And of course organic tea...

....three distinct flavors

I also read if you do not wish to eat the hamburger bun, they will gladly put your hamburger in a bowl.  I read that AFTER I ate every bite, even the bun!

The burger, fries and shake came to 840 cal, compared to a McDonald's Big Mac, fries and shake at 1470 cal.  Not too bad, even with the bun.

With our tummies full and the weather turning colder and more windy, we headed home.

I have managed to make it thru three weeks of treatment, with three more weeks plus one day to go.  The biggest problem I've had is keeping the markings and the stickers in place.  Most places tattoo their markings -- Duke used to tattoo until a marker was found that would not be harmful to the skin.  Using the marker, they mark the spots and then place stickers over those marks, so from time-to-time, the techs have to remark my marks -- WHEW, that's a lot of marking. My body looks like a map to the Lost Dutchmen's Gold Mine and I even have an "X marks the spot."  Even though I think I'm being careful when showering or moisturizing, those markings continue to haunt me.

We've had a great day and hope you have to.

Thanks for stopping by and God bless you, one and all!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spring is in the Air, New Dining Set, Et Cetera

Welcome to "Misty", our newest follower.  Misty, I don't see a blog for you.  If you have one, please let me know and I will be happy to share it here.  Thanks for signing on and we hope you enjoy our voyage.

One morning this week we were awakened with the sounds from this guy and found him perched right outside our window...

He looks like he's looking right at us...

We hope someone out there will tell us what kind of hawk he is.  We first thought it was a red-tail, but on looking further, we aren't sure -- we really didn't get a good look at his tail.  Today we were awakened by a squirrel running on top of the motorhome.  I know the bird lady, Judy, will know.

This week we purchased a new dining set.  It is unfinished and Alan will stain it maple to match the rest of our motorhome's decor.  

We didn't like the one that originally came in the motorhome, so we sold it and bought one that was taller with two barstools.  We never used it because of the stools.  We have been looking for one that was more functional.  The chairs are really sturdy and the table has a drop-leaf on each side that can accommodate four chairs for company when fully extended.  Hopefully, the rain will go away and we will have a nice day this week to stain it.

Alan replaced the faucet in the bathroom this week...

Before (ugly)...

After (nicer)...

Today, we drove 1 1/2 hours east to visit our daughter and family, to drop off our old table and stools in their garage and to pick up some mail.  With rain in the air, we wanted to make sure we were back before dark.  Since our granddaughter Sarah was working, we stopped by to say hello...

As we were leaving, she was outside rounding up carts...

We are very proud of Sarah.  She is attending a local community college, majoring in Graphic Design and doing very well.  And she works as much as they will allow her to work.  She is really a great young lady who has a bright future.

It was nice to get away and see family, even though it was a short visit.

We've been trying to walk every day.  This week we saw signs of Spring as we walked, even though the ground hog saw his shadow -- we will take the kind of winter weather we have been experiencing any day:)

I think my treatments are going well -- 10 down and 21 to go.

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time, God bless!