Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lori And Family Coming

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 59 degrees, high 90 degrees, clear skies

Carolyn had an early dentist appointment (0815 hours) this morning with the new dentist. She likes the new dentist and hygienist, as do I. The only problem we see is that they seem to overbook their time, resulting in more waiting than we expected.

After her appointment was finished, we stopped across the street at McDonald's for a sausage egg mcmuffin. Then, it was back home to allow Carolyn to do a little more housework that she wanted to get done.

I slept well again last night, again without a sleep aid. My body is soaking up the rest and sleep, remembering what it is like to sleep well again. In fact, I took two naps of about an hour each today. I think that part of the sleep stuff in the day time is caused by the chemo treatment, but that's okay. I feel better after each nap. I'm hopeful that I'll feel stronger tomorrow so I can mow the yard for the weekend.

Lori and her family expect to be here late Saturday for about a week. While here, they will be helping John's mother, who lives in Huntsville, with some repairs on the house and cleanup in the yard. Maybe they will find time to do some vacation stuff.

By the way, did you notice the low temperature? Are you kidding me, 59 degrees in late June? Carolyn loves it. I kinda like it, too.

Carolyn is afraid of any type of bug that might sting. Bees, red wasps, and that sort of thing. This morning after the dentist visit, we were in the garage when we noticed several bugs buzzing around in a holly tree next to the garage. I knew right away that they were bees, but she didn't think they were. She thought they were some kind of beetle that have been eating her rose blooms. I asked her to close the garage doors so they couldn't come in, keeping it low-key. About an hour later, we checked and the bugs were gone. I still think they were bees, moving in a swarm that paused in the holly tree on their trip to wherever they were going. At least no one got bit, and Carolyn didn't get stressed.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Ozark, Alabama: A City For All Seasons, A City For All Reasons

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 84 degrees, high fog early, then clear skies

Last night was the best night for me as far as sleep in many days. I got 6-7 hours without the use of any type of sleep aid. As a result of me sleeping better, Carolyn got more sleep because she is so tuned in to what is going on with me.

The chemo treatment from Monday caught up with me today, as I was nauseated most of the day, with no appetite. I enlisted another specialist to help with my care in the event I have to go back into the hospital or just need to see him in his office. He is an internist, and is aware of Amyloidosis. In addition, he will handle anything beyond my pulmonary or cardiac system. In effect, that makes him my primary care physician, and I feel comfortable with that. My hope is that with these three specialists helping me now, I can stay out of the hospital a little more.

We have an I-pod we bought a few years ago that we kept in the truck to play over the radio. Over time, we almost forgot about the pod, not using it for the last six months. A few days ago, I brought the pod in the house and played it some to make sure I remembered how. Sure enough, I couldn't remember everything. But I have a pod manual on the lap top, so pulled it up and started reading. At this time, I'm fairly proficient with the pod again, but am still trying to figure out how to delete several songs that we don't care for anymore. Once I do that, I'm going to check out some cds from the library and put them on the pod. We have a docking station we're going to use that has a really good sound for the pod that we'll use most of the time. I'll also sync the pod to the I-Pad so I can listen to music on it. Makes the pad even more useful.

More late, be safe.

Today's Town - Nacogdoches, Texas: The First Town In Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 77 degrees, rain most of the day

The rain started about 0600 hours this morning, and continued until mid-afternoon. The farmers are loving this weather.

We were getting weather crazy about noon time, so I suggested we go get a hamburger at Jack's in Athens. I guess it was good, because Carolyn said it was. I ate about 3/4 of mine, and it seemed to take a long time to eat that much.

After the hamburger, we took a ride down Nick Davis Road to see how things have changed along a road that we used to travel quite a lot. A lot of new homes have been built on and just off the road, but we still like the scenery out that way.

I was reading up on Limestone County, and found that it is the fastest growing county in the state. That statement was a little surprising when I first read it, and then I realized that the county draws a lot of people who work in Madison and Huntsville. Both of those places have a lot of government jobs as well as high tech jobs.

I finished a new book by C W Box that I checked out of the library using my I-Pad today. I immediately returned it electronically, and checked out another one that I'll start reading tonight. This electronic book reading is pretty neat. So far, it hasn't cost me anything to check out books. No taking a chance on going to the library hoping I find something to read. I just browse the electronic section and find something that's interesting, and down load it in about ten seconds. Pretty neat.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Atlanta, Georgia: A-Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Halfway There

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 62 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

This morning was one of the most beautiful we have seen in quite some time. Clear, blue skies, almost a brisk low of 62 degrees, no allergies bothering Carolyn. Very nice.

I had an early appointment in Huntsville to see my oncologist. I didn't know if he was going to allow another treatment this soon after getting out of the hospital last Tuesday. The lab was not set up to draw my blood and analyze it, so I had to wait for all that. Finally, all my schedules were set up, and I went in to have a treatment. Yes! Number six is out of the way, other than recovering from it.

After receiving treatment, Carolyn noticed that I was displaying signs of dehydration. We were going to Sam's Club, so decided to eat lunch there and get some fluids in me. After two large cups of Powerade and one for the road, I felt much better.

We picked up what we needed at Sam's and headed home. We put everything away and rested for the next two hours. I needed it badly. After getting up, I continued my hydration, and feel much better.

My oncologist prescribed a different sleep aid, so I'll try it tonight. I need a good night's sleep.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Enterprise, Alabama: City Of Progress

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dreams Continue

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 86 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, showers in the afternoon

Note the low temperature of 68 degrees. It occurred this afternoon about 1430 hours. Weird, huh?

Carolyn's hummingbirds continue to grow in number, with at least five now buzzing around the feeder. She feeds them daily, and is talking about getting another feeder for the over flow. As long as it gives her pleasure.....

I took another sleep aid last night, and the dreams continued. It would be nice if the dreams would be pleasurable, rather than being glad when I wake up. Carolyn said that I mumble and talk all night, as well as shifting around in the bed. So, I have a decision to make with the help of my oncologist on the choice of another aid. Hopefully, we'll find a sleep aid that doesn't cause dreams, yet allows me to get the rest I need in fighting this disease.

Judy and Roger visited this afternoon, and it was good to see them. Roger has been sick after his cancer treatment in Birmingham this past Monday, so he didn't feel like doing much. He was better today, so they came to see us. Glad they did!

I have to go to Huntsville tomorrow for my chemo treatment, which will be number six out of twelve. Here's hoping all my blood work looks good enough to allow the treatment. I missed last week's treatment while in the hospital, and I hope I don't have to miss anymore.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Midland, Texas: The Tall City

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 63 degrees, high 90 degrees, mostly clear skies

Terri left again on her way home today, after changing her mind yesterday and coming back. It's okay with us, we like having family around.

Terri has been giving a little thought to possibly moving to the Athens area in the near future so she can be closer to family. We would to have her closer, but emphasize to her that the decision is her's to make. We're doing our best to stand back, but it is difficult.

I took another sleep aid last night, and the dreams continued. This time, the dreams were mostly political in nature, and that may not sound so bad, but eight hours of it? It got so tiresome in that dream, and even though I woke up in the middle of it, as soon as I went back to sleep, I went right back in to the dream. I guess I still have to decide whether dreams are worth more sleep. It wouldn't be so bad, but none of the dreams I have had so far have been pleasant ones.

I did a little more puttering around in the shop, and took a short, one-block walk. I'm making as much as effort as possible to get some physical activity. Before I got sick, I walked at least four miles a day, plus took care of all the upkeep on the RV and truck. And, that doesn't count all the sightseeing we did. My goal is to get back to something close to what I was able to do before, but will accept whatever I get.

Supper was at Appleby's, as Carolyn had a pasta dish, while I had half of a small sirloin steak. Carolyn said her food was good.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Franklin, Tennessee: A Great American Main Street Award Community

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Better Than Hospital

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 84 degrees, cloudy, rain in the afternoon

I slept good last night after using a sleep aid. The only problem is that I felt groggy for half the day. I don't know which is worse: not sleeping enough, or the side effects of the sleep aid.

Once I got over the effects of the sleep aid, I did some more puttering around in the garage and shop. The garage was swept and things put away in preparation for spraying for bugs in the room. Carolyn likes to sit in the garage, but doesn't like it when some little beetles show up. The room has now been sprayed, and we'll see if it helps the bug problem.

Terri decided to stay another day, and will now leave on Saturday. It's nice to have company.

We're working on another puzzle, and it's another hard one. Carolyn complains about the hard ones, but I think she likes to prove she can master them.

Supper was pizza from Pizza Hut, and we made it the large supreme pan pizza. I can't taste much of it, but I like the texture of the crust.

Not much going on here today, but at least I wasn't in the hospital. I'll take a day like that anytime.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbus, Mississippi: Possum Town

Not all who wander are lost

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Caught In Groundhog Day

Sometimes, I feel like I'm trapped in a kind of Groundhog Day moment, where everything is repeated over and over.

I woke up this past Sunday morning with my heart beating like a drum and shaking my whole body. I had no chest pain, and no shortness of breath. We went to the emergency room, where they started trying to figure out what was wrong. It was quickly established that I wasn't having a heart attack, but no one had seen what I was experiencing. Unfortunately, my cardiologist was out of town.

In the course of all the many tests and x-rays, it was discovered that I had a pocket of fluid between my lungs and the chest cavity. That needed to come out, so I was admitted to the hospital. The rest of Sunday was spent doing tests and being pricked and poked.

On Monday, the tests continued as did the heart beating like a drum. I got very little sleep Sunday night. A pulmonary specialist came in early and talked to me about the fluid pocket and how he was going to remove it. At noon, he came back and removed about a liter of fluid from the pocket.

Shortly after, my cardiologist came in, and immediately knew what was wrong with my heart. It seems the pacemaker has a wire that runs down the left side, near the diaphragm. There is a nerve in the diaphragm that was being stimulated by the pacemaker, making it appear as though I had the world's worse case of hiccups. The cardiologist called the pacemaker rep, who came in about an hour later. She hooked me up to her machines, and started making adjustments. Almost immediately, the heart beat straightened out. What a relief!

The rep stayed about an hour, trying various settings so the best one for me could be used. It appears that what she did has worked, at least for the time being. I called the doctor who installed the pacemaker today, and informed his nurse. She said to monitor the situation, and let them know if it comes back. I wonder if there's a warranty on the work?

I was released late Tuesday, and have several followup doctor visits to go to over the next week or so.

Next is the chemo treatment I'm going through. I missed this week's treatment, but am scheduled to start again next Monday, if the oncologist agrees. With the next treatment, I will be halfway through the program.

So, that's what's been happening the last few days. Not fun, but could have been worse. I'd rather be RVing.

I had a followup visit with the pulmonary doctor who removed the fluid from my chest. After an exam and x-rays, he said the fluid had not returned, and that my lungs were clear. I'll see him again in a month.

Terri and Thomas are visiting for a few days as she had to see with her own eyes that Dad was okay. They will be going home tomorrow.

This afternoon, I puttered around a little with the weed eater. After supper, I mowed the front yard. Trying to do what I can when I can.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Fort Bragg, California: The Gem Of The Mendocino Coast

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back Home

Elkmont, Alabama

Just a quick post to let everyone know I have been in the hospital again, and got out Tuesday evening. I'll write a post to relate what happened as soon as I get to feeling better in the next day or so.


Saturday, June 18, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 90 degrees, partly cloudy skies

When we lived in Texas, one of the weather events we always watched for in the winter was for a norther to blow in. That meant a front was going to pass through with sudden high winds and sharp drops in the temperatures. We have actually seen them pass through, as a mist would sometimes rise along the line of the front.

So, why did I bring the subject of a norther up? Today, we were in the living room reading when a sudden roar of the wind came up. This wind was totally unexpected, and there hadn't been anything in the forecast to indicate bad weather was coming. I called up the local radar on the computer, and saw that some strong storms were passing through Tennessee. Apparently, we were close enough to the storms that we got these heavy winds that were probably 50-60 mph. The winds subsided after about a half hour, and we didn't get any rain. But, it sure looked like rain for awhile.

I managed to feel well enough today to go to the WalMart Mall to pick up a few of the things we purchase there. It was early enough that traffic was light, and few people were in the store. Just the way I like it. I managed to find everything I was looking for, even though it seems they move products around every week. I had planned to go to the local Sears store before going home, but by the time I left the Mall, I was wiped out. I'll go to Sears next week.

Last night was not a good one for me, as my sleep was interrupted all night by aches and pains. This disease of Amyloidosis has so many things that it does to a person, and one of them is the sleep interruption. As a result, I took three short naps today, which helped me get through the day. Believe me, I would rather be sleeping at night.

Judy and Roger visited this afternoon, and we agreed we would celebrate Father's Day by eating lunch at a local restaurant tomorrow. I hope I can find something that I can taste. If not, that's fine, because I know Carolyn will enjoy eating something besides her cooking.

Next week, Athens State College will be holding a celebration for the life of the Delmore Brothers. The Delmores were from Elkmont back in the early 1900s, and were one of the first country music groups that became famous. They were inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame. If I feel well enough, I would like to go listen to the music. I love the old music, especially that made with all acoustical instruments. Then, there's the Athens Old Time Fiddler's Convention, coming in October. I should be be finished with my chemo stuff by then, so I plan to go watch all the musicians standing in groups and jamming. Good stuff.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lander, Wyoming: Where Rails End And Trails Begin

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Windshield Replacement

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 80 degrees, mostly cloudy all day with light rain showers

Light rain started here about midnight, and continued until a little after lunch time. That's the first rain, along with what we got the day before, for the month of June.

My chemo sickness was a little better today, and I'm hopeful tomorrow will be even better. I still had to take things easy, but was able to get through the day with only two little naps. Food still doesn't taste good, but I was able to eat enough to keep Carolyn from fussing at me.

Speaking of eating, we went to Publix this afternoon to pick up a few groceries. Carolyn likes shopping at Publix, and will take an hour to look around for things she likes to get. The deli has a really good sub shop, and we had one made today for supper. And lunch. And..... That thing was so big. It had to weigh at least two pounds. It had roast beef, turkey, ham, salami, cheese, and all the trimmings on a large multi-grain roll. The meat was all Boar's Head products. Now, I'm expected to eat half this thing. With the way I'm eating, it will last three meals. Oh, by the way. The name of this sub is the Ultimate. And, it is.

We had the windshield changed on the truck today. If I had known how easy it was going to be, I would have done it long ago. Back in 2007, a rock flew up from a passing truck in Texas and broke the windshield for the first time. The crack grew, but never in a way that bothered our vision. Then, about five weeks ago, another rock hit the windshield, putting a big star on the passenger's side, and started growing. I contacted our insurance company to find out what to do about getting it fixed, and they set up the repairs.

The repairs were completed today at our house. The repairman said he would be about 20 minutes, and he was right. I'm amazed at how easy it was for him to make the repairs by himself. And now we have a nice clear windshield. Let's see how long it stays like this.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Groesbeck, Texas: Texas’ Best Kept Secret

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bad Chemo Day

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 61 degrees, high 90 degrees, clear skies

We got a little rain last night, but the wind and lightning were the most impressive things to come out of the little storm that passed through here. More trees were blown down, and the area has lost a lot of nice ones this spring.

The biggest thing that happened to us was that we lost our satellite television signal during the storm, which is normal. But, it didn't come back after the storm was finished. We went through all the things that the network said to do in order to get the signal back, but nothing worked. It was obvious that the dish had moved just enough to lose the signal. I called Dish, they went through the same things we did to try to get the signal back, and then they scheduled a repairman to come out and fix the dish. I thought we would be waiting a week, but the repairman was here, did the repairs, and was gone by lunch today. I would say that's good service. Kudos to Dish!

I'm in the part of the chemo drug cycle where I'm taking drugs by mouth for four days after an infusion of another chemo drug on Monday. I finished the oral part of taking the drug today (until next cycle), and the oral drug has really hit me hard. I think today was my worse day yet in this chemo treatment thing, and the one drug has caused it. Thank God I don't have to take it any more than I am.

Most of the day was spent trying to not be nauseated. I accomplished that, and was even able to eat a little. Tomorrow should be better.

I bought an I-Pad a few weeks ago, and have been tinkering around with it since. Learning how to use something like this is a little difficult when you don't feel on top of your game, and might be just a tad technologically challenged. Well, I think I'm learning how to use it. I've learned how to do quite a few things with it, and even down loaded a book from the Athens library that I read on the I-Pad.

I can imagine a world where real books will become obsolete. That's a shame, because we love books and reading. However, reading on the I-Pad is so much easier. Just touch the screen and the pages turn. Make the print larger or smaller as needed. The I-Pad is lighter and more convenient than toting a book around.

Then there's the surfing on the Internet that can be done with the I-Pad. Use it any place there's a wifi signal. Music and movies can be accessed. I've only touched the surface of what this thing can do, and I'm impressed. I'm using the first generation I-Pad, and the second generation is even more powerful. It will be interesting to see where all this goes.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Atlanta, Texas: The Other Atlanta, Texas Style!

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dental Appointment

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 90 degrees, cloudy, windy

Most of the day, it looked like we might get our first rain in almost a month. And, we did after the sun went down. At least the grass was staying green, and I didn't have to mow so often. Now, more mowing in a couple of days.

The chemo drugs hit me with a thud today, as my feel good days ended. I was expecting the down turn in how I feel, but was hoping I could get another good day. I had to take two naps to get through the day, but still found the energy early this morning to help Carolyn put some of her plants in pots. I can't stop trying to do something every day.

I had an appointment with a new dentist today, as we were due for our six month checkups. Carolyn's appointment will be late next week. We saw the same dentist in Texas for almost 20 years, and had a great relationship with him. Our hope was that we could build the same type of relationship with a dentist here. Based on my experience today, this new dentist is going to work out fine. The dental hygienist that cleaned my teeth was very good, using a combination of water and ultra sound to clean my teeth. At the end, there was a small amount of using the old scraper, but no pain, no bleeding, and my teeth feel very clean. I met the dentist when he checked everything out, and he struck me as being personable, and caring about the condition of my mouth. I think Carolyn will like this new office, too.

Since my appointment was just after lunch, we didn't eat lunch until the dental stuff was finished. Since we were in Ardmore, about the only thing that interested us was McDonald's. We stopped there, where I had the fish sandwich, which is a good sign that my appetite is hurting again due to the chemo drugs. I managed to eat it all, along with some unsweetened tea.

By the time we got home, I was wore out, so a nap seemed like the thing to do. An hour later, I felt better. As I was sitting in the dining room, watching the hummingbirds feed outside the window, I decided to see if I could get some pictures of them. Check out the pictures below.

I guess you could say we get a lot of enjoyment out of watching them.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bartow, Florida: The City Of Oaks and Azaleas

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Felt Good, Again

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 90 degrees, clear skies

I managed another day of feeling half-way decent, not even having to take a nap for the second day in a row. Tomorrow is expected to be a different outcome, as the chemo drug treatment from Monday starts licking my rear-end, again. At least I had two good days, and will take what ever I can get.

I used the feel good day in an effort to do some of the things that Carolyn leaves to me. I made a trip to Lowe's to get another roll of window film so we can finish tinting the windows on the south side of the house. Actually, there is only one window there, but it is in our bedroom, and with the early sun rise here, light starts pouring in the window before 0500 hours every morning. Tinting that window will stop most of the light, and maybe fool our bodies into thinking it is still early. I also picked up some landscape cloth for Carolyn so she can prepare some flower beds.

Since we are only using the fire place as a place to set the gas log, we decided to cap the flue opening at the top of the chimney with a more or leas permanent cap. I had the cap made at a metal shop while I was waiting, and it only cost $8.00. Not bad for a custom made piece. When Traci is here, I'll ask her to install the cap with some construction adhesive placed on the edges of the flue. Capping the flue keeps rain out, as well as birds, and keeps us from losing heat up the chimney when it's cold.

When we bought the riding mower, we were offered an extended warranty for it. I deferred a decision on that until today, when I decided to go ahead and purchase the warranty. Normally, I don't like extended warranties. but, in this case, with my illness and the cost of repairs without the warranty, I decided to go ahead with it. One more thing to not have to worry about so I can concentrate on getting well.

Traci does a lot of landscaping in partnership with a friend. Whenever she finds an interesting plant, she brings it to Carolyn, since Carolyn loves plants and flowers so much. I had to pick up some pots for plants to be transferred to, since most of them are root bound. We didn't do any transplanting today, but probably will tomorrow.

I have a dental appointment tomorrow with a new dentist. We had the same dentist in Texas for almost 20 years, so we are hopeful we can build the same type of relationship with the new dentist. Fingers crossed.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Ada, Oklahoma: City Of Pure Spring Water

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Company Left

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

Lori and her family left shortly after 0700 hours this morning, on their way back to Texas. We had a great week with them, and the good thing is that they may be back as soon as 2-3 weeks from now. John's mother needs some help with repairs on the house and upkeep in the yard, so that's probably what most of the next visit will consist of. It doesn't matter to us as long as they are here.

I had to go to Huntsville this morning for another chemo treatment. There was a chance that the treatment would be put off due to my platelet count, but the lab work showed that the count had recovered to normal levels. So, the doctor and I decided to have another treatment performed. That's number five out of twelve completed. This week is different, since I will also be taking oral chemo drugs for the next four days.

The infusion person that helped me said the steroids they have me on are designed to help my appetite, as well as help me feel better for a few days. I have to say the steroids worked well today, as I didn't need to take a nap, and my appetite did seem a little better. I tried to eat as much as I could, since I have found that my appetite suffers later in the weeks as the chemo drugs kick in. I'm not gaining any weight, but at least I'm not losing any.

One of the problems I have with this disease is extremity neuropathy, which is a tingling, numbness, and loss of feeling in the hands and feet. In addition, the drugs cause the same problem. I talked to my oncologist about it today, as well as my primary doctor in Atlanta. It was decided we would use a combination of vitamins, minerals, and supplements in an effort to help the problem. If the issue is not better in three weeks, a prescription drug will be used.

While I was in Huntsville, Carolyn was doing her thing with the house. Changing beds, washing clothes, dusting, wiping, sweeping, mopping, etc. Getting ready for the next company, which we love to have. Then, she even found time to start a new puzzle.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Binghamton, New York: Home Of The Square Deal

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rest Day

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

Today was a rest day for Lori and her family, as they get ready to go back home to Texas tomorrow. Lori and Zoe spent the day with us while John and Julian spent most of the day with John's mother in Huntsville. At our house, at least, there was a lot of reading, surfing the net, and watching television. Plus, I managed to sneak in two short naps.

Remember when I used to say that I didn't take naps, but instead used down time like that for meditation? Well, I have to say there's little meditation now. If I lay my head down, I'm probably going to fall asleep. It's all connected with my illness and the treatments I'm going through. There's nothing like a little chemo treatment to make you feel wore out all the time.

Now, having said all that, when I got up this morning, I felt the best that I have all week. As a result, I decided to go to Publix and the WalMart Mall to pick up a few groceries. I usually enjoy shopping for groceries, but being sick has made it difficult to do more than necessary. So, it was nice to be able to get out early while it was still cool and the stores were not crowded so I could take my time and look.

Carolyn prepared a nice meal of lentils and rice for lunch, along with french bread and Italian sausage, and there was so much that it served for supper, too. Zoe had never eaten lentils before, and found that she really likes them, at least the way Carolyn prepares them. Plus, dessert was cocoanut cake. Not bad.

As most readers know, we have two daughters. Here are a couple of pictures of them. They had to get their looks from their mother. I'm surrounded by beautiful women!

This is Terri, our oldest.

And here's Lori, our baby.

Have I said lately that I love my family?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Industry, Texas: Cradle Of German Settlement In Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dead Batteries

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

Lori and her family drove up to Sewanee, Tennessee, today as they visited the small college town and a family grave plot. Many of John's relatives are interred there, including his father who passed away last year. They took John's mother with them, since she doesn't get up that way very often. While there, they did some cleaning of the grave sites and head stones.

The big news around here today was that both batteries on the truck went bad at the same time. When I went out to start the truck this morning, the motor would turn over, but not start. We've had this problem before, like every three years, so I quickly figured out the batteries were probably bad. Since everyone was gone from our house, I called my brother-in-law Roger to see if he could take me to have the batteries checked. He arrived and we loaded the batteries in to his truck. When we got to the battery store, luckily before they closed, it was quickly found that the batteries were bad. I bought two new batteries and we took them home. Installation took a few minutes and the moment of truth arrived. Will it start or not? Yay, it started. Big sigh of relief! It's a bad feeling to have a vehicle broke, and no replacement for it.

When the family went on their hike on the Rails to Trails system yesterday near Elkmont, they took some pictures that they shared with me. Therefore, the readers get to share them, too.

Th picture above shows our daughters Terri and Lori on the top steps, then grandson Julian, with grandson Thomas and granddaughter Zoe on the bottom steps. John was taking the picture.

This next picture shows there really is an Elkmont.

Terri likes pictures like this.

Finally, this looks like a cool spot on a hot day.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbia, Tennessee: Mule Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sleeping Aid

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

The weather has remained basically the same now for about two weeks - clear, with highs in the low 90s. Humidity has been low for this area, averaging in the 40% range. So, what does all that mean? No new tornado outbreaks. Plus, the wheat combines are working in excellent conditions for harvesting the winter wheat crop in this area. Farming is still a way of life for many people up here, and it's good to see them get a good crop. After the wheat is harvested, the same ground will be planted with soy beans.

Lori and her family went to Tennessee today to visit the Franklin Battleground area and Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg. They invited us to go, but I'm not up to tromping all over the place in the heat. Besides, it's their vacation, and they should be doing things that they like, rather than trying to entertain Mom and Dad. I think they forget sometimes that we like the peace and quiet just fine.

I had to go pick up a few groceries at the WalMart Mall this morning. On the way home, I stopped at a little diner located in the Greyhound Bus Station to pick us up a quick sandwich for lunch. What a pleasant surprise that turned out to be. Carolyn asked for the toasted club sandwich, while I ordered the hamburger. Carolyn said her club sandwich was the best she has ever had, and my hamburger, if I could have tasted it, would have been outstanding. Total cost - less than $7.00.

One of the side effects of the chemo treatment I'm going through is restlessness, general aches and pain, and lack of sleep. I've never been a person that needed to take any type of pill in order to sleep or rest. Until now.

With all the side effects of the treatment, I have become exhausted from lack of sleep and rest. My doctors have been very supportive in giving me whatever I needed to try to rest, but I resisted using it because I didn't want to become dependent on a pill so I could sleep. One pill that was prescribed caused me to have nightmares for two nights, so that didn't work too well. Last night, I took a different sleeping aid that might work for me. I was able to get eight hours total of sleep, with no ill effects, and felt better today. Not any where close to 100%, but I wasn't in a fog all day. I think I'll take another one of those pills tonight. If they continue working as well as that one did last night, I'll be able to rest and hopefully help the healing process. Then, I'll worry about stopping the pills when I'm finished with the treatment plan.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hutto, Texas: Official Hippo Community Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sulphur Creek Trestle

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 92 degrees, clear skies

The chemo treatment I received this past Monday kicked my rear-end big time today. I got up this morning with a little nausea, but got over that. The worse part of the day was just not feeling well, at all. But, I am sick, so I guess all of this is relative.

I had to go to the treatment center this morning to give the leeches more blood. Fortunately, I had to be there early, so I missed most of the traffic mess. By the time I was finished and talked to the nurse about one of my medications, it was late enough that all the morning traffic rush was finished.

When I got home, the first thing I did was lay down for awhile to try to get over some dizziness I was feeling. When I got up, all the visiting family company had decided to go for a hike on the Rails to Trails system, located a couple miles away. Their primary interest was in going to the site of The Battle of the Sulphur Creek Trestle. During the Civil War, the Union Forces built a fort to defend a railroad trestle that crossed Sulphur Creek, about 1.5 miles south of Elkmont. The Confederates attacked the fort and drove the Union forces out. The battle was the bloodiest in Alabama for the war.

The site where the fort was located is now in private hands, and a new house has been built on the old earthen fortifications. Looking at an overhead view of the property, the old trenches and other identifying features can be plainly seen.

Everyone got home about mid-afternoon, and spent the rest of the afternoon recuperating.

Terri and Thomas had to go home this afternoon. He has a reservation with a church group to go to Atlanta tomorrow, so he had to get back and prepare for the trip. At least we had the family together for a couple of days.

Lori and her family are planning to go to Franklin, Tennessee tomorrow to tour the battleground for the Battle of Franklin, the bloodiest five hour battle of the entire Civil War. Interesting place to visit.

I've had enough for today. I'm going to bed.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Boone, North Carolina: The Heart Of The High Country

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 93 degrees, clear skies

Lori and Thomas finished trimming our shrubs this morning, while the weather was still somewhat cool. Of course, they needed a straw boss to watch what they were doing, and offer suggestions on doing the job better. Just kidding, I was out there but it was to offer support where I could. They did a fine job.

After lunch, all the folks who are visiting decided they wanted to go to the movies, so they checked what was playing in Athens. Yes, that's right, Athens now has a movie theater. They found a movie they might like, and off they went. We were invited, but neither Carolyn or I wanted to go. Instead, we used the time to rest and plan supper.

We decided we would pick up some frozen lasagna, both vegetarian and meat. We have some vegetarians in the family, so we always make sure we have food for them. I drove in to the WalMart Mall and picked up what we needed. When I got home, we should have started cooking the lasagna, because it seemed to take a long time to get it cooked. Anyway, the lasagna eventually cooked, and we added salad and garlic bread. Dessert was chocolate pound cake, so a pretty decent supper.

Earlier this afternoon, we watched a video Lori rented named True Grit with Jeff Bridges. Excellent movie, but then Jeff is one of our favorite actors.

Another busy day. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I have to go to Huntsville in the morning for more lab work. Apparently, this lab work has a little more importance than previously. We'll see.

Oh, by the way - remember the puzzle we almost gave up on? Well, we finished it Tuesday morning. Perseverance does pay off, even with puzzles.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Austin, Texas: City of the Violet Crown

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spaghetti and Family Gathering

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 93 degrees, clear skies

Lori, Zoe, and I spent the early morning hours trimming some of the shrubs around the front of the house. In addition, we worked on some straggly limbs on the shade trees. We still have some shrubs to trim, but we'll get those before Lori goes back to Texas. I sure appreciate what they are doing to help us.

Later in the day, Traci came over and shaped up the holly trees located at the front corners of the house. The place is looking pretty good.

About 1700 hours, Terri and Thomas arrived from Tuscaloosa for a visit of a couple of days. That means we have our entire family at home at one time for the first time since Christmas of 2009. What better time for a more extended family get together, so we invited Judy, Roger, and Traci over for a spaghetti supper. John, Lori's husband, brought his mother from Huntsville, so it was a great gathering of people that we care about.

Spaghetti is nothing special, but it seemed to go over big with the crowd. And, it is easy to prepare for that larger a crowd. Add in salad and garlic toast, along with fresh baked cookies and brownies, and everyone seemed to have plenty.

I know I have said it several times before, but family is important to us. Getting together with everyone today was special for us.

I'm wore out after the busy day.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tampa, Florida: The Big Guava

'Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One-On-One With Lori

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

I had another chemo treatment in Huntsville today, and Lori asked if she could go with me. Well, of course she could. So, we left home about 0730 hours, headed for what we thought was going to be heavy rush hour traffic. Luckily, the traffic was not as bad as we thought it would be, and we made good time through the normal bottleneck of Madison.

Before we left Athens, we stopped for a little breakfast snack so I wouldn't get hungry while waiting to be served at the cancer center. Even with the stop, we were a few minutes early, giving the vampires in the lab time to pull their weekly quota of blood. We found that the dosage of one of my medicines needs to be adjusted downward, so that will be happening over the next few days.

After the vampires were finished with me, I checked in with the doctor's office, knowing that I would have to wait until the lab reports were ready before I could see him. While we were waiting, Lori and I had a nice visit, talking about all manner of things.

After about thirty minutes, I was called back to see the the doctor, after my vital signs had been checked. Lori went with me, since I wanted her to see the entire experience I go through at the cancer center. The doctor did his usual checks, and then I started asking questions. The lab reports are starting to show some real differences in values since my first treatment, and I have to go back to the lab on Thursday for more blood donations. My next scheduled treatment is next Monday, but that may be delayed a week to give me a rest from the drugs. In addition, the labs will be checking the critical parameters for the Amyloidosis to see what changes are going on there. Overall, the doctor thinks I am tolerating the chemo well. That was the key issue before going in to the treatment plan.

Once I was finished with the doctor, I went back to scheduling, where I was given the times for my next two appointments. Then it was on to the infusion lab, where I was hooked up to an IV with steroids. After the steroids were infused, the chemo drug was pushed in to the IV, and I was finished. Now, that doesn't sound like much, but the whole experience always seems to take a lot out of me, and Lori was able to see how weak I was when it was finished.

After getting to the truck and resting a few minutes, we drove down to Sam's Club, where I picked up a few things that we use. Then it was back to Athens and lunch at home.

It was a busy day, but I spent a good part of it visiting one-on-one with Lori. That doesn't happen often, and I appreciate her wanting to see what I'm experiencing.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Grants Pass, Oregon: Where The Rogue River Runs

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Old Friend Bo

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 91 degrees, hazy

It looked for awhile today that the thunderstorm we are dreading was ready to hit us. But, it played out west of us, so still no rain. The temperature did cool off a little, so we're grateful for that.

We took an extra roll of window film back to Lowe's that we didn't need, and picked up a roll of their darkest film for our bedroom. We need to darken the room early in the morning, and the dark film should take care of it for us. I'm getting tired of waking up at 0500 hours and thinking it must be 0700 hours.

We like good bar-b-que, and have had a hard time finding what we consider good bar-b-que in this area. Living in Texas for 20 years, we got used to what they served out there, and use it as the standard to judge all others. We are not fans of a vinegar based bar-b-que, preferring that it just have a dry rub with the option of adding a sweet sauce. There are several restaurants in this area that serve bar-b-que, and some of them are high profile outfits that go to cook offs all over the country. We have tried many of the locals, and are still searching for that one place that we wouldn't mind going back to. We may have stumbled up on that place today.

Whitt's is a local outfit that has several little stores scattered around the area. Since we were in town at lunch time, we decided to try them out. Now, this is not a place to go for a lot of variety. They have pulled pork, beef, and turkey. Their pulled pork sandwiches are probably their biggest seller, served on a bun with mayonnaise, cole slaw, and dill pickle. We ordered some of these sandwiches, but left off the cole slaw because it is a vinegar based slaw.

Well, the sandwich was quite a surprise, as it was full of meat which was not dry. Nothing had to be added, and it was quite tasty. At least Carolyn said it was, as I couldn't taste it. I still ate it. I'm looking forward to the time when I get my taste buds back so I can experience what it really tastes like.

This afternoon, I talked to old friend Bo, who lives in Texas. We both retired at the same time from the company we worked for back about ten years ago, and worked together several times since then in various contracting jobs. Speaking to Bo brought back a lot of memories, mostly good, of things that happened while working. I find that I miss the social aspect of work more that anything else. It would be great to see some of the other people I used to work with.

More chemo treatment tomorrow as I continue to fight Amyloidosis.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - London, Kentucky: Home Of The World Chicken Festival

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yard Work

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 91 degrees, hazy and cloudy skies

It looks like the weather here is building up to a big thunderstorm in the next few days. At least that's the way it looks to us, with the haze and humidity getting worse every day. We're not looking forward to it, especially after the tornado outbreak in April.

Carolyn installed the window film on the west side windows today, and there seems to be a definite difference in the amount of heat coming through those windows. We decided that we will use a different film in our bedroom in an effort to also reduce the glare in the room. Our hope is that it will darken the room so that it doesn't get light inside the room at 0500 hours. As I said earlier, the sun seems to come up real early here.

Traci came over this afternoon and started doing some of the yard work that I can't do at this time. Things like tree trimming and weed eating wear me out now, and I don't have the strength to do those little jobs that used to be so easy. While Traci did her thing, I mowed the yard, which I can still do, at least if using the riding mower.

Roger also came over, and in between work and rest, we had a good visit. He crawled up on the roof and measured what size roof cap we need so we can cover the chimney. Now, you have to understand that Roger really shouldn't be up on that roof with the problems that he has, but he is a tough old bird that you can't get down. A former Green Beret, he has been fighting cancer for the past eleven years. He has a business that he still goes to most days. He, along with my sister-in-law Kathy, are my role models for this fight that I'm going through with Amyloidosis.

Our daughter Lori and her family are coming up from Texas tomorrow, and should arrive late tomorrow night. It will be good to see them again. I'm sure we will have plenty to talk about when they get here.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Liberty, Texas: First City On The Trinity

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I-65 Sauna

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 95 degrees, clear skies

We spent more time than we wanted today on the sauna known as I-65, the interstate highway that goes between Athens and Birmingham. The reason for the trip was to do a followup visit with the doctor who installed my heart pacemaker about six weeks ago. Temperatures on the highway averaged 102 degrees, and we were held up for about 30 minutes near Cullman as crews were removing storm debris from the right of way.

Our appointment was for 1240 hours, and we arrived about an hour early. Imagine my surprise when I was called back to see the doctor within ten minutes after getting there and checking in. The doctor said the pacemaker appears to be working well. He made some minor adjustments, and ten minutes later, we were finished. All right!

The trip back to Athens was uneventful, except for me being tired. We stopped once so I could rest my eyes. When we got to Athens, we decided to have a late lunch/early supper, and stopped at Logan's Road House. I ordered the catfish, while Carolyn had the pork chop. By the time we got home, it was about 1600 hours.

Since I was wore out, I took a nap of about an hour, and felt much better. Our niece Traci came by for a visit, which we always enjoy. She's coming back tomorrow to help us catch up with some of the yard work that we can't do at that time. Oh, by the way, we pay her for helping us. If she didn't do the work, we would have to get someone else to do it for us.

My brother-in-law Wayne had major surgery on his back yesterday, and it appears he came through the operation in good shape. He's got a long road ahead of him as he recuperates, but I'm sure all the prayers helped.

Company is coming next week. I hope I can be a good host.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Buffalo, New York: It’s Good For You

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

This And That

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 93 degrees, clear skies

The warm weather is getting a little warmer each day, and is expected to keep going up. We are staying inside as much as possible, but when we do have to get out, we tend to get whatever it is that we're doing finished as quickly as possible.

Today, we had a few things to pick up at Lowe's, like window film to reduce the heat gain through the west side windows of the house. The box the film came in says that the film will reduce heat gain through the windows by 60%. If so, that's pretty good, and will help keep the house cooler in the afternoons. Plus, it will cut some of the glare. The sun starts coming up before 0500 hours here, so maybe the bedroom will be a little darker for a short time in the mornings. Another plus to the window film is that we can take a tax credit for installing it.

I'm already planning for snow removal when it snows here in the winter. This past winter, we didn't have a snow shovel, and there were several instances when we could have used one. And, of course, there were none to be found in the stores. There are plenty available in the stores right now, so I bought one when we didn't need it. If everything works out well, we will be in warmer weather in the RV when it snows here again, and the shovel never gets used.

I also bought an extendable tree trimmer to trim the trees in the yard. I don't have the energy or strength to do it right now, but we have company coming next week. Maybe I can talk them into doing some of the trimming. Oh, and weed eating, too.

I have a doctor's appointment in Birmingham tomorrow with the doctor that installed the heart pacemaker about six weeks ago. His office called to ask if we could be there at 1240 hours, rather than at the original time of 1500 hours. I accepted the new time, because it means we can get out of Birmingham before rush hour starts. I'll do that every time I can.

Not much happening here, other than trying to stay cool and finish the puzzle that is so difficult.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Grants Pass, Oregon: Gateway To The Redwoods

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Benadryl As A Sleep Aid

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

I talked to the oncologist's nurse practitioner about my sleepless nights, and we discussed some aids to help the situation. She said the issue was caused by the steroids that I'm taking. The doctor prescribed a sleeping pill to help me sleep, but that fix seemed to cause me to have a lot of weird dreams. I asked about using Benadryl, and she said that would be fine, even saying that if one tablet didn't help, to take a second one. Last night, I tried the Benadryl, and it seemed to help the little aches and pains, plus seemed to help me sleep a little better. The nurse said if it doesn't work like I need, to let her know, since there are some other prescription sleep aids that might do the job for me.

I never dreamed that I would be taking all the medicine I'm taking. Folks, watch your health. It can get away from you in a heartbeat. This is coming from a person that supposedly did everything right: tried to get enough exercise, tried to eat right, had routine physicals, did everything the doctors said to to do, and then got blindsided by a disease that no one ever heard of before. Amyloidois is a terrible disease that has the potential to brought into remission if caught soon enough and treated aggressively. I'm in the aggressive mode on treatment, so time will tell if it works. I think it will, and am planning accordingly. Even to the point of thinking about going to a different type of RV when we can travel again.

We met Judy and Roger for lunch today at Captain D's Seafood. Wednesday is senior
discount day, and they offer 15 different meals along with a drink for $4.99 a meal. That's a good deal in my book. We enjoyed meeting and eating together, and will probably start doing it at least weekly. Not at Captain D's each week, but there are plenty of places around Athens we can go to.

Remember I was whining about how difficult a puzzle was that we were trying to put together, and that we would probably put it away? Well, we have sucked it up, and kept working on the puzzle. At this time, it is about 50% finished, and we estimate we have about another week before it will be finished. No stinking puzzle is going to beat us!

While we were in town, we stopped at the WalMart Mall to look for a hoe. Not a hoe to work in a garden or flower beds, but a hoe that can be used for killing snakes. That means it needs to be substantial enough to beat on a snake without breaking. Can you believe the Mall did not have any hoes? I guess we'll have to check Lowe's the next time we're there.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hartford, Connecticut: Insurance City

Not all who wander are lost.