Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hilo, Honolulu, Maui, Kona, Kauai.....

On Hilo we went to the Botanical Garden, where we looked at orchids until the downpour started. We'd have been completely soaked instead of slightly soaked if a fellow cruiser hadn't offered us her poncho. She'd been wise enough to take one of the free umbrellas at the start of the walk, but Jerry had said it wasn't going to rain and I'd said that even if it did we weren't made of sugar, were we?
It was the kind of warm rain that makes me miss the tropics.

The next day was the big island, where we didn't go on an excursion. Instead we found ourselves at the Honolulu Zoo, along with dozens of groups of cute, well-behaved kids in matching tee shirts, all on field trips. They were as much fun to watch as the animals.
For the benefit of crossword puzzle addicts, the unimpressive bird is a nene, Hawaiian goose.
And there is Jerry on the beach at Waikiki (note: it's a good idea to remember to bring bathing suits to a beach if you plan on swimming).

And on to Maui, where we met up with Rob's folks, Steve and Jack, and had a wonderful time with them. After all of the people we met on the cruise it was especially good to spend some time with family.

We'd signed up for an excursion in a glass-bottomed boat in Kona, with a promise of whales and dolphins (and lunch). It wasn't until we were out in the boat that they admitted that the Big Tsunami of 2010 had stirred up the bottom enough that there weren't many fish to be seen. Or any, actually. Or whales (one tail flip at a distance). Or dolphins. And the lunch was mediocre. But that was literally the only disappointment of the trip, and as you can see, Jerry knows just what will make me feel better.

The final day was at Kauai, where we did remember our bathing suits and spent a great morning at the beach, getting tumbled around by the waves even if we didn't quite feel brave (or rich) enough to try surfing.

It's a rough life, but someone's got to do it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sailing Away to Hawaii (first few days)

(Though it is somewhat larger than it appears in the picture)

As we boarded. One of the larger portholes behind us might be our room.

Within two hours of our boarding, Jerry found a piano. Within a couple of days he had a following who applauded, bought him a couple of drinks, suggested songs, and occasionally talked through his set (you can't have everything).

Listening to Jerry play was one of the high points of the trip for me.

Eating was another -- for both of us.

Next post, assuming I can get pictures from all three cameras coordinated, will be of the islands.

Just to sum up, though, it was a wonderful two weeks. We enjoyed it thoroughly.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And now for something completely different....

Silence. I'll be back with you in a couple of weeks. Enjoy your life, as I plan to enjoy mine.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

10 Signs that spring is actually on its way -- NH version

  1. Radio stations are reminding us to take down our bird feeders because it's warm enough for the bears to wake up, and they're hungry.
  2. We're also reminded to get those bob houses off the lakes now, before the ice melts and they (and maybe the cars pulling them) sink down into the watery depths.
  3. The other morning, I caught a faint aroma of skunk around our barn.
  4. You can tell just which drivers ahead of you know the roads by whether they swerve to avoid potholes or bounce right into them.
  5. Maple trees are attached to each other with blue plastic tubing.
  6. When the snow falls it doesn't last as long as before, and it's much heavier to shovel.
  7. Teachers can tell you that there are 66 more days of school -- but who's counting?
  8. A few early bird Florida license plates have already been spotted.
  9. The cat meows to get out on the porch, then realizes that it's still too cold and glares at me accusingly.
  10. Jerry and I leave on vacation this coming week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Joining the club

During the past couple of weeks I've heard of two people newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My heart goes out to them and their families. I know what they're going through. First there's the almost literal feeling of having been punched in the gut. Then perhaps a little relief -- after all, people don't die of cancer much any more, do they? .... And then, the nasty statistics. How can anyone stay sane after reading them? Some people feel numb. Others go straight into anger. Others simply get depressed and give up.

Oh, yes, I remember. And there are times when I react to the eventual realities of my situation and mourn the years and experiences I will miss. Most of the time, though, I'm too busy living the life I have, made easier by all of the support and love that surrounds me.

Here are three sites which have helped me over the past two years. First is a famous essay by
Stephen J. Gould, the evolutionary biologist who was diagnosed with a horrible form of cancer at an early age. It puts some of those nasty statistics into a better context for us:

Next are the two sites for PanCan, the Pancreatic Action Network. The first is the general site where you can find various kinds of help, including a telephone number where you can reach people who can answer any question you might have:

The second is the forum in which people with pancreatic cancer and their caregivers share thoughts, ideas, rants, questions, and their own answers. Sometimes the posts are poignant, sometimes annoying. If nothing else, they remind me that we may all have the same kind of disease, but we remain ourselves, at our best and worst.

Finally, while I'm not an expert I'm happy to share my own journey. Email me or call me. We survive best when we support each other.