Thursday, June 22, 2017

Something Quilty for my Birthday

We are still in Sarasota for another month.  Today is my birthday.  I got a wonderful surprise this morning when the FedEx truck pulled up.  My sister Katy sent me a package with this cheerful apron and potholders!

Upon closer inspection, some of those fabrics looked very familiar!  When we moved from our Raleigh house, I gave Katy several huge bags of fabric scraps.  She works with an organization that helps disabled adults with careers and living arrangements.  The recipient of my fabrics made this cute set.  The pockets and potholders are my fabrics!  Now look what I could have been doing!

She also sent me this beautiful card that matches the apron, and also looks like patchwork butterflies.  Be prepared to see these again, perhaps on my Bible journal pages!

Charlie took me shopping for my birthday at the Apple store.  He said he has not been able to shop for me because I am always with him down here!  No complaints, I have this beautiful Apple watch with a ribbon watchband.  It is fun trying to learn how to use it.  I have this flowering watch face that changes to different colored blooms.

I bought him an i-Watch when we were down here in 2015 for his first radiation.  So now I have an expert on hand to show me how to use it.  He also bought me this nice product that we were introduced to at the Table restaurant.  Their restrooms had this great-smelling hand scrub made from salt filtered from the gulf waters in this area.  We found some of the product when we were looking for a gift for our sister-in-law who is coming down tomorrow.  

Tonight we are going on a party boat cruise around Sarasota Bay at sunset.  This was a gift from my children before they left last week.  There will be a musician playing Jimmy Buffett music, live palm trees, and a bar mixing up some birthday margaritas, I hope!  

I feel very grateful to be in this beautiful city for my birthday, even though I have to be away from home.  Healing for Charlie, and wonderful experiences and memories for both of us.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Family Fun

Lily's Birthday of my watercolor prints with a few additions!

Our family has been with us in Florida for almost a week now!  We have had so much fun.  Four extra adults and five extra kids, including nine-month-old Baby Layla.  Lily turned eleven on Tuesday.  We have had great meals, fun at the beach, and trips to the park.  The weather was rainy only one day...the rest of the time we have dodged the showers and even seen rainbows.

Our family...fighting cancer together!
Before they arrived, I ordered bracelets from a company called, with the word Together on each one.  I had bought one at the Mast Store in Boone that said Hope.  When I went to the MudLove website to order more, I found out that you could have the bracelets customized with the word of your choice.  Together has been our family codeword for fighting cancer for the last two years.  

Baby Layla has been delightful.  Baby Kasey is a little jealous.  She thought she was the baby.

Well, it is hard to blog when you have four extra adults, five kids and a dog in the house.  They have all gone back home today.  This house is very, very quiet.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Treatment Update

Charlie has now finished two weeks of radiation for his recurrent prostate cancer at Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota.  He goes in at 1:00, and it usually takes about forty-five minutes.  Most of the time is spent trying to position him for the radiation to the back of his head and his neck.  They made him a new mask/helmet to protect his face and keep his head still, but they will be making him a new one next week.  They think that by adding a mouth piece and breathing tube, they can have more control.  Sounds like torture to me.

He finally got to start one of the new medicines last week, Zytiga, and it made him sick as a dog the first day.  After that, he took it at night, and he has not had much problem.  He will get the second new drug, Xofigo, by IV on Thursday.  This is the one containing radium.  It sounds scary.

Meanwhile, we have been trying to amuse ourselves and pass the time.  We have been to two nice restaurants, one on Phillippi Creek in Sarasota, and one on the bay on Longboat Key.

Our 46th anniversary was Monday.  The Table at Creekside was beautiful, serene, and very special.

The first time we went to Dry Dock Waterfront Grill was with our new friend Bill from Dattoli.  He recommended this place for the great view of Sarasota Bay.  It did not disappoint.  We liked it so much that we went back today when my brother Jeff and his wife and son came up to visit from Ft. Myers.

New friend Bill and Charlie at Dry Dock

With my brother's family at Dry Dock Waterfront Grill

View from Dry Dock 

We also finally saw our first Gulf sunset.  We went to South Lido Beach Park.  It was very entertaining to see the pelicans dive-bombing the water for fish.  The sunset was great.

Sunset at South Lido Beach Park

Again, if we have to be going through cancer treatment away from home, it is nice to be in such a beautiful location.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, Part 2

Here are a few more faves from our visit last Friday to the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy.

There are large outdoor sculptures of many animals in the garden areas.

I love the palm trees made from wine bottles!

Lots of nice seating areas and gardens.  Do you see the artful woodpeckers?  There was a pileated woodpecker in our neighborhood the other day trying in vain to peck through a metal utility pole.

I am really glad that I finally got to visit this place before it closed again for the "off-season."

Friday, May 26, 2017

Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy

One week of radiation is past...Charlie is still feeling good.  They switched him to a morning appointment today.  All of the staff got a well-deserved early start to the long holiday weekend.  We went to lunch at Sunnyside Cafe, and then to the Marietta Museum of Art And Whimsy.  

I have been wanting to visit this place since before our first trip to Sarasota.  It was closed for renovations or for the off-season every other time we have been in town.  It closes tomorrow until November, so we took advantage of the longer afternoon to finally tour the museum and gardens.

I can safely say that, next to the beach, this is my favorite place in Sarasota!  There is art everywhere...the walls, the gardens, the parking lot, the restroom, the trees!

Inside, there are some lovely paintings, as well as mobiles, sculptures, and some great wooden benches and tables.

In one of inside galleries, a docent turned off the lights and turned on the laser lights.

More next time!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Getting Started

Charlie and I met with the team at Dattoli Cancer Center yesterday.  There is a whole new medication regimen.  It has not started reminds me of buying a car.  Paperwork, questions, signatures, approval.  One of the meds is a radium injection once a month at $12,000 a pop.  Yikes!  Here we go with insurance and Big Pharma dominating our lives.  Whatever it takes.

It looks like this time he will have one hour of radiation per day, starting at 1:00 PM and lasting until July 24.  Tomorrow is the "dry run" where they run the computer systems but don't actually radiate. 

Today we enjoyed a day off and went to the beach at Lido Key in Sarasota.  That was just what we needed to de-stress.  How lucky to be having cancer treatment in such a beautiful place.

We also went to Yoders, an Amish restaurant/produce market/deli not far from our rental house.  We got a chicken pie for supper, fresh corn on the cob, Honey Bell oranges, and a Key Lime Pie for dessert.  Then we walked it off at the Arlington Park nature trail right near our place.  Kasey loved seeing the dozens of squirrels, although they are brave here and actually taunted her as we walked along.

And here is a nice feature of downtown Sarasota...these little free libraries!  This one is on the street as you leave the park.

I have not been to the Sarasota Public Library yet, but plan to get my temporary library card soon.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


You have not heard from me since Easter.   Sometimes life overwhelms.

Over a period of a few weeks, we found out that my husband Charlie's cancer is no longer in remission.  This was disappointing news after the very aggressive treatment he has undergone.  The good news is that Dr. Dattoli and his team in Sarasota think they can successfully treat the new areas with seven to eight weeks of additional radiation.

We are leaving for Florida tomorrow.  This time we are renting a house close to the cancer center.  We are taking our dog.  I am taking my sewing machine and watercolors.

We are going to get through this together.

In the meantime, we have moved!  We are no longer Raleigh residents.  This is quite a change after 52 years.  Our children packed us up and moved us to our mountain cabin just last week.  The basement got finished and the new storage shed arrived just in time for the move.  

So...on to Florida after only one week of being mountain residents.  When we get back we will have lots of time to sort things out and decide where to hang quilts and pictures.