Friday, 31 August 2012

Night Sweats! Menopause or Lymphoma Symptom?

Throughout the summer of 2011 I had been having intense night sweats that left my bed drenched.  I remember my hair being soaked and I looked like I had just gone swimming.  At the time, I was attributing the night sweats to my approaching menopause.  I'm just at the age that these things would be happening naturally to my body.  The night sweats continued to interrupt my sleep which added to my sense of lethargy and fatigue.  All this continued throughout the Fall of 2011.

When I went for my first visit to my family doctor at the end of November 2011, he asked me if I was having any night sweats.  Of course I answered in the affirmative and told him that I assumed it was my approaching menopause and bodily changes.  As it happens, the night sweats were a symptom of the lymphoma.  Once I started my chemotherapy treatments in January of this year, the night sweats disappeared.  However, they reappeared in March and I remember being scared.  This was not just a little bit of anxiety but full blown fear that the chemotherapy wasn't working and the tumours were growing bigger.  My oncologist reassured me in March that the tumours were not growing back but were, in his experience, actually gone.  He told me that the chemotherapy had pushed my body over the brink and into menopause which was causing the night sweats.

So this begs the question...How do you know whether it is night sweats due to menopause or night sweats due to lymphoma?!  For the last few months, I've started to have hot flashes during the day as well.  I can now tell the difference between the lymphoma night sweats and the menopausal night sweats/hot flashes.  For me, the night sweats I experienced last summer and last fall were sudden drenchings with very little warning.  Like menopausal night sweats, it helped to lessen the intensity of them by keeping my feet cool at night.  I would just uncover my feet and lower legs which would cool me off.  The night sweats and hot flashes that I'm experiencing due to menopause begin with a prickly heat sensation that starts in my chest and radiates up my neck and face to the top of my head and down to my legs.  I can truly feel the advance of the heat as it moves.  As soon as I feel it start in the middle of the night, it helps to throw off the covers.  If I sleep through the beginning of the night sweat, then it takes longer for the heat to abate.  Anyway, there definitely is a difference between what I feel due to menopause and what I felt as symptoms last summer and fall.  This really relieves my mind.  Even though my oncologist had reassured me in March, there was always that niggling anxiety in the back of my mind that wondered "what if".  What if the lymphoma was coming back?  Would I feel it?  Would the fatigue I feel because I've done too much be a symptom?  Would the night sweats be confused with menopause?

I'm confident now that there is a difference and I can definitely feel it.  Last night, my sleep was interrupted with another night sweat that started as a prickly sensation followed by intense heat.  It started in my chest and moved upwards and downwards at the same time.  I threw off the covers but it didn't help last night.  So I got up and went to the living room.  I spent time on the computer until my body was cooled down and I was tired again.  So although the night is interrupted, I still feel like I got a good night's sleep.

I have a check-up with my oncologist in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to it.  I've been very tired lately and, logically, I can tell myself that it is because I've had a very busy month or so.  There is just that little monkey of anxiety sitting on my shoulder that wonders if I'm tired because the lymphoma is returning.  I really don't think so and when the "what ifs" start, I figuratively push them back inside the closet in my mind, slam the door shut and lock it.  This metaphor and imagery helped me cope while I had treatment.  I think it is a tool that I will be using as it helps to relieve the anxiety and relieve any stress.

In closing, I'm happy to be alive.  The fact that I have night sweats interrupting my sleep can be overcome.  In the big scheme of life, it is just another little irritant and all women have had to or will have to experience this as a rite of passage.  Life is good and full of experiences with family, friends, nature and my spiritual realm.  That's what really counts.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Back to Reality

After eight months of taking it easy, it is time to get myself ready to go back to work and juggling my many responsibilities.  As I went through my chemotherapy treatments, I had plenty of time to think about all aspects of my life.  I thought about what I do for a career and whether I wanted or needed to make changes.  I examined how I handle and react to stress.  I examined my activities and worries in order to prioritize and decide which activities were beneficial to me and which activities added stress and anxiety to me.  While I was ill and going through treatment, I was forced to sit still and learn how to relax.  I also had to learn to deal with anxiety and the unkown future.  Throughout this whole process, I realized that I had to make changes to myself.  I needed to learn to let go of some of the details that I always thought were important.  As I recovered my health, strength and stamina this summer, I lived life to the fullest.

To be completely honest, I did too much in the last month or so.  I had a fantastic trip to California and enjoyed every moment.  This follows my new view of life which is to enjoy every single moment.  However, I was very tired after the trip and instead of taking time to recover, I played golf the very first day back.  I, again, enjoyed every moment of that day but it continued to drain my limited reserves of energy.  The following week, I didn't stop "doing" as I felt I had to get my home ready to teach private music lessons again in the Fall.  It was during this week that I fell back into my "old" mode of living and coping.  I ran myself ragged in order to get my house in order and get the laundry ready for the upcoming weekend away.  I remember writing in this blog during treatment or just after that I would not stretch myself in order to meet all my wants and obligations.  I relapsed and did stretch myself much too far.

I had a wedding that I was looking forward to since February while I was in treatment.  Throughout January through to August, I was excited about going to the wedding of my cousin and seeing all my extended family!  As it happens, my son's baseball team made the Ontario Baseball Association Championship Tournament that same weekend.  So now my weekend that I had looked forward to for months was being split between spending time with extended family and sitting at the ball field.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining as I really enjoy watching my son play baseball.  I always feel so proud of him as he plays and gives 115% whenever he plays.  The good thing is that the tournament was only 30 minutes away from where the wedding was taking place.  On the Friday, my family and I left home at 7 a.m. in order to make it to the baseball field for 11:30 a.m.  We watched my son play ball and had the unexpected surprise of having one of my brothers and his wife come to watch the game.  They had never seen my son play baseball before because we live too far away from each other.  This was bittersweet because this was my son's last weekend of rep baseball.  He'll be too old next year.  We saw my son pitch a complete game (7 innings) with 10 strike outs.  They won 6-0.  We then left to travel to my other brother's home where we were going to stay for the weekend.  Our son dropped us off and turned around to head back to the ball field for his next game.  You see the wedding was at 6 p.m. and my son's ball game was at 5:30 p.m.  This is what I mean about juggling my priorities, trying to live life to the fullest to create memories and preserving my sanity and strength.  Unfortunately, because of the early start on Friday morning, I wasn't able to stay as long at the wedding reception as I wanted.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful and I had looked forward to dancing the night away.  My body didn't let me do the dancing portion.  I was so tired on Friday night that I had to leave the reception right after the "compulsory" dances with the bride and her father (my uncle).  I was feeling dizzy and starting to feel nauseous because of being too tired.  The weekend went by much too quickly.  My son played 5 games of baseball in 36 hours!  By Sunday we were all exhausted.  We missed out on seeing the extended family at a brunch buffet on Saturday morning because we were at the ball field.  It was one of those times when I wanted to be at two places at the same time.  We compromised and met my mom for breakfast on Sunday morning before we drove back home.

On Monday, I intended to do the laundry from the weekend and start the process of organizing myself to start teaching in September.  The "new" me listened to my body and didn't do anything except the laundry.  I was so tired I couldn't move on Monday.  I couldn't have communicated coherently with business associates or parents and so that has been put off for the moment.  Yesterday I started feeling the "old" feelings of pressure, tension and anxiety as I realized all that I still have to do before I teach in a week or so.  I realized that I don't want to go back to the constant feeling of tension and anxiety that I used to live with before being sick.  So I thought about what helped me cope and relax during my treatments.  It came to my attention that I had stopped reading "The Friendship Book" and "The Book of Awakening" in the last couple of weeks.  I had also stopped enjoying my patio and nature.  As I try to get myself back into that routine, I'm learning that it helps me to be more relaxed.  Just taking those few moments in the morning to read the daily excerpts before I get "busy" helps me to cope and be more centred.  Stopping to enjoy a moment or two communing with God in a natural setting on my patio also helps to give me inner peace.  So yesterday, I did more laundry, I started contacting business contacts and I prepared a wonderful dinner for some friends who came over last night.  In the process, I took time to sit and watch the birds and read a book while the chickens cooked on the barbecue.

As I come back to my reality of juggling the many demands on my time as well as keeping myself and my family organized, I have to remind myself to nurture the inner soul at the same time.  I believe this will continue to be my challenge in the coming months.  As I've healed over the summer, I find it easier to neglect the spiritual side of me.  I think it is harder to keep the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of ourselves when life is ticking along with everything going well.  Again, I want to try to implement changes and nurture all aspects in a balanced way.  This is the challenge of coming back to reality after eight months of healing.  Certainly having lymphoma in the last year has made me want to make these lasting changes.  That's the challenge in the next few months and keep the changes that I've made within as permanent changes.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

An Encouraging Day

As you know, I've been spending time thoroughly cleaning my home.  Normally this wouldn't be a significant event but it is the first time that I've been able to do it on my own since before my diagnosis.  I have had to work slowly at it as I tire easily.  Today I got all the vacuuming done, the dusting done and the cobwebs cleared from the corners.  On Monday, I hope to tackle washing the floors on my hands and knees as well as getting the bathrooms completed.  I'm also wanting to get all the windows washed.  Although I'm tired tonight, I feel very self-satisfied and encouraged.  On top of it all, as I was doing laundry and waiting for the spin cycle to finish, I tried singing some easy children's hymns from my childhood.  I pulled out the old hymnbook that used to always sit on my grandma's piano and I found my favourite children's hymns.  I managed to sing two hymns with multiple verses.  My voice had a good solid tone although it was still a little weak but certainly stronger than it's been.  I was able to support the tone with my diaphragm without any ill effects.  The voice isn't ready to do any singing publicly yet but it is very encouraging that my voice and throat are not showing any signs of strain tonight.

I get to have the weekend off as I'm attending my cousin's wedding.  I love spending time with my cousin and her fiance as they always make me laugh and smile.  They are a couple that spread light, sunshine and joy wherever they go.  The wedding will be a fun and enjoyable event.  The party after will most likely be filled with laughs to the point of having a sore face and belly from laughing and smiling so hard and long.  I found out about this wedding when I was sick.  August 24, 2012 became a beacon to me as I fought through the chemotherapy and the low points.  Now that the day is here, I'm excited to be attending and feeling great.  Let's partay!!!!

As life would have it, my son's baseball team made the Ontario Baseball Association Championship Playoffs.  He's playing ball this weekend in Stratford in his very last tournament in Rep baseball.  Thank goodness the tournament is being held in Stratford as it allows us to watch his first game on Friday at noon, make the drive to my brother's home where we'll be staying for the weekend, go to my cousin's wedding while my son drives back to Stratford to play ball on Friday evening.  I know that earlier in my blog while I was finishing my chemotherapy, I mentioned that I was going to make changes so that I wasn't pulled in all different directions trying to make everyone happy.  This time I'm pulling myself in all different directions because I am going to my cousin's wedding and at the same time wanting to see my son play ball for the last time in a very competitive manner.  I'm looking forward to this weekend because at the same time I'll be able to enjoy visiting with my brother.

I'll be completely offline this weekend.  You see, I am a rare breed.  I have a cell phone but it is a basic cell phone with no text or internet plan.  I don't have an IPhone, or IPad or IPod or Tablet or anything else.  I have a computer and I've dragged myself into this century by having a laptop.  I'm looking forward to being offline and visiting with family face-to-face without texting or emailing.  My brother is even more of a dinosaur than myself in that he doesn't have a computer or anything to do with the internet.  We enjoy old-fashioned visits where we recall escapades from our youth through to our current lives.  We laugh, eat, drink (coffee, water, wine, pop, etc.), laugh some more, eat some more and just enjoy each other's company.  Sometimes we play cards.  We do not ever feel like we will offend each other.  We disagree with each other during debates on current events and world issues but we respect each other enough to agree to disagree, although that will only come about after we have all tried to convince the others of the error of their ways.  I always look forward to getting together with my brother and his wife because there is true respect and love shown at all times.  Our visits with them always go by much too quickly.

As my summer winds down, I realize that I have embraced life fully again.  We've been very busy travelling but all our travels have involved visiting family and friends.  In my view, this is how life should be.  We get distracted from connecting with family and friends by totally immersing ourselves in our careers, playing mindless games on our electronic devices and generally wasting hours of our lives.  I have always felt that family and friends are important but since I've started feeling better, I really am much more aware of using my time wisely and making more effort to keep in contact with family and friends.  The problem now seems to be that there isn't enough time to see everybody that I want to see.  I still have my Cathy Conquers (or Conquered as one of my friends has suggested) Tour and living list to accomplish.  My list seems to revolve around food and visiting friends and family.  This means life is good!

Today I met up with a friend of mine who had taken over my students while I was going through treatment.  This was my first step to getting back to teaching in September.  I know that teaching and juggling my familial responsibilities has always drained my energy levels.  I'll have to be aware and make sure that I get enough rest.  I'm a little anxious about this new step in my healing.  I'm wondering if it is too soon to go back to teaching although the truth is I'm also excited about resuming teaching and seeing my students.  I've also become comfortable in being at home and not having too many demands placed upon me.  I've realized that I am a bit of an introvert.  This was definitely confirmed during our visit to Las Vegas.  I know that I'm even more comfortable in my own skin than I was before I got sick.

Anyway, this weekend is going to be a fun weekend and probably one of the last flings of the summer.  Let's bring it on!!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Some Satisfaction

After my rant yesterday, I have spent two full days cleaning the house.  Unfortunately only a quarter of the house has been done but it is being cleaned very thoroughly.  At the same time, I'm going through and ridding myself of trinkets that are over 20 years old.

I must say that I really didn't believe my teenagers would follow my lead and clean their rooms.  They may not have cleaned their rooms but at least I can see their floors now.  My son helped me move heavy furniture today so that I could thoroughly vacuum under and behind all the furniture.  My living room is cleaned completely and I feel very content in it now.  I'm slowly making my way through the house.

Today I did realize that I'm still not 100%.  As I was vacuuming, I was overcome with some dizziness which is a sign that I've pushed myself too hard.  It is a little unfortunate because I was going along at a good pace and getting lots accomplished.  Oh well, I'll just have to listen to my body again and take it easier.  Tomorrow I won't clean at all but I will be visiting with a good friend.  I'll tackle cleaning my house again on Thursday.

As I'm embracing life more fully again, I run into little irritants and other people's issues.  I mentioned yesterday that I'm continuing to work on making positive changes to myself.  Today I found that as I ran into other people's negativity, it helped me to stop doing for a few moments.  Whether I was standing or sitting, I stopped and mentally envisioned myself as an atom that moved into the very centre of my being (close to where my heart and sternum are) and just settled.  I breathed deeply as I envisioned this and it helped to relax me and get my thoughts and emotions centred again.  Then I was happier to continue with the cleaning.

As I dusted the shelves and trinkets in the shelving units in the living room, I came across some old photographs.  I was able to share with my daughter a picture of myself and my sister as we were graduating high school.  I also came across a photograph of my father-in-law, mother-in-law, husband, son and myself that was taken at a Mother's Day Brunch 15 years ago.  I showed my daughter the photograph and said "You are in this picture too.  You see, I was pregnant with you when this photo was taken."  She took the framed photograph and mentioned that her grandpa looked funny with a mustache.  I also came across trinkets and gifts that friends and family have given to me over the years.  It was enjoyable to reminisce and feel the echoes of past friendships that have unfortunately faded away.

I could become melancholy as I miss these old friends that I've lost contact with but instead, I remember them fondly and realize that sometimes friends are only in our lives for a short time.  It may be to teach us something about ourselves or to help us or them through that period of our or their lives.  Whatever the reason, there are still very fond memories that bubbled up as I dusted the little trinkets that were given to me many years ago.

So as my house is starting to get back into shape after a very long nine months, tonight I am feeling more serene and at peace with myself.  Just in time to go visiting tomorrow and have a well-deserved break.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Discouragement and Frustration

So now it's back to reality.  I've had a wonderful vacation in California for the last 2 weeks.  Before that I've been leisurely enjoying my summer as my body healed from 5 months of chemotherapy.  Now it is time to tackle cleaning my house which I've not done since November 2011.  It had a good cleaning done in March when my sister-in-law helped me out.

The frustration and discouragement comes from within.  Even before I was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, I was dragging and had no energy.  It took everything I had to juggle my responsibilities as a music teacher, mother, wife, housekeeper, gardener, maid, cook, chauffeur and social planner/family secretary.  I have always tried to fill these roles by going above and beyond to my own detriment.  I would become a bitchy, grumpy complainer.  While I was sick, I was assured that life in my home would change.  I had my doubts but I decided that for my own benefit I also needed to change and I also needed to trust what I was being told.  I've let my home go and put up with the increasing garbage, clutter and dirt.  I've tried to stay cheerful and positive as I do recognize in that in the scheme of life, it really doesn't matter if my house is dirty.  However......when my house is clean, neat and fresh smelling, I feel relaxed and at peace.  I have always felt chaotic inside when I'm surrounded by a messy, dirty house.

So why does this come up now after months of feeling at peace while I meditate and pray amongst the chaos?  I don't know.  I'm assuming I must be starting to feel better and stronger.  I also know that I have proven to my family once again that I am fallible.  I lost it yesterday and I'm still out of sorts today.  It's time to tidy up the house and give it a full, deep cleaning.  I intend to start teaching in a few weeks and because I teach out of my home, I like to have it clean and tidy.  I have for many years been able to overlook my children's rooms by closing their doors.  I've always asked them to keep them clean but it doesn't happen.  Rather than nag ad nauseum, I would close the doors.  Now the "slime of clutter" seems to have oozed out of their bedrooms, down the hall into the living room, down the stairs to the "man cave" and into the music studio.  My husband built his man cave with the intent that it become his own personal refuge and haven.  At the time, I stated that it is his room and he is responsible for keeping it clean and tidy.  Unfortunately, he has somehow lost his man cave to the teenagers.  The slime of messiness has overtaken his man cave.

My intention today and this week is to take back my home and push the slime of mess and dirt back to where it originated from.  I'm also hoping, perhaps unrealistically, that the teenage bedrooms will also be tackled by the teenagers that dwell in them.  I certainly can relate with the cartoon strip "Zits".
My own personal challenge is cleaning up without feeling like the family's maid and garbage engineer.  For some reason, cleaning puts me in a terrible mood.  Perhaps it is the tape that starts to play in my head where I feel like a servant that is given no respect.  Perhaps the anger and frustration is used as a motivator to get me cleaning 110% for hours on end.  I don't like this and I want to change.  Like I mentioned earlier, I'm out of sorts again today.  So perhaps I'll put on the nature music channel that helped me through my treatments and I'll clean to the sounds of waves, birds, animals and soothing music.

There is so much that I want to change about myself.  I've been working at it for many years and just when I think I've made some improvements.....BAM....I've slipped right back into where I was years ago.  In some ways, I feel like a failure.  When my children were little, I worked with them to clean up their toys throughout the house and their bedrooms.  We used to sing a little song that goes "Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.  Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share."  Somewhere along the line, the message didn't get through and I've failed in my roles as a mother, a housekeeper, maid and gardener.  Now you may be thinking, "Why is she sitting there blogging at 9 a.m. when she could be working on the things that are making her disgruntled?"  Well, I want to get going on the cleaning, but I have to wait for my teenagers to get up out of their beds so I can vacuum.

Anyway, I guess today's post isn't as happy and positive.  I'll get along now and start at the dusting.  That can be done quietly.  See you tomorrow.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Last week in California

After our quick trip to Las Vegas, I had a day to rest while my husband and his friend went golfing. That evening my husband and I made a maple ribs along with a side of coleslaw for dinner.  The following day we went to two vineyards for wine tasting.  It's disappointing that the Kohler vineyard doesn't ship to Canada.  I really enjoyed their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.  I also enjoyed the Kohler Riesling as well.  We then went to the Firestone Vineyard which had been featured on "The Bachelor" in 2005 (I think that's the date).  We managed to arrive at a most opportune time as a tour of the winery was just about to begin.  So we were able to enjoy a tour and then the wine tasting.  There are many, many vineyards throughout the area we were visiting.  Many of the vineyards are planted on the sides of the mountains in order to allow the rains to drain away so the grapes are not affected by mold.  I was quite interested to know that the vineyards are not affected by insect damage like here in Ontario.

My husband and his friend went golfing on again on Thursday, August 9 while my friend and I took our daughters shopping in the local village.  We visited Ross, Walmart and the 99 Cent Store where I bought my daughter some clothing that is not available in Canada.  That evening we went to San Luis Obispo to the open air market.  This was a much larger market than we saw at Avila Beach.  I had my first authentic burrito and it was wonderful!!  I don't handle hot spices well so I opted for a beef, rice and bean burrito topped with salsa and guacamole.  I then had a grilled corn on the cob with melted butter, lime juice and parmesan cheese.  It was okay but I think I still prefer the traditional boiled corn on the cob.  I might sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese on it so that the cheese melts on the hot corn.  I finished off my meal with a funnel cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream.  Needless to say, I was very full after all that food.  It was a good thing that the market was long so I could walk off my meal.  There were different restaurants and bars/saloons represented in the market.  We saw a real show at the booth for F. McLintocks.  It was set up right in front of their restaurant.  They had a Santa Maria grill which is a round grill over charcoal.  The grill is raised and lowered by hand using a crank system which is on the side.  We saw succulent artichokes being grilled alongside rib eye steaks and beef kabobs.  The employees would call the orders out in rhythm.  Apparently the line ups start for their booth even before the market opens.  Our friends told us that there are easily 50 people in line before the market opens and that people wait in line for up to an hour and a half in order to put in their orders.  It was fun just to watch the employees "perform".

The guys went golfing again on Friday, August 10 which was our 21st Wedding Anniversary.  My friend and I enjoyed a day lounging in the sun on her patio.  Our friends live close enough to the Pacific Ocean that the weather doesn't get too hot.  As a result, we did enjoy sitting on the patio while we sipped our iced tea.  That evening, we went out to dinner to a place called AJ Spurs.  I loved their Vaquero Soup which we topped with tequila black beans and salsa.  The soup was fantastic!!!  I easily could have had a full meal of just the soup.  However, I did have a chicken oscar which was also delicious.  We ended the evening at the Chumach Casino in Santa Ynez.  The following day my friend and I went for a full body massage at the Spa at the Chumach Casino.  I have sensitive skin and I knew that we were going to be having this special treat so I had brought my own massage oil that I discovered my skin could handle in May 2011.  My masseuse really enjoyed working with my oil and asked for a small sample at the end of my massage so she could share it with some of her co-workers.  When I looked at my bottle, I realized it is manufactured and distributed from a place in San Diego, California!  Anyway, I really enjoyed my massage and felt so relaxed afterwards.  We were allowed to use the spa's "Quiet Zone".  This very soothing room had a waterfall on the wall, soothing background music and comfortable chairs where we could sip a variety of teas.  I had a cup of blueberry tea which was very soothing.  After our visit in the quiet room, we headed for the steam room.  After our morning at the spa, I was totally relaxed for the rest of the day.  For dinner, my friend made tri tip on the BBQ along with baked beans and garlic toast.  It was fantastic!!!!  We finished the evening off with a small campfire in their backyard firepit.

The following day (Sunday, August 12) we drove north up Highway 1 to Hearst Castle.  This is an estate that was built by the newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst.  I have never seen such opulence!  There were tapestries from Europe on the walls.  There were wooden choir seats from cathedrals in Italy from the Renaissance era and the Gothic era which were used to decorate the walls.  You would walk into the entertainement room and there were Renaissance choir seats along the length of 2 walls just for decoration.  In the dining room there was the same thing but the seats were from Italian cathedrals from the Gothic era.  The gardens were huge with marble statues which were brought in from Europe.  As you came around a bend in the pathway, you would be surprised by statues set in little nooks.  My favourite statue was of a woman holding a cob of corn out to a goat.  There were tennis courts where Charlie Chaplin had learned to play tennis.  William Randolph Hearst had even had animals shipped in from all over the world to create his own private zoo.  He lost a fair amount of money during the stock market crash in 1929 and had to sell most of the animals.  There are still wild zebra and elands roaming the pastures and mountains surrounding the estate.  These animals are descendants of the original "zoo animals".  The modern day animals are not looked after and are wild animals.  We saw the elands on our bus ride up to the castle from the "visitor's centre" and then we saw the zebras on our way back to our friends' home at the end of the day.  After our visit to Hearst Castle, we went to an elephant seal vista point just north of San Simeon.  There we saw male elephant seals, females and juvenile elephant seals on the beach as they rest and molt.  During July and August, the subadult and adult males molt their skins.  Then they return to the ocean.  We saw two adult males laying at the ocean's edge and as the waves washed over them, they would turn and inch their way into the ocean.  It was interesting to see the subadult males who are still white laying on the beach with bits of their skin hanging off them.  It was the same with some of the adult males that were further up on the beach away from the water.  All these seals will return to the ocean once they've shed their skins.  I didn't want to leave to go back to the van.  I could have spent hours just watching the elephant seals on the beach.  However, we did have to get going and so off we went south down Highway 1 which is also called the Pacific Coast Highway.  As we drove along, we saw zebras grazing among the cattle on our left.  We turned around and went back to take pictures of the zebra.  Then we were back on the road heading to our friends' home.  What a beautiful drive it is to go down the coast line!  You have mountains on one side of you and the ocean on the other.  Unfortunately, the marine layer started to come in and it made it more difficult to see the views.  I never got tired of seeing pelicans flying along the coast.  That was the end of our exciting Sunday.

On Monday, August 13, we took our daughters shopping in Solvang which is a community settled by the Dutch and Danes. You can see the influence in the architecture of all the buildings in the community.  The town is filled with unique little boutiques.  On our way to Solvang, we stopped at an ostrich and emu farm.  This is quite the venture as it is a farm where they raise the ostrich and emu for meat.  People pay admission and buy feed to feed the animals.  We enjoyed the visit and the farm is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains.  After visiting the ostrich farm, we went to Quicksilver Ranch which is a ranch where they raise miniature horses.  They were so cute!!  I loved the little colts that were laying in the shade as it was a hot day.  The miniature horses are sometimes used as therapy animals in hospitals and retirement homes.  When we finally got to Solvang, the temperature was much hotter than at our friends' home closer to the Pacific Ocean.  I loved the little boutiques but part way through the afternoon, I started to feel ill from the heat.  We visited a few more stores and then treated ourselves to gelato.  I had a cafe mocha gelato in a waffle cone.  It tasted wonderful as we ate in the shade.

The following day, Tuesday, was spent doing laundry and getting ready to return home from our vacation.  On Wednseday, we had to be at the Los Angeles airport for 1:30 at the latest for our 3:30 flight home.  Our friends drove us to L.A. and stopped briefly in Santa Barbara so we could go down to the Santa Barbara Pier for some quick pictures.  Then we continued on our way to L.A.  We made it in lots of time and our flight took off on time.  We arrived in Toronto at 11:25 p.m.  By the time we made it to our hotel, it was 12:30.  Our son picked us up yesterday and drove us home.

Today, my husband and I participated in a fundraising golf tournament for breast cancer.  I have not golfed in years and really am not very good at it.  However, I did have fun and met a wonderful couple who we were paired with.  I'm thinking it might be nice to learn to golf properly.  Maybe next year I'll take some lessons and start golfing at the local golf course on Ladies' Night.  We'll see.

In the meantime, we've had a very busy last two weeks and I'm feeling tired. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Las Vegas Side Trip

We drove from California to Las Vegas, Nevada for a quick two day trip.  It was a seven hour drive but the scenery was fantastic!  Our route took us through the "high desert" of the Mojave Desert.  Our friends told us this but I had no idea what a high desert was.  I always pictured a desert as a lonely, isolated sandy locale that is flat with nothing to see for miles.

As we drove, all we could see were mountains.  Mountains on one side of the road and the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the road.  This was on Highway 1 in California.  In my excitement, I wanted to look out both sides of the van at the same time so I could see everything.  I finally gave up and decided to look out my window and get a great view of the mountains.  I've seen mountains in British Columbia but these mountains don't look as rugged or as high.  These are older mountains with scrub oak, ice plant and cacti covering the sides and slightly rounded tops of them.  It was interesting to see because the cacti showed up as a brilliant lighter green compared to the other greenery on the mountains.  As we approached Santa Barbara, I could see more development on the sides of the mountains.  When I say development, there were huge mansions built on the side of the mountains where the owners obviously got a great view from everywhere in their homes.  If they looked out the back windows they saw the rugged beauty of mountain wilderness.  If they looked out their front windows, they were greeted with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean.  Our friends informed us that Santa Barbara is where the rich people live.  You could tell because the highway in this area became well paved and smooth.  There was also more money put into the beautification of the roadways and area.  There were more palm trees of which we seemed to see two kinds.  There are the palm trees that are tall with what looks to be a small amount of palm fronds adorning their tops.  Then there are the stubby, short palm trees with a thicker trunk and much more palm fronds that are wider and longer.  These palm fronds seem to sweep up and gracefully curve downwards.  I liked seeing both kinds of palm trees but if I lived here, I would choose to adorn my yard with the shorter palm trees.  They just seem more full and luscious.

As we continued our drive along Highway 101, we came near Los Angeles and then took a highway that goes to Nevada.  As we traveled inland, the mountains were still there but they slowly had less vegetation on them.  They still had the scrub oaks but there was less of them and the mountains appeared to show more "sand" on them.  The mountains really weren't made of sand but the hard, rocky surfaces looked like sand from a distance.  As we neared the Nevada border and crossed over into Nevada, the landscape really started to change.  Now the land was starting to have rolling hills and flat spots between hills.  You could still see mountains off in the near distance but the road was not going through the middle of the mountains anymore.  The sand was dotted with numerous scrub oaks but not much else.  There was no grass that I could see as we drove along.  Once we got into Nevada and you could definitely see it was a deserted spot, my friend pointed out to me her favourite tree called the "Joshua tree".  These are short trees that apparently have a bug that enters from the top of a limb and eats the inside of the branch.  This causes the branch to grow more limbs from that spot.  They are really interesting little trees to see in the desert.  They don't have deciduous leaves but look like they may be of the fir tree family.  The ends of the limbs seem to have needles.  The trunk and limbs are brown with the limbs having these clumps of greenery at the ends.  Anyway, they were interesting little trees with their various shapes. They were the only greenery that seemed to survive amidst the hot, sandy flats and mountains.  On the mountains and hills, I could see these dull orange coloured short post-like plants.  I asked my friend what they were and she replied they were cacti.  As we really got into the desert area, there was nothing to be seen for miles.  Every once in a while, you would see a home that has been abandoned.  There was a place on the north side of the highway that someone had tried to run a water park complex with restaurant and rides or something.  You could tell because there were palm trees and greenery surrounding this abandoned boarded up building.  The palm trees were really out of place in the middle of the flat desert surrounded by desert mountains which were more like tall hills.  For some reason at this point in the drive, I touched the inside of the window.  Of course we were very comfortable in the van with the air conditioning on.  The window was very, very hot!!  Considering the van was cool, the hot window made me realize how hot it must have been outside.  No wonder there were very little populated areas.

We arrived in Las Vegas and got settled in our rooms at Caesar's Palace.  I have been to a casino once but I never played any of the games.  We met our friends downstairs in the casino where we were joined at the hip for the first little bit until I was comfortable playing the slots.  That first night there I broke even.  We then hopped into a cab and went down to Fremont Street for the Fremont Street Experience which is free.  The City of Las Vegas has put a "dome" of material with lights over the top of Fremont Street for several blocks.  Fremont Street is closed off to traffic and is a pedestrian sidewalk at this point.  There are hundreds of stores, casinos, restaurants and other businesses.  In Las Vegas, you are allowed to walk outdoors with your beverages whether they are alcoholic or not.  There are also people dressed in costumes of various characters and burlesque dancers who will have their picture taken with you for free but there is an unwritten rule that it is for tips.  We saw skimpily clad burlesque girls, a dominatrix, a cross-dresser burlesque "girl" who was playing up to all the men, Darth Vader, Spiderman, Cat Woman, Storm Troopers among other characters as well.  There was also an amazing sax player who I unfortunately cannot remember his name.  He called his show experience "Safe Sax".  I really enjoyed watching him perform.  We were down at Freemont Street at night because the outside temperature was a little more bearable. However, the pavement was still emanating the heat from the day so it was still very hot and you could feel the heat coming from below you as you walked.  That mixed with the throngs of people, it was very hot, sweaty and sticky.  There was no personal space as you walked.  Everyone was jam-packed together and we quickly learned to use our elbows to make our way through the crowd.  We saw two light shows while we were there and my favourite was the one where you looked up and saw the band Queen playing with video of Freddie Mercury singing.  All the lights and colours were amazing!  While the light show was on, all the street entertainment quieted down and all the store outdoor lights turned off.  Between light shows, there was also a band that would play at the major intersection.  Brett Michael was scheduled to perform live later in the evening.  We continued to walk up and down Freemont Street.  I was so hot that I was drinking water throughout the night.  We stopped at one end of Freemont Street to watch a DJ perform and dance.  She had the crowd dancing the latest trend in dancing obviously.  All the younger generations seemed to know it.  Of course, our guys just wanted to watch the DJ dance with her lithe, well-toned body.  We were outside the Golden Nugget (or was it the Golden Gate, now I can't remember for sure) Hotel where they had a dancing bartender also.  So as the DJ did her thing, the dancing bartender did her thing on the bar also.  We were watching the show when a guy that had to be at least 6' 7" stood directly in front of my friend who is 5 ft.  She couldn't see around him at all.  I tapped him on the shoulder and politely asked if he could stand behind my friend who was there so that she could see.  He was very nice and apologized and then stood behind my friend.  His friend, however, smirked at me and then promptly blocked my view and asked my friend, "Can you still see?".  She could but I couldn't.  Throughout the rest of the time, he kept looking back at me and smirking.  It really didn't bother me a lot because I had seen lots of the show before he arrived.  I just wandered over to the side where there was less people and enjoyed some "personal" space for a bit.  We decided to make our way back to the main stage area so we could hear Brett Michael.

It was wall to wall people as we tried to stick together and make our way to an area that we would be able to hear the concert but not necessarily see the concert.  My husband led the way with my arm around him, holding his hand so we wouldn't get separated.  My friend was behind me and I could feel her hand on my back as we all tried to stick together to make our way through a wall of people.  It was slow going.  After a bit, I felt my friend put both her hands on my back and I felt some air on my neck.  I thought she was just playing and goofing off.  I turned to joke with her, when I realized it was some other chick!  YUCK!!!!  She said in my ear, "I think I'll follow you as you seem to be making your way through this crowd well".  It was sweltering and sticky.  I was starting to get into a foul mood because I really don't like crowds.  I replied with what I thought was a growl, "It's my husband that's doing this".  This chick kept rubbing her hands up and down my shoulders and blowing on my neck!  I put up with it and tried to ignore her but I'm thinking "EWWW!  I HATE CROWDS!!"  She then whispered "I need some Valium or Xanax."  I was seized with the urge to give her one sharp elbow but I didn't want to start something in a huge crowd.  So I kept ignoring her as we were making our way very slowly through this throng of people.  The last straw was when she started rubbing her whole body against my back!  YUCK!  I was about to give her a sharp jab with my pointy, sharp elbow when suddenly and abruptly I saw Scott flying sideways and a man with a long pony tail charging directly at me!!  He elbowed and shoved me aside to my right.  There was a steel gate like what is used for crowd control at concerts.  These had been placed along this portion of the street so that the stores openings were not block by the crowd.  Anyway, this man shoved me and I started falling.  The thrust had made me trip on someone else's foot and down I was going.  My husband grabbed my left hand but I still hit the gate with some force!  Over the years, I have seen my husband lose his temper but I have never seen the look that was on his face.  He was ready to kill!!  He started going after the guy that had shoved us.  At this point I had regained my balance and I stood directly in front of my husband with both hands on his chest.  I kept repeating "Just leave it!  Just leave it!"  He took my hand and led me away from the area.  As I looked back, I saw a girl yelling at the "pony-tail guy" and he seemed to be falling.  We pushed our way through the crowd until we came to an area of the sidewalk that was "empty" of people.  I was shaken and sore.  We had lost our friends so we were looking for them.  I saw my friend and my husband called her over to us.  We were then looking for her husband.  We saw him walking along more in the middle of the street and my husband and my friend called him over.  My voice is still not able to project enough to call someone in a crowd.  As we regrouped, we decided it was time to get out of there.  So much for hearing Brett Michael.  My friend said that she saw me go flying and then a bald-headed man challenged the drunk pony-tail man.  There was a little girl (child) caught between them and my friend just grabbed her to keep her safe.  This little girl's sister fought the crowd to come back and get her.  My friend protected this little girl for a few minutes and then released her to her sister.  Once we decided to leave the area, we got a cab and went back to Caesar's Palace.  At that point, I was tired and I went straight to bed.

The next day, I went down to play the slots and I won $519!!  By the end of the day, I had won at total of $650.  That will help to pay off this trip.  At lunch, we went to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for lunch.  It is part of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.  We had a great lunch and shared many laughs as we ate.  The manager came over and said he needed to see why this table was laughing so hard.  My friend asked him about his Canadian flag pens that he was wearing around his neck.  He was a transplanted Canadian.  We had a great visit with him!  He grew up near the city I grew up in.  He worked in the city I grew up in.  He grabbed a nearby chair and sat down and just visited with us while we had our lunch.  He even gave us a discount on our lunch and then recommended other places for us to experience.  I'd definitely go back to eat there again.  Great food and atmosphere.  That night we went to Harrah's Carnival Court to listen to the live band called "The Crashers".  What a great time we had.  The music was fantastic.  The band played a wide range of music from AC/DC to Rush to simple ballads.  While we listened to the music, we people watched and watched the flare bartenders juggle just like Tom Cruise in "Cocktails".  It was very hot with the crowd and there were little spouts around the ceiling that sprayed mist to cool people down.  I was quite happy to have some mist fall on me and help keep me cooler.  After we left Carnival Court, we went to McDonalds for a bite to eat and then back to Caesar's Palace.  The lights and activity in Las Vegas is really beautiful to see.  We played the slots for a little bit and then went off to our room.  From our room, you could see Harrahs', The Mirage, The Statosphere, The Needle and of course, the Caesar's Palace sign which advertised Celine Dion playing in The Colosseum.  I was amazed at all the details in design inside Caesar's Palace.  There were Roman statues all over along with fountains and lights.  Speaking of fountains, we also saw two fountain shows outside of The Bellagio.  The fountains performed with lights to different music.  The first show played "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis Presley.  It was amazing to see the water perform in circles and arcs to the beat of the music.  The second show was set to a more classical style of music which was a duet between a soprano and tenor singing in Italian.  It was absolutely breathtaking.

Then yesterday, we made our way back to California to our friends' home.  As we were driving on Highway 101 beside the Pacific Ocean, I saw a dolphin jumping parallel to the coastline.  I sounded (and felt) just like a kid as I squealed in excitement, "A dolphin!".  Today will be a rest day for me.  In Las Vegas, I did notice that I still feel a little nauseous when I'm overtired.  So I will rest up today so we can experience more pleasure and excitement in our vacation.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

California Scenery

Yesterday morning my husband and I went for a walk along a local pathway near our friends' house.  The paved walkway meandered along side a very long white fence.  On the other side of the fence was "wilderness".  We were looking at the various trees, scrub bush and ground cover when we came upon a sign telling us it was a "nature reserve".  We were looking at the Burton Mesa.  We found a gate in the fence and it obviously looked like other people have walked in the Burton Mesa before and on a regular basis.  We opened the gate and walked through.  Now you have to realize that where we come from there aren't poisonous snakes or spiders.  Our friends had warned us that there are rattlesnakes here and black widows and tarantulas.  My husband is a little more daring than I.  I have always been the more reticent of the two of us.  So as we are walking along in the Mesa, I'm thinking of all the poisonous creatures that are lurking out there.  We stayed on the sandy trail and I made sure I didn't touch anything!

There were areas on the sandy trail where you would come around the curve of the trail and see steep hills of limestone!  What a view.  As we came around another curve, nestled in amongst the scrub trees (which I've since learned are called scrub oaks), there was a cactus!!  We took pictures.  I've scene cacti in pictures in books but I've never seen a live cactus.  I got as close as I dared because those spines really look scary!!  I took some pictures.  We followed the sandy trail and came to a fork in the trail.  My husband wanted to continue away from the gate but I decided that I wanted to play it safe and go back onto the paved walkway.  My husband can be directionally challenged sometimes and I just didn't want to be in a situation where we were wandering for hours and couldn't find the gate.  I'm the scaredy cat.

So we took the safe route and ended back at our friends' house.  The rest of the day was pretty quiet but last night we went to Avila Beach which is on the Pacific Ocean.  What a gorgeous little town.  There was a market along the waterfront where I had a pulled pork sandwich and a churro which is a long, narrow, fried pastry which gets rolled in cinnamon sugar.  It was very good!  There were so many different types of food to choose from but only so much room in my stomach.  Too bad.  We walked along the beach and then out onto the pier.  I saw a pelican!  Again, I've seen pictures but I've never seen a real one.  It was flying and fishing.  Then I saw a couple of seals poking their heads out of the water.  We watched one play and dive and flip over on it's back.  I think it may have been fishing too but it was fun to watch it put on a show for us!

I love the scenery here.  It's so different but as always nature is miraculous and beautiful.  I'm off on a drive today to Las Vegas.  So long for now.

Friday, 3 August 2012

California Dreamin'

Yesterday was my first full day in California.  After a very long day of travel, I slept well and seemed refreshed yesterday morning.  I had a great day and seem to have settled into the new time zone very well.

I had a quiet day yesterday sitting on the patio of our friends' home.  The backyard is fully fenced which unfortunately is too high to see the view of the mountains while sitting.  However, when you stand up, the view of the valley and distant mountains is spectacular.  There isn't a lot of grassy lawn because of the heat of the summer season burns a lot of the grass off.  The yard has a little bit of grass with lots of mulch and stones throughout the rest of the yard.  Our friends are currently renting and the yard needs some upgrades by the owner.  At one time, you can see that there were cultivated plants around the outside of the yard at the base of the fence.  The roses have just finished blooming and there are some other shrubs that I don't recognize.  There are calla lilies along the back of the house which are perennials here as the winters are not severe.  There is also "weed" called ice plant which is a succulent, water saving plant that sends out runners and takes over.  The mature plant has yellow flowers but the younger plants have pink flowers.  Currently the ice plant in our friends' backyard has only yellow flowers.

As we sat and enjoyed the warmth of the sun (it's actually been cooler than at home!), we enjoyed watching the antics of the numerous hummingbirds that frequent the area.  For such tiny birds, they make quite the racquet when disturbed.  We obviously were in their space as they zipped in to partake of the nectar in the hummingbird feeder.  There was one male ruby-throated hummingbird that was more aggressive than the others.  He would charge at the other hummingbirds and chase them away from the yard.  He would also zoom past our heads as we sat on the patio.  It was fun to watch them.  We also saw numerous hawks lazily circling through the air in the warm afternoon as they searched for food.

It was a beautiful, warm and relaxing day as we visited with our friends.  It would be easy to get sunburned because the temperature was very comfortable.  I remembered to put my sunscreen on and wear my wide-brimmed hat.  I got a little bit of colour but I wasn't burned.  My friend calls my hat a "Holly Hobby Hat".  Early in the evening, around 7 p.m., a marine layer comes in off the ocean.  This is a shelf cloud that you see coming and as it approaches, the temperature drops very quickly and it is cool.  Apparently, you can sometimes smell the ocean as the marine layer approaches and takes over the evening skies.  Last night we had a small campfire in our friend's barbecue pit to help keep us warm as a wind also comes up along with the marine layer.  The marine layer seems to burn off sometime around 10 a.m. and then the temperature climbs to a more comfortable level.  I did go for a drive with my friend to the grocery store and we passed some cornfields along the way.  I made the comment that the corn stalks were so short.  They were not even knee-high yet!  My friend commented that the hot season hasn't come yet and also that the harvesting can happen much later in the Fall here because the temperature is much more moderate throughout the year.  This corn that I saw is more likely what we would see at home at the end of May or mid June.

Our friends are located near a village that is in a valley surrounded by mountains.  As we drove to the grocery store we went across a fairly wide bridge with a dried up riverbed beneath.  My friend commented that when it rains, this river becomes a torrent of raging water.  That's hard to believe when you see it fully dried up and the ground cracking!  All the homes in the area seem to have automatic sprinkling systems that come on during the evening.  As we drove, you could see palm trees and really large yucca type plants.  The flowers have obviously just finished as you see them dried and going to seed.  Many of the homes have a Spanish look to them with curved entrances, wrought-iron gates and stucco exteriors.  Also in the valley, there are "flower farms".  My friend drove me past one that had a whole field of chrysanthemums of every imaginable colour.  These flowers are not harvested as cut flowers but are allowed to go to seed and the seeds are harvested and sold.  There was another field of yellow as far as you could see.  My friend told me that it was a field of marigolds which again are harvested for their seeds.  Obviously this valley was the bottom of a lake in some previous age because you can see the dark, silt-like soil.  There was even a small vineyard that we passed on the way to the grocery store.

I think I will try to get out walking today.  I, unfortunately, tweaked a lower back muscle which I think was the result of waiting in the airport for hours on end.  I intend to try to walk every day so that it won't seize up.  I think the plan today is to again have a quiet day and then head to a local beach community for dinner tonight.  My friend warned me that I may feel very, very tall compared to the local people who are of Mexican descent.  So far I don't feel that way.  I'm excitedly anticipating today's adventures!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Reuniting With Friends!!!!

Well I've just started the first leg of my second holiday this summer.  This is another one that I can scratch off of my "Cathy Conquers Cancer Tour".  Tuesday we left home and drove to Toronto to stay at the Travel Lodge near the airport.  As we got to Ajax we hit some major thunderstorms.  It was all cleared up by the time we arrived at the hotel.  We had dinner with our son and he drove back home.  My husband and I decided to take a walk and ended up walking all the way to Terminal 1, through Terminal 1 and back to the hotel.  It was a hot and humid walk but very enjoyable.

Yesterday morning we took the airport shuttle to the airport so we were there by 9:30 a.m.  Our flight was supposed to leave at 12:35 p.m.  We knew that there was going to be a backlog of passengers due to the storms on Tuesday.  The flight board indicated our flight was delayed and wouldn't be leaving until 2:35 p.m.  We were in the check-in line when we were told that it was for only passengers leaving before 10:50 a.m.  We left the line as suggested.  We rejoined the check-in line at 12:30 and when we got to the check-in desk close to 2 p.m., we were told that our seats had been sold.  There was no room for us on the 2:35 flight.  We were then booked onto the next flight to L.A. at 4:55 p.m.  We spent the whole day at Pearson International Airport. I spent the time reading and finished my book. Finally we were on the plane and on our way!  Our seats were not together.  We had two seats side by side and the third seat was four rows behind.  Because no one was in the seat with the other two, I took that seat and when a gentleman arrived for his seat, the one I was sitting in, I asked him if he was flying alone.  He replied that yes he was so I explained our situation and asked if he could have my seat 4 rows back.  It was just a matter of switching an aisle seat for an aisle seat.  He was so nice and readily agreed.  It was nice that we were able to travel as a family of three.

We originally were supposed to arrive in L.A. at 3:35 p.m. and our friends, who live 3 hours away, were supposed to pick us up.  My husband managed to text them and let them know we were delayed and the ETA was changed to 7:00 p.m.  We touched down at LAX at 7:27 p.m.  We had to wait on the tarmac for an available gate to become open.  By the time we collected our baggage it was about 8:30 p.m.  I felt so bad for our friends.  They still had to drive 3 hours home and the "man of the house" had to be at work for 7:30 a.m. today.  We arrived at their home at 11:45 p.m.  I was so tired I could hardly speak clearly and keep my eyes open.  While my husband and daughter visited and got the house tour, I literally grabbed my pjs and dropped into bed.  I was sound asleep instantly and didn't wake up until 7:30 this morning.  I had a good night's sleep.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see the scenery on the drive north out of L.A. but I was able to see the jagged and rounded shapes of mountains against the "marine layer" which is a shelf cloud that comes off the Pacific Ocean.  Against the black of the mountain, I could make out a light gray shade which I was informed was the limestone rock faces.  As the highway wound along the coast, we could see square shapes of light off in the distance in the middle of the ocean on our left.  These were apparently oil wells.  The highway eventually left the ocean and wound through the mountains as we could again see the rugged shapes in the dark.  The rest of the trip was following a twisting and winding road through the middle of nowhere with mountains and hills enveloping us.  I'm looking forward to resting today and tomorrow.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get out for a walk today.  Although my body is slightly tired this morning, I'm still filled with excitement like what a child feels on Christmas morning when they are wiggly and can't wait to open their presents.  I feel this way as I can't wait to see the rugged scenery of the mountains and the beautiful ocean and experience the joys of living!

Keep tuned!!