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Some Extra Motivation

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My weight loss has been kind of off and on lately, two pounds off, one pound back on . . . Not that I had been really trying all that hard. I talked a lot about it, but my actual efforts were half-hearted. I think boredom had begun to set in and I found myself exercising less and less. I love to hike, but it’s been so hot and humid this summer that I haven’t even done much of that.

That all changed when my son (Cliff) and I tried kayaking. I previously blogged about how much fun we had and how we were looking forward to going again. Well, last Tuesday Cliff, Jeremy (my younger son), Rosa (Jeremy’s girlfriend) and I went kayaking on the very lazy, meandering, Dan River for Cliff’s birthday.

We had fun, kind of, sort of. Okay, it actually went like this. Put kayaks in water, paddle, paddle, paddle. Hit rocks, scoot, scoot, scoot. Give up, step out of kayak, pull across the rocks, get back in kayak, laugh at others still stuck on rocks, paddle, paddle, paddle. Repeat. That was most of the 3.5 hours we were out there. There were a few fun spots where there was actually enough water in the river and enough riffles (very mild) to enjoy it. One spot was enough fun that we would go through it, pull the kayaks back up river and go through it again. We did that several times. Okay, we were desperate! There was also the issue of the kayaks themselves. Cliff described them best as “bathtubs.” They were large and cumbersome, hard to control (even in the extremely calm water), and Jeremy’s was cracked and leaked the entire way so he had to stop about every 30 minutes to drain the water out of it. The oars were very heavy also, but at least my upper body got a great workout just paddling with these weights.

On the banks of the Dan River getting ready to go.

Jeremy after coming out of a small rapid.

Cliff enjoying an area where there was actually some water.

Still we had fun and it was a good trip because I learned two important things. First, never, ever, ever go back kayaking on the Dan River, at least not in the area where we were. There just wasn’t enough water. Second, I really want my own kayak, a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100. This is what I used on the New River and I absolutely loved it. Cliff ordered him a new kayak for his birthday and it is supposed to be delivered next week. I’m sure we’ll be going out very soon afterwards so he can try it out. We’re also planning to go back to the New River again in a couple of weeks.

So, that’s where one of my new goals and an additional motivation to lose weight comes in. I made a deal with myself and Cliff that when I lose twenty pounds I will order my new kayak, hopefully for my birthday in late September. I’ve been getting up early every morning and going out walking, lifting some weights every other day, tracking everything I eat, drinking at least eight glasses of water every day and also riding my exercise bike when watching TV. I’ve already lost 4.6 pounds so I’m almost one-fourth of the way there. emoticon

This is the kayak that I want for my birthday. Gotta lose that weight!!

Changing subjects, I took Thor out for a walk this morning and saw this gigantic moth laying eggs on my aloe plant. I had to run inside and get my camera to take pics to share because it was so cool looking.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Keep working toward your goals and together we can do this!!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWSNAKE 10/22/2012 4:50PM

    I believe that is a Cecropia Moth.....I did a report on one in third grade if you can believe that one! An I still remember the name altho I might have mispelled it? Happy Kyaking and enjoy! ***SNOW*** emoticon

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 8/16/2012 9:55PM

    Here's to your new kayak! I know you can get there so you can order it! woohoo! emoticon

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LJ32920 8/16/2012 3:36PM

  Sounds like good times. It's nice you have people ready to go with you. I've never been kayaking, but I've done whitewater rafting with my senior Girl Scouts, and that was loads of fun. I'm hoping to go kayaking on the Colorado with my whole family some year. At the same time. Hopefully there'll be a time when all the grandkids are big enough but none of them have babies yet.

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  I'm so excited for you! (I have friends who love kayaking on the New River as well - they rave and rave and rave...) I love the kayak - I've only seen one color so that one seems much much more outdoorsy and "I'm in this to do this!"

Those friends and my husband and I went tubing on the Dan around this time two years ago. We had the same experience - lift butt to try not to get bruises from rocks, get stuck on rock, get up and walk a bit with tube, sit back down for 1 minute, repeat for the next 2 hours.

We still had a great time. But I think if I had a kayak (and not a tube) I would not have enjoyed carrying it as much.

Congrats on sticking with everything. I'm looking forward to the "Here's my Kayak!" post in September.

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HICKOK-HALEY 8/14/2012 12:32AM

    The water looks nice. It's to bad there wasn't enough water, but like you said, good exercise. That is a fantastic goal. Buying a Kayak. That means more beautiful pictures hehe.. How lucky to find a big moth, plus laying eggs. I'm so glad you took pictures. Excellent pictures as that. emoticon

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 8/12/2012 9:21PM

    Sounds like fun, in spite of the challenges - and I love the 'goal reward' you have in mind. That's awesome!

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NEILITHICMAN 8/12/2012 5:12PM

    Way to go, kayaking is awesome.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 8/12/2012 3:53PM

    Kayaks are AWESOME motivators. I've done that several times, myself.

I even have a tattoo of a kayaker on the inside of my forearm to remind me that I want to KEEP fitting in my boats!

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KAYOTIC 8/12/2012 1:42PM

    Hope you get that kayak! What a great incentive to stick with your program! And cool pics of the moth...you must have a really good camera!

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_JODI404 8/11/2012 10:42PM

    That is an awesome kayak ~ that is excellent motivation right there!!

I know you CAN do it!!

Glad you had a good time with your boys! I think we are all enjoying summer... but longing for that break from the intense heat!

Super cool moth photos!! emoticon emoticon

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SKIPPYDOG 8/11/2012 9:20PM

    I am glad that you haven't given up kayaking. I love to go on my Kayak it is so much fun. I am going tomorrow. I went kayaking on the Great Salt Lake near the South marina. The lake was infested with those lovely brine flies and of course the Orb weaver spiders that eat the brine flies.. To say the least I won't be back to the GSL in August anyway.

Keep up the good work and you will get your kayak soon. :)

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LIBBYG7 8/11/2012 3:53PM

Loved your story.....good on 'ya for not giving up on kayaking, in spite of your last experience. I'm sure you'll burn lots of calories.....
And congrats on your weight loss. I've slipped up lately also. This summer's heat and humidity has been the worst thing for me..... I've been stuck inside, in the a/c.....with no energy at all. I've even gained a few pounds back..... Yuck!

Well, today, I'm back on program...and I'm journaling again. It's still unbearable sticky - and unpleasant - but I don't have to eat my way through it!!

Take good care - sweetie.... Hugs to you, Tommy and Thor!

Libby emoticon emoticon

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GRANNYQUINN 8/11/2012 3:23PM

    Hello Stranger , great pics, perhaps no water due to drought? I know have had a terrible drought this summer , hot and humid. Congrats on your weight loss! At least you had fun with your family. Karen emoticon

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WORLDSERIES11 8/11/2012 3:11PM

    Congrats on the weight loss!!! And finding a new and exciting way to work out and to motivate you!! SP needs to create a kayaking emoticon...lol

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GOLFGMA 8/11/2012 2:59PM

    I think you have found a new love! Good for you . The kayaking does sound like fun especially in the hot weather we have had this summer. Wonder if there are any spots on the Yadkin River for this sport? Great picture by the way! The weight loss is super! emoticon

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ILOVEMALI 8/11/2012 1:48PM

  What a great motivator!! I bought a fitness ball and a 3-pound weight today ( one? Yes. I have one and couldnt find the second!) to go with a book about toning my arms. My reward will be better arms -- and I'm getting a second ear piercing when I hit goal. My daughter will freak out! Lol!

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Hubby Taking a Chemo Break

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

People who know me well also know that I’m not a person who likes confrontations. I’m usually the peacekeeper, even going so far as to try to ease tensions between others at times. I prefer a peaceful home and working environment (and that’s not always easy working in a jail). However, this should not be mistaken for weakness. When pushed, I am prepared to fight for what is important to me, and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m in a fight to make everyone respect the wishes of my husband, and it’s a fight that I will win. I refuse to let others take control of whatever time he has left on this Earth.

As I’ve said before, since September 2009, Tommy has had a scan every three months for his pancreatic cancer. He’s been on very harsh Folfirinox treatments since June 2011 in an attempt to stop or slow the progression of the metastatic tumors in his lungs. He told me just before this scan that he really wanted a break from the chemo, something his oncologist had also said he might want to consider. He said he was “tired of being tired” and tired of the mouth sores, the neuropathy in his hands and feet, and sleeping all the time. He said he wanted to feel good enough to go do things again and actually enjoy himself. I’ve always supported Tommy’s decisions and this time could be no different. I told him if that’s what he wanted then he needed to talk to his doctor about it and he needed to make the final decision.

Unfortunately, his family doesn’t seem to feel the same way. There seems to be a push from other family members that he has to “fight, because you can beat this thing.” Yes, I’ve heard those very words from at least two of his family members. While I wish this was true, the fact is that he has stage IV pancreatic cancer and every expert we’ve talked to says they cannot cure it and that at some point it will stop responding to any treatments. I’ve spent many hours talking to my sister who used to be a hospice nurse. She told me that she faced this same situation many times and had many meetings with families to try to explain how these statements can have a negative effect on the patient. While it’s important for us all to be supportive and optimistic, she says family members, while well-intentioned, often place their loved one (at least in the patient's mind) in the impossible situation of either beating an incurable disease or failing and disappointing their family. I can't imagine the enormity of pressure this would put on someone when they should be enjoying every day.

When I told one of his family members that he wanted a chemo break, she actually looked at me and said “Well, that’s going to depend on his scan results.” I couldn’t believe she actually said this and immediately snapped back, “No, it’s going to depend on what HE wants.” While I love my in-laws very much and I know they are afraid and they mean well, I simply will not allow them to control his medical care. I told another family member later that everyone needs to understand that this is not about what anyone else wants; not his children, not his parents, not his sibling, and not me. This is his life and we all need to support him so he can feel good about his decisions.

We went last week to get the results of his latest scan and, while still there, the nodules in his lungs are a bit smaller. The response to the treatments over the last three months did not seem as remarkable as with his three previous scans. The concern is whether or not the treatments are beginning to lose their effectiveness against this disease (something we have been told would eventually happen). But at least there was some decrease in the size of the nodules, so for that we are grateful.

Tommy was pleased and I was so proud of him when he spoke up and told his doctor he wanted three months off. She agreed and even said it would probably be good for him to take the break. So we are planning to do some camping in September and October when the weather cools a little and we’re hoping he gets enough energy back to enjoy some bike riding again.

He told me he doesn’t know if he made the right decision, but it’s what he wants. I reassured him that if it’s what HE wants, then it’s the right decision for him. He’ll have another scan in late October and then meet with his doctor to decide how to proceed at that time.

None of us know what tomorrow holds, but right now we’re having fun. We just spent three night in the mountains and took a friend of mine and his cousin with us. We all had a great time and we're looking forward to going back again, soon!

Tommy and his cousin in Whitetop, Virginia.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 8/16/2012 10:24AM

    I had a colleague whose husband had a brain tumor that was being kept under control with medication for over a year. Then he decided he wanted to stop taking the medication. Simply, it meant that he would die.

I remember wondering what it would take for someone to make that decision? I didn't understand.

But after discussing it with friends, I learned that the side effects from the medication made his life so much less than what it had been.
He was unwilling to continue with the quality of life that the medicine gave him.

He knew, too, that this medication did not provide a permanent cure. It was only a temporary reprieve. The brain tumor would eventually win out.

Then I understood.

It is a decision that only the patient can make. And I think it has to be very difficult for loved ones to watch and accept - especially if their thinking is to do everything possible to extend life.

Your husband's time away from chemo may not have the same result. I hope it doesn't. But even so, it is a difficult decision to make.

You are so caring and loving to support him in this decision. You are truly putting his desires ahead of everything, and he is fortunate to have you back him up.

My wish is that you and your husband will enjoy his time away from the chemo -- and that you make some wonderful memories together.

And I will continue to pray for you both.


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LUCINDARW 8/7/2012 10:36PM

    I'm very glad that you are respecting Tommy's wishes so he can enjoy his life the way he wants. I will keep you both in prayer. Lucinda

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SUNSHINE31797 8/6/2012 5:54AM

    I applaud you for supporting your husband's decision to enjoy his life. I especially respect your defense of his decision when his family members disagree. As you stated, the decision for each adults life is theirs to make.

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JADE0757 8/6/2012 2:20AM

  None of us know how much time we have and we need to fully enjoy the time we do have. I hope you both have a wonderful time camping and spending time together with family and friends over the next few months. Know that we are all thinking of you and praying that you have good news with the next scan.

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HICKOK-HALEY 8/2/2012 9:08PM

    You are giving Tommy wonderful support, and you are right. It is his decision. I'm glad you stood up for him. Camping sound like so much fun. I'm glad your planning the trip. I hope you take some pictures!!

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DOGSTARDADDY 8/1/2012 3:07PM

    A challenging time. Know that you and he are in our thoughts.

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GOLFGMA 7/27/2012 5:18PM

    Stand strong and respect Tommy's wishes just as I believe you have in the past. Enjoy the vacation from chemo and do all the things Tommy feels well enough to do! I'm sure that Tommy has prayed about this and found peace in his decision. The family should respect this. emoticon

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SKIPPYDOG 7/27/2012 10:14AM

    Glad that you support your husbands decision for treatment. I know that I would do the same thing. Everyone needs to respect your husbands wishes and enjoy the time with him and you. Praying for both of you. emoticon

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  Good for you!! It is ridiculous how those we love tend to make the tough decisions in our lives even more difficult instead of coming at it from love and care as you are.

I am glad Tommy (and you) are taking a break and protecting your time and decisions. Enjoy every moment.

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CHRIS3874 7/25/2012 10:15PM

    You know I think its GREAT that Tom takes a break- it sounds like he really needed it and perhaps it will help in the long run.

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NEILITHICMAN 7/25/2012 6:20PM

    That's great that you can back him up liek that, some people just deal with things differently to others.

By the way, that mountain area looks really nice.

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JIBBIE49 7/25/2012 6:16PM

    Look up Roby Mitchell, M.D. whose web site is www.drfitt.com as he had advanced prostrate cancer and he cured himself with diet and exercise. He has a LOT of good information and although he certainly doesn't say he cures everyone, he does have a lot of help on feeling the best you can. I'm sure your husband knows what he can tolerate in this situation.
I found Dr. Mitchell when my son, Nathan had Testicular Cancer in January '09. So far, we have been lucky that his scans are clear, after he had surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy.

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NELLIEC 7/25/2012 5:23PM

    It is great that you are supporting his decision. I suspect his family is in a lot of denial, which will make things harder for them.

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LIBBYG7 7/25/2012 4:57PM

    And......by the way, Cindy.......

Have I mentioned how incredibly wise and unselfish I think you are. If I may say it - Tommy is lucky ----- to have you on his side -- running inteference for him.
I wish you many happy, active days coming up....make the most of them!

Again.....all the best. Love and hugs.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/25/2012 4:58:34 PM

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OBIESMOM2 7/25/2012 2:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
enjoy your time off from the chemo. I hope Tommy has many good days during the break and that you both have fun doing all the activities you love.
emoticon for both of you

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 7/25/2012 2:36PM

    I'm so sorry you have the strife in the family to deal with in addition to the cancer and everything else! When my mom got liver cancer, an oncology nurse I knew pulled me aside and said I should tell my mom to skip chemo, do things she's always really wanted to do and save up her pain meds for a 'final exit' - knowing my family would have freaked if I'd suggested any of that, I kept my mouth shut but my mother's passing was so horribly terribly awful, I understood why the nurse had said that - it's different for each cancer and each treatment but sometimes it's better to just let nature take its course and enjoy what we can while we can rather than over-do the harsh treatments.

It sounds to me like you and your husband are proceeding in the best possible way under the circumstances - you're right that nobody knows what tomorrow might bring and I salute you for enjoying the time you have together at the moment!

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WORLDSERIES11 7/25/2012 2:31PM

    I was the primary caregiver to both my parents in their battles with cancer, so I have some sense of the struggles people go thru. I'm sorry some relatives can't put aside their fears and be more supportive, but ultimately the decision is between you and your husband, and everyone needs to respect and accept that. I'm so glad you will be able to enjoy whatever activities you have planned...have fun!!
You are both in my prayers:)
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ILOVEMALI 7/25/2012 11:37AM

  My prayers are with you and Tommy. Enjoy this special time together.

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DOODIE59 7/25/2012 11:27AM

    You are such a sweet, kind soul. Your wisdom shines through in all your blogs. At this hard time you stand by Tommy, empowering him and the quality of his time here. It is his absolute right to make his own decisions. Blessings to you both. I hope the next three months will be filled with the kinds of things he feels he has been missing out on:) Enjoy it.
Take care

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_JODI404 7/25/2012 11:19AM

    What a wonderful team you two are together!! We don't ever know what tomorrow holds, and he should be able to enjoy the time he has as much as he possibly can. I'm so happy his Dr. supported that, and hope that it will be good for him.
I hope that you both have a wonderful time together during your break from the harsh effects of chemo. Camping sounds awesome!

I don't like confrontation at all... but good for you for fighting for Tommy and supporting his wishes.

Wishing you some really happy, wonderful times together!
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YOGIMARIE 7/25/2012 11:07AM

    I really admire your strength and courage, both yours and Tommy's!!!
Enjoy your camping...
I'll be thinking of you!
Marie emoticon

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LIBBYG7 7/25/2012 10:38AM

    Hi there luv,
As a cancer surviver myself.....I can say, with all due respect, this is NOT a difficult situation!!!

You and Tommy ARE the deciding unit in his care....and you've made the absolutely right decision, given all all the facts, that Tommy is the master of his fate and his care. It's his body, his life, his call --- and if he needs a break, and the doctor is in agreement, that's all that matters. Don't let ANYONE - not his family, not his friends, place a guilt trip on you. Put blinders on - and do what is right - for Tommy! He must be exhausted by now - and given his prognosis - a break is what he needs. It's encouraging that the last scan showed some progress ----- but knowing ALL the facts ----- enjoy to the fullest, the time you have together.

I'm an advocate of patient's rights to do what they feel is right for THEM. You don't even have to defend it. Just say 'this is what is going to happen. End of conversation'.
This is time to be Mama Bear! And I know that's just what your are!

God bless and the best of luck... Go, and do, and have fun.
How is Thor??

You're the best!!!
Luv, Libby
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NORWOODGIRL 7/25/2012 10:13AM

    Wow! What a tough situation you are in. I'm sorry for that. What a tough cookie you are! Your strength is exactly what your husband needs. Enjoy the break from chemo. I hope this will be a special time for you and your husband. emoticon

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My First Kayak Paddle

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My oldest son, Cliff, and I have always wanted to go kayaking. I’ve been canoeing, tubing and rafting, but had never been on a kayak. When I say I wanted to go kayaking, I meant on a nice, calm, meandering river, not the wild white water stuff. But it’s always been something we just talked about, never actually acting on our desires. Until today.

Last week we decided we wanted to go ahead and just do it. We researched areas close by and decided on a place up in Virginia on the New River. This particular section of the river sounded perfect for two beginners who had no idea what they were doing. And so, we called last week and reserved our two kayaks and shuttle. I explained to the man we spoke with that we had never kayaked before, and he assured us they would put us on a safe section of the river. We spent the last several days watching youtube videos from REI about proper paddling, safety, etc. We were finally going to do something we’ve been talking about for a long time and we were excited.

We got up early this morning and to the sound of hard rain outside, we got ready, loaded up our water shoes, hats, dry clothes (for after the paddle), bottled water, and everything else we could think of that we could possibly need. I even brought a rain poncho for each of us! Not sure what I was thinking when I packed rain gear; we were going kayaking so we were going to be getting wet! Oh wait, I still thought we were going to be on a calm, meandering river. Anyway, it rained on us all the way to the outfitters, but we were determined to make this happen.

When we reached the outfitters we got our vests and they loaded our kayaks onto their trailer. We were the only two kayaking, and there was a family of three that had rented one large raft. We were driven to our launch location and given a map; a PAPER map showing the river and all of the obstacles we would encounter along the way. Did he say obstacles? Our driver began to carefully point out on the map where we would encounter various rapids and the best way through them, where to avoid the “big wave” and where we’d go over the “deceptive ledges.” I’m not sure what all he said after that because I was still stuck on the “big wave” and the “deceptive ledges” and wondering what I’d just gotten myself into. This wasn’t sounding like the calm, meandering river I’d envisioned. Still, I kept my mouth shut, and when he finished we grabbed our maps, secured our belongings on our kayaks and shoved off.

Cliff with our kayaks getting ready to launch.

Nice calm water. This was what I was hoping for the entire way.

Okay, this place looked good. The rain stopped right after we got on the river and the water looked calm. The paddling was easier then I expected. We were on our way, just the two of us, having left the family in the raft far behind. It was so calm I could even take pictures with my camera hanging around my neck. Then we rounded a bend and I suddenly heard water; lots of rushing water! I sat upright straining to see down river and, sure enough, I could see some white water ahead. I admit there were a few moments (okay, a lot of moments) of panic because I was heading for some rapids and had no idea what I was doing. I learned that you CAN paddle in reverse, but eventually you just have to go for it. I’m pleased to say that even though there was a few seconds in this section where I really thought I was coming out of that kayak, I managed to hang on.

Me following Cliff

It stayed cloudy all day, but at least it didn't rain on us. The scenery was beautiful.

There were a number of these areas along the way, and we learned what a “deceptive ledge” is; the name is appropriate. We got better as the day went on and began to recognize the best places to paddle straight into the rapids. It was a good thing because the paper maps he gave us were wet and in pieces after the first two sets of rapids. By the way, we were also soaked from head to toe and I had to laugh thinking about my little rain ponchos I had brought. By the third set of rapids, we were having a great time (still a little scary though). Also, as for the “big wave” we were told to avoid, because our maps were destroyed we had no idea where it was and guess who went right through it - both of us! Still, we managed to stay upright and in the kayaks. It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get to our take out location. We were so excited because we had just completed our first kayak trip and it was much more than we ever expected. And, we didn’t fall out of our kayaks. It was so much fun.

Tonight I am sore, but it was a great day. We’re planning on doing this again!

My kayak after we had finished.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKIPPYDOG 7/21/2012 5:34PM

    Glad that you liked your Kayak trip..I also have gotten into kayaking this year..so much fun! Even my little Skip loves to go with me. His new nickname is Capt Jack. (since he is a Jack Russell). will have to post some pics of Skip in the Kayak.
Enjoy your summer.

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 7/14/2012 6:06PM

    Way to go! You had a wonderful adventure with the kayaking. Something I'll never even try since I can't swim and am too stiff and arthritic to even try to get into a kayak. I'm glad the weather held up. Way to go! emoticon emoticon

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DOODIE59 7/11/2012 9:55PM

    What an adventure!! Way to go. You make me proud:)

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 7/11/2012 5:23PM

    Wow! What a great adventure! Good for you!
Loved the pictures!
Go Girl!

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GOLFGMA 7/11/2012 5:18PM

    Whew, I'm scared just reading your blog (Great by the way!) and don't think I could get up enough nerve to try it. My son would do that , but, i would be in the kayak with him. They do make two seaters don't they? Glad you had a good time. emoticon

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ILOVEMALI 7/11/2012 12:24PM

  I have never done this. My husband and son have gone white water rafting -- scary! I think that I need to try something new! Now look what you've done!! xoxo

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DOGSTARDADDY 7/11/2012 12:23PM

    Looks great!!

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 7/11/2012 11:25AM

    Wow, you are adventurous!! My brother and sister-in-law INSIST that I have to go kayaking with them the next time we visit Lake Tahoe so I guess I'm going to learn! I have an aversion to water [and bathing suits!!] which has caused me to avoid boats and kayaks - but it does look like fun and I hear it's great upper-body exercise, which I need. So glad to hear about your adventure - it gives me courage to try it myself!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/11/2012 10:42AM

    Be very very careful...

...kayaking is highly addictive!

(I figure my compulsion to do it is an illness I choose not to cure. After all, it's at least a little less expensive and dangerous than heroin...) LOL

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_JODI404 7/11/2012 10:06AM

    You clearly have an adventurous spirit!!

Way to go on braving the "unknown" out there and even liking it!!

So glad that you both were able to stay in your kayaks. What a nice mother & son outing!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAYOTIC 7/11/2012 9:59AM

    That really sounds like fun! Kind of unexpected adventure.... emoticon

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  I have friends who love kayaking but I have to admit I've always been scared of rapids (deceptive ledges, big waves, etc.) I was happy to read that you enjoyed it so much (as a first timer) DESPITE all those things. Maybe they will get me into a kayak after all.

I'm glad the weather held up for you and you had a great time. (PS: Love the background!)

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LIBBYG7 7/11/2012 9:16AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

I just love the way you 'attack' life.....You just GO for it! I so envy you.....
Sounds like you had a ball.....a wet ball!!

Just stay safe......

Libby emoticon

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WORLDSERIES11 7/11/2012 12:34AM

    So glad you got to realize your dream and share the adventure with your son!! emoticon
They need to add an emoticon for kayaking...lol

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NELLIEC 7/10/2012 11:55PM

    It does sound like an adventure. I am glad you had the adventure and not me! emoticon

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EMPTYNESTER60 7/10/2012 11:28PM

    emoticon emoticon So glad the rain stopped & the heat wave broke so you could enjoy this day. Are you planning to do it again? Sounds like a wonderful adventure - maybe a little more than you were planning on? emoticon But you did it! ! ! emoticon

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Mogollon, New Mexico

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hidden away in the Mogollon Mountains in New Mexico is one of the state’s premier ghost towns. The “almost” ghost town of Mogollon was once a bustling little town where they mined for gold and silver. Today just a few residents and store owners remain to greet scores of tourists who flock there during the summer to get a taste of the rich history of the town. There is a mixture of old buildings having seen their better days alongside other buildings and old homes that some of the die hard residents have preserved.

Having stopped there last month on my trip to New Mexico, we walked through the old cemetery perched on top of the mountain. It was sad to see how young most of those buried there had been at their death. There were graves that were elaborately decorated while others were simply unmarked mounds of stones whose occupants have long since been forgotten.

The entrance gate to the Mogollon Cemetery

Mogollon Cemetery

Unmarked Graves

After leaving the cemetery, I had my sister drop me off at the end of town. I wanted to be able to walk down the street to be sure I saw everything that I could. Aside from the sound of some birds, it was eerily quiet; tourist season would be starting in May. As I stopped to take a picture of the old general store, I was startled by a deep voice calling out to me. It was a friendly “How you doin’ today” question from an older gentleman I hadn’t noticed before. He was sitting on the porch of his old house next to the general store. I stopped and we talked for a few minutes about the town. It was very obvious he was proud of his town, and why not? It was a fascinating place in a beautiful setting. After a few minutes we said our good-byes and he told me to be sure to come back sometime. I hope I can.

This one has definitely seen its better days.

Old mining cars

Old Mogollon Theatre

Main Street in Mogollon

Today, however, Mogollon, New Mexico is facing possible destruction. I’ve been watching and reading for days as the Whitewater-Baldy forest fire in New Mexico continues to grow and is inching ever closer to the tiny town of Mogollon. As of this morning, the fire had grown to 112,000 acres and was within 2 miles of Mogollon. The few residents that call the town home have been forced to leave. The remoteness of the area, dry conditions and low humidity only makes fighting the fire harder, and some vacation homes from a nearby community have already been lost.

I think about the nice man I met in town and all the other residents and hope that their homes are spared. The destruction of this town would not only be devastating to the residents, but to all of us. The area is so rich in history that I can’t even imagine it being wiped away. I’m just praying that God will spare Mogollon and the surrounding area from the ravages of this monster fire. My thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Mogollon and everyone else in the path of this fire.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWDESERTLOVER 7/6/2012 10:57AM

    Thanks! Fortunately, they were able to keep the fire away and it is almost completely contained now. Praying now for all those who were affected by the fire in Colorado.

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LUCINDARW 7/6/2012 10:12AM

    Sorry to hear the ghost town was threatened by the fire we need to preserve the old history of this country if we can. Thank you for the beautiful pectures very vivid.

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GOLFGMA 5/31/2012 4:44PM

    Wonderful pictures and, Cindy, we will be praying for your friendly buddy there that the fire will not destroy this piece of history. Great blog!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 5/29/2012 11:02PM

    What a wonderful piece of history! I, too, hope and pray this fire can be brought under control and this town saved. It is always so awful when these fires happen!
Thanks for sharing this story and pictures!

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LINDAKAY228 5/29/2012 2:49PM

    I really enjoyed reading your blog about your trip to Mogollon and how much you enjoyed it. I live in Silver City, NM and have been to Mogollon and up into the forest areas above it that are now on fire a few times. I had hoped to take my friend Lyndaloves2hike up there and to the Catwalk at Glenwood while she's here visiting but our plans had to change because of the fire. I am so saddened also about the threat of the fires to that community that has a special place in our history here. I'm hoping they will be able to save it. Wildfires and possible destruction of communities is something we live with every year in New Mexico. Thank you for sharing you memories and keeping the town alive in the minds of others. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip there. The last time I was there, a few years ago, there were so many hummingbird feeders and hummingbirds in the downtown area which was so great to watch. Another of the various treasures of that area.
Hope you get a chance to visit southern New Mexico another time!

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 5/29/2012 9:54AM

    Thank you so much for sharing the pictures - I'm in New Mexico right now and one of the 'planned adventures' had been to visit Mogollon - obviously the fire has changed my plans and I'm very concerned/worried about the area. I know fires are a natural part of life and this one was started by lightning but it's still so hard to think of all the destruction - the land is soooo rugged where it's burning, they are having a terrible time fighting it!

My friend LindaKay228 took me to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings and there was a lot of fire evidence there surrounding the area - they did a terrific job of saving the cliff dwellings, even though the fire burned VERY CLOSE so I hope they can do the same with Mogollon - it will be more difficult with the 'old wood' structures but I know they will try. I'm praying with you for saving Mogollon!!

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DOODIE59 5/28/2012 9:44PM

    Thank you for sharing this, Cynthia. You are doing your part to make sure this small town isn't forgotten. With a bit of luck and helpful weather conditions, my hope is Mogollon will be spared.

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NELLIEC 5/28/2012 8:10PM

    I remember when I was a teenager living in El Paso, TX, that one time the father of my best friend had taken us up towards White Sands Proving Grounds. On the way back, he took a back road because he wanted to show us a ghost town. Just a sandy dirt road, and a totally deserted town. Sorta sad! I am pretty sure it was in New Mexico, since we hadn't crossed the state line back into Texas yet.

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A Game of Cat and Mouse, or Human and Snake?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

About once a year I spend a few days cleaning out our large shed that sits a couple hundred feet behind our house. It always amazes me how quickly so much junk can accumulate in this shed that sees so little use. Of course this year was no different. I walked down there a few weeks ago and saw a number of items that I did not recognize, apparently deposited there by unknown family, friends or critters and then forgotten. There was also the usual six to twelve inches of dead leaves that the winter winds always push straight into this open front building partially hiding the contents that have been so carefully placed there for safekeeping, only to be found later wet and ruined. I looked at the mess in dismay and decided that since this was my long weekend off work and they were calling for nice weather, this would be the weekend to tackle the task of cleaning and reorganizing. Not only would it again look better (at least for a while), but I would also get in some serious exercise.

I spent the last two days cleaning out our shed, sweeping out leaves, moving items around, sweeping out leaves, throwing away garbage, and sweeping out leaves (yes, there was a little breeze that was determined to keep pushing the leaves back into the shed). All the while, I was watching carefully all around me as two years ago I had come across a copperhead snake and was hoping to avoid a repeat of that scene. All seemed to be going well.

Around lunch time my son’s girlfriend came by, heard Thor inside the house and decided to bring him down to the shed to us. She was walking around talking to me and watching Thor when she spotted a wooden bird house that Tommy had nailed to a post down there many years ago. Now for whatever reason, I had never seen any birds use that little house, instead preferring the hanging baskets on my front porch. She walked over for a closer look, stopped in her tracks, and then asked me, “What’s wrong with this picture?” I went over for a look and to my amazement saw the head of a black snake poking out the round hole in the front. After seeing us, he popped back down inside the wooden box.

I ran to the house to retrieve my camera and then this snake and I spent the rest of the afternoon playing a game of cat and mouse (or should I say human and snake) with me determined to get some pictures of him/her. I had to wait quietly and patiently nearby for the head to appear in the little hole, but I was finally able to get a shot of it peeking out at me.

As the afternoon wore on, I was able to get a lot more pictures of the snake looking out and then retreating back into the bird house.

It appears that he/she has claimed this little house as its own. This certainly explains the absence of birds in my shed!

While I’m not a huge fan of snakes, I’m just happy that my resident snake is this one and no longer a copperhead. All in all it was actually a fun afternoon. Watching the black snake and trying to get the occasional picture almost made me forget that I was working at getting my shed cleaned out and exercising also. I’m happy to report that my work is done and tomorrow will truly be a day of rest!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUCINDARW 7/6/2012 10:04AM

    I can't stand snakes of any size! I would have ran the other way and not went back.

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DOGSTARDADDY 5/31/2012 1:18PM

    Holy cow!

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GOLFGMA 5/21/2012 8:37AM

    More wonderful photos! The subject matter is interesting to say the least. Better you than me. I can tolerate the black snakes and water snakes and certainly couldn't play golf without seeing a few now and then but I kinda leave them alone hoping they will do the same. Enjoyed the photos again! emoticon

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SUSANSUSAN14 5/20/2012 3:36PM

    I enjoy taking pictures like this. It seems to relax you and make you feel at peace with the world around you!

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LIBBYG7 5/20/2012 11:21AM

    Dear Cindy.....

I so admire your love of nature.....and your inquisitiveness of everything around you. Equally, I admire your talents as a nature photographer. It's a gift.
Having said that, I think it's remarkable that you were able to get these incredible shots of your llittle snake. Being a city girl.....my exposure to snakes is little, at best - and as a kid I had a real phobia of the creepy creatures. As I got older, I got to appreciate their beauty and how they survive.
I love this series of photos.....because you were so patient.....waiting for Mr. Snake to show his face. I especially love the shots where he seems to stick his head out - oh so hesitantly - almost teasing you.

I envy your curiousity to chronicle all the beauty around you......
Love your blogs...

Hugs, Libby emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SWDESERTLOVER 5/20/2012 8:49AM

    LOL! I know most people are creeped out by snakes. The only ones that creep me out are the venomous ones. Tommy, on the other hand, is terrified of snakes. After we found out it was there, he stayed clear of that end of the shed and wouldn't even look at my pictures. By the way, Thor is also terrified of snakes. It's just one more thing those two have in common - haha.


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DOODIE59 5/20/2012 8:34AM

    Yay! This morning I can see your photos -- great shots!

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 5/20/2012 12:58AM

    Definite improvement over a copperhead that's for sure. I hate all snakes but as long as they don't bother me or show their face I'm ok with the fact that they're everywhere (I live in a rural area). Yet I'm like you wanting their picture - go figure. That seriously explains why the birds haven't nested in that birdhouse.
Have a fabulous weekend. I've got plenty to clean out but just haven't got around to it. You're so much more ambitious than me.

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_JODI404 5/20/2012 12:20AM

    Ewwwww! You are SO much braver than I am! Snakes creep me out, I would have to leave and not return until it was definitely gone!!

Great job getting the task done and I hope you truly enjoy a relaxing day tomorrow!!

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CAROLJ35 5/19/2012 9:38PM

    For some reason, I loathe snakes of any size so I could not even look at all of your photos, but I did see the first one and it made me laugh. He just looked so inquisitive. Our grandson has 13 egg laying chickens and several times a week someone has to remove a black snake from the hen house. They love eggs and swallow those big eggs whole. That snake probably crawled into the bird house thinking he would find eggs, then found it made a nice home for himself.
Yesterday a black snake wrapped himself around my husband's arm and I had to turn my back to that. After the snake is put in a bucket, I drive up the dirt road about 1/2 mile and DH empties him out in the woods.
We never kill them because they help to keep the copperheads and rattlers at bay.
I'm not sure why God put those creatures on the earth.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TWINKIEQUEEN 5/19/2012 8:29PM

    well, you have to admit, it was a very handsome snake (her name is Shirley).......i have a shed like yours behind the house and have been thinking of cleaning it out, too, but you are more industrious than i have been so far.....

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 5/19/2012 8:26PM

    I loved your blog!! My husband (a science teacher) and I have had many unusual pets and critters that have been home and in his science class! I have learned to love many beings I never thought I would or could, even though I have always been an animal lover and had a pet duck as a child! Anyway, snakes...your black snake just made me smile! We have had many, including a black snake named Jerrod! I love he found your bird house for a home and he will keep bugs and mice from your shed (even though I love bugs and mice, too, and have had both as pets)! We adopted most all our pets, and some from bad situations (for many years we owned Ruby, a red tailed boa, who was so nervous because she had been kept in an aquarium by a sound system...poor baby, they thought she was mean because she would strike...it was the vibrations...to her noise!! She was very sweet and had to wrap on my husbands leg if we took her out so she felt safe)!! Also, my Mom, in Florida, has a bird house and in hers lives, Walter, a big frog!!
Thanks so much for sharing!
Mary emoticon

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NELLIEC 5/19/2012 8:24PM

    I don't know much about black snakes (my oldest son would know, since he knows a lot of things like that), but I do think that this is an improvement over a copperhead!

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