Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ups and Downs

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Well, you know the saying: what goes up, must come down. I'm sorry to say that Alex has relapsed a bit and is no longer in full remission from his lymphoma. One of his lymph nodes has become enlarged again, which isn't horrible considering the other nine nodes are normal. Still, it tells us that the protocol of drugs that he's been getting are not doing the job. So on his Tuesday vet visit we switched gears and will now go down a different path, hoping that we can get him back into remission. At this point, we don't see Alex becoming completely free of his disease, but more like keeping the monster at bay as long as possible with as much quality of life as possible. The original protocol promised the best outcome; this second tier of the protocol not as much.

It's disheartening, I've got to say. But I am trying not to let it get me down. The up side is if this treatment works it only requires one pill every three to four weeks. Since this drug causes anemia at times and can also affect the liver we have to do blood work before each treatment. Right now it's too soon to tell if it's having any effect or not—his lump feels the same to me as it did a couple of days ago. But, he's pretty happy and bringing me "pink bunny," asking to go for rides in the truck and eating pretty well right now. 

We are taking it day by day and doling out lots of love. What else can you do?

I am thinking that I am glad we cancelled our trip to Mexico. The owner of the house that we were going to rent has granted us a grace period in that if we rent the house within six months we can apply the deposit we already paid to the new lease. Same with our airfare, so we still have the chance to go without losing anything. March, maybe?

I have also been giving some thought to this blog. I've been blogging now for seven years and it may be coming to the end of its useful life. I've lost a lot of readers along the way and other than the handful of you that I know read it, I'm not sure it's worth it. I have to think on this some more, but it's not the first time the thought of closing the blog down has come into my head. 


Photo: Up and down awnings in Cartagena.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Born to Run

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Joining in with Kathy's Song-ography today and only one thing and one photo came to my mind. Instead of trying to do an interpretation of the lyrics, I knew I wanted to dedicated this entry to my dog Alex.

This photo was taken back in 2003 when Alex was still a puppy. It almost got him on the cover of a calendar (he made January). Today that same puppy is about to turn 11 years old in October and is currently in remission from lymphoma. Keep on running Alex!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cancelled and Frog Heaven

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We have canceled our Mexico trip officially. We were traveling on frequent flyer miles and if we use them again before May of 2014 we won't forfeit the mileage so that's a plus. We still don't know about the first deposit  on our casita and have asked them that if they rent the house out despite us, could they apply it to future rental. We still don't know the outcome of that.

We talked about all the issues and we both came to the same conclusion: that we should cancel and go at another time. It would have been a nice get-away for us, but other than that we don't have any real reasons for going at this time. Yes, we are considering San Miguel as a winter  residence in retirement, but we are still at least three or more years away from that particular phase of our lives. I think in any scenario that we have to contend with, either putting Alex up at the uncomfortable vet clinic, to the more familiar kennel, or even someone being able to housesit for us, it still boiled down to our comfort level with any of those choices. Alex, although feeling physically good at this point, is still a bit challenging on the eating end of things. I can't put that on anybody else but ourselves.

The upside is that Rick will have more vacation days to spend, either tacking on another few days to our Colorado cabin visit (see? more vacation time!) or just a few three-day weekends and more time at the holidays. 

You might do things differently than us, but our dogs are our kids. Alex has been a phenomenal part of our family for 10.5 years and we just don't feel right leaving him while he is still undergoing chemotherapy with all its ups and downs. 

As far as frogs are concerned, we still fish out seven or eight every morning. This is getting a bit old at this point. We have had a lot of rain over the past few days and rain does seem to factor into the frog problem. Friend Carolyn suggested we collect them in a bucket and take them down to the pond. I have no idea if it's the same stupid frogs each day or different ones (and I know I aided the demise of at least one the other day by mistake) but if we are dealing with the same situation tomorrow morning with no additional rainfall, then we'll collect them and take them down to the pond with us and release them as we set off on our canoe trip around the pond. It's either that or frog legs for dinner tomorrow night. 


Photo: Cherubic fountain at Skylands. 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Gray Hairstreak

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No, not on my head — in my garden! This cute little butterfly visited yesterday. I had never seen one before and had to look it up. I love the eyes and extra tails on the back to confuse predators. It was not shy and I was able to get these shots with my 55mm lens instead of having to zoom in from farther away. 

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However, I might get a few gray hairs over trying to decide what to do about our vacation to San Miguel, Mexico in late October/early November. Right now it doesn't look like either my sister or friend Carolyn is going to be able to housesit for us. We have to make a decision in two weeks since the rest of the deposit needs to be paid on the casita we are renting. To go or not to go? Will Alex be okay to leave then? Will  going to kennel have any effect on his disease?

We've been so looking forward to this vacation we really can't not go because of Alex, who at this point is really doing well. We can't predict the future so we need to make a decision based on what we know now. The vet assures me that his possibly being stressed while being boarded should have no adverse effects on the cancer. He did tell me that they board many dogs right there at the facility that need extra attention or medical treatments while their owners are away so I think I will look into that more fully. That way he'd be cared for if he needed medical attention, or if he gets picky and doesn't eat they can deal with that too. I hate to leave him where he's not familiar with the routine like he is at the normal kennel, but then again, will the normal kennel do anything about it if he's not eating or he gets sick?

Decisions, decisions, and none of them easy.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Weekend That Was

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On Friday night we went out to dinner at the Rogowski Farm. It's a local farm that has a farm to table supper club once a month. We've been twice in the past and it's always been good. Almost everything on your plate comes straight out of their fields, greenhouses, and bee hives. This particular dinner featured tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, pickled green beans and fresh honeycomb. 

The setting is rustic: one big (or two) communal tables set up in their farm store. The chairs surrounding the tables are mis-matched. I'm sure there are a few chairs that are identical to each other but it's hard to say. The back door is open with a view of the fields. 

The communal table is always interesting since you are sitting next to people you don't know. We've always had lively and interesting conversations here, and this night was no exception. We met a couple that basically live right down the road from us in Awosting, and we got along so well together that we exchanged personal information with them and hope to get together soon. We also met an interesting man who owns a restaurant in Hoboken and learned about a farm-to-table restaurant, Damon Baehrel near Albany, New York that is run only by one chef where the waiting list is four years for a reservation. Four Years! He does all the farming, cooking, etc. all by himself. Not sure if it's worth the wait or not but Rick has put us on the list. We shall see if we ever get there!

Saturday dawned rainy and wet. It rained all morning and it was so cool that we were able to take the dogs with us in the truck to the grocery. They were thrilled to be along for the ride. After lunch the skies cleared and it turned mostly sunny so we took advantage of the pool for a short while.

Sunday found us once again participating in the Del-Val Miata club's run. We couldn't resist since this one started very close to home and ended up at a popular old-fashioned burger joint, The Chatterbox.

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Some of the road were familiar, but others were new to us. The run took us through Harriman State Park, over and back up the hill to Warwick and then deep into the countryside between Warwick and Lafayette. There were lots of turns and at one point we lost the car in front of us and we took a wrong turn thanks to my bad navigation skills. (Everyone gets a printed copy of the run with all the turns and roads listed.) It only took us a few minutes to realize our goof and get back on track.

It's interesting to participate in one of these runs because it's not like just driving around by yourself. You need to be aware of the car in front of you and the car in back of you while watching the road. 

The day was beautiful: sunny and warm without being hot. Perfect tops-down weather!

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Our burger at the Chatterbox was excellent and we got to talk to a few other couples a little more in depth. I doubt we'll make a habit of going on so many runs, but once in a while it's fun. Right now they don't have any September runs planned and the next one is called Punkin Chunkin in mid-October.

All in all, a very satisfying weekend. This coming weekend we are planning on sticking around the house and we hope to get the canoe out on Green Turtle for the first time this year. (Note: the canoe spent the first part of the summer at Camp Andy getting a spa treatment--buffing out scratches on her bottom, getting a new coat of varnish.) We are looking forward to a laid-back weekend and hopefully get in some pool time too.


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2022 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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