Thursday, July 26, 2012

Home Sweet Home!!

We returned home FINALLY in May after the Valley started HEATING up and it was so wonderful to be back at the higher elevation in the cool pines with their  fragrant scent and where we are surrounded by picture postcard mountains and lots of s-p-a-c-e--not houses stacked on top of each other and side by side. The bright sky at night lights up with twinkling stars that aren't visible often in Mesa. We love being back among our good friends and neighbors--best anywhere. Frank and I decided we are definitely country folks, not city folks--yes, bumpkins, not slickers!! So be it--it's in our blood. There is no place like home.
After having a month of unseasonably warm weather here with no frosts at night, a cold front came through and hit us with 20 degrees or lower temperatures for several nights and our blossoming fruit trees really took a hit as did the new 6" long growing tips on our many beautiful Colorado Blue Spruce. The trees are pretty sad looking now. Hopefully they'll recover by next year.

We have been excited to have our daughter Wendy and her family move here the end of May and living within walking distance of our home and do so frequently. They are also in the same ward with us, so nice. They have three boys registered in school, Clay in 7th, Hunter 10th and Skyler a senior. They're fun boys and seem to be fitting in well here.Autumn is 21 and trying to figure out what she wants to do in life. Summer, their oldest, is married and living in Las Vegas( actually Henderson) and expecting a little boy in August, our first great grandchild.
Frank's myeloma has become active again, his M-spike rising ( that's the indication of the malignant protein in his blood) so the doctor has added another yummy (not)  drug to his regimen. It's called cytoxin (cyclophosphamide) in addition to the thalidomide and Dexamethasone he already takes. The Cytoxin he takes 6 huge pills every Monday morning along with the steroid, and then the Thalomid every other night. It takes he about 4-5 days to recover and feel half way decent, just in time to start over again. It makes him often feel nauseated, no appetite, extremely weak and no stamina or energy and pain throughout his body. He could possibly lose his hair but hasn't so far. The literature said his skin and hair could change color--?? I keep watchful waiting to see if he turns green, purple, black, orange, . . . Looks the same to me as of present, thankfully! He will have a lab test soon to see what effect the "cocktail--CTD" is having--hopefully doing more than just killing off his immune system but also the malignant cells. We'll see his Myeloma Oncologist on the 8th of August at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

He gets out and about when he can which isn't too often and enjoys visitors and phone calls.  He enjoys attending church meetings on Sunday and always says he wouldn't feel any better if he stayed at home so he might as well go and feel the spirit and have a chance to hear inspirational messages and see friends.
One of the best family reunions with our kids and grandchildren we had ever was the first week of June in a little town called Junction in Utah where we rented a huge mansion that had been remodeled/restored from a hundred year old + courthouse that retained that flavor. They had turned the county jail room, judges quarters, Parks and Recreation office, etc. into bedrooms including two rooms with 4-6 bunk beds in them each where cousins liked sleeping plus a huge kitchen/dining room with all you'd need for cooking and the original courtroom with the judges' bench still intact. You can see details at Kandra's blog where she posted about it including lots of pictures: or at this site:  or  The kids took turns cooking yummy food,  went on successful fishing trips with the little ones, we learned how to play "Cornhole" and had a successful tournament that everyone liked, had a bouncy house that was popular with the little ones. and had a courtroom drama re-enactment from our personal family history.

In August after his doctor's appointment,  Frank and I are planning to go to BYU Education week in Provo, Utah for a week of motivational wonderful speakers and hope to see our children as we stop at their homes on the way up or home. We also got tickets to go to the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to help celebrate President Monson's Birthday with the Tabernacle Choir and other special guest performers. We're looking forward to an exciting week.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another report from the Valley of the Sun

We have extended our stay in Mesa one more month due to the incredibly beautiful weather here. Days when it’s a little breezy here in Mesa, we get reports that there is gale force wind and cold in Northern Arizona and that definitely curbs any enthusiasm we have of returning home too soon. We’ve lived through too many of those springs to miss that.

Visits from our daughters and their families during March have been fun and we’ve enjoyed swimming, visits to parks, movies, celebrating birthdays and other activities. Its always good to have visits with kids and Grandkids :)

Frank recently had his 2 month blood work done and checkup at Mayo Clinic. Some of his blood counts looked better, his red cells, white cells and platelets all had risen a little--but the M spike not so good. That measures the number of malignant cells in his blood. Normal is 0 and his had been holding at .8 but it has risen to 1.3 (measured in thousands) not so good. He has also lost another 4 pounds. His doctor wants to see him again in 6 weeks to see if things continue to worsen and if he’ll need a change in protocol. He still has lots of times free of pain and usual good humor but never much stamina.

Yesterday his family really had a scare when one of his nieces, Lynn, went missing. She owns a medical transport business and had left early in the morning to pick up a patient on the Reservation and take her for a dialysis treatment, a routine she had followed for years. When the patient didn’t arrive at the clinic on schedule, they tried to contact Lynn but her phone was turned off, totally unusual for her. They then contacted her high school aged children at home. These kids, bless their hearts, reported her missing and then drove to the reservation and spent hours looking for her, to no avail. Search and rescue, police and sheriff’s offices in two counties were involved, her cell phone carrier contacted to find out when the last use of her phone was—about 6 am with a short 4 letter message, apparently the name of a person with the vowels missing, someone who had threatened her numerous times in the past because she had offered refuge to a former spouse of this person who had been brutalized. Lynn had been accused of breaking up the marriage. The cell phone company was able to determine that she had never left the general area of her home and so the search was concentrated there. After many hours, her vehicle was located. She was not in it and the worst was feared by all. A nearby lake was searched to no avail. A friend of hers read on Facebook the area the car had been found in and decided to search himself in a river and eventually he found her alive on a large rock over the river,at the base of a 30-40 foot cliff that she had apparently been pushed off of. If she had rolled one nore time she would have gone into the water and drowned. She was severely sunburned, eyes swollen shut, dehydrated from laying out all day without water and bruised all over, but had no memory of what had happened. She was was flown to Flagstaff hosp. where she was tested, treated, x-rayed, (no broken bones!!!) had an MRI and then brought home by her brother where she is resting and recuperating. If she had not been found before nightfall, she probably would not have survived the night as it gets down to freezing or below at night there. We all thank the Lord for this miracle. Hopefully the perpetrator will be discovered, prosecuted and locked up.

As Easter approaches, we are so grateful for God our Father, his Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and for His sacrifice and atonement that we all will be resurrected and live forever. It is so comforting to know that we all can be together as families in Their presence in the eternities.

Friday, March 2, 2012

More church bulletin points to ponder. . .

• The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
• God Himself doesn’t propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?
• Some minds are like concrete—thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
• Always do your best. What you plant now you will harvest later.
• Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
• Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love. –Mother Teresa

February has been another good month in the Valley of the Sun as we soak up the sunshine rather than shovel it. We were able to attend a live concert of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, their first appearance in Arizona in 46 years. They had been invited to come and help celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Arizona. Their music was from around the world and from many religions. They sang for 2 hours and received 3 standing ovations. I don’t think anyone wanted the concert to end. It was so awesome.

This past week we went home for a few days as I had dental appointments. The weather was perfect—sunny and no wind!! We enjoyed visiting with friends while we were there. The daffodils and lilies are starting to poke their heads through the ground, definite signs of spring.

Frank definitely feels better here in Mesa, can breathe better—smog and all. He has more energy and goes out and about nearly every day. On Saturday we took my mom and went up to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior and enjoyed a lovely day there admiring many kinds of plants from around the world that do well in a somewhat arid environment. The landscaping is lovely and more This plants will flower as spring continues. We topped off the afternoon with lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Superior. Yum.

This weekend Frank, Lance and other male members of his family are in Sedona enjoying the West Coast Conference tournament (or whatever the one BYU is in) play their Basketball finals to determine who goes on to play in the NCAA Championship tournament. This is an annual affair for them and they always have a good time. They used to go to the actual site it was played in—LV or wherever but last year decided that going to Sedona and watching in the comfort of nephew Royce’s home was both much cheaper and more enjoyable and they didn’t have to put up with other fans bad-mouthing the church.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snowbirds and lovin' it

Today I was reading fom our ward bulletin at church and felt these observations were worth passing on:

Isn't it strange how 3 hours seem so long when you're at church, and how short it seems when you're watching a good movie?

Isn't it strange that you can't find a word to say when you're praying but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

Isn't it strange how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the scriptures but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?

Isn't it strange how everyone wants front-row tickets to concerts or games but they do whatever is possible to sit at the back in church?

We became snowbirds after the holidays and flew south--to Mesa--for two or three months to get out of the c.o.l.d winter in Heber. We are enjoying beautiful weather and Frank goes out and about with brothers or friends often. We attend the Lyn Rae Ward and are enjoying the many friendly people we have met there so far. We are renting a lovely furnished townhome from Frank's brother and wife.

Recently I was able to help move my mother in to live with my sister who has a lovely big home here. Mom, who is 97, is still getting around pretty well, makes quilts, works on family history, composes music and generally keeps very busy. Never-the-less, she has trouble at times with her knee feeling like it is going to give out and we have all worried that she might fall and break something. She has lived independently and alone for many years but we all feel better that my sister will be able to fix her meals and be on hand to help her with any needs, and be good company for her. We decided we didn't want to wait until an accident happened to get her to a safer place.

Last week Frank had his bi-monthly check-up appt. at Mayo clinic in Scottsdale and his bloodwork is holding pretty steady. His white cells and platelets had dropped lower since his checkup in Nov. (they are always below normal) but I'm thinking it could be due to the big change in altitude. We'll see what happens next checkup in a couple months. The doctor is pleased that his IgG blood protein is in the normal range and that the malignant protein (M spike) is holding steady at 0.8--half what it was before he started taking thalidomide. It has few side effects and is much more tolerable than the Velcade he was taking before so we're hoping it will work for a long time. Even without much of an immune system, he hasn't caught a virus lately and we know he is being blessed with Tender Mercies from the Lord constantly.