The final days of our trip - so hated to see it come to an end. The first picture of us is as the Spokane airport waiting on our food so we could wolf it down and board for our short flight to Seattle. Upon arrival, Tim went to rent the car while the 3 of us stayed and had Starbucks (don't worry - I got one for Tim, too!). Then it was off to downtown Seattle. We had talked about doing the space needle, but we ended up just walking around down by the water where it was almost deserted, and then walking up some stairs to where all the people were - the market!! We did our grocery shopping for the next few days, went to a coffee shop where we sat outside and people watched, ordered dinner from a local fusion restaurant, walked to pick it up while Tim went to get the car, then Tim picked us up and we were on our way to our final destination in Port Angeles (a couple hours away). We got settled into our AirBnB and got ready for the National Park trip the next day!
This is us before leaving for Olympic National Park! We hadn't bought any breakfast stuff, so our breakfast consisted of our leftovers from dinner the night before! Lol!
When we reached the visitor center at the top we were greeted with this amazing view of multiple mountains that the camera just doesn't do justice to! But I took this panaramic of the mountains and below that is a plaque that lists all the names of the mountains for you nature buffs!
Then it was time for the hike!! The views were amazing and the weather was perfect!! The only snafu was when the Hoffman's and I wanted to go further but Tim didn't and we made plans to meet back up. After a couple of harrowing hours where we couldn't find Tim, he finally appeared. He had set up his hammock on the trail and had fallen asleep thinking we would see him, but we didn't come back via that trail and we had no cell service! Talk about a slight miscommunication causing lots of angst! After a short burst of relief that he was OK it took me a minute (or more) to come down from being really mad at him!! We were able to use the marriage tools we teach about to resolve our disconnect and come back together in short order, thank God!! Check out the wild life we saw up there - the chipmunk, the beaver looking thing that I forgot the name of, and the deer who was super close - guess he's been given a free meal or two! After we left the park we drove to a store where Tim and Scott could get fishing licenses, and then we just drove over to the shore for a stroll by the water. Just beautiful. The last picture of this day shows Canada behind Tim and me - we were so close!
The next day (our last full day - boohoo!) Tim nd Scott got up super early to go fishing. Laura and I slept in, took our own sweet time getting ready, and then walked downtown by the water. The boys drove back from fishing, picked us up, drove back to the place we were staying to put fish away and then leave for the whale watching tour. What a GREAT way to end our Great Adventure!! We saw so many whales we lost count! The weather was absolutely beautiful and being on the water was such a joy! Such a blessing!!
We got up on our last morning of vacation, got ready, packed up the car and drove the 2+ hours to the Seattle airport. The final picture is a beautiful shot of Mt. Ranier - it was breathtaking! Just a cherry on top of the ice cream vacation we enjoyed!!
Well, now I know how to spell Coeur d'Alene, because that's where we've been the past 2 days. It is absolutely gorgeous, and we used these days as 'down' days, not planning anything special. We arrived late Sunday and after unpacking went out to dinner to a very nice restaurant called Tony's on the Lake. I had Ravioli di Funghi, Laura had Lasagna al Forno, Tim had Gamberoni e Cappe Sante (jumbo prawns and scallops over rosemary quinoa salad), and I think Scott had Gnocci con Gorgonzola. It was all absolutely delish! Monday was a lazy day so much so Tim decided to stay and take a nap while Scott & Laura and I drove into the city and they got some time together while I got some alone time at the city park by the boat launch. I drove back while they went out to dinner, grabbed Tim, and then the 4 of us walked around downtown a bit and then headed home. Tomorrow we head to the airport in Spokane, fly to Seattle, and drive to our final destination, Port Angeles. Here are the pictures from our time in Coeur d'Alene.
We got up at like 5:30 this morning and Tim made coffee and heated up some crustless quiches we had gotten at the store yesterday. Scott and Laura came to pick us up, ate the quiches, drank some coffee, and we were on our way to Glacier National Park! We drove up Going to the Sun road to one of the central places in the park, Logan's Pass, took a quick potty break, and then were back on the road. 10 minutes later I realized I had left my phone in the restroom at Logan's Pass! Yikes! We hightailed it back there, but my phone was no longer there and the ranger station didn't open for like another 30 minutes. We decided to keep going and we would check back later. We drove to the other side of the park to Lake Mary and then asked if we could call Logan's Pass. They said Logan's pass doesn't have electricity or phone service at all, and we'd have to go back there. In the meantime, Laura was checking out a boat ride on Lake Mary with a guided hike, so we scheduled that for 2pm. It was only 11am, so we decided to go back to Logan's pass to check on my phone. Amazingly, someone had waited for the ranger station to open and then turned it in! I was SO grateful! We then went back to Lake Mary and went on our boat ride and guided hike. The waterful at the end of the hike was so loud even though it consisted of 2 short drops, but the water was crystal clear! We saw a deer on the hike, and some lovely multi-colored stones in the river. We left the park and went to a much recommended family restaurant called Johnson's, that has been owned and operated by the same family for almost 70 years! The food was good down home cooking, and we once again shared everything we got! Tim had Rainbow Trout, Laura had Walleye, Scott had the chicken fried steak, and I had Buffalo steak. It was all yummy! For desert we had a huge homemade cinnamon roll a la mode that we all shared. I was STUFFED! We then made the 1 1/2 hour trek back through the park to the other side, and stopped at the campground there for a short visit with a friend I used to work with in the same department at IBM and her husband who also worked there who were camping. So great to see them! Here are the pictures from our day there:
This past week we got to celebrate the 30th wedding anniversary of our dear friends, Scott and Laura Hoffman, on a fabulous trip out west with them! They flew from Charlotte, NC, and we flew from Tampa meeting up in Kalispell, MT. Our trip consisted of going to Glacier National Park, driving to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, spending a couple of days there, and ending our trip in Port Angeles Washington visiting Olympic National Park and then whale watching!! We've been friends for around 35 years, and our friendship just grows sweeter by the year! I'll start with the trip to Kalispell and Glacier. Tim and I arrived today ubered to our AirBNB (which was a 5th wheel RV), took a lovely nap, and then united with Scott and Laura as they arrived at our place! We rode with them to their gorgeous AirBNB place on a farm up on a hill and helped them unload. Then it was off to dinner at the Montana Club Restaurant where everything we ordered was absolutely amazing! We started out with a Creamy Crab (as in Snow and King crab) Parmesan Dip - so good! Then Tim had a mesquite grilled chicken salad, Laura and I split a Seafood trio platter with wild Alaskan Halibut, Salmon and a shrimp skewer, and Scott had a yummy steak. The best part about each meal we shared is that we REALLY shared our meals! We all tried something from everyones' plate, and it just made it that much more fun! After dinner we went to Flathead Lake (the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi) where Tim and Laura got some coffee and we walked out on a dock and enjoyed the view! Here are some pics from the place we stayed, the place Scott & Laura stayed, at the yummy restaurant, and then on the dock.
Tonight Nathan and Nicole got dressed up and went on a date! So cute! They had a lovely dinner at Carrabbas, and then I snapped this picture of them when they got home. :-) And then the next 2 pictures are with me and our adorable kitten that we kept from our cat's last litter. I realized after she was on my lap how much we matched, so I snapped a couple of shots. Enjoy!
When Nathan & Noah finished their spring (and summer A term for Noah) college semesters we sat down with everyone and asked for a date that would work for everyone so we could get some quality family time in together, and asked them what they wanted to do. They decided they wanted to visit an old family favorite that we hadn't been to in YEARS and we used to carry a family pass every year - MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) in Tampa. So today was the day! We had a blast (literally - you'll see why in a minute)! We started the day with a family breakfast at home, and then off to MOSI we went. Noah had fun trying to beat a robot at solving a Rubik's cube (wish I had snapped a picture of that), Nathan and Tim relived building blocks together, and Nicole and I enjoyed setting up Domino's and knocking them down. One my highlights was seeing how you can program a 3d printer and then watch it actually print something using melted plastic - it was pretty cool! And then, unbeknownst to us, it was Global Rocket Launch day, so we discovered MOSI had a station where we could make our own rockets and shoot them off! What a great way to cap off our time at MOSI! It was a really great day! We finished the day at CDB's Italian restaurant - yummy! Here are some pictures of our time:
My sister stopped by our house today with her 10 year old grandson for a quick visit on her way back to Port Charlotte after picking him up at the airport in Orlando. It was so great to see him - I think it had been like 8 years since we had seen him!! And of course it's always great being with my sister! Here are just a couple of pictures of our short time together:
We have had such a great time over the past few days with friends and family. We were invited over to some dear friends of ours place about 45 minutes north of us on Wednesday night the 3rd. They have 4 girls around our kids' ages, and all 4 of our kids came so we had 12 of us together for dinner and then hanging out with each other afterwards. Nathan and one of their daughters sang and played the piano for a good while which was such a blessing to me - loved listening to them! Nicole loved having girl time with the other girls, and Tim and I enjoyed adult time with the mom and dad. Before dinner the dad took everyone out in the back to shoot at targets. Nicholas especially loved that. I think he felt like he was in a Fortnite game - lol! Anyway, a good time was to be had by all!
Then the next day, on the 4th, we went down to Port Charlotte to see my dad and sister, and actually even spent the night like we used to years ago! It had been a long time since we were all together like that, and Christy's youngest daughter and her husband were there, too, so it felt like a regular family reunion! Unfortunately, we didn't get that many pictures. I don't have any of Noah & Nicholas or my sister or Tim (I promise they were there)! But here is what I did get:
I think it was the first time we were all together like that since my mom passed away 5 years ago! Crazy! I really enjoyed it a lot as we sat outside and watched the sunset and then the fireworks being shot off by the neighbors until it started raining. The next morning we got up and had breakfast and hung around until later in the afternoon. It was really a sweet time! Hoping to have more of those in the not-to-distant future for sure!
Well, my last update on 6/15/19 had the good news that my bladder check up went well with my doctor saying that I didn't need to come back for a year. Unfortunately, 2 days later I received the pathology report on my urine test that said I had malignant cells. The next 2 weeks were a little crazy with waiting for a 2nd opinion on the pathology report, finding out my doctor suddenly left the practice at Henry Ford Health Systems, receiving the 2nd opinion that confirmed the first one, and just feeling a bit lost. A dear friend of mine who has faced her own trauma over the past year invited me to be with her at her beach condo right on St. Pete Beach where I went and just kind of decompressed and relaxed for a quick overnight visit. She's precious, and I really enjoyed the break! The first picture below is of the sunset, the next is of the sunrise the next morning, and then my friend and I just before I left.
After several attempts to locate my doctor in Detroit I was finally able to get a hold of him (kind of miraculously) on the phone yesterday (Sunday)! He said he would get back with me with a recommendation of a urologist oncologist near me, and in the meantime I scheduled an appointment with a local urologist to get another urine test and a CT scan. My appt is for July 9, so I'll update more then. So it looks like we're back on the cancer train, as Tim and I call it, but I guess it's more like a roller coaster (although I like roller coasters). I'll have to come up with a better analogy because this is anything but fun. More later...
Hello again! I'm back! I have some good news to share. But first, a little more info to bring you up to speed. After Tim's birthday celebration with the kids Saturday night the 8th, he and Nathan and Nicholas (and I) got up early the next morning and I dropped them off at the Tampa airport at 5:30am to catch the first of 3 flights they had that day that took them to Soldotna, Alaska. They volunteered with Samaritan's Purse to help build a church in the remote town of Dillingham, AK. So on Monday, while they were flying into Dillingham (which is the only way to get there), Nicole and I were flying out of Orlando bound for Detroit for my 6 month check up. I have an interesting story about that in a minute. But first, the lovely fiasco I had after dropping the boys off on Sunday. I had noticed the day before that our freezer wasn't feeling quite up to par, so I called Sears Home Services on that Saturday since we have a maintenance agreement with them to schedule a repair and was told the first available appointment was June 22 - two whole weeks away! Argh. What could I do? So, I took it. But when I got home from dropping the boys off at the airport on Sunday there was a huge puddle on the floor in front of the fridge. Upon further investigation, both the freezer and the refrigerator were NOT cooling! So after 5 hours of transferring what I could to our garage fridge and the neighbor's garage fridge and cleaning it, it immediately started icing up again in the freezer. But it's never been cleaner! Here's a picture of it and then our stuffed to the gills garage fridge:
But I wasn't done with the joys of home and pet ownership! One of the kittens had peed on the couch, so I went to Home Depot and rented an upholstery cleaner, and a couple hours and lots of sweat equity later, the couch was clean! So much for Sunday being a day of rest!
OK, on to the interesting travel story. Nicole and I were scheduled to fly out of Orlando at 3pm on Monday to Baltimore MD, change planes, and arrive in Detroit around 8:30pm. When we got to the airport at around 1:30pm this past Monday, for some reason the TSA scanner wasn't taking the boarding passes I had printed out. So we went out to a kiosk and printed them there, but Nicole noticed there was a line through our flight times and a new direct flight was listed instead, but it wasn't leaving until close to 5pm! Argh. So we went ahead and went through security, and on the way to our airside we passed a gate where I heard 'last call for Detroit'. What? I looked over and it was another flight on the same airline (Spirit) leaving for Detroit that had been scheduled to leave at around 8am that morning and it was now close to 2pm! So I made my way to the gate counter and asked if we could get on that flight. At first the rep said we would have to pay a $99 change fee, but when I explained that it appears our flight had been cancelled anyway and they were going to have to put us on another flight she took a few minutes and then voila - we had our boarding passes for the 2pm direct flight in seats 5D & 5E! I made a quick call to my Dad and step-mom, Diane, in Detroit to let them know of the change, which they said would be no problem - whew! Here we are happy and relieved to be in our seats on the plane and not to have to spend another 3 more in the airport!!
Anyway, after arriving and stopping by their house, my parents took us out to eat at a quaint local Italian restaurant that had been in business since 1955! I had the best Pasta Primavera ever! We got just one kinda fuzzy picture from the occasion, so here it is:
My doctor's appointment wasn't until Wednesday, but we purposely came early to spend some time with my parents and my sister-in-law, Lorrie. She had invited us out to her family's lake house where she took us on a lovely boat ride all around the lake, including a boat tour of the infamous Duck Lake zoo - it was SO cute! Yes, it is made up entirely of animal cut outs - it was pretty hysterical! When we got back from the boat tour, Lorrie fixed us an incredible dinner of grilled steak and fruit salad, regular salad, potato salad, and a birthday dessert for Diane since it had been her birthday on Sunday. After dinner, Lorrie and Nicole kayaked all around the lake and had a BLAST! They said it had been raining up there in Michigan for literally weeks, and that day was the first sunny day they had had - we were SO thankful! It was gorgeous!
Finally, it was Wednesday - the day of my check up. Nicole got up bright and early and took a walk to a nearby conservatory. She texted me that there was this cute local diner that she wanted to go to for breakfast, so I joined her for a very nice, inexpensive, and yummy breakfast! I invited my parents, but they had already eaten, those early birds! Isn't Nicole a cutie patootie!
So, Diane, Nicole and I finally left for my appointment. I have to say, I was more nervous than the last appointment I had in December, and I don't really know why. I didn't realize how I was kind of holding my breath. As the doctor put the scope in my bladder and started looking around, he kept saying how everything looked good. And then came the good news: he said we could go from my every 6 months appointments to yearly appointments, so I don't need to go back until next year from now!! Woohoo!! I felt my whole body breathe a sigh of relief! Nicole came into the room for the scope and discreetly video'd it so I can show it to Tim when he gets back. Here's a picture of us before the procedure, and then a still shot of the video of my bladder. Looks good to me!
We left there with just enough time to visit my niece, Leeann, at her new-ish work place. My only regret is that I didn't get any pictures from our short time together! She works at the same company as her boyfriend, Matt, so I was happy we got to see him, too! She gave us a tour of the place that is in downtown Detroit, and it was very cool, very millennial, open, casual - loved it!! She even gave us some leftover sandwich wraps that had been brought in earlier for lunch for the employees (we were SO happy to have those later on the plane!). It really was a perfect way to cap off a perfect trip! We went directly to the airport from there where Diane dropped us off. But our adventure wasn't over. Nicole had arranged to fly out of Orlando the next day to visit her dear friend, Abby at Syracuse University for her birthday. So, instead of driving all the way home Wednesday night just to turn around and drive all the way back to Orlando Thursday morning, I arranged with my best friend from college and her family for us to stay with them since she lives 10 minutes from the Orlando airport. I have to say, it was another highlight since we had SO much fun catching up and hanging out. She has 4 kids as well around the same ages as mine, and 2 of them were home so I think Nicole had fun connecting with them. Once again, not many pictures, but Nicole got one of their cats, Ricky & Lucy, and one of Sheryl and me.
After I dropped off Nicole on Thursday I drove home to an empty house (not counting our cat and her kittens). It's been a little strange to be alone for this long. I usually love being alone, but I don't think I've been alone for this long in a very long time, and so I'm really looking forward to picking Nicole up at the airport tonight! I did get a chance to go ballroom dancing last night where my dance studio had adopted the theme of Mary Poppins for the night. Look at the cool outfits the staff had!
Can you tell I'm alone and bored?! I don't think I've taken this much time to update this blog in ages! But it was fun, and I'm sure I'll be grateful for the details when I look back at this at a later time. Hope everyone is having a splendid Saturday! Blessings to all!
Tim & Jodie