We traveled from Oregon to Florida and Judi went under the knife.
A New Year the dog won't forget! - We celebrated New Year's Eve with Larry and Sharon - quietly until Larry broke out the firecrackers at midnight. Poor Ozzy, their friendly lap-dog, bolted for the house as soon as the noise started and wouldn't even stop to share a glass of champagne with the rest of us. We watched the ball fall in Times Square and marveled at Dick Clark, still looking 25 when we could have sworn he was really 80! Lord of the Rings - yes, we had to go see what all of the fuss was about and we loved it. It reminded us how beautiful the landscape of our adopted country really is.
Medford - After a very enjoyable visit with Larry and Sharon, we braved slushy snow for a visit to Medford to see Judi's brother, David and his wife Val and children Becca, Cassie, and Daniel. We enjoyed a quiet dinner with Dave and Val, and later took the kids to the Rogue River Mall where Judi lead them on an impromptu shopping spree to top up their Christmas loot. It was really fun to see them all again, the children grow so quickly it is a pleasant surprise to see how much they mature between bi-yearly visits. One evening we had dinner with Sharon, Jerry, Stephanie, Chuck, and Theresa
Shop, shop, shop - We have found ourselves wandering thru the various grocery and department stores, buying things that are hard to get overseas: coffee (can't find in Malaysia), light bulbs (no 110V bulbs overseas), shampoo, and sundry other seemingly mundane goods. One not so mundane was a Nikon F100 camera for Bob to replace his aging and intermittent 8008. He is thrilled!
Leave for LA - At the end of the week, we bid sad farewell (for the moment) to Judi's family and headed down the coast to LA. Our new destination is another impromptu visit - this time to Jacksonville, Florida to visit with Denis and other relatives - more on this next week.
California Coast - in reverse. - We headed West over the hills and started down the California coast, stopping for pictures of an Elephant Seal colony - lots of brand new pups laying around that had been born since we passed this spot only 10 days earlier. At Fort Bragg we slept to the sounds of the pounding surf from a 'vintage' motel facing the ocean. We stopped for a delightful day in Carmel By The Sea (Clint Eastwood's town) and tried to spot Clint at his Loaded Hog restaurant - to no avail. This is one of the most beautiful towns we have visited with posh art galleries, clothes for the rich and famous and wannabes, and the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course. We paid our $8 and gawked at the beautiful homes, greens, and fur seals romping by the 15th hole!
An alarming email - At the end of the week our daily batch of email brought an unhappy surprise, Bob's sister, Peggy, was in intensive care at a hospital in Midland Texas, so we made haste to Los Angeles, flew to Tallahassee, Florida to visit with Denis, and Bob prepared to backtrack to Texas to see what could be done in Midland.
The week of Doctors - In Tallahassee, Judi visited a doctor who was highly recommended by local relatives, and after overcoming their initial resistance ("sorry, we are not taking new patients, plus our next appointment is in March...") she decided to proceed with surgery that she had contemplated for the last 12 months (details later).
The sad trip to Texas - Bob flew to Midland, Texas to find his sister in Intensive Care, with a very poor prognosis for recovery. The doctors and nurses did all they could, but it was not enough, and she passed away peacefully in her sleep on 17 January just short of her 70th birthday. Bob had talked with her on the phone shortly after Christmas, so this was a very sudden illness brought on by a bout of pneumonia. We are both very saddened by her passing. Bob remained 2 more days to make final arrangements and returned in time to prepare for Judi's surgery on 21 January.
Kayaking: This week started with a terrific kayaking trip (a first for both of us) with Bob's son, Denis and his girlfriend, Stephanie, on the beautiful St. Mark's River near Tallahassee on the Gulf of Mexico. It was a lovely and relaxing day for all, especially Judi who was scheduled for major surgery the next day.
Surgery: So on Monday, Judi entered Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for a hysterectomy after several months of problems and debate over what to do. While here in the US, some minor bleeding started to occur and after a couple of consultations with doctors, she finally decided that now was the time to solve the problems, since we were here in the US anyway. The surgery went well and after 3 days in the hospital, she was released to recuperate for the next 4 weeks. At that time, we hope that Judi will be given a clean bill of health, which will allow us to travel back to Long Passages and continue with our cruising.
Destiny: So many things have happened during our spur-of-the-moment trip back here that it has almost seemed to be pre-destined. If we had continued with our original plans, we would have been sailing across the Indian Ocean when we received the news about Bob's sister and when Judi's bleeding occurred. We would not have been able to do anything until we reached Sri Lanka - not the best place in the world to try to handle emergencies. Because we were in the US, Bob was able to have a wonderful phone conversation with his sister before she fell ill, was able to see her before she passed away and make all of the funeral arrangements. And Judi was able to get good medical advice and care during her surgery. Things have certainly worked out for the best.
Family: On the up-side, we have had a wonderful visit with our families and Bob and his son have re-connected and have spend quality time together. After the recent, tragic events in the world, our families are ever more important to us. We are renewed and look forward to returning to our floating home and continuing with our cruising plans, especially since Judi's sister plans to visit us in Thailand later this year.