One of the pillars left standing at Ground Zero

June 20th - our 45th Anniversary

Northland Model Railroad in Flemington, NJ

Northland Model Railroad in flemington, NJ

Niece Colleen, Sister in Law Brenda, and Great Nephew Will

Jim and Shana - totally stressed

Dad - also stressed

Sister Janet, Brother in Law Dave, Niece Karen and Great Niece Abigail

Nephew Rick and Great Niece Olivia

Nephew James with Great Nephew Josh and Great Niece Lindsay

I know I have been remiss on keeping this journal up to date, but I will try and get back on track. We drove over to Boston (in the car) to meet Terra who flew in from California to visit some colleges and participate in a soccer camp. She came in on a redeye, but was determined to stay up so she could get back onto a regular schedule. So the first day we visited Suffolk University which is right in the heart of the tourist area of Boston, about 2 blocks from Quincy Market. It is a very interesting school with dorms and classroom buildings that look like office buildings, but no real campus and the soccer fields are a bus ride away. Their main emphasis is on the internships they can provide for their students because of their location. The next day we took Terra to Tufts where she would participate in a soccer camp for 2 days, led by the women’s soccer coach and members of the team. Terra really liked the school and the coach, but it is a really long way from home.

While we were there we visited our niece Clarissa and her husband and 2 children in Hopkinton. It was so nice to have a chance to really talk with them alone, and the kids seemed to be quite fond of Terra and kept her busy learning new games during the evening. We headed west the next morning back to the motorhome and spent a couple of days visiting with my Dad, and then joined his cousins and their families (all 50 of them) at their annual reunion at Lake George. They have tried having their get together elsewhere, but always want to come back to the “Queen of Lakes”, Lake George. From there we headed to Ithaca, NY so that Terra could visit Ithaca College and meet with the soccer coach there. While the college is beautiful, I think she is really looking for somewhere nearer a large city; growing up in a small town has made her anxious to try something different. We drove from there to northern Pennsylvania and had a very relaxing dinner with our nephew and his wife and their 2 girls in Danville. The next morning we headed to New Jersey to my sister’s house to unwind before taking Terra to Philadelphia the next morning to fly home. Her visit included visiting a few schools she liked, speaking with a couple of soccer coaches, and meeting more cousins than she knew she had.

We stayed at my sister’s for 10 days, taking care of her dog Molly while she and Dave went to Florida for vacation and for Dave’s brother’s wedding. It was a great chance for us to enjoy her beautiful home and pool, and Suzie and Molly have always had a great time playing. While we were there we made a few side trips and had a great time. Our first expedition was to the 9/11 Museum in New York. It was very sobering to see the film clips of that day and the remnants of the buildings, and most of the time you could have heard a pin drop. Photos of all those lost that day along with the signs and posters which covered the fences in the days following were all displayed. I am very glad we went even though it was not a real uplifting experience, just one I felt I wanted to see. We met Jim for lunch afterwards which definitely raised our spirits from the morning.

Another side trip was to the Flemington to see the Northland Model Railroad, and we were glad we remembered to wear comfortable shoes. It went on for up to 4 floors and you could look up to see different views and then down to see them from another angle. It took us about 3 hours and was one of the more interesting model railroads I had seen due to all the bridges crossing rivers and canyons; I would have liked to have seen it more organized, like going from east to west or mountain to desert, rather than it being so haphazard,b ut it was still quite amazing to see how much work must have gone into it.

Our next adventure was south to Cape May to visit Hot Dog Tommie’s. We met a couple in Georgia when we were there who run this hot dog stand every summer, and had tried to visit it once before but were too early in the season. So we drove down in the pouring rain, which miraculously stopped just as we got there and pulled into a parking spot right in front. There was only a short line because of the weather and Tommie & Mary had a couple of minutes to visit with us before getting back to work – they even remembered us and gave us the “Brickyard” (the name of the RV park in Georgia) discount! Buzz had a hot dog with mac and cheese on it, I had the Jersey dog which had coleslaw with cranberries in it. There were 24 different kinds of hot dogs, all very original and we were really glad we made the trip.

Jim and Shana took the train down from NYC Friday afternoon of 4th of July weekend and we had just a great time hanging out. That night, July 3rd, we went over to Point Pleasant to the Lobster Shanty which was our splurge restaurant when we lived in Jersey. We sat at a great table on the bay and watched fireworks from the windows next to us and then another set of fireworks from the windows in front of us. The food was great and the company even better, the fireworks just added a special touch. Our trip to the beach the next day got cut short by rain, so after a stop at Friendly’s we spent the rest of the day and most of Sunday enjoying the pool at the house and relaxing. It was a great opportunity for us to get to know Shana; she is a very special young lady and she and Jim both seem to be very happy.

We had planned to visit my friend from high school, Doral, who has a place at the Jersey shore, on Monday. But I had been bothered by a red eye all weekend and it got bad enough that I felt I needed to have it looked at as my surgery was scheduled for Wednesday and I didn’t want to go in with an active infection. So I cancelled with Doral and managed to get an appointment with a local opthamologist rather than driving back to Lake George in a rush to get an appointment up there. He assured me that it was not an infection, just inflammation caused either by allergy or having gotten something in my eye. It was kind of ironic that the drops he gave me are the same prednisone drops that Buzz takes.

So the next day we headed north, and the next morning I had my lumpectomy. All went according to plan including the insertion of the balloon which would contain the radiation. 5 days later all tests came back clean, so they removed the original balloon which was just to hold the area open and inserted the balloon into which they would insert the radiation twice a day over the next 5 days. The support bra they strapped me into (which I could not remove) and the tubes hanging out of me were a real pain. But otherwise I would not have been able to start radiation until the middle of August and it would have gone on for 35 days. One of the hardest parts of the whole process was not being able to shower from the day of surgery until 2 days after the radiation was over. I was never so happy to stand in that shower in the motorhome before! But now all is clear, no sign of any further cancer, and I can move on and pretend it never happened.

The day after I was able to shower, our annual family gathering at Lake George began (I am sure my family appreciated the shower almost as much as I did). We had 2 houses, one slept 12 and one 6 but the smaller one was on our favorite bay for swimming. We rented paddle boards one day which we were all very proud to be able to get up on, our nephew James provided great times with his boat pulling the tube and scouting the shores for the perfect house to hold us all and going “as fast as we can go” at the request of his 7 year old daughter and her 5 year old cousin. We had 5 children, aged 1,3,5,7 and 9 who all seemed to get along just great. The middle 3 are all girls and entertained themselves and the rest of us for the whole week. My Dad commented that it was one of the best weeks he can remember, but he also said it might be that he just appreciates it more now. His comment that he has to wait 51 weeks for it to happen again was kind of hard to take. We all enjoyed having Jim & Shana there for the whole week; I was afraid she would run off in terror after being surrounded by us all after the first couple of days but she seemed to fit in just fine.

So that pretty much sums up the summer this far. Some great fun and some not so much fun, but we move on from here and are looking forward to finishing the summer in style.

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