Month: July 2015

Busy Day

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This morning we caught the water taxi into Bocas to do some grocery shopping.  Our taxi driver was awesome and loves to drive fast. We had quite the rooster tails shooting up from the sides of our panga.

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The first order of business was to take Aidan for a haircut.  I usually cut the boys hair, but his….well, it sort of has a life of it’s own.

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It’s pretty much a fro.  It looks adorable but is quite unruly, and was just time for a trim.  We asked our neighbors if they knew of a good salon in town, and they told us to walk down the second road in and when we see the parrot, we are there.  We did just that and Bob’s your Uncle, we found it.

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Aidan was a little nervous because the senora didn’t understand a word of English, but I think she did a great job. He’s still adorable.

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We showed Aundrea around the little stores, including Toto’s (our ‘Walmart’) and our favorite produce stand and grocery store.

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I love that it’s all so familiar to me now. If the old man isn’t there fixing the bicycles he rents out for $2, I wonder where he is and if he’s ok.  At the grocery store I always inquire if Sophia, has had her baby yet, and the men at the water taxi station know we live at Red Frog Beach and don’t need to be told where we need a ride to.

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The creatures found a kitten at the produce stand to play with.  He enjoyed Aidan’s shoelaces.

When we got back to the marina, we stowed the groceries and then I went to start the engines and generator since they haven’t been started since before I left on my trip to Idaho. Starboard started immediately but I couldn’t start port.  I checked oil again and it was fine. A couple of my neighbors saw me working and came over to help.  We thought perhaps it was a battery problem but ruled that out so we are left with the idea that it may be a wiring problem. Also, we have electric heads, and I think one of the motors for one of the heads has kicked the bucket.  After working on it all for about 4 hours we decided that it was beyond our knowledge and I’ve arranged for a diesel mechanic to come over late tomorrow afternoon.

Jude, Mycah and Jonathan all worked on boats in the marina today, while Aidan, Emma and Aundrea took the dinghy out on an adventure.  The tied up to a mangrove island and snorkeled around for a while, and saw several schools of reef fish, and some beautiful coral and sponges.

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The sunset was beautiful tonight. As I watched it I thought of my sweet Danny, hoping he continues to be safe and that he can somehow feel the love and kisses I blow to him over the waters.

Finally Home!

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Aundrea and I were up and at the airport by 5:30am for our 6:30am flight. All went well and we landed safely then caught a water taxi to Tanda Malaika.

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As we approached Red Frog Marina, my heart raced knowing I was going to see my creatures soon.  All the boats sitting peacefully in the water seemed to softly welcome me home. It’s a bit of heaven.

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All the creatures were on the dock waiting, and we embraced over and over again, telling each other how much we missed and love each other.

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The creatures were excited to show Aundrea the boat, and were so thrilled to see their sister again.

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After the tour they sat and chatted, catching up on sibling stuff, then Emma showed her around the marina.

With blue skies above, the kids set out on the neighbors kayaks and paddle boards.

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After that our neighbors joined us with their sweet pup, Libby, and we showed them where Polo Beach is.

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Notice Mycah’s poodle purse:)

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It felt so good to be immersed in the ocean again.  We played piggy in the middle and just splashed around for a while. I am so grateful for my wonderful children.  They are so full of love and so incredibly fun to enjoy life with.

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On our walk back we saw a baby ray and a sloth.

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We got back to the boat just in time for a gorgeous rain storm.

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It feels good to be home. Back with my crazy creatures.  Back where the rainforest meets the ocean, where  toucans and parrots can be heard through the foliage and sloths hang lazily in the trees. Back where life is simple, wind filled sails give me butterflies and at night I am rocked to sleep.

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Travel day #2. Done!

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Last night Aundrea and I turned the TV on and at about 9pm and saw a pizza hut add for pizza with a new crust with cheese in it and it looked SO good to us…so we ordered one!

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It was a lot of pizza for the two of us and we didn’t quite finish it but fell asleep to very full and satisfied bellies.

Our day began by waking at 3:30am, to be at the airport at 4am.

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Aundrea is so fun to travel with! We had a 4 hour layover in the Denver airport where I called both my moms to check in, and we wandered around and sat and read and wandered some more. Aundrea was so excited to go out of the country for the first time!  I got a picture of her when we got off the plane in Panama City.

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After an hour taxi ride we reached our hotel which is close to the smaller airport we fly out of in the morning.

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Aundrea wanted me to take a photo of the toilet in our hotel bathroom because she can’t get over how cool it is.  In fact she thinks it’s the coolest bathroom shes ever been in in her whole life.

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Ah, the simple pleasures of life…

Danny is in Istanbul, Turkey, and sent this picture today.

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We still don’t have a return date for him yet, but most likely the first part of August.

The creatures worked hard today.  They were asked to scrub a charter boat in the marina.  All 5 of them worked together for 6 hours. They are so excited to see us, and we are them. It’s going to feel so good to slip under the covers in my bed on the boat tomorrow night.

Tomorrow our day will start at 5:10am, with a short flight to Bocas, then a water taxi ride to Tanda Malaika.

Travel day #1 completed!

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This morning I awoke early and washed all my bedding so my mom wouldn’t have to, then started making fondant chrysanthemums for her.  We got every last one done for the cake:)

I spent some time with my Dad.

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I smothered him with all sorts of hugs and kisses. He’s such an incredible person.  He may appear to be worn out, ill and weak, but he is still a giant to me.  A gentle giant filled with wisdom, insight and love. He continues to use his sense of humor to get him through.  Yesterday morning as my mom and I were walking him out to his car, he paused at his Harley and pretended to mount it to ride to work.  Immediately said, “uh that’s not going to happen” while my mom just stared at him in disbelief. It’s a good lesson for me to learn.  He loves his Harley and I have no doubt it hurts inside every time he shuffles past it.  He could be angry and bitter but instead he chooses to be grateful for all the years he’s ridden. It’s his trophy now.

It was tough saying goodbye to Kjira and Hunter this morning.  I love my kids so much and just want them all with me. I’m so proud of each of them and all they have accomplished.

When the time came to board the shuttle to Pocatello then Boise, I took my sweet mother in my arms and held her tight.

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She is an Angel. She’s such a strong person, having lost her mother when she was 8 and her father when she was 11.  She’s known my Dad for 64 years now and has been such an incredibly wonderful companion to him. She stands firm in her values and beliefs and just loves everybody, and she’s such a lady! I  then held my dads face in my hands and kissed him. We teared up and expressed our love for each other, and then I had to step aboard.

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The road to Boise was long but it has been so awesome to be reunited with my sweet Aundrea. She is a great traveling companion. I made up a big bag of treats for her for this trip and she spent her time sorting through it and chowing down. I can’t wait to show her sloths, red frogs and beautiful beaches.

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So here we are, in our hotel room all settled in for the night.  Aundrea is trying out the Uke and in a while we’ll get some sleep before our alarm sounds at 3:30am for a 4am taxi ride to the airport.

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The creatures in Panama are doing well. Word has gotten out that they are reliable and hard working, and they have been approached by all sort of people in the marina to clean their boats for them.  Jonathan has already made $150! The marina manager came to the kids and told them that they are amazing, and that many people there have come to him and commented on how well behaved and hard working they are.  We are so proud of them.

Last full day in Idaho

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Tomorrow begins my 3 day journey back to the creatures in Panama. I have loved my time here and am so grateful for the opportunity.  It’s always a good feeling when you know you’re doing something worthwhile and important.  Something that matters that you’ll never have regrets about. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love my parents any more than I do, I find myself leaving with greater appreciation, deeper love and an even clearer understanding of who they are as individuals. I stand in awe. How could I be so lucky to be their daughter.

This morning I helped my mom make more fondant wedding cake flowers for the upcoming weddings in our family.

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The chrysanthemums are my favorite.  Time consuming but so fun to form.

This afternoon I picked up Danny’s birthday present, which he is in the dark about and which I have to keep a secret till October when his birthday is. It’s going to drive me CRAZY!

We went up to my nieces home for a bridal shower, and I got to kiss and hold my sweet little great niece. There’s just nothing like a new baby!

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Kjira danced and spun around with Josie.

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My sister is such a wonderful Ouma (grandma).  She is amazing with her grandkids and they love her so much.  It was fun to sit with her, loving the little ones.

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Tomorrow Aundrea and I will catch shuttles to Pocatello, and then on to Boise, where we will spend the night.  We have a really early flight out and will end up in Panama City on Saturday night, then early Sunday morning will catch the early flight to Bocas and finally board the water taxi to take us to Tanda Malaika and our sweet creatures. It’s going to be wonderful to be with them, and to show Aundrea the wonders of Panama.

Danny continues on with his trip. We aren’t sure when he’ll be done, but most likely sometime in the first part of August. I can’t wait for us all to be reunited.

Now… for a good nights sleep. Sweet Dreams everyone.

Our life

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I admit it, our family is a little wacky.  We laugh a lot and play a lot.  Mycah is the absolute king at belching and can do it on command – almost saying the entire alphabet. (not in public). Kjira can scare everybody by walking like a velociraptor and make my mom squeal in fear. Jude can and has eaten peanut butter on everything and I mean everything, and loves her toast burnt. Aidan randomly sings and dances like Mama Mia stars all over the deck of the boat….the list goes on. We’ve lived our lives having picnics on the roof, dumpster diving just for kicks, eating breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast and putting green tobasco on our popcorn. We are each others best friends and have deep open random discussions about the weirdest things. While other families are sitting around the TV together we are out exploring the cave we just discovered or night diving looking for tiger sharks. We live on a boat.

It’s always interesting to see and hear peoples responses when they ask, “where are you from?” For me, that question has a long answer…I was born in Rhodesia, raised in South Africa, came to Idaho of all places from Africa and now live on a catamaran but not in any place in particular because we are circumnavigating. Right now we are in Panama. Their response is usually, “So….you live on a BOAT? Like…how do you do that? What do you do all day? Don’t you get bored? What about kids school? Isn’t it dangerous?”

So here’s the scoop: We LOVE living off the grid on our boat.  We love our simple life where we eat every meal together, explore new places, learn new cultures, dive new reefs, love people from all walks of life and in all financial circumstances, and we do it all together. We love sailing into a new place, dropping the anchor, grabbing a mask and fins and diving down to see what’s below. We love that our car is a dinghy. We love the way our home moves gently in the water at night, rocking us all to sleep, and that we can take it anywhere we want to whether it’s the Caribbean or the Antarctic. There is so much to see in this incredibly amazing world and we want to leave this life having shared every inch of it with our children. We want them to taste, smell, feel and see life with their own bodies and in person – not in books or documentaries.  I LOVE being a mother and a wife. Our children are homeschooled and have many many friends.  Some are their age, some are younger, and some are retired couples who have lived full long lives and share beautiful life changing stories with them as they sit on the dock together.  Life is good.  We are in no danger and we love what we do…because we do it as a family.

Yesterday Jude sent me these photos.

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They had caught the water taxi into Bocas to grab some groceries and stopped for an ice cream. I love that they are so independent and strong.  They work as a team and love being together.  There is hardly ever any bickering between the kids – sometimes a discussion between the twins, but if you ask Mycah who her best friend is, she’ll tell you it’s Jude (Hannah).

I am grateful for my up bringing.  Living in Rhodesia and then South Africa taught me so much about what’s really important in life. Danny’s travels have taught him the same.  How can we not share this gift with our children.

Last night at my ex husbands parents funeral, his brother read something that described his Dad, and it really spoke to me.

Edward Abbey wrote, “One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”

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Funeral

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The past couple days have been really tough. My Dad has weakened so much more, to the point of at times needing to be carried.  I love being here to help him and my mom, but it is just so sad.

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Snuggling up to my dad is one of my favorite things. I stroke his head and kiss his face and listen to his breathing. Yesterday he and I shared some Dulce de leche ice cream together. I fed him and he loved it.

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He and my mom are so precious to me.

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Today I sewed him a new bath robe. He looked so cute in it.

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This evening was my ex in laws funeral. It was great to see long lost aunts and uncles and cousins, but sitting there by my dad, realizing that his time is coming soon, was more than I could bare.

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Kjira and Hunter were pallbearers and did beautifully.  They were so strong and I am so proud of them. It is good to have this day over.

The creatures in Panama are doing so well. All is in order and I am looking forward to seeing them on Sunday again.

Beautiful Sabbath

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This morning I awoke early and prepared a roast and put it in the oven for later in the day, and then went to get ready to go to church with my Mom and Dad. Mom came in to me and said Dad is too weak to go to church and she asked if I would stay with him so she could attend a meeting she had to go to. After she left I went to check on him and kissed his head tenderly as he slept. I watched him lying there, his body seems so small and frail, yet his spirit is so bold and strong. He is my hero. I continued on with a few things around the house and after an hour heard him stirring, so I peeked into his room, and there he was, all dressed and carefully making the bed.  He is so weak and bent over, and needed to stop and rest every few seconds, but he wanted to show love and do a kind service for my mother by making the bed. What a beautiful soul he is.

A wonderful friend of ours from South Africa stopped by, and then we had a short family gathering to celebrate my nephews birthday. My sweet Mom and Dad just take it all in stride, smiling and visiting and loving the family. So many people are making contact with my Dad, just wanting one more chance to help him realize the amazing impact he has had in their lives.  He is a legend who has touched more lives that he’ll ever know.

This evening my Mom and I went for a walk and saw many beautiful things.

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The creatures are doing well in Panama. I received a worrisome text from Jude today, which read, ‘What are signs of a concussion?’  Every parents dreads those questions…I responded by giving her a list of possible signs and then asked, ‘why?’

Before she could text back I called her to find out the scoop and she told me that she was running into the waves and decided to do a somersault into the waves, and landed straight down onto her head – hitting it pretty hard. She said she was nauseated and had a head ache.  I checked in with her several times afterward but she steadily felt much better. I did arrange for Mycah to set an alarm and wake her in the middle of the night to check on her, but I think she’s going to be fine.  I told her that the best medicine for such things is a nice big root beer float, so her and the other four creatures made their way to Castaways Restaurant for their treat.

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I am so grateful for another day of life.  For this time with my wonderful parents, and for the opportunity to be a wife and a mother. Life is good and I am so blessed.

Beautiful Idaho Day

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I awoke to a beautiful day here in Idaho, and quickly made my way into the kitchen to help my Mom prepare food for friends of ours from South Africa that were coming to visit.

I made a quinoa salad and a big batch of dinner rolls. Mixing up a fresh mixture of dough is one of the simple pleasures in life that brings me great joy. It felt so good to have my hands immersed in the warm dough.

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The friends that came to visit are friends from when we lived in Cape Town. It is so wonderful when you can go for many many years without seeing someone, and then when you do it’s like no time has passed.

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My sweet brother dozed off with his big beautiful bald head on my lap.  I love him so much. Afterward I wished I’d had a permanent marker close by so that I could have left some pretty designs on him.  I’m sure I’ll have another opportunity 🙂

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A friend of my parents stopped by and took a couple photos of my sister Bernadine, my brother Jan, and my parents and I. I can still clearly remember having family photo’s taken when I was younger and thinking it was the worst thing in the world. Today I stand proudly with my family and hold every moment, every memory and every photo sacred. Our family has been through so much together, from Rhodesia, to South Africa, then to America, and our bonds of love are eternal.

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My handsome Danny sent me this photo at one point today.  He is enjoying flying in the Middle East, but missing home. I can’t wait to be back on Tanda Malaika with him again.

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Emma scooped water out of the dinghy this morning and found this squid while bailing. Who knew that squid could jump out of the water, high enough to land in a dinghy!  The creatures are doing really well.  They made a good lunch today.

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And for dinner tonight they were invited over to the neighbors boat for Mexican lasagne. They said it was delicious. They scrubbed decks today, did chores, then had some beach time.

Tonight I ran into town to grab a couple things with Jan, Hunter and Kjira.

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Jan entertained us with his rose covered glasses and spiffy hat.  We stopped by Albertsons and after having my back turned for just a second, this happened….

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You can’t take these guys anywhere.  I have no idea where Hunter got the shark but he carried it all over the grocery store.  I guess it is shark week…

We grabbed an ice cream at Coldstone Creamery, and when Jan went to place his order he told the little girl working behind the counter that what he wanted in his ice cream, is brownies, gummy bears, caramel, cookie dough, nuts, raspberries, fudge, oreos, banana and coconut. She stood staring at him in disbelief, not knowing whether he was serious of not. Then a lady went to buy an ice cream cake and Jan tried convincing her that the one she was buying was the plastic display model.  He keeps us laughing constantly.

It’s been a good day.  I am grateful for family, good friends, and all the love. I am also grateful for an amazing husband who loves me so much.

Melt down…

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This morning started out well. My brother and my Mom and I sat and made fondant roses for a while.

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Two of my nephews are getting married soon and have asked my talented Mom to make their wedding cakes. She has made many and is so amazing at creating beautiful flowers out of fondant. Hard to believe these are edible!

As the day went on, Jude sent me a couple photographs of meals she had prepared.  She’s so sweet and is doing such a beautiful job at holding down the fort on Tanda Malaika.

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Aidan decided that they should have cucumber, honey and mustard sandwiches for lunch.  Jude said is was rather strange but not too bad.

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For dinner she made the kids another delicious meal. It’s good to know they are eating well!

Before we left for Panama, the creatures got together and recreated a photograph that I had taken of them many years ago, not too long after we adopted Jonathan.  I came across it tonight and it made me smile.

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Notice how Emma is just a little big for Kjira’s lap at this point!

A couple of my dearest friends came to visit today – one that I hadn’t seen in 30 years and other, is one that has been an anchor in my life for several years now. It was so good to see them both. About an hour before they came, I had been trying to call Danny and was so frustrated because we just couldn’t get through to each other, and I had been feeling down because I’d allowed myself to throw a pity party so I really just needed to hear his voice.  I ended up having a bit of a meltdown.  Ever feel like you are so sad and overwhelmed and just have to have a darn good cry? Every negative thing became magnified in my head and a feeling of hopelessness overwhelmed me. Poor Danny was once again reassured that I am in fact psycho, and I finally emerged to greet my friends and cried some more. It was pathetic. Later this evening I was walking to my room and experienced one of my syncope episodes.  I woke with my Dad’s hospice nurse taking care of me and felt even more like an idiot.

I think tomorrow I’ll go for a nice long walk around the Snake River to catch my breath. I truly am grateful for life and for all these experiences that help us to grow and become better people.