Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Wow, Thanksgiving day is tomorow! For the first time since we began traveling in 2003 (and for many years before), we will not be gathering with my family for the big bird and meal.

Though Thanksgiving always has meant "family, friends, football and all the food you can eat PLUS some more", it also means a time to bathe in gratitude for the good things in life - which is what we will be doing this year. Plus, we get to take a trip!

Since we can't possibly eat a turkey between us (even with Luna helping), we're going to have a favorte meal of Odel's. The recipe was given to me without a name, so we just call it "that turkey casserole Auntie Carol made". It really is my cousin Donna's recipe, dated 1981, but we first had it at Paws and Hooves Ranch (Rosanna's place).

On that particular Thanksgiving, Donna and her husband Brian were visiting from Wisconsin. As we began passing around the platters, Brian wondered aloud about the scarcity of dark meat on the turkey platter... and Odel and I, dark meat lovers, started up about it, too. Finally, with a good-natured "oh, for heaven's sake!", Auntie Carol retrieved a saran wrapped package of dark meat from the refrigerator, where she had hidden it to provide leftovers to make the "that turkey casserole" the following day.

Even without much dark meat left for the "leftovers", the next day's casserole was absolutely delicious! Odel has never forgotten it, and we have cooked a turkey breast in the crockpot from time to time expressly to provide "leftovers" for it. It will be the star of our meal tomorrow, along with green beans, butternut squash, and Trader Joe's fresh cranberry sauce. Assuming it is as good as we remember, I'll post the recipe to the blog. (Snag 2 cups of leftover turkey if you want to try it.)

One thing about a diagnosis of cancer: if you find out you (or that special person close to you) aren't dying in the quickly foreseeable future, life feels pretty great. This Thanksgiving will be filled with gratitude for things large (Odel's cancer was in the early stages when detected, so likely to be "curable") and small (like the aroma emanating from the turkey breast in the crockpot as I write this).

We frequently receive email inquiring about Odel and his treatments. He is doing great! I took this picture at 7:30 this morning, just before he took off for the Wednesday Proton Patient golf game, organized by one of the doctors at LLUMC. He hasn't missed a Wednesday since we arrived (though you can see from the photo that the course will probably be wet today).

Today's treatment will be number ten out of 45. So far, no fatigue, no significant problems of any kind. Our day is not much different than yours (unless you are a working person) - chores, hobbies, cleaning, reading, computing, shopping, playing - except that Odel spends an hour or so being treated.

Usually, we visit the fitness center, then head to the hospital for a late afternoon/evening appointment. I work the jigsaw puzzle in the patient lounge while I wait, or read one of the magazines in their excellent selection, or chat with other patients and their spouses. Odel's treatment is painless for him, and soon he is back to the lounge and ready to go, with some little story of life in the pod.

Treatments are scheduled only on weekdays, and not on holidays. After today's treatment, no more until Monday afternoon, so we are taking off to head to the Escapee park south of here in Aguanga, Jojoba Hills. YAY, a ROAD TRIP!

This is a photo of the view from their "common area" (pool, hobby rooms, pool table room, library, fitness room, tennis courts, kitchen) looking out over the valley. That spa looks like a nice place to spend some time, huh?

We're driving down on Friday, staying until Monday morning, looking forward to happy hour on Saturday with Boomer friends. We can hike on BLM lands surrounding the park, visit wineries nearby, and play pickleball (a court game, less strenuous than tennis). Mostly, I am looking forward to a different view for a few days - we're not used to staying in one place so long!

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