Home and Away

June 1-21, 2023

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

So, what has happened in the three weeks since the last entry in this not-daily-diary? Lots of normal and a little not-normal. First, the not-normal.

hospital exitMarianne's surgery to remove margins around the cancer-positive biopsy site went well enough. Any surgery where anesthesia is required is unsettling, but she's a pro. Unfortunately, this procedure was extra complicated because earlier chemo treatment has made it almost impossible to set an arm IV. After a half-dozen unsuccessful tries, the doctor placed the needle in her left foot. Despite it all, she was smiling when wheeled out. Sort of. graduation

A few days later, we drove down to Los Gatos for a very short visit. The good news was that we could congratulate Ava in person for graduation from Middle School to High. Time has flown terribly fast since she was a chubby little baby. (I need to link to an old picture or two - just to embarrass her.)

The more serious purpose of the visit was to participate in the ceremonies surrounding the passing of Mamal's aunt, Afa. Cancer had claimed her, on short notice, and at a relatively young age (a few younger than us.) The traditional ceremonies, with plenty of family around, was sad, warm, and, hopefully, reassuring to everyone.


Now, on to a quick recap of our new normal. First, we received the lab report from the margin removal: NO indication of cancer. That result, along with the clear PET scan a couple months ago, means we really can go about our lives. Our celebratory action was to book a flight to Germany for September and October. Travel, that's what we want our new-normal to be.

Around Fresno, Spring weather is almost perfect. Warm-not-hot sun brings out blue skies and flowers and I can not resist taking too many pictures, some from the neighborhood walks and some from our own back yard. We know that triple-digit heat will arrive, but until it does, we will enjoy California's Central Valley blossoms, weather, and walks.

red church rainbow
rose sun purple
blu trio cluster
succulent mantis cactus

Otherwise, Marianne continues at her art work and I putter with puzzles, a little reading, and too much YouTube about electric cars and the current European war. The car news is generally positive as more momentum is pushing greenhouse-gas-spewing cars into history. Eventually.

The war news remains frightening. Ukraine has started their counteroffensive, with all the death and destruction that entails. As positive as much of the "Western" news goes, nothing is guaranteed, other than suffering. Slava Ukraine. Eventually.

Finally, a look forward. Travel in Europe is set, except for ALL the details. We have flights, new TSA-Pre passes, a new suitcase, and little else, other than a few notes to friends to warn them of our arrival. We want to be flexible when we are back in the old country, and I'm sure the time will fill up and disappear quickly.

As a sort of travel practice session, we are also going on a West Coast road trip, but plans for that are even more vague. July. Two or three weeks. California, Oregon, Washington for sure, Idaho or British Columbia maybe.

Stay tuned,

John and Marianne