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 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 3:12 pm 
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Good days, bad days. We all have them. Some days are better than others. With all the not-so-good days that we've been having these past eight weeks I'm going to talk about some of the good days Rob and I have had.

When faced with mortality, whether it's your own or someone close to you, you can't help but realize the obvious: time on this earth is too short, don't sweat the small stuff, spend your time wisely.

I'm an introvert and a homebody. I'm completely content spending time with my kids when we can, or curled up in a comfy chair with a good book, or chiding Rob in my best, most lovingly nagging way about how he doesn't load the dishwasher right. I don't have the need or even the desire to travel to another state to see places I've never been to before. I mean, if I really had that desire, I would have done it long ago when I was younger and didn't have creaky bones. Rob, on the other hand, had long fantasized that the two of us would some day travel the world to see new places, meet new people, taste new foods, and explore new landscapes. We both would love to see the northern lights but I was hoping I could do that from my own back yard...nope. But in light of our current situation, and despite noticeable daily fatigue and worry about whether or not I could manage it, Rob very quickly understood the urgency to start doing these things now.

Without hesitation, and regardless of my usual - do we have to? - attitude, Rob immediately made plans and arrangements that would work around my chemo treatments. Just days before getting my port-a-cath implanted and my first round of chemo, our first fun-filled getaway was a weekend trip to Colorado. Rob had been to Colorado once before and he fell in love with the place. Specifically Breckenridge. Breckenridge sits over 9K feet above sea level. It's the perfect environment for him as Rob is allergic to nearly everything. One of Rob's many dreams was for the two of us to permanently move out there. I have to admit, the place is unbelievably beautiful. I mean, holy cow there are ginormous mountains everywhere. My only concern is the cold and snow in the winter. I'm a spring/summer kinda girl. I just don't know if my bones would tolerate the cold for an extended period of time. And I'm assuming that Colorado's winter lasts several months longer than Virginia's.

We first touched down in Denver then had to take a second plane to Colorado Springs. We stayed in a reasonably priced hotel the night we arrived. Despite being tired from traveling, I played nice and indulged Rob in going out for a late night dinner to a restaurant that was unique to Colorado. He found just the right place. It was only a few miles away and was called The Rabbit Hole. As you can imagine, rabbit was the star of the menu. Rob went in there with every intention of giving Thumper a try but at the last minute he opted to try something else from the menu. My lack of appetite limited me to what I considered appealing so I went for the gargantuan bowl of roasted brussel sprouts with shredded carrots, mushrooms, and maple bacon. Shockingly, I ate almost all of it. It was absolutely delicious. The atmosphere and service was simply perfect. It was evident that the place was popular. We both really enjoyed it.

The following day we woke up to beautiful weather with mostly sunny skies. We checked out of our hotel and headed for the car. I have a tendency to walk with my head down but when I lifted my head up as I got closer to our car I saw that we were surrounded by snow capped mountains. It was lovely despite the fact that those were only the "little" mountains.

We got in the car and headed for Florissant Fossil Quarry. Our plan for the day was to dig for our own fossils. Unfortunately, the quarry and the quarry's gift store/museum, wasn't open yet. Apparently, quarry digging season doesn't begin until Memorial Day weekend. We were a month too early. Who knew there was a "season" for digging fossils?

So we improvised. We blindly got back on the road and followed signs that looked promising. We came across a small museum/gift shop called Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. It was a quaint joint in the middle of nowhere, that focused on Colorado's past, present, and future environment. It showcased bugs that have become extinct as well as some of the most amazing fossils I've ever seen. Rob bought me a turquoise top from the gift shop and I picked out a couple of souvenir magnets. Then we were back on the road.

We were heading toward Lake George so Rob decided maybe we can wander around the lake for fossils. We discovered that Lake George rests at the bottom of a wide flowing stream that cuts through a huge set of mountains. For a small fee, you can drive up the mountain on an unpaved road (and I use the word road lightly here) to go sightseeing. There's also a camp ground up there off the beaten path. We were told the road goes on for 9 miles then you have to turn around and come back.

After paying our fee, we immediately opted to pulled over to take a walk to the stream's edge. The ground was flat and easy to traverse. Between the mountain's dirt road and the stream there's an expanse of grass. Lake George was to our right and just out of view. The stream here was wide, clear, very calm, and probably no more than shin deep. It was easy to lose track of time as we kept our heads down in search of unusual rocks or something that resembled a fossil.

I periodically looked up to soak in the environment around me. My mind's eye could imagine riders on horseback from another era, crossing the stream in front of me making their way down the mountain. Upstream, there was one young dude sitting in a folding chair in the grass near a huge boulder (huge boulders are everywhere!) while his K-9 frolicked in the stream. Beside me, Rob brushed up on his stone skipping technique. We had just started our 9 mile ride and spent most of our time just over the threshhold. It was time to move on.

Let me refresh your memory. I don't like rollercoasters and although this was not that kind of ride let me tell you, there were moments I was terrified. The dirt road up the mountain was barely wide enough for two cars...and there is no guard rail...and you're on a mountain...a really tall, way up there, rocky-mountain-high-type mountain. But despite all that, it was beautiful. When we could, we'd pull over and take pictures of the raging class 5 white waters. In other places, we pulled over where the water was smooth and calm with unusual black and white striped water foul swimming or flying just above the water. Still determined to find a fossil, we'd pull over in spots where there appeared to be what might be layers of fossilized rocks or minerals or petrified wood. It wasn't but we had fun trying to crack them open.

With all the stops we made during the ride up the mountain we ran out of time before making it to the end and we needed to turn around and head back down. Going down the mountain wasn't quite as scary since we were on the inside track.

We came up empty handed in our search for fossils, but it was late in the afternoon and we still had at least 90 more minutes of driving before reaching our destination of Breckenridge.

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     Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 3:30 pm 
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    Nice to hear that you still have some good days. You can never have enough good days after all. I hope there will be many more for you and Rob *crosses fingers*.

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     Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 6:17 pm 
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    I live in Colorado Springs. I am glad to hear you enjoyed yourselves.

    About Colorado weather; we actually have rather mild winters. Most days are between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. We do get snow but it is irregular for most places and rarely more than 3-6 inches. Even in the heights of the mountains it is rarely bitter cold or heavy blizzard conditions. It is the wind that will get you. We have a great deal of heavy wind.

    Basically, Colorado is closed for everything but skiing between labor day and memorial day. We do not get a lot of tourism in the winter months, for similar reasons to the trepidations that you had.

    By the way, after a little bit you get totally desensitized to the mountain roads. I don't even notice anymore.

    Thank you for sharing. I am happy you guys are able to do some stuff like this.

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     Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2018 12:00 am 
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    What a lovely day! I have had the pleasure of visiting Breckenridge and I absolutely adored it. It was in the summer a few years back and we had such fun. I'm so glad you didn't kick about going. I, too, am an introvert and would much prefer staying home a lot of the time, but when I do venture out of my comfort zone, I'm often pleasantly surprised.

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     Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2018 2:08 am 
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    That sounds absolutely fantastic! Admittedly I'd probably be equally terrified driving on those roads, but it's great that you got a weekend away to enjoy yourselves! And while you might not have walked away with any fossils, the HUNTING for fossils is pretty cool!

    I empathize about being a bit of a homebody: I've done traveling, lived on a desert island, lived in Alaska, spent summers camping...and after my adventures realized that there's nothing WRONG with being a homebody, if that's how you enjoy yourself best. Good for you, though, getting away and going out! It sounds like definitely good days.

    I am sending good thoughts your way and hoping the good days are often and fulfilling for you! And as always: We (the Erfworld community) appreciate you sharing, are on your side, in your corner, and are celebrating your successes/good days/positive experiences, sending you positivity and support! Keep kickin' butt!

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     Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2018 7:16 am 
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    Good to hear!

    Personally, I can't handle the cold much anymore. One of the side effects of the chemo they gave me. Fortunately, I live in Texas, where the term is generally applied to 'under fifty' rather than what you'd normally find in a Virginia winter or what you'd find in Colorado. In general, if there's white fluffy stuff laying around, you likely won't find me out in it, but probably indoors in a nice comfy chair, a good book, and a cuppa hot cocoa, nestled in two or three layers of blankets.

    In Texas, there's a place called Glenn Rose Fossil Park. It's got some similar attractions, but one of the really interesting things is the footprint path. There's long stretches of fossilized footprints, and a little trail which meanders near them, letting you follow along in the footsteps that came millions of years before you did.

    It was kind of a humbling moment for me, actually. To think that these footprints have lasted sixty million years or more... and it caused me to stop and wonder... what kind of footprint am I leaving behind, to be discovered by some future anthropologist or historian sixty million years from now?

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     Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2018 10:14 am 
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    Sounds like a great time had by all. I've been to Colorado twice now. Once in Boy Scouts (longer ago than I would like to admit) and then last week for a workshop. I preferred the time years ago. We camped around Estes Park for about a week. I can still remember getting lost on a trail. All of a sudden we were in this field and there was no path. We had probably been following an animal trail for who knows how long. The hiking int he mountains was beautiful.

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     Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2018 1:22 pm 
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    Linda Balder wrote:
    As you can imagine, rabbit was the star of the menu. Rob went in there with every intention of giving Bambi a try but at the last minute he opted to try something else from the menu.


    Bambi would be venison... in other words, deer. Rabbit would be Thumper. And both Bambi and Thumper are delicious! :twisted: :lol:

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     Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:50 am 
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    JadedDragoon wrote:
    Linda Balder wrote:
    As you can imagine, rabbit was the star of the menu. Rob went in there with every intention of giving Bambi a try but at the last minute he opted to try something else from the menu.


    Bambi would be venison... in other words, deer. Rabbit would be Thumper. And both Bambi and Thumper are delicious! :twisted: :lol:


    Bambi is better especially if you get some medallions from the backstrap.

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     Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:28 am 
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    That sounded like a nice trip. I would've been to scared to drive up a small mountain road with no guard rails. :shock:

    Linda Balder wrote:
    It's the perfect environment for him as Rob is allergic to nearly everything.

    In my case it helps not to eat or drink anything made from cow milk, because that milk is mass-produced the most and because I drank soooo much of it when I was little. About 300ml virtually every morning for breakfast, plus cheese and yoghurt during the day.

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     Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:08 am 
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    That sounds like a fantastic trip. Well done Rob.

    If you are interested in fossils try Calvert Cliffs State Park in Maryland. You can keep everything you find and it's a nice beach too. The walk from the parking area is long, maybe just short of 2 miles so it's for a good day and maybe a bike. Take water.

    For scenery and wonderful people try Acadia National Park in Maine. Rocks, trees, popovers and easy access by car.

    I'm sorry you're feeling tired. It's the chemo not the disease so don't be discouraged.

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     Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:09 am 
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    P.S. I find myself hoping that Part 2 will be titled, "Going Half Mad Days." Not because I wish you any difficulties, of course, but because it's one of my favorite quotes from the Jimmy Buffett song, "If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me."

    Quote:
    I've had good days and bad days
    And going half mad days
    I try to let go but you're still on my mind
    I've lost all the old ways
    I'm searching for new plays
    Putting it all on the line

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     Post Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:32 am 
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    Glad to hear you trying to get out and experience things outside your comfort zone despite the desire to cocoon in the comfy chair. For some future close-and-affordable adventures I'd suggest Natural Bridge and Natural Bridge Caverns, Luray Caverns, or just a room at one of the lodges on Skyline Drive if your walking legs are waiting for a start-of-turn-regeneration.

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     Post Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:09 pm 
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    Linda Balder wrote:
    Good days, bad days. We all have them. Some days are better than others. With all the not-so-good days that we've been having these past eight weeks I'm going to talk about some of the good days Rob and I have had.

    When faced with mortality, whether it's your own or someone close to you, you can't help but realize the obvious: time on this earth is too short, don't sweat the small stuff, spend your time wisely.

    I'm an introvert and a homebody. I'm completely content spending time with my kids when we can, or curled up in a comfy chair with a good book, or chiding Rob in my best, most lovingly nagging way about how he doesn't load the dishwasher right. I don't have the need or even the desire to travel to another state to see places I've never been to before. I mean, if I really had that desire, I would have done it long ago when I was younger and didn't have creaky bones. Rob, on the other hand, had long fantasized that the two of us would some day travel the world to see new places, meet new people, taste new foods, and explore new landscapes. We both would love to see the northern lights but I was hoping I could do that from my own back yard...nope. But in light of our current situation, and despite noticeable daily fatigue and worry about whether or not I could manage it, Rob very quickly understood the urgency to start doing these things now.

    Without hesitation, and regardless of my usual - do we have to? - attitude, Rob immediately made plans and arrangements that would work around my chemo treatments. Just days before getting my port-a-cath implanted and my first round of chemo, our first fun-filled getaway was a weekend trip to Colorado. Rob had been to Colorado once before and he fell in love with the place. Specifically Breckenridge. Breckenridge sits over 9K feet above sea level. It's the perfect environment for him as Rob is allergic to nearly everything. One of Rob's many dreams was for the two of us to permanently move out there. I have to admit, the place is unbelievably beautiful. I mean, holy cow there are ginormous mountains everywhere. My only concern is the cold and snow in the winter. I'm a spring/summer kinda girl. I just don't know if my bones would tolerate the cold for an extended period of time. And I'm assuming that Colorado's winter lasts several months longer than Virginia's.

    We first touched down in Denver then had to take a second plane to Colorado Springs. We stayed in a reasonably priced hotel the night we arrived. Despite being tired from traveling, I played nice and indulged Rob in going out for a late night dinner to a restaurant that was unique to Colorado. He found just the right place. It was only a few miles away and was called The Rabbit Hole. As you can imagine, rabbit was the star of the menu. Rob went in there with every intention of giving Bambi a try but at the last minute he opted to try something else from the menu. My lack of appetite limited me to what I considered appealing so I went for the gargantuan bowl of roasted brussel sprouts with shredded carrots, mushrooms, and maple bacon. Shockingly, I ate almost all of it. It was absolutely delicious. The atmosphere and service was simply perfect. It was evident that the place was popular. We both really enjoyed it.

    The following day we woke up to beautiful weather with mostly sunny skies. We checked out of our hotel and headed for the car. I have a tendency to walk with my head down but when I lifted my head up as I got closer to our car I saw that we were surrounded by snow capped mountains. It was lovely despite the fact that those were only the "little" mountains.

    We got in the car and headed for Florissant Fossil Quarry. Our plan for the day was to dig for our own fossils. Unfortunately, the quarry and the quarry's gift store/museum, wasn't open yet. Apparently, quarry digging season doesn't begin until Memorial Day weekend. We were a month too early. Who knew there was a "season" for digging fossils?

    So we improvised. We blindly got back on the road and followed signs that looked promising. We came across a small museum/gift shop called Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. It was a quaint joint in the middle of nowhere, that focused on Colorado's past, present, and future environment. It showcased bugs that have become extinct as well as some of the most amazing fossils I've ever seen. Rob bought me a turquoise top from the gift shop and I picked out a couple of souvenir magnets. Then we were back on the road.

    We were heading toward Lake George so Rob decided maybe we can wander around the lake for fossils. We discovered that Lake George rests at the bottom of a wide flowing stream that cuts through a huge set of mountains. For a small fee, you can drive up the mountain on an unpaved road (and I use the word road lightly here) to go sightseeing. There's also a camp ground up there off the beaten path. We were told the road goes on for 9 miles then you have to turn around and come back.

    After paying our fee, we immediately opted to pulled over to take a walk to the stream's edge. The ground was flat and easy to traverse. Between the mountain's dirt road and the stream there's an expanse of grass. Lake George was to our right and just out of view. The stream here was wide, clear, very calm, and probably no more than shin deep. It was easy to lose track of time as we kept our heads down in search of unusual rocks or something that resembled a fossil.

    I periodically looked up to soak in the environment around me. My mind's eye could imagine riders on horseback from another era, crossing the stream in front of me making their way down the mountain. Upstream, there was one young dude sitting in a folding chair in the grass near a huge boulder (huge boulders are everywhere!) while his K-9 frolicked in the stream. Beside me, Rob brushed up on his stone skipping technique. We had just started our 9 mile ride and spent most of our time just over the threshhold. It was time to move on.

    Let me refresh your memory. I don't like rollercoasters and although this was not that kind of ride let me tell you, there were moments I was terrified. The dirt road up the mountain was barely wide enough for two cars...and there is no guard rail...and you're on a mountain...a really tall, way up there, rocky-mountain-high-type mountain. But despite all that, it was beautiful. When we could, we'd pull over and take pictures of the raging class 5 white waters. In other places, we pulled over where the water was smooth and calm with unusual black and white striped water foul swimming or flying just above the water. Still determined to find a fossil, we'd pull over in spots where there appeared to be what might be layers of fossilized rocks or minerals or petrified wood. It wasn't but we had fun trying to crack them open.

    With all the stops we made during the ride up the mountain we ran out of time before making it to the end and we needed to turn around and head back down. Going down the mountain wasn't quite as scary since we were on the inside track.

    We came up empty handed in our search for fossils, but it was late in the afternoon and we still had at least 90 more minutes of driving before reaching our destination of Breckenridge.



    Dawwww. Seriously you and Rob are very lucky to have each other. This was just heart meltingly awesomely cute to read.

    As an aside 50-75 fahrenheit is 10-24 celsius if you work more in that. Here in the UK that would be considered very mild, but then we are talking the UK here, our weather is a bit variable :lol:.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:16 am 
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    Well now I know where to eat if I ever go to that town in Colorado. ;) Sounds like the entire thing was a great time, including the improv bits.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:54 am 
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    My family has a place in Fairplay, which is just about 30 minutes down Rt 9 from Brekenridge (which is practically next door in mountain terms, since it's about 2 hours from the closest Walmart)!

    If you want some fuel for your Rocky Mountain retirement dreams, Salida and Buena Vista are both awesome places that I thought of moving out to, far up in the mountains, yet still big enough to have all the amenities you get used to in a big city (like good food, coffee shops, breweries, high speed internet, etc). Leadville is also awesome (and a bit cheaper), but less centrally located.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:27 pm 
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    kiyote wrote:
    My family has a place in Fairplay, which is just about 30 minutes down Rt 9 from Brekenridge (which is practically next door in mountain terms, since it's about 2 hours from the closest Walmart)!

    If you want some fuel for your Rocky Mountain retirement dreams, Salida and Buena Vista are both awesome places that I thought of moving out to, far up in the mountains, yet still big enough to have all the amenities you get used to in a big city (like good food, coffee shops, breweries, high speed internet, etc). Leadville is also awesome (and a bit cheaper), but less centrally located.


    A thought occurs. Why not once your well enough again Linda, (i know no guarantees but still got to try to stay positive ;)), see if there's anywhere up there you and rob could rent for a couple of months and take a working vacation up there one winter. Would let you get a feel see if you can stand the weather without commiting overmuch. From the sounds of the place i'd imagine there's got to be some holiday places up there you can take a modestly long renting on.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:16 pm 
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    As a Denver Native, I wouldn't leave the state for anything. It sounds like you hit a good chunk of the sight seeing in that part of the state.

    Next time Rob drags you half way around the country to cheer you up, let us know ahead of time. I'm sure one of us will live nearby the destination and would be glad to show you the good attractions of the area.

    I absolutely would have.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:05 am 
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    Morsious wrote:
    Next time Rob drags you half way around the country to cheer you up, let us know ahead of time. I'm sure one of us will live nearby the destination and would be glad to show you the good attractions of the area.

    I absolutely would have.

    And that applies also even outside "the country" (which probably means USA), if you ever consider to travel abroad. At least, as far as I am concerned...

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     Post Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:35 pm 
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    I've heard about the impending move to near Baltimore. I work there and can say one thing:

    DO NOT GET ANYTHING IN THE CITY. It will be very expensive, and it is still dangerous.

    Go outside of city limits to the north or west. You will have Baltimore County and Howard County; inexpensive places reside there. Avoid Columbia in Howard County -- it is a managed development and is expensive at times. Avoid Anne Arundel County, unless your treatment is actually in that county.

    Take your car as well. Mass transit needs to be MUCH better.

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