Thursday, April 29, 2021

Pfizer Oncology Together Saved the Day: Tour Around Asheville, North Carolina!

After a fairly good night's sleep, I woke up to find that the breakfast fairy had arrived with the most amazing almond croissant and the most delicious quiche I have ever eaten. That and a cup of coffee and I was in heaven!

After eating, I crossed my fingers and headed to the lobby. Since it was before noon, I didn't have high expectations that my meds would be at the front desk but much to my great surprise they were!

Pfizer Oncology Together to the rescue! I must admit that I was quite impressed with the speed in which they delivered my Bosulif; less than twenty hours. Thanks, guys! You ROCK!

With that little hiccup handled,  I was able to be 100% present for the rest of our trip. 

Right next door to our hotel is the Thomas Wolfe House, and being that we love old houses, we thought that it would be the perfect beginning to a lovely day.

Thomas Wolfe is considered by many to be one of the "giants of 20th-century American literature." He wrote about his friends and family and life in Asheville, North Carolina, and not necessarily in a flattering matter!

The home where he grew up, a boarding house owned by his mother, became an inspiration for much of his writing and when "Look Homeward, Angel" was published, there were a lot of angry people in Asheville, despite his attempt to disguise the many stories he told, by changing their names. 

I was most impressed with his mother, Julia Elisabeth Westall, a woman who was so ahead of her time. Buying and running a boarding house, along with purchasing and selling additional real estate led to the family's relative affluence. It seems as though she was quite an impressive businesswoman.

I would venture to say that she must have been born with her tenacity, as I do not believe that she would have had many role models, in Asheville, at that time. 

It was also quite impressive that the house was still intact from years gone by, with most of the original furnishings still in place. It was a charming place, and even though there were apparently many people sleeping under that roof, sharing beds and one bathroom, making personal space non-existent, at all times, I can only imagine that the light and bright atmosphere, along with Julia's attention to details and decor would have made the boarding place a desirable place to call home.

If you ever visit Asheville, The Thomas Wolfe House and Museum are well worth the $5 entry fee. I suppose we have covid to thank for the personal tour we received.

After visiting the Thomas Wolfe House, we headed a few blocks over to "downtown". The Bee Charmer boutique called my name and we stepped inside to the most darling "everything bee" shop I have ever seen. 

They had local honey from all around the Asheville area lining their walls, which created a lovely visual experience. I had no idea just how many different colors and hues could be created by the busy little bees, flying all over, from flower to flower, collecting pollen.

Since Joe recently started bee-keeping, this has become a fascination to both of us.

I tried several different types of honey at the honey tasting bar and was amazed at the difference in taste, texture, and velocity. I wanted to try every single one, but did want to make myself sick! 

The songs about Tupelo Honey kept coming to mind, while I was wandering around the boutique, so we obviously had to buy some to bring home.

It turns out that Tupelo Honey is a real thing and comes from the nectar of only one type of flowers, which grows on a tree only in wet, swampy soil, such as in the Florida Panhandle and Southern Georgia. 

It has a mild floral and fruity taste and is light golden and amber in color, with a greenish cast. It is a bit expensive but oh,  so delicious. I also "had to have" a bottle of honeysuckle honey from France, and some bee pollen, too.

The owners of the shop and a friend of theirs wrote a cookbook, called the "Bee Charmer Cookbook" which is filled with all kinds of amazing recipes and beautiful photos, so that is coming home to Tennessee with us, along with a few other little amazing gadgets, one which I designed and invented in my head, decades ago! Bahahaha

I will let you see if you can guess what it is! (I will post a photo tomorrow!)

To say we were charmed, by the Bee Charmer, is an understatement!

After that little jaunt, we headed back to the hotel as this old lady was pooped and needed a short rest. But since it was still early, I wanted to do something else, other than sit in our room, so after perusing our options, we chose the Trolly.

In Europe, we always enjoyed the Hop On-Hop Off bus tours, as they gave us an overview of the entire city, in a short period of time, which would help us get a glimpse all of the different areas, helping us to choose where we would like to spend more time.

I was delighted to find that Asheville had a Hop On-Hop Off Trolly, (although there was no getting off and on, due to covid, which was fine with me, as I just wanted to ride from the beginning, to end anyway). We quickly bought tickets online and hoofed it to the beginning of the route.

They were waiting for us when we rounded the corner and we hopped on.

There was only one other couple on the trolley with us, which was amazing; it allowed us to stay socially distanced while popping from side to side of the trolly depending on which side of the trolly had a better "view".

Our driver and guide, "Uncle Tom" was informative, funny, and detailed. Instead of the 90-minute tour, our tour, because it was so small and the last of the day, lasted two hours and fifteen minutes!

He took us extra places and told us extra stories, where the locals eat and some of the inside politics, which I will not get into here!

After taking us back to the drop-off point we told him we were staying at the Renaissance, which was one of the tour stops, as the Thomas Wolfe House is right next door. We thanked him profusely for such a great overview of his lovely city and continued to chat a bit more. As we were talking, he told us to jump back on the Trolly, because he was going to drive us over to our hotel; all the while, telling us more stories. TOTAL BONUS!! And of course a big tip for "Uncle Tom"

That would be God throwing me another bone!

I highly recommend the Trolly Tour, and Asheville, North Carolina; we are just loving it here. Based upon Uncle Tom's recommendation, we went to "Little Pigs BBQ" for dinner, which was quick, easy, and delicious.

Night y'all, it was a great day!

FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



Friday, April 23, 2021

Europe in North Carolina

As I mentioned before, we were planning on being in Europe for Joe's 60th birthday; thanks to covid, that didn't happen.

Once upon a time, Asheville, North Carolina was slated to be the "Paris of the South" for establishing itself as an artisan city with a unique style and architectural talent. Being that it was less than five hours from home, it seemed the perfect birthday road trip.

I chose to stay at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel because it was super close to the downtown area, and three miles from the Biltmore Estate. The location was perfect, the beds were comfortable and they had the best bedside table I have ever had the pleasure to use! 

Whoever chose that piece of furniture was brilliant! It was on the large size, with three waterfalling shelves and a drawer! It had room for all of my paraphernalia; pills, water, book, booklight, iPad, chargers, snacks, hand lotion, face lotion, jewelry, jammies, CBD oil, and anything else that I may find interesting! lol

I know, ridiculous, but I have traveled a bunch, and hate when there is either a teeny, tiny nightstand or nothing at all!

Anyway, once we were checked in, we hit the "town"; walked about a block and found the most adorable streets with the most adorable shops, restaurants, and galleries.

It was a Monday, so it was relatively quiet and we were able to get reservations at a French restaurant called Bouchon. It was FABULOUS! Bon Appetit, Y'All! Gotta love it! 

I had Poulet Cordon Bleu Bouchon, and Joe had Boeuf Bourguignon, my dish came with Pommes Frites, aka the best damn french fries I have ever eaten! lol Dinner could not have been better, and the desert from "Old Europe" patisserie was amazing, too. Truly, the next best thing to being in Europe.

We walked the streets and window shopped, noting the places that we would have to visit tomorrow. 

All in all, it was a good day, now, if only my Bosulif will show up in the morning, I will really be able to relax.

Night y'all!

FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Oh, NO! I Left My Pills at Home!

Joe is turning 60; we were supposed to be celebrating his BIG Birthday in Europe, like we did mine, two years ago.

As you and I both know, covid has other ideas. Since Europe was no longer an option, I decided to see what was within a stone's throw (aka a six-hour drive from home) from home.

It didn’t take long to choose Asheville, North Carolina as the mystery destination. I have always wanted to visit the Biltmore Estate, and since visiting old homes, mansions, castles, and churches is our “thing”, I knew he would enjoy it, too.

That coupled with the email saying we had earned a free night through Marriott Bonvoy, and I got busy making reservations.

At this point, with one vaccination in and a fair amount of covid travel under my belt, I felt quite comfortable making the decision to be away from home for a week and started researching our destination.

Since it was a mystery ride, meaning Joe didn’t know where he would end up, I had to secretly enter our destination into the GPS, with a via point for lunch. I found a great sandwich shop in Knoxville, which was a little more than halfway.

As we were approaching Knoxville, I was thinking about lunch and the fact that I needed to take my Bosulif with my lunch, when all of a sudden, a terrible thought hit me. My Bosulif was at home, on the kitchen table! 

I had filled my pillbox, considered whether or not I needed to take my whole bottle of pills, (just in case), and deciding no, walked to the cupboard and put them away, leaving my pills, in the pillbox sitting right there, on the table!

I had left my life-saving medication at home.

I was sick to my stomach, shocked, annoyed, mad at myself, and downright baffled that I had literally forgotten my meds. I have had CML for more than ten years, and for anyone that knows me, you know that I travel whenever and wherever I can, and I have NEVER, EVER left my medication behind! WT@#$?

I cannot even express the frustration and fear that I felt. Several scenarios went through my mind. Number one being, "Oh well. Nothing you can do about it now, so you might as well just enjoy this trip." I calculated the number of days in my head without medication (four) and hoped that it would not affect my pcr numbers that I had worked so hard to get into the .00something range.

And the second scenario was, "How do I rectify this situation?"

Once over my initial shock and annoyance, I went into survival mode; I was due for a new bottle of pills to be delivered and was going to order them when I got home. Instead, I called the Pfizer Oncology Together refill line and told them what had happened.

They graciously agreed to overnight my next bottle to the hotel, and I hung up feeling anxious and relieved. I would be keeping my fingers crossed until I had that bottle in my hot little hand, the next day.

Fortunately, I had 2 “emergency” pills in a pill case in my purse, so I will only miss one 100mg dose today and hopefully no more.

As far as the cholesterol medication, Crestor, which I just started talking, I would only miss two of those pills, as I take it every other day, so I just let that one go!. 

Talk about adding a little excitement to the trip and feeling really stupid! 

After an amazing Philly Cheesesteak and Monte Cristo sandwich at Jefferies’ we were back on the road and continued to enjoy the beautiful drive; Somewhere near Asheville, Joe began to get an idea of where we were going based on the “time” limit set for the drive, and we began to talk about what we were going to do when we got there.

We arrived safely, checked into the hotel with glass between us and the staff: we were given instructions of only two people in the elevator and to use the provided tissues to push the elevator buttons. We were told no one would enter our room and if we needed anything we could come to the lobby to get it. 

Once in our room, we sprayed and wiped it down with disinfectant for good measure and prepared to enjoy our week in this beautiful mountain town.

I will breathe easy when my meds arrive tomorrow.

Time to explore!

FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



Friday, April 16, 2021

Back to Blogging and Watercolor!

Well, I guess now is as good a time as any!

I have totally been called out for being a slacker when it comes to my blog.

I am so SORRY to those of you who looked forward to my posts, and for those of you who did not, I am sure you enjoyed the break!

Once covid hit there seemed to be so little to say. Looking back, I probably actually had a lot to say, but instead of bitching, moaning, and groaning, I decided to treat myself to a new hobby!

Being that I am one of those possible "high risk" people over 60, living with chronic myelogenous leukemia, the unknown of the coronavirus was super scary!

Since I have a compromised lung from my chemo medications, and I am living with blood cancer daily, I may be at an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus; or so I have been told. Wanting to decrease my risk of becoming ill,  I placed myself in isolation, even before we were encouraged to do so.

Not knowing how long the isolation might last, I decided to make good use of the time that I would be stuck at home, and teach myself how to paint with watercolors. I have dabbled with acrylic paints sporadically over the past forty,( did I say forty years?) and have no official art training, but I figured that I had tons of time to dedicate to learning.

What I quickly learned was that watercolor is HARD! BUT......

The process gave me something to look forward to every single day and the progression of my art became more refined and stronger as I continued. 

Fortunately, before I was drowning in dread, I found a free chickadee tutorial, by Tracy Lizotte that saved my sanity. She is a fabulous instructor and I learned so much. If you are ever interested in learning to watercolor, I would highly recommend her online academy.

I spent the better part of five months in complete isolation. I painted birds and flowers and squirrels, and then I started painting the walls in my house, heck, I even threw up some flamingo and log wallpaper!  

I am grateful that this pandemic helped me to discover an art form, that most likely would never have been on my radar, and for bringing me something new,  that brings me so much joy.

So, all of that being said, I am going to get myself, my adventures, and my blog caught up to date, and start really living again.

I hope that you are all able to start getting back to normal, and may have even picked up a few new hobbies and habits along the way!

FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



Bricks for the Brave!!