California at Light Speed

Our one month visit home was very busy and it seemed to be go, go, go the whole time we were there. There were a lot of ups and downs this trip. We had bad news about an aneurysm near my Mom's heart and sad news that Raven's cancer was back after three years. We had three graduations, a birth, and my daughters and I took a trip to Vegas.

Mom is waiting for an appointment with a specialist and I will wait for a report.  Kathy is going to the appointment with Mom and will let the family know what's happening.  It's a good thing we are in Panama and not Nuie or Vanuatu or some other distant or difficult place; I can be home quickly if needed.

Raves has already begun chemo to kill off the evil cells. At this point it is wait and see. I am staying positive because I saw first hand how strong her body was with the first battle.

Kirk, Mike and Christian all had graduation ceremonies while we were home.  Both Kirk and Mike graduated after a long hiatus from school. It wasn't easy for either of them. 
Kirk got a degree in psychology and hopes to work in drug rehabilitation.
Mike graduated with honors in Fire Science. Although he was offered a spot at UCSD, he has to put in a year in a paramedics course and get a job!  He would like to go to UCSD part time while he is working and get a degree in environmental engineering.
Christian at his High School ceremony.  He already has one semester completed at a junior college (Dean's list) and plans to get his AA, join the marines, and go to university after a few years in the military. Grandma kind of wonders whether he will just continue on with school after finishing the AA. He looks more like a poet than a marine to me. We shall see; life is full of surprises.
Since Christian was home schooled, Mom gets to hand him his diploma. Even though I was dead set against the home schooling thing, I have to say, "Well done, Rhiannon."

Derek and Kathrine had Aubrey Ellen the day before our return flight to Panama.  She weighed 9lbs7oz!  The same weight as their first, Natalie. Their kids are three months old at birth.  Bonnie and I drove down to San Diego to see the newest member of our family and she is beautiful and Mommy looked like she had had a day at the spa. Amazing. Congratulations you two.

Let's see, what else...oh Vegas! I was curious to know if Las Vegas pokie machines would be more like Australia than the Indian casinos in California. Australia seems to pay better; they have all those mini-jackpot things. Bonnie said, "Let's go!"  Vegas was not like OZ and  I can now say, "Been there, done that."  It was an interesting place though and we had a good time.  Our hotel suite at the Hotel at Mandalay Bay was great and the Alien Jerky shop on the way home was better than "The Thing" on Route 66.
New York, New York
Terrible shot of Bonnie and Rhiannon zip-lining on Freemont St. in Vegas. It was dark and far and this is the best 'in motion' shot I could get.
There is a show on tv called 'Pawn Stars' about a pawn broker store in Vegas.  Bonnie loves the guys on the show and we had to stop by.  Rhiannon and I were sweltering in the car when Bonnie was in the shop. While she was in getting price estimates on a few old treasures, she was told the 'stars' were coming in and asked if she would like to be on the show.  She declined because we were waiting. Timing is everything.
On the way home we stopped at the Alien Jerky store.
Notice the "Launch" for $1.00 sign? If you ever find yourself at the Alien Jerky shop, don 't put in a dollar to see the 'launch'. 
The sliding hatch opens and and an alien tells you to spend money in the store. I hate materialistic aliens--what is the world coming to?
There is also an alien 'Zoltar' type machine in the store that  costs a dollar that tells you to buy something in the store.  Bummer, I thought it was going to give me wealth and wisdom.

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