Hello from Florida!

Hello, from Florida!
I finally got to go–I’m now in Tampa, Florida and we will be spending the holiday here or maybe in Orlando. I think we may go to one of the many theme parks here on the 4th & the 5th and then we fly to Denver, CO on Sunday, where we will be for a week. Monday July 7th is our anniversary, so we will probably go somewhere to dinner that night, since Jon will be working during the day.

Then we will go back home (to Portland, OR) on Friday, July 11th, only to leave the following day for Brazil. Actually Jon is thinking about sending me home a day early so I can wash clothes and have more time to prepare for the longer trip.  We are filing for our visa’s for Brazil tomorrow. We will be in Brazil for 4 weeks.

The weather here has been typical Florida weather–90’s the first day and 80’s today with thunder showers both days. There was even a tornado warning today, but it was for a couple counties away.  At first I thought it might include us, because I didn’t know what county this was–then they showed the map and we were a safe distance away, although we were having some major downpours and a thunder & lightening show. We were in Florida one other time–in 2001, during 9/11, but I forgot about the thunder storms they get here. The nice thing is that they tend to blow over quickly and then everything is all nice again.
 
My flight to Florida was overnight–leaving at 10 PM and arriving in Florida at 6:20 (losing 3 hours along the way.  The good part was that I ended up with a window seat in the second to the last row and nobody else sitting with me!  Even though I had the whole row to myself, that tiny pillow they give you, made it still difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep, so I only slept for about 2 hours.  Then I drove the rental car from Orlando to Tampa (about one and a half hour drive).  I stopped along the way at the Cracker Barrel restaurant for breakfast–yumm!  So, when I got to the hotel, I took a nice long nap!
 
One thing that I was able to do on Saturday, before leaving on Sunday, was walk the Survivor’s Lap at the Oregon City Relay for Life with our dear friend Carrie Ernst.  We did this together last year with ease, and although Carrie needed a helping arm this year, since she had just finished her last radiation treatments to her brain the previous week–we made it all the way around!  They gave mardi gras, style beads to each survivor–1 for each year of survivorship, so I had 14 of them! WOW! It is hard to believe that it will be 14 years this November, since I was diagnosed with breast cancer!  I’m so thankful for the cancer medications and treatments that have been discovered so far.  I was really happy to be able to see Gary & Carrie (our friends from Marriage Encounter), and honored to assist and walk with Carrie before I left.  The radiation to her brain has affected her balance and she doesn’t have a lot of strength, but together, we did it!  I will always do these walks, whenever I am able to, with humbleness.  Last year I was able to return for the the lighting ceremony, where they have luminaries lining the track–all decorated with names of those who have been touched by cancer (this year Carrie made a purple one with my name on it–thank you Carrie!), and then they placed some on the bleachers in a pattern that spelled out HOPE and then later changed it to say CURE.  It was so inspirational–I wished I could have been there for that again this year, but instead, I went to the wedding of our waltzing friends, Tabitha & Thomas. 
 
Tabitha & Thomas were married on the beautiful property of Tabitha’s parents home, where they met 21 years ago when they were teens.  They ended the wedding with a beautiful waltz together, that our instructor Leo helped them put together…they did you proud Leo!  CONGRATULATIONS to the happy couple!  Although my day was very busy that day, I was very pleased to be able to go to both of these celebrations before joining Jon!
 
Until the next time,
Vicki (& Jon too!)

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