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Where the clouds grow

So how is your summer?


Cookouts? Pools and beaches?

Well we wanted to get away from all the heat somewhat and do a duplicate trip to the mountains, like we did last summer, to escape the heat and humidity on the coast.

This year we found a wonderful cabin tucked up in the heart and isolation of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Burnsville, NC.

Blue Ridge Mountains.

Yep, way up there!

Yes we found a wonderful cabin that was loaded with nearby mountain perks.

Welcome to Trillium

This was no hot, stinky Yert, like we learned our lesson from last year!

This house was very nice and comfortable PLUS located on the side of a mountain, only a short walk from their Riverwalk.

Riverwalk was a nice stream-side pavilion with extras to make a mountain stay fun! In the picture you can make out a make-shift zip line chair for the kids, inner tubes to go ‘tubing’ down the local stream, hammocks, grills, and even a nice fire pit area.

That’s one skinny bear

That’s right…the owner let us bring our greyhound up to the mountain too….

to the Blue Ridge Mountains where Clouds and God’s magnificence seemed to grow right in front of you every morning!

But do you think we stayed at Riverwalk and this nice cabin (more on that later) for 3 days?


We had things to do!

The first thing we did was ride back ‘down’ the mountains to go white water rafting on the Nantahala River, like we did last year.

Driving ‘down’ to the Nantahalla River

It was an amazing  2 hour car journey through the mountains taking in more beautiful scenes and clouds literally at eye level…

Clouds hiding in the mountains

We ended up at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) for a 2 hour trip on the mild class 1, 2,and 3 rapids. As you can imagine, no cameras or cells here.

The girls thought themselves (miniature) rock stars for navigating the rapids so well!

But also at the NOC was zip lining…

….and “zip line obstacle course”.

Which was a loose way of stating a paid for 30 various-ways-of-torture-and-fear-as-you-as-you-fall-to-your-death play trap.

The kids loved it!!!

Apparently, anyone with good shoulders, and under the age of 50, really enjoyed dangling 40 feet up by a thin rope, as you struggle to put a foot on something sturdy below you, before you plummet horribly to your death, leaving nothing but your guts and stream of horrid loud screams all the way down behind you.


…Like I did when I put my first foot out on the nothing below…

Can you make that out?

She is standing on a rope with the only thing to hang on to are other vertical ropes, spread just past a normal person’s out stretched arms.

Who thinks these things up?

The wooden cylinders hanging from the blue rope above that torture device is what I used to announce to everyone in the park with in the sound of my scream that Andy was attempting this now.

Stepping from one unstable tube to the next. Lets just pretend that is me up there. I was screaming like a baby…

Those tubes are just suspended by a single rope, nothing sturdy mind you, and just far enough apart  for me not to be able to reach them with my trembling outstretched knobby legs.

I eventually made it to the end of the first course, collected myself, tried to regain my cool, searched to make sure all my limbs were still in their sockets and crawled to the exit door……where 15 giggling junior high girls were skipping their way up to their version of ‘fun’.


Class 5 rapids are like a slow jog on the terror meter compared to this place!

Did I tell you I almost fell to my death?

5 times?!!

Each of our girls went through the Obstacle Course twice  😦

They seemed quite proud of themselves

“Great day Mom! Hey, did you see Daddy’s face when he stepped out on that obstacle course? That was priceless!”

Day two was less of a car ride, as we went 30 minutes up the mountain to a small town called Spruce Pine to the Springmaid Mountain Resort for some trail riding on horseback and other mountain activities.

Horse riding among the clouds

Now, this was my first time on the back of a horse, while our girls have ridden them a few times, albeit briefly at the zoo.

They seemed to take right to it!

Skye’s horse ‘Chucky’ liked to eat!

While Dylan’s horse was more of a Maverick

Riding Hidalgo. Actually her name was Buttercup.

The idea was to do some trail riding though the mountain. ‘We’ just had to guide the horses on the narrow and muddy mountain trails…

trying to take a picture on horseback

As well as across and through some creeks and unspoiled natural mountain lands


We all had the time of our lives.

And my Tennessee Walker had me feeling like General Custer, Eastwood, and Geronimo all rolled into one.

This was a great recommendation!

(although I still smell like horses)

With a few more hours to kill on the side of the mountain we opted for some tube riding down the local North Toe River there at the resort.

Again, cameras and phones were not an option here but if they were….


….. we all would be having the laugh of a lifetime as one or more of us tried to sit down into an inner tube in a fairly rapid current. I’ll let your imaginations do the rest.

It was Vaudeville meets Davey Crockett.

We had to hike up a mountain trail, with inner tubes in hand, to make it to the launch point. And then the river tubing trip took about a third of the time it took to hike there. But we did have so much fun we decided to hike the trail twice just to have some more fun….and laughs and hilarity(!)

Then it was lunch in downtown Spruce Pines at a Caribbean Restaurant called the Tropical Grill (you can’t take the beach out of the bum) and then back to the cabin we went.

At the end of the three days we asked our girls what was their favorite part of the trip.

For the parents it was a unanimous Horse Trail Riding. But not for the girls. They both enjoyed staying at our fancy  Cabin, Trillium the best.


The girls would have been happy enough not ever leaving the cabin and the nearby Riverwalk.

After all, it did have a nice view on the side of the mountain…

It had a little bit of a view

…from the hot tub

Not bad, eh?

The girls were in it every day.

But in this cabin in the mountains, it was not ‘roughing it’.

Inside Trillium

The cabin had all the conveniences of home…

A nice, modern fully stocked kitchen and stairs leading up to the loft

And a nice loft upstairs for the girls to sleep…

view from the loft

This is my version of camping, ahhh, ‘camping’ at its best!

It was a great hideaway, getaway on the side of a mountain in the summer..

The amenities included the Riverwalk with tubing, zip lining, campfires, fishing,..

deer (and bears) in the field…

Early morning with a deer looking for breakfast

and more.


it is located in the mountains where clouds begin to grow…

If you live in the southeast and this sounds like a getaway for you click here for more info on Trillium. Just tell the owner Andy sent you….you will not regret it!

Their motto is “Its a Reason for Every Season”.

And fall, winter, and spring just fell on our bucket list here at Trillium.




We were checking into a hotel yesterday on the way home. We entered an elevator taking us to our rooms and we haven’t seen them since!

Here is the happy family shot right before we checked in:

Disneys_Hollywood_Studios_Tower of Terror out front

Here is the elevator we got in before our kids disappeared. I should have known better about this place. It looked like it needed some upkeep!

it needed some paint!

it needed some paint!

We got on the elevator. The elevator cams clearly point that out. We sat down in the last row on the left side.

Then, after an abrupt take off to our 13th floor, the kids vanished!

Here is the evidence:

the evidence

see us in the back?

I think the place is haunted of something. I heard the hotel had a history.

This hotel video cam shows the whole travesty of that elevator ride:

Please Help!

If you see or hear any word from them will you let us know please!

We want to see their smiling faces again!

Animal_Kingdom_Magic with Stitch II

A Long Lasting Valentine’s Week

A four letter word for FamilyA four letter word for Family

There was a time, not to very long ago, that Valentine’s Day meant vacation. We didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day too much at our house. No, no Valentine’s Day here!

You see she’s allergic to flowers. We still have tons of chocolate leftover from Christmas. And what better gift of love could there be where you can celebrate it close to the equator wearing as little as possible in the dead cold of winter?

But now we have two adorable little girls and we hafta gladly exchanged a trip to the tropics for smiles on our cherubs faces.

No contest!

Vacation? Not so much now. This morning, after I handed out all the Valentine’s cards to the ladies in my family, I was unexpectedly ambushed on my bed with two wide-eyed girls. They jumped and body slammed their dear ol’ Dad until I was forced to defend myself. I subsequently wrestled them into submission and then tickled them until they begged for mercy.

And then we did it all over again!

But all these Valentine’s Day shenanigans did not suddenly Sprout up Valentine’s Day. Saturday was just the  culmination of a week-long Valentine’s Day of love shared in our family. My girls probably had a pent-up need to release and share their kind of Valentine’s spirit by jumping on dear ol’ Dad….


Valentine’s Week began with CHOCOLATE! Mommy made a chocolate fondue for our girls, a Christmas present from this past Christmas.

afondooIMG_20150207_184008111Happy Valentine’s Day Week girls!

The truth is Mommy had to go out-of-town for a few days on business and this was her way of bonding with the kids before she snuck out in  the wee hours of the morning the next day.

Don’t worry girls, you are stuck with left in Dad’s capable hands. Try not to get him in trouble!


With Mom out-of-town I needed to come up with some kind of dinner for the girls we decided to have OUR Valentine’s Day Dinner Date at our favorite restaurant, Carrabba’s. I told the girls if they behaved themselves in Mommy’s absence they could have dessert.

Angels now

Angels now

The idea had a coupla merits, besides getting Daddy out of the kitchen after a long day at work. 1) YOU do NOT want to go out for a Valentine’s dinner on Valentine’s Day or weekend. Speaking as an ex-restaurant manager it is very hard to create a memorable dining experience with chaos going on in the busiest day all year in a restaurant. 2) Bribing my kids for good behavior usually seems to work. Hurray for Dad’s parenting skills!

Daddy is such a push over...

Daddy is such a push over…


Wednesday night turned into Movie Date Night for my two precious Valentines. I took them to the movies (in our home cinema) to see their most recent favorite movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Why is this their favorite movie now you ask?

It’s because they know all the words to the songs by now and get to sing out LOUD to the songs like Pina Colada, and they get to dance their crazy dances with Dad at the beginning and the end of the movie:

Lots of fun!


Thursday saw the return of Mom from out-of-town but also Valentine’s Gifts appear in the mail. Mom took a back seat to the girls opening their gifts and reading their Valentine’s Cards. They were so enthralled evidently that they didn’t take time to read the instructions…

No, the other way...

No, the other way…

They absolutely loved their gifts in the mail (some Valentine’s jewelry) and the sentiments behind the cards from their grandparents admirers.

What does yours say?

What does yours say? Did you get any money?


Valentine’s Day Eve our nanny called off I decided to take a very special day off from work to spend with my two lovely Valentines. I took them to a Valentine’s Brunch at Chic-fil-a (oh how they hate that place!). Dylan, my ultra perceptive oldest child and well on to my parenting skills asks, “If we are good can we get dessert?”

Me: (sigh)

yea, Dad likes dessert too. I have trained them well!

yea, Dad likes dessert too. I have trained them well!


Did you ever notice these at Chic-fil-a? They recycle their Styrofoam cups? I really have mixed feelings about this attempt at Reuse…

I wonder who else has used my cup?

I wonder who else has used my cup?

Later that day, during nap time, I had a very important doctor’s appointment. We ALL ended up celebrating with dinner that night!

We went to our favorite pizza joint followed by their favorite ice cream parlor.

vIMG_20150213_191138154OK, it was a celebration, maybe not THEIR celebration, but one just the same.

We invited a neighbor who has selfishly  help me wash my car the last two or three weekends. Funny thing, we found out he is grounded, he said, due his grades (sounds really  familiar) so his parents won’t let him go out with his friends….. but they did with me and my family….  🙂 . But he is a great young man and this old man welcomes his help anytime!

We all had a great time, at now the end of a special week, so this Valentine’s party really started to build and the craziness took off…

Gosh, I really look young there.

Gosh, I really look young there, don’t I?

…all ending up with my getting walloped in bed this morning as my two Valentines clobbered me as I ‘peacefully’ rested in bed.

So Valentine’s Day recap for my sweethearts:


Dinner Date

Movie Night Date

Valentine’s cards and gifts (jewelry)

Valentine’s Brunch

Wrestle with your Valentine(s) Valentine’s Day

Check, check, check, check, check!


Oh, my doctor’s visit?

It was with my Urologist. It was my quarterly check-up to test the PSA’s in my blood, the detection for cancer used. For the record my PSA’s have now gone down from a 7.5 pre-cancer operation to .03 as of yesterday. While I was thinking this may be my last appointment, the my Urologist wants to milk my insurance company see me one more time to see if my PSA can get to a .02, which was his goal.


My PSA continued to lower hence my post last night and the reward this morning:


To those one of you who guessed the donut reward for a positive doctor’s visit, Congratulations! And Thanks for following so closely to 3D.

I have a FREE one year subscription to my blog for your grand prize!

Now here is a question for you, for all of you out there that ask the question, “What can I get my loved one for Valentine’s Day that is something different but still something they will like very much?”

Well my Doctor U. had the answer to that!

While I was waiting to be seen at the end of the day I could vaguely hear my doctor in the room beside mine go over his patient’s options enough to hear the words Viagra and Sample and Valentine’s Day all in the same sentence. Hmmmm…

What a thoughtful Valentine’s gift, or gesture I thought to myself

….not that I need any for Valentine’s Day! Having the time to spend with the ones I love after my cancer scare is living enough for me! But I did like this doctor’s beside manner…

Yes, Valentine’s Day, my lovely girls in my life, and Dunkin Donuts keep me running!



I hope it is a great, big and long-lasting one with lots of memories for each one of you!

(Do Not Disturb)

You have some nerve!

A man elects to have a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) and asks the surgeon to try to spare the nerves that produce an erection. Well, he goes into surgery and wakes up in the recovery room and sees his doctor.
Man: So how did it go?
Doctor: I’ve got good news and bad news.
Man: Give me the good news first.
Doctor: We were able to save the nerves.
Man: That’s great news! What’s the bad news?
Doctor: They’re under your pillow.

My good friend, the great Dr. O is going to spare me this scenario I trust. In fact he and my cancer doctor have become some hero’s to me. They are trying to save my prostate.

Yes, early detection, annual physicals, and PSA’s gave me some options. I can’t say enough good things or good advice other than get yourself checked early for prostate and breast cancer and get yourself checked often.

Early detection allowed me to save my prostate and, after some work, enables me to use it for years to come. Yes, if you are wondering, immortality!

My options included removal (surgery), to radioactive seed implants, to futuristic surgery by a robot.

Its good to have choices!


I opted for the radioactive seeds procedure, called a ‘brachytherapy’ for many of the obvious reasons from outpatient surgery, to shorter healing to still being able to still use my prostate.

If you are interested in learning more about achy-brachytherapy’s, from procedures to side effects and benefits  click here and here.

I was initially crushed with the news that I had cancer but reading this really, really, saved my summer.

But I am getting ahead of myself. People have asked what is going on the day of my procedure. If you don’t enjoy some mildly graphic medical and body images I think you should close the curtain on this post right now. In fact I only allow this window in my mind open for a short time until it makes me a bit nauseous and I have to think of something else.

I have to arrive at the hospital at 5:30am. In which case they are going to give me a series of anesthesias to put me out.  I am then placed in what I imagine to be something like a birthing chair where my legs are spread apart giving the doctors full access to the land where my legs come together, just in front of my rectum.

I don’t think I’ll be riding my bike next week!

The tool I used to consummate my marriage will be taped up and off to the side I hear. Oh, how I hope they give me a shave first!

So this is my first issue in this procedure, all doped up, tubes in my arm and mouth while I lay limp, legs spread apart, waiting to be violated.

The goal of this cancer treatment is to insert radioactive seeds into my prostate in order to kill the cancer cells. Now how many radioactive seeds, the size of a pencil tip, do you think that would take?

If you guessed 75-100 you are in the right ballpark.

Radioactive seeds have the benefit of keeping the radiation local, with little radioactive runoff to neighboring organs. They can be much more precise than  laser radiation treatments that have to shoot through your body, laying victim to everything they touch.

Do you think they will jingle when I go for a jog?

The doctors are literally going to fill my prostate with these seeds, in hope of killing any and all cancer, detected or undetected.

On the down side, these seeds are due to stay in me way (way) past their useful life. They are mine. I keep them. I paid a lot of money for them after all.

The percentages to killing the cancer cells are quite high, in the 90’s, and its a good chance I will be cancer free, down there, for good.

A down side to this procedure is that our urinary tube runs smack through my precious C-spot. This is one of the immediate issues when prostate cancer shows its ugly head, inhibiting normal urinary functions.

The issue with my procedure is that there is a chance or two that the needles inserting my seeds poke or break that urinary tract. They tell me this is a small chance but it is a big deal if it happens.

When everything is said and done I get a brand new catheter installed with a tube running down to my leg. I should be home by 4 or 5pm that same day. The good Lord willing and no surprises occurring I will have that catheter out the next morning.

Choices are good!

All in all I think that is a pretty fair deal for having cancer and the treatment of it. I am so blessed to have this new and developing technology to handle my treatment and CURE.

And I can say CURE due to early detection and options!

You don’t know how hard it is for a fit 50 year old man to tell family and loved ones he has cancer. Trust me, at 50 you are not ready for this. Not at any age.


Some of the side effects of this procedure include, frequent urination, immediate urges to go, some incontinence or even a burning feeling with with urination.

Heck, I have half of those now! But my doctor tells me they would be short lived and everything, EVERYTHING,  including regular sex, should be back to normal down there within a month or two. I’ll let you know how that goes!

In fact, my doctor tells me he wants me trying to have sex (to strengthen the organ) as soon as two weeks. But with the use of condoms.

You see the radioactive seeds have about a 17 Day half life. Meaning, after 17 days they lose half of their potency. After another 17 days they lose half of that and the seeds should be inactive after about 3 months.

Which means after 2 weeks I may be shooting some kryptonite into those condoms, if anything at all. But he does want me to try.

A second precaution, and this may be the hardest, is I can not hold my kids for TWO MONTHS.

That’s right, the radiation coming from my belly can actually make them sick to some very bad diseases. He said hugs are OK but not on my lap. I hope they can understand.

Which leads my mind to wonder, what else might I expect from having a garden of radioactive seeds in my belly?

One funny reader thought I may have some glowing nuts!

I thought my belly may glow in the dark at night…not unlike a firefly.


Will I become telepathic? Or have x-ray or heat vision? Spidey-senses? Or become a Bruce Banner?

Don't make me mad and find out...puny human. Hulk smash!

Don’t make me mad and find out…puny human. Hulk smash!

But to be told you have cancer and then have it (hopefully) killed by a 90 minute procedure and then being able to go back to work two days later is a pretty fair trade off.

Folks, if their is anything to take away from this it is early detection. If I had ignored this a year or two more the cancer may have grown too big to allow these choices.

Get checked! Tell your friends and family!

Through this whole ordeal I have been able to follow two strong ladies and their procedures for treating their cancers, breast and ovarian.

These ladies have given me strength and perspective, allowing me to understand I am very lucky to have this, my treatment available.

And right now, NOW,  as I type, that damn song comes on the radio, ‘Its Not my Time’.

 Oh thank you God!

Thank you too, Susie at Susie’s Wild Ride and Angela at Mind Margins.

I think He just said we are all going to be OK. Its not our time!

Will you two stand up and take a bow?

Sorry, I had to walk away and dry my eyes. It does get emotional sometimes when laughter alone isn’t enough.

These two ladies are so much more courageous than me. They deny their importance but I am humbled at my illness based on what these ladies go through. I hope to be at least half as brave, strong and spirited.

   Susie is right, Laughter is the best medicine!

An old guy goes to his doctor for his physical and gets sent to the Urologist as a precaution. When he gets there, he discovers the Urologist is a very pretty female doctor.

The pretty doctor says, “I’m going to check your prostate today, but this new procedure is a little different from what you are probably used to. I want you to lie on your right side, bend your knees, then while I check your prostate, take a deep breath and say, ’99’.

The old guy obeys and says,”99″.

The doctor says, “Great”. Now turn over on your left side and again, while I repeat the check, take a deep breath and say, ’99”.

Again, the old guy says, ’99’.”

The doctor said, Very good. Now then, I want you to lie on your back with your knees raised slightly. I’m going to check your prostate with this hand, and with the other hand I’m going to hold on to your penis to keep it out of the way. Now take a deep breath and say, ’99’.

The old guy begins, “One …. Two … Three” …

….and off I go!

Thank goodness for the Justice League!

Did you hear there is a good size meteor heading our way today? Yes, a meteor, about 150 yards in width will travel within 17,000 miles to our planet. That’s closer than our moon is and within the satellites belt that controls every way we talk to each other on this planet. 


This calls for the Justice League! 


This is just the sort of thing we have come to rely on the Justice League for.  To make a decision. Take action. And keep our world safe from harm. 

Because the Republicans say doing any sort of action would cost us trillions of new jobs. 

The Democrats say sending any sort of resources to deter the meteor would cost our economy’s GNP zillions of dollars and increase to the spending budget deficit. 

Thank goodness for the Justice League to take care of us!

At least we have one real group we can have faith in to look out for us. A group we can count on to do the right thing and get the job done.


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