Monday, January 17, 2011

A Willow-Centric Life

Here we are mid-month and I'm updating the blog as promised. We've had the past two weeks to ourselves and though we love, love, love having friends and family around, it's been complete bliss being here together alone -- with the exception of the furry little paws that follow our every move.

Why can't I think of a way to harness all that wonderful dog energy? Herding sheep is a total waste of this dog-given energy. Willow finished her 6-week Agility Class and came in second place on the final night of competition. She's a natural.

Gil and I just got back from a weekend meditational retreat in North Carolina. It was informative, spiritual and restful. Met 20 others who were there to learn about the ancient Hindu meditation practices. What a different sort of "vacation" that was!

By the time I post the next blog entry on February 1st, Marika will have taken the MCAT. She will be relieved. I will be relieved. Gil will be relieved. Her brothers will be relieved. She can go back to having a good life.

We're planning a trip in March to Hawaii to stay in our timeshare on the island of Kauai. The last time we were there was December 2008. A month later I had a seizure and was diagnosed with a benign meningioma (the size of an apple) which was successfully surgically removed. Fortunately, there were no complications and my only deficit is a less-than-perfect sense of direction and slightly impaired map-reading. Thank heavens for GPS and turn-by-turn directions.

How many of you know, or remember, the performance artist Laurie Anderson? We recently went to see one of her performances in Ann Arbor at The Power Center and she is just as innovative and creative as we remember her. What a treat!

Gil is doing very well. He's working hard on research projects. He's feeling good and goes swimming as often as he can. His office in downtown Milford has worked out well for him -- a quiet place without distraction to read studies when he's on-call, get his manuscript writing done and follow his cardiac CT projects' progress.

It's Restaurant Week in Ann Arbor this week and we're meeting our theater group friends at one of the new restaurants there -- Mercy's in The Bell Tower. Gil and I are having date nights on Wednesday nights and we're planning to go to all the Detroit Free Press "Ten Best of 2010" restaurant recommendations during the course of the year.

State of the Union
What can we expect from it?
Will this be the year?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Year 2011

Greetings for the New Year 2011!

For those of you tuning in to our Raff Update blog for the first time because you saw the link on our holiday card, a little history.

We started this blog site back in June 2009 when Gil was diagnosed with leukemia. It was the perfect way to give information about his condition -- and thank God -- his subsequent recovery during and after his successful bone marrow transplant in October 2009.

Since then, we try to update the site twice a month. I'm going to try to provide updates on the 1st and 15th of each month so there will be a reason for you to check back here to learn what the Raffs are up to.

It will be a year for a wedding, and a college graduation and some travel for business and pleasure.

The photo above shows Evan and Marika walking our two dogs, Jamie and Willow, on our local Milford Bike Trail a few days after Christmas. It was a cold, windy day and we came upon only one other person on the trail.

We had a house filled with family over the recent holidays. My mom (from Kentucky) and my brother (now living in Rochester, NY) were here. Adam (without Laura who was still working in LA), Evan and Marika were all here.

Slowly over the past week we've made multiple trips to the airport to get everyone back to their homes. We're down to only Marika at home now. And she leaves for Santa Barbara this Sunday to start the Winter Quarter of her senior year. (Spring Quarter will be her last academic quarter as a college student.)

Then it will be back to our "nuclear family" -- Gil, me, Jamie and Willow.

We're planning a trip to North Carolina in early January attending a 2-day retreat/workshop which will be of the meditational variety. We've never done this before. Don't know exactly what to expect except we're supposed to bring our yoga mats and pillows! Marika teases us and taunts that we're headed to an ashram! (Will let you know what it was all about in my next blog entry.)

Oh, and for those of you who are new to our site, I usually close with a haiku:

Holidays over
Hate waiting another year ...
To do it again.