Quartz + Sight = Change of Plans

A change of plans.


I have held back from posting through the winter (but I guess you already knew that!) because I’ve been rather focused on the health of my siblings and my vision challenges.

I have REALLY felt the distance from my siblings since the fall. We were able to travel to CT for my brother-in-law’s funeral in October. I extended my stay to help my sister through the first days of her grief and sadly, she is now fighting cancer herself. At the same time, my younger sister had some serious health concerns that necessitated her move to a long-term rehab facility. Daily visits to see her were important for both of us as she tried to adjust to her new situation. Believe it or not, also in October, my brother ended up in ICU for 6 days due to a bad combination of prescriptions (that his doc had missed and which the pharmacy had missed too—I learned that MD does NOT require pharmacies to run the safeguard program to catch and red-flag such errors!). He pulled through—thank God!

I returned to AZ early in November fully expecting to make a trip back to spend more time with my sisters in Feb or Mar. My eyes had a different plan for me. Not to bore anyone with any details (and if you follow me on FB, you’ve seen some of this already), but I’ve had 3 surgeries this winter — and finally, the most recent procedure (shunt implant) on my right eye is showing early positive results. I am beyond excited and will now be followed weekly by my glaucoma specialist to be sure the pressure doesn’t go dangerously low.

In the meantime, my left eye is gearing up for ITS same surgery in the not-too-distant future as the pressure is already in the danger zone. This particular surgery can take up to 3 months for full recovery. Back to back surgeries mean I’ll be followed very carefully by my GS right through the summer and beyond.

And then, of course, there is the coronavirus and COVID-19. Ugh. I have decided that the very most difficult challenge is being away from family members who are ill. Providing comfort from a distance through cards, texting, phone calls, and video-chats will have to do. I am so grateful to SO many who are keeping my extended family in their prayers.

We have had to cancel all of our 2020 summer plans to visit more National Parks with our grandsons, Graham and Dean. Hopefully next year…

These changes seem rather minimal as we watch and read about the many sacrifices made by the COVID-19 first responders: health care providers and supporters, police and fire departments, grocery store clerks, pharmacists, and thousands more.

And how are we managing?

Except for 2 grocery runs and one trip to the eye doc in Phoenix, we’ve been self-isolating. That’s not actually very hard to do while we continue to boondock on the desert where we’ve been since early October 2019. With more than 11,000 acres on this BLM Long Term Visitor Area, there is PLENTY of room to keep to yourself.

Another beautiful sunset over a mostly empty desert. You can see some rigs in the distance. You can see the source of the line, “…the purple mountains’ majesty.”
Looking the other way, with the setting sun just touching the tops of the mountains. Again, the rigs are few and far between.

We have been taking walks each day and have been enjoying the colorful flowers that are now making an appearance in the desert. A fair amount of rain this winter has made for a lovely bloom. We do wonder how the desert bloom is in other parts of the southwest where it was rather spectacular a year ago. Anyone know?

We’re filling our time with reading, walking, bingeing on Netflix, etc. (check out our new favorite – The Great British Baking Show), LOTS of quilting (I’m taking several terrific online classes), and too much time on the computer.

We are visiting with our kids and grandkids nearly daily between Facetime and Zoom. Zoom is particularly fun because we can see everyone at once and the connection is excellent. I’ve also been able to visit with my P.E.O. sisters (16 of us) on Zoom–what fun!

We’ve been heartened and absolutely amazed at how our nation’s educators, school districts, and local municipalities have risen to the occasion to keep their students fed, safe, engaged, and supported. Check out this amazing video created by educators in the Corning-Painted Post (NY) School District where our son and daughter-in-law teach.

The church we still belong to in Maine continues to do amazing work and is keeping our church family together through live streaming prayer services, Bible study, and Sunday worship. It’s been so important for us to maintain those connections. Bible study on Zoom with my pastor and other dear friends continues to be a real lifeline for me.

“Home is where the heart is.” For us, home is also where we park it. On March 13th, the sale of our “sticks and bricks” house on Mount Desert Island finally closed, so these 36 feet of trailer are “all we have.” It is a relief to not have the house, but also feels a bit strange.

Did you know that there are ONE MILLION full-time RV’ers in the US? We have received several questions from friends wondering whether we will be able to find a place to stay once the BLM closes the LTVA we’re in, in April, because there are many reports in the news of campgrounds closing . Yes. We have decided to stay put in Quartzsite for the foreseeable future. We too have been keeping abreast of closures of state parks, some national park campgrounds and facilities, as well as an increasing number of private campgrounds. We are glad that we’ve been able to secure a spot in a local private campground here in Quartzsite for April 15-at least Sept 15. We can come back to the BLM land (desert) as of Sept 15 but if it’s still very, very hot, we may just stay put in the private campground where we can run our AC’s! (Solar just doesn’t provide enough power to run AC’s.)

Life feels alien right now, and hard. But we’re uplifted by the resilience of life demonstrated here on the desert by these saguaro and other plants and animals.

A seemingly healthy saguaro cactus, despite significant damage near the bottom.
It is hard to believe they can survive this much damage! Is this from animals looking for water, or insects, or???
If a tree were girdled like this, it would be long dead!

Since our last post (March 6), so much has changed. For all of us.

We hope that this post finds you self-isolated, safe, and healthy!

7 thoughts on “Quartz + Sight = Change of Plans”

  1. So good to hear from you. The pictures of things blooming in the desert was actually encouraging – out of all the dry sandy landscape come those beautiful flowers. We all pray that out of all that is going on in the world with this pandemic that in a couple of months we can see life come again.
    We haven’t been able to meet our new neighbors, who bought your house due to the social distancing that we need to do to stay safe and healthy. But some day we will.
    You have had a rough fall with family sickness and your vision problems. Great to hear that the last surgery seems to be working. Prayers for you and all your family.
    peace and health to all during this time of self-isolation!

  2. Sounds like you’ve had a really difficult time. I hope the first eye surgery continues to heal well, and the next one goes smoothly. Thank you for the update.

  3. Good to hear from you. The weight can really settle in one’s heart, with so many changes!! And it is difficult to make all the new pieces fit together comfortably…especially with the continuing uncertainty. I can only wish you both peace and comfort in the day to day beauty, patience, and love and courage.
    Susan Schreurs

  4. Wow, it is good to hear from you and to remind us that so many are dealing with issues at the same time of the current news cycle of the virus. I am so glad for you that the last eye surgery has seemed to be on the right track for recovery.

    I am so saddened about the other concerns you are facing at the same time, as to their health issues , and the death of your brother-in-law. We are sometimes so challenged by situations we know we have no control over, but feel overwhelmed by the timing of these events at the same time. I know you have a strong faith, but sometimes life does become difficult with times of great sadness. I will be praying for you both, as you continue on your travels and with your choices, that they will bring a period of calm. Be kind to yourself, VPC ( equals = Very Precious Cargo !)
    Will look for your next post and be praying between now and then, you experience a peace only Jesus can give. Blessings, Wendy

  5. I can empathize with your eye situation. I have been struggling with the challenges of glaucoma for years. After a numerous procedures and surgeries, things have stabilized. That being said, I have lost a lot of my peripheral vision. But the good news is that I can still see this beautiful world we live in…like you I have come to appreciate the beauty I see in everyday things and activities. I am so happy to hear that things are progressing in a good way with your vision. I am saddened to hear of the struggles of your family. They are so very fortunate to have both you and Al for support. I know it’s difficult in these times of social distancing…but we are all doing what we can through email, facebook, letters, phone calls. The pictures you are posting are beautiful…if and when you are back on MDI…it would be great if you could do a program at the Jesup with the Hancock County International Club. They have a great following and do great programs that are well attended. People would love to hear about your travels and see your amazing photo journal.
    Take care…be safe…you are both in my thoughts and prayers!

  6. I can hear your voice, Kathe, as I read your blog post. Very comforting. Thanks for all the news. Continued prayers for you and your family. Blessings.

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