It is difficult to paint a clear picture of the last day of May but I will try. Imagine torn wet paper. On this day we are all torn wet paper.

We woke up afraid, for we knew that this day we would learn our daughter Jes's diagnosis. Just one week ago she received ultrasound results were not comforting- that she has suspicious growths in her neck.
However, we spent the week inbetween the ultrasound news and the biopsy news plowing through 41 houses to look for our new home in Alabama. We did not find anything we loved 100% and left town. We left town without a new home, knowing that our daughter's diagnosis was soon coming. We'd kept ourselves busy for a week with 41 houses. Distracted. On a mission. Hell bent. Single minded. Focused.

We drove home on May 30th exhausted and slept, only to wake to May 31st.

Late in the morning Jes called. She had cancer.

But it was not "bad cancer." It was the best cancer one could hope to have, should one hope to have cancer. Thyroid cancer is easily treated with surgery and radiation that targets only thyroid cells. This, our daughter could beat. One summer of inconvenience and pain, and our daughter would survive like a trooper, unscathed except for a scar that would fade with time.

At the age of 25 our daughter was diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer. We were all torn wet paper. Lifeless, exhausted, staring blank into the room, 1000 miles from her.

But our has daughter conquered several confrontations with death in her quarter century, and stared them each down. She dragged herself by her fingernails out of oncoming traffic in 2004 after being hit by a car while biking. Three months later she was mountain climbing.

Three months from now, Jes will once again be mountain climbing. A summer of inconvenience and pain will result in a lifetime of renewed appreciation for her life, her friends, her family, her career aspirations, and the entire universe.


We went out to Opelika today to see an old 1908 house. It was pretty cool, but seemed to need lots of TLC. I didn't like the busy corner it was on either.

So far I have seen close to 30 houses. I have about 10 that will make the cut for Dan to see tomorrow. He arrived this evening in time to go out to dinner with my mom's friends. We went to Cafe 123 which was really special. I had shrimp and grits, also a salmon steak.
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This house comes with chickens. Think it's a sign.... it's a really awesome house, reminds me of a 70s version of my house in Kentucky. It even has the same kitchen down to the appliances and cabinets. Another sign?

Very Zen and peaceful. But smallish and far out on the other side of the interstate.


This is a real fixer upper around the corner from my mom's house. It needs so much work I get exhausted thinking about it.

We had lunch at Hamilton's on Magnolia. Sat outside... nice a cool and breezy. Lovely day. I feel so happy being here.

I also saw a house built in 1848, moved to this site. I felt like I was in Monticello being here. I have no idea why there are two front doors.


Today I drove by myself to Auburn to meet with my realtor and look for a house. It was 7.5 hours, not a bad drive. I tried to listen to a book on tape about Alexander the Great. Just before I got to the Alabama border Jes called me with news that her neck ultrasound did not go too well. The lymph nodes and thyroid looked suspicious. With great anxiety I drove to my mother's house and called her doctor. The feeling of fear in my chest was significant. I called home and told the family. I cried as I told my mom and Eloise, my mom's right hand woman in the kitchen.


 This is the observatory at Chichen Itza.

 This is another building. Below is a building that was called the nunnery but of course, nuns were not housed there. I think it was more like a classroom or library.

I have lots of photos from our day at Chichen Itza but will only share a few . It was a long car drive, but worth it. So educational and thought provoking to see the ruins of a culture that was conquered by Europeans who enslaved the native inhabitants. Also very interesting to think about how religion was used even here, even then, to control people.


Today we went for a long walk, hung out at the pool, then migrated to the beach. It's a tough life!!! Tomorrow... Mayan ruins.


Look what we found on our bed this evening! Rose petals and a swan.

Today my in laws renewed their vows after 50 years if marriage. Good photos to follow. I was the official photographer. My first wedding gig!

The bride and her two sons... giving her away.

 The renewal of vows, and the beautiful family they made together.


We got an offer in our house today! On the market three days.

Today we went snorkeling on a beautiful coral reef. Also lounged by the pool, and dined at a Japanese restaurant. This place us really beautiful.


 View from breakfast... this place is beautiful.

 Walking from the lobby to Building 3

 The guys waiting on sushi...

 The girls waiting on sushi...

We are glad to know where to run when/if the tsunami arrives.

See the hammocks on the right? That's where I was reading the book Ishmael and sipping a mojito in the shade this afternoon. Pretty wonderful.


We traveled all day and finally landed on the Yucatan Peninsula. We are at a luxurious resort to celebrate my parents-in-law's 50th wedding anniversary. This guy was waiting to welcome us.
 The beach was like a Corona commercial. Rocky though... too rough to swim in. The breeze was strong.

 Self portraits!

 We celebrated 50 years with Dan's parents at a restaurant on the beach. It was such a great way to start the week.


Looking down the stairs to the basement.  I wonder what lies beneath? Buried treasures? A window to a new world? Old discarded items?

Putting our house on the market really makes me think about all the reasons why I want to move. I really hope they are valid reasons. I really hope my intuition and heart haven't lead me astray.
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For Sale.


Celebration! I went out for a beer after work today with some colleagues to celebrate the end of our first year as a department, Mags' tenure, and my departure.

Well, we weren't celebrating my departure, but we were talking about it.

Yes, I am leaving my university for another one. One I love. One I have loved for a long long time. I have been offered a job teaching at my alma mater university. I will be teaching in the building I used to run around in as a kid, riding the elevators for fun, looking out off the Eagle's Nest top floor roof at the town below (the highest point in town). Today I gave the dean my letter of resignation, and mailed my signed offer letter south.  I will be starting on July 1st and working through the summer supported by my NSF grant. We don't know when we will be moving. I guess my mom's address will once again be mine, for a while at least, temporarily. Guess what Mom, I'm moving home!


Today the girls went to visit their dad at his "job" at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Dan volunteers there once a week to give back to the charity we support. Gotta love the vest! I spent all day writing my NSF annual report. Fun fun.


Today my Aza graduated with her master's degree in secondary education. I served as a marshal at the graduation ceremony. We had a nice dinner party that evening. Here is Dan with his two science teacher girls.
The whole family!


Derby Day!
Not that it mattered to me.... I didn't watch it on TV, nor did I go to Keeneland to watch it there, but it was a beautiful day and I spent it working on my NSF annual report. Dan and his parents and the kids went to the races.


My girls!
Jes, tired from a long day of travel from Denver to here, arrived in time for dinner.
We had Derby Pie for dessert!


Aza got a huge surprise today. Dan asked her to come help him with a window that was broken, so she came downstairs and her grandparents popped out of the kitchen and surprised her! They've come to celebrate her graduation on Sunday. She's the first grandchild on both sides to earn a graduate degree. Yay Aza!

Today I received a special letter in the mail. I'll tell you about it later.


Today was my last day working with the kids on their solar cars. I've yet to analyze the data, but I think it was a successful experience for them. It was fun being back in a classroom every day.