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  Dodie Orlando
Dodie Orlando
I'll beat cancer and have fun doing it!
  Dodie Orlando

Spring is Springing and So Are We!

Dodie with Dakota's (Gene's) sister Nina on Cayman Brac

Last mid-November, 2014, we left you aware of our plans. Now, all has been fulfilled!

Nikki arrived on December 12 and Dan and Lauren on December 16. We had a wonderful visit filled with many happy memories to hold close.Dan and Lauren left for Denver on Christmas Eve, but Nikki was able to stay on until January 3. She is doing well in her Graduate program, maintaining an 8.9 GPA. Can you tell that I am a proud Mom?

On January 9, we departed Reno for warmer climates. We spent nine days in Florida to attend the FWA (Florida Writers Association) conference wrap-up board meeting and to visit Gene's brothers. With all the time spent with Gene's family, I am now converted over to his legal name, "Gene." Isn't it nice to exercise your brain in order to keep up with our changes? The time with his brothers was extra special and we were so grateful for the chance to spend more time with them.

We arrived on Cayman Brac on January 19. Gene's sister, Nina, gave us a warm welcome to kick off our total enjoyment of a tropical winter. Poor Nina gave up much personal lifestyle and privacy to accommodate us for 4 whole weeks, but she did it with grace and style. I came to love her immensely during our stay. She lives in a 2-bedroom, two-story condo surrounded by many other condo owners and is the only condo owner who lives there year-round. She is a friend to all, and it seemed that everyone on the island knows and loves Nina. Having been a resident for 23 years, she holds dual citizenship (U.S. and Cayman Islands).

We took a three-mile walk early each morning and another one-mile walk most evenings. The daytime sun was very warm so we did our exercising before sun-up and at dusk. Palm trees, agave plants, papaya and grape trees, plus myriads of other forms of plant life bordered the road we walked. This road ran from one end of the island to the other for 10 miles. The sound of the surf was ever present and very relaxing. We swam in the pool several times and the surf lulled us to sleep while we lounged on shaded chairs afterward.

The Road Less Traveled

One evening each week, we enjoyed an incredible meal at the Brac Reef Resort followed by a trivia competition. We had a blast in spite of our poor scores! Another evening found us at the Barracuda where we indulged in delicious Pizza baked in an outdoor wood-burning oven by a native Italian. Pizza night at the Barracuda was followed by a few hours of Karaoke. Nina is quite a singer and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing her. Yes, there were other talented islanders singing their hearts out as well. Yet another evening found us at the Captain’s Table where a local fellow entertained the diners by singing. Nina was invited to join him several times each evening we were there. It was such a pleasure to hear her sing and watch her enjoying herself so thoroughly.

We are planning to return next winter. However, we'd like to rent a condo for our visit. Nina is hopeful that one of her friends, a fellow condo owner will give us very reasonable rates. We will wait and see.

Gene wrote a story based on the tales of an Island Icon named Tenson Scott. The local vernacular was a challenge he overcame with the assistance of a local business woman who happened to have a copy of a book about Island dialect. The cost of purchasing this very small book was between $50 and $150 on line so she was not comfortable loaning it. Instead, she scanned it and emailed it to Gene, enabling the story to be written. Tenson is an aging islander who makes jewelry from Caymanite, a type of quarts unique to the island similar to jasper or agate. He also creates beautiful necklaces and earrings made from a shell called Sea Beef. Because Sea Beef is an endangered species, he is the only individual on the Caymans allowed to harvest it for his creative purposes.Besides being a great artist, he is an island icon and a fisherman. Gene would love to record his stories and write them one day.

Tenson Scott of Spot Bay, Cayman Brac

Arriving back home on February 17, we once again hit Reno running. Gene proceeded to resurrect his Writing Clinic and rescued an abandoned writers group (Sparks/Reno Writers) that reads aloud and critiques.

I caught up on my doctoring and passed the cancer check-up with flying colors. My CA125 was 21. We are so grateful for good health. I am learning to use my stovetop pressure cooker and love all its wonders! With it and my VitaMix, yummy concoctions are being created.

We have been home for over 3 weeks and are happy to catch you up on our doings. I will write following each cancer check-up to keep you informed. I plan to have my port removed after one year of remission. Meanwhile, Gene is quite busy with all his activities. While on the Brac he took a stringent editors test for the Florida Writers Associations Editors Helping Writers program and passed with flying colors. The testers were quite surprised as it is extremely rare that one passes on their first attempt. He just received his first “paid” editing gig through the FWA. You all knew what a brilliant soul Gene is, so this is not surprising. With writers meetings hosted six times a month and his work for FWA, as well as his new editing work and personal writing, he is happily busy. We understand that all the activity helps aging minds stay young.

More soon...

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