Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Snow

Post-blizzard, 1985.  Mount Olive, New Jersey

Mt. Olive is in the Northwest of the state, near the Delaware Water Gap, not far from the Pocono Mountains ski areas.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Boundaries

More later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mardi Gras - 10 Years Apart

1950 Duke and Duchess of Windsor share a float in the Rex Mardi Gras Parade.

The Duke and Duchess (Wallis Simpson) at the Ball, being received at court by Rex, the King of Mardi Gras - 1950.

1960. A Duke in Costume for Krewe of Terpsichore. 

And a good laugh was had by all.  I wonder who this person could be?!?

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Experience


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Everything Old is New Again, and Again.

At the Cancer Center for treatment today, I had a sudden blast from the past
Flashback to the early-nineties. Reminding me of when healthy people were first diagnosed with HIV; everything was fine as long as they remained relatively healthy. Friends were always on hand for dinners, parties, movies, or quiet evenings at home playing board games. Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and cut-throat sessions of Monopoly were always in order.  Remember, I was part of the Buddy system back then.

But at a visible sign of illness (like KS lesions) or hospitalization (usually PCP) those friends, those happy times evaporated, were history.  Never to be repeated. Friends and family vanished overnight. The very time when a person needed someone most was when he/she was deserted, essentially labelled DEAD already. And no one wanted to be a part of that messy time.  Oh, the hospital stories I could tell…


 This is what drew my attention today at the Cancer Center for the first time.  I don’t know why I didn’t recognize it earlier, the ugliness is unmistakably there. Maybe I’m the only one to notice it. I saw a lot of it 25 years ago. 

Many patients are my age and older, but there is a group of younger men and women dealing with the same, or worse, cancer diagnoses  and treatments. Some who used to be transported by friends/family members now arrive by taxi, or assisted hospital van - alone. 

Seems things never change. Folks are squeamish about the seriousness of the illness a friend or loved one is dealing with, and suddenly have other things to do. Sometimes they come back to pick up the patient, but only when called by nursing staff that all treatments are over for the day. 

As usual, the patients buy into the excuses and denial wins the day.  Very sad. Nothing for it, though. I try to chat with these patients about their current treatment and add my own experiences.  It helps relax them a little.  Like, we’re in this together and it’s OK to talk about it.  Especially with the nursing staff.

Still, it makes me sad to see anyone tossed aside as if they’re lives were nothing.  I’m already alone, so no need to suffer such indignities, myself.

We just keep plugging along.  Laughter is the best therapy, and we do a lot of that when I’m around. At least until they drug me, that is.  And sometimes that’s a good thing. 

Besides, I’m still riding high on the energy from last Friday’s Happy Hour shindig. 

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Stop!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: PSB - A Man From The Future

There are few reviews of this performance from last week. A couple I read were written by persons who have no idea who Alan Turing was, or who Pet Shop Boys are.  I found this one to be the most fulfilling, musically honest, and firmly grounded in the essence of the project. It's a 50 - 50 decision here, I think.  But she does know her stuff. The reviewer complains of not enough of Chris Lowe’s synth input in the piece. I’ll wait and see/hear for myself. The fact that the piece was celebrated at all is indicative of the Brit’s love of PSB musically.

I do hope this performance (on my birthday) was recorded for later release, but with PSB, that’s always very iffy, indeed. From The Guardian:
Nomenclature can get tricky when you think outside the box. What are we to call A Man From the Future, the Pet Shop Boys' tribute to mathematician Alan Turing, elegantly premiered last Wednesday at the Proms? A pop oratorio? A classical audiobiography? 
It is narrated by Juliet Stevenson, unkindly housed in a shonky-looking plywood box behind the orchestra. Her steely, authoritative tones remain purposely impassive, a judge passing harsh sentence on an era, even when they describe the death of the Bletchley Park code-breaker's first love from tuberculosis. A lonely bell clangs for this boy called Chris. Later, it clangs for Turing himself, as the piece in eight movements draws to an intense close. We pop heathens do know not to clap in between them. 
Turing died young of cyanide poisoning, an assumed suicide, after the innovative mathematician suffered chemical castration and lost his security clearance in the wake of a conviction for gross indecency. (Some do wonder whether his death was in fact suicide .)  
His tale works as an operatic tragedy and this piece is extensively sung: by the BBC Singers, augmented by Neil Tennant, who frequently refers to a score housed in a large red folder. They function like a Greek chorus, repeating Stevenson's words theatrically, picking out phrases to drum home. "Can you feel what I think? Do you feel what I feel?" they demand, teasing out the elements of Turing's outer and inner lives. The Enigma code-breaker imagined a "universal machine" that could compute, as far back as the war; boxes, now called computers, that could think outside the box. Turing's innermost feelings, of course, ran painfully counter to the law of the day, and the discussion of his gay leanings gets a breezy, almost swinging treatment, full of longing. 
Mainly, though, this tribute is lavishly orchestrated. The BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Dominic Wheeler, is doing the heavy lifting tonight. As the piece is often stirring or sad, the strings out-rank the brass and woodwind; I would have liked to hear more from the less strident corners of the ensemble. PSB synth jockey Chris Lowe is hidden at the very back beside some sound guys, identifiable only by a pair of fat red headphones and a baseball cap. Magnificently diffident, clad in shades and jeans, he comes down at the end and doesn't bow. 
Turing's story is deeply affecting, and the telling of it by an establishment organisation (the BBC, which runs the Proms) in an establishment venue (the Royal Albert Hall) in an establishment idiom (classical) is cause for celebration. We have come far since sodomy and treachery were felt to be synonymous by the state. (Or have we? Gay men who weren't Enigma code-breakers remain unpardoned.) 
But we really could have done with more from Lowe, and modernity more widely. Turing was, after all, a man from The Future. Even given the operatic nature of his tale and the rarefied Proms setting, wrapping this man up in strings seems a contradictory impulse. The very best passages here recall Giorgio by Moroder, a terrific electronic narrative from last year's Daft Punk album, such as when Lowe's vintage analogue sounds, laptop emissions and some unexpected beats (from a man hitting his cello, an excellent touch) penetrate the swell of the classical players.

And so it goes.

Note: One of the two birthday gifts to arrive without the gifter’s name is a DVD recording of the Pet Shop Boys “Cubism” concert. A gift that I will be viewing this evening for the first time. The first of many more to come, I am sure.

Again, thank you, who ever you are. 

Just a Thought: Price

More later.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It’s All Good

Homes facing the ocean seen from the boardwalk.
It’s been a first rate kind of day.  Not having to be anywhere near anything even remotely medical was a real joy. I took my walk on the boardwalk at dawn, then sat with an iced coffee on a bench watching the walkers, runners, cyclists (bicycles are banned after 10 a.m.), and groups of friends heading out to breakfast after what appeared to the naked eye to be a very happy Friday evening on the town. 

None the worse for wear from my 2 Dark & Stormy’s last night, I felt in fine fettle, as it were. One of those rare, for me anyway, mornings where everything felt as it should. Everything at peace.  I know reality is far from that, but for a few brief moments it worked for me.

Got into the car and drove to my Silver Queen farmer’s staked out spot and waited for his arrival.  Snagged another 6 small ears and was told that there will be corn for another week, or two.  Then that’s it until next year.  Though the ears are smaller than most corn, I can eat only 2 at a sitting, and I don’t want them to dry or turn starchy. Pigging out on Silver Queen this weekend is a good thing.

Too bad the stuff can’t be hoarded or frozen - it loses it’s fine texture and sweetness after freezing, unless you take it off the cob and par-boil it beforehand.  That ruins the taste for me. I’m grateful for what I’ve had this year. 

Was going to stop for a few bottles of wine, but the car parks at the liquor stores were overflowing and I didn’t feel like waiting, since there were others there ahead of me. There must be something going on in the beach communities this weekend that I don’t know about - which in itself isn’t unusual. I don’t keep track of these things anymore.  Traffic was already bumper-to-bumper as I drove home before noon. I have a bottle each of Chardonnay and Merlot left, so any new purchase can wait until Monday. 

Visited a few fave blogs and caught up on lives and news. I was especially intrigued by Fearsome’s recent posts from Comic-Con.  In the process I discovered what will likely be a future Nexus reading adventure.  I’d not heard of the “Outlander” books before. So I used the Google to learn more.

They sound interesting, so I will definitely check them out. The Kindle editions are available on Amazon, so it will be easy to get started. There’s also a TeeVee series based on the books set to air in the US next month.  Of course, I won’t see it; not having TeeVee service and all, but it looks well done,  interesting.

The nicest part of today was receiving text messages from the usual suspects from last evening, saying how much fun they had and that we really have to do it again in a week, or two.  

Last evening’s event was a reminder of how much these people mean to me. I don’t know if I mean the same to them, but that doesn’t matter. They bring such joy, humor, and a healthy dose of crazy into my otherwise stifled life, that I could never thank them enough. Besides, if I got all mushy like this with them, they’d slap me upside the head and tell me to drink up!  And, I would.

Well, in about 2 weeks the schools and colleges begin opening and that should make parking and getting around town a hell-of-a-lot easier.  So, yeah, Thursday or Friday Happy Hour!?!  Game on!

And so it goes.

Caturday - Go With The Flow

More later.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Office Visits & A Dark and Stormy…

Thursday morning: Surgeon Office Visit.  New port placement healing well, no irritation or infection detected. (Yay!) previous port site is healing well and required no further stitching. (is that a word?) No future appointment scheduled unless problems arise. Yay, Again!

Friday’s appointment postponed til next week to coincide with upcoming Lab work.  This means I have all of today off. No medical - No nothing!

Just the Happy Hour soiree with old co-workers at the Pig & Fish.  A Dark and Stormy was the cocktail du jour. Linda’s choice. Let me know if you don’t know what it is.  Think lovely Ginger Beer!  Weeee!

A few of my favorite customers from Dos Locos showed up as a surprise to wish me well, and blew me away. Straight couples to boot, and the guys gave me big hugs, one kissed me on the mouth.  I can’t say I was shocked by the gesture. Straight men, at least in my recent experience, are not hung up on showing affection to other men, anymore.  He also happens to be one of the best looking men around and I’ve mentioned him and his wife in past posts. They are amazing people. 

Their parents, kids, and grandkids (if you saw these two, you’d never believe they were old enough to have kids, let alone, the grand variety) couldn’t be here so early on a Friday, so they sent video text messages to me instead.  I cried like a fucking baby, so sue me.  

We ate.  Oh, did we eat! Our Appetizers included hog wings, pulled pork nachos, chesapeake blue crab dip, shrimp and bay scallops with garlic on baguette points. Drool, drool. etc.!

It felt grand to be immersed in such positive energy.  My buddy, Jeffrey, (the guy who is probably responsible for saving my life last year) had this evening off but chose to come by after his shift and lift a glass with us, as well. We both cried just a bit. Maybe he’s as surprised as I am that I’m still here.

Even my friend and sidekick, Debbie was able to attend and create her own kind of chaos and disorder, as only she can. (Like I say, it’s a small town and the crazy runs wide and deep in us all.) Once we got her settled in, it was a sweet, smooth and happy ride.  Think Jabba’s desert glider without Carrie Fisher’s gilded bikini.  I know you can. 

We had our “wing” of the bar - an L that took the front and right side in equal proportions - our joy was infectious,  folks kept coming over to join in our fun, if only for a short time or just to say HELLO and wish me well. I had no idea I had such a reputation…

Having knocked back 2 Dark and Stormy cocktails and all that food set before us, Linda knew it was time for me to call it a night. She was right, of course, and I didn’t argue. I was ready for the ride home and a good night’s sleep, which I will undoubtedly enjoy since I am free of all things medical until Monday.

May life include a few more days like this one. Please.

And so it goes.

Lawsuit Against Bush Administration Moves Forward

Wow!  Just, WOW! I’ve heard rumors about this story for a while, but this is
the first I’ve seen it in print and that it appears to be of substance.  I can only say - “IF ONLY” this were to come to pass, at least some vindication for others around the globe who’ve been discussing these events and dates for years. The story:
Earlier this year, the Department of Justice, who is defending the six Bush Administration officials, responded to the lawsuit by requesting that the case be dismissed. The Bush tribe is claiming that the planning of the war occurred within the scope of their employment and therefore they have immunity.
Rather than dismissing the case, the Judge asked for additional information. So Mr. Comar filed a 2nd amended complaint back in June. The amended complaint provides more details about the planning of the Iraq war and when it started.
Comar essentially made two points to the court.
The first argument he made was something called judicial estoppel. It prevents a party from taking a position in a case which is contrary to a position they have taken in earlier legal proceedings. In this case, Comar used the Nuremburg Trials as an example.
The Nuremburg Trials, which the United States views as legitimate, held Nazi leaders accountable for their acts of aggression. Comar held that judicial estoppel dictates the Bush Administration and DOJ can’t argue that leaders aren’t accountable for acts of aggression because it runs contrary to the US’s position at Nuremburg.
The second point that was made referred to the Augusto Pinochet trial. In 1999, British Lawyers determined that Pinochet did not have immunity for certain acts he committed while in office such as torture and other violations of international law. These Brits held that Pinochet was not immune because Chile had signed the convention against torture.
Comar’s evidence, shows the Bush/Cheney team started planning the invasion of Iraq as far back as 1997. The amended complaint also explains that the war was motivated by personal enrichment and the war was a “crime of aggression.” and - In light of the treaties and charters that the United States has signed, Comar stated that the defence can’t now claim that acts of aggression are above a leader’s authority. In this case, the Bush Administration.

Could there finally be justice done in this case? Or, will whoever is president when the case is decided pardon the lot of them.

So far, this story has been successfully swept under the collective media’s rug. Let’s see what happens from here.

No pictures of the vermin until they're in Orange Jumpsuits, sitting in the dock at the Hague.

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Insecurity

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: West Side Highway

Cycling - 1976  Westside Highway closed from the Battery to 57th Street.   Biking paradise. Weather permitting, I rode my bike to work from the village to the upper west side. Usually made it in less than 10 minutes, and no taxis to dodge - or curse.

Looking south to the Battery and the New World Trade Center Towers. It had opened a few years before. The old wharfs seen at right are gone now. It's all flat roadway, a promenade, and the Hudson River.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Where's Willy?

A Sock?  It's only a guess...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nativity, Hell Yeah!

With the medical mishugas going on in my life right now, I had to take a breath, grab a bite to eat, and re-group. This is a post for me.

It is the day of my nativity.  Not that I was born in a manger, found in a  basket in the bullrushes, or born in a trunk in the Princess Theater in Pocatello, Idaho.  Still it used to be something to celebrate with a nice meal, friends, drinks and lots of laughs. 

And now, even with all the craziness my life has become I find myself on the receiving end of friendly wishes and generosity. Yes, warm wishes and even gifts. 

I have received gifts; 2 anonymously and one from a frequent visitor who didn’t give permission to thank them publicly. A gift card email arrived from Peter in Holland, as did 2 others in today’s post - again anonymously (cards unsigned, no return address) - these for local restaurants.

I don’t know exactly how to express what I feel right now and maybe with all the drugs and junk in my system that’s a good thing. I can only say that I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the thoughts and care brought into my life today.

Being alone is an OK thing.  Being lonely is a relatively new feeling and much harder to handle. All I can say is that you make life less lonely. 

Even though it is “strongly suggested” that I not imbibe, I am going to have myself the biggest, bad-assed Manhattan - Up, of course - the world has ever seen as soon as I post this.

And just in case you’re wondering;   I would like to be where THIS is happening - RIGHT NOW! 

Niki Nana (We're One)

And so it goes.

Like Any Other Day...

This topped my screen when I logged into Google just now. Happy Birthday!?!
I didn't know they cared...I know.  They don't.

What was supposed to be, unplanned as it was, a quiet day of naval gazing, thinking about my present life, and future, if any, turned into another round of visits to medical professionals and labs. 

The rash on my arms has migrated to the upper chest and neck, and has begun to itch terribly. A call from the Oncologist this morning told me an appointment was scheduled for this afternoon with a Dermatologist for punch biopsies.  Thereby shooting a big hole in my otherwise perfectly mindless day. 

My reputation preceded me.  The Dermatologist knew all about me and my case. Seems I have a friend, or two, at the Center looking out for me. He squeezed me in as a favor.  Three hours and 2 biopsies later I have a new body shampoo and cream. The guesses are one rash is drug-related, the other by the weakened immune system.

More blood work, too. Needed to check the iron level in my body from weekly transfusions. Why this wasn’t done with the rest of the tests yesterday is anybody’s guess. Another hour for this one.

The Oncologist decided that one of the scrips I’m taking has been superseded by a better, new and improved version, so a replacement prescription awaits me this afternoon as well. 

The question is; will I ever again spend a whole 24-hour day outside the world of healthcare and medical establishment? T0day marks the 17th day of non-stop medical madness with appointments on Thursday and Friday waiting in the wings.

More later.

Exxon - Mobil Will Comply

No hissy fits, so far.  Hey! it’s big money, you know.

Please note: I’m old.  I remember these things. 

Before the Merger with Exxon, Mobil Oil already had a non-discrimination policy and offered benefits to Lesbian & gay couples/families.  All that disappeared after the merger and seems to have been forgotten. I haven’t purchased their products since well before the merger, and still won’t.

So, this is good news on so many levels, especially after 15 long years of rejection by the shareholders and corporate heads. 
From the AP:
IRVING, Texas — Exxon Mobil Corp. has said it will comply with the new protections for gay and transgender employees required of federal contractors, while still sidestepping the question of whether it will formalize that by changing the language of its corporate policy.
Following President Barack Obama's signing of an executive order Monday expanding protections for federal workers and contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Labor Department has 90 days to issue regulations for how employers must comply.
Exxon, which according to government records won more than $480 million in federal contracts in 2013 and more than $8 billion since 2006, has long resisted pressure from civil rights groups and shareholders to enumerate such protections in its formal policy.
The world's biggest oil and gas company by market value will continue to "abide by the law," spokesman Alan Jeffers said Tuesday.
He wouldn't say if that meant changing the language in the company's formal equal employment opportunity policy, but stressed that Exxon prohibits "discrimination on any basis."

I'm not sure if the originally covered Mobil employees were grandfathered in to the new company and were allowed to keep their benefits, or if they became instant second class citizens. Haven’t been able to track that one down, yet.

Yes, corporations are people.  Keep saying that over and over.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Watching

Or, worse.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pick One?

Oh, sure! 

That’s easier said than done.  In the off-season, we could have a drink at each place, but it ain’t, so we can’t. Linda suggested choosing from 5 venues for our mini-party. Choosing one isn’t going to be easy.  I mean, check out this list:

The Henlopen City Oyster House
The Blue Moon
The Pig and Fish
Salt Air
Cafe Azafran, Lewes

All offer super Happy Hour drink specials, and the HH food menus are outrageously good and inexpensive. The chefs always try new things, or bring back popular items from the old dinner menu, but in smaller, half-plate portions. 

Hog wings, mussels in wine with scallions, fried green tomatoes topped with lump crab remoulade, various cheese boards, sliders, etc.  You get the idea. Happy Hour food can be (and has been) an evening’s supper.

But, where to go? I’d rather just go along where ever everyone else wants to go. Let’s be honest, I haven’t been to a full-blown HH in a group since I got sick last Summer, so everyone else already knows where the best goodies are to be had.

I think they want me to choose because it’s my day.  I’d rather be surprised, myself. 

The only venue I would skip over would be The Blue Moon.  It’s a top-notch, fine-dining restaurant, one of the state's best since 1980.  But not for HH at the bar. Too many young, DC queans in their Abercrombie & Fitch skinny jeans and tee shirts - and they all wear them. It’s the clone look of the decade, dont'cha know.  They tend to be noisy and obnoxious drunks, but seem content to put up with one another for an evening.  I am not!

Cafe Azafran & Salt Air have the shortest HH hours (5 to 7 pm) and I know that
will be a problem for the lushes ‘er heavier drinkers in our group. So, all things considered, we’re down to The Oyster House (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) or Pig & Fish (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.).  If you read this space often you will already know that both of these are faves of mine.

I’ll suggest both to Linda, since some of the gang may have to work the lunch shift til 4 p.m. anyway, and let them finalize the location accordingly.  I don’t think I can be more diplomatic than that. And after 7 hours at the Center today, I am too tired to even try.

At this point, I'd be happy sitting on a park bench under a tree drinking wine from a box or paper sack, as long as I was with those I care about.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Hawking on God

More later.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stirring up Trouble & Stir Fry

Just when I thought it was safe to take a short walk around town, there was an
attempted robbery - yes, here in town - and the summer rent-a-cops are having a law-enforcement field day.

As I watched the chaos unfolding, hearing the shouts and crackling radios, I realized no one knew what he or she was doing. So, I did an about-face and returned home. The walk will wait for another day.

After the morning lab work and Neupogen shot, I stopped at the market for veggie fixin’s - red pepper, snow peas, bamboo shoots, spring onions, and broccoli.  I’ve been on a stir-fry kick lately. Wokking everything in sight; chicken, pork, beef are alternately on the menu. Nothing is safe from my Wok! Such cooking adds spice and zip to my otherwise bland diet. I need the extra zip because my taste buds are not functioning well and spicing things up helps a lot.

Tonight will be sliced pork in a hoisin and peanut sauce. With sticky rice, of course. There is usually enough  left over for another meal, so when I am tired and don’t feel like cooking, it’s pork stir-fry magical microwave time.  Supper in less than 10 minutes.

Just received a text from Linda, the wee Irish Lass, and my old GM at Dos Locos, wanting to set up a Happy Hour Birthday Celebration with me this week. I had hoped no one would remember, but no such luck. She ticked off 5 options, informing me that there will be at least 4 other folks involved and that I will be picked up and delivered home for the occasion. No Ifs - Ands - Buts about it. She asked what I wanted for my birthday…I chose not to share my real wish.

The final Neupogen shot happens tomorrow along with a double transfusion session, so I suggested we aim for Thursday afternoon.  With new blood coursing through my veins I should have the energy of a bear and will likely be more positive about the whole affair than I am right now. 

Still, it’s nice that she is thinking of me and wants to spend some quality time with me. (Ahem! What she really wants to do is get me drunk with friends. She may just succeed.) She and the other 4 cohorts are former co-workers of mine at Dos Locos, so it ought to be a hell of a good time.

Meanwhile, many of the ebooks I’ve downloaded in the resent past have been rejected for one reason or another. Bad writing, editing, proofing, and storytelling...and I don't think I'm that hard to please.

I find myself wanting to revisit books read many years ago.  I also find that they hold up better, writing-wise, than most of the new product on the market. Then imagine my surprise when, today I found another Pern book from the Dragon series. Of course, I downloaded it,  “The Dolphins of Pern” will be special (read distracting) for tomorrow while being transfused.  

Sometimes life does indeed suck, but this isn’t one of those times.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Think

If only...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday at the Beach With Tourists

The fool-proof way I know Sunday from the other days anymore, is by the ringing bells of All Saints Episcopal Church a few blocks away. Other than that, the days just run one into another with little  discernible difference. The only distinguishing markings are scribblings on the calendar to let me know when I have to be where, and at what time. 

Although rain was threatening, I went down to the boardwalk at dawn and had a nice walk. Met some lovely people from Chicago on their first visit and we sat on a bench for a while with iced coffees in hand while I gave them a few tips for things to see and do that are either totally free, or request small donations. 

Of course, they wanted dining suggestions, as well, and you know me, I was all too happy to oblige with a few of my favorites. They wanted to leave their cars parked as much as possible and enjoy what the town has to offer. Fortunately, everything is within walking distance of the beach and their B & B. 

I had suggestions for Lewes, too.  Especially a visit to the Zwaanendael Museum in the center of town. A Little bit of Dutch in Delaware. The Dutch  settled the place, you know.  The building is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands and a visit is always a treat.

Suggested having lunch at one of the restaurants on the Lewes-Rehoboth canal
which leads directly to Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Could be a relaxing day trip.

They had plenty of questions regarding the history of Rehoboth Beach and Lewes.  They chose Delaware for this year’s holiday because of a couple of articles they’d read and a few visits to various RB websites.

Turns out they’re staying in the B & B owned by two guys I know and were relieved to get a good review. Seems their previous B & B experience wasn’t such a good one - on Old Cape Cod. They couldn’t believe the kindness, friendliness and generosity of us local folks.  

Our willingness to engage in conversation with strangers, pride in the town and local businesses really took them by surprise. That’s usually the case when folks come to visit from far away big cities; there's always that fear of being ripped off, taken advantage of, or dismissed as only a bottomless money-pit.  In spite of what you may have read elsewhere, it ain’t like that here.

Anyway. I had to keep my appointment for the shot, so I left them with a short list of eateries, and local businesses for shopping - in town.  Not the outlet stores. They can get far better merchandise and better bargains right here in town.

Yes, I also told them to enjoy at least one dining out event at Dos Locos.  They like Mexican food and were grateful for the suggestion. These people are really nice and I am sure the Locosguys will love them, too.

Coming home from the Center all southbound traffic came to a screeching stop. A 4-car pile up - involving all three lanes - had the state police quite busy for a while.  We had to wait for the helicopter med-evac to leave, and the roadway was cleared of the auto parts and other debris.  An hour and forty five minutes later, we were on our way. That was my cue. Parked and home until I have to get the next shot tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Forty-three days til Labor Day - which is early this year - and it’s all over. (Yes, I am counting. Just shoot me!) Some schools and colleges start in about a month, so things should lighten up around here at that time. May it be so.

And so it goes.


Just a Thought - Music

More later.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fending, Finding, and FUBAR**


Friday turned into an epic FUBAR day; equal parts Fellini and The Marx Brothers at their best - with a little Doris Day thrown in for balance.  Without going into confusing detail, let’s just say that between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. chaos, computer glitches, dumb decisions, were the norm rather than exception.  Beaucoup stoopid, as I say. And on top of all the rest, a last-minute discovery that platelets were low caused more hysteria, yet another delay

Anyway, after 22 hours without food or drink I was beyond hungry or thirsty and closer to numb.  Beyond feeling discomfort or pain. Since the day went longer than anyone dreamed it could, my offer to buy Kelli’s lunch went out the window. By the time she fetched me at the hospital, it was late and she still had work to do at the office. I was dropped off at home and had to fend for myself.

Fine. While still coming out of the anesthetic haze, I microwaved some frozen Beef Daube, covered it with rice and along with copious amounts of water - had dinner. 

After the small meal I hit the bed and was out almost immediately. Slept long and deep, thanks to the goddess. Today it all seems so surreal.  But, it all happened. 

There are three patches on my chest - there should only be 2 - only the goddess knows what was done to me in all the confusion. In any case, I survived, am aware (to a degree), walking, talking (when necessary) and functioning as normally as any human could after such an experience. 

Of course, I am sore, but none the worse for what the old body was put through.  Breakfast was scrambled eggs, toast and a coffee. Today it’s back to the routine of drugs, (some were suspended prior to surgery) foods (even though it’s 90’F outdoors, I crave a heavy chicken with veggie soup), and a little light exercise.

There were six items on my gay agenda today:
  • Walk the Boardwalk at dawn.
  • Appointment at the Center for the Neupogen shot.
  • Pick up new prescriptions at the Pharmacy.
  • Prepare Chicken soup.
  • Order a telephone answering device for the land line.
  • Upgrade the memory in the MAC MINI.

The weather was ideal for the walk. Cool, cloudy, with a light fog. It's nice to have the boardwalk and ocean almost all to myself. Though the ocean was calm, one could still enjoy the sounds and smell while walking in the light fog. It was a peaceful bit of heaven.

One of the Lab Techs at the Center tried to scold me for not showing up for the second Neupogen shot yesterday.  After I chewed her face off for 5 minutes, she walked away with tail between her legs.  Came by as I was leaving later to apologize. Never judge anyone’s actions or inactions, especially if you don’t know the reason or cause.

The pharmacy was an interesting experience, as well. The two pharmacists - both of African Heritage - are very kind, helpful, and generous with their time and knowledge. Their names are Aousten and Ougwan.  Both are gentlemen of about my age. 

They always greet me with a smile and floored me today,  telling me how nice it is to serve me. That they were sorry a person like me am going through what I am at present. They were clearly having a bad day, customer-wise.  It is July, after all. Still, it’s nice to receive such a rare compliment anytime.

With the upgrading of cables Verizon is doing in my neighborhood, the landline and DSL service have been problematic over the past weeks (or months, who can remember?), as a result I’ve been missing calls.  Not good in the current situation. I decided I needed a digital answering device to collect any missed calls, so went hunting at Radio Shack & Staple’s. 

There is no doubt in my mind why both those companies are about to go belly-up. The staff is clueless and as bright as a bag of hammers. (One had never heard of a digital telephone answering device, vaguely knew what a wired phone was. Honest!) So, getting nowhere fast, I tried the usual suspects - K-Mart, and finally Wal-Mart, only to come up empty again.

On to Amazon (why don’t I ever think of this option first?) and found one within seconds. They’re more sophisticated these days, offer more recording time and more bells and whistles, too. So, ten minutes and $10.00 later, an answering device will be arriving at my home on Monday.

Have to make a note to think of Amazon first when it comes to obscure, uncommon items.  I’m a Prime member - for the free Kindle Library, movies, and 2-day shipping, but it’s never first in my head for situations like this  There were many options to choose from and the item descriptions usually covered questions one would normally ask an informed sales person, who, unfortunately, exist only in the shadows of the past.

Picked up the fresh veggies for the soup on the way home, resisting temptation to munch on the raw *celery and carrots;  whimpering as I dropped them into the Dutch Oven with the broth. Soup will be ready by suppertime.  Yay!  Me!

Always the procrastinator! When I purchased the MAC MINI last year, the sale price included only 8GB of memory. The money saved by going with the 8, instead of 16GB upgrade was enough for the purchase of the super drive DVD.  I thought the 8 would be sufficient for my needs.

A go-to friend at the restaurant, and self-proclaimed MAC MANIAC wasn't so sure.  He thought the 16 would be more efficient and faster. I couldn’t afford the added expense - especially dealing with a then unknown illness - so the (on sale) MINI with the 8GB won out.

Well, not to be dismissed, my friend gave me the 16GB modules a few weeks later. He had removed them from a non-working MAC and wouldn’t take a penny for them.  Just insisting I install them and see the difference.  Well, 9 months later and I finally switched them out - the 16 for the 8 - and you know, he was absolutely right. 

It’s a snap to do, requiring nimble fingers, and no tools.  Totally unlike a Windows PC. The no tools thing I could handle, the nimble fingers thing was another story.  Still, I got it done and am a very happy camper. Now I have to suck it up, call Eddie to tell him the deed is done and listen his “I told you, so” reprimand. It'll be worth it.

This post is longer than expected, but there’s been more activity these past 48 hours: Port removed, New Port embedded, Fresh Soup, New Telephone answering device, improved MAC, and a much higher platelet count, to boot.

That last bit may be the reason I have more  energy this evening than usual. I graciously accept any and all.

And so it goes.

**FUBAR = fucked up beyond all recognition.

X - Caturday

I'll say.....and then some.

More later.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just a Thought: Sick Birds?

Where to take them, then?

It Was All a Lie

Remember when I wrote that I had a 3-week hiatus  from the Center and Hospital?  Remember that?  Well, I lied!  All Hell suddenly broke loose yesterday: the Port-a-Cath replacement surgery was  rescheduled for today, Friday. I’ve broken out in some sort of rash. It doesn’t itch, just red bumps on both arms and legs.  Think it could be from stress? Ya’ think? Maybe. 

My white cells are in the sub-basement again, so it’s another 5 days of Neupogen shots (started yesterday!) one-a-day through Monday. New blood work on Tuesday, and then it’s check the port-a-cath healing and remove stitches next Thursday.

Had a call earlier that due to the low blood count, there will be blood work done when I register this morning. 

I’m being picked up by taxi shortly, off to the same-day surgery wing. Being the height of the season, there is no one to take me and pick me up afterwards. Due to some liability mumbo jumbo, I can’t drive myself home, it’s an insurance thing.  Bless their hearts. The hospital wouldn’t release me, in that case. Bless their hearts, too.

The taxi service can’t drive me home, either.  Same reasons apply.  So, the surgeon’s assistant, Kelli, will do the honors to make sure I get home safe and sound following the procedure.  They don’t come much nicer than that.

The phones (house and cell) rang all day yesterday as things came together, fell apart, and came back together - miraculously in some cases.  One call told me to report to pre-op at 11:30 a.m. seems they had no record of the initial scheduled time of 8 a.m. They checked, called twice more to get more information, checked with the surgeon’s schedule, and finally called back at 5-fucking-30 to re-confirm the initial arrival time.

I don’t know if I am coming or going. The last food and drink passed my lips at 6:30 last night and it’s likely that nothing will until around noontime today. If anyone asks if I am lightheaded, I’ll deck ‘em!

I’ll relax when I arrive in hospital where there are no ringing phones or insipid questions being thrown at me. Where I can look forward to being knocked out for a while without a care in the world. 

As Anne Marie (the dear) wrote in a comment recently: plus ca change, plus la meme chose. An old saying, but so true.

I don’t need LSD (life is already too bizarre) but where can I get a bit of happyweed?  Or, happy-anything? Jeez!

More later.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Fort Pike

Fort Pike, LA.  19th Century protection for the port of New Orleans. These were taken in 1979 before the restoration process began. (Click to embiggen)

Pike’s Peak in the Rockies is named for the same General Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779-1813)

And so it goes.

R.I. P. Elaine Stritch.

One of the very best has left us. I first saw her in Sail Away, then, of course, in Company (3 times!) She was everything and all that she put out there and her gay fans ate her up. Two friends attended her last 5 shows at the Carlisle, and said she did a different show each and every night. That takes guts and a certain rapport with your audience. As least I have “At Liberty” on DVD and can see her any time I wish.  But not tonight.  This is so sudden and so sad.

Actress Elaine Stritch, star of Broadway hits including “Elaine Stritch at Liberty” and “Show Boat,” who was nominated for multiple Tonys and Emmys, winning three of the latter, has died. She was 89.

Stritch made her stage debut at New York’s New School in 1944. The actress understudied Ethel Merman for “Call Me Madam” while simultaneously appearing in the 1952 revival of “Pal Joey”; later she starred in the national tour of “Call Me Madam.”
Her professional relationship with Sondheim lasted decades. She made famous Sondheim’s sneeringly witty tune “The Ladies Who Lunch” in 1970’s “Company,” sang his enduring “I’m Still Here” in her 2002 solo show and performed in a 2010 revue of his tunes called “At Home at the Carlyle: Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim…One Song at a Time.” The actress appeared in Garth Drabinsky’s smash hit “Show Boat” in 1994 and in Edward Albee’s play “A Delicate Balance” in 1996.
In 2010 Stritch replaced Angela Lansbury as Madame Armfeldt in “A Little Night Music” on Broadway.
The actress was profiled in the 2013 feature documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” (photo above), directed by Chiemi Karasawa.

And so it goes.


Sassy Bear & The Cajun Treatment Comparison

OK Sassy Bear, you’re on.  Here is a shot of Sean (aka Sassy Bear) patiently awaiting treatment, and one of Self scowling after treatment, posing in our individual, unique torture chamber devices er’ Infusion chairs.

 Sassy looks all Sunshine and Lollipops in a cheerful, brightly lit atmosphere. He is resigned, showing the face of experience; one who has been around this block - or others like it -  a few times before. Like, “This Too Shall Pass” kind of face. Yes, the photo is shamelessly pilfered from his site. So, sue me!

While I, on the other hand, stuck in a corner, look like a refugee from the walking dead.  Sporting my festive rash on calves and forearms. I ain’t none too happy about being where I have to be.  In our own way we are each saying "well, here we are again.  Now, what?"

First off, the chairs at my Center are new, boasting heat and massage capabilities with a fly-away, drop-down tray for use when needed.  Sassy’s Center chairs look like High-Chairs for grownups.  But never mind. 

Sassy, thank the goddess Eiron we’re not treated in the same center - together - simultaneously.  Although it would do us a world of good, the staff would probably run out of the place screaming. And, you know what, that’s as it should be. 

Seriously Sean, I hope your nursing staff is as caring and compassionate as mine. They help me to carry on, maintain my sensashumah, and are very sensitive to my needs. Sometimes even before I know I have them.

I am grateful that you have your man and your close friend to see you through what must be frustratingly horrendous to deal with.

On the other hand, I am looking for a way out of this medical madness. I’d like to leave the planet. I’ve tried phoning home - no one answers.  With my luck they’ve probably changed the locks while I’ve been away. I’m stuck.

Anyway, Ladies and Gentlemen, If you call right now, you can vote on the most fashionable infusion center furnishings.  Operators are standing by…

And so it goes.


"Win, We Must…"

"For Our Cause Is Just…."    Stupid!

Have a look at this new poll, please:

37% of Mississippi GOPers Would Back Confederates in New Civil War.
A new Public Policy Polling survey found that 37 percent of Republicans who voted in the Mississippi primary runoff election between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) said they would back the Confederate side if there was another Civil War.
Let me hear it once more about the “new” South. Just as lost in the past as the Old South.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Cake

No I am not!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bye Archie. Ya Done Good.

It is very strange - a world without Archie - but the way he's going out is totally in character.  With dignity, courage, and class.

And so it goes.

Black and Blue

Thanks to the Universe this second round of Chemo is over. My body has 3 weeks to heal from the punctures, rashes, soreness, and bruising. (At least the bruises are hidden under clothes.) The side effects were more intense this second go-round than the first, so I gather the next 2 rounds will be about the same, or more intense, bruising and pain-wise. Made me think of Louis Armstrong’s cover of the Fats Waller tune from the 1920s: 
"Black & Blue"
Cold empty bed, springs hard as lead
Feels like ol' Ned wished I was dead
What did I do to be so black and blue
Even the mouse ran from my house
They laugh at you and scorn you too
What did I do to be so black and blue
I'm white inside but that don't help my case
'Cause I can't hide what is in my face
How would it end, ain't got a friend
My only sin is on my skin
What did I do to be so black and blue
How would it end, ain't got a friend
My only sin is in my skin
What did I do to be so black and blue

Never mind.  I’ll take that as it comes. Right now I want to focus on the 3 weeks of healing and enjoying what’s left of the summer season. 

Speaking of the season, in my next life I want to be a weather-predictor person. So far, this season’s local and regional predictions have been way off - less than 10% accurate.  I want a job where I can be right 10% of the time and still draw a nice, fat paycheck.

If you followed the forecasts for this area, you would know what I mean.  Expected highs for the past 8 days were to be around 85’F.  In reality, we’ve hit the upper 90s every day with ultra-high humidity.  That makes breathing for someone with my illness very difficult, indeed.

We all know that in July a severe thunderstorm can appear out of nowhere at any time, so why even bother to predict when and where they will occur? But, they do.  The severe storms predicted for all day yesterday (and scaring the hospital staff half to death - don’t ask, I don’t know why.) didn’t materialize until around 8 o’clock last night.  And, they certainly made up for lost time. I even lost electric power momentarily.

The heavy rain continues off and on although the forecast calls for a 10% chance.  Sigh!

I actually slept through til 4 a.m. today. Wonderful! It’s nice having no hospital or Cancer Center appointments for the rest of the week. I look forward to a bit of outdoor activity as soon as the sun show its smiling face.

And so it goes.

Word Crimes

Weird Al has a big Dic -tionary!  Here's his latest.

Quite a few of my pet peeves are addressed in this funny video. One that wasn't is the use of (of) instead of ('ve) as a contraction as in should've, not (should of). When I see that written by people my own age - who clearly should know better, it burns my biscuits. They're just lazy and should've been taken to the wood shed.

I suppose most of this can be directly related to the Twittertube demanding the use of so few characters, but there's no need to carry it over into writing.

Just my 2 - cents, plain.

More later.

Just a Thought: Apple

Point taken.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fortune Cookies? Feh!

“The Mills of the Universe grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small. Patience is necessary at this time.” Yep.  That’s the best they could cough up.

 In truth, I guess it might be better than “You will meet a tall dark stranger who will whisk you away to an exotic location and lay you, honey, like you ain’t never been laid before.”  

Hmm!  On the other hand…

After Chemo and Infusion, I met a friend/co-worker for late lunch today at (think fortune cookie!) afterwards I was supposed to take pictures of him and his two boys - doing what little 3 & 5 year-olds do on muggy summer days. Photos to be sent to the grandparents in Belarus. Their government won’t allow them to visit the US for fear they’ll defect, although they have a well-established, profitable business in the country.

We had just finished lunch when he received a text from his wife calling off the whole adventure.  Seems the boys came home from morning classes at the YMCA with some kind of bug. Neither was feeling well and she thought it a bad idea that I be exposed to them at this time.

She is a nurse and although I was disappointed, I appreciate her concern for my well-being. I have to wear the isolation mask often enough, I don’t want to have the annoyance of it when I’m out having a good time with a friend and his kids.

So, like the responsible adults we are, Alex and I ordered a bottle of wine and chatted for a few hours.  It was just what I needed.  A light-hearted conversation with an intelligent, non-medical-related adult who can identify with my current life. I’m a lucky man.

When I arrived home there was a small package in the mailbox - along with the bills. The return address was Ontario, Canada.  When I opened the package there was another box inside. This one gift-wrapped, but without a card.  It had been raining for some time so the outer packaging was very wet, but the inside wrapping was a mylar gift wrap so the inner box received little damage

Now, there are few people anymore who have my home, snail-mail address (aside from creditors and  hospitals, that is) so unless someone comes forward who ever sent this is a mystery.

As there was no identifying information or instructions (and my birthday is next week), I opened the package.  It’s a deck of Tarot cards. One I’ve not seen before. The deck is called “The Ancestral Path” Quite beautiful. I guess I’m becoming a Tarot Deck collector.  Suddenly, I have five decks and I treasure them all.  There will be more of this surprise later.

Back to the mundane: One new prescription was for something called “the magic mouthwash” which actually is a a few drugs suspended in liquid meant to be swished around the mouth - then swallowed. The idea is to treat the enflamed esophagus so I can eat without choking hazard. I’ve been told it tastes “really nasty” - well I’ve had worse tastes in my 67 year-old mouth, I am sure. 

It needs to be ingested at least a half-hour before eating because it numbs the mouth interior and since I’m pigging out on soup tonight, (did you read that Dr. Spo?) I hope for a smooth transition.

I’d prefer Prime Rib, but that’s out of the question for now.

For now!

And so it goes.

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