Sunday, August 31, 2014

Just a Thought: Traffic

Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.  Just two more days...

More later.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Somehow, I Made it!

It all went smoother than I could have hoped. After e-mailing the family about my needs concerning this baseball game, I felt more comfortable. They covered all the bases. Sorry for the sports metaphor.  

Got the shot this morning and returned home. Family picked me up at 9:30 - our young athlete was already at the field - and the family was considerate enough to find a seating area where the morning sun would be blocked out by the surrounding trees.

When Zack saw me he broke into a smile that could encompass the Universe.  I had no idea that it was so important that I be present.  I am so glad I made the effort and was there for him.

Great. I still don’t know what I watched, but mimicked what the other family members did and nodded when tossed a verbal aside now and then, to fill me in on what I still don’t understand.

Both teams played well, as I understand it, and Zack’s team won the day. And in a scary moment when he was finally off the field and ready to leave, he threw his arms around me and said, “We won ‘cause you could be here with us.  You’re going to get better now.” 

 I. Almost. Lost. It.

After some back and forth it was decided that I needed my rest and couldn’t join in the post-game fun, so I was dropped off at the apartment.  Before I knew it Zack was out of the van and giving me a big bear hug and thanking me under his breath for not failing him; that we’d celebrate future triumphs together and we’d see one another soon.

I don’t know what he sees in me but whatever is good for him matters to me. And that’s that. His parents are the best and are well aware of the situation. Zack’s girlfriend also approves.

Still have a slight fever and feeling congested, so I am going to bed now.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Tan

Truth is just truth. Sad to say.
And so it goes.

Caturday Tripping

Don't I wish!!!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Fabulous FaceTime and Faulty Memory

In a fit of anxiety (very close to the surface these days) because my comments
weren’t being posted to his site, but getting lost in the ether, I tried to FaceTime with Sassy Bear. He wasn’t home, so  I left a message and within 5 or 10 minutes my iPad was ringing.  I answered to see his smiling, and rather surprised face staring back at me.

We had a delightful, almost giddy conversation and he told me he’d located the problem with my comments and all was well again. I love FaceTime and always feel much better for actuality seeing the face and hearing the voice of a friend, rather than just the printed word.  I don’t know why we don’t use it more often.

Our conversation made my day. It also made me want to face-chat with others, too.  Anyone who wants to chat should know that in my isolated environment,  I’m open to all comers. Conversations R’ Us! 

RED Alert: I am a supreme mess! In case this hasn’t come through loud and clear already. 

I’m on the docket for 3 more neupogen shots this weekend, and had totally forgotten that I promised the teen age son of a customer that I would attend his baseball game this weekend…tomorrow, in fact. An email reminder from his mom pulled me up short.  Shit!

I get the shot at 8:30 and game time is at 10 a.m., so I think I’m safe there.  But, but, but…driving is a bit iffy after these shots and I don’t know where the ball field is located. I mean, not having kids why would I commit such things to memory?

The family’s summer place is here in town so maybe if I fill them in on the situation they could pick me up on their way out of town, too. If things go as they have in past years,  they will end up at Dos Locos to celebrate the win, or nurse their wounds at the loss. Either way, they could drop me off before they go on their way to celebrate.  

The other potential problem is that they may want me to join in their celebration at DL, and I am not sure how up-to-it I will be at that time.  I have my hat & sun block, but I’ll need to find some shade to protect my skin from possible infection.  Yes.  It's that bad.  God!  I hate being sick!

In any event, I can’t disappoint this kid.  I’ve watched him grow up. He’s a good kid, bright and boasts a very sick sensahumah - like me!  So, what’s not to love.  I’ll make it to that game come Hell or high water. Then I’ll come home and collapse. 

BTW: I don’t know anything about America’s Pass Time.  Not a thing. Should be an interesting day.

And so it goes.



Nine Years Ago.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Of Kilt Pins, Festive Burgers, & Donated Clothing

I’ve been searching for a new kilt pin, since mine was taken by my Ex during the settlement years ago and only recently noticed. (Read previous posts to catch up.)  Anyway, I had no luck hunting one down locally, so I took to the Net to see what I could find. 

Don't strain. It is from
I was on Chemo at the time, so the brain fog was ever present.  I had no trouble finding kilt pins, but most depicted swords, lions, and various reminders of wars, violent times in the Scottish/Irish past. I’m a non-violent person so swords were not going to do it for me.

I found few that were unique, including a round one that was stunning, but way too expensive for what I wanted to pay for a pin. There was this pewter one (pictured above) of a graceful, elongated Celtic design that caught my eye, so I bookmarked the page for later reference, otherwise in brain fog state, I’d never find it again. It’s a beautiful piece, really.

Fast-forward to the past week. I arrived home from treatment to find a package in the mailbox. It turned out to be this very pin, so I thought I had gone ahead and ordered it - just didn’t remember - and left it at that until 2 days later when I hunted for the invoice/packing slip to find out what credit card it was charged to. I discovered that it was a gift. I hadn’t purchased it after all.

This took a while to filter through the windswept void that is my brain anymore. It was a gift from a blog buddy and regular commenter, Calvin, who has given me permission to thank him publicly. Fortunately for me, his personal info was included on the invoice, so I sent an email thanking him properly.  What a happy surprise and coincidence that he liked the same pin. It will be worn proudly and the story behind it will be told many times over again. 

Thanks again, Calvin. The sun shines a little brighter thanks to your generosity and kindness.

Thank you to all who hoped that burger the other night would measure up to my expectations. It did. It was well worth waiting for.  Since I can’t have fresh veggies, I missed the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, but it was almost perfect without them, anyway. As I said, "almost".

I usually buy 85%-15% lean beef (you need that little bit of fat) then add seasonings. Fresh minced parsley (Italian flat is better than curled), crushed garlic, onion powder, salt, black & white peppers, and Lea & Perrins. Knead it all by hand until everything is evenly distributed and mixed well, cover, refrigerate, and let it marinate at least a couple of hours. Form into patties, wrap tightly in plastic wrap then waxed paper and freeze.  All of course, except for the one to be consumed that evening. Heaven!

Summer heat and humidity have returned, so I’ve spent today getting another batch of clothing ready for the Thrift Store. Items are piled high all over the living room sofa and chair. I won’t put them into bags until I’m ready to deliver so there will be no - or limited - need for ironing. I can actually see the closet floor in some places, and when the sweaters are gone I’ll have plenty of room. I'm thinking bowling alley or Cinerama Theatre.

Tomorrow begins the last hoo-rah, the last gasp of the summer of 2014, and, unfortunately, I have to be out and in it.  Prescriptions are a damned nuisance any time, but having to pick them up on a holiday weekend is evil. Pure evil! I’ll be out of here as early as possible, get the scrips as soon as the pharmacists arrive, and back home ASAP.  Have I ever mentioned how much I hate drugs?  I hate drugs.

My Kilt pin however, is beautiful. I am definitely going to wear it to the Stoney Lonen party on Monday evening. 

And so it goes.

Throwback Thursday: A Two-fer

Shot in the same hotel room 10 years apart. How strange is that?

1992: Washington, DC October weekend.  March on Washington for Equal Rights and the last display of the entire Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. It just got too big and fragile after so many years. Spent more time at the Quilt than in the march because that's where I was needed.

2002: Washington, DC October weekend. March on Washington against the War in Iraq. Dressed for the ordination of a friend which happened to be the same weekend. I offered the Prayers of the People during the ceremony.

Yep!  Same room, same hotel.  I never noticed it before now. What are the odds?

And so it goes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mirliton: That’s Good Eatin’, Yeah!

On the vine.
They must be recovering nicely to find them this far north. This is a Mirliton - a backyard perennial and staple of the southern Louisiana diet for years. They grew wild in the woods behind my family home in NOLA and they are delicious eating. 

Mirliton (also known as Chayote) are a succulent squash-like vegetable with an avocado-like single pit, and can be served in many ways; from salads to stuffed, to main course casseroles or side dishes. They are extremely good when pickled.  It was thought that they were practically extinct in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, but since they grow like weeds, they eventually got a grip somewhere and are coming back strong.

I can’t believe I found them at a local supermarket, unfortunately not the one I frequent most often. I just happened to be in this store because it’s the best place to find elephant garlic, which I needed for a dish. These were wrapped individually and pampered for their journey north. That’s as it should be

Stuffed with Shrimp & Crab.
Anyway, these mirliton are smaller than I remember them, so I bought 3 since I don’t remember if they handle freezing well.  I will certainly make good use of these babies. This is another one of those times that I get angry about the loss of my sense of taste. 

I have no family recipes to fall back on. Well, who’d have thought I’d find a mirliton this far north, in the first place.  Fortunately, there are tons of recipes online and some pretty close to what I remember my grandmother making when I was a kid.

Feels like I’m closer to heaven this evening.

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Talk


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Confusion, Consolidation, Consolation

After some initial confusion about my appointment schedule - that took a half hour to correct - I finally saw the doctor. His attitude was upbeat and contagious. He immediately detected my anxiety and asked if I wanted a higher dosage of the anxiety med; he thought it would help. I agreed to give it a shot.

The white cells are very low which is why I have that big purple blotch on  my face.  It’s a bruise. I must have hit myself as I tossed and turned sometime overnight. It’s not KS after all. That’s a relief.

I was to begin the 4th and final cycle of Chemo next Tuesday, but he wants to put it off another week to see how my body recovers on its own. Especially with the holiday, I’d get only 4 treatments in before the next weekend then have 3 more days to follow up. He thought the interval was too long.  So instead of starting on 2 September, I will begin again on 8 September, if necessary. I hope it isn’t. But, it is what it is.

Also, since I’ve got one more Neupogen injection tomorrow, he scheduled a unit of whole blood to carry me through the holiday weekend. The whole blood along with the Neupogen shots should give my immune system the needed  boost to play catchup, if it is ever going to do that.

He mentioned a possible evaluation of my situation at Sloan Kettering on the upper east side of NYC. Seems they’re the only independent CC doing studies related to my particular cancer.  The research nurse learned of the study, is checking into the possibilities, and will let me know. 

There’s no easy way to get to NYC from here, so it would probably turn into a 3 day affair, unless I can find someone to take me to the Amtrak station in Wilmington and bring me back home. The doctor would prefer that someone was with me just in case, but that’s not going to happen. There just isn’t anyone.

Anyway, living in the present, with the Neupogen shots and the additional blood transfusion I should be good to go for the holiday weekend. No, I won’t be stupid enough to go out into large crowds, but I will be at the post-Labor Day party on Monday afternoon at Stoney Lonen. 

I promise to try and stay away from anybody hacking or coughing. No, I will not wear a mask. Linda will make sure my immune system is protected with shots of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, or whatever else Chester has up his mixologist sleeve.

I bought some naked ground beef and plan to spice and herb it up, form it into patties, have a hamburger for supper tonight, and freeze the rest. It’s been a while since I’ve had a real beef burger. I haven’t got much of an appetite and no sense of taste, but maybe my taste-memory will kick in and make the meal enjoyable. May it be so.

And so it goes.


Accidents & Anxious Monday

There were 3 multi-vehicle accidents between my place and the Center yesterday. The first before I even got out of town, at the infamous circle that drivers don’t know how to navigate. (Neighboring states have different rules applying to circles.) This only added to my anxiety because the next one on the highway looked really bad. Vehicle parts strewn across the roadway and a makeshift triage on the shoulder grassy area.

I was almost broadsided by a dumpster truck that decided to make a U-turn where there isn’t one. I hit the brakes, steered out of his way, and he shot ME the bird. I was near combustion at that point. 

My anxiety level was already elevated having noticed something had sprouted overnight. A rather large lesion, about the size of a quarter between the lip and chin on the right side of my face. It is dark purple, doesn’t hurt, itch, or anything. It’s quite flat.  Looks like someone socked me in the face.

It’s scary, reminding me a little like KS. After years as a buddy in the 80s, I saw a lot of those monsters devour faces, feet, and hands. Back then there wasn’t much in the way of treatments since up until the AIDS pandemic, it had been a rare cancer usually limited to the elderly. Well, I guess I qualify for that status nowadays. And with the Chemo treatments, a whole Pandora’s Box of possible infections has probably been unleashed in my body.

There are new treatments, including radiation, and even a topical protocol that can help. I read more about it before heading to the Center for the Labs. 
The nurses wouldn’t comment on it, so I didn’t push the issue.   I knew I’d be seeing the doctor later today, so I waited.

The bad news is my neutrophil count is in the gutter, so I must wear a mask everywhere in public while I spend the next 3 days receiving Neupogen injections in a effort to boost their struggling numbers. 

Stopped at the liquor store for wine which helped me get some sleep last night, but not much.  Tuesday arrived much too soon. As it is now, I’m wired, not the least bit tired. Just anxious, very, very anxious.

Off to the doctor’s appointment and Neupogen shot number 2. Gawd, but my life is just one thrill after another…

More later.


Just a Thought: Understanding


Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures in Dry Cleaning

So, there I stood with a fist full of receipt/tickets waiting in a rather long line (especially for the day of the week and time of day) to pick up items being dry cleaned and others being pampered some other way. 

The 2 counter clerks seemed to be in a tizzy, running in circles and making
excuses to the customers being served as to why their items couldn’t be located. OK, this isn’t one of those same-day quickie cleaners, they take time and do a very good job. I  have all my dress shirts, kilts, tuxedo, vestments cleaned and pressed there as do many clergy in the area.

What was bothersome to the customers was that the items were to have been ready a week ago and they were nowhere to be found. That chain-link mechanical snake and carousel thingy (how’s that for a description) was almost in constant motion as they went round and round spot-checking ticket numbers.  All to no avail.

Each question by the clerks like “were there special instructions for these garments?” was met with teeth-clenched, irritated answers. Nothing special, just ladies evening dresses and men’s suits and dress shirts with French cuffs. This was going nowhere fast. 

The rather translucent clerks finally asked the customers to stand aside so the other waiting customers could be served.  They refused to budge.  Charming people.  It was all about them. Everyone else can wait. So, there.

With that, a few customers ahead of me emitted  groans and left the store. There were 2 of us left standing behind the 2 - now obnoxious - customers who were practically crawling all over the countertop. 

Suddenly the store owner arrived with a new batch of garments and as he wheeled them in to be placed on the snake belt, the clerks practically knocked him down trying to get at those hangers. They eventually found missing garments, but the customers were anything but happy. They didn’t want to pay the bills.

The owner - calmly smiling all the while - told them they didn’t have to pay, but the garments would not leave the store; they could leave whenever they wished to leave. They stared at him with eyes wide. What did he mean?

The owner produced the original ticket with special instructions, including removal of certain stains that required a lot of TLC. The two customers must have enjoyed one hell of a party because his and hers were quite a difficult mess to clean up.  The point is, the cleaners DID the job and as the man said, “after working that hard to get the garments looking like new, they’re not going anywhere for free.”

At this point let me say that I have no idea of the relationship between these people; if married, why separate receipts? By their attitudes one could tell they weren’t from around these parts. So all that will (blessedly) remain a mystery.  I’m just sayin’. 
New version of the Utility Kilt.

The person who had been next to me suddenly remembered something in her car and ran out the door. The cheap-ass whiners finally coughed up the cash and when they said they’d never be back, the owner said over his shoulder, “great, thank you” and they were gone.

It was finally my turn. I know my stuff was in because they told me it would be delayed because of the Kilts. The owner returned to placing the new items on the belt as my slacks, shirts, jackets, and kilts are hung next to the counter.  The already frazzled counter clerk looks at the kilts, then at me and said “oh, another problem. These were a nightmare to press properly, please don’t bring them back again.”

I looked at her in shock. They’ve always done kilts and not just mine, but the rental ones from the Formal Wear store across the highway. (Having just witnessed a fierce battle I wasn’t in the mood to fight.) As I mentioned this the owner came over with an exasperated expression, about to cover for her, when the other customer returned from her car. 

Seems she had forgotten 3 girl’s school uniform skirts in the car, and guess what?  They were pleated skirts. The other clerk stopped in his tracks and rolled his eyes, the owner stopped breathing, the clerk handling my transaction let out a sigh and as I started to laugh, I heard, almost inaudibly - - “shit!”  

These poor folks were clearly having a very bad day. That’s not my problem.

I paid for the cleaning and as I turned to leave I said, “I’ll see you when these need cleaning again, or what?” The owner smiled, resigned to his fate and said, “sure, but I know we’ll see you before then.” I must make a point of visiting the cleaners again while wearing a kilt. Show off their fine work, and all that. My bad?

I'm thinking I might just wear the kilt to the post-Labor Day party at the Irish Pub next Monday.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Cloudy

My thoughts are scattered and cloudy. Didn't sleep all night. Read, but never tired.  Feel anxious this morning, like something is waiting to happen - - - and it's not good. Had a coffee. No appetite so I'm going back to bed.

Lab work today at 1 pm. Hope I'll learn more then.

And so it goes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Sunday Meditation

Sweet Honey in The Rock:  Breaths.  It doesn't get much better than this. Especially with all that's happening all around us today.

I am especially in need of this song today. I hope it will soothe your worried mind, too. If you need to, Google the lyrics, you won't be disappointed.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Bullets

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Happy Hour: Munchies and Mayhem

Dark & Stormy
In all my years living here I have never seen the town so full and bursting at the seams. Although many colleges started classes last week, the crowds were enormous.

In an attempt to head ‘em off at the pass, (and assure myself a weekend parking space) I ran to the pharmacy early - less than 2 miles away - and it took 45 minutes to do the deed. Aside from 5 or 6 minutes picking up the prescriptions, the rest was spent in heavier than usual traffic.

Even at 9:30 a.m. drivers were in a bad mood.  I was an obstacle in their way to the beach, if you get my drift. The speed limit in town is 25mph. I was one of a few locals obeying the law, also one of the few drivers not to be pulled over for speeding.  This did nothing for the visitors' attitude. Nothing.
Now available pre-mixed.

My parking space was still vacant when I returned. I cheered and blessed the Universe. Spent the rest of the day doing bits of nothing; passing time until 4:30 when Linda’s chariot parked out front and beckoned me aboard for a few hours of frivolity and sick humor.  Oh, and cocktails…let’s not forget the cocktails.  Sean made my Dark & Stormy’s and I was in heaven. Jeffrey tried a “Daddieo-Paddio” (sp?) which is a sort of rum martini, but sweet. I had a sip.  It’s lethal, trust me.

This being the last weekend before Labor Day a few of the usual suspects couldn’t join in the fun, but we shared photos and text messages with them, so as not to be totally left out.

As we munched on shredded beef nachos, mussels, clams, and hog wings (yes, we were at Pig & Fish) the funny and not-so-funny stories were shared and
passed around.  Even the P&F staff told a few of their own tales of woe.  Looks like it was the same stories all over town.

Jeffrey, Me, Frank
Tourists were more arrogant and needy this summer than in the past. Large families not willing to give an inch to anyone in their way of having their vacation experience exactly as planned.  Sad, really. So much angst when they ought to have been relaxed and laid back. 

As we were clearing up the tab, the owner of another restaurant came over to chat. His is a classical Irish pub with traditional local Irish foods and always very good. He invited us to celebrate post-Labor Day at his place next Monday after everyone gets off from their shift. It’s to be a special Happy Hour/Party for downtown service workers to wind down from the Summer-from-hell. There’ll be drink specials, of course, as well as a few surprise food specials that made Linda’s mouth water. He had me when he mentioned Irish sausages.
Stoney Lonen Irish Pub & Eatery.

Linda, being an Irish lass and knowing the owner better than any of us, quickly accepted the invitation, informing us all (me included, she will pick me up) that we are to meet there on Monday afternoon. So, now there is another social gig on the horizon to look forward to…I am soooo there!

Before driving me home, Linda took a tour of the town and amazed me with the staggering number of people walking around as well as those driving around (and around) in search of a parking spot. The beach block was insanity writ large, and not having been in large groups or crowds in a year, made me uneasy, even though I was in the car behind plate glass.

Amazingly, just 2 blocks away, my street was a quiet sanctuary with only parked cars evidence of the mayhem just around the corner. 

Ten days from now it will all be over; visitors will all be gone and the town returned to us, a little worn out, but still intact.

I was in bed before 8 o’clock and feeling like a million bucks.

And so it goes.


Domestic Caturday


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Positive and Prolific

This post is going to roll around a bit, but stay with me. 
A few commenters have noted that my writing has been prolific lately.  I guess that’s true. I’ve been writing just about every day for a few weeks now. Dunno why. There’s not much else to do, besides read and sleep, and work through stress.

I feel the need to be connected, I suppose. To put something out there about life, my life specifically. With the previous life a distant memory, to focus on this one important fact that today is 24 hours long, but NOW is a brief moment. And easily wasted; too easily wasted.

To write about the cancer and the experiences with the medical establishment. For a long time it was  referred to as my “illness” until I decided to own it and call it what it is. That, in itself, was quite liberating. Being another person dealing with cancer, if I write something that’s helpful to someone else, that’s great. The important thing is to know you’re not alone. Others are in the same dog fight. 

It’s difficult to concentrate on yourself when external forces are pushing and pulling you - body and mind - in all directions. (One can’t spend 25 of 31 days at one medical facility or another and not be spinning on the edge. Well, I can’t, anyway) Eventually things calm down and there is time to get centered and take a look back. Regroup and move on.

The same goes for posting the photos. TBT is a way of putting the visuals of my life together. The last 4 decades of it, anyway. Places I’ve been, they are the proof I was here. I want them out there because when I go, there is no one to recollect that I was ever here. No trace of my life, work, or body. 

Old friends, the witnesses to my life are all gone. What I wouldn’t give to have an old friend tell a truly embarrassing story from my younger days. That won’t happen. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten the really good ones, anyway. 

My blog family is here now as witness, in place of the lost friends. So what if they're late to the party! They surround me and lift my spirits, make me laugh, make me think.   That does my heart good.

Life goes on, though what I’m mimicking isn’t life really, it’s existing, working and hoping for a better, healthier tomorrow. That’s what keeps me going.  It’s not always easy; sometimes giving up seems the most logical and least painful way to go. But, I just can’t do that.  Not yet.

I may not be either prolific or positive at times, but I'll do my best.

Chalk this one up to post-chemo brain fog.

And so it goes.


Throwback Thursday: 300D

1979 - Decorated for Easter. 

One of the two favoritest, and bestest automobiles I ever owned. This one was a dream car. A Creamy 300D. Change the oil regularly and the things will run forever.  Hated selling it, but made sure it went to a good home. Probably still running today.

More later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Life Changes & Happy Hours

I'm too old for this shit!
I ask you; do I look like a sick person to you? Or that I was this close to cardiac arrest? No, and I am not wearing makeup, smarties.

With the redneck hordes still snuggled in their vans and campers, I took off early to run errands and do a little shopping. When I returned they were all gone, vanished - praise be - and all was quiet again. 

One of the errands was to pick up the dry cleaning - and the kilts - which turns out to be a story for another post. I'm still sorting out the whole scene.  And it was a scene. So, stand by.

Just received a text from Linda (the wee Irish Lass and the GM at Dos Locos) informing me that a Happy Hour party (like we had for my birthday) will occur this friday afternoon. She’ll pick me up at 4:30. No particular reason this time, just a get together with the usual suspects and blow off some late season stress.

 Of course I replied, “I’ll be waiting!” because I’m ready to blow off a different kind of stress.  Should be fun.

The Oncologist’s office called and set up an extended appointment for next Tuesday. I can only guess it has something to do with a possible trial or study opportunity.  We’ll see.

I suppose the new blood and platelets are having a positive impact on my body and mind. Still a little shaky, but I feel stronger and a healthy kind of tired this afternoon.  And though I’ve no appetite, feel like I’ll get a real rest tonight. 

I just read this and, in my experience, it's true. I don’t know who wrote it, but that doesn’t matter.
“I don’t care about whose DNA is recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching, they are your family.” 
And I’ll drink to that on Friday afternoon at Happy Hour.

Life goes on, grudgingly at times, but it goes on. 

And so it goes.


Blindsiding Bummers

I ought to have felt it coming, but didn’t. By the time I arrived for the Lab work
at 7:30 yesterday morning my numbers were well into the danger zones. The real danger was that I didn’t have symptoms and felt OK. CBC numbers said I wasn’t going anywhere for a long time, except the hospital, if necessary.

Three units of whole blood, a 6 pack of platelets, and 11 hours later I felt worse than when I arrived. As I’ve written, deep sleep has been elusive; recently, short, disquiet naps are more the norm. The Benadryl injection didn’t offer the getaway it usually does and the Center was chaotic most of the day with emergencies - I (almost) was one of them.

Negative drug reactions, irrational patients, Cardiac issues and a snap responsive nursing staff swirled around me; the day was unsettling, to say the least. Hardly the environment favorable to reading or even attempt to enjoy the Benadryl induced rest I usually experience. And, oh, how I missed it.

When I was finally unplugged, as it were, the wound wouldn’t close for another 15 minutes. More aggravation for the dog-tired nurses, and myself. When I staggered out to the car at 6:45 I wanted nothing more than my own bed. I wasn’t hungry, only thirsty beyond my normal need.

I arrived at the apartment building to find a lawn party already in progress hosted by my redneck (Duck Dynasty fans) neighbors. Their extended families have again descended upon us and this time they weren’t so quiet or well-behaved.

So many out-of-state license plates in the immediate area meant I had to park almost a block away and walk back home. I was too tired to care or get angry, besides, the parking permit applies to on-street parking, not specific about where that may be.

Sleep wouldn’t come, try as I might.  I read far into the night and woke to find the light still on and the reader lying on my chest. Turned it all off and went to sleep.

Four hours later - I’m wide awake. The wound bled a little overnight, so a call to the surgeon is on the gay agenda today. She’s in surgery on Tuesdays, but perhaps she can see me tomorrow morning to fix things up.  Just more annoyances, setbacks, and frustrations. 

Today, I am back among the living. How long that will last is up for grabs. 

So, for now, there are bells to be rung, songs to be sung, places to go and people to see.  No wait!  That’s someone else’s life.

And so it goes.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

When Jupiter and Venus Align

This is something I'd like to see.  If I’m up and functioning I’ll be on the boardwalk with a tripod and long lens, facing the northeast waiting to see this happen. Clear shot right over the Atlantic.

From The Guardian:
Look up. A flurry of UFO “sightings” is expected early on Monday morning when a spectacular “double star” is created as the two brightest planets in the sky align almost completely.
In what is said to be one of the highlights of the astronomy calendar this year, the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus will be visible shortly before sunrise at 5am on the north-east horizon.
They will appear to be only 0.2 degrees apart, less than half the width of a little finger when held out at arm’s length.
“They will be so close together that it’s going to be quite a striking sight,” said Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy.
“Undoubtedly people could mistake them for a UFO, especially being so low down. They might appear to move around because of the distortion effect of the atmosphere.”
It will be the closest conjunction of Venus and Jupiter since 2000 but although the planets appear to be kissing-distance apart as seen from the Earth, they are separated by hundreds of millions of miles.
Venus and Jupiter pair up about once a year on average, but their conjunctions vary greatly in separation and visibility. Some are missed completely because they occur in daylight.
The next conjunction between the two planets is due to occur on 30 June next year, but will be less close.
During Monday’s conjunction, Venus will appear six times brighter than Jupiter even though its diameter is less than a tenth that of the larger planet, which measures 86,881 miles across.
That is because Venus is much closer to the Earth and also nearer the Sun, causing its clouds to be lit more intensely.
Those hoping to get the best experience from the conjunction have been advised to use a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to get a dramatic view and watch it from a high unobstructed vantage point.
Venus will mimic a tiny full moon, while Jupiter appears three times wider. Jupiter will also be accompanied by its four brightest moons strung out in a row.
“People who have buildings, hills or trees in the way might miss it, but even a rooftop in London should offer a good view,” said Scagell. © Guardian News and Media 2014
Now, if only there is a clear sky and I have the energy...

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Always


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Out Of Sorts

Went to bed last night with a list made up of the errands I wanted to run today; feeling good about the past week - health wise - but didn’t sleep well. Bad dreams and body soreness (from the Chemo) were the obvious reasons.

Needless to say, I felt out of sorts, a bit sluggish this morning when I woke up. Even a cup of strong French-Press, dark roast didn’t shake me out of it. 

After an Ensure and a shower I felt better though still not up to par. Was going to the cafe for breakfast to see Sasha, but just couldn’t get moving. By the time I got to the Center for the Neupogen shot I was feeling more alert.  Everyone said I looked great, healthy, had good color, etc. Still something isn’t right. 

Received a phone call from the cleaners telling me that my dry cleaning - and the kilts - wouldn’t be ready until Tuesday.  “So many pleats!”, he said. I chuckled, but it’s really OK. I didn’t have the energy to drive over there, anyway.

I have a slight fever - 99.8 - but 99.+ has been my new normal for a few months now, so that doesn’t bother me.  Maybe I’ve been over exerting myself and it’s catching up due to the low blood count.  Dunno!  Just know I don’t like it.

I guess I still haven’t come to grips with the fact that I will have good days and bad days and I won’t know which is which until I wake up each morning.

Haven’t heard from the friends about our potential meeting today, but I don’t think I am up to any socializing this afternoon.  

Just rest and relaxation are on the gay agenda for the duration.

And so it goes.


Truth in Advertising Caturday

Friday, August 15, 2014

Good Deeds & Not-So-Good News

Passersby would have thought I was a homeless person this morning as I waddled down the street to the car with 2 big kitchen bags, followed by 2 large boxes  - all of it going to a new home - the thrift store. The two bags were filled with freshly cleaned and pressed shirts and slacks; the boxes full of household items and chachkas the likes of which never seem to end.  Always following me home, for some reason.

I once collected things from various holiday trips, restaurants, night clubs, and other places visited. When the previous life ended and things were divided, I knew I’d never have the room to display, or desire to see them again. So, my half was “chosen” (I had no voice in the matter), stuffed into boxes and added to the pile of belongings awaiting the movers.

They went into storage and were forgotten until I moved to this apartment. When discovered, I didn’t bother to give them a look. Out to the trash they went. I collect nothing but memories anymore. 

Anyhoo, back to today…
When I dropped everything off at the thrift store you’d have thought I brought in a king’s ransom. They were in desperate need of adult clothing, for some reason. Someone had dropped off 5 huge sacks of baby and toddler things, but the racks of items for adults were practically bare. The fact that most of the things I brought in had already been ironed stood me in good stead, too.  All they had to do in most cases was unfold and hang them up.  I am such a good boy!!! Now, if anyone fitting my size, pretty average, needs clothing, they’re in luck.

I checked out their costume jewelry counter in search of a large pin that could work as a kilt pin until I can afford to purchase a real one.  It seems mine went along with the EX when he took the dress kilt and Sporran. I found a nice one, but it was too small and weighed almost nothing. It wouldn’t do.  In case you don't know, the kilt pin is usually of some weight, attached to the lower right side of the front panel of the kilt which helps to keep the panel in place in a mild breeze. There are other reasons, too, but that was my primary reason for wearing one.  Yes, Modesty.

I made a stop to drop off some canned goods for the food pantry before heading to the Center appointment for the Neupogen shots. Yes, the CBC is that low, although you wouldn’t know it to look at me. The Lab was concerned that I wasn’t wearing the mask, nore was I short of breath, dizzy, or nauseus. I am none of those.

The strange thing is that my body seems to be adjusting to the lower CBC.  I don’t know what that might mean, but it can’t be good, since no warning signs appear until the near critical point.  Not good. Three days of injections will boost the white blood cell count, which was likely decimated by the 7 days of Chemo. It is what it is.

Fortunately, I was able to park close to the apartment building this afternoon, so no long walks from parking spaces half a block away. Makes life easier.

Just a side note here.  Where ever I went today, everyone was still talking about Robin Williams’ death. I mean - every where! I’ve never seen anything like this.  The man touched many, many people in a lot of very personal ways. What a legacy. 

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Training

You're never too young to learn to live
in a Police State.

More later.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throw Back Thursday: Mystic

Mystic Seaport, Connecticut

Circa 1985

I had that monstrous camera bag and that shirt until a few years ago.  Hated the bag, loved the shirt.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Tea

Enuf said.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Possibly Good News

Two nurses from the Cancer Research Department sought me out today.  Their job is to find studies or trials that are suitable for current patients and try to match them up, hopefully getting a spot for a patient, like me, who has few other options.

The good news is that the NIH and Mayo Clinic run studies periodically and I may be eligible for one or more of those - if they begin again in the Fall. From what I gather some are studies, others are clinical trials for specific drugs. 

The NIH study could be based anywhere from Maryland to New York, to Florida. The Mayo studies could take place in Minnesota, Florida, or New York in the US, and France or The Netherlands. No word about whether housing is provided or there is a nominal fee, and/or how long the studies, or trials, run.  Again, it seems a study can last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. 

Not sure about how the drug trials work. Of course, if the drug isn’t FDA approved, the trials would take place in another country, but may include Americans willing to travel (read desperate for options) abroad for an extended period of time. Any of you medical professionals out there will know more about this than I.

Of course, I would keep the apartment here, unless otherwise instructed. I have nothing holding me anywhere, so it doesn’t matter. But this news gives me hope where there was little to none beforehand.

Without getting his hopes up, this Cajun is optimistic.

And so it goes.

R.I.P. Lauren Bacall

New York theater goers guffawed when word got out that Katharine Hepburn was to star in a broadway musical about Coco Chanel.  They roared when it was announced that Bacall was to star in a musical version of All About Eve

Applause was a hit and Bacall’s huge gay fan base flooded the theatre, seeing the show more than once.  I admit, I was one of those fans. It’s odd that this Obit doesn’t even mention Applause, which was a real triumph for her and spawned more than a few TV stars of the 70s.

Seeing her in person those few nights, working her ass off, was a thrill after seeing her for so many years on the big screen with Bogey. I was too young to have seen their films in first release, but the NYC art houses played them often, usually a double bill, and I was in film school, after all.
From HuffPo:
Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall, star of films such as "To Have and Have Not" and "Key Largo," died Tuesday at her home in New York City after suffering a stroke, according to reports.
She was 89.
The estate of her first husband, Humphrey Bogart, confirmed the news on Twitter.
Bacall's sultry appearance, smoky voice and provocative roles propelled her to fame, and would inspire generations of actresses. Her mastery of "The Look," a suggestive expression where she lowered her head and glanced up, has taken a place in Hollywood lore.
Bacall and Bogart met while filming 1944's "To Have And Have Not", the first of their four movies together. The couple married in 1945, had two children, and remained together until Bogart's death in 1957. Bacall would go without acting for almost 20 years after his death. (it was actually closer to 15 years.)
Born Betty Joan Perske on Sept. 16, 1924 in the Bronx, the actress had 72 film credits to her name. She began taking modeling and acting classes as a teen, and landed several walk-on roles in theater. A Harper's Bazaar editor hired her to model for the magazine, and she landed on the cover in 1943.
Bacall received her only Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in the 1996 film "The Mirror Has Two Faces," where she played Barbara Streisand's mother, but her list of accolades is indeed substantial. She won two Tony Awards for her stage performances and received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Career Achievement from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1992. In 1997, she received the Kennedy Center Honor, which the Los Angeles Times reports surprised her.
"Listen, I never went into this business thinking of winning anything," Bacall was quoted as saying. "I went into it because I loved it and I wanted to be good at it. It was a form of expression for me. I love to hide behind characters. So [any recognition] I get is a perk. It's just an extra. Just the fact that all that happened to me last year, it is -- well -- fabulous."
Bacall wrote two memoirs, including "Lauren Bacall: By Myself", which won a National Book Award in 1980.
Theses deaths usually come in 3’s - so who is next?

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Phone

More later.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bye, Robin. R.I.P.

Thanks Robin.  Though your life was troubled and sometimes very dark, your very being brought light and joy to mine.

May you rest in peace.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Want

More later.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cooking, Cleaning, and Closet Treasures

I decided to be productive on Sunday. Drove down to the boardwalk at dawn for the sunrise. It was more crowded than usual.  Probably due to the mild temps and low humidity we’ve been enjoying this week. Took a few shots of the super moon which I may post another time.

I whipped up a big batch of Chili with beef to be frozen in individual containers. With the constant weight loss I need more protein than usual and that will help in a lot of ways.  Next, (because I had a hankerin’) I whipped up a casserole of white beans, rice, peppers, onions, cheese, and sausage.  Although it freezes well, I made a smaller one that will provide 3 good size meals. OK, maybe four. 

Received an email from a customer/friend from Dos Locos asking about our getting together next weekend.  They have the kids with them this weekend and knew that wouldn’t work. (I’d have to wear the damned mask!) Since I’m done with the Chemo tomorrow and free for the next 3 weeks, I said yes, lets do it. They even offered to pick me up and bring me home.  Hope the plans materialize. These folks are the best.

Spent some time rearranging, cleaning out the closet; removing shirts, slacks, sweaters that haven’t been worn in 2 years (or more), folding and placing them in large plastic bags to go to the thrift store later this week. I found 2 shirt boxes full of neckties which I haven’t worn since the Jewelry store closed, so out they go as well. I must say, I wore some handsome ties in my day. 

In the process of ransacking I came upon my kilts, which haven’t been worn in quite a few years themselves. Well, wearing them to work was not going to happen. A Scottish kilt in a Mexican restaurant wouldn’t cut it. The 6 or 7 day work week didn’t leave much time for being social, so they stayed in their wrappings in the back of the closet all this time. My favorite is the utility kilt that I wore quite a bit. The other is a Black Watch Tartan for more formal wear. 

Speaking of formal wear, I didn’t find my tuxedo kilt in the lot, so I guess my EX took that one with him as part of the settlement. It wouldn’t surprise me. That could also explain why the Sporran (pouch) is missing, too. Oh well, it is what it is. It's easy enough to find another Sporran. Anyway, the kilts need a trip to the cleaners and then maybe I’ll wear them on occasion, like when I go out on the town…hahahahahahaha!!! Ouch!  I think I hurt myself.

My crazy neighbor was hootin’ & hollerin’ all day (must’a been something good on the teevee machine) so to drown him out I played jazz - instrumental and vocal - very loud. Nothing like it to make the day’s work go faster and smoother.  It also kept me from beating on the walls shared by our apartments.

I need to fuel up the car.  The driving done in July - to and from the Center or hospital - almost every day - really racked up the miles, and driving short distances eats up more fuel anyway. So, that’s on my gay agenda for today. Along with the dry cleaners, a trip to the pharmacy for refills, and my appointment at the Center for Labs and my next-to-last Chemo injections.  Yay, For Me!

Time to get this show on the road. OKIloveyoubuhbye!

And so it goes.

Just a Thought

More later.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

New Life for the Orpheum Theatre

I was seven years old when I paid my first admission to the Orpheum Theatre. The beauty of the space took my breath away. I was fascinated by the luxurious velvets and silks; the ornate gold leaf trim around the proscenium and up to the ceiling surrounding the huge chandeliers.  It was a most impressive sight, for sure. (Click on any image to embiggen.)

I was there to see the re-issued Disney animated film, Fantasia (first released in 1940). I was with my sisters and a few neighborhood kids, as I recall.  Most
everyone in our little group became physically ill, some having to throw up, because of the animation.  Not me! I sat in that huge space and drank every bit of the film in. The theatre had a state-of-the-art sound system, too, and the film was presented in the original stereo format.  I was blown away - by the film and the theatre.
Four years later I was actually on the stage performing in a live radio broadcast of a locally produced show. (Television was coming soon.) It was during this visit for rehearsals and then broadcast, that I learned some of the history of the old place. It had been known as the RKO Orpheum from it’s early days as a vaudeville theatre, and the backstage areas still held the trappings of those years.  Dressing rooms with light bulb sockets surrounding the mirrors where makeup was applied.  Special passages and stage works were everywhere.  

With the best acoustics of any venue in the city, it became the home of the
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.  It was a first-run movie palace for years before the  disarray, disintegration of the downtown area. In later years, it hosted theatrical events and concerts before Katrina shut it down for the past decade.

But, the grande dame is getting a facelift, thanks to new owners with a vision, cash and imagination to see it happen. From
The Orpheum Theater has played host to silence for nearly a decade. The 96-year-old space, shuttered since Hurricane Katrina, is the preferred venue of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra because of its pristine acoustics. Going back further in history, it was a stage for vaudeville, then a movie house.
The last time Roland von Kurnatowski remembers attending an event there was the 1960s. He was a kid going to see "PT 109," the biopic
High water mark from Katrina on exit doors.
about John F. Kennedy's World War II service in the South Pacific.
Fifty years later, a rolled-up movie screen still hangs above the stage, and von Kurnatowski is a new owner of the Orpheum, overseeing a $13 million year-long renovation of the theater.
Even in its state of disrepair, the majesty of the Orpheum persists.
"I can imagine what performing on that stage would feel like with your audience so close," von Kurnatowski said. "Something about it -- it really grabs your attention. It's a confirmation that this is a special
place, very deserving and worthy of the effort."
He and his wife, Mary von Kurnatowski, are perhaps best known as the owners of Tipitina's club and founders of Tipitina's Foundation, which supports music culture by supplying instruments and internships to young musicians. They bought the Orpheum for $1.5 million in February with business partner Dr. Eric George.
It was listed for sale last year for the third time since Katrina, after
years of failed promises from other developers to rejuvenate the performance hall.
Roland von Kurnatowski drove past the Orpheum a couple of days before Thanksgiving last year and saw the for-sale sign. He recognized the name of a friend, real estate broker Don Randon, and picked up the phone. Three days later, he had written an offer.
"I knew right away it was going to be all about bringing it back to what it was," said Mary von Kurnatowski.
The new owners hope to restore the history while creating a space for multiple uses, from the return of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and other musical performances to movie premieres, private events and fundraisers.

I had a similar experience when I was given a tour of the then-closed Beacon Theatre in NYC. That too, is a memory that will live with me forever. 

There are two things I dreamed of owning all my life; one was a theatre where I could show the films I wanted and stage the shows no one else would; and the second would be a radio station.

Having studied film at NYU, worked in theatre and radio since I was 10, I think I could have done some good and brought obscure movies the attention that I think they deserve. A radio station without a format would be a real dream come true for many people I know.  Every 3 or 4 hour segment would be devoted to a different genre jockeyed by an expert in that specific genre.  Where there was spill-over of genres, there could be open mike and call-ins. We had a similar (though much pared down) version of this at the last station I worked in NJ.  Ah, the roads I didn’t take….

Suddenly I have an ear worm. Let Sondheim take us from this nostalgic place.
One has regrets Which one forgets And as the years go on The road you didn’t take Hardly comes to mind Does it? 
The door you didn’t try Where could it have led? The choice you didn’t make Never was defined Was it?
No.  It wasn’t. Still, it does my heart good to see the old Orpheum brought back to life with a grand future ahead. Maybe I’ll get to see her once more in all her rejuvenated grandeur.  May it be so.

And so it goes.
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