August 2007

toronto-canada.jpgOK! It’s my last fling of the summer. And what an unbelievable 5 months since graduating the first week of April. I have been truly blessed in that respect. I’m glad I got to meet several new people along the way. So if you didn’t already pick up on it, I am heading up to Toronto to spend time sightseeing and meeting up with friends, their partners/boyfriends, and other bloggers. There’s one special bud I’ll be seeing…I’ll leave it at that.  I’ll also be seeing the likes of Jeff and Al.  I even discovered that Jason is heading up to Toronto too so we are hoping to all gather up Saturday or Sunday.  And I hear that Friday night is Bear Night in Toronto…my heart be still.  LOL.  Should be an incredible Labor Day weekend.

So to the rest of you, enjoy your last opportunity for a summer fling this weekend.  Be safe please! For those of you that haven’t seen my Kauai pictures, just scroll on down to the previous post from yesterday. HUGS!


S0 here are a few of my Kauai vacation photos. Oddly enough, most will be from around the hotel and neighboring areas. The timeshare was so self-contained, you really didn’t need to leave, especially if you were opting to cook yourself most nights. Somehow cooked meals always seem better on vacation (why is that?). I spent my vacation time with my little sister T, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. We did manage to squeeze in a combined kayak trip/hike/swim at hidden waterfall. Otherwise, it was beach or pool activity every day. THE LIFE!!!! Might sound boring but I saw most of Kauai the first time I was there two years ago. About the only thing I wish we could have done was the ziplining activity where you zoom through forest treetops via suspended lines, pulleys, and harnesses. Next time!

So without further ado, here are the pics. There are three pictures which were taken from a, shall I dare say, prone position. Can you guess which three?

My timeshare room –







Sunsets –



Poipu beach –


Gratuitous picture of Moi!


Scene from dining out…Brick Oven Pizza –


Brenecke Beach area –



Kayak trip and scenery –







Oh!…another gratuitous pic of Moi at the waterfall (Damn, if only I could have been au naturale…think of how exhilarating that would have been) –


Timeshare grounds and beach –






>>>THE END<<<

Well I’m back from Kauai as of yesterday at 8:45pm. I can’t believe it’s over. I had 10 days of utter relaxation, staring at the ocean, basking in the sun, and the occasional Margarita! Hey, does anybody out there have a Time Machine that can send me back 10 days. I’d be eternally grateful. LOL. Well, I’ll be gathering up the best of the pictures and posting them sometime in the near future, hopefully before I head off to Toronto. In the meantime, here’s something I wrote one of those days while staring out at the ocean and chillin’ to my iPod tunes. Not one of my better productions but hey! Enjoy.



Sunset harkens
Horizon aglow
Tranquility envelops
Spirit releases.


Ocean blue
Limits endless
Waves caressing
Shores embracing


Breezes intoxicate
Scents permeate
Birds drift
Palms submit.


Flora captivates
Colors abound
Creatures play
Inhibitions alleviated.


Sunrise returns
Serenity found
Today renews
Life progresses.

                                                                                        Author: Tony

                                                                                        August 21, 2007


I think today’s news is perfect for a “…Miscellaneous Tidbits” post. I’ve been a bit tied up over the last two to three weeks, resulting in infrequent posts, and it looks like more of the same for the next couple of weeks as well. I any event, here are the ‘comings and goings.’

The MOM Front: The worst for mom seems to be over, thank God. She had her procedure last Thursday. The gastro-intestinal surgeon did find stones in her bile duct, remnants from mom’s wonderful gallbladder removed only two weeks earlier. Mom said she felt like a new woman after the procedure. She does have some minimal left-sided pain but it appears that is tied in with the pneumonia and the last of that needs to run its course. Mom happens to be up and about, on her own as of this past Tuesday. As she said though, it probably will be at least another 4-6 weeks until she feels as if she is running on all four cylinders again. I’m just glad she made it through all this fiasco of oh-so-marvelous medical treatment.

Chemo SUCKS!: Spider and Bigg are pushing along with their respective chemo treatments. It just sucks though. Chemo takes so much out of you…it physically drains you between tiredness, nausea, etc. Keep your support flowing to these guys. The encouragement helps. The company helps. As always you two, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

San Diego Rocks: I headed on down to San Diego this past Friday through Sunday. This was only my third time there…the second in the past three years. It really is a quaint metropolitan city. There is some old architecture which the city has fought diligently to preserve mixed in with some really interesting new structures. The Gas Lamp District was something to behold in the evenings. It is like a huge block party on Friday and Saturday nights. It is dominated by bars, clubs, and restaurants, most all of them packed to the hilts. Of course Coronado Island is always phenomenal. Oh, and did I mention we slipped in La Jolla too. Thought I’d share a few pictures here. Enjoy!













Ain’t No Hurricane Stoppin’ This Gang From Gettin’ To Kauai: Hawaii is just one day off. Tomorrow, bright and early…like 4:30am, we’ll be getting our asses in high gear to get out to Los Angeles International Airport for our flight over to Kauai. And it appears that the hurricane that was running off the Big Island of Hawaii has flown right by. Should be good weather for the most part. I can’t wait. I see margaritas, ocean, pool, and kayaking on the horizon. WOOHOO! I am gone from 8/17 to 8/27 but I am hoping to have Internet access at the timeshare I will be staying at with my brother-in-law C, sister T, niece L and nephew N.

Cruisin’ Potentially Into Yet One Last Summer Trip After Hawaii: Well just when you were thinking, “Damn, is Tony about done traveling. Where else could he possibly go?”, it possibly isn’t over. I am contemplating a trip out to Toronto over the Labor Day weekend to meet up with my bud Pete, his new hunk, James, along with Sean and his hubby, Jeff, and a few others. And to really make the trip worthwhile, should I go, I will be seeing another blogger I read regularly, Al of Synaptic Blue. With some luck, he’ll pull a dear soul, Steve, out of hibernation, who he was once partnered up with over at former great read. Have to make my decision by this evening’s end Then the majority of summer will be over and it will be time for me to hunker down on some design career decisions. Will I stay in commercial corporate or make a move over to residential corporate? Will I hang tight for another three months to let my two friends finish school and then roll into a joint business (odds and ends work to fill the time)? Do I make a move to a city known for more contemporary work, like New York City or Chicago?

My head is already spinning putting this all to words. I think I simply want to enjoy the last of my summer outings for now.

…But barely. I arrived home (Southern California) yesterday around 11:00 a.m. I was on the road, leaving the Bay Area around 5am. Work today. My brother came in from Sacramento to relieve me from watching mom. According to mom’s surgeon, as of this past Monday, her post-op status on the gallbladder removal itself looked good. On Tuesday, mom saw her primary care physician for review of her pneumonia. She had x-rays done just an hour or two before that appointment. Upon review of those from some 10 days ago against the current ones, her left lung has dramatically improved. She’ll probably be back for one last set of x-rays in three weeks. Hopefully all will be in tip-top shape there.

Now, we just have one last hurdle…the pain in her right side that she has been dealing with for the past 2 weeks, since the surgery. There is a possibility that she has matter (stones) remaining in her bile duct which the gallbladder connected to. She sees the gastro-intestinal specialist today to get her consultation. But we’re hoping the worst may in fact be done with.

See, Tony got a major scare Tuesday, given his lack of ‘medical’ prowess.

The scoop…

Mom and I had just gotten back from her primary care appointment at about three. She had not had any lunch, if you even wish to call a diet of primarily liquids and minimal soft food “lunch.” A precursor here. Typically about 45 minutes to an hour after eating or rather ‘drinking’ her lunch, she starts in with pain in her right side. At that point in time, the worst pain she had experienced with this was rated a 9 (of 10 by mom). In any event, around 4 p.m. the in-home nurse arrived to check on my mom’s blood pressure, body oxygen levels, pulse, etc. Toward the end of the visit, close to 5 p.m., my mom finally had to excuse herself to go to the restroom since the pain was so bad. The nurse was done with her work and showed herself out of the house.

I had been fumbling through my mom’s purse to find her medical card. The nurse hadn’t been gone for more than 3-4 minutes. Suddenly I hear mom yell, “Come quick Tony.” I bolted into my mom’s bedroom, around the corner, and into the bathroom. I caught my mom just as she was slumping forward on the “throne.” When I pushed her back up, she was staring at me, more like right through me. I got absolutely no verbal or visible response from her. Not even any blinking of the eyes. All I could see was my dad’s face when he went comatose in those last few hours that he was battling cancer. I was borderline freaking. I thought my mom was having a stroke. I wanted to run downstairs and outside to see if the nurse might still be out front completing paperwork but I knew I couldn’t leave mom where she was without her getting hurt. I had my cellphone at my side and contemplated calling 911. Then I said to myself, “Just get her over to the bed first.” I picked her up under her arms and dragged her over to the bed. As soon as I sat her down, I got a bit of a visual reaction from her but no verbal. I then laid her on her back and started to pull her legs up and around to the bed. She snapped out of whatever she was in.

Mom could see my panic and asked what was wrong. I told her she blanked out on me for about 2-3 minutes. I told her I was calling 911…she said no. She wanted me to take her blood pressure first. Did she say blood pressure? My gosh, I hadn’t done that in years. I got it done with the assistance of a call to my ‘nurse’ sister. Her BP initially came in at 70 over 30. Hello, can we say, “Are you alive mom.” Way too low. Fortunately it slowly elevated and by the time we had gotten off the phone with the emergency advice nurse, it was up to a more reasonable, though not ideal, range for mom.

So does that sound like a real phone event to deal with…not! I have to say, it’s tiring monitoring and watching someone on a minute-to-minute or hour-to-hour basis. I got home yesterday and simply headed over to my sister’s house to lay by and swim in the pool. And it felt soooooo gooooood!

Hopefully I didn’t bore you all to death…just needed to get this off my chest. What matters is she is OK. Time to move forward.

P.S. Sending some big hugs and well wishes out to Bigg and Spider as they progress through their rounds of chemo. Keep them in your thoughts please as this stage of treatment is not fun and is taxing both emotionally and physically.

So I am back from Lake Tahoe after four of seven days of planned vacation in one of my favorites spots. How did it go? It was pretty much a mixed bag of ‘goods’…some goods and some not-so-goods! You all recall me posting over a week ago that my mom had been placed in the hospital for emergency gallbladder surgery which rolled into a pneumonia episode. Well the whole clan headed up to Tahoe last Sunday knowing that, while mom was in the hospital, she was having a better day with a possibility of release on Monday, but more likely Tuesday. As a result, the clan, including myself, were able to relax a bit.

That all changed Tuesday morning when we were advised by the one sister who remained behind to monitor mom that she had a relapse episode of severe pain in the abdomen. The release would be postponed. From that day forward, the vacation became almost burdensome. One minute mom was to be released, the next not, on again, off again. And the picture got worse toward the end of the week when mom was finally released only to be readmitted 24 hours later because the respiratory doctor had, how should I say this, lied about my mom’s oxygen saturation levels. How convenient to open up a bed for an already crowded facility. The one redeeming thing…the surgeon responsible for my mom laid into the respiratory doctor when he saw my mom just prior to her readmittance to the hospital. Don’t you just love HMOs. Does the movie SICKO and its whole thesis ring a bell?

I cut my vacation short to come down and help the latest sister, K, monitor mom. She deserved a breather, considering she had driven down from Tahoe and been with mom since late Tuesday evening. It appears I will be in the SF Bay Area two days longer than planned so as to get my mom to her appointments and hopefully set up for the second surgery later this week. Yes, that is a second surgery. See that ongoing abdominal pain in my mom’s abdomen region (all after the gallbladder surgery) turned out to be solid matter – stones – stuck in her bile duct. And yes, while she is out of the hospital she is still experiencing pain…all which she must endure until most likely Thursday or Friday of this coming week. In any event, thanks to all of you who have passed along your well wishes for my mom since my last post.

Aside from this ‘wee’ little distraction, my vacation was actually quite nice. Great weather and good company to include immediate family and extended family (cousins, aunts, uncle, etc.). Our shared dinner nights were averaging about 64 people though we maxed out at 67 total mid week. You should have seen our dinner night – spaghetti, garden salad, garlic bread, wine, strawberry daiquiris, cheese, Italian cold cuts, and for dessert, ice cream with chocolate-white chocolate chip cookies. And we pulled it off without the four-star general (mom). The side story on that comment, if you didn’t already know…invariably a family argument arises over the course of prepping this dinner because mom can’t seem to understand she has two or three adults, not kids, helping her. Orders, orders, orders.  LOL.

Now there you have it, my mixed bag of ‘goods.’ Hope you all are having a great summer weekend. Hope the week ahead is smooth sailing for you all.