Well Wishes

To anybody that may still be reading and care, my dear friend, Spider, received the necessary fixes to some (heart) arteries that should have been repaired three weeks ago. Of course, if you have been following my occasional posts on him, you know that he suffered an initially severe stroke at that time.

At 8am East Coast time, yesterday, Spider underwent a catheterization
procedure where they inserted a stint in one valve (which remains behind to help the blood flow through the specific artery) and also put a balloon in another artery to stretch it, allow it to clear, and then remove it. At about 11:00am West Coast time, 2pm East Coast, Spidie texted me to say that he was ok and that the procedure went fine. What a relief…especially based on the fact that the doctors had warned him that his chances of another stroke were higher this go-around.

I actually spoke to him directly at about 7:15pm East Coast time last night. Dummy me had awoken him from a nap. But he sure sounded in good spirits. He had a bit of chest pain for which they had run some tests. I don’t know if they showed anything of concern. The main thing is he pulled through the procedure without any complications.

So with a little luck, his nightmare is behind him. He is done with his cancer treatment for now. The colon cancer is gone though recent, poor MRI scans showed some clouding in the lungs (sometimes typical after chemo treatment). He’ll have a follow-up visit on that issue in two months and hopefully all will have subsided for good. The procedure yesterday should help with the shortness of breath, lethargy, and tightness he had in his chest. I’d like to believe that within a few weeks, Spider will be able to begin looking for work and gain back some of his life. Keep him in your thoughts.



…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.

new-year.jpg…life’s painted canvas moves closer to completion. With the addition of some ‘color and character’ this blog finds a new home and a new year begins. I first want to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy New Year. My hope is that 2007 will provide you each with an opportunity for personal growth, good fortune, love, and happiness. I know that I already have something to be thankful for and that is the fact that I have essentially been offered a job at the place I am interning for commercial interior design. The rest is in my hands to determine where I go with the offer. See I need to do a little investigation on salary ranges and employer accreditation.

Next I’d like to welcome you to my humble “artist loft” – this place I am now calling my new blogger home. It seems that quite a few of my blogger friends are making the move to WordPress. I guess we have all experienced some frustrations with Blogger at some point, especially as of late. I’m making the move primarily for the added capability of placing a banner at the top of my blog and the cleaner, fresher look of many of the blog templates.

There is nothing better than starting the new year off with a little change. It adds some boldness and color to daily life. So I hope you like the new look and will help me paint my life’s canvas. Oh – the other thing that is kind of cool with WordPress is that it allows you to post replies to indivuals’ comments left under your blog entry directly within the COMMENT section! Don’t be bashful about checking back occasionally on a post as you might find a response from me.

Well the week is nearly over and we are heading into the weekend. It’s hard to believe that there are only two more days left in the holiday season and in 2006. I don’t think I want to see another box of See’s candy, another bundle of cookies, or another gift basket for as long as I live. All that food sitting around and ‘temptation’ hell. I swear at some point today it’s back to the cardio and weighlifting after a 2 day hiatus.



The next to last of my siblings heads for home later this morning with the last one departing on Saturday. I am just happy that we were able to get the entire family in a single location for Christmas, including the newborn nephews. The smile on my face runs from ear to ear. I spent most of last night holding my one remaining 2-month old nephew, Angelo. The two of us even dozed off together for about an hour. I know some of you may think I am off my rocker in this next comment but “I miss not being a father.” I realize that children are a huge responsibility yet I think the simple joys they bring far outweigh the negatives.With that said, Mom is here in southern California for another week, leaving next Thursday, January 4th. Today and tomorrow (Saturday), I’ll be spending my entire day measuring out my Senior Project floor plans so that they are ready for keying into CAD at the start of next week. I had hoped to have someone lined up to key in the floor plans for me, allowing me an opportunity to get out to Orlando for 4-5 days. But since things are not quite set up with a ‘CAD keyer’ and the potential still looming that I may have to do it, the trip is still up in the air. I so wanted to be out visiting my friends Spider, Sorted, and Derek this New Year’s weekend, to be ringing in the New Year with that special someone, both in the singular and plural sense of the word.


So what do you have in line for the New Year’s weekend? Will you be spending it with anyone special?


As I draw this post to a conclusion, I just want to take this opportunity to wish each of you happiness and prosperity in 2007. I am so thankful for having been blessed this past year with the expansion of my circle of friends through blogging. My only hope for this new year is that I have the pleasure of meeting and or talking with more of my blogger buds directly. One last thing, have loads of fun this weekend, but if you will be out drinking this weekend, please do not get behind the wheel of a car and drive. Sending out some huge hugs!

Happy New Year!!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas today! Some pictures of my Saturday night adventure to a neighborhood about a 75 minute drive from where I am. This neighborhood does it yearly. This year we took two nieces that hadn’t been before and they had a blast. Some residents were selling hot coffee, hot chocolate, churros, even hot homemade tamales. If only there was more neighborhood camaraderie like this nationwide. So enjoy! A side note: I’ve incorporated some photos that are a little blurry only because they often showed the full-on view of the neigborhood in it’s lighted stage.


I debated when to post this and finally decided to do so today. I wanted as many of my fellow bloggers and blog lovers to get this message. I know a good chunk of individuals on Friday and Saturday will probably begin their Christmas trips home to see family and or to special travel destinations. And therefore my posting for Thursday.

I realize that Christmas is not a holiday for all. Some people are of different religious denominations, some are atheistic, and some simply do not see reason to celebrate the day. I understand and respect this. Since moving out on my own, Christmas has been a hit or miss celebration for me. I suspect the component that drives my feelings is the holiday’s commercialism. But one element I won’t pass on, is an the opportunity to enjoy the day with family. My enjoyment comes from watching the people I love find happiness in the spirit of the day, especially the nieces and nephews. And well, a few gifts here and there never hurts.

This year I find myself feeling blessed with so much. My Christmas presents came early…you might say at the beginning of 2006, all because of the doors that the blogging world opened for establishing meaningful friendships – friendships that I know aren’t going away. First I want to thank any and all that have come to my blog, whether you have left comments or merely remain anonymous in the background. Secondly, thanks to those on my blogroll…you keep me going with your faithful commentary. Admittedly there are a few bloggers that I know comment and that I read on occasion that I have yet to add to my blogroll. I’ll get to it one of these days. Lastly, I have some special thanks for people like Rob, Pete, Brett(Cajun) Spider, Sorted, Derek, Mike, Hypoxic (retired blogger), Josh, and Tom. You have put faces and or voices to the names behind the blogs. Each of you has welcomed me without conditions or judgment. To each of you a giant hug. Because of you I am more self-confident with the person I am.

My wish for each of you is to have a day of peace, rest, and well, maybe, just maybe, a bit of self-indulgence. To those of you that may not be experiencing the best of times, I hope, for a moment, that the heavy-heart and burden will be lifted.

Merry Christmas to All!!

Don’t you just love Santa?! What a hunk in the buff.

Pete, this made my day!