It’s mid October so it’s a perfect time to post an entry here. I’m mostly focused on pictures right now, but in short, 2018 continues to be a challenging year and some days are much harder than others. Work insists on being stressful and it is sometimes difficult to deal with that on top of all the other stuff. Larry’s chemotherapy is apparently doing its job, which is fantastic, but the side effects continue to build up and progressively get worse. He’s able to find ways to deal and mitigate, but it sucks nonetheless. Mom can’t feel her hands and it doesn’t look to be carpal tunnel, so here’s hoping that upcoming appointments with a nerve doctor provide insight on what is happening. So all around, good times, right? That’s the update then on what’s been going on, so now I’ll just post some pics.
Sunday, Oct 21: Our Countertops at the Glen LA
Electric meters are new
As is this breezeway between the Models and Phase 1
Phase 1 is basically done – except for gas line hookups
Here’s the rear of Phase 2 (which we’re in)
The Victory side exterior is done
WE have countertops! This is the ground floor bathroom
We also have closet doors
And a front door!
Our Kitchen island is in – probably where we’ll sit so much in the future
The speckled granite
Our kitchen counters – here’s the sink
The island – so much storage
Our exterior patio and roofdeck still have some finishing needed
Our stainless steel sink – no faucets or pipe connections yet
Thais and our pantry
Our master bathroom sinks – TWO sinks again
The walk-in closet
The guest room bathroom
Looking at the tall wall
Our exterior is the a tan color
Yesterday, we celebrated Mom’s 70th. Planning for this evolved as Mom’s not been feeling that great so we kept this very simple. Larry and I made a cake, and then we met up with Stacie at Mom’s to get lunch and celebrate. Wish we could have done more but the plan is to eventually have a do-over when she’s feeling better.
Sat, Oct 20: Mom’s 70th
And in completely unimportant news, I rebuilt my PC. I do this every now and then because one simply can’t have an old computer. Well, I’ve actually held off on rebuilding the computer’s motherboard and processor for 5 years! I’ve replaced the graphics card a few times, got a solid state drive or two, and upgraded the power source in that time, but hadn’t really felt the need to update the main processor. But the latest round of computer games were starting to tell me that if I wanted the premiere experience, I’d need to do something about it. So I did. And just in time, as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which just came out, is a beast and I can run it without a problem and it looks glorious. It’s a fantastic game too. My components this time around included:
Intel i7-8700 3.7Ghz processor
ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard
16 GB of DDR4 3000 RAM
be quiet! Dark Rock processor cooler fan
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti video card (which I had got a month or two ago)
Behold, my new PC as built on a Friday, Oct 5 night:
New PC pieces for a new 2018 PC
The previous mobo has been removed
My new ASUS Prime Z370-A mobo awaits
Here’s my crazy new CPU fan – the processor I got didn’t come with its own fan this time
The part on the left presses against the chip – the rest helps disperse the heat
Have to install a support mount on the bottom of the mobo
Sweet sweet i7-8700K goodness
Chip is in
LOL this looks insane – but it does its job and it’s quiet
Pretty cool, eh? And the official Youtube install video was invaluable in installation
This fan attaches to that structure to help blow the heat out
Hard part done – except for actually hoping it all worked!
In two weeks time though, a lot has changed! First thing we noticed once we were there was that the drywall had been pretty much sealed up. If you look at the pictures from the post above, the drywall was up but it didn’t look finished yet. It looks finished now. What got us over here today though was that we had confirmation that all the cabinetry was up!!! And boy oh boy, finished walls and cabinetry up in all the rooms makes this place look that much more finished. It’s fucking fantastic. Look for yourself!
Cabinets & Finished Drywall – Sept 23, 2018
Phase 2 has a first layer of stucco up
The drywall has been properly finished up
These are some real walls now
Our staircases have railings now
Downstairs bath has a cabinet!
Office is bluuuueee
Look at that – a real railing
OUR KITCHEN HAS CABINETS
IT’S SO EXCITING
THE ISLAND EXISTS
Our TV alcove
Laundry room cabinets
Love our flat panel cabinets and the hardware
Where the stove, oven, and microwave will go
And where our refrigerator goes
Patio still in progress
Railings up to the bedroom level
Landing cabinetry in place
Looking up to the roofdeck windows
The master bathroom cabinets!
Our master shower, with tile
Larry in Nicki’s nook
The guest room bathroom cabinet
Stairs up to the roof deck
Lots of exterior work still going on
A few more layers are coming
I’m a refrigerator
Went for a walk – here’s Valley Glen park
The Great Wall – a long mural of California history
You’ll see in those last few pictures that we ended up going for a long walk. Larry’s commute will be markedly improved once we move, as he’s no longer going to have to cross the 101/170 interchange or the 5/134 interchange – both of which are terrible and soul-killing. Mine though? It’s going to take some figuring out. For going into DTLA, I do have plenty of options but none of them are like, super easy. There’s an Orange Line stop about a mile south of the house, so Larry suggested we walk it to see how it goes. The day was right for it, so off we went. Saw the pretty Valley Glen Community Park before getting to the Orange Line stop. Definitely a do-able walk, but I’m thinking some kind of bike or scooter would make this easier. Anyway, on the walk back to the house, we walked up Coldwater Canyon and saw the Great Wall mural of California History. It’s pretty cool. Walking through the neighborhood was a nice way to get a better feeling for the area, and I think we’re gonna like it here.
YESTERDAY was the Sound of Music Sing-a-Long at the Hollywood Bowl, and it was wonderful. I don’t have to explain it again, do I? It’s what we do every year and we’ll continue to do as long as they keep having it. Based on yet another sold out crowd, I doubt it’s going away any time soon. Melissa Peterman was the host (for her 14th time in a row!) and is just fabulous and glorious and so quick on her feet. Love her. There was a marriage proposal this year, which was new! Anyway, The Sound of Music is just as glorious as it ever was, and I love it so.
Sound of Music Sing-a-Long, Sep 22, 2018
In our Terrace Box
Mila and Sonny
Larry with Mila
Enjoying our spread
Ilona and me
The wonderful Melissa Peterman
The remaining Von Trapp Girls: Marta, Gretl, and Brigitta
I won’t lie – the last two weeks have been hard. I’ve been having to travel for work and while of course when one hears where I went, they probably think I’m a little bitch because oh boo hoo, I had to go to great places. But the fact that I had to leave Larry (even though he had amazing support from friends and family while I was out) was ridiculously hard to deal with. Then the travel was all about work, but when you’re traveling for work, it’s very difficult to not fall behind on the regular work stuff you’re also responsible for doing. So yeah, it has been a relief to be at this point and know that I am back to a regular kind of schedule.
It wouldn’t be me though if I hadn’t taken pictures while out and about! So let’s start from long ago and work our way back to drywall. It’ll make sense once you see the pictures.
Larry started his 4th round of chemo back on Monday, August 27th. It was another round of the FolFoxIri + Avastin, which is the max approach we can take at this point. I then was leaving to go to Mexico City on Tuesday. EEK. Larry wasn’t on his own though, as my mom was able to help take him on Wednesday for unplugging the chemo port, and Nicki also came by on Tuesday night to keep him company. It was a relief to know he was in good hands.
I went to Mexico City to help with training up PwC Mexico folks on our code review template and to also, and more specifically why I was there, to give an introductory crash course on COBOL. Yep, what was my life for 16 months in 2016 and 2017 is now part of what I’m known for here at PwC. Good times! 🙂 I was slightly nervous about the whole ‘going to Mexico’ thing, but I managed. Uber is prevalent in Mexico City just like nearly everywhere else in the world; my experiences from Puerto Rico also had me prepared for what to expect, as just like there, there’s plenty of the regular, non-touristy areas where people live as well as the more haute-touty places. While during the day of Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at PwC Mexico, the evenings were good for enjoying the area. My coworker who was there with me is Mexican and knew the area, so we had good ideas for where to go. The first night, we went to a good restaurant right nearby, but on the second/last night, we got to go into historical Mexico City’s Zocalo, the city center. It’s where you see James Bond in the beginning of Spectre – and it’s pretty damn great.
Mexico City, Aug 28-30, 2018
Our restaurant that night was Los Canarios
Seafood there and it was good
My view from my hotel – that pillar is El Angel de la Independencia
The hotel is along the Paseo de la Reforma, kind of the nicer area
Morning outside my hotel room
At the Zocalo of Mexico City, this is the Cathedral from the 1500s
It’s gorgeous, and it’s enormous
You see it briefly in the opening of Spectre
The inside is stunning – lots of gold
The Zocalo is the main historical center of the city
Was hoping to see the plaza all open, but a festival had tents up.
Walking the touristy areas
This restaurant is called Azul
Outside the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
It’s a stunning hotel on the inside – also seen in the opening of Spectre
Great old-timey elevator
The ceiling’s all gorgeous glass
The inside balconies are beautiful
Back at Azul with its red-covered trees
Me w/ Gabriela
I got the mole enchiladas – muy delicious
I was very very happy to get home though – which was Thursday night. And god bless Global Entry – I was able to get right through customs without much fuss at all. But leaving LAX on a Thursday evening is awful any time of the year, but worse before a holiday weekend. I got home finally but I was exhausted. Obviously Larry wasn’t feeling all that great himself, and in this case, one of the side effects of his chemo was causing him a lot of discomfort. We had been trying to rig some solutions using OTC medicines but it really wasn’t doing much to help, regrettably. Spoiler alert: Larry was able to call the wonderful GI doctor (Dr Fisher) and get prescribed something that has drastically reduced his discomfort. It’s not entirely gone, but to say that it’s so much better for Larry is entirely accurate.
Anyway, let’s talk Labor Day weekend. We had originally been going to go to the Hollywood Bowl to see John Williams’ concert, along with my mom. But Larry’s discomfort basically meant we weren’t going to be leaving home this weekend for that kind of excursion. It sucked, but Nicki and Rekha reached out to see if we wanted some company so they came over and brought delicious food from All’Acqua (which is a great Italian place in Atwater Village). That evening, in addition to food, I got them to play Jenga with me, so yay!
Nicki & Rekha Cheer Us Up w/ Jenga, Sat, Sep 1, 2018
On Sunday, we again mostly just hung out at home and watched The Crown and relaxed. It was nice.
Then on Monday (Labor Day), Nicki & Rekha came back over to enjoy our apartment’s pool complex, which is a very nice thing to have. We not only enjoyed the pool, but managed to snag one of the cabanas. It was a nice way to spend the day.
Labor Day Cabana Fun, Mon, Sep 3, 2018
Nicki & Rekha
Larry and me
Enjoying the hot tub
Jetting off yet again on Tuesday, I went to Orlando for PwC’s Risk Assurance leadership conference. This was a trip that had been scheduled for quite a while, and at one point (pre-diagnosis), I think it was something Larry & I had considered maybe him going on too so we could spend some time at Disney World. That didn’t happen obviously. It was a good conference though and I got to spend some time with current friends and connect with new people too. Always about the networking in this company. Like I said before, Larry ended up getting some medicine to help with his side effects while I was gone this time, but when I left it was definitely not a resolved issue. Happily, by Tuesday evening, he was feeling better. So yay for victories where we can take them.
So while I was in Orlando, we really only got one evening of pretty awesome fun – we were going to get a dinner in EPCOT center and then time to ourselves in the park! Not a lot of time (<2 hours, actually) but still, this was my first time ever at a Florida Disney park so I was gonna take advantage of it. Larry gave me the heads up on what rides were worth it in EPCOT so I had my marching orders. A few others of my friends were on board for this too, so off we went! Basically from our event space by the UK area of EPCOT, we headed straight to Spaceship Earth, which is within the famous geodesic sphere. It’s a slow ride that drives you through the world of communication and how it’s evolved over 30k years. It’s pretty great, to be honest. It’s also cool to be inside the sphere! After that, it was over to Test Track, and let’s just say that this ride is the shit. It’s clearly a forerunner to Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure, and possibly even more fun? Finally, we ramped up the intensity for the last ride, Mission: Space, and geeeez, it’s a rough one. It’s a G-Force simulator and fucking wrecks you. It’s still a fun experience, but next time, I’ll take the less intense alternatives, which do exist!
PwC & Epcot Center, Wed, Sep 5, 2018
Morning at the Dolphin before the day began
Ari and I were there very early
The Dolphin’s lobby as PwC got ready to head to EPCOT
Outside the Dolphin
Walking toward the Swan
Waterways for the ferries
Ended up walking
Me and Ari
Rick and Tanu
Dolphin from a distance
Walking the Disney Boardwalk on the way to EPCOT
You can see the France part of EPCOT
You can see the American Adventure area over there
Strolling through the UK area
This is where PwC’s dinner was being held, at the World Showplace Pavilion
Walking towards Spaceship Earth
The geodesic Spaceship Earth
1st Time at EPCOT!
It’s a bigger sphere than I expected
Larry gave us the heads up on what to see – first was Spaceship Earth
In Larry’s words: Like Pirates but no water and a lot about communication
Heading up the path
What awaits you after exiting the ride
Test Track was up next – and it’s AMAZING
It’s very much like Radiator Springs Racers in CA
Sponsored by Chevy – you get to ‘design’ a car to test
The boarding area
You must go on this ride
Last ride was Mission: Space
You can choose either Moon or Mars
Green side is less intense than Orange side
Waiting to enter
This is inside each pod – it’s claustrophobic and the ride is INTENSE
Now back where PwC had a fireworks viewing spot
This is the lagoon
Heading back to the hotel
Here’s the Dolphin at night
Again, it was wonderful to be back home after this trip, especially knowing it was the last one for hopefully a while.
This weekend has been good – our house has drywall up!! It’s actually been a few weeks since we heard that process started, so waiting a few weeks means it’s all up now. It’s very exciting – within the next few weeks, cabinetry will be going in. Yay!
Drywall! Sat, Sep 8, 2018
Walking towards Phase 2
Phase 1 looks as close to done as you can get
Our drywalled garage!
In the office
Walking out the front door with Thais
Our future front yard
Heading up to the living room
Where the TV will go
Looking at our inset lights and speaker holes
The place for TV power and conduit
The kitchen takes shape
A future half-bathroom
View from kitchen to living room
Our TV alcove
Looking to the Phase 2 units across the way
This bridge won’t be there in the end
In the master bedroom
View from the bedroom window
Looking thru the master bathroom to the closet
The landing and then the guest room
In the guest room
Getting a sense of the hallway space
The office bathroom
Getting a sense of what a Model 2 front yard space looks like
I’ve been pretty bad at updating, as is my way. So I’ll try to rectify that here, with some pictures and general “here’s how it’s been going” updates. Long story short though, Larry has been doing pretty damn great during Rounds 2 & 3 of chemo.
A brief update on the chemo story: For Rounds 1 & 2 of his chemo, we were doing a “doublet” chemo treatment called Folfox. I’ve linked to a site that kind of explains it so I don’t have to get into the weeds. This treatment approach is the typical standard one for colorectal cancers, and so that’s what our oncologist recommended. The goal though was to see how Larry took to these and if the side effects were going to be too much. Because his port surgery was still within 4 weeks, we did not do the +Avastin though, as that is the drug that inhibits capillary growth, to stop both cancer cells from building out but also good stuff, so healing Larry’s surgery scars would have been impeded. But we did Folfox for the first 2 rounds and while he definitely did experience neuropathy as expected, and of course fatigue and occasional nausea, it wasn’t anything we couldn’t manage. And by the time each 2nd week came around, Larry felt pretty good. So by the time it came time for Round 3, the onocologist (Dr Arzoo, who is an amazing man and doctor) let Larry decide if he wanted to increase the treatment potency. There is a “triplet” chemo treatment that has been shown to be very effective too, Folfoxiri. It’s more aggressive and comes with heightened side effects, namely much more diarrhea. Dr Arzoo was supportive if we were wanting to go for this, and after some consideration, Larry was on board. It definitely adds more time to the chemotherapy process on Monday, and the neuropathy seems to be heightened, but the dreaded constant diarrhea really didn’t manifest for Larry. He’s been actually doing pretty good during this Round, which is certainly hopeful for us. Really hoping that will remain the case as we go into Round 4 tomorrow. All thoughts and good vibes are appreciated!
Here are some pictures from Round 2, on July 30, 2018
Why don’t I have pictures from Round 3 two weeks later? Well, that’s because Fran came in to spend some time with her boy! Only one visitor is allowed at a time, so I stayed home while she went in for the Round 3 super dose. I had told her that it wasn’t such a long day, but Folfoxiri + Avastin does take a long time, so my bad! I’ll get to be there for the long day tomorrow. Anyway, before she accompanied Larry on that Monday, we picked her up on the Sunday before from LAX. Taking advantage of the fact that we don’t typically spend much time on the West Side anymore, we planned an outing to the Century City mall – and went to Eataly for lunch!
Eataly @ Century City on Aug 12, 2018:
We went to Century City’s fancy mall w Fran after picking her up at LAX
This is the line to wait to eat at Eataly
Fran and Larry
We liked these lamps
This mall looks much more different than it did when we’d visit it
Like these closets at the Container Store
As far as other stuff that happened since, here are some pictures and stuff!
One of the things Larry & I saw at the Hollywood Bowl was a live performance of Annie – which was amazing. Much like Mamma Mia last year, it’s basically putting on the Broadway show but keeping the sets from being too over the top. In both of these cases, the sets actually were pretty flexible in that they took advantage of rotating sets to great effect. In Annie, the letters themselves were able to be used as various locations by rotating them around to show they were hollow and had sets in them. AWESOME. The cast of Annie, especially the lead and then the celebrity cast that filled in the other main starring roles, were all amazing. Ana Gasteyer was great as Mrs. Hannigan as was David Alan Grier as Daddy Warbucks. The girl who played Annie was fantastic. I love the songs too, and they didn’t disappoint with numbers like “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile”, “Tomorrow”, and “Maybe” (and everything else, of course).
Annie @ the Hollywood Bowl, July 28, 2018
Early this month, Larry & I went back to the Glen to see how our house was coming along. No drywall up (although we have heard that has started this week!) but we got to see that all the electrical and plumbing is in, as are all the windows, and a lot of the clutter on the floors was gone, so it was much easier to walk around and imagine the future.
The Glen LA, Aug 5, 2018
It’s coming along – and much less clutter on the floors now
Garage looks more like a garage
In our future office
The shower is still ready
All the plumbing and electrical is in
The purple cords are where the speakers will go
Much easier to see the future
Me and Thais
The day before Fran arrived in town, Larry, my mom, and I went to the Hollywood Bowl to go watch The Empire Strikes Back accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl orchestra. It’s a phenomenal movie and has one of the more iconic soundtracks – obviously it’s the movie that first used the Imperial March, but it also has such great themes such as the love theme and the stupendous Asteroid theme. It was a pleasure to hear it play out live. Plus there were so many lightsabers in play it was a joy to see them all come out when certain actions or musical moments came on, notably when the Imperial March played.
The Empire Strikes Back @ the Hollywood Bowl, Aug 11, 2018
I have been working basically from home while Larry is going through this. With the stuff I’ve been working on lately, that’s been an option. I do go in occasionally though just to make sure people see me or when others let me know they’ll be in. In this case, my ex-work wife Barb let me know she was going to be downtown one day AND she wanted to take me to lunch! How could I refuse that offer? Fran took Larry duty (I kid, honestly – he doesn’t need such attention) and I went in and met her at her new office neighborhood and she then surprised me by saying we were going to 71 Above, the restaurant which resides at the top of the US Bank building. It was spectacular, and since we got there around 11:45am, we beat the rush and got window seats. It’s kind of nuts. The food was fantastic, and I definitely appreciated her generosity!
Lunch w/ Barb @ 71 Above, Aug 16, 2018
It’s been a blur though, to be honest. I can’t believe we’re on to Round 4 tomorrow, and that Fran has come and gone already. There was fun to be had, as we did go and see Crazy Rich Asians which was awesome (go see it), we’d go for walks to keep Larry active, made dinners at home, Fran and I drank wine, she’d watch a lot of her British Netflix shows, and overall it was just an easy time, thankfully.
So here’s hoping the good vibes continue. We’d love to learn that the chemo is doing its job, but we won’t know how well it’s working for a little bit longer. Dr Arzoo has mentioned we’ll test levels after Round 6. In the meantime, positivity and confidence it’s all working out are the order for the day.
In random news, I’m in love with this mop I saw at Bed Bath & Beyond:
I got it and I used it yesterday at home and never again will I use those stupid Swiffer Wet Jet things. Such a waste of paper and resources those things are. This mop has a built-in spinner function to help you both wash the mop head and then a salad-spinner thing that helps you rinse off excess water before using it. I’m sad to report that our floors were filthy, but damn if they’re not clean now!
We only had one thing planned on Sunday, and that was the walking tour with London Walks called Magical Mystery Tour, which obviously represents the Beatles! Yep, it was Beatles time. But that wasn’t until 11am, so we were able to sleep in quite a bit, which was nice. We then headed a block or so from the hotel to a Cote Patisserie for breakfast, and it was wonderful. French, and we no longer cared about making it British. :-).
Our French breakfast was here
Our room is behind this crazy sculpture on the hotel exterior
Something was getting filmed in SoHo Park today
The Magical Mystery Tour London Walk
Another cool thing after going back to the room was realizing the meetup point was the Tottenham Court Road station, which was walking distance and one we’d been to many times. SoHo is a great place to be. We met there and immediately saw a few cute guys also in the group, and all was well. There was one who looked so much like Liam Hemsworth, but cuter. Hard to believe, but yes. There was also a hot guy that looked a bit like David Schwimmer, but way hotter. Anyway, so the tour! We immediately learned that we had been staying and walking amongst music history while being based in our SoHo hotel. We learned that as the tour first went back to SoHo Park as that’s where Paul McCartney’s music offices are. HOLY SHIT. Then around the corner from our hotel is Trident Studios, where a large part of the 60s and 70s music was recorded, including a big part of the White Album, David Bowie’s awesome stuff, Queen, Elton John, Carly Simon, Genesis….etc. Lots of awesomeness.
We met our Beatles Walking Tour outside our regular Tube station
Walked back to SoHo Park
As this is where Paul McCartney has his offices
Outside Trident Studios
A superstar list of 60s and 70s recordings
The tour then took us over to the Palladium where Beatlemania was born, Carnaby Street where the Swinging 60s epicenter was, Savile Row and where the previous Apple HQ was and also the site of the last Beatles performance on its Rooftop, as well as the alley area that has both the hottest club where Keith Moon asked to be in the Beatles along with the art gallery where John met Yoko. CRAZY.
A mural for SoHo
That’s our tour guide
Where the Swinging Sixties Scene really took off
The London Palladium was where Beatlemania exploded
Larry caught Beatlemania!!!
So did I!!!
One of the legends associated with the Beatles
Some ridiculousness was happening at Hamleys
Making our way to Savile Row
A fancy as fuck shopping street
And also where Apple Records had its offices
And that’s the rooftop where the Beatles performed their last concert
It’s now an Abercrombie kids office
Fortnum & Mason, which is known for their tea
This gallery is where John met Yoko
Once the hottest club in London
All of this was right in this little corner area
Off to Abbey Road!!!!!!!
But the absolute best was yet to come, as we all then took the Jubilee line a few stops north to St John’s Wood, which is the closest Tube stop to Abbey Road!!!!!
Yep, we ended the tour at Abbey Road Studios, which of course is where most of the Beatles output was recorded as well as the location of the crosswalk best seen in the Abbey Road album cover.So yeah, after the tour ended there, we all took pictures on the crosswalk.Larry & I got a few good pictures solo, but I finally asked someone if they could take our picture together on the crosswalk and it turned out fantastically. Yay!We then went into the gift shop at Abbey Road and ended up buying most souvenirs there that we’d bought the entire trip.It was a magical place and a great gift shop.
We took the Tube to the St John’s Wood station near Abbey Road Studios
THE ABBEY ROAD CROSSWALK!!!!
Yes, it’s an unending stream of folks taking this picture
Abbey Road Studios!
I’m pretty sure this was Isabella Rossellini
Larry does the walk
I’m totally chill, obviously
We got some help to get this shot – worth it
We made it to the Studios
You can’t go into the studios but you can go to the gift shop!