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Two Weeks of Travel & Stress, But We Made It

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

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

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

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

PwC View from Spire 73

Today, Monday, was a hell of a Monday.  Meetings starting at 8:30am in DTLA, traveling to Gardena for meetings, then back to DTLA, over to Koreatown for a block of more meetings, then back to DTLA for some fun at Spire 73 atop the Grand Wilshire Intercontinental (or whatever it’s called).  It was kinda crazy.  But I did enjoy the view up top and this time, I got to see the view as it overlooked the PwC building.  Pretty pretty cool.

After this, I walked over to the Ace Hotel and met up with Doug and Sloan, with Doug being one of Larry’s college friends and coworkers.  They’re out in town for work and we were able to meet up for dinner tonight with them and their adorable toddler son, Silas.   Ended up going to Perch and having a great time – very fun to catch up and also get to go to Perch as I’d been wanting to go there for a long time.  Got a pretty cool set of couches to sit on.  Fun times!

It Begins – and lots of other pics too

First, the stress of yesterday’s PwC event at Magic Mountain proved to be mostly needless.  Of course I’m glad that felt compelled to be prepared, so that’s good, but it was such a welcome relief when it was time to do it and then sure enough, I was done.  Even got decent feedback after the fact.   The reward for making it through was then we got to go enjoy Six Flags!   The weather was pretty much perfect for a visit to the park, and better yet, there were like NO lines.  It’s likely the slowest time for them as most schools have started back up and it’s not really a hot time for tourism, I guess.

Friday, Jan 12 – PwC at Magic Mountain

The rundown of rides this day was basically all extreme.  And a day later, I’m still kinda feeling sore.  But we went on X-2 TWICE, which holy hell.  Riding in the last row of that ride is one of the most insane things you can do.  Then we went to Viper, then on to Tatsu.   Tatsu…is ridiculous.  It’s almost more intense than X-2 as it really feels like if your harness were to snap, you’d just get flung out to your death.  And it would be quick as you’d be a splat on the ground before you know it.  But what a ride!   We then followed that up with Gold Rusher which is great, as always, and ended the visit at Twisted Colossus.  So Twisted Colossus ended up still being my favorite of the coasters and there was an insane thing that happened:  One of my coworkers was in the seat in front of us, and as the train went inverted, the carabiner he had his keys on disengaged!  He immediately realized this but we were also on a rollercoaster that was currently barrel-rolling.  The keys managed to get lodged into the area by his feet, which was a miracle, as it was still a small gap, but the thickness of one of the keychains saved him.  The carabiner was long gone, but his keys weren’t.   He said that as they were flying away from him, they had been floating in front of them for a moment like they were in space  Lucky lucky man.

Other Things!

Today, Larry & I took my mom over to see the model homes at the Glen LA so she could get to see for herself what the general layout of the house will look like.  It was the formal grand opening this weekend, so we of course saw most of the sales team, but we also saw plenty of potential homebuyers and actual homebuyers.  We ended up meeting a member of the family that will be living directly next door to us, and then we met a couple who will be living across the driveway from us.  All seemed very nice and it’s exciting to get the sense that this will be a fun neighborhood.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, Jan 13 – At The Glen LA with Mom

Those are the most recent pics and I think it could be fun to try to capture periodic shots from the construction site in order to eventually capture a time-lapse of the progress.  Easier said than done, I’m imagining.

Anyway, the rest of the weekend should be nice and relaxing, hopefully.   I figure while I’ve got energy and the time, here are some picture sets from December, mostly from around Christmas stuff:

Mon, Dec 25, 2017 – Christmas at Mom’s House

It was a fun time to spend Christmas at Mom’s with Stacie and Trent.  The food was great (and happily, our overbuying for Thanksgiving helped as we just froze this ham and then used it a month later).  And wine is always a winner.

Making Cookies

I love making chocolate chip cookies as they turn out so damned good.  It’s just a lot of work.  I ended up making cookies throughout the entirety of watching Die Hard, which is a long time.  But so worth the effort.  The recipe for these cookies I’ve shared on this site previously and is slightly weird in how it does things, but the results can’t be argued with.

I think the last thing I’ll post about as I’m getting antsy and want to do something else besides type on my blog is the pictures from the Sperske Christmas Even that my cousin Erin held down in Carlsbad.   Happily, it was held in the early afternoon, so we didn’t have to stay down there overnight.  It also meant a LOT of driving for one day.  But it was worth it to see family again.  Erin & Eric’s house is perfect for these kinds of get-togethers and their recent renovations inside are fantastic.

Sat, Dec 23, 2017 – Christmas Eve in Carlsbad

And that’s that.  Time to play some video games and shoot some Nazis.

Off to Magic Mountain, for Work

PwC certainly does know how to hold ‘all hands’ events!   Our Promotion Days are almost always spectacular, with the three I’ve been to so far having been held at either Disneyland or Universal Studios.  The All Hands meetings for the local market usually isn’t so crazy, but that’s not to say we’re just meeting in the break room.   When I first started, we had a meeting at the freakin’ Jonathan Club in Santa Monica, nestled right on the beach.   Anyway, we’re off to Six Flags Magic Mountain today – and I’ll be presenting a small portion of it.  I’m unnecessarily and needlessly nervous.  I loathe having to speak in front of large groups.  I know I’ll be fine, but until it’s done, I’m going to be miserable.  I keep trying to make myself take deep breaths….and when I remember to do so, it helps.    Wish me luck.

So How About Those Oscars?

Larry & I had the opportunity to attend an Academy Awards party at Ken’s house in Los Feliz – “Ken” being Mila’s brother who I’ve known for pretty much all of his life.  He’s done well for himself and has a great house in the hills of Los Feliz and as you can see in the pics below, the view is REDONK.  It was a lot of fun to watch with this group of people and while I ended up doing terribly in my predictions for most of the lesser awards, when it came to Best Picture, I ended up deciding to pick Moonlight as I figured the awards would get split between Picture and Director, and when Damien Chazelle won Best Director, I thought I was looking good.  Then La La Land is announced as the Best Picture, and while I was happy with that result, I also know plenty weren’t, and it also hurt my ballot (not that it mattered, I lost hard).  But then, that craziness of ‘oh yeah, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope’ occurred and it was like, oh shit, are you kidding?  Not just because that was an insane thing to have happen at the Oscars…but also, my employer is the one who looks to have been responsible for it happening!!  EEEK……. and throughout the news cycle today, it definitely doesn’t look like that assessment is changing anytime soon.  I can’t imagine anything else happening besides THERE WILL BE BLOOD.   This is one of those cases though where shit doesn’t have a downhill option to go….the 2 partners who are there are the only ones allowed to know who won, so anyone else who was associated with helping is in the free and clear as nobody else has that comprehensive picture…and weren’t there with the envelopes.   Girl, this is gonna be a rollercoaster, just saying.

So in the meantime, here are some fun pictures of the view from Ken’s house along with some pictures of people you may or may not know.  🙂

Oh yeah – now this is an Oscar Winning Composer’s signature on the La La Land vinyl!: