Tag Archives: birthday

November of this Long Fucking Year

I write a hostile headline like that and you think I’m just going to be ranting like a madman.  I won’t be.  It’s actually been, for the most part, a very good month.

First, I Turned 42

Eh, maybe that’s not all that exciting or great, but it was time spent with friends and I can’t complain too much about where things are.  Knock on wood.

Larry made birthday cupcakes for me – I am definitely on board with that.  I think he may have been even more motivated because of the cake caddy that we bought when bringing a cake over for my mom’s birthday!

On the night of my birthday, a few of my bestest friends went over to the French restaurant in Highland Park called Cote Est.   The same people who run this also run Barbrix and All’acqua, so you know it’s good.  And this was no exception – we ended up spending like 3-4 hours there just eating, drinking, and having a fun time.

We Got Some Very Good News regarding Larry

Larry got a follow-up PET scan done the Friday before my birthday, but we didn’t get the results for a few days.  Larry’s 9th round of chemo occurred the week following my birthday, which was also a week when Fran & Joel came back out to visit and spend time with their boy.  So it was very much a happy coincidence that while they were out here, we also got the news about the PET scan results.   On Wednesday’s follow-up to remove the pump, one of the nurses let us know that he’d seen the results and while Larry would need to talk to the doctor, the results were realllly good.  And then on Thursday, they were all there for the Nulasta shot and had a chance to talk to Dr. Arzoo – and he basically said that the triplet chemo we’ve been doing has created results that are as good as could be hoped for.

Larry’s liver had been previously covered in hundreds of spots, which we knew about but didn’t actually want to see the pictures of.  We still haven’t seen pictures, but there’s basically only one 4x4cm spot remaining in his liver after the chemo he’s been getting…which is incredible.   The reason we didn’t have a parade though is that the reality is that this is still not over.   Dr Arzoo wants us to continue the current regimen of chemo, meaning basically finish it up through the end of the year.   I think we can push to at least reduce the oxyplatin as that is causing the neuropathy and Larry’s neuropathy symptoms are getting more intense and longer to recede.  We have to roll that back before the nerve damage is permanent.

Then there is the fact that this is considered a chronic condition – and that there will be some form of reduced chemo for at least another year.   Nothing as long and intense as what he’s getting now, which is good, but it’s not that we’ve ‘beaten the cancer.’  We actually may never ‘beat’ it – at least for the time being, but medical breakthroughs happen all the time.   Anyway, we have an appt with a UCLA liver specialist this week (he is the doc we spoke to about a second opinion this summer) and we should hopefully be able to get more information about next steps, whether it’s continued chemo or who knows, maybe some kind of surgery to cut the spot out?  That’s all guesses on my part, but it will be good to have an idea of what the next phase is.   But the fact is, while there’s a lot of ‘Yeah, but’ above, the chemo did its job and Larry is in a far better state than in July.  We just are processing the reality of his condition.

Fran & Joel Came Out for a Little Bit

They came out and stayed at the newly opened Hyatt Place down the street from our apartment on Central Ave in Glendale.   It’s a perfect location for them as well as us, as it’s on the way to all the restaurants from our place.  It was wonderful that they could be around when all this good news was coming through about Larry’s cancer, plus it was just nice to spend time with them.   We did take them out to eat a few times – and in fact, we ended up going back to Cote Est just a week later than the last time we were there as it’s really that good of a place to visit!

I also ended up getting my birthday gift from Larry while they were out – Larry was way too kind and got me a new Apple Watch!!!   I am a huge fan of this thing and a few weeks into owning it, I can’t imagine not having it.   It’s just the best device.  It’s the freakin’ future.

We did take Fran and Joel to visit the latest at the Glen LA, but I figure I’ll group those pictures together at the bottom of this post as then we took Michancy this weekend to see it and there was some significant progress witnessed this time too!

They wanted an LA brunch before leaving, so we took them to one of the fun places in Hollywood we’d been to before, Madera.   Goood times and good food, and loud music.  🙂

Dear Evan Hansen w/ Nicki

It has been a little bit of time since we’d seen a show (Come From Away back in May, I think, when we saw that in NYC) so when Nicki reached out to see if we’d want to see Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson, it was like duh.  It was on a Saturday night so we had the ability to get some food beforehand, so we met up at Bottega Louie for a fabulous Italian dinner, then took an Uber to the Ahmanson.   Last time that Larry & I had been there was seeing Les Miserables 25th Anniversary staging of the show – which was an event unto itself.  Anyway, concerning the show itself – I really liked the staging and the music, but the story and plot were a bit interesting to consider. Obviously, it’s a damn musical – but it’s not that the situation was fantastical or unrealistic, it was that the main character is taking advantage of a situation that benefits himself and another family…only up until the truth of the situation gets out.   I’m being vague to not spoil anything, but it’s just hard to feel sad or empathy after a certain point with Evan Hansen as it’s like, come on, dude, this is fucked up.  So yeah, it was good….but also, I didn’t love it because of the above.  Whaddya gonna do.

Fireball Island!!!!

I subscribed to a Kickstarter for Fireball Island early this year as hello, Fireball Island was one of my favorite games as a 10yo kid.  I don’t know what happened to my original game (probably grew out of it and thought I was too cool for school) but when I saw a post on Kotaku about this being Kickstarter’d, I was IN.   I was IN for a lot too, as I ended up basically buying nearly every option.   Happily, they met their Kickstarter goal by a LOT and for the last few months, the updates were all about production and getting distribution lined up.  This past month or so was all about the games going out, and I was hoping it would be here for Thanksgiving and happy day, it was delivered!  We did get to play it finally with Michancy and I gotta say, I love it.   The new version has a lot more sophistication and structure to it, but there’s nothing so satisfying as getting to launch a fireball and it takes out your intended target.  It’s wonderful.

Michancy Visits for Thanksgiving

It isn’t Thanksgiving if Michancy doesn’t come down to visit!  It had actually been since last Thanksgiving when we saw her last, but a lot of curveballs were introduced obviously this summer, so not unsurprising.  It was really good to see her.   I think we had hopes to have been in the new house by this point, but that was not the case and so Michancy did get to enjoy the fact that we rearranged the office to allow for a bit more room when the air bed is set up.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving ended up just being the three of us as mom wasn’t feeling well, so we had a lot of food (from Whole Foods, again, as that option is the best option around for hosting Turkey Day).   We did drink plenty of wine but it was NOTHING like last year’s ridiculousness.  Still can’t believe how much wine was drank then.  We also played Fireball Island and I am so happy about that.  We went and saw Widows on Friday (it was okay, but somewhat disappointing), ate plenty of good meals, she got to see the house in its most current state, and then on Saturday she took off back to Vegas.  Her luck was awful though as there was an accident at the top of the Cajon Pass, holding her up for almost 3 hours.  Then it only got worse, and she finally got home like 8-9 hours after leaving.  That is not good.   I wouldn’t be surprised if she never came back this way again!  But we loved having her around so much.

Larry and I have had the remainder of the weekend to ourselves – first we did go to my mom’s yesterday to have Thanksgiving Round 2, as one can’t not have a turkey dinner this weekend.  She also has a good amount of turkey leftovers too for further meals.  Today Larry & I had brunch with Nicki and her sister and mother, who were in town for Thanksgiving.  Went to Republique in LA which was wonderful.   Then we went to see Ralph Breaks the Internet and it was fantastic.  Stay through to the very end of the credits, especially if you loved this part of the trailer:

And now it’s the end of the 4-day weekend!  BOOOO.

Updates from the Glen LA:

Before you leave though, here are pictures of the place at the Glen LA.   The first set is from the second week of November and is when we saw that we had tile in all our bathrooms and all the exterior work was finished!   It was exciting.

The best news that visit though was the fact that the gas company had FINALLY connected Phase 1.   At least part of it.  So people in Phase 1 finally closed escrow on their homes – not only that, while we were there, we saw some of those people moving in!   It was kind of…stunning.   It’s actually going to happen.  Our date is currently the later half of December – we’ll just have to see if that holds.  I have my doubts, but you never know.

The next set of pictures are from this past Friday – and while in the set above the tile was down, the hardwood floors were not.   Well, that’s not the case anymore!  All the floors are down, except for carpeting on the stairs, which won’t happen till the very end.   Even more, there’s running water in the unit, along with toilets and sink fixtures.   No power or gas yet, but it’s coming along!!!

Anyway, on to December 2018.  Let’s end this fucking year right.

A Hell of a Weekend

We partied like we were 25, and damn, it was fun, but utterly exhausting.  I highly recommend doing this maybe once or twice a year.  Then go back to normal regular weekends.  🙂

Up first, we were invited to longtime friend Ken Basin’s wedding up at Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu mountains.  Many of my good friends were also attending as obviously Mila is going to be at her brother’s wedding, as well as many others that I love.  We knew it would be a boozy affair, so we Uber’d there (and let’s just say, Uber drivers can be very good or very bad….), got promptly lost (Uber driver not so great today) as we got dropped off at the wrong location within the complex, and started walking around based on vague directions from staff who have no idea where weddings are held on the premises.  The pictures here are of that random walk, which happily ended when a car driven by some other guests had the unlucky happenstance of going where we were – but lucky for us.  We all found our way to the right place and we managed to get to seats just shortly before the ceremony began.  D’oh!

The wedding itself was absolutely beautiful.  The weather couldn’t have been better, what with it being mid-October.  But it’s of course been a ridiculously hot week for us with temps in the 100s this week, so our trend of having very late LA summers continues on.  Anyway, that wasn’t quite the case on Saturday, so it was great.

Highly recommend, if you can afford to, a wedding here.  Beautiful vistas, gorgeous lighting in the trees, good food, and just a spectacular venue.  It being a Jewish wedding, there was of course the hora to dance to, and of course, I did.  I also managed to roll my ankle at the very end of the dance as it was a packed dance floor with 300 guests, a hardwood dance floor that I managed to find the end of with my right foot and landed poorly.  Happily, it’s just rolled/sprained and not worse, because as of today, it’s mostly back to normal.

Lots to drink, lots of dancing with close friends and loved ones, some good food (not enough to keep me from getting hammered), and a great party all led to us not getting home until 1 in the morning.  LOOK OUT YOUNG FOLK!

Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 – Ken & Lisa’s Wedding @ Saddlerock Ranch

We were primed to be hurting on Sunday, and while it certainly wasn’t as bad as it could have been (I’ve been WAY HUNGOVER before, believe me – this past Sunday was nothing like that), it was certainly one of those days that could have been spent sleeping in a lot more and then do something lazy.  But we had more plans today, as we were going to celebrate Mom’s birthday with a lunch and then follow that up with a birthday celebration for Nicki & Carey in Silver Lake.

We got ourselves ready to go and off we went to Arcadia’s Westfield shopping center, which looks so freakin’ different than the Santa Anita Fashion Show mall I grew up with and had my first B Dalton Booksellers job at. Unrecognizable.  Anyway, there’s a Cheesecake Factory there now so we met up with Mom, Stacie, and Trent for a good lunch.  As much as I can sometimes look down on Cheesecake Factory for being ‘just a’ chain restaurant, they are always packed for a reason:  the food is pretty damn good and it’s not a bad price.  It was a nice lunch though catching up with everyone and slowly but surely feeling like a human again.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday, Oct 22, 2017 – Birthday Lunch w/ Mom

Larry & I then had to figure out just what we were up for in terms of the Silver Lake birthday fun.  We were both exhausted and the idea of wine at the time didn’t sound appealing, nor did the follow-up oysters restaurant.  But there wasn’t an option of not going, so we stopped at home first to take a sanity break, and then it was time to call an Uber to take us to Silver Lake.  God bless Uber – it makes going places where the parking is horrible not so awful.  The flip side is that the hesitancy to drink evaporates as there’s no reason to be cautious.  So while we didn’t just decide to get blitzed, we certainly did have rose while having a freakin’ blast at Silver Lake Wines.  It’s a fun place as while it is a wine store, you can also have them open the wines and serve it to you while hanging out.  And so yeah, we did that.  A few hours later, we all then went over to L&E Oyster Bar for some follow-up food.  I passed on oysters as ew, gross, but they did have cheese plates and bread and that was delicious.  It wasn’t enough for dinner though, and by around 7pm, I was starting to need more.  So with Nicki, Rekha, and Megan, we left the group and headed just a bit further south to Silver Lake Ramen, which OMG is so good.  We had to wait for about an hour though, and happily a bar is next door, The Thirsty Crow, so yeah, more alcohol.  Dude, we were rockstars this weekend.  No idea how we made it through it, although Monday admittedly was a rough day to wake up to!

Birthday Wine with Nicki & Carey in Silver Lake

And that was our weekend.  I’ve been remiss in showing the many pictures from our exciting other weekends…so I will endeavor to do that as well.  Let’s see if I’m more successful this time than every other time I say that!

40 + a day

Well, Larry put in a ton of effort and what does he get out of it?  He’s sick.  🙁  Might be work and this election cycle also grinding his immune system down, so he stayed home today to get better.  I also worked from home and made soup and got OTC medicines.  Here’s hoping he’s better for tomorrow, as there’s not only more birthday stuff ahead, but we signed up for a 10k race on Hollywood Boulevard tomorrow.

Last night was great though – Larry let me open my gifts first, which were fantastic.  He picked up Madonna’s first two albums in LP format (Madonna and Like a Virgin, with the latter being my very first cassette, so yay, exciting!), as well as The Sound of Music soundtrack in LP!  He also really surprised me and got me a new guitar to replace the one that I lost when our storage unit was broken into.  Now I have to get back to taking lessons as it really was a fun thing to do!

Dinner at Lawry’s was simply amazing. I’d never been there before, shockingly!  It’s quite an experience, with a fun server and delicious food all brought and made table-side.  We both had the Original Lawry’s Cut of their peerless Prime Rib, along with the decadent corn, mashed potatoes, and spinach.  SO GOOD.  Best prime rib, really.  Still thinking about it, to be honest.  Alright, pictures!

2016 11 03 – Birthday Dinner!

40 it is, then

Well, shit, here it is, and I am now 40 years old.  Do I feel 40?  Not really.  I still feel good (knock on wood), I’m generally happy with life, and all things considered, it’s kind of great to have the wisdom that comes with having lived those 40 years.  Do I dread the aches and pains and other mental anguishes likely heading my way as we head to 50?  Sure!  But for now, in this moment, I’m pretty jazzed with how things are going.  Looking at those pictures of me turning 30 from an earlier post just kind of crack me up still – that feels like an eternity ago.  So here are some pictures that I can look back at in another 10 years of when I turned 40.  I did end up going in to work for a half day, and my friends there took me out to Phillippe’s for lunch, as one does when it’s time for a special occasion.  Soooo good.

Tonight, Larry is taking me to Lawry’s, which is a first time for me.  Surprisingly, I’ve never been, so I’ll finally get to see what the ultimate Prime Rib is like!

Last Weekend in my Thirties

This year, 2016, has just been a shitshow.  Giant Asterisk, of course:  Getting married and going on our honeymoon in September was pretty sweet.  But other than that, it’s hard to look fondly at 2016.  And here I am having the last weekend of my thirties and while I’m not considering jumping out of a window it still is kind of like a big WTF.  How did we get from this:

When I turned 30
When I turned 30

to this?

My face when thinking about turning 40
My face when thinking about turning 40

The 10 years in between have gone by like crazy.  Is it really possible that I ended up living in NYC and New Jersey for a stretch, met the love of my life, and then ended up back in Los Angeles?  That all really happened, didn’t it?  I guess it did, and this here website kind of showed all those details too.  Still blows my mind though.  And maybe those 10 years didn’t exactly go by in the blink of an eye, but now that I’m at the precipice of 40?  Sometimes it feels like it.  40 is the new 30, though, so it’s all good. Continue reading Last Weekend in my Thirties