Tag Archives: family

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.

Countertops + More

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

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:

Catching Up on the Last Few Weeks

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:

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

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:
My absolute joy
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!

Mother’s Day + more

Today, we went over to Mom’s and had a great dinner with Stacie, which she fixed up.   Drinking of wine commenced along with a couple of games of Jenga and Rack-o, and all was well in the world.   We had a lot of fun, snacking on food and laughing about memories past – it’s also Harv’s birthday, so it was fun to remember the fun (and drinks) we had on his 80th birthday.   Anyway, I think today was a lot of fun, and here are pictures I took:

Sunday, May 13, 2018 – Mother’s Day in Duarte

That’s the main picture-worthy stuff from the past week, to be honest.  It’s been kind of hellacious the last week or two or three at work for me, much like last May.  This is the end of the engagement I’m on and there’s a lot of having to get us across that finish line in ways that both sides agree on.  Cross your fingers that this week is it, okay?

The rest of this post will be videos I’ve been loving this last week or so; you’re welcome.

Childish Gambino’s “This is America”:

We saw Donald Glover host SNL last week and he performed, as Childish Gambino, this song as well as one that hasn’t been released yet.   The performances were amazing, but the real show was to come in the release of this music video the next day.  It’s fantastic and powerful and intense and requires multiple viewings.

Then I saw this mashup with Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me, Maybe” and now I can’t help but think there was intentional synchronization going on:

I had previously raved about the first few singles that Janelle Monáe had released in advance of her new album, Dirty Computer, being released – well, that album has been released and it’s amazing.   She also released an entire long-form video containing many of the songs within as well as an interesting tale to stitch these videos all together.   If you have 45-50 minutes or so, it’s well worth a watch:

Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Emotion Picture:

Random videos time now –

First up, this latest season of Survivor, “Ghost Island”, has been okay, but it’s had in its cast one of the hottest men to be cast on this show, ever:  Michael.  Good lord, he’s fine.  So fine.  But alas, he got voted out recently and so now he’s on the jury and having to kill time.   Lately, CBS has been getting cute and indulging the cast to do fun stuff, so with Michael, they filmed a fake cologne commercial in the vein of Calvin Klein….and they’re pretty damn good with the vibe they create because hot damn this mofo can sell me anything.

Lego videos, especially those around Star Wars stuff, are awesome.   Here’s one I previously raved about with regards to the Death Star kit, but this new video is one that isn’t a kit and is made by those folks who collect thousands and thousands of Lego bricks to make any and everything.  This guy made the Star Destroyer wreckage as seen in The Force Awakens when we first meet up with Rey….and wow is all I can say.  It’s incredible!

Finally, there have been these small animated cartoons being released in the Star Wars world that are canon and cover areas of the lore that may not necessitate a movie on their own but it’s cool to see nonetheless.  These videos are called Forces of Destiny and there are more than that I’m showing here – but this one is about Porgs and I love porgs and you must too:

I love it so much.

Alright, that’s enough from me for now.   I hope all is well with you out in the world.

Fran & Joel Back Out + Other Stuff

I’m just wanting to get a post out with some assorted pictures and neat stuff I’d noticed before the weekend begins in earnest, as I’m sure it’ll be fun to recount the stuff from Fran & Joel’s visit out.  But first, we had dinner with them last night:

They flew in from Phoenix yesterday after attending the same conference they went to last year, which was when we met up with them in Vegas.  It was nice to take them to one of the many neat restaurants here in Glendale, this time Bacari.

On Monday, Larry & I went out on a school night to see a show at the Largo – this was where we had previously seen “How Did This Get Made?” last year; this time the show was “Hanging with Paul Scheer” and it was hilarious and the guests were Nicole Byer – who is hilarious and who I first fell in love with from her appearance on “Gay of Thrones” below:

Bye, Bitch!!!!   ALSO, Maria Bamford and Fred Armisen were guests, so yeah, it was hilarious.  I ended up taking the bus from DTLA as I was downtown that day, and while waiting, I took some downtown pics:

The previous weekend, we finally got to hang with Rekha and belatedly celebrate birthday fun with her.  Nicki chose a cool place, Cafe Stella, down in Silver Lake on the Sunset section.  Very trendy bar and restaurant with many attractive people everywhere.  Ah, hip Los Angeles.  Larry & I bailed after the restaurant but we heard the fun certainly continued through the rest of the day/night!

And then the weekend before that, I dragged Larry to go out and see The Last Jedi ONE MORE TIME.  It was my fourth time, his third.   We went to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood and while it was an experience, the presentation of the movie at Universal was way better.  But there was a fun organist playing tunes before the show and a cheesy laser show too!  And a cool costume display from the movie that we visited.  Anyway, the movie still rocks and I can’t wait to see it again…on Blu Ray.

We also did go and see Phantom Thread this past weekend…I’ll give the movie that it was beautiful and well-directed, but this was a movie that I was okay with until the last 10 minutes, and then I was done with it.  What a waste of time.  I hope it loses in every Oscar category it was nominated in.

In totally unrelated stuff, Rebels Season 4 comes back soon, and if you love Star Wars, this animated series is a must watch.  The final half of the last season is airing and by the looks of this preview, a whole lot of stuff is gonna happen – and the Emperor makes an appearance!!!!:

I also saw this in one of my favorite sites – These timelapses of Seattle are pretty mesmerizing especially to see how quickly the city is building up:

 

And that leaves us to where we are now.  I’ve failed on my Amazing Race updates, but I’m still watching as it’s amazing.  And the cast of Celebrity Big Brother was announced…and it’s gonna be hard for me to choose to watch with Omarosa on it.  Seriously, wtf.