Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I am Cured!

I got the call today. Three and a half years, two surgeries.
It's gone without a trace. Cured!

Thanks to everyone for your support, prayers and positive vibes...


Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm in Isolation

That's right young lady!
A little sugar for Santa goes a long ways...

For those of you who have been around here for a while, you are well aware of my bout with thyroid cancer. For those of you who don't know... I had a couple of surgeries for it about three years ago and I'm hoping to get the all clear (as in cured) in about a week. 
  • I had a thyrogen injection on Monday that cost $1,238.00
  • I had a thyrogen injection on Tuesday that cost $1,238.00
  • I took a single horse pill of radioactive iodine Wednesday that cost $5,000.00
  • Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday, I'm in isolation (cause I'm glowing)
Tomorrow, I spend about an hour under a gamma ray camera that looks for radioactive hot spots. This will be my third annual treatment and scan. If the scan doesn't unearth something (unearthly), I'll get my "cured of cancer" merit badge and be sent on my way.

The shots were easy, the pill was easy, the semi- isolation is easy. The hard part was the prep for it all.

For the last three weeks I've been on the strictest medical diet known to medicine and mankind (in my opinion anyway).  It ends today. I couldn't ingest any:
  • Anything from the ocean
  • Seaweed (it's in a high percentage of foods)
  • Soy of any type (Soy is in more things than seaweed)
  • Tofu (this one and the three before it kill me. My wife is Japanese)
  • Sea salt
  • Regular salt
  • Restaurant food
  • Fast food
  • Water (distilled is okay, blek!)
  • Soft drinks
  • Processed food of any type
  • Spices
  • Herbs (other than fresh from my own garden, that I don't have)
  • Bread (home baked only is okay. Yeah right!)
  • ANYTHING with preservatives in it
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Cured or corned meats
  • No snack foods like chips, etc.
  • Dried fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Crackers
  • Sweets
I can eat:
  • Canned peaches, pears and pineapple
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Clear soft drinks
  • Matzo crackers
  • Plain rice cakes
  • Redish vegtables
  • Small amounts of fresh chicken or turkey
  • Fruit
So between all this stuff, my new sister (yay!) and pre-Christmas stuff, I haven't posted in well over a week. As you know, that's a long time for me.  A couple of days after Christmas, my wife and I are taking off for our favorite mountain top for a couple of weeks. I'll let you know when the good news arrives.

Happy Holidays to everyone!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up!

About 18 months ago I received a Facebook message from a lady who thought I might be an illegitimate member of their family. In fact, her family referred to me as "Uncle Pat." Here is my blog post relating to the incident.

A month or so ago (okay, it was October 27th to be exact),  I received a comment on that post, from a person who though she was my sister.  Okay, but I don't have any sisters! I didn't "approve" the comment to be published because there is too much personal information in it.  I did contact her though...

Quite a few of you have been following my blog for long enough to know that I am from the most dysfunctional of families. For those of you who don't know, this post is yet another entry into my crazy family history.  I have three brothers.  That's all...

Okay, so Christine and I exchanged several emails on the subject.
  • She was adopted directly from the hospital she was born in (in my home town). 
  • My mom had a friend with the same name as Christine's adoptive mother.
  • She saw what she thought was the name of her birth mother when she was a teenager.
  • She googled the name she saw (my mom's name) many times over the years with no hits.
  • My mom's first name (and our last name) is very unusual.
  • Two months ago she finally got a google hit on my mom's name.
  • It led her to this post about her.
We emailed and we spoke. This was all adding up to her maybe being right.  I was fourteen the year Christine was born. You would think I would remember if my mom was pregnant at that time. I didn't. This wasn't a very good year in my life and I spent a lot of it "under the influence" of anything I could get my hands on. I even flunked 8th grade that year.

We met about three weeks ago and took a DNA test. We sent it to the lab and waited. Before they sent us the results of the test, they said they would call and let us know. After meeting her and talking to her several times, I was really hoping we were siblings. I have no negative history with her (as I do with my brothers) and she is VERY nice. I like her  a lot.

Today the lab called. Christine and I have the same mother!
See?  You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Central California Coast - San Simeon

This is last of the posts relative to our little roadie to the central coast of California. We stopped at the little bay of San Simeon.  The wharf there was built by George Randolph Hearst, to make the delivery of materials easier, during the construction of Hearst Castle.  Although it's on a great part of the coast, there isn't really much to see there.  Lucky for us there was some practice sea rescue operations taking place.

A pretty good panoramic shot

The victim (to be rescued) is in the water, to the right.

Here is part of what I love about this part of the coast. Farmland going right down the edge of the ocean. See the awesome old barn in the background?

This is pretty much all there is at San Simeon. The pier and one little store.

The rescue boats made a nice pose for me.

This guy was watching the helicopter also. He wasn't much for chit chat though.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

High Tea

Last week, one of my granddaughters asked me if there really was a Santa Claus. She said that most of her class doesn't believe in him. The kids who do believe, are made fun of. It all starts in elementary school. These things never change.

I remember sitting at the little table in my daughter's room while she served me pretend tea and food made of play dough. Too bad it all gets tarnished as they learn that life isn't perfect and then the little dishes and cups all end up in a cardboard box in the garage.   

high tea

plastic cups and plates
high tea and cookies
in a little room
full of pretend
and make believe
it's all great fun
right up until the time
that life wears them down
and beats the wonderment
and innocence
out of them

that's how
cynics are made


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pismo Beach Pier at Sunset (sort of)

Next to last Central California coast post. We had been fogged in for a few days and were so happy that we finally had some sunshine. I had planned this shot weeks before we got there and even checked the Internet to find out the exact time for sunset as I wanted to photograph it from under the pier, looking through the pilings.  When I got there, this is what I saw...

There wasn't going to be any sunset! That tsunami looking thing is a HUGE bastard of a fog bank waiting to come onto shore. Why couldn't it have come in earlier? Why did it have to mock me like that?
 A closer look at the size of the fog bank.

Well, here is the final product. It's the best I could do on that day (please embiggen!)

On a positive note, we discovered this skateboard collection in a surf shop by the pier. This is only about a fifth of the collection. Does anybody out there still have scars on their knees, elbows, etc., from riding a skateboard with old metal roller skate wheels?  There is one on the wall in the middle of the bottom row. Those things were killers because a blade of grass on the sidewalk would stop it and send you flying. Today's coddled children ride skateboards that will roll smoothly in the street, even on light gravel!  Us early skateboard riders, were a tougher breed...

Oh yeah, I bought an awesome pair of sandals there, that have a  bottle opener built into each sole!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Morro Bay Quick Visit

As this is our third trip through Morro Bay in the last year, this will be a short one with just a few photos.  I think one more post on that trip will just about cover it.  Before we're done with out current two week trip, I should have a few good photos from it as well.  It's not really much of a trip, because we only  drove a hundred miles to get here and we're pretty much hanging around the camp ground. Still lots to see though...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

This elephant seal rookery is another of the amazing places along the central California coast. Earlier in the year, there are so many elephant seals on the beach that you can barely see the sand. At this time of year, the seals are mostly young ones. These magnificent creatures migrate thousands of miles to get here twice a year.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the U.S.

Just another slice of the heaven that is the California Coastline.

Mom? Mom? Where are you?

Picture this beach FULL of elephant seals!

Did you hear the one about the two seals that walked into a bar?

Blubber on the beach...

They remind me of our cats.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Snow Canyon - Slot Canyon

This is the start of the trail to Jenny's Canyon.  Not to be confused with Jenny's Overlook. Man, this Jenny (donkey or human) must have been something.

A little further up the trail.

Further still. Now it's gotten very narrow.

We're about half way in the slot canyon. The top is closer together than the bottom and is about 200 feet straight up.

Almost to the end.

The end.

My obligatory odd shot.

Coming back down the trail.
I'm pretty sure this concludes the posts from our recent Arizona/Utah road trip. I have MANY more photos, but I don't want this to get boring.  I have a few posts left to do from our latest trip to the Central California coast.  Right now, we're in our RV up on our favorite mountain top. We're on a ridge line overlooking the Anza-Borrego desert.  The wind has been doing it's best to blow us off that ridge line. Right now it's storming big time and we're hoping to wake up covered in snow.  Fingers crossed...


Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Reflections - Central California Coast - Just Birds

Birds + water = nice reflection

Gossip Girls checking me out

Wow! He's been working out!


Lots of Guano on those rocks.

You talkin' to me?

All this guy needs is a monocle, top hat and cane.


For reflections by other photographers go to Weekend Reflections by James.  There are about a hundred folks, most of them really good photographers who participate.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Snow Canyon Utah - Jenny's Overlook

I'm not really clear on exactly who Jenny was, but they named this overlook after her. While not a long trail, it was pretty steep and rough. There was apparently an easier path to the top, but of course we missed that one! Some of these pics are on the way up and some on the way down. The last photo is the "view" from the overlook. I'd enlarge that one, because it looks much better that way.

My favorite


Monday, November 14, 2011

Central California Coast - Port San Luis

One of the great places along the central California coast is the town of Avila Beach/Port San Luis (pop. 1600).  There are so many world class destinations in the area, that most people just drive right past this turn off and never give it a second thought.  The day we were there on our last roadie, it was initially so foggy that you could barely see anything. We hung around for a while and the fog thinned enough to let a little light through.

One of many seals hanging around under the pier.

The pier was built in 1873. There are exactly zero tourist attractions on it.

A lot of different contrasts in this scene.

There are no slips or docking places for the small fishing fleet here, so when not at sea, they anchor off the shore.


No marina for the few pleasure craft in the area.  I was pleasantly surprised that this photo turned out okay, despite the fog. Or maybe it was because of the fog.


Friday, November 11, 2011

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Rivers of Despair

Somewhere in the Kentucky hill country
Heartbreak flows through hidden valleys like a breeze
Sorrow falls from slate gray clouds in sheets
Rivers of despair cut soft stone deeply
Gentle crying lingers on the air like an echo

An old post that had about 5 comments, two of which were mine.
The photo was from google and uncredited.

This was supposed to be a Weekend Reflections post, but I obviously did the wrong one!
Sorry about that!