Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting Tired!

Things have been so crazy lately. Good news, bad news, revised news.  Then there's just plain trying to keep up with the day to day!  

Tomorrow I will be:

At least I think I'll have a break!

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Golden Moments and Ginger Tea

When v is not feeling well either physically, or emotionally, I make him a cup of tea.  Our sweet and wonderful Dr. Myrt taught me to make fresh ginger tea.  This was the last time he had a bout with cancer so I may have altered the process a little, but this is what I do:

I take a knob of ginger root, peel it with a vegetable peeler, then slice thin little pieces off of it.
I chop the pieces then just pour boiling water through my little strainer into the cup.  I let this steep for ten minutes.  For v, who's sweet tooth knows no bounds, I add a spoonful of thick, golden honey to the cup.  For myself; straight up.

I have enjoyed the solitude and stillness of the middle of the night while steeping this tea.  Sometimes I look out the window, down the street to see who else might be up in the wee hours of the morning. Once in a while I am not alone.  I will occasionally see our friend, and neighbor Craig, of Fog's End Distillery, drive by in his truck on his way to fire up the still in Gonzales.  He says he heads out so very early because he happens to wake up then.  I think he might also enjoy the solitude.

When we are anxious these golden moments of solitude bring me peace.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Just a quick post today.  Yesterday we returned to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and our shift.  v was showered with welcoming love and applause.  Everyone was so glad to see him back and how well he is looking.

He is looking well.  We have decided to have another discussion with his doctor before proceeding.  We want to know what other options he has, not only for diagnosis, and treatment, but for interpretation of the CT and what other tests can be done to determine if the slight growth is within the margin of error for the reading (which it actually is being only a millimeter's growth), or if there is indeed any activity within the cancer itself, or are we looking at inactive tumors?

Enough of that!  We are so happy to be back on our shift!  Yesterday was an unusually busy Tuesday as many students have this whole week off for what is considered "Ski Week".  I had the best conversations over the low end of the Touch Pool with some very charming and inquisitive 3-year-olds. One little girl wanted to know if the Touch Pool made headaches.  My honest answer was: only occasionally.  Since no one attempted to remove any of the animals for closer exam, to scare a friend, or to taste there were no headaches yesterday.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Change

Another update regarding v and the outcome of his most recent CT scan.

It wasn't what we'd hoped for.  Last time he showed a very dramatic improvement with the two largest tumors having reduced by over 50%.  This time both have shown a very small increase.  Very small...but increased never-the-less.  His chemotherapy medication and regimen are to be changed.  He was able to stop taking the pills that he has had to take twice a day for two weeks out of three. His infused medications will be altered.  Instead of once every three weeks he will go in once a week for three weeks with a one week break between cycles.  Of the side effects that can occur, one will be hair loss, so I will be knitting him some more caps.

We are very sad, at the moment, but we don't tend to stay down very long.  The doctor has released v to return to our Monterey Bay Aquarium volunteer shifts. We will be very happy to be back among the other volunteers, the endlessly fascinating visitors, and, of course, the marine animals.  We've been told there is now an additional Hammerhead Shark in the Open Sea as well as two Molas. We stopped in, briefly, yesterday just for the energy the place gives us.

As always we are amazed and grateful for the love and support offered by so many of our friends and acquaintances.  Without them we just couldn't make it through this, sometimes, overwhelming experience.

We love to receive comments and we know that we have readers in Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, and Russia. We would love to receive a hello.  v has lived in Germany and worked internationally as well as having been born in Italy.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, February 15, 2013

More from our sunrise outing

A few more shots from our sunrise photo expedition the other day. At v's urging I have begun taking courses in photography.  As a way to document my progress I've begun another blog strictly devoted to my photography and the lessons I'm learning. We call it Biondography.  If you would like to follow along and see some beautiful photos click on the link on the side panel where we have our links. Sometimes the photos appear in both, but I try to make it unique.  The blog itself has a completely different look.  We bestowed the posthumous honor to 100-year-old Agatha of being the background of the title .

Returning to our sunrise (and nearly freezing) jaunt. We passed through the fields of Salinas where even in February they are in nearly full production.  It was 34 degrees.  This must be lettuce that is sprouting all along the rows.  Of course, they plant plugs.  

A stack of pallets along the harbor side in Moss Landing.  As a teenager my friends and I would gather as many pallets as we could find and stuff them into whatever vehicle we had.  We'd take them to the local beach, which was Huntington Beach in Southern California, and we'd make a bonfire in the fire rings set into the sand along the length of the beach.  This was an absolute must on Labor Day weekend just before school started again.  v never enjoyed a bonfire with his high school friends.  His adoptive parents sent him to a private boarding school in Northern Connecticut not very close to the ocean.  Too bad, I say.

In boca al lupo.  m & v

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sunrise in Moss Landing

We needed to do something different for a change of pace.  v has been having a very hard time with the chemo this round.  He has five days of pills left before his week's break.  A CT scan is scheduled for Thursday and we hope so much that the cancer has gone into remission so he can stop having to take all those pills.  He'll still have to have the infusions, but only one, instead of three, medications every three weeks.  

So, what did we do that was different?  We arose before dawn and headed out with the camera in search of a location to photograph. We ended up in Moss Landing at sunrise.  It was cold.  34 degrees F.  For the Central Coast of California that is really cold.

We watched the little tug pull the barge with the crane on it across the channel.  I can't really tell you what else they were doing.  It looked as though they transferred one, fairly small, piece of equipment onto a boat.  In the background is the Moss Landing PG&E plant that provides our electricity.  Behind the plant is the Elkhorn Slough.

We met a few other hardy souls out walking their dogs.  I think some folks live on their boats here.  It would be fun for a while, I think.  I'd enjoy being rocked to sleep.  And then there is that thought of just pulling up the anchor and heading off to another local.

This is one that v took a liking to.  A little spare for me, and possibly in need of too much TLC.

Phil's Fish Market is a local landmark.  During business hours this place is always busy.  Moss Landing is a small seaside town, but it is right on Hwy 1.  It's a favorite stop for tourists, MBARI and the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory are right along the same stretch (well, face it, it's the only stretch).  There are still a few funky residences but it looks like a small artists colony is sprouting.

There are far more boats than buildings in Moss Landing.  I noticed many boats are registered in San Francisco.

It is a tranquil spot for a spur of the moment sunrise ramble.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Round 6 and the Dogs of Carmel

 A chilly February day in Carmel.  The AT&T Pro-Am is going on which leaves the beach to the non-golfers, and being mid-week thins it out even further.  This was our "good day" for this week. The day after v's chemo infusion.  Round 6 has begun.

I'm very happy to say that he is tolerating this onslaught very well.  He's still gaining weight. At the weigh-in he is only a pound under his heaviest weight of the past year.  It wasn't his top weight at that time, but it has been a while regaining even that much.   We are no longer pushing extra calories at him, this is a gain with normal, and irregular, eating.  His energy is high and he is walking from 1 to 3 miles a day.  

We made a goal of this outing to photograph the beach dogs.  Wouldn't you know, there weren't that many dogs out on Carmel Beach that morning, but the ones we spotted were gems.

Small but fearless.  Not a swimmer, but she enjoyed wading.

This guy dug us a nice deep hole in the sand burying his head up to his ears.

Almost every dog on the beach has a tennis ball to chase, unless they're swimmers, then all they need are the waves.

A beautiful, gentle bear of a dog on his annual pilgrimage to Carmel with his human companion.  We enjoyed meeting and visiting with the special people who know what it is to have a dog in their lives.  Pure love and trust.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Slough Walk

We went for a walk at the Elkhorn Slough on Thursday.  It is such a beautiful and important environment. For decades it had been drained for use as farmland, but it is now being restored.  It is hugely important as a habitat for migrating birds, for fish, sea otters, and the mud dwelling invertabrates.  It is very important for flood control as well.  Visit ElkhornSlough.org for more information.

There are numerous trails to choose from. We chose to take the lagoon trail.  It was around 2.5 miles. There are longer and shorter routes and we're hoping to take them all.  v has been doing so well since starting his chemo fifteen weeks ago. He'll be starting round six shortly.  We remain optimistic.

The lagoon trail was the best for viewing the birds we were assured. On our tour there weren't numerous birds, but there was a beautiful snowy egret busily grubbing a meal and I love seeing ducks in a row.

What a truly peaceful way to spend a morning or an afternoon.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v