A Note from Danielle (Dani)
TOGETHER... FOREVER AGAIN!
Thank you to all who expressed love, sympathy, and condolences. I’m deeply moved and overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of emotion and kindness from everyone who loved Magoo. And let’s face it, to meet Magoo was to love Magoo so that’s a LOT of people! I want to reply to everyone individually, but it will take some time. Meanwhile, I thought I’d post something from Magoo’s GoFundMe page, which has been of tremendous relief to us in recent months, and continues to help. Thank you a million times over for your generosity and kindness.
It has been over a week since my reason for living left his mortal shell and moved on to a higher plane of existence. We were together for 12 years and were married for almost 10 years. Every day of our relationship was a miracle. We used to say we were “made for each other,” and those who knew us best, know this is true. Our 10th wedding anniversary would have been on June 27th. We didn’t make it to June, but we did make it to our 12th “date-a-versary” on May 4th.
Without fail, Magoo made me laugh every day that we were together. The day before he left this world, he sang a little tune in his hospital bed. He went on and on and on, incessantly singing some little jingle until I started cracking up. “What is that?” I asked. He smiled and said, “it’s the jingle from my childhood ice cream truck.” He proceeded to remind his dad, who was also in the room, that the ice cream truck driver was named Archie. Magoo then continued to sing the funny jingle because he knew it’d make us laugh. That was Magoo. If he knew something would make you chuckle, he’d immediately add to his arsenal of silliness.
When he’d get home from work, he’d shout “Hey baby!” and plant a kiss on my lips. He’d then say something like, “Woggity woggity woo! I love a girl who looks just like you!” I’d pretend to be hurt and respond, “Oh yeah? Who is she?!” He’d smirk and say, “You!” I’d then say, “What a coinkydink! I love a guy who looks just like YOU!” He’d scowl and say, “Who?” And I’d say, “You!” Then, we’d both shout “YAY!” and smooch a whole lot as Krispy gamboled around us.
That was our relationship - silly, fun, sweet, and full of love. Pure, real, and true.
I miss him so much. While my heart knows he’s in a much better place, my brain can’t accept that he’s left the mortal world. Our hearts were completely entwined by a beautiful rosebush, and now it feels like half of the rosebush has been torn away, the thorns leaving deep, bloody gashes in my heart. I know he’s happy, and I know he’s bringing happiness to others, but I can’t think of him or anything associated with him without crying, or sometimes laughing and crying at the same time. Every distraction just causes my mind to wander back to him as I remember what it felt like to be in his arms, to hear his laugh, to sing “Rockaway Beach” together. I wish I could say the deep gashes in my heart will heal. I wish I could say that I know it will get better, but I know that it won’t. Not really. He is my other half. We understood each other in ways that nobody else in this world will ever fully comprehend. He was the One I was meant to find.
Magoo wanted me to feel joy. That was his wish for the rest of my life. I promise I will try, my love. And I find joy in this…About a week and a half or so before he passed from this world, he told me something. He had accepted his fate, though I begged him to please stay with me. With great confidence and tranquility, he looked into my watery eyes and said, “Don’t worry. I know where I’m going and I’ll find you when you get there.” The calm conviction with which he spoke those words was transmitted to me, and my tears of sorrow slowed, replaced by tears of acceptance and love.
There is joy in my sadness as I mark off time, knowing that one day we’ll be reunited. I’ll be patient. I’ll wait. I do not fear the end, for it is only the beginning. “Together.. Forever again!”
Thanks again. I am so grateful. All I ask now are your best hopes for going into remission. Thank you all!
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this campaign, the goal has been reached. I had no idea going in how this was going to work or even what number to pick. I was scared and unable to work any longer and very concerned about my diagnosis. Facebook was a fun thing to fool with and see what people were up to, and of course for years Shilling Shockers has been a great time but I had no idea of the impact of these to come together and help me stay financially afloat. The kindness shown here has been eye opening and restored faith in a very deep way. Thanks to all! You mean the world to me!
Everyone is so supportive. Thank you all so much.
Yep, as I suspected, it is great to be home. Thanks for everything, everybody!
Looks like this hospital visit might be near over and by golly am I looking forward to going home. Thanks for all the great birthday wishes and get wells too. It makes such an impact, I hope you know how special each one of you are to me. Thanks again!
Seventeen Days Later...
Well it was a harrowing half a month in the hospital due to having my gall bladder make a hasty departure, I am home at last and regaining my strength bit by bit. I got down to my old fighting weight, Bantam weight but I am better off as a middleweight so I need to regain some weight but it all has be done gently, small sips and tiny bites. Thank you to everyone, especially the great folks and socks of the Vortexx, who have done so much to help my campaign. I wish I could thank each and every one of you magnificent human beings and spooky friends but until I can, all I can say for now is, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!
It's been a long but busy week here in the hospital. I've been tested, re-tested, decongested, and highly requested by everyone who is concerned by my situation. I just lack the stamina to than everyone to thank you to all who keeping adding to the bucket of love. While I am hospitalized, maybe another week or so, just know that your support really does carry me through all these obstacles but I just am not up for phone calls or correspondence. It is too exhausting. But I think of everyone out there cheering me on and it helps immensely. I am going to beat this thing if I can get enough rest. So I'll be over and out til I feel better. Thanks again for rooting for me!
So all through the week and especially last night while The Vortexx aired Penny Dreadful's Shilling Shockers, pennies from heaven rained down upon me. I cannot give enough thanks to all those who reached deep into their pockets, denying themselves some pleasure for my benefit. It worries me that some folks might have gone a bit overboard and denied themselves some necessities too, especially my mysterious benefactor. I have so enjoyed having had the pleasure to say throughout the week that I have a mysterious benefactor. I've never had one of those before. If I ever even had a secret admirer, they were a wee but too secretive about it for me to ever surmise.
Kreepy Kastle and especially Sluggo Gonzales who came up with the idea and spearheaded the organization cannot begin to guess how much thanks and love and deep deep deep appreciation I have for them and all they have done. The outpouring of good wishes, high hopes, and the help the people in the horror host community and those wonderful people who enjoy what we do to keep the old traditions alive really came together last night. Tears of gratitude are rolling down my cheeks while I smile from the outpouring of love that flooded the internet last night. I hope everyone enjoyed hearing Bela Lugosi proclaim his name to be Doctor Paul Carruthers in The Devil Bat. That is my favourite line in that movie, gets me every time. I know The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari enthralled all the insomniacs who got to watch a sleepwalker roam through the German Expressionist background. What a great film. I wish I could have stayed online to watch it but I couldn't keep my eyes open and that makes it quite impossible to watch a film. I got ninety-nine problems but insomnia ain't one.
But I digress. What I meant to say was this:
Thank you all so very much.
Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!
You are all a miracle to me.
Thank you, Anonymous Donor, whoever you are for matching donations for the Vortexx special Shilling Shockers episodes tonight at 8PM EST on www.horrorhost.net
And thank you to everyone at the Vortexx. You all rock!
People have been so kind on Facebook in helping to spread the word, but in case you haven't heard, tonight at 8PM Eastern Standard Time at www.horrorhost.net
you can watch episodes of Penny Dreadful's Shilling Shockers. It is a fundraiser to help me out with this campaign and I can't thank the folks at The Vortexx for coming up with this whole plan themselves.
I love being a horror host and the community among horror hosts is unique. Being Garou is not unlike playing the ukulele, it gives me a chance to be outside of myself and an escape from the constant pain.
Playing the ukulele has changed my life. I took it up last September when my longtime pal Francoise lent me her ukulele and a chord chart. I picked three chords that used the least amount of fingers and took it from there. I have figured out bits and pieces of various songs but there are very few I can play all the way through. But that's okay, I enjoy making up medleys. That might become my schtick for all I can tell at this point. I've had a blast working out the ominous sounding Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio. It is funny to play it on such a happy sounding uke. But it is a great song based on a riff from a Stevie Wonder song. I'd like to learn some more rap and hiphop because who plays that on a ukulele?!
By the way, do you know why the rapper always carried an umbrella?
I'm also working on my first composition, a sweet 50's style love song. No lyrics yet but once I have the song figured out, I'm sure the lyrics will come as soon as I look in Danielle's big brown eyes.
One last joke and then I'm outta here:
What's he difference between a fiddle and a violin?
Who cares?! Neither one is a ukulele.
On our way from- you guessed it- good ol' Dana Farber. But it was all good news, just a quick check up to make sure I was well over the past week or so of issues. Everything is resolving nicely and so long as the snowstorm headed to Boston around Monday doesn't foul up the commute for the next batch of appointments, all looks smooth. I even have a back up plan if the storm looks bad, thanks to my buddy Ivan who is a rather charming host what with his swank bachelor pad and sophisticated ways. You can learn a lot from a guy like that!
So we are on our way home and the temperature has doubled since we left home this morning. Up to a balmy 21 full Fahrenheit degrees.
My father is a master of the story joke. Here is one I know he will like and I hope you do too! I love it!
And we all know laughter is the best medicine. I'll be spending the day cuddling Krispy and Danielle while strumming my ukulele. Nothing better except maybe this cute and safe for work joke. Don't know the wit who created it, but thanks, Anonymous!
A guy is driving around Oklahoma and he sees a sign in front of a house: "Talking Dog For Sale." He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard.
The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador Retriever sitting there.
"You talk?" he asks.
"Yep," the Lab replies.
"So, what's your story?"
The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running.
"But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.
"I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
"Ten dollars," the guy says.
"Ten dollars? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"
"Because he's a liar. He never did any of that stuff."
Thumb texting you live from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, yes, it's your ol' pal Magoo again who never knows when to stop. Luckily, I'm not the one driving!
Such a rough night last night and an early morning schlep here from home, I was in tatters by the time we arrived here this morning. After a long consultation on the value of taking enough pain medication, the message finally sank in. Plus Danielle took notes. Won't be fooled again!
I seriously over-did it this weekend.
I learned my lesson the hard way.
From now on, I promise to be a very good boy and take all my medicine promptly.
Thanks to everyone sending good vibes. I might get around to reading the newsfeed every now and then to see how y'all are doing, but aside from maybe clicking LIKE now and then, I will be spending more time offline to recuperate.
I will do my best to keep you posted.
At this point my life is all about managing pain and the way to do that is cut down on unnecessary distractions.
Please refrain from public queries about my medical condition, not everyone who uses FB needs to know about my health problems.
It's not such an interesting topic of conversation anyhow.
I hope you are all off to a good start this week.
Move forward to achieving your hopes and dreams and have a great day!
Well, that last week in the hospital slowed me down some because of the new medicine dosages. So I haven't been out and about or as hungry as usual. Yesterday made up for the spell of quiet though as Danielle & I went out for such a huge lunch at our favourite Italian place with two great friends. Such a big lunch I had too much of it again last night for dinner.
Now I'm wasting all that deliciousness by being sick as a dog this morning. I strive to seek balance in life. That's why I've always liked toys like skateboards and Indo boards. But gee, striking the balance between hunger and culinary apathy is a really tricky one for me this week. After too little food, too much.
I don't think I can put one more thing in my stomach, even to settle it down.
I know, Too Much Information.
But in case you were wondering where I've been, let's just say I've been meditating on redecorating our bathroom.
Keep the aspidistras flying, kids, while I'm indisposed.
It's great that we are so fortunate to have Malcolm McDowell tapping into his inner rage to read tweets as beautifully as Ben Kingsley summoned up his own gran for playing Sexy Beast. I would love to produce a show that hired our finest actors to read the phone book. It would be a short programme, have you seen how thin these have gotten? I trained dutifully for years and now a two year old can tear one in half. But let's face it, nobody wants their cell phone listed. And the land line is dead. But imagine the excitement it would generate to hear your very own name and address read live on television. Imagine hearing the exquisite intimations of such shining luminaries with their breathless diction Heck, I'd watch it. And I'm unlisted.
Been traveling around the hospital and at last my bride and I are ensconced in a cozy little room just barely built for two. Our new nurse, Lenore, said the giant recliner might be even more comfortable than using the cot they brought which stands folded like a taco. A new room full of possiblilties, like where will I puke next!? In honor of Sid that lazy sod!
Sfeelo stop me if you've heard this one before, but I after I polished off some delicious Chinese food, I cracked open a fortune cookie and it said, "Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory."
Your loyal blog-cafster (for lack of a far better word) reporting for duty as an amergency room patient currently being stowed in a used equipment in the ER of a not-for-profit American hospital.
If you should find yourself casually strolling through the Longwood Medical section of Boston hoping to woo someone special with your romantic ukulele but this person is mystreiously missing, please feel free to stash your uke in here with me. It will be played daily and shown great affection. When I was home briefly between horse piddle visits, it did occur to me to pack along my trusty little pal but they don't allow dogs so then I nearly brought the ukjlele but sheepishly thought it might sound more like noise than music to some. Now I sit and rue. It's true. You can leave your apartment, job or town. You can even leave the country. But you've really left the party when you've left the ukulele. Aloha!
Off to a bad start. My nurse got short with me when I asked what was going to happen today. I have been in and out of the hospital this week ostensibly to get an MRI done to help figure out why my pain levels are through the roof and downright unbearable. I have been languishing in the ER since yesterday and last night was given a few things to take the pain down just a notch. But morning has broken and so have I. The pain is back in full force and then some and it took relentlessly hitting the nurse button on the remote for a while before the nurse appeared. I asked why I was left to sink back into the slough of unbearable pain unattended and whether the long awaited MRI was still even on the schedule for noon. I felt like I was being reprimanded for even asking but in this blinding amount of PAIN it is hard to see clearly what is really going on and no one seems to understand me. Could be the chemo fog leaves me less than lucid but these words here make sense enough to me. What say ye? Am I merely delusional due to the pain or is it really that I have simply been abandoned behind curtain number 53 to howl like a mortally wounded howler monkey?! If the 8am rounds are made and no doctor draws back my curtain to check in on me, I am going open up the discussion here with figuring out an escape plan. Does anyone have a fast unmarked car that can get me the hell out of here!
It has been a real long night in the ER spent hoping to turn down the volume on this constant pain I find my left side a prisoner of. Down to a dull but naggingly persistent roar. Its like having a small shark hanging on with its mouth wrapped around my left leg from the hip on down past my knee. I would like to shake off this pesky shark and shake a leg to get me going on outta here. Maybe into that long awaited MRI tube at last to see what's up with my giggitty giggitty! I miss my wife and my puppy and my ukulele but I also fear I may have missed breakfast. Looks likethe start of another long day, but I'm glad to be in it. Andhow art thou now that we have made it all the way to Friday? Is today just the morning after the night before or will it be the day before the morning after? What you do is up to you. Good luck on your mission!
Thanks to you guys this afternoon for the latest cpntributions. on for the latest contributions. Danielle and I were going to celebrate Valentine's early but instead we are in the ER in Boston. I slept on my side last night instead of on my back. I awoke in a world of pain. This is still my world. I need a fighting chance. Something to believe in
HOW TO SLEEP STANDING UP
It just occurred to me that some of you might be reading this blather in the wee smalls because you have a job that requires you to stay up nights. So here is a neat little trick I learned or else I'm a narcoleptic but at any rate should you need a moment's shut eye on the job, here's whatcha do:
Stand with your back to the wall only an inch away. Close your eyes. You can catch about forty much needed winks but as soon as you start to literally fall into a deeper slumber, you will start to sway backward and wake yourself by tapping your head on the wall. It works great unless you have the tendency to fall forward rather than backward. I'd give about anything to fall back to sleep!
As the professor once said on FUTURAMA:
"Good news anyone?"
Just checking to see if you noticed how lazy I'm getting with these intros written in the wee small's. But the professor did actually say that. He is such a wise old mensch. As for me, I probably spend too much time wondering things like, "Why no love for Zoidberg?"
So by now you've guessed it: another sleepless night. My first night home yet despite the exhaustion that had me falling asleep standing up, well, here we are again. That mobbed up blue eyed crooned sure could turn a phrase, could he not? I semi-officially consider In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning to be the theme song of this blog. Only semi-offically as I wouldn't want to incur the wrath of Nancy and make her want to stick her boot up my heinie.
Hmmmm...heinie or hienie? Ooh, look Ma! I may not be a professor but now I'm a philosopher!
That's all there is for tonight, folks. Try the veal and tip your waiter, or tip your veal and try your waiter. Enjoy yourselves. I'm not here to judge.
"Good News, Everyone!" as the Professor likes to say on Futurama. I have been released from Brigham & Womens' Hospital where I was treated like a king by the excellent nursing staff (shout-outs to Sergie & Christine!) and the great pain management team that figured out how to help me not only cope with but overcome the pain. For a guy whose legs were going out from under him in glamorous places like Dunkin Donuts parking lots and the mean streets of New Bedford just a few days ago, the turnaround in my physical, mental, and emotional health made possible by the great partnership of my Dana Farber oncology team and the compassionate care they provide along with the high quality of the caring professionals at Brigham & Womens' Hospital has been nothing short of miraculous. I will have that long awaited MRI on Friday and in the meantime I am just about an hour from my little dog Krispy and my little ukulele Les both of whom inspire me and give me in abundance such love. My dearly beloved wife, Danielle, has been with me every step of the way. Darling, I love you so much! Ok, enough mushy stuff. By now some of you are surely wondering why I would name my ukulele and name it Les when it gives me so much more than that. Well the answer is so obvious it will make you wish you had thought to wonder about more important things, like why if moths like flying around flames so much, why don't they just fly to the sun? No time to answer the latter question because you're dying to find out that Les is named after the amazing Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar and the Paul of Peter, Paul & Mary. It is made by Epiphone in the classic Les Paul style. And it is an electric ukulele as well as an acoustic ukulele. And it takes my pain and stress away even better than morphine and is so portable even Krispy can find a spot in my lap to sit with me and enjoy my music. Which is mostly playing the chords C to the F to the G but you would amazed how many tunes you can get from those just by strumming different ways. I heartily endorse both the ukulele and the love of a dog to anyone finding themselves in any sort of unpleasant predicament, but ya can't have mine! Go make the struggling musicians at your local music shop happy by treating yourself to a uke. You can get one for about fifty bucks which is a lot cheaper than therapy. And millions of loving pets are awaiting adoption to share their love with you. Thanks for all the love you've shared with me during this arduous journey. I feel great right now thanks to every last one of ye!
Hello late night fans and fellow insomniacs!
I was almost sleeping for once when a wonderful nurse apologized for awakening me. No need to apologize since she was the bearer of good news. My MRI is happening with any luck tomorrow and so is an extra batch of pain pills tonight. I've been waiting for this MRI to happen for a few days in a series of remarkably uncomfortable beds that are making it even more difficult to reduce my pain level. The first news was the MRI would happen tonight and possibly soon but the latest is that they first need previous surgery reports before they can proceed. So it went from being a good news night back to a slow news night only now I'm too hopped up to sleep. And so the restless adventure continues...
Boy Howdy! Pacing on sore legs while waiting for another shot of morphine. Nurse came in to administer the shot. Waiting for it to provide some relief although it can do nothing to soften this back-breaking hospital bed. Daniel awoke when the nurse came in and we tried swapping beds but to no avail. I threw up again so now I'm going to take a shower. Ain't this livin'?
Oy vey! Another night and here we are in the wee smalls. In an uncomfortable hospital bed and the morphine is wearing off so all I can do is writhe as quietly as I can since Danielle stayed here with me and is somehow managing to sleep on a cot they brought her. She has to schlep to work in the morning, and a double shift at that. It is so hard on my dear sweet girl to see me in this kind of pain that I don't dare wake her. I hope they let me go home tomorrow but we have to figure out a pain management system that works. This ain't it so far. I guess I will see what happens when I ring the nurse buzzer. Wish me luck!
Back at Dana Farber for what was going to be my usual weekly healing appointment but instead it is turning into an overnight stay because my pain levels and legs keep spasming and going out from under me like they did in the parking lot today sending me to my knees. Guess what kids?! It's all downhill after fifty. Worse than the pain is this unexpected change of plans leaving me stuck here overnight without my wife, puppy or ukulele for comfort. Keep those positive thoughts flowing my way.
Pardon my absence but the pain increase due to the intense cold weather has frozen my brain as well. I thank you all for your kind thoughts and especially your warm wishes. Thanks for all your support. With your help I intend to somehow survive this truly vicious winter weather. It is taking everything I have to get through this. Thanks for everything!
Ahem...as I was saying before half my update failed to load with the rest, what Ted Knight was to WMJM news, so is Chris Fowler to ESPN Sports. He brags about being busy doing other sports such as football, and the other commentators help pump up his already bloated ego about that, because poor thing, he doesn't know beans about tennis. Meanwhile I have asked everyone I know who is an avid fan of popular team sports like football, basketball, and baseball, and not a soul knows his name nor ever heard him call a game. Who is this jerk who baits his expert co-workers to argue about the pearls of wisdom that fall from their lips like a soft summer rain because of his needy ego overwhelmed by insecurity because he has no idea what to talk about nor even when it is prudent to speak. And you can bet your mother and your life savings that his voice will be the first you hear as soon as they come back from a commercial break. Aside from his ill-informed and asinine comments he is combative and obnoxious. The only time he ever says anything that makes sense is when he parrots the statistics being fed to him via his earpiece by the numbers crunching crew courtesy of IBM. The only way he can be controlled is to pair him with the wise and unflappable Chris Evert. That means he is covering a match between female players so he isn't jealous of them like he is of the men. He just likes to make ignorant remarks to perpetuate myths about female athletes like, "Doesnt this prove that this player and maybe most of the women on the tour are too mentally fragile to maintain a lead?" if Chris Evert should point out that a player is playing better, more fearless tennis when she is behind in the score. This is true of male players as well. There is sometimes more pressure to maintain a lead, as Coach Lou Holtz likes to point out, maintaining even a standard of excellence is the wrong thing to do. You need to keep trying to excel at higher and higher levels and take the necessary risks to achieve your new goals. A player who is behind devotes themselves to trying to catch up and has to raise their level of play in order to compete. Mr. Fowler fails to comprehend even the basic concepts yet has no fear of public speaking. Well, good on him as so many folks are terrified of that. But heaven help us if he has a multi-year contract to commentate on tennis.
He makes my blood boil the most out of anything annoying about this once graceful game. There are still some players who play with ethereal grace, namely Roger Federer among the men and the Radwanska sisters Aga & Ulla but these are supremely gifted artists who come along maybe once in a lifetime. They don't make hideous barnyard noises when they strike the ball and the moment after that to obstruct their opponents from hearing the ball, an important part of anticipating the forthcoming shot. There exists a rule, sadly I enforced, that prevents players from obstructing the game by loud noises, dropping a ball not in play on the court during a point, or their hair beads as Venus Williams learned painfully at the start of her professional career, or anything else for that matter. But since Monica Seles started the whole acting like you have to fake an orgasm in order to hit the ball and no one nipped that sideshow act in the bud although she got a lot of press and constant criticism from practically the entire world yet the rule went I enforced, now generations of players have gotten away with it. Commentators, who are seemingly the wisest heads in the game, comment upon the injustice wreaked by these grunters, groaners, moaners, oinkers and squeakers and squealers and screamers emitting the rudest of noises aside from moist flatulence to destroy the dignity the game once had. Every time anyone utters at decibels high enough to obstruct the sound of the ball, they should automatically lose the point. Another I enforced rule is that you have to hit the ball after you toss it up to serve at the start of a point. You either hit it or die trying and missing it isn't against the rules but it sure doesn't help you. Tossing the ball up and catching it because you tossed it poorly is quite illegal if you actually follow the rules. Yet everyone does this. It should be considered a fault which is what a blown serve is called. You get two serves, if you miss both it is called a double fault and you lose the point. Tennis scoring is a whole other can of worms but I don't have anything against it really. That silliness can wait for another day. Okay, why not. The first point is called 15. The second point is called 30. The third point is called 40. If both players get to 40 that is called deuce. If you are the player first to reach 40 and your opponent also reaches 40 before you can win the final point, then either you or your opponent has to win two consecutive points to win the game. I'm tired so I will leave Ad In scoring for another time if I don't forget to do so in the shroud of chemo fog that blows across my Teflon brain. Nothing sticks to it.
There are many things I love about tennis. The way opponents in singles competition go mano a mano as in boxing, they also get a one minute break in between rounds like boxers. I stopped playing tennis when I got serious about boxing as a sixteen year old. But my love for tennis never faded. I just didn't seek out whatever opportunities I had to go and play it. Once in Tulsa with my big brother at a rare public court, we had a time of it. I discovered the joy of hitting a sliced backhand that day. I can conjure up exactly how that felt to this day even the construction of getting to play that point is a lost memory. I went to Dallas to see a tournament while I lived in Tulsa.
Once when I first moved to NYC I went to Central Park I found a pick up game with a not very patient older gentleman who was probably at least seventy but ran me all over the court and he might have been giving good advice about my rusty strokes but he pointed out my failings with utterances filled with disgust at having picked such an unchallenging partner. Even that didn't curtail my love of the game. I was embarrassed by my flailing shots but did my best to hide the fact that I found him to be hilarious in the extreme. I thought playing him was like playing a much older John McEnroe. I think he put up with me for a set and that was plenty. He dinked and lobbed back and forth like a yo-yo. I went to the year end season championships at Madison Square Garden and had a great seat to view the action. But
I only ever hit against walls after that once in a while, more often when I lived in San Francisco's Pacific Heights district where in a jewel of a park at the top of a steep hill was a beautiful court. I had no one to play with but my fox terrier, Lucia Linguini Lamborghini or Lucy for short. She didn't quite fetch the ball but she would get it and have me chase her around before she would give it up. It was all in fun. I found walls to hit against in the Mission district when I moved there. Danielle and I hit together in the park a couple of summers ago, it was her first time and my first time in ages so we were well matched as we are in every aspect. I used to go to the US Open in the early 80's and to a smaller tournament in Mahway over in Jersey that required a variety of buses to get there. But it was worth it to see and briefly chat with players like Martina Navratilova who was at the height of her powers then. Going to watch tournaments, you get so more out of it than if you only ever watched it on TV which only occurs maybe ten times a year unless you are a millionaire who can afford really high end cable that includes The Tennis Chamnel. Oh Lord, how many times have I been channel surfing and seen the caption for a tennis tournament which makes my heart go all a flutter before I realize it's on The Tennis Channel and not accessible. You know, a couple of years ago The Tennis Channel sued the cable companies saying they were the same as ESPN and should therefore be on basic cable like them and I heard they won, but they never made the move. That's just one of the things that annoys me about tennis but there are several more. I don't like the imperious gestures used by players to indicate wordlessly that they require a huge beach towel to wipe their sweat, and that they never seem to say thanks. I think being polite to the ball kids would elevate the level of their game. I get that they want to stay focused and are slightly annoyed to be dripping in sweat perhaps, but one need only wipe the wipe the sweat from one's hands and wipe the sweat of the brow to prevent sweat from burning the eyes. It is counter-productive to wipe down your legs and arms as sweat is produced to cool the body. Yeah you get hot playing tennis but once a slight breeze kicks up or you run fast enough to create one, that sweat on your body will cool you. And I have the hot flashes to prove it!
Also tennis on ESPN and for all I know, The Tennis Channel, only ever run commercials that are aimed only at Lexus driving, Wall Street playing, wine sippers in Lacoste with full pinkie extension and noses aimed heavenward. Pretty alienating for sports fans of every other caste. And it's the same commercials year after year. Makes the sport seem less successful than it actually is. You have to wonder, can't they get any other sponsors? I certainly don't watch tennis for the commercials the way some SuperBowl fans do. But sheesh! All the snobbery in tennis tournament commercials seems to give the sport a black eye by conjuring up the elitism of the Whites Only, No Jews or Blacks country club era aspect the sport. That's my take on it. The sport seems to shun the working class by the advertisements. I don't eat 'em but jeez, throw a Doritos commercial in the mix, why dontcha?!
I am grateful to have ESPN. They have the best retired players who do color commentary with acute comprehension of the subtleties of the game. They are amiable with one another and make you feel included. I'm talking about champions like Chris Evert and John McEnroe and most often, his brother Patrick. Johnny Mac, when partnered with his French Open Champion Mixed Doubles partner, Mary Carillo, are a ton of fun with their shared sense of humor and history. When John gets worked up, Mary sometimes comes across like Miss Hathaway gently guiding Mr. Drysdale back to Earth. Speaking of Mr. Drysdale, Cliff Drysdsle is a great former champion who does the finest most level-headed commentary and when paired with Chris Evert they are a great team who can practically finish each other's sentences. They all reveal aspects of the game and the fortitude required to excel at it that the naked eye cannot see. Darren "Killer" Cahill and Pam Shriver whisper court side so as not to disturb the spectators or the players and their excited whispering adds an amusing but riveting tension to the narrative. It's so funny compared to the shouts and squeals of commentators in other sports. Mary Joe Fernandez is another former player turned commentator that I have gradually warmed up to. She has a good voice and insightful thoughts to share about what a player needs to do to win, what they are going through during a match, and tips on how to play. All the former players who do commentary excel at this. Mary Joe just sometimes comes off as a little school marmish. I get the vibe that in school she was all straight A's and maybe the teacher's pet. She veers on the edge of coming off as a total Goody Two Shoes but I find her quite amusing now because of it. And Brad Gilbert! What can I say about Brad Gilbert?! He too is a former player turned commentator and he is the best. As a player who has coached some of the best players and as a real mensch, is better than BG calling a match. He comes up with ridiculous monikers for players to either shorten long foreign names and pronounce them in as Americanized a way as he can, he is pretty much the Yogi Berra of tennis. His style of playing was craftier than the old duffer who outplayed me with dinks in Central Park, but along those lines. He would take all the speed out of his opponent's shots and drive McEnroe to distraction with these sorts of tactics. He wrote a book about it, as applicable to getting ahead in the business world as much as the tennis world. He titled it Winning Ugly. It is a great read. He is as funny in print as he is on TV. A very clever funny fellow. If I were a tennis prodigy, I would beg him to coach me. He is brilliant.
But of course the powers that be at ESPN are afraid of tennis being perceived as a country club sport so they have to assign a moron of a commentator who doesn't know a thing about tennis or how to call a match intelligently. You can easily tell that any fact or stat he drops is just something he parrots from his headset and mostly at inopportune times because he understands nothing about the flow of a match or how to enhance the drama of it. What Ted Knight was to WMJM news,
Hey sports fans! Not sure how many aside from myself follow professional tennis but the Australian Open Championships of Asia & The Pacific, a Grand Slam event, has seen me through a lot of sleepless nights over the past fortnight. I'm going to miss it. I tend to awake around 3AM and this coincides exactly with the live coverage from Australia. I am not a huge fan of the one dimensional power game where the sole tactic is to hit the ball as hard as possible. A hard served followed by a hard smack of the return of the ball to the opposite corner from your opponent has some logic to it but little to no beauty. This tactic actually works great for me on the Wii. I get why it is popular as a strategy but it is ruinous for the sport. Let's face it, it is plainly boring to watch unreturnable balls fly across the court in a nanosecond. So I was bereft when the two finest artists in the sport, Roger Federer & Agnieska Radwanska, were eliminated by power players in the semi-finals. They play with improvised creativity and a magical sense of geometry & physics concerning the trajectory of a fuzzy yellow ball. White tennis balls are used at Wimbledon, the British Championships, as that Grand Slam tournament is played in grass and grass stains on a yellow ball would practically camouflage it.
Tomorrow will decide the fate if the men's draw. Will Rafael Nadal earn yet another Grand Slam title or will there be a new champion crowned, destined to become Switzerland's first new Number One player in over a decade as well in our man Stan Warwrinka? Roger Federer held that spot as well as Number One in the world for a good long time and I loved every minute of his reign. He is truly an artist on the court. Tomorrow's championship will basically be power versus power. Yesterday's women's championships were pretty much power versus power but the prevailing champion, Li Na, used acute angles to beat her opponent Dominika Cibulkova in a highly contested first set that ended in a tiebreaker that boosted the level of Li Na's game so that she was able to take the second set with ease.
Li Na is the first Asian to win the Asian Grand Slam, a terrific achievement for a great player with a ton of charm who I was extra delighted to see win as her opponent had knocked my favourite artist out of the draw in the semi-finals. I don't know if even Agnieska Radwanska herself could have been as disappointed as I was that she ran out of gas after having defeated the Number Two player in the world, Victoria Azarenka, in the quarter-finals. Radwanska had the bad luck to have to the last match in all her rounds towards the end of the tournament, which gave her less time to rest and recuperate after her matches than her opponents got. A raw deal. It's the second time that her path to the final and her first potential Grand Slam title was within reach and she wasn't able to get past the semis. It happened last summer and it seemed going so far into the draw at the Australian Open was going to vindicate that loss that nearly killed us both! So just hugely disappointing that Fate conspired against her once again. I hope she picks herself up and dusts herself off in time to make another great run at the French Open in late spring and take the title. Then we can finally say, "We'll always have Paris."
Well, yesterday was a treat. I survived an NBette halfway through the long infusion process. That's a mini nervous breakdown for those of you who haven't yet read You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again or YNELITTA to devotees of the late great Julia Phillips such as myself.
It's a book I return to again and again. She was a driven woman. Incisive and hilarious. Thinking of her and the battles she faced pulled me through once the thought struck me that I was in the midst of an NBette.
It made sitting in logjam rush hour traffic in Boston bearable and the twenty mile hour an hour top speed when traffic moved at all on 93 & 24 & 140 and whee whee whee all the way home. Listening to The Muffs and a variety of Scandinavian rockabilly and the Misfits got me home slowly but surely and very loudly. Some folks who can't really sing sound great in the shower. I wouldn't know but I sound great singing in the car. But you'll have to trust me on this, I have no plans to go public. But I have the range from Ira Louvin to Johnny Cash. Too bad I can't keep in tune unless I'm driving and the music is loud enough to bury my faults.
Trust me, I'm better on the ukulele and I ain't ready for prime time with that yet, either. But it sure keeps me happy. The truth is, it is impossible to not be gladdened by playing a ukulele, or if you're not listening to me play it, just by listening to one. Narciso Lobo is worth a look and a listen on YouTube and I am excited about his album coming out in April. He has the originality & lyrical humor of a young Bob Dylan but his style is completely his own and he does it all on a ukulele. You can't do better than that. Seeso's music gets me through a lot of sleepless nights.
I got home at nearly ten o'clock last night due to the icy roads and blinding snow to find my lovely wife had warmed up the telly and had the Australian Open on for me. I am a huge tennis buff and my favourite players were amazing last night. It was worth losing yet more sleep over to see what transpired. Besides, as far as I'm concerned, we are snowed in so there's nothing to do today but nap, make soup, watch tennis and enjoy Dani's day off together. This is living!
Hey! Look at me! I'm kicking cancer's ass at Dana Farber and then I'm gonna drive home through a blizzard, if you believe the weather reports.
And when that long slow infusion stops a drip drippy drippin' and they've given me my turbo dual injections, I shall leap upon my trusty steed and ride it south. Okay, so the steed is a not so mighty Hyundai but the stereo works and I will be singing and shoutin' along til I make it home to my sweet girls. Just try to stop me!
Sorry for the hiatus. It was due to problems logging on that nearly left me no choice but to cancel this campaign. Aside from the technical glitches and lack of any reply to my requests from the GoFundMe Team, and the anxiety that caused, the rest of my life has been wonderful. Thanks to the holiday, my veins have a chance to recover from last week's treatment. It left me in serious pain for a couple of days but toughed it out. Nausea is no picnic, but I dined like a king this weekend. I have a truly hilarious best pal since we met back in our theatre days in NYC back in the 80's. She came to town to cook me dinner Saturday night. I made up some barbecue sauce and she taught me how to prepare a chicken and use the broiler in my oven. I had been mistaking the pan drawer for a broiler and assumed it didn't work. Only lived here for a decade. I'll figure out my four square foot kitchen someday. I'm actually a pretty good cook but a lot of that is thanks to my crockpot and spice rack, plus an innate talent for layering sandwiches and an undying love of breakfast foods.
But my pal blew me away with her culinary talents. The acorn squash was so good we forgot all about the cornbread. Watermelon riper than it deserved to be this time of year was a great topper. But then I even had it in me a while later to bake some chocolate chip cookies. My apetite has been AWOL but it made a comeback this weekend. We barely had time to sleep off this feast in time for lunch today at our mutual friends' wonderful home in Providence where fascinating conversations expanded our minds and delicious food did likewise to our bellies. The topper was gingerbread cake, the best I ever had. I put away two slices without drawing a breath. If you knew of my former gluttony and the shocking disappearance of it last year, you would find this as shocking as it is self-indulgent. My apetite is the one thing I never imagined I could lose. So it is thrilling to see it make a comeback.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Take a moment today to appreciate the good Doctor Martin Luther King Junior achieved in one short lifetime.
Thanks to all who have contributed by sharing the link. I bet it has been shared as often as that video of a chimpanzee riding on a Segway.
You all have shown me how much love there is in the world. It gives me a lot to be grateful for even while the IV drip drip drips ever so slowly to wash my cancer away.
Forgive me for declining so many wonderful offers to socialize but I need to manage my energy and the clock on the wall says it all. 5:40 AM and sleep is nowhere in sight. But I've got my eyes on the prize.
Thanks for all your good wishes that keep my spirits high.
I am feeling amazed this morning. Yesterday was busy and fun celebrating Danielle's birthday. Also the first Grand Slam tennis championship of the year began last night. I am a tennis lover from way back, and always look forward to the start of the season, ya know, the way normal people care about football and baseball! I find watching the game to be quite hypnotic and since the championship is being played in Melbourne, Australia, should I have any more sleepless nights during the next fortnight, I can watch tennis at three in the morning!
That's a luxury I rarely get to enjoy. Once a year. The timing is pretty great except guess what? Last night I slept through the night! Until 5AM which is a record! How thrilling it is. I also woke up with my hip not bothering me! Yesterday I could barely lift my leg to climb stairs and walking was a painful chore as well. Today, I feel great.
This afternoon I will start my new treatment in an exciting clinical trial I have been accepted into at Dana Farber. It is great to be able to start on a day when I feel good and strong.
The support from friends has been incredible.
Some of you are friends I haven't yet had the pleasure to meet in person. When I think of how my initial reaction was the first time I was told by my great friend who always has her finger on the pulse, an early adopter of everything destined to become the Next Big Thing, that social media was where IT was going to be at next back in the days of Friendster, I could not have been more non-plussed!
But as per usual, she was right. Now I live more of my social life online than in person. And it feels like a real lifeline to the world. The compassion that flows from you to me via this wacky interweb contraption has been more than eye opener, it is a soul expander. Thank you for reaching out and helping to clear the obstacles in my path so I can focus on healing. Together we will surmount these obstacles and look back on this someday and laugh.
Laughter is the best medicine, after all.
Those of you sending healing vibes can join in a dogma-less guided meditation by checking out Facebook's HeartCenteredRebalancing page. The meditation is today at 8pm Mountain Standard Time. Thank you and bless you all!
My hair is perfect but my eyes are wet. Thank you so much for digging so deep to help me out. I know some of you have smashed your piggy banks to help contribute and this breaks my heart. It is an amazing world full of miracles made out of the kindness of strangers. I always knew Tennessee Williams was on to something, but my gosh! I love you all!
My wonderful acupuncture doctor fixed me up today and then I splurged on a haircut. I feel like a million bucks except for a pinched muscle in my hip. A PBJ and some chamomile tea and it's off to bed for this boy. What a difference a day makes. If I can sleep through the night it will be start of a great weekend!
What a day. The cancer has progressed somewhat. More tests and blood work before I can go. The good news is that I may be accepted into a clinical trial.
Wish me luck!
Longest appointment day ever at Dana Farber is almost over. Bone scan, CT scan, chemo and a doctor visit. Been here since 7AM and about another hour to go. Not happy about having to wear pants and shoes for such a long stretch, but your support has seen me through this incredibly long and exhausting day. Thank you all!
Can't sleep tonight with the wind howling like a beast. Knowing I have to go out into the bitter cold in a few hours that will make every bone in my body ache is seriously bumming me out. What to do while feeling bedeviled? If only sleep would come...
Just went for a walk with the amazing Krispy dog. So thrilled to see the snow has melted around my car and that the car still starts! I left it buried after the big snowfall last week figuring it was worth the risk. I really needed to conserve my energy. The snow was so deep I probably would have only got so far as to maybe half dig it out before I would have exhausted myself and freaked out over not being to accomplish the task. Chemo brain sets me off super easily and being both a bit macho and disabled is an extremely aggravating condition to find myself in, and I'm proud to see I have FINALLY learned to choose my battles wisely. All things come to those who wait.
Headed out into the snow to finish the last exchange of Christmas gifts at The Island of Misfit Toys among some friends we consider family. It will be my first venture out into this particular snowfall. Time for a quick ukulele practice while my girls are out for a walk! Happy trails to you.
Knee deep snow and arctic temperatures will keep me indoors today. I miss going out and photographing sights along the way on walks with Krispy, our gentle quiet little mutt, ten pounds of border terrier and miniature schnauzer who resembles an extremely tiny Irish Wolfhound. She is great company and loves to give chase. Squirrels are her favorites followed by rabbits, cats, birds, and flying insects. Remote control vehicles are her favourite thing of all to chase but she has a new passion for squeaky mouse toys marketed toward cats. With her quick eye-paw coordination and prehensile ability, she can even entertain herself with her mousie collection. A day can go by in the blink of an eye just fooling around with the dog and her mouse toys, or sending briefly aloft the remote control miniature helicopter that flutters like an injured bird along the ground, much to her delight.
I take breaks to do a crossword or read a book, strum my ukulele and see if maybe there's a Spongebob on I haven't already seen a jillion times. I prefer Squidward to Patrick if you must know.
I watch YouTube videos to learn more ukulele and sometimes practicing the uke turns into spending hours on YouTube watching the homemade videos of talented people from all over the world. It stokes me to the max! It is nearly a solid week since I stopped taking Xeloda and I still have some bothersome hand and foot syndrome. I can walk but my hands are a mess. I also hold the strings down in such a way that the fingernail on my index finger gets filed down at a rather jaunty angle. It's a look, I guess. The few chords I know are switching from one to the next quicker and smoother and that is such a thrill. I can't wait until my hands heal up enough that I can play for hours rather than just minutes at a time.
Thanks to Youtube's Yeahrica channel I have finally learned a song that I can play nearly flawlessly but not quite. I enjoy every attempt because like Yeahrica says, it is impossible to not feel happy when playing a ukulele. Soon as I finish this, I am going to tune up my little Les Paul and work on fingerpicking for as long as I can stand before I let myself relax and just strum the afternoon away.
New Bedford Weather Report
Woke a few hours ago to find New Bedford looking pristine for a change as the garbage strewn on our city streets has been tucked beneath a blanket of snow. From my third story window, it appears to be the light easily swept aside Hollywood snow, as opposed to the wet shovel-busting Heart Attack Snow. Lovely Hollywood snow sparkles with diamonds but will find its way down your sleeves just as perniciously as the other kind and chill you just as much. Not a huge fan of either. I'll be staying in today and tomorrow unless the charming little Krispy dog learns some new tricks to lure me outside, or if Danielle turns her own gorgeous pair of puppy-dog eyes on me imploringly to give her a break from taking over dog walks for me on the coldest days. I think if the weather lives up to the hype, it is going down to six below zero and only as high as fourteen. The good news is, it might melt away by Monday. If we can just stay in until then, how lovely life will be in the great indoors with my beloved, my puppy, and my joy inducing ukulele.
Couldn't ask for better company to hunker down with, now could I?
Stay warm, my friends!
Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had at least one tenth as much fun as I had last night. My sweet sister-in-law and her awesome boyfriend threw a perfect New Year's Eve party last night. The finest folks were there and the conversation sparkled and bubbled like the champagne we enjoyed. I am greatly enjoying my two week break from oral chemo before I start with the fancy kind, and this means I had the lee way to enjoy some bubbly last night. It had been well over a year since I enjoyed such a delightful buzz, and by the blessings of Bacchus I had not a drop to little nor too much. I woke up with no ill effects, not the slightest touch of a hangover. Lucky me. I hope those of you who aren't teetotalers hit the right total last night too!
Next on the agenda is hunkering down for the nor'easter headed our way. The snow is supposed to fall over the next two days. Calling all Zambonis!
Love and best wishes to all for a happy new year.
I made a typo by putting my diagnosis date as October 2013 when I meant to say 2012. Chalk it up to numb fingertips on a phone keyboard combined with chemo fog and this is what ya get!
For those of you who would have expected to have been informed by me personally and sooner than this, my apologies. Again, between the initial shock of diagnosis, learning to cope, finding hope and reserves of strength I never noticed before, juggling life with chemo brain, there has been so much lost in the shuffle. My apologies. The urge to let people know has been grappled with more times than you know but the upheaval one must endure every time you tell someone such lousy news was just too stressful to go through over and over again. And I have a bit of a cleverly concealed macho streak that doesn't like to imagine myself as an object of pity. That had to be grappled with before I could learn to be comfortable with accepting sympathy. It's sorted now but it is still really overwhelming to go on Facebook and see the newsfeed so full of my plight being shared and the overwhelming response and all the kindness flowing at me from everywhere. I was a child of the Sixties but it never hit me til now just how much love there is in the world and how truly blessed I am to have made all the wonderful acquaintances I have encountered in my rather peripatetic adventures between an upbringing as an Air Force and Army Brat, my adventures as a roadie, and a certain rootlessness that has led me from Newfoundland to Florida to Ohio to Tennessee to Florida again to Texas, Oklahoma, California, NYC, Georgia, Berlin, Amsterdam, New England and The Azores, just to name a few, but I never imagined so many people from so many places and stops along the way would all come together and be there for me the way you have done. There are names and faces I don't know yet but I already consider you a friend. It takes a special kind of person to reach out across the internet and offer a kind word or a joke to ease my mind, and sacrifice something in order to lend a hand. I have never been so amazed by so many people who have shown up for me in so many wonderful ways. Thank you so much!
I have been so busy saying thank you to one and all today that I haven't even had time to play my ukulele. But I can't stop saying thank you to the tsunami of support that is flowing in from far and wide with friends re-posting the link and saying the nicest things about me. Not only are ya makin' me blush, but tears of gratitude threaten to short out the keyboard, so I;m signing off for a little while. I love you crazy kids!
Saying thanks to all you wonderful people is my new full time job! I cannot express how much the kind words mean to me, and the outpouring of generosity is simply astonishing. Most of the time I do my best to ignore the fact that I have anything wrong with me. But the support you all have shownevin the past few days has made me grateful for the challenge O now face, for without it I never would have even suspected how deep the bonds of our friendship are. Some of you I know only via Facebook and many of you are new friends there as well. But by reaching out to me as you have, it is like discovering a whole new chamber of my heart opening wide to all this love. It is mind-blowing!
(Runs hand through hair, clears throat, tries to collect himself while inconspicuously attempting to erase the trail of tears)
Harrumph! Okay, now back to my usual curmudgeonly self...
Wow, thank you all for the amazing show of support. Your good wishes and generosity has completely floored me. It has taken all day and half the night, but I am momentarily caught up with thanking you all, so I am off to bed. I couldn't possibly dream of having more caring and wonderful friends!
You guys! Now how'm I supposed to get anything done if all I do is cry tears of gratitude and thanks all day long? You are the Best!
Since October 2012 I have been fighting for my life. Since last April I have been unable to work due to the pain and the strength it takes to fight it and cope with chemotherapy, and the side effects, and bone mets. My wife Danielle has been working two jobs but there are seasonal layoffs in her profession and we are struggling to make ends meet because, even though I am covered by Mass Health, Insurance doesn't cover all of the expenses incurred in this situation. We spend hundreds of dollars a month on alternative medical treatments that are vital to my recovery but not covered by insurance. If you can help with even a dollar towards this, you will be a crucial part of my recovery. Please feel free to do whatever you can, any amount will make a difference. For those who can lend alternate forms of support, please remember that laughter is the best medicine and I am as corny as they come. Laughter and your friendship is more valuable to me than all the gold in the world.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.