Sunday, December 21, 2008

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND THIS AND THAT




Saturday, Dec 20th

Christmas is upon us and I am not prepared. Why do I always wait until the last minute?

I bought Christmas cards nearly three weeks ago and have not completed a single one. I fail yet again.

I used to be good about it, and this year my intention was to sit down and write them all out, each with a personalized greeting, but time has gotten away from me.

Can I just blame in on Cancer? That excuse has worked so well over the past 2 and a half months. Hell - I think it got me a discount at one of our favorite restaurant the night I was diagnosed. I asked if they had a cancer discount - and the bill was surprisingly low for all we ate and drank.

It’s worth a try!

To all those that I intended to send cards – I apologize – I have cancer... well… had cancer…. Hopefully don’t anymore!

I have to keep the “C” word light and laugh about it all!!!

Christmas shopping – AAARRRGGHHH!!!

So far I have bought some clothes for Noelle and Christopher but that is it. Noelle spent the night last night and I don’t know how I am supposed to go shopping with her here, but we always have such a great time together I will find the time.

Noelle has a bag of stuffed letters, given to her by my friend Joann, and today we played a game - she would pull a letter from the bag and I would tell her the name of the letter and then words and names that start with that letter. She is so smart and her development is so important to me. I am always encouraging her to count and go through her “A B Cs.”

Now that Noelle is no longer in daycare, she isn’t getting the stimulation that is so essential to her development and so I work with her. She is naturally bright and it is vital that we help cultivate an inquisitive mine.

Christmas Eve will be Fettit, the girls, and the grandkids. Jon has to work but we are hoping he will get off early. Dad and Jane have made separate plans this year - new traditions.

I wish we could make new plans - new traditions - but its difficult with Fettit having to play the organ at midnight mass. It keeps us in town.

For Christmas Eve dinner we have decided upon a rib roast and fried shrimp, accompanied by baked potatoes and a fresh vegetable.

Christmas day we are going to the Wiley-Conforti’s for drinks, dinner and game day/night. We try to do game night once a month but depending on the time of year it is usually once every two or three months.

Besides the Wiley-Conforti’s, our friends Ray and Mark round out the customary players. I think our friends Kevin and Brad are joining as well. We have a wonderful group of friends and it will be an enjoyable day.

On Friday I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon and I am healing well. The two small cuts on each side of my stomach have healed completely and are almost unnoticeable. The small incision a couple of inched below my navel is also fading nicely, and the three inch incision (which is through my navel – extending one inch below to about two inches above) is also healing well. From looking at the incisions it is not easy to tell I underwent major surgery just over a month ago.

I rarely had severe pain after I left the hospital and although the doctor gave me vicodin, I didn’t like the way they made me feel so I didn’t take them. I cannot imagine finding that feeling pleasurable and becoming an addict.

Hell, I asked the doctor for sleeping pills and he begrudgingly gave me a few ambien and those didn’t even work. I guess my drug of choice is tequila.

I am amazed.

Dr. Buckmire informed me I will have to see him every three months for the next two years and then as long as everything continues to be favorable that will be decreased to every six months and eventually I will discontinue seeing him.

Tuesday I go to meet another new doctor, my oncologist. He will be the person who decides if I require chemotherapy.

Although Dr Buckmire didn’t say I wouldn’t need it, I have a hunch I may not need chemotheraphy. I am going to encourage them to give it to me. For one reason, if there is a chance they didn’t get ONE cancer cell, I want it gone, but more importantly, I want the damn AFLAC chemo money. Hell – the first chemo session banks me $3,000. I won’t deny it… I want the money Oh yeah, and I want to be healthy too... but and initial payment of $3,000 and then $900 weekly after that certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at. Just think of the trips I could take. I need cancer to pay off for me… CHA-CHING!!!

I encourage all… get the AFLAC Cancer Coverage - you get paid to have cancer!

The cancer has been an experience. I took my father’s diagnosis far more serious then I did my own. I have laughed all the way through it – perhaps not the first day after the surgery – but certainly before and right after.

Cancer should be such a scary thing but at no time could I even wrap my head around the gravity of the situation. I never thought it was going to be anything more then a little surgery I would undergo. I would have it removed, recuperate a little and continue on with my life – and that is what I have done.

I'm gonna live till I die! I'm gonna laugh 'stead of cry, I'm gonna take the town and turn it upside down, I'm gonna live, live, live until I die. They're gonna say "What a guy!" I'm gonna play for the sky. Ain't gonna miss a thing, I'm gonna have my fling, I'm gonna live, live, live until I die.


Sunday, December 21st

Yesterday after lunch I was able to get some shopping done. I could not get over the crowds and the traffic. Horrendous!

I hate giving (and receiving) gifts just to give (receive) something, you know, the bad cologne gift packs filled with outdated scents that are accompanied by deodorant, and such.

HATE THEM!!!

This year I have told everyone not to buy me anything. I buy what I want when I want it. There really isn’t anything anyone can buy me that I would be crazy about.

Take me to dinner or to drinks, or buy me tickets to a traveling Broadway show. Don’t give me Stetson cologne, soap on a rope, a chia pet or the clapper.

So I am only buying for Christopher and Noelle.

These children have far too many toys as it is and I can’t stand spending money on crap that will only be played with once and abandoned. They have enough other relatives to buy them toys - I won’t be a part of that.

So going with what I mentioned earlier about Noelle’s development, I only purchased items that will expand her mind and encourage her learning to count, recognize and learn alphabet, and shapes and colors (although she knows most of her colors already).

I found a really great book on the United States but then I disappointingly realized that it was too advanced for her and I would be the only one enjoying it - I always love books on travel and new places while she still enjoys me reading Dr. Seuss to her.

Christopher was more difficult. It is not easy to find anything for a four month old. In the end I found something appropriate that he will be able to use for a few months that should assist with his development.

After Christmas I am abandoning Fettit and going to take a bite of the apple (now that I can digest it) and hang with some friends, and then once the holidays are behind me, I will return to office.

It will have been nearly two months since I sat at my desk and worked. I am really looking forward to it. Working from the confines of home is not for me. I realized that during my last job where I did it full time.

I need to interact with people.

Okay… I need to go start my day. Sorry for all the rambling and jumping from here to there!

Until next year – Happy Holidays and I wish all a prosperous, healthy New Year!

Monday, December 8, 2008

BARBRA SHARES A KISS WITH KING GEORGE

How uncomfortable (and ironic) it must have been for both of them, Barbra and King George, and I swear I hear laughter from the crowd during the exchange.

I'm not interested in the lame duck King George, but I wonder what Barbra, an extremely vocal critic of not only George Bush's presidency, but also of him personally, was thinking...

I found this in a Rueter's article... I thought I would include it...

"He's very warm and funny," Streisand said of the president, whom she met at the White House ceremony. Speaking as she strode along the red carpet with her husband, actor James Brolin, the singer added, "Art trumps politics tonight." Still, a ripple of laughter washed over the Opera House during a video presentation of the meeting, which showed Bush giving her a buss on the cheek. The two also blew air-kisses to each other in their box.

Can you imagine what each was thinking?

STOP CRYING YOU SPOILED BRATS

I have no idea who this man is, Louis CK, I have never heard of him before, but I came across this clip and think he is spot on?

(I may be a little guilty myself)

SHUT UP YOU BUNCH OF SPOILED BRATS!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

PROP 8 - THE MUSICAL

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

CANCER CHRONICLES - PART THREE

Forty-eight hours until surgery and I am lying flat on my back with Vick's spread all over my chest and neck and stuffed in my nose. This is not a good sign.

I woke up yesterday morning with a tickle in my throat and it has progressed. At work today I was sneezing so much that a coworker surprised me by running to the store to get me a box of Kleenex and a half gallon on orange juice. She felt bad because she thinks she gave it to me.

I'm not sure.

I don't really feel bad but its in my nose and moving ever so slowly down to my chest. I am sure that isn't a good sign - just before surgery.

I called the surgeon's office and left a message to see how it effects my surgery - if it does at all. I have yet to get a call back.

I have been asked a few times lately if I am nervous and the truth is I haven't had one nervous thought. Perhaps I am living in denial as to the severity of the situation but I have never lived on what ifs and whys.

The fact is I have colon cancer. So what? I'm relatively young and in good health until I am told otherwise, and even then I doubt that it will have much effect on how I live my life.

As I have said all along, this is a bump in the road. I have been fortunate not to have had many major bumps up to this point. Others endure so much more than I have that I can't feel sorry for myself.

People live each day not knowing where they will find their next meal or where they are going to sleep. Some don't know the love and support I do and walk through life alone.

I am constantly reminded that I am surrounded by the love of my family and friends.

FORTUNATE!

Thursday afternoon is going to come and go and I am going to wake up in the recovery room and scream my head off for morphine. Give me that damn drip and make it drip often. To all those reading that will be visiting me in the hospital, I am instructing you now - I expect you to automatically hit the morphine drip button for me when you walk in the door. No need to kiss me and hug me - just hit the f-ing morphine drip button. It will make me much happier to see you.

I am a big baby when it comes to pain and I don't even know what pain is - other than when I broke my arm in three places running down the sidewalk in New York City after a night of over indulging. Even that pain I don't remember now but I do recall waking up in the morning crying like a baby.

I am warning everyone right now - expect that I am a wimp. Hell, I bitch about the pain from my feet. Its a damn good thing I cant get pregnant because I wouldn't handle it so well. It definitely would not be pretty.

Oh - and if anyone really wants to make points - bring me a damn margarita. That will help with the pain too, and the DTs. On second thought, maybe that isn't such a good idea.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Party 2008 - Thrilling

This past Friday, October 24th, with friends and family from near and far in attendance, we held our 4th Annual Halloween Party.

My brother Kevin and his partner Brad (Craig) came from Michigan with his crazy sisters and their friends. East coast friends Matt, Dean and Rol came for the weekend as well as my friend Joe Joe from Fort Lauderdale. They were joined by our local family and friends.

It was fun to forget about all of my recent health issues and just laugh and have a good time.

Fettit enjoyed his Dame Edna costume so much he repeated it last night to hand out candy.

The next night several of us went to a club is Scottsdale to continue the celebrating. Those photos come near the end of the clip.

ENJOY!





Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CANCER CHRONICLES - PART TWO

Before I left the hospital that Thursday Dr. Champagne had instructed me to contact her off to schedule the PET scan and the surgery. The next morning I called her office and spoke with a young lady and explained the reason I was calling and I felt she was a little annoyed that I was calling.

“We are trying to schedule those for you right now, sir,” she stated in her irritated manner.

“Well I am just doing what Dr Champagne asked”, I responded, and quickly got off the phone.

That was Friday and I didn’t hear back from her office the rest of that day.

Monday morning I received a call from Dr Champagne’s office stating that the request for the PET scan appointment had been sent to the hospital (Banner Good Samaritan) and I would be receiving a call from the hospital directly before the end of the day.

The call never came.

About 4:00 pm I contacted the hospital scheduling department and was informed that they had never received the paperwork. The very helpful young lady on the other end of the phone requested I contact Dr Champagne’s office and request she re-fax the request.

I called Dr. Champagne’s office and spoke with Mindy and explained why I calling.. She informed me that a few of her faxes hadn’t gone through that morning and requested I hold. A few minutes later someone else picked up the phone, “Mr. Willi, this is Terri, I’m sorry to inform you but we do not take your insurance.”

“Oh great,” I blurted out both is jest and frustration.

“We will be contacting you primary care physician and letting him know so he can find you a new surgeon,” she continued without hearing the dissatisfaction in my voice, “I’m very sorry.”

First thing the next morning I was on the phone leaving a message for my doctor’s assistant requesting a call and explaining what I been told the late afternoon before.

Sometime later in the day I received a call giving me the name of a new surgeon, Dr Luis Hashimoto, with an appointment to see him first thing in the morning the next day, and my PET scan was scheduled for 2:30 the following day as well.

I then received a call from Terri in Dr Champagne’s office informing me Dr. Champagne would perform the surgery for me out of network. Instead of jumping on that, which I should have, I informed Terri that Dr Johnson had found me a new surgeon.

That night my brother, Kevin, flew in to attend our upcoming Halloween party, and to attend my appointments with me as well. After freaking out all day I am feeling more relax and comfortable.

The next morning Kevin arrived at my house and we drive to Dr Hashimoto’s office where we sat for an hour before we spy him arriving through the back door. Fifteen minutes later we are shown an examination room.

Dr Hashimoto entered the room, introduced himself and starts going over the notes in my file. He asked me the typical family related questions, allergies, medical history and then, taking a cue from his notes, starts talking about my appendix.

In between receiving three phones in the course of 10 minutes, he talked endlessly talked about my appendix. He talked about the possibility of my problem being appendicitis and the treatment and surgeries available.

He then got to the second line in the notes and announced that I have a thickening of the colon wall and started to describe what it means and all the possibilities.

I finally had to stop him. He had been talking for 15 minutes without having a clue why I was there, so I finally said, “I know all of this. I have colon cancer.”

Squinting his eyes he asked, “How do you know this?”

“Because I had a colonoscopy last Thursday,” I replied.

Surprised, he looked at me and asked, “What were the results?”

“They found a five centimeter tumor in my colon, I have colon cancer,” I informed him, a little frustrated that he didn’t already know.

Dr Hashimoto then started laughing and pretended to hit me on the arm several times. “Why didn’t you tell me? You let me go on an on,” to which I replied, “I thought you knew and this was part of your show.”

“I don’t do a show, “ he demanded.

Believe me, he does a show. A nice man, and I am sure capable man, but there is a showman trapped inside him as his hands flail and he drew diagrams, and took phone call after phone call during our session.

Dr Hashimoto then talked about the surgery and the possibility of complications. He and I settle on Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peaks as the hospital to have the surgery performed. Although the furthest away, he let me know it is the best of those available for him to perform the surgery.

Kevin and I left the office and laughed about the comical episode in his office. From the moment he walked into the room to when we left his office the man had us laughing, or was it scratching our heads.

I felt comfortable with him although he had told me he would not be doing the surgery laparascopically. Without seeing a single report or film, he determined he would be opening me up. It perplexed me since Dr. Champagne, who had seen the results of the colonoscopy, had planned to do it laparascopically.

Later in the afternoon I had my PET scan.

I never heard from either Dr Johnson or Dr Hashimoto that afternoon or Thursday regarding the PET scan results so I called both of their offices late on Thursday afternoon and never heard back – not that day – not Friday.

More frustration.

Working with Dr Champagne I had felt a sense of urgency and comfort that I had not found since. She made me feel confident we were going to schedule the surgery and that it would probably be Monday, October 27th, I would get the PET scan and the results and on we would go.

Yesterday was October 27th, and I had not been scheduled for surgery and no one was calling me back with the results of my PET scan.

First thing in the morning I called the offices of both Drs. Hashimoto and Johnson again and inquired about my PET scan results.

A couple of hours later I received a call from Catherine, the assistant to another doctor in Dr. Hashimoto’s office. She called to inform me that my surgery had been scheduled for Thursday, October 30th. I need to arrive at 8:00 am and that surgery would be at 10:00 am.

She told me I could not eat anything past midnight and as she continued, I felt the need to interrupt.

“Has Dr Hashimoto received and reviewed the results from the colonoscopy and PET scan, “ I asked. Stumped, she reviewed my file which I assumed was in front of her and said, “No, I don’t see that they have been.”

Starting to get irritated again, I asked, “How is it possible for Dr Hashimoto to perform surgery on me when he hasn’t even seen the results of any of my tests? You can go on and give me all the information you were supposed to tell me but I am not feeling comfortable with this and will probably have to reschedule.”

This didn’t please Catherine. She asked “Do you know how difficult it is to schedule surgery?”

I informed her I did not, and I was thinking, “And I don’t care but something about this does not feel right.”

I could feel her displeasure with me over the phone as she ignored my concerns and continued on with her list of demands.

“You will need to bring someone with you because you will not be allowed to drive yourself home,” she stated rather matter-of-factly.

This time I snapped. “What? Dr Hashimoto is cutting me in half and you are telling me he is sending me home. He told me I would be in the hospital at least a week.”

I was pissed. I’m sure it was not Dr Hashimoto who believed I was being sent home, it was his colleague’s incompetent assistant.

“Oh, well, each doctor does things differently, “she cautiously replied.

I couldn’t get off the phone fast enough with her. The only useful information she had given me was the time and place of my surgery, and I wasn’t feeling too good about any of it.

I stewed for a few minutes and then Dr. Johnson called with the results of the PET scan. Everything had come back clean – although once I have recuperate from my surgery he wants me to get my prostate checked out because of my high PSA numbers.

He asked me about Dr Hashimoto and informed me he had called him several times and had never received a call back. I was thinking, but didn’t say, “I was surprised because he talked on his phone three times in the 20 minutes I was with him.”

I told Dr Johnson that Dr Champagne was planning to do the procedure laparascopically and that Dr Hashimoto was going to cut me open. I asked why the difference and what he told me didn’t alleviate my uneasiness.

For the remainder of the day I sat at my desk working, yet apprehensive with the chain of events that had lead me to surgery on Thursday.

I had an instant chemistry with Dr Champagne. When I first spoke with Dr. Johnson he had told me she was one of the two best surgeons in the state, and when I met her I felt confident I was in the hands of someone both capable and caring.

I do not have that comfort with Dr Hashimoto. I liked him and I am sure he is a good surgeon, definitely a busy one, but their approaches are too different for me to not feel uneasy.

Driving home I started thinking about contacting Dr. Champagne’s office and telling her I would take her up on her offer to see me out of network and then it hit me.

The day before, Kevin had visited Dad and Jane and they mentioned they would like me to see the surgeon who performed Dad’s surgery – Dr. Michael Buckmire. I would look to see if he was a provider in my network.

When I arrived home I immediately looked online and found that Dr. Buckmire was in my network so I texted my step-mother (back and forth several times) and they agreed to grease the wheel for me with Dr. Buckmire’s office.

Before going to sleep I left Dr Johnson a message informing him of my decision to cancel my surgery and go with Dr Buckmire, and I requested he have all my charts and reports faxed to his office.

This morning while showering I received a message from Dr. Johnson. He stated he understood my concern and thought it was a good idea that I seek out Dr. Buckmire. He even mentioned having a reservation or two about Dr. Hashimoto.

When I arrived at work today the first thing I did was call Dr. Hashimoto’s office and left a message that I needed to have my surgery cancelled and that I was going with a different surgeon. I called Dr Buckmire’s office and told them my name and that Dr Buckmire had performed my father’s surgery and that I am now going through the same thing and would like to make an appointment with him to have him perform mine as well.

I was told the first available date on Dr. Buckmire’s schedule would be November 7th. I asked that I be put on a list for any cancellations and accepted the appointment.

I am now feeling so much better. I am happy with my decision to postpone my surgery and wait for a doctor I am somewhat familiar with; however, I now just sit here stewing, wondering if waiting that long is a bad move. To alleviate some fear I left a message for Dr Johnson who promptly called me back and reassured me that he didn’t think I was jeopardizing anything by waiting for Dr Buckmire. He told me he had faxed over all of my information and even left a message for him.

Dr Johnson, whom I actually have never met, has been the constant in all of this and I am very appreciative. At no point has he passed me off to an assistant. He has always called me directly, alleviated any of my fears. I am just Hashimoto was just a hiccup, or bump in the road, and I am now back on track….

…to be continued….

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CANCER CHRONICLES - PART ONE

It was at 2pm Thursday that Dr. David first uttered the “C” word to me. In a matter of fact, yet positive tone he told me they had found a 5 centimeter tumor in my colon.

It had been a whirlwind twenty-four hours. After having visited the doctor on Tuesday afternoon for a pain in my side that I suspected was appendicitis, I was set up for a physical at 8am and a CT scan for 11am on Wednesday morning.

By noon Dr Johnson, my doctor whom I have yet to meet – I have only met his nurse practitioners - was on the phone telling me he had received an unprecedented call from the radiologist, another anonymous figure I have yet me to meet, who said that the CT scan showed an abnormal thickness in the colon. He told me he was trying to get in touch with Gastroenterologist Dr Schwartz to see if he could squeeze me in for a colonoscopy.

I had just left the radiology lab and grabbed a fast salad and was on my way to work.
Fifteen minutes later I received a second call from Dr. Johnson informing me to immediately return to the radiology lab, pick up my “pictures,” and head over to the office of Dr Laura Champagne – one of the two best surgeons in all of the state he assured informed me.

I met with Dr Champagne, whom I had been forewarned appeared much too young to be a surgeon, and she reviewed the pictures from the CT scan, attempting to describe to me what we were seeing.

She first pointed out my liver, nonchalantly saying their were a couple of spots on it. She then moved on to my appendix and explained that it appeared enflamed or aggravated, and then she saw the tumor in my colon.

It had been less than three hours since I had laid down for the CT scan and Dr Champagne turned to me and told me she wanted to admit me to the hospital.

At first I didn’t think I heard her right and I remember asking, “you mean like now” to which her reply was, “as soon as I can get you a bed at the hospital.”

We walked out of the examination room and into the hallway. She was on her cell phone trying to get in touch with Dr. Schwarz to set up a colonoscopy first thing in the AM. She instructed a staff member to call the hospital to get me a bed and for me to go home and prepare to be admitted. Someone from her office would call me when there was a bed available.

Minutes later I was in my car, dumbfounded but upbeat. So much had happened in such a short amount of time I was not able to process it. I texted Fettit that I had colon cancer and was being admitted to the hospital and his reply was “Oh Dear.”

I returned to the house and started making telephone calls to family and friends letting them know I was being admitted to the hospital but not 100% certain why. I knew I was having a colonoscopy in the morning but I certainly didn’t need to be in the hospital for the procedure. I recalled Dr. Champagne saying something about a precaution about the appendix but I still didn’t think it was necessary to go to the hospital.

Fettit called an hour later and asked when I was going to the hospital and I told him as soon as he arrived home – although I had not received the call that a room was available for me.

I saw no reason why he couldn’t take me. I wanted to watch the debate and spend the evening with him like I do every night. Just because I was spending the night in the hospital didn’t mean we couldn’t do it together – hospital or no hospital.

Sometime prior to Fettit’s arrival at home I received the call informing me to go to the seventh floor of the hospital and did section D. I was to check in there.

Packing up my laptop, ipod, two books, some underwear, socks and toiletries, we headed off to the hospital a few minutes later.

Fettit, fearing he couldn’t get through the evening debate without his nightly wine, poured some into a Rubbermaid container and along the way we stopped at the Jack-in-the-Box for him to get a large cup of ice.

Arriving at 7D with my backpack full of electronics I looked around and saw that all the room had two beds and I started to panic. I do not like sharing my space with strangers. The thought of having to endure the endless bodily noises of a stranger didn’t sit well with me I could feel my body tightening up knew it wouldn’t be long until something came out of my mouth I would regret.

As I walked up to the nurse’s station I received several curious glances from the three caregivers at their desks but only one immediately ask if I could be helped. “I am here to check in,” I announced like I was at the front desk of a hotel.

The quizzical looks continued as they turned to each other in confusion. “You are here to be admitted,” one asked.

“I received a call from my doctor to come to 7D of the hospital and check in, yeah,” I replied.

Just then a nurse walked up and acknowledged that I was expected and a middle aged man behind the counter pointed towards a room and said, “you are in bed one in that room.”

As expected, I told the man that I didn’t want to share a room. “I don’t like people that much,” I told him, to which Fettit concurred, “he really doesn’t like people.”

The man behind the counter looked at me and sneered, “well, no one is making you stay here now are there?”

My response was something along the lines of “Well, I don’t think I really have a choice in being here.”

A mediator intervened immediately and said she would put in a request for a single room if one was available, and showed me to my bed to await admission.

The first thing I did was sit on the bed and pull out my laptop and search for the best Wi-Fi connection but there wasn’t one.

Treating the nurses like staff at a hotel I asked each of them individually as they walked in and out of my room if they had wireless internet. Surprisingly, each acted like they had never received such a question and no one knew if they did or not.

When the nursing assistant came in I tasked her with finding out for me and then dismissed her like she was the household staff. For some reason she never returned.

Fettit made himself at home and quietly sipped his wine and a flurry of hospital staff came and asked questions and checked my vital signs.

The presidential debate started and it was hard to give it my full attention. Fettit must have felt the same and announced an hour into it that he was going home.

I shot him a dirty look, in essence saying “If I have to be here, so do you,” but I knew he was bored and that he didn’t have to be there, other than to keep me from being bored.

It wasn’t long before Liz, the interventionist nurse, came to my room and whispered that she had found me a single room to which I quietly replied, “I love you Liz.”

I moved to a room on the same floor with an entirely new staff and it wasn’t long before I knew I wasn’t checking into a hotel. Everyone that entered my room wanted something from me, and they we often accompanied by needles.

They drew blood and gave me an IV line. My blood pressure was taken for the fifth or sixth time that day and where it had been in the perfect range all day, now at 9pm it was slightly elevated.

Nurse Deserae informed me that she would be coming back soon with the comically misnamed golytle, pronounced “go lightly” and that I wouldn’t be getting much sleep because of it.

She was right.

I started drinking, what tasted like sea water, at 10:20 and laid on the bed for the next one hour and 20 minutes waiting for it to take effect. For the next couple of hours I spent most of my time in my private bathroom thinking, “Thank God they gave me a single room.”

By five the next morning I was sufficiently hungry and exhausted, but cleaned out, and I went downstairs for a cigarette.

At some point in the morning my own personal doctor McDreamy walked into the room and introduced himself as a co-worker of Dr. Champagne’s. He was young, not even 30, and had a beautiful smile but the entire time he was standing next to my bed he didn’t stop touching his crotch.

Fettit came to the hospital prior to going to work. He accompanied me downstairs so I could have a cigarette and it was while on the smoking patio that a wheelchair wielding technician arrived to transport me to my colonoscopy.

The colonoscopy started at 11:00 and by around 12:00 I was waking up. The procedure was not complete though, and I was in the most excruciating pain. I recall yelling in pain a couple of times before it was over. I don’t know if that is typical, for the patient to wake up before the procedure is over, but I have never experienced such pain in all of my life.

On the way back to my room the technician handed me my chart to hold and I asked if there was anything in it yet regarding the colonoscopy, and there was. As he wheeled me to my room I was looking at the pictures of my colon and knew something wasn’t right.

It’s been six days since my diagnosis.

Monday, October 13, 2008

WHO IS SARAH PALIN


When uninspired or tired or short on time, I can always count on one women to write something that I can steal from her website - or at least make me feel good with a song.

She doesn't know I exist (other than the shout out and response I got from her in concert almost two years ago), but I universally agree with her on everything. Okay... so Im obsessed.


Sorry Babs - But I like what you have to say and am far to lazy to come up with my own right now.....

Who is Sarah Palin?

Until the Republican Convention, very few had ever heard of Sarah Palin…and now this mean-spirited campaigner is asking who is Barack Obama???

I’m asking who is Sarah Palin???

I know that she's a woman who doesn’t believe in allowing women the right to choose their own reproductive health decisions even if they are victims of rape…but approves of these victims getting billed by the government for the rape kits used to examine them.

I know she’s a beauty pageant runner-up who is a gun totin’ extremist in her views on the environment, religion, women’s choice and the separation of church and state.

I know she’s a woman who along with John McCain would divide this country while pledging that she and the Senator are “mavericks” who know how to reach across the aisle.

I know that as mayor of the small town of Wasilla she increased spending by 63% and left behind a $19 million long-term debt, which was non-existent before she took office.

I know she hired the same good-ol'-boy network of Washington lobbyists she says she will fight if elected, in order to secure millions of dollars of earmarks for Wasilla.

I know that she’s been found guilty of abusing her power as governor by pressuring a state official to fire her former brother-in-law and then firing the official when he refused…an investigation that began prior to her selection of Vice President.

And I know that the American public has had less than two months to vet Sarah Palin, and during this time the press has had to fight tooth and nail to secure just two network interviews with her…while she still refuses to appear on the tougher Sunday new shows.

On the stump, Sarah Palin and John McCain continue to avoid addressing the critical issues facing our country. Neither of them provides any substantive conversation on what they will do to steer our country on a journey back to prosperity. Palin’s sheer ignorance and lack of experience precludes her from speaking thoughtfully about the financial and foreign policy dilemmas we face. And John McCain’s voting record forces him to change the subject. McCain knows his policies have contributed to the unraveling of our financial systems due to excessive deregulation. McCain knows that he supported the war in Iraq since its inception, which has been a tremendous financial and military drain on our country. Both Sarah Palin and John McCain know that if this election continues to be about the housing market, the economy, healthcare, the environment, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan… the issues that affect everyday Americans…they will lose this election. And after eight years of Republican control that has left this country in deep distress…they should lose. So now that we know who Sarah Palin is…do we want her a heartbeat away from the Presidency.


The above was pilfered from www.BarbraStreisand.com.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TWO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS



POLITICS AND SHOW TUNES

BRILLIANT!!!

HYPOCRITE

Saturday, September 13, 2008

THIS AND THAT

I picked up Noelle last night from her parents and she spent the night with Fettit and me. Hearing her call me "Drampa" is the best thing ...SShe is the purest form of joy.

Speaking of Joy, something told me to recorded "The View" yesterday and I did. I lucked into watching them grill John McCane. I thought they knocked it out of the park asking some truly tough questions and not allowing him, or his wife for that matter, to give scripted answers.

John McCain never looks comfort though - not during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, or sitting on "The View" couch sandwiched in between Barbara and Joy.

Watching Barbara Walter fire off questions, and follow-ups, and not letting go until she got a straight answer, reminded me that she once was a journalist, and wasn't afraid of asking the tough questions. Whoopi and Joy followed suit as well.

Thankfully Elizabeth's drivel was kept to a minimum. In the first couple of segments she didn't speak much but of course when she did she had to make it clear to him (McCain) that he had her vote.

I'm not sure Sherri Sheppard was even there, or perhaps she is smart enough to know that she she is out of her league - and sits there quietly without interrupting. If only Elizabeth knew when to keep her trap shut.

Yesterday's "View" was the first time I felt engaged, informed, or entertained by the show since Rosie O'Donnell left.

Later I watched Sara Palin on "20/20" and found her to be just the opposite of her ticketmate. Charlie Gibson also peppered her with the tough questions, and although I didn't especially like her answers, I thought she was comfortable and unflappable.

I was impressed, and hearing her not repeat the same speech over and over, as we have heard since the convention, was refreshing.

I think she helped herself greatly by doing the interview. I liked her. I think he is extremely smart, or at least savy, and she came off likeable.

She is a politician though. She knows how to not answer questions, or at least answer them in a way that makes it appear she is answering them, but really isn't.

The former beauty queen can hold her own in an interview, but she won't reform Washington DC as both she and McCain asserted.

So last night was politics and Noelle. Two of my favorite things!

This morning is the dishes and housework - two of my least favorite things.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WHERE ARE AMERICA'S PRIORITIES?

Can we have a serious talk - please? Well, I will spew and you can respond…..

In a time of:

- The highest energy costs (with temporary relief to appease us during the election)
- The economy in the sewer
- Soaring healthcare costs (the highest in history)
- A Republican lead illegal and unpopular war
- The diversion of our military from catching those behind 9/11
- Thousands of jobs being shipped overseas to fatten the wallets of the corporate bandits
- Eroding civil rights
- Record government deficits
- The warming of the planet
- Underfunded and inefficient school systems
- Republican corruption
- Our seniors choosing between food and medicine
- A decaying infrastructure
- Our veterans being treated with little or no appreciation and inefficient medical care
- Our friends around the world ignoring us – or worse
- A record trade imbalance
- Our family farms dying
- Unemployment on the rise

Why are John McSame and Sarah Pallid the new “IT” couple of the political world?

Are the American people so self-absorbed, and cynical, or too lazy, to understand the consequences of inaction? Do we care so little about our country, planet, children, elderly, and family and friends, that we would elect the old guy and the beauty queen?

See beyond the smoke and the mirrors people.

As the most successful and powerful nation in the world, does it all boil down to:

- Abortion
- Gay Marriage
- Illegal Immigration

Are these the only issues we are supposed to care about?

My Republican-leaning friends, do you not care about the elderly, poor, children and the planet? Is your hatred so deep for the queers, baby killers and fence jumpers that nothing else matters and it outweighs all the other issues?

Churches, and more specifically rabid pastors, ministers, and priests, are doing a huge disservice to their congregations when they spew hate and discrimination from their pulpits instead of preaching love, tolerance, economy of resources, and compassion.

What happened to love thy neighbor, and to use the old, and over-used, expression, “What Would Jesus Do?”

Jesus would not want us ignoring the planet – this glorious Eden made for us. He would not want us squandering all that was given to us so that the rich could enslave the weak and poor, and strip the planet – leaving it parched and barren. He would not appreciate the meek, infirm, youngest and the oldest among us being ignored or mistreated.

Many people, along with the planet, are being either judged, maligned, forgotten or disregarded, in His name.

Have our priorities skewed so far that all that matters is stopping the wet-backs at the border, the faggots from loving one another, and the baby murderers.

Since the corporate owned media is not scrutinizing the stances of our political leaders, or asking the difficult and uneasy question, we as citizen need to take over and do their jobs.

We all need to stand up and say, as I said in the first video I made, “Enough is Enough.”

America was created by dissenters and as citizens we need to question the priorities of our leaders and not just listen to the same “talking points” that are regurgitated over and over until we start to believe their propaganda to be the truth.

Read, listen, Act, and React!

A friend of mine recently told me that there are few differences between the two major parties and I have to publicly say WTF?s There are fewer similarities then there are differences.

At first glance there is a slight resemblance, but when you lightly scratch the surface it isn’t difficult to see the chasms - there are few issues that the two parties really agree upon.

What I find the most hypocritical is that for many years, one tenant of the Republican Party platform has been limited government involvement and intervention, but yet they are the same folks trying to intervene and take control of a woman’s body and also to legislate love and morality which includes writing discrimination into the Constitution of the United States.

These don’t sound like people who value the word of Jesus Christ or those who wish to remove the government from our lives.

This entry is the companion piece to something I wrote nearly a year ago “What Do Americans Value the Most,” which turned out to be the most “Googled” entry of mine, and has been seen by hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of random folks from not only in the United States, but around the world- particularly Canada and Europe.

One year after I wrote it, it is getting more “views” than it did when I first wrote it.

At present this piece is randomly searched for and viewed between 10 and 20 times each day. This piece continues to generate interest and after that one year, not much has changed in the political spheres.

The republicans continue to worship their two almighty’s – the dollar and Jesus – in that order. I know I am over-simplifying, but the two main factions of the party are the truly wealthy and the evangelical Christian.

What surprises me are those that do not fall into either category – the number of deaf, blind, cynical or just plain lazy folks that do not know what is in their best interest – those who continue to support the self-serving platform of hatred, discrimination, and lust for money, control and power.

The Democrats may not be perfect but their warts show, and their truths are evident and far from self-serving.

Weigh, meditate, and pray on the priorities. Not only those that effect you personally but those that effect others - in your neighborhood, the United States, and abroad.

I have to hope that in the end we will come to the realization that voting for a cleaner and safer country and planet, a country that values and protects the rights of all of it’s citizens (whether they be young, old, infirm, able bodied, black, white, gay, straight, female, male, wealthy, middle-class, or poor), a government does not dictate or legislate hatred and discrimination, is far better than the alternative.

If all you covet is money, a hatred for gays, illegal immigrants, and women who find themselves in a no-win situation and choose to have an abortion, then by all means stick with the shallow, dim and disingenuousness of John McSame and his bait-and-switch, stunt-casted VP hopeful Sarah Palin.

Just don’t come crying to me in four years. I will not be voting us into this mess!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

McCAIN DOESN'T GET IT: WOMEN ARE NOT THAT STUPID

Maybe he was sick of the lack of media attention…maybe he had enough of the late night talk show hosts poking fun at his age…maybe he realized that belonging to a party that has been associated with rich, white men was not going to connect with voters in this historical election year. Or maybe he was just ready to take back some of the spotlight that has shined so brightly on Barack Obama and the Democrats since the beginning of the Democratic convention. Desperation can motivate people to make some pretty cynical and hypocritical decisions. Whatever the reason, John McCain’s Hail Mary-- in the form of Vice Presidential pick Governor Sarah Palin--sent a very clear message to America about how he views female voters. Women, he thinks, will vote another woman into office regardless of the candidate's values, experience and political positions.

No one can dispute that this decision was micro-targeted to the small percentage of Independent and Democratic women residing in the Rocky Mountain West, who strongly supported Hillary Clinton in the primary and still find themselves undecided as we move into the general election. Unfortunately, what John McCain failed to realize is that after eight long and destructive years of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their cronies, American voters will not fall prey to political ploys once again.

For months, John McCain and the Republicans went after Barack Obama for lacking the experience they felt was necessary in order to be commander in chief. Yet, on this day, an aging John McCain, who is the oldest Presidential nominee in history, chose a running mate—a person that is just a heart beat away from the Presidency—that has no foreign policy experience, no national experience and limited state government experience…. a virtual unknown who has only been Governor for a less than 2 years of a state with a population of fewer than 680,000 people…a woman who condemns a woman’s right to choose.

I believe John McCain chose Gov. Palin because he truly believes that women who supported Hillary—an experienced, brilliant, life-long public servant--would vote for him because his Vice President has two x chromosomes. McCain’s selection of Governor Palin is a transparent and irresponsible decision all in the name of trying to win this election.

John McCain has served this country. No one in this election is denying him that. But his selection of Governor Palin has demonstrated that he is willing to put his desperation to win this election above the welfare of the American people. As someone who has spent over 40 years advocating on behalf of women both politically and philanthropically, as someone who was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton and as someone who cares deeply about the health and welfare of all women, hear me Senator McCain: “This calculated, cynical ploy to pull away a small percentage of Hillary's women voters from Barack Obama will not work. We are not that stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


The above was lifted from www.BarbraStreisand.com

Saturday, August 30, 2008

From The PTA to the Vice Presidency



I just finished watching Alaska Governess Sarah Palin accept John McCain’s offer to be his running mate and my reaction is, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

If this were April 1st I would get the joke and would be laughing along side both of them, but this isn’t a prank. Although it appears that John McCain’s tongue is pressed firmly against his check, he is serious. He is telling us she is the best, most qualified person he could select as a running mate.

What in the hell happened to Huckabee or Romney?

However, as I watched her speech, and kept my eyes on McCain, it all became clear. He thinks she is a hot piece of ass.

Watch for yourself. He stares at her ass constantly throughout.

As she introduces her “world champion snow machine racing” husband (again… are you fucking kidding me), McCain stands there with a sly grin on his face, unconsciously playing with his wedding band and checking out her ass several more times, and the crowd jumps to their feet.

As Ms Palin refers to herself as an "average hockey mom" John McCain is seeing something completely different. His eyes glaze over and he sees her in her navy blue power suit, arriving home from a long day of governing. She puts down her briefcase in the foyer as she enters and immediately moves to the bedroom where she looks in the mirror at her reflection. She unbuttons her blouse to expose her generous cleavage, takes off her smart-girl glasses and pulls the comb from her hair, shaking her head ever so slightly so that her hair sways in slow motion and falls around her shoulders.

She may look like a corporate tiger but if John McCain’s grin tells us anything, he is clearly not thinking about the economy. His mind in on invading and occupying Sarah “the sex kitten” Palin’s rear flank.

Now of course that is a joke, but everything about this is comical.

John McCain is salivating over her ass and the crowd is wildly applauding her husband’s snow machine racing trophies. What do we get next – an ultimate fighter for Secretary of State? The American people love this shit.

After milking the crowd regarding her oldest son’s military service she introduces the rest of her brood and I am thinking, “she wants us to accept her as the next in line to the most powerful position in the world, and she can’t ever put shoes on her infant son.”

John McCain's stunt casting would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. Trying to woo the female vote, he has offered the vice presidency to a completely inexperienced person simply because she is a woman (and a hot piece of ass).

Does he seriously think that by teaming with her he will gain the votes of the former Hillary supporters?

I wasn't backing Hillary because she was a woman. I supported Hillary because of her accomplishments, intellect, and because she was, in my opinion, the best person for the job.

In her stead John McCain has plucked a "team mom and part-time coach" who has been the governor of Alaska, a state with less people than bears, for two years.

She looks like she should have been announcing the winner of the local spelling bee, or Miss Skagway pageant, not announcing her run for the second highest office in the United States.

This race may now have piqued my interest. When does Saturday Night Live start new shows? Its going to be a fun fall.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did The Democrats Get it Wrong?



Tonight I watched Hillary Clinton at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver, CO and was, and still am, emotional and saddened - not at what she had to say -I've always championed her eloquence and strong and positive message for America - but that over the past year or more, people did not get her, understand her, and were blinded and bullied into believing her to be something other than what she is... a passionate advocate for woman, children, and America's lower and working classes.

Watch Hillary's speech in it's entirety and tell me what you think!

George W Bush and John McCain = McSame

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - Part VIII



Christopher is home.

Jon, Michelle and Noelle went to the hospital late this morning to pick him up and then came directly over to our house.

We had friends, and his Aunt "T" over for a bbq, a kinda welcome to the real world bbq and play in the pool party.

Jon took a slew of pictures and I planned to put them on my computer before they left but things got hectic.

I know I am biased, but he is a beautiful ball of joy, or should I say he gives me a lump of joy in my heart. He is so little. Noelle was never this small and 7lbs is not that small but it has been so long since I have a seen a baby so small... but his feet and hands look disproportionately large ... all hands and feet.

I will post more pictures soon.

Thank you to everyone who sent out positive thoughts and prayers for him.

Blessed am I.

I once inherited two beautiful children, then was chosen to have special twin girls, and now have gifted with another two - Noelle and lil Christopher.

Thank you Michelle and Jon for expanding my heart and family, and allowing me to be so involved.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Arrival of Christpher Sterling Duflo - Part VII

Tonight after work Michelle called and asked if we were planning to come up to the hospital to see little Chris. We weren't planning on it. I was tired from working all day but I had the suspicion that she wanted us to come up.

I hung up the phone and called Fettit to meet me some where in between so we could go together.

When we arrived Michelle was sitting in a chair holding Christopher. His eyes were open - the first time I've seen his eyes - big and dark - certain to be blue.

Michelle needed to pump so she offered for me to hold him but I deferred to Fettit. I wanted him to be the first grandparent to hold him. It was a small thing for me to do and I knew it would mean a lot to him.

Christopher is doing much better. He is taking 2 ounces of milk every couple of hours and is only on the oxygen now - the same percentage as what we breathe. He just needs the little push the tubes offer.

The doctor says he will be home no later than a week from now... I'm thinking it will be sooner.....






















Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - Part VI

The news just keeps getting better.....Over the past couple of days Christopher has continued to show great improvement.

HURRAY!

He is no longer in that tanning bad contraption, and is now in a regular crib.

The CPAP machine has been removed (as has the hideous headgear)so his face is exposed and the nurse said he has two of the biggest blues eyes she has ever seen... Noelle's eye - Grandpa's eyes.

All intravenious tubes have been removed, except for some oxygen, and his intake is down to 24%, which is fantastic. We breath 21% oxygen so he is close to being off of it completely. Who knows as of this morning he may he off the oxygen completely.

He can now be held, although I haven't yet, and is drinking 2 ounces of milk every couple of hours.

He is reaching all of the goals they have set for him and now that he is feeding it won't be long before he gains a few ounces, and I suspect he will be home very soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - Part V

Last night after work Fettit and I drove to the hospital in North Scottsdale to visit Christopher. Of course, when we arrived it was shift change and during that time it is parents only (grandparents do not count).

Twenty minutes later we were allowed in to see him and we only stayed a brief time...it's not like we can play catch with him or anything.

He has one the most Gawd-awful headgear, and was lying there sleeping. So Peaceful and precious.

Fettit lightly touched his little back. I was too afraid - didn't know what to do.

Michelle held him for the first time yesterday and she texted me earlier that if I came up I might be able to hold him. He is so tiny I would be afraid I would hurt him. She later told me I wouldn't have been able to hold him...phew!

I think Noelle saw him again today. I don't have a take on what she thinks of him. To her he probably looks like one of her dolls that she wants to lay on the floor and cover with dish towels.

His oxygen numbers are improving and they are now giving him milk through tubes. It won't be long before he will be off the CPAP machine and on his own.

I am hoping to get some more pictures soon and as soon as I do they will be posted here.

Thank you to all for the kind words of love, support and encouragement. Never under-estimate the power we each hold.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - Part IV

This morning I received a text message from Christopher's mother (Michelle) stating that he was down to receiving 50/60% oxygen, which was good news. A few minutes later I received a call from my her, obviously upset, telling me that the hospital had decided to transport him to a hospital in North Scottsdale because they had better equipment to handle his condition.

I left work and joined them at the hospital to lend moral support.

Michelle decided that she wanted to be released so she could be near her little boy and a doctor and a slew of nurses flooded in and out for the next couple of hours talking to her and examining her.

Going home 24 hours after a c-section is quite uncommon, but the hospital staff obliged and she was released.

We re-grouped an hour later at Scottsdale Healthcare - Shea and Michelle and Jon immediately went in and spent sometime with their newborn. Jon came out a few minutes later to allow me and Christopher's Aunt, Christy, to visit. It was her first time seeing him.

We entered the room and approached a contraption that looked like a minature version of my fake and bake tanning bed, the only thing I can compare it to, and there was this beautiful little boy (nicely bronzed) splayed out with a little gizmo covering his nose and tubes in his mouth, and coming out of his arms, and machines were beeping and displaying his latest statistics.

I was instantly transported back twenty-four years to when his mother, at one and a half years old, and only double his weight, was recovering from her pulminary artery replacement surgery. The memory of that and the reality of his situation, made my eyes start to water.

Christopher, like his mother so many years ago, will make it. He will be fine. One of the nurses even commented on what a fighter he is.

I think he just needs a littles hooplah and drama to accompany his arrival. Either gifted or cursed, he comes by it naturally. Grabbing for, or at least expecting, attention is a common trait. Melodrama is another common trait - one I can live without.

A little star he is and a little star he will be, but he can now knock the crap off and get well so we can craddle him in our arms and welcome him into the world the right way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - Part III

The doctors are saying that Christopher is experiencing Respiratory Distress which can be common among babies born c-section. They are monitoring him and giving him oxygen and if he doesn't improve after 6 hours they may transport him to a different hospital.

So we wait - and pray!

The Arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - Part II

Born: August 5, 2008 8:08am
Weight: 6 lbs 15 oz
Length: 20 inches









Monday, August 4, 2008

The Arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - Part I

I write this as I am preparing to go to bed. When I wake up in the morning I will have a cup of coffee or two, shower, and Fettit and I will make our way to Scottsdale Memorial Hospital for the arrival of Christopher Sterling Duflo - the first male in my bloodline.

I was blessed to get a son and daughter from my ex-wife when I married, and my dreams came true two years later when I was given the gift of twin girls. Then. after a troubling and turbulent twenty-four years, Noelle Marie Duflo entered the world, and my life, and I felt instantly proud and chosen again.

The years between his mother (and Aunt’s) births were more than turbulent. They were devastating as I learned to cope with, or maybe forget, the lives that I had created, worshipped, lived to be a part of, and lost early on, but my faith in the right thing and happy endings endured, even when I didn’t consciously have faith that it could happen, and yet today I have a full and wonderful family.

Perhaps our lives are not traditional, but love abounds in this crazy world, and tomorrow our grandson joins us, and Fettit and I couldn’t be more excited.

Throughout the next few days I will be posting photos, and perhaps videos, of my namesake, that Fettit and I plan on calling CJ – Christopher-James.

Michelle is having a C-section at 7:30am in the morning. I need to go to sleep, but please keep her (and Christopher) in you thoughts and prayers as she labors to bring him into the world.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency


Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

I typically prefer to write my own assessment of the Bush administration, but for some time now I just haven't had it in me.

Although I prefer this blog to be more than clips I am mined from other sites, when I found this in depth, insightful and well researched news clip, I had to post it here.

Hopefully it will inspire me to come up with something original to write.

(They are at it again!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

MONEY DOWN THE SHITTER

Last night after work Fettit and I were discussing finances and he took from his pocket $400 in various denominations and placed it on the coffee table. We then went out for drinks and dinner at our favorite Mexican cantina.

When we returned home our friends Steven and Josh (you may remember them from videos) were waiting for us for an evening dip in the pool.

We talked and laughed in the pool, as we always do ,and finally Fettit got tired and went to bed. Steven, Josh and I stayed in for another 30 minutes or so before getting out.

After I finished drying myself I entered the darkened house and stepped on a piece of paper so I leaned over and picked it up and was instantly mortified.

I hadn't stepped on a random piece of paper, it was half of a $5 bill and as I looked around there was more money on the floor.

I must have let out a sound of anguish or something because Steven and Josh opened the door and inquired why I had yelled so I pointed to the money covered floor and explained to them that $400 of the mortgage was ripped up on the floor.

While we were enjoying ourselves in the pool our obnoxious steel-gutted puppy had had a field-day.

The three of us then scoured the house for pieces and remnants of 100s, 50s, 20s, 10s and 5s.

In the end I found a $100 bill completely intact and various pieces of other bills cut in half or thirds that I was able to match together; however, the total of all the salvageable bills was only $125.

There are missing halves of another $75 and two $100 bills were missing completely.

Steven and Josh left shaking their heads and laughing their asses off. I on the other hand was terrified because I knew Fettit would wake up in the morning and I would have to tell him what Kitty (the puppy) had done.

An hour or so ago I got up and went into the house and found Fettit and broke the news of our disappearing mortgage payment.

At first he wanted to kill Kitty but cooler heads prevailed and now he is making jokes about it.

And now we wait...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Damn Birthday Donna Jean

It is July 7th over in Iraq and it is Fettit's sister Donna's birthday.  She is currently serving in Iraq and so we put together this video to put a smile on her face and let her know we are thinking of her.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 4th Rantings


Happy July 4th everyone. I’m off for five days and am enjoying the break.

I’ve been off for two days and spent yesterday morning preparing for the annual 4th of July party that Fettit throws. I’m usually out of town on this weekend so I am never a part of the festivities in the house.

This year we discussed going to Michigan for the week but after my disastrous travels over Memorial weekend I was not too keen on traveling again anytime soon. I regretted that decision two weeks ago and attempted to make arrangements but it was too late.

I checked flights everywhere, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and Rapid City. Nothing was reasonable. That is my own fault.

Instead I resigned myself to five days in the heat and the possibility of getting to the many chores around the house that have been neglected for far too long. The garage needs to be gone through, and organized, and many of my belonging need to be integrated into the house. There is also the linen closet that needs to be completed since the remodel a year and a half ago. The storage room that was created when he added onto the back of the house is in complete disarray and I thought maybe I would get to organizing that as well.

So far all I have done is work to make yesterdays party a success – I guess I have accomplished something and there is still three days to go.

Yesterday I woke up early and was at the grocery story by 7am. On my way out the door Fettit handed me $40 and said not to go overboard, as we often do.

The bill at the market was $300 but I didn’t go overboard. Dog food and booze costs more today.

Green onions were always three for a dollar and now they are 79 cents a bunch. It’s cheaper to be a drunk than chubby with bad breath.

I have also been trying to plan a cross country trip for my CW who lives in New Jersey.

At sixty something, she was laid off from her job and prior to returning to work she wants to drive out to Arizona, sight seeing along the way and then returning a different route to see more.

I have planned to travel with her on a portion of cross-country excursion because last summer she was cheated out of part of our trip thanks to American Airlines. She was supposed to join us in Denver on Thursday of the July 4th weekend and continue on to the Black Hills and Yellowstone.

Sydney, my niece did get to Mount Rushmore and Rapid City, SD, a place from my past that for some reason means a lot to me, but CW had to join us two days later – flying into Sheridan, WY.

Unfortunately she wasn’t able to see our greatest monument – Mt Rushmore. It is something I think every American should experience at least once in their lifetime.

I feel drawn there every few years. The Black Hills call to me each summer, just as Michigan does, but yet I only have gotten there every 10 years or so since leaving there in 1978.

I have wanted to share it with CW, actually many people for several years now, but haven’t been able to get there as often as I like, and others have not understood the importance.

Two days ago I started to plan CW’s trip and it made me question the idea of a cross country trip, at this time of inflated gasoline prices. I think it is the wrong time for her drive across the country and fulfill her dreams of seeing this great and vast country.

I priced it out and I think the gas for her car will be roughly $1100. Absurd - I hope King George’s friends can sleep at night knowing they have fucked up our economy, as well as many dreams - for many years to come.

I will talk with CW in the next couple of days and break the news to her that it is more financially sound for her to fly to Phoenix and rent a car for a month – but she won’t see anything new.

The party yesterday was a great success. Plenty of food, without going overboard, the pool and new pool barn, were perfect. The kids and adorable Noelle were here, as were the Wiley-Conforti’s – whose friendship were treasure. Eydie came with Robert and the girls, our adopted son, Aaron, arrived very late because he couldn’t pull himself away for his video games, and Lucy showed up late but better than not showing at all.

There were others, friend and friends of friends, including my new friend Jesus (not that one) who I had to take to work at 5.

Overall it was a great day – a long day but not too hectic and I was able to relax and enjoy myself.

I also got a few very welcome text messages and phone calls from my friends. I was actually able to spend 30 minutes talking on the phone with my Canadian Angel. I wasn’t able to connect with all those I was thinking of, but they were in my thoughts and heart.

The food was good, the conversations and laughter very typical, but the low point for many was probably the music.

My friends don’t appreciate my music, and I am very eclectic in my selection but I don’t have my ipod arranged with play lists for different moods and occasions.

Whether it be too many show tunes, or Queen Barbra, or maybe the Tammy Wynette of yesterday, there my song selections don’t please everyone, but there isn’t a single song on my ipod I don’t enjoy - for various reasons - but it doesn’t necessarily appeal to all, or even most.

That isn’t to say there isn’t a little something for everyone. The artists run from Barbra – who really isn’t as represented as one would think - Broadway, Elton, The Eagles, Wynonna, most of the major CWs like Diana, Gladys, and Tina, and even the new ones like Mary J and Angie Stone. There may even be a few Madonna, Janet, Norah Jones and John Mayer and JT, along with classic Michael Jackson. No one seems to appreciate my eclectic tastes.

I am now sitting under the pool barn (the patio covering my son-in-law Jon designed and built). We returned home from our friend’s (Michael) house where he had a bbq/pool party this late afternoon, early evening. We had a good time, but there is nothing like being home, sitting outside late at night, listening to the waterfall and not listening to the high pitch babble of a self absorbed, token straight girl.

If I want to endure self absorbed rantings I will talk to myself or await the arrival of ISM, who called me tonight, as I was arriving at Michael’s party, with some disturbing family news.

People and families are fucked up!

I usually don’t understand them. Even those that are suppose to be close, whom I love and share blood, but are as much strangers as those I hand money to on the street corners.

I thought the bad times brought families closer together.

We have always circled the wagons when times have gotten rough, but if I really think about it, the family hasn’t banded together for a common cause in far too many years.

It is always the ISM and me and those effected.

I don’t get it. We all share the same experiences, perhaps from difference perspectives, but we are a family. Disjointed and dysfunctional, we were always there in times of need.

It’s always been an illusion, like so much else, and disappointing.

We are given what we are given and it is how we accept it, respond to it, cope with it, and grow from it.

I sit here now, the music blaring, Ed at my feet, and I’m listening to the “Good Lord Works in Mysterious Ways” from The Color Purple, and I know it is true. The Good Lord works in mysterious ways.

I always acknowledge my blessings, and tonight is no different.

So much for a cohesive thought tonight. I have truly lived up to “Rantings from 2288 Beckley Rd.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

SYNCHRONICITY

In 1993 I purchased a book entitled “Healing Words –The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine” by Dr. Larry Dossey. Something around that time, and I cannot recall precisely what it was, prompted me to purchase the book.

Thinking back I initially thought it may have been the death of my grandfather. He suffered a massive stroke, followed by a year of recovery, and then an eventual heart attack, around that time.

More than likely it was me looking for answers during the illness of my friend Steve Budd. Steve was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in February 1990 and his illness and eventual death changed my life in profound ways.

Steve’s diagnosis propelled me into a new and exciting pursuit of answers of many kinds, some spiritual but mostly academic, and unwittingly his passing lead me a newfound focus on my career and a reconnection with my children - who had long been estranged.

Recently I have been thinking about “Healing Words” and also “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield. Why these two books, I don’t know, but somehow the two are linked in my mind – perhaps it has to do with the questions behind the power of energies and prayer and other mysteries I do not understand.

In 1995, when I read “The Celestine Prophecy,” I initially thought it was meant to be non-fiction. It wasn’t until the very end that I realized it was definitely a work of fiction; however, it fed into and confirmed, my unfounded belief in coincidence, and consciousness, and that there are immeasurable powers, like energy fields - similar to sound-waves, that humans are not able to identify, comprehend or harness, and yet one day these too will be measurable and eventually controllable.

Only randomly have I given much time to the school of thought surrounding personal energies, prayer, coincidence, and ultimately destiny. In truth I rarely think that deep; however, innately I do have a belief in the unknown and esoteric.

The “Nine Insights” or at least, several of the insights, from “The Celestine Prophecy” fit well into my way of thinking regarding these mysterious. I believe we know far less about the universe than we think we are capable of knowing – meaning the amount of knowledge we currently have could fit on the head of a pin compared to the cosmos-full of exciting and profound ideas yet to be uncovered.

I recall around the same time (give or take a few years) that I was reading “The Celestine Prophecy, I heard Maya Angelou speak about powers we are unable to understand and that one day in the future we would discover, for lack of a better term, and I am paraphrasing, a “barometer” that we will measure the energies radiating from us. As I recall she specifically was talking about a “love force” that would be measurable – like a Geiger counter and radioactivity.

And why not?

Less than a thousand years ago people believed the world was flat. Inventions like the television, or even electricity were unfathomable, and who ever thought human beings who orbit the earth or land on the moon.

Each generation has discovered new frontiers previously thought to be undiscoverable; therefore, it stands to reason that there are sciences yet to be realized – the power of prayer, the struggle and transference of positive and negative energy, and the understanding of intuitiveness, coincidence, and synchronicity.

This morning I woke up thinking about my father and his brief, but ongoing, ordeal with colon cancer. Lying in bed I was reflecting upon, and appreciating, the love and support I have received from friends and coworkers as I cope with the situation.

After starting the morning coffee and letting the dogs out in the yard, I was unconsciously and uncontrollably compelled to comb my bookshelves looking for “Healing Words.” It sounds strange, but I was drawn or lead to this book, and when I found it and opened the front cover, a piece of paper fell out of it.

I leaned over to pick it up and instantly recognized my grandmother’s distinctively ornate handwriting.

Several of the books I own came from my grandmother, but as I stated earlier, I purchased “Healing Words.” I do not recall her ever seeing it in my house or ever asking to read it, and yet there concealed within it’s page was her handwritten note, and when I read it I could hear her voice as clear as if she was sitting next to me.

Written on a notepad that said “Warning – This fridge does not contain the following…” my grandmother wrote:

Chris – I’m so glad you had children. As long as they have children our blood line keeps us alive. When the blood stops, we die out.”

Grandma’s voice is never far from me. I talk about her daily to Fettit, just as I do with other family members, even though she has been gone for four years, but this is different. This is a note she wrote to me with the intention of me finding it one day – today.

I find it peculiar that not only have I been thinking about and was drawn to “Healing Words,” but also to “The Celestine Prophecy, and something this morning told me to read the “Nine Insights” again.

The Seventh Insight is “Engaging the Flow” and it reads “Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question; then dreams, daydreams, and intuitions lead us towards the answers, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being.

I know these words come from a book of fiction, and although I rarely acknowledge my belief, fundamentally, I believe in the insightfulness of their intent.

Why for two weeks, since I was told about Dad's cancer, have I had thoughts of these two books and what led me to them this morning? Synchronicity?

Grandma’s only child, the most important person in her life, the person she lived for, is lying in a hospital bed, recuperating from a surgery that removed a plum-sized malignant tumor from his colon. He has a legion and a spot on his liver, and although his future is brighter than it was two days ago, his prognosis is a mystery.

What is grandma telling me?

… As long as they have children our blood line keeps us alive. When the blood stops, we die out…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

R CONNECTIONS



In early May I traveled to New York to visit my friend Matt, see some Broadway shows, and meet and spend time with an incredible group of people - the Rbloggers.

The Rbloggers are an online cult I have belonged to for nearly a year. We aren't really a cult but I have friends call us one.

Its a group of people who were brought together through Rosie O'Donnell's 2007 summer photos post.

The weekend was a smashing success and when I returned to my real life in Phoenix a very generous member of the group offered to make a photograpy book to celebrate and honor the weekend, and much to my surprise, he asked me to write the forward.

I was, and still am, overwhelmingly honored and grateful for the opportunity to put my words against the photographs taken by this wonderful group of people I now call friends.

What follows is the forward I wrote and the link to the book which can be viewed and purchased online.

Words, especially mine, are hardly necessary for a collection such as this. The photographs capture the true essence of what was a once in a lifetime event. They clearly speak for themselves - showing the genuine affection and friendship the Rbloggers have mined for one another along with the admiration, respect, and love for the one who brought us together

In the period of less than a year the term Rblogger has evolved, just as the relationships in the group have evolved and grown. In the beginning each member was a stranger-friend, but over the course of time, and culminating with the No No Nanette weekend, Rblogger has become synonymous with friend.

Each relationship is individual and attempting to speak for so many is impossible, so I will have to speak for myself.

I cherish, love, and depend upon so many of the Rbloggers. In my own way I cheer through the triumphs and empathize through the hardships, and in the end, individually and together, we continue to persevere – through many incarnations of the Rblogger name.

Last fall when it was announced that Rosie O’Donnell would briefly return to the New York stage in the City Centers Encores! No No Nanette, several of the Rbloggers decided it was a fitting time to unite in one place and celebrate our newfound friendship, as well as the woman who brought us together.

On May 9, 2008 it all became reality. The curtain lifted and anonymity and shielded personas gave way as the Rbloggers met face-to-face.

Under a predominately gray and gloomy New York City sky, in the shadows of towering steel and stone, long-time stranger-friends confirmed their affections, and life long memories were made and burgeoning friendships validated.

Looking through these photographs reminds me of what a magical weekend it was. People who have held me captive for nearly a year with their photographs, words and exposed truths, instantly became life-long friends. Time stood still as we celebrated our first en mass convergence, while sadly reminded of those unable to attend.

I arrived in New York without expectation but left with a newfound admiration and love for so many. What could have been awkward and uncomfortable instantaneously felt natural and organic.

Friday night after filing out of the theater, onto a crowded and wet New York sidewalk, I was greeted with shouts and smiles from across the street - the welcoming sounds of that half soaked assemblage still ring in my ears – and with the help of these photographs, time stands still and I am carried down the street towards a new found familiarity and closeness.

Rosie O’Donnell may have been the initial motivation for us to travel from our homes to New York, but the reason was clearly Rblogger-centered, however, I would be remiss if I did not give a special thank you to the inimitable Rosie, whose infectiously generous spirit and heartfelt sincerity unknowingly brought together a unique collection of people, from far away and all walks of life, to share in a remarkable experience that will forever live in our hearts and be replayed in the movie in our minds.

Thank you Rosie!

Chris Willi
(Gpawilli)


Click Here to View the R Connections Book


Sunday, June 15, 2008

LOSE WEIGHT TODAY


Diet Book Author Advocates New 'No Food Diet'

Over the past few weeks I have lost 25 lbs and several people have inquired about how I was able to do it. I have been reluctant to share my secret but started thinking it wasn't fair to keep it a secret. I feel so good I want to shout it from the rooftop.

If it can work for me it can also work for you.

For those fighting, and losing, the battle of the bulge there was a new book published recently to help you watch (and count) hidden calories. It is called "Don't Eat Your Desk, by Alana Brixton-Bramby

I know I should have been more forthcoming with my new found secret diet, but Fettit asked me not to share it with the world. He doesn't know I am letting the cat out of the bag so please, don't let on to him.

This diet has transformed me and it can do the same for you.