Monday, March 30, 2009


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Care, competence, and confidence are certainly reflected in this group. I've never met such a bunch of good people in one place right from the git-go. When I first started and saw how cheerful everyone was, I thought that, maybe, the treatment affected the brain. However, as I got to know everybody and gained familiarity with the program, I realized that it was just the spirit of the place that permeated patients, caregivers, and supporting spouses alike.

I begun with some obvious trepidation with the cancer diagnosis, but not only did we meet great people and make some lasting friends, we also gained confidence in the treatment and look on this experience as a distraction rather than a fate. So onward and upward with a 50 mile trail run this coming weekend!

By the way, Marianne has promised to serve sandwiches every Wednesday night to ensure that the LLUMC experience remains fresh in our minds.!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Mission San Diego De Alcala

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We went to San Diego/San Clemente and Oceanside for our last weekend here. Marianne wanted to get some photographs of Missions San Diego Alcala and San Luis Rey in her quest to photograph all 21 of the California missions while I thought we should balance it out by visiting Stone's and Oceanside Ale Works Microbreweries while in the vicinity.  Stone's brewery was without a doubt the prettiest I've ever had the pleasure of visiting with the latest in brewing technology and equipment,  beautiful stonework befitting its eponymous brand name, and a fantastically landscaped beer garden  looking out over a small lake. We couldn't believe our good fortune when , walking into  Oceanside Ale Works, a full blown celebration was in progress featuring a band and $2 pints!

We spent the night in Coronado directly across from the famous Hotel Del Coronado not wanting to pay the $300/night tariff there. Interestingly, it was the second building in the US to be electrified and has been visited by a number of presidents and other heads of state over the years. Coronado is also the home of the Navy Seals and I actually came upon four of them running in full combat dress! Our second night was spent in San Clemente with my daughter and son-in-law's house where we had a nice visit with them. 

Greetings from San Diego

The focus is now on celebrating my last treatment tomorrow (St. Patrick's Day), packing on Wednesday and wrapping up Marianne's dental work Thursday. We are planning to be home on Friday which happens to be the first day of spring. 

Monday, March 9, 2009


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Daylight Saving Time always seems like a precursor of spring to us, so we started the weekend early at one of the local protoner's house who generously invited us over for drinks with the accompaniment of a guitarist friend of his succeeded by dinner affording a beautiful night view of the entire valley.

Saturday we were off to Big Bear to deliver Marianne's first official print sale to a blacksmith there. Ye Olde Blacksmith She had shot a photo of a the original blacksmith shop at Coloma where gold was discovered in California in 1849 which, incidentally, had taken a third place among 21,000 entries in Costco's International Photo Competition which netted her a $500 gift certificate. Pete, the blacksmith, and his lovely wife, Lana, were most hospitable in providing us lunch and a hike featuring an abandoned gold mine in back of their house. Fortuitously, we found the Big Bear Mountain Brewery on the way home which featured Red Ant Hill Ale and an 8.6% Little Beaver IPA

And now to something completely different

Sunday morning found us on the road, once again, heading towards downtown Los Angeles. On the way we stopped to visit the San Gabriel Mission and continued on surface streets which afforded us an opportunity to witness some neighborhoods ranging from the totally Asian neighborhood in Alhambra through the leafy estates of Pasadena to the barrio and industrial areas leading to the city center. Once there, we set out on foot to see the spectacular Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry, the historic Union Station, and the Our Lady of the Angles Cathedral where a mass baptism was about to take place.

We also had a Mexican lunch on Olvera Street and checked out the oldest house in LA which was fun, actually walking five miles in the process which is quite unusual in LA. Back on the road, we tried to check out Dodger Stadium but the bumper to bumper traffic made this impractical. A full weekend in our book. 

Just six treatments left!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009


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This week I got down to my last 12 proton treatments which is another milestone. Speaking of milestones, on a run in the hills here I finally spotted the elusive Roadrunner, a bird made famous in a cartoon which they certainly do resemble in their scurrying.

Marianne had been wanting visit the mission at San Juan Capitstrano, famous for the return of the swallows on St. Joseph's Day on 3/19. (As a little known point of fact, the Mission is the conclusion of a 15,000 mile flight from Goya, Argentina. Incredible as this sounds, the swallows stay in long distance shape by flying 600 miles/day flying to and fro in search of food)! We combined the tour of the mission with a visit to my daughter, Gretchen and son-in-law, Russ, who live in San Clemente and also had a surprise visit by my eldest grandson, Zach, a freshman at Loyola Marymount. A great time was had by all featuring 84 degree weather. 

In keeping with our intent of maximizing our visit here, we're both bound for a four hour ordeal at the dental school tomorrow.

                                Mission San Juan Capistrano

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


(Click on any photo for a large view)A view to Loma Linda

After being down here for over two months, it was great to have Bill and Peg come down for the weekend from  San Francisco. We celebrated their arrival by eating at BJ's, a recently discovered micro pub, where we had some great fish tacos accompanied by a good IPA. The next day we ventured to Palm Springs which has become a winter favorite for us (and a few others!) where the ladies checked out the galleries on a long hike while Bill and I found a great running trail into the mountains starting just below Bob Hope's 50,000 sq ft mansion in which he never even slept one night! 

After Sunday brunch in Redlands just down the road from us, we checked out the local architecture which features many Victorian era homes along wide palm lined boulevards finally ending up in their classic 100 hundred year old library which is a real throw back to an era when people actually read books and newspapers. Do we know how to show visitors a high time? 

Sadly, they were off on Monday morning while I celebrated the 2/3 mark of my treatments with 15 to go but still hanging in there with good energy and spirits. It's amazing how fast the time has gone as we approach the home stretch but, as you have noted from this blog, we haven't been idle. 

Unfortunately, Marianne's dental work at the University Dental School may necessitate a few days' delay in our scheduled departure. 

Friday, February 13, 2009


(Clicking on any photo will show the large view)

After several weeks of 80+ degree weather, the temperature has now dropped 40 degrees with rain, hail and snow on the mountains around us! However, we need it and it IS February after all but it does threaten to dampen our Valentine's Day weekend in Palm Springs.

I am now just over half way in my treatment with 24 down and 21 to go. Interestingly enough, I'm meeting an average of 2 new guys per day with bad prostates so I figure, by the end, I will have made 90 new friends! Also, Marianne and I are both getting our teeth worked on at the dental school while we're here so one could say I'm getting fixed top to bottom.

We kicked off our stay in Palm Springs with a ride on its world famous tram that goes from the valley floor to 8,600 ft. With the forecasted rain holding off, we had a beautiful clear day in the snow at the top and some spectacular valley views.

In the afternoon we met our friend, Lorraine, as she finished a 100 mile bike ride around the area with 10,000 other pedalers. We were all in the need of a little hydration which a local IPA satisfied nicely.

Sunday AM found us rising at 4.30 to do the Palm Springs Half Marathon with our new neighbor, Peggy. After 13.1 miles of pavement pounding, I was surprised to find that I had finished 3rd in my age group. After all, I hadn't run a half marathon in years and had no idea how I'd do.

In the afternoon we had a great time checking out The Living Desert which features a spectacular array of plants, animals, birds etc. spread over many acres - much more realistic than any zoo we've ever visited. The impending storm did in fact curtail our planned visit to Joshua Tree National Park as we now look out at the downpour on Presidents'Day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


(Clicking on a photo will give you the large view)

With much needed rain finally arriving in SoCal, we were treated to a view of the snow capped San Bernardino mountains upon awakening. Since the weather didn't encourage freeway driving with the CHP reporting three times the normal number of accidents, we headed ten miles down the road to the city of Redlands to check out the sites as it is noted for its Victorian era homes.

As you can see, some were spectacular with many offering a full gamut of styles and sizes from 100 years ago. We also visited the Lincoln Shrine and museum which, fortunately for us, was celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth with a number of Civil War buffs sporting Confederate and Union soldier uniforms.

After another wet run Sunday morning (one of the nice features of running here is the availability of ripe Naval oranges and grapefruit along the way) we were given a tour of the LLUMC Proton-delivering cyclotron and all the complex delivery systems backing it up. We certainly gained a new appreciation of the operation as we were lead through the inner workings of the beast. What an amazing piece of ingenious machinery! We are in total awe of the brains that thought this up. Loma Linda is the world leader in this type of treatment for 50 different types of cancer since it was introduced in 1990 with the majority of the treatments being for prostate cancer at the moment but new robot aided systems are in the works in the not too distant future. NASA is even using the system to learn how to deal with protons in space. Unfortunately, they weren't big on us taking photos probably fearing that we'd use the knowledge to build our own @ $200,000,000!