Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! We're Goin Home!

P in the window. —photo by Fred

Just in time to get ready for our night on off-the-chains new year's eve partying, the docs are lettin us go home!

He got his regularly scheduled chemo late this morning, plus another bag o' platelets for good measure. Pablo's white blood cell numbers are on the incline - ever so slowly. We are on strict orders (as always) to keep an eye on his temp, and to return him to the CHLA scene if he exceeds 100.4 degrees. Part of the docs' decision to let P go home is that we live five mins away, and they have faith in our (read: Jo Ann's) supreme diligence around every minute detail of P's health.

This is all great news. Our new year's eve will probably consist of, um, sleeping through midnight. But, still, being home is supremely (yes, I used that word twice in 10 seconds) ILL!

Have a safe night wherever in the world you are. If you have room in your 2009 wishes and resolutions, throw a little love 'n light Pablo's way.

Our family's simple wish for 2009 is to have a happy and healthy Pablo - with a full head of hair - back in that bedroom at the end of our downstairs hallway. We're WELL on our way to that goal. Jo Ann and I are going to meditate tonight and envision Pablo growing, grown, strong, helping us as we get older. I am going to envision him kickin my butt up Angeles Crest.

Once we hit it, the rest of our family dreams - family vacation to Europe, riding bikes all over LA, some Hawaii beach time directly after P's treatment, Grady learning how to drive, Grady's first date, Jo Ann going on a solo vacation with friends, etc - will come easily. Through all of this cancer stuff, we have come to appreciate - TRULY APPRECIATE - what we have just hangin out with one another. And just supporting one another's experiences.

Lastly, I want to express our GRATITUDE to ALL OF YOU for your tireless, constant support. The phone calls. The emails. The gifts. The food. The blog comments. The financial investments in The Pablove Foundation. The hugs and ears and words of comfort. I could blow up the servers listing all the thanks we have for you all.

We love you. You have proven that community is a real, powerful aspect of life. We have all had our lives enriched as our community has defined and strengthened its web to help and support Pablo. Imagine how this has affected our kids! You can't learn this stuff in a book. Thank God. And you never know when teaching opportunities like this will pop up in life. The one thing I do know is that just by showin up, by caring, by expressin empathy and sympathy, our children's lives are enriched.

Happy 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Pablo and his new best friend.

Polly's Back!

How did I forget to mention that, um, one of our big year-end changes—actually, THE biggest—is not changing after all? What am I talking about? Polly has decided to stay in LA, and postpone her move back to Sacto until next fall.

There were two clear motivators for this change: Polly needs a specific list of credits to top up her Carnegie Mellon B.F.A. in order to get into grad school. She found out the week of her departure that she didn't get into any of the required classes. And, reason number two? Get this: we were all piled into Jo Ann's Highlander, on the way to our farewell Polly dinner at Malo. The radio was on, tuned to NPR news on KCRW. The newsman made an announcement that the Governator had just enacted a hiring freeze for State of California jobs. So, no school, and no prospect of nabbing a sweet State gig to pay for school equaled a eureka moment for Polly.

The third motivator was felt mutually on both sides of Polly's departure: the pain of her leaving Pablo prior to the completion of his treatment—for her, and for us—was too intense. Who knows how P would have reacted to his beloved nanny leaving while his world was still upside-down. Thank God we'll never know.

So there you have it. Polly's still here, and we're all the happier for it. Our little family unit works., hands down. In fact, she is at CHLA with Pablo right now. And Jo Ann and I are going out for lunch and some errands.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hello Blood+Platelets, Goodbye 2008

Amazingly, Pablo sat through two movies with, as he calls them, humans. He's been so into animated stuff lately, he refuses to watch us humans acting in a fictional story on a TV screen. Tonight, Fred and I walked him through 'E.T.' and 'Star Wars' back to back. What else were we gonna do with a kid who's on isolation orders, stuck in a hospital room, all jazzed up after his afternoon nap?

The cool thing about watchin a moov with P is that the best show, for me, is always snuggled up next to me. During the first 20 minutes of 'Star Wars,' Pablo quietly recited the names of some of the more bizarre characters. Even with the sound cranked up for maximal theatrical effect I could still hear a little voice say, 'Sand People' or 'Chewie.' Of course, he loved seeing his beloved R2D2 in action. Tomorrow I'm going to bring his R2 robot as a surprise guest.

On the medical front, everything is OK. He got red blood and platelet transfusions today. Jo Ann took a few hours off and went home for a shower and some R&R. She came back a little after 8 p.m. to spend the night. We'll be in the hospital until Pablo's blood counts start rising. We are fully expecting to be at CHLA until at least Friday. Hopefully no longer.

What makes this stay easy so far is having our own room in 5 East, and a pleasant view—as opposed to the ventilation shaft or a wall, our two frequent views in 4 West. We aren't there for the aesthetics, to be sure, but there's something about sunlight and a 20 mile view across LA that makes the hours go by easier.

Well, only 50 hours of 2008 left. Somehow, I don't think many people are grasping to hold on to this year. If you are, hold on loosely....

Sunset In LA

This is westward view from our room. Fred and I are indoctrinating Pablo into an E.T. lover. So far, he loves the film.

Bunny Face

It turns out that Trader Joe's fruit leathers and Fro Yos do not a balanced diet make. As much as we try to feed Pablo only healthy stuff, our urging is no competition for his chemo-addled sweet tooth. At the end of the day, we give P what he wants, and not because we're weak-willed parents. It's cos we want him to simply EAT something - to avoid the cluster of difficulties that would come with a low body mass.

Great justifications aside, Dr Mascarenhas saw that the 'yummy stuff' column of Pablo's blood test was too high. He came by this morning to let Jo Ann know that we need to get protein into this little boy's body. Simple enough. Polly and I picked up yummy turkey sandwiches from Say Cheese on Hyperion Avenue. What you see in this pic is Pablo The Grazer. He's chomping on whole lettuce leaves, and bites of turkey (no bread). He's having fun eating good stuff. That's a big win for us today.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Shot In The Dark

The title of this post isn't referring to the banal post-Randy Rhodes Ozzy Osbourne single, or the accompanying 'metal girl from mall turns to witchy woman' video. We're actually sitting in Exam Room L in complete darkness. Like, Ronnie James Dio kinda darkness. The only lumens up in here are comin from the glowing L.E.D. screens you see in the pic, and the Flashlight apps from Fred and Jo Ann's iPhones. Incredibly nice actually. Fluorescent tubes sucked in school, and they suck in this 10 X 12 room which is populated by P, Jo Ann, Fred, Polly and me.

Our usual December 28 ritual would have us sitting over a six million calorie feast of Cajun food at Jacques-Imo's on Maple Street in New Orleans - with 40 of Jo Ann's oldest and dearest frenz 'n fams. But nothing this year is usual. We'll be back at Jacques-Imo's next year, and we'll appreciate it more than ever as we remember how Jo Ann and I spent our bonnes anniversaries en 2008.

Tonight, we improvised the bday celebration. Before we dropped the lights and dropped the ante, Scott and Helen came by with three thick hunks o' cake from Alcove on Hillhurst - and a candle - so we could sing 'Happy Birthday' to Mommy. You can't actually burn a candle in a hospital, so Fred and Scott torched up flames using their Zippo lighter apps. A sweet moment in this, um, Wechseljahre ('transition year' as translated by Herr Fred Gillich).

Gotta run. Our room is ready!

Another Bday At CHLA

Just 90 minutes before Jo Ann's birthday dinner, Pablo started heating up. Dinner's off. Looks like we'll be spending Jo Ann's birthday night in the same location as mine.

In the big picture, Pablo feels fine. We had a great day: a Sunday drive, picking up flowers for Mommy, playing Pictionary with John Millhauser. We're expecting this to be a simple 24 hour stay in 4 West, nothing more.

Will keep updates coming.

Happy Bday Mommy!

Pablo and I woke up early, jumped out of bed and dove into a game of Sorry! Our mission this morning was to let Jo Ann sleep in—a tradition on mommy's bday. The mission tradition worked. After our Sorry! game (nobody won; we both got bored and opted to end the game), we made a pot of coffee. The first cup was for the birthday girl quietly crept down the stairs (Pablo loves creepin'), and dropped a hot cup o' joe on mommy's bedside table. As we were leaving the room, I said to P, 'Maybe the smell of coffee will wake her up.' When Jo Ann did wake up 20 minutes later, she came into the kitchen and asked if I said that line. She thought it might have been a dream.

After the coffee drop, Pablo and I returned to the kitchen to mix our pancake batter. Pablo stirred in his special mix of love and cuteness—12 whips with the whisk. We made some delicious flapjacks for mommy on the All-Clad griddle Jo Ann's mom gave her for xmas. Our fave cake was in the shape of a giant 'M' for mommy. Pablo taste-tested the goods before Jo Ann woke up. 'These are good Papa!' was his rating. That's a hard mark to get from our little expert. He loves him some griddle cakes. Mommy loved her giant 'M' and the second course—a traditional circle pancake.

Now we're all in a birthday pancake coma.

Harry and Patricia and the kids are en route to Houston. We had a great time hanging with them and sharing our debut family LAXmas with them. Their visit was capped off with Jo Ann taking them to the Grove Saturday afternoon, and Fred and I taking Alex to Saito for sushi last night. He ate everything that Saito put in front of him. Except the octopus. Don't blame him—I never touch that stuff! Monday, after a few hours at home, the Houston crew will drive to New Orleans to celebrate the holiday with Jo Ann's grandparents and cousins and their families. We will be there in spirit.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

Pablo's in love with his new skeleton gloves. Jo Ann found these today at Disneyland. A great find—we've been looking for something like this for P for donkey's years....

Not sure why I titled this post 'boxing day.' Maybe cos a few English people wished me a happy Boxing Day earlier today? Not even sure what Boxing Day is. A day to put things in boxes? To us strange LA transplants with thin blood, today is Cold Day. To me,
it's wonderfully cold and damp. I say wonderful cos I actually like it. Don't miss the winter wonderland of my hometown Milwaukee—multiple feet of snow, constant wet shoes, or scraping ice off the windshield—but I miss the idea of it. Temps in the low 40s and a few days of rain create a simulated winter and a nice change of pace from the usual sun, sun, sun and 90+ degree temps we've been having since Al Gore invented global warming.

Inside our warm house, we've had a very low-key day. Grady and Jimmy left for a week skiing at Mammoth. Jo Ann's mom, Patricia, came over from the hotel to hang with Pablo. When she got here, I went for a ride in and around Griffith Park on my new bike (a present from Santa), and then out to lunch with my friend Justin. Jo Ann and her dad, Harry, took Opal, Christopher and Alex on their first trip to Disneyland. Pablo and I slept in (7:30), and stayed home. He would have have loved to join his cuz crew on the D-Land day, but he was comfy staying home. His white blood and platelet counts are probably at zero today. There are tiny pin-sized purple bruises all over his body: on his right earlobe, around his eyes, and on his right forearm. The best thing for Pablo at this point in the cycle is to—literally—sit on the sofa and watch TV. Any time Pablo is on his feet, he is running (he has forgotten how to walk, I swear). And if he's running, he can fall. And if he falls, he get a gnasty gnarly bruise or worse.

After a long nap this afternoon, Pablo is full of energy at 9:22 p.m. Jo Ann and Opal are in bed. Pablo announced that he was going to stay up with me. Things get kind of strange when he and I stay up late. Serious clowntime. So far, we have taken about 50 off-the-wall pics on my computer. He's smiling or laughing hysterically in every one. Now he's counting to 1,000 and telling me I have to get off my he can type on it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Turducken 'n Beignets On Xmas AM

Jo Ann's cookin a turducken in the oven and has a table full of beignets rockin on the dining room table. Yum!

PS: that's Pablo's new R2D2 robot in the background. Santa hooked him up!

Merry Happy _________!

No matter what winter high holiday you celebrate this time of year, we send you our love and our light on this day.

We celebrate Christmas, so it is through this holiday that we honor our feelings of gratitude and love for our family and our community. We are lucky to have each other. We are grateful to have you in our lives.

Pablo's cancer has brought us so many gifts over the past seven months, so many opportunities to see the good that is hiding in plain sight in the world. I'm not talking about material things, but gifts of connection, support from our seemingly endless line of friends, fam and even strangers, and—most significant—proof that there is an answer to the lifelong call of hope. It turns out that when things got tough, our community—you!—have become a human safety net.

And that is one heck of a winter high holiday gift.

Merry Happy ________________. When we get through this, we got next.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Letter To Santa

We had a great time writing Pablo's letter to Santa. When it came time to write out the 'stuff I want' section, Pablo asked to me to take over the writing part. Everything he wanted involved skeletons.

We arranged the plate of cookies, the letter and the glass of milk (the skull 'n bones cup fits the skeleton gift motif) so that Santa will have room for his belly when he sits down.

Sofa Jumpin+Santa Trackin

With a pint of new blood and a two hour nap in his system, Pablo is up and at 'em. He's jumping from sofa to sofa, running in place and smiling all over the place. Seriously. We are starting to wind down. First stop on the chill out train was the Google Earth / Norad Santa Tracker. We now know that the Notorious S.A.N.T.A. is in South America. That's only an inch or two below Los Angeles—time for P to sit down and write Pablo's letter to Santa. Pablo knows he has to be asleep in order for the big man to stop here.

When the letter's done, we'll place it next to the plate of cookies 'n milk we're leaving on the coffee table near the fireplace. We decided that we'd put the munchy stuff at his fingertips, so when SC drops down the chimney, he can chow without looking around the house.

Can't make a big enough deal about the fact that this is the first year either of our kids have spent Christmas in LA. We've never staged this important event in our own home. It's exciting as hell for all of us.

Now where did I put that glass of warm milk?

One Hour Remaining

The blood is almost done. One more hour.

Christmas Wishes From CHLA

Our quick 'n easy chemo heist has taken a tiny detour. Pablo needs a blood transfusion. So we're furloughed until at least 4 p.m. The blood is being prepped now and should be flowing into Port O'Pablo by noon.

Opal came with us; a few minutes ago she announced, 'There's nothing fun about this hospital.' She's right! But we make do by snuggling on the double-wide blue sleeper, and kickin our fave PG flicks (see photo above). Being here today - stuck here - is a fitting way to spend the seventh last day of 2008. No one in our family has been anywhere, ever, as much as we've been in this building. Being here - and knowing we get to go home - makes me appreciate this special time of year in a way I've never contemplated before.

As I lay here with a blanket rammed between my head and the aluminum window sill, with a nasty cold breeze blowing on the back of my head, I have only one gift wish. And it's for xmas 2009. The gift? To be gone from this hospital for nine months by the time Cap'n Kringle drops the loot on December 25, 2009. No need for wrapping. A healthy and happy Pablo is all I need.

Christmas Chemo

Good morning. In a minute, Pablo and I are running over to the CHLA oncology clinic for a little Christmas chemo. It sounds nutty, but at this point in the game, a blood sample and vial of Vincristine is filed in the 'no big deal' column. In n out kinda stuff.

Besides, we are looking forward to being in the hospital on xmas eve—one last visit with our hospihomies before Santa arrives. The energy on Thanksgiving was special. CHLAXmas eve ought to be even more intense and cool. Now that my phone is working again, I'll snap+post some pix.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Full Housemas

It's Christmastime! There are now 10 people in our house. Three of them—Grady, Alex and Christopher—are looking over my shoulder as I write. Kind of distracting. And really disturbing. Now Opal is looking. Since they are reading this they now know how I feel, and have walked away laughing. Except Alex. He's cool to just hang and chat. He says he's just gonna read the blog tomorrow anyway. The kids brought along their grandparents Harry and Patricia. Very nice of them. So now we're family style like Jimmy and Stevie Ray. For the first time ever, this is the official Santaddress for the Thrailkill Three. It's also the first LAXmas Grady and Pablo have ever had. I'm elated that we didn't have to go on an airplane this year. I mean, I love hanging with the statue of Geo Bush The Senor in the Houston airport and all, but...I am looking forward to our first LA family xmas a lot more.

Pablo is feeling great today. He's been crying a lot today, getting hurt feelings about all kinds of stuff. Grady looks at him the wrong way and he's bawling. Grady won't let him fast forward the Tivo, and he's bawling. We have had two family meetings today to talk through these tough moments. We use everything to work on ourselves—even tears and and runny noses and arguing brothers.

I'm trying to organize dinner. Not going so well. Have a feeling Jo Ann is going to nix the idea of going out, cos she won't want Pablo out of the cribasa. Update: we are ordering in. She won't even let me finish the sentence. We're gonna order from Malo and Chi Dynasty (Ms Jackson if yer Dynasssty). Fair enuf.

Time to drive for the dual dining pick up. TTYallLater.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Laughin On The Job

Two fiery pirates on break from Pirates of the Caribbean Uno.

OK, this is hilarious. Fred and Pablo had just finished a game of Enchanted Forest. I was up for the next game—Uno. Pablo was ready to play, but I needed another minute. I told him I was finishing some work. 'No problem,' he said, and ran downstairs. I thought it was strange that he was so agreeable. Normally he sticks around and starts demanding play. A couple minutes later he emerged from the stairwell. 'Papa, are you done working? I just finished some work downstairs. I'm ready to play now too.'

The dude was in Grady's room tapping away on his computer. 'I was writing a lot of letters Papa,' he told me. 'But then I had too many, so I erased some.'

A few minutes later I picked myself off the floor. My gut hurt from laughing so hard. Pablo was laughing with me. But he had that 'what are we laughing about?' look on his face.

No matter what kind of loot awaits me under the tree, the best gift I could ever ask for already happened.

By the way, we're having a great day around here. Jo Ann and Grady are out shopping. Fred and Matt from Dangerbird are at Fred 62 having lunch. And P and I are, yknow, just puttin in another day workin in the salt mines.... Oh snap—Grady's computer just made a strange 'red alert' kinda noise. Trouble. Gotta run.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pablo ver 5.5

Sharp dressed man on the Harley outside Wee Soles on Sunset Boulevard—two doors down from the soon-to-populated Dangerbird offices.

Today is Pablo's half birthday. He's five-and-a-half. He was born on the Summer Solstice (June 21), and today is the Winter Solstice. We don't, like, celebrate half-bdays, but since his is so easy to peg, we made a big deal about it in our morning convo. Today has been a totally normal Sunday for us. Actually, better than normal: we all slept in—even me and Pablo, a rare occurrence for us. We met Juliana for brunch at Town and Country. We went for their yummy pancakes, and P decided he wanted scrambled eggs and toast instead. Can't remember him ever not ordering pancakes. Might have something to do with his passing the 5.5 year mark?

After brunch, we went to Wee Soles to look for a new pair of shoes. P fell in love with black-on-black creepers by T.U.K. (same company that made this black-on-white creeps). The store was out of his size, so we ordered them. It's worth the wait: he loves creepers, and T.U.K. makes a great pair of kicks.

From there, we popped into Pazzo Gelato next door. Fred bought a round of gelato. Pablo had two mini bowls of vanilla. He chowed down on that stuff. I know why: it's fresh and they use real vanilla. It's good to see a kid who likes the authentic taste over the synthetic stuff. After brunch dessert, we swung by the video store up the block from Fred 62. Grady watched 'The Fast And The Furious' last night and wanted to rent the sequel, which is not yet out on iTunes. He's in love with cars—a new fascination that's spawned from playing the Midnight Club video game (he loves that you can customize each aspect of your car in the game), and the fact that he is getting closer to driving age by the minute. Jo Ann took him driving in my Prius yesterday afternoon. He did very well. She was blown away by how well and how naturally he drove. My Prius isn't the car Grady is after though. For the past week, he's been hounding me about my 1970 AMX. Something about 'can I have your car when I get my license.'

It's weird. The conversation about the AMX always ends really quickly. I just say 'No' and change the topic! Seriously, I'll be happy to accompany Grady in that car any day. It'll be a joy to share it with him.

Jo Ann is thinking today will be P's last day out of the house for while. His white blood cells are beginning their downward movement, and won't be on the rise for at least another week. It was fun to be out in the sun and the crisp (for LA) winter air. A couple hours on the outside will make the upcoming homebound week a lot easier to accept.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shootin Up On Saturday

Every three weeks, our friend Penelope comes over to shoot up Pablo with the white blood cell booster Neulasta. Today is one of those days. Penelope is a nurse at CHLA, and an old acquaintance of Jo Ann's. They reconnected through our friends Justin and Corinne. When we started hangin around the oncology clinic, we saw Penelope all the time. These days, Penelope is an 'old friend'—one of the countless friends who've become soldiers in the Pablo army. Seeing her reminds me of how powerful our community is.

In this time of, well, gnarliness and deception in the world, it is clear that one's family, friends, community, tribe—whatever you want to call it—is, perhaps, all one has that is real and dependable. This is an absolute truth for us. So many people have lined up to be of service to us it's hard to single anyone out anymore. Some of you have lent physical or logistical support. Others have brought food, or turned up on our doorstep at just the right moment. Many of you have graciously donated to the Pablove Foundation, aiding our family mission to fuel change and progress at CHLA—and awareness of this within our local community. If you are reading this blog, you are part of our community. Even if you simply think about Pablo from time to time, you are an integral part of our community.

On a lighter note: Jo Ann made a loaf of chocolate bread for Penelope and her family—a delicious expression of our thanks for her tireless service. Pablo was very scared to get the shot today. Penelope counted to three and stabbed him. He didn't feel a thing—except the medicine shooting into his leg. Penelope is worth her weight in bread.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Goodbye Polly

Pablo and Polly.

While we are happy to have Pablo home from CHLA, there's current of sadness in our house. Polly has postponed her move back to Sacramento a bunch of times—all to prolong her time with Pablo—but today is the end of the line. Today is her last day with our family.

I've had this post brewing for some time in my head and heart, so I have some idea what I'm going to say. Even though she will be hundreds of miles away from us, and no longer physically working with our family, she has become a member of our family. For a start, she loves Pablo more than I can describe on a blog. And he loves her. They have a thing together: lingo, jokes, patter. It's been wonderful to watch it blossom.

Polly has been with all four of us through hundreds of nights and hundreds of days. She has seen us at our best, and has endured the most challenging stuff. She's helped Grady with his homework in two different grades, and she's seen Pablo learn how to dress himself, count and tell jokes with narrative command. Polly has seen Jo Ann venture into improv classes—and the effect that Jo Ann's improv has had on making fun of me. She's seen me become obsessed with cycling and drop more than Pablo's body weight (ie, she knew me in my fat phase). Most of all, Polly has shared life with us. We welcomed her into our home and into our lives, and she joined us—going far beyond punching the clock and running home at the end of her shifts. She and Jo Ann have stayed up late many nights talking about acting (Polly has a theater degree from Carnegie Mellon) or Grady's schoolwork, or, more recently, Pablo's treatment. Polly and I have common ground in music—The Smiths, Love And Rockets, Bauhaus. It's not just about musical and theatrical compatibility. We've sailed the seas of life as a five-person crew. And now one of us is leaving before the cancer journey—can't underestimate that—is over. Not sure how this is going to feel in the morning. We'll have to let life unfold and take it from there.

Tonight, we are taking Polly out for dinner at Malo. There is no restaurant more indicative of our time together than Malo. That's where we were—with Polly—in the hours leading up to Pablo's diagnosis with cancer. We're taking Pablo (how else could we take our nanny out for a farewell dinner?), and we are hoping he won't get sick at the table. If he does, that will be OK. Actually, it might be part of the perfect send off—one last snapshot of what our collective life's been like this year.

We'll post dinner pics and pick up on this topic more tomorrow. I'm getting too sad (and too hungry) to go on. More tomorrow. Night night.

Xmas Here We Come!

You know what the Scooband-Aid means? We're OUTTA here! See you at home.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Night number two is upon us. A little more chemo tonight, a little more chemo in the morning. By noon Friday we'll be homebound.

Jo Ann and Pablo are gettin ready for bed. P's Benedryl dealer is coming soon. That'll zonk him out. I'm headin home with a bag full of chemo pee (peemo) clothes. All I have to do is remember to hit the HOT button on the washer when I get back to la casa.

When we check out Friday, we will be officially more than halfway to the finish line. The next goal: Xmas! When we get within 60 days of the finish line, I'm gonna put a countdown clock on the blog. It's going to be fun to watch the days melt away. I have a feeling that once we cross the finish line we'll realize how shallow our breathing had been for the preceding nine months.

Good night. Stay warm. Stay cool. TTYL.

Master P And The Red Devil Roll

Pablo and Beans trapped inside Beans' kennel. This photo was taken yesterday afternoon. Unrelated to the hilarious story below (altho if he were home right now, the kennel is prob where he'd be....)

Short post cos I'm a man on the run this morn. We had a hold-up with chemo last night—Pablo wasn't peeing enough, and they had to wait for him to pass a solid quantity of urine before starting his chemo, including the Red Devil. That, together with the gut pain he was experiencing when we got to CHLA, had us worried. But as the sun came up, he peed. And the tummy busting pains went away. The doc last night knew it was gas, so we knew it'd, uh, pass.....

The reason urination is a focus for this round of chemo is because one of the drugs, Pablo is getting, Cytoxan, can cause damage to Pablo's young little bladder. Specifically, it can cause the bladder to bleed. In fact, when he gets this chemo, he has to wake every two hours to go—even if he's asleep. He has become an expert sleepier (that's French for sleep-pee-er). Anyway, every two hours, his urine is tested with a simple litmus test-like paper device that would reveal blood in the urine.

So our normal plan is out the window. A good place for a normal plan at this stage of our lives. The first round of Doxorubicin is starting now, as opposed to 10 p.m. last night. He's on the pre-med roll up—the gateway drugs of Zofran (anti-nausea) and Ativan, which has him high as a kite I just might stop to check you out. When I rang Jo Ann's mobile this morning he picked up and repeated all kinds a insane things that I was saying to him: 'Yo G!' .... ' What up, cuz?' ... 'Yo G, back to the hooo-tel.'

Now we know what Pablo sounds like high—11 years earlier than most other parents of five-year-olds have to start worrying about such things. Check that off the list.

Just ordered pancakes for P. This time, we're trying Madame Matisse on Sunset. Peter and I had brek there yesterday, and were blown away by the p-cakes. Let's see if Master P agrees.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Checkin In At CHLA+Freezin In LA

It's fitting that Pablo is sleeping on Jo Ann's shoulder on the way into CHLA. Over the past two weeks, this little man has worked hard at playing, laughing and clownin around. P's next two nights in a hospital bed might feel like a break from all the good times. When he gets out on Friday, it'll be only six days to Christmas.

We are in a giant room with three beds. This is the only room in 4 West that we've never been in, and it's not as bad as we thought. Well, maybe cos we're the only ones in here. If there were two other familias crammed in this piece, I'd be singin a dif'rent song.

On the not-so-fun tip, P is a bit gassy and his tummy hurts. We're hoping he's a few farts away from comfort. Jo Ann and I both go to a scared place whenever something is up with his tummy. We're letting it go for now. No reason to freak out.

A note about life in LA this week: it's been raining buckets and cold. Cold for us is the low 40s. Cold for my growin years in Milwaukee? 20 below zero. But that was a long time ago. The blood quite happily thins when one moves to a warm clime. This evening, Peter and I finished our final meeting of the day and it was 42 and raining and my shoes were wet. It was time to get in front of the homestead hearth. I settled on rushing home to wolf down Jo Ann's delicious dinner and rush with them to CHLA.

It's so cold there's snow in the mountains above our neighborhood. I drove to Pasadena today and got a good look at that cold white stuff - you could have a snowball fight below 2000 feet! (We live at 360 feet, and Pasadena is at 1200 feet.) When we get outta here, I'm going to drive P and Grady up there. Fred and I will try and show the boys a little somethin about snowplay. Now that I think of it, I might bring a shovel and an ice scraper too - to show them summa that technique. We might just have a winter olympic.

For now, we're focused on the chemolympic.

Good night. Stay warm. Sweet dreamz.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Pablove Supreme+Ultrasound Results

First things first: Dr M emailed us late this morning to say that the ultrasound shows a great lookin gut. No fluid hanging around, liver is OK and the veins are flowing properly. Looks like all is in order for Pablo to check into CHLA tomorrow for two nights and three days of chemo.

That completes the medical portion of this transmission.

Now on to the Pablove Supreme party report. I will keep it brief because my eyelids are falling as I type. Bottom line is, the party was a giant physical expression of the love and the community and the realness that has surrounded us from the first instant of Pablo's cancer journey. Almost all of the people who were at my birthday dinner on May 17 were at the party. Those people broke bread with P before we took that fateful drive to CHLA ER and discovered Pablo's tumors. Tonight, there were about 250 additional people in the house. That's a lot of people. A lot of love and many, many arms hugging us.

Pablo and I walked through the party a couple times. I held him in my arms cos he was shy and overwhelmed. Mostly just plain shy. Even with his friends. Jo Ann, Polly and I know when P wants to, like, hide in the corner, and when he's OK to rock the party. Tonight was one of the times he was OK to rock the party. It worked out very well.

More partytalk and pics later tomorrow. I am tired. Not sure if my writing is communicating anything. But I tried.

Post-Ultrasound Pancakes

Ultrasound went well. I mean, Pablo was basically in heaven: he got to lay on his back, watch cartoons and have someone rub his belly for 45 minutes. Not a bad deal. It beats getting poked with a needle. Or getting radiated in a giant NASA-sized machine.

We should get an email from Dr M later tonight letting us know that all's clear, or if there is something to discuss.

We hit up Mustard Seed on the way home from CHLA. Pablo couldn't eat this morning, and he was jonesing for grub. Our man Steven was there, and served up Pablo's fave—pancakes 'n eggs. Jo Ann joined us. She was making her way back from from dropping Grady at school in La Canada. I love when the big bad city of LA is that simple. Mornings like this make us feel like we live in a small town.

More later. Jo Ann and I have lots of work to get done before the Pablove Foundation party tonight.

Twofer Tuesday

We're up early. 5:30 a.m. = oweeeee time. Even though we're tired, we don't want to waste time sleeping—Pablo has two parties today: the ultrasound hoedown at 6:30 a.m., and A Pablove Supreme at 6 p.m. One of these parties is gonna be waaaaaay more fun than the other. Guess which one?

Brain not working yet. More later.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Chemo Today, Yes Party Tomorrow

Platelets are at 65,000 - almost at the magic 75k required for chemo. In this photo you can see Dr M telling me and Jo Ann that P ought to be ready for admission on Wednesday. We'll be back at CHLA at 7 a.m. Tuesday for an ultrasound of P's abdomen. Dr M is curious about some veins showing through the skin of P's tummy, and his belly button looking a bit pushed out. We just had an ultrasound a week ago, and it showed that everything was in order. So, we're not worried. But we are eager to be sure that P's liver is looking good, and that there's no excess fluid hangin around in there.

The HUGE upside to the chemo delay? Pablo will be able to attend the Pablove Supreme party tomorrow! I may be getting ahead of myself - in reality, we'll play it by ear. If he's rocking, we'll bring him through for a short time. At least long enough to eat some tortilla chips. And to wreck a little shop with Santa.

The Oncology Clinic

You know, in all the months we've been coming here, I haven't snapped any pics of the scene in here. This is a random in-action shot of the nurse's station. We know each person in this shot. At some point, each one of these nurses has stuck Pablo, or cared for him in some way.

Back To The Work Of Cancer Killing

Two weeks out of CHLA felt good. It's Monday morning, and now we're back to the work of cancer killing. We're gearing up for another hospital stay. If Pablo's blood numbers are in the zone, we'll check in today for two nights and three days of chemo. This week's arsenal is Doxorubucin—the red devil. Think of it as a shoe—say, a size 10 men's dress shoe—that we're throwing at any cancer cells still roaming around in Pablo's body. After this treatment, we are basically halfway to the late February end date. Trying to take that goal in stride. It's there in the near distance. But we don't wanna get too excited yet. It's a slow and steady path for us. We've kept Pablo healthy this long. Another two-and-a-half months is not nothin.

This morning, Pablo rumbled up the stairs after a solid night's sleep. He looks great. His spirits are as high as they've ever been. That's not a blood test, but it's a strong indicator that things are swinging the right way inside his body.

Polly just got here. Jo Ann and Fred ran out to hit 90 minutes of xmas shopping before we head to CHLA. I am working. It's amazing how busy we used to think we were. These days we get all the usual stuff done plus the major task of Pablo's medical stuff. I try not to think of the enormity of it all. It came into my mind this morning, and I wanted to share it.

By the way, don't forget the Pablove Supreme party tomorrow night. If you are in LA and can make it, we'd love to see you. We have a Santa and a professional Santa photog for kids and adults. Plus all the previously advertised stuff. If you can't make it, we'll post plenty of pix.

I'll check back later tonight....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Snow Day

This photo Fred snapped sums up our day perfectly. Fun, laughter, amusement park grub, and a snowball fight. We were at Universal Studios for over four hours and could have stayed longer. It was effortless and event-free, like a normal day with any family. We are truly, simply grateful for the day we spent together.

Pablo met seven of his favorite friends—dudes he's spent a l o t of time with over the past seven months. He is demanding to type the names of all these, here goes:

shrek and donkey
curious george (twice)
whos from whoville

Large, Medium, Small

Time To Refuel

We're waiting for the Whoville tram. The cotton candy stand is strategically placed, uh, 10 feet from the waiting area. We couldn't resist. Who down in Whoville COULD resist?

Monsterlove 4 The Momulator

Grinch Punks Grady

Who Dat?

Sponge Pab

Pablo Meets The Grinch

Hoooooooooleeeeee FFFFFFF!


It's 7 a.m. on Sunday morning and our entire house is abuzz. Everyone's rushing around so we can get out the door at 7:30 and head to Fred 62 for brekkie. If we can stick to my crazy plan, we'll be heading to Universal Studios at 8:30—plenty of time to be first in line when the gates open at 9.

We're going to take the Griffith Park route rather than the 101. Pablo and Grady will love the Festival of Light. Even with the lights off, it's cool to see.

Next posts will be a series of pix from the Grinchified theme park.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


There's a fire burning in our hearth. The house is cozy warm. Actually, it's hot as hell in here! Grady and Pablo decorated the xmas tree. Two dozen ornaments are now hangin from the branches—the usual reindeer and snowmen and Santa Claus stuff, plus two German pickles and a few hand-blown glass peppers. Those are gifts from Fred. They look super cool on the tree.

We just had a family meeting to plan our trip to Universal Studios in the morning. We're psyched to see the Grinchmas show. Face it, P a b l o is beeeeeyond excited to see his main man the Grinch. Justin Reeve from Dangerbird arranged U Studios passes for us way back in the summertime. He is our hero for doing this. If you come to the Pablove Supreme party on Tuesday night, you can meet the man behind the Grinchmas plan. Front-of-the-line VIP passes and everything. It's the way to go. We haven't been able to use the passes til now cos Pablo's immune system and all that. With the holiday coming, we've been asking Dr M when's a good time to go. And tomorrow's it.

As a precaution, we are going as soon as the park opens at 9 a.m. Our thinking is that the attendance is lowest at the early hour. We'll bring a mask to keep P protected in the Grinchmas theater.

Awwwwwright.... Time to get P (and me) in bed. Lots of pix tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Good Friday

I almost feel guilty telling you what a good week we've had. Believe me, we are h a p p y to be in the glow of goodness. No problem accepting or enjoying it. A happy, event-free week is so unique that I don't know how to describe the experience. But I'll try....

Pablo is happy. Full of joy. Boundless energy. His voice is constantly singing throughout the house—counting, proclaiming facts about Scooby or Santa or asking for food. He is hungry, wanting to put food in his mouth, every waking hour. We are lucky when, after 30 suggestions, something sounds appetizing to him. Poor kid—the chemo has done terrible things to his taste buds. As a five-year-old, he doesn't have the verbal acuity to describe what other cancer patients have told us: chemo installs a metallic taste in the mouth; nothing satiates the appetite, yet certain food smells, textures or colors induce vomiting. Pablo certainly knows that certain formerly fave foods are now revolting. And we are sure that he will have the verbal skill soon. My money says that this whole cancer experience is a springboard for every facet of Pablo's mind, body and spirit. When he's done with the war under his skin, he's going t0 focus his energy and good pure spirit on the rest of us. He's going to rejoin the legions of amazing boys and girls, and contribute to the youth of today.

It's a true gift to wake up before Pablo—to see him still asleep when I get out of bed. This only happens when we are home for at least a few days with no hospital stays. It only happens when P is comfy in bed, living his old life with his parents and his brother and his dogs+cat+fish. Today was one of those days. Tonight was one of those nights. He walked downstairs after kissing me goodnight in the kitchen. By the time I got down to our room, he was o u t. Remarkable. But when you feel safe, and life is good and normal and there are no nurses poking and prodding you, sleep comes easy.

Tonight, I am sleeping in Grady's bed. He is at Jimmy's. I am sleeping in here because I am waking up at 5:40 a.m. so I can be in the car at 6 a.m. and on the starting line of the Planet Ultra Christmas Century in Calabasas at 8 a.m. I told Pablo tonight that I am doing this ride for him—for all the days and nights he's been glued to that hospital bed. For all the times he's had his port poked. For all the times he's been scared out of his mind going into the MRI and CT machines. I kept it simple, and he understood me. His eyes were locked into mine, so I know he was with me. I know exactly how I am going to take all that scary, insane energy and sprinkle it over the 100 miles and 5,800 feet of climbing. By the time I see Pablo, Jo Ann, Grady and Fred on the finish line, it'll all be behind me. And behind us. And we'll be ready for the final two-and-a-half months of chemo. Ferrealz.

Santy Claus Switcheroo

I swear to God (Santa's uncle), I didn't set this up! Santa followed Pablo out of his secret photo lair and asked if he'd be up to switch hats and take one extra photo. Amazing!

On The Way To The North Pole

We are on the way to visit Santa Claus. At a red light, I slipped P a spicy mint from Malo. A gift on the way to visit the giftmeister. It made him happy. Look at that smile!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Platelets On The Rise

Great news. Jo Ann took P in for a blood draw today, and this platelets are on the upswing—30,000, up from 11,000 on Monday. The goal is 75,000 by this coming Monday. That will allow us to check in for chemo on Monday and be outta there on Wednesday. But I'm getting ahead of myself..... We have a while weekend ahead of us.

The one thing a blood test can't gauge is Pablo's happiness. If it could, the numbers would be off the scale. He's been messin around, laughin and smilin for over a week. Fred's constant presence at Pablo's side is a huge part of this. It's really something to see how Pablo follows Fred around. He wakes up in the morning and makes a bee line for Fred in the guest bedroom. They are bosom buddies—brothers from diff'rent mothers.

Speaking of the little P, it's his bed time. Better go grab him and start the winding down ritual. Looks like it's going to take a while tonight.

Pablo's Letter To Santa

I woke up this morning and saw an email from Jo Ann in my IN box. I busted out laughing in joy. Here it is:

Subject: omg - pablo typed some of it and dictated some of it...
Date: December 10, 2008 10:17:14 PM PST






Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Laptop Rock: A Still Life From Our Home

Polly shot this incredible still life today.

It pretty much sums up life in our house for the past seven months. You've got fruit in the foreground. One of my bikes in the middle (been riding on the trainer on that deck where they're sitting). Pablo and his top hat sitting next to a Mac laptop (a constant companion of Mommy and Papa). A dear friend hangin at our crib. Sunshine 'n trees.

If this is as good as it gets, we'll be OK.

A Great Day In A Great Week

Pablo and his top hat 'n bow tie outfit. He decided to get dressed up for his walk with Polly this afternoon. —photo by Fred

We are having a great week. Pablo is zipping around the house filled with energy and smiles. Totally riding the lightning. He's counting everything in sight, positing, correcting, debating, conceptualizing, and rhapsodizing. It's really something. If we were worried about him missing out on kindergarten, we've come to the realization that he may be leaping up and over the zone by hanging out with his zany family and friends and a cast of doctors, nurses and medical techs.

Here's the other thing we are coming to grips with: Pablo adores Fred. I mean, we already knew that. But since Fred arrived on Monday, Pablo has not left his side. They watch TV together. They play games together. I walked into the dining room this afternoon, and Fred was explaining to Pablo how a computer cursor works. Pablo was tracking Fred's description of the cursor function, and Pablo was interjecting 'OK's and 'alright's. Hilarious. This morning, Pablo crept into the guest bedroom, climbed onto the bed, positioned his rear end above Fred's head and, just as he was about to drop a point-blank blast, Fred woke up and foiled the mission.... Not only is Pablo jumping the kindergarten shark, he's ready for college dorm life....

Jo Ann is going to take Pablo into the oncology clinic for a blood draw early tomorrow morning. Our next official blood draw is Monday; Dr M offered to draw blood Thursday if we wanted to track the rise of P's platelets. While they are doing that, I'm going to hit the mountains with Hrach and Matthew and some other guys from the Velo Pasadena Cycling Club. A former Mexican pro is joining us—a guy who has placed top 10 in the Tour de France four times!—so it should be a lot of fun. The men and women from my club have donated over $4,000 to the Pablove Foundation. Every day, I get an email or a phone call from a club member checking in on Pablo. The support we've gotten from that part of our world is amazing.

Will post tomorrow afternoon when we get home from our excursions.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Pablove Supreme

You may have heard about the Pablove party that Matt and Hrishi from Dangerbird and Alan from Filter Mag have put together. It's going down next Tuesday at 6 p.m. the new Urban Outfitters Space 15 Twenty on Sunset/Cahuenga. This is going to be a party, not a loud rock show. There will be plenty of time to talk and celebrate being together with friends—and to meet people you don't yet know.

In between all those talky moments, premium rock and roll noise will be provided Hrishi's band The One AM Radio, Peter's band Eulogies and our friend Sara Love. Silversun Pickups will be on hand to DJ, along with Jimmy Tamborello from Postal Service, and Daedelus.

It's free, open for all ages, there will be finger food and refreshments.

If you haven't picked up the Pablove Foundation double-disc music collection, you can pick one (or 10) up at the show.

If Pablo is able to attend, he will be there!

Feel free to grab the Pablove Surpreme poster above—designed by Rory Wilson from Dangerbird—and pass it around on email, or post it on your Facebook page or whatever.

Monday, December 8, 2008


We just spent the past half hour with Dr M. Everything is Pablo's blood and body is looking great - totally normal for this point in treatment. Also normal is the sluggish pace at which his platelets are regenerating after the last chemo blast. They are at 11,000 and need to be at 75,000 for chemo.

So we're not checkin in today. We get to go home and try again next Monday. A relief if you ask me. This means P gets two full weeks at home. Rather than viewing this as a bummer delay to our end date in February, I see this in a positive light. We might even try and go to Disneyland or Universal Studios, to check out 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas' show. It's an option.

I'm headed to Venice for a meeting. Then to LAX to pick up snowbird Fred. Jo Ann, Polly and L'il P are gonna get his port deaccessed and go home.

Creepers + Cuties

Just arrived at the CHLA oncology clinic. We're in exam room 3C. This is the room we were in on our first ever appointment in the clinic. Brings back memories - and gives us perspective on how far we've come in our cancer family journey.

For a start, we aren't as scared or spun out as we were in May. And now we know literally every nurse, tech, receptionist and doctor in this place. Many of our fellow patient families as well. When we walk the halls, many people say hello, or ask us how we've been since we last saw them. Today, seven months into this game, when we get off the elevator on the fifth floor of this building, we are home. Just look at Pablo - smiling as he peels a Cutie on the exam table!

Will fill you in on the results and highlights of our Dr M meeting later today.

Monday CHLA

Today's plan seemed easy: ultrasound at 9:30, breakfast at Mustard Seed immediately after, run home for an hour, and then return to CHLA oncology clinic for our 1 p.m. with Dr Leo Mascarenhas.

How easily we forget that 'easy' is not on the menu when it comes to institutions such as hospitals. I'm sitting at Mustard Seed waiting for P and Jo Ann (I went on a bike ride when they left for CHLA). Just got a call from Jo Ann: the ultrasound tech has to get more angles and is conferring with a doc for direction. Pablo couldn't eat before this scan, so he's getting ultra hungry laying there on the ultrasound table. Jo Ann called me to relay a food order. There's a glitch tho: I'm sitting here in my cycling costume, with my bike leaned against the table - not exactly in 'take away food transport mode.' Besides, I wouldn't be able to get past security with my bike. And Jo Ann is glued to P's side in that room.

Luckily, Polly saved the day. She was on her way to CHLA and is swinging by to pick up the grub. Everything always works out. And I can always work wherever I am, thanks to the constant presence of my trusty Blackberry.

We'll check in later. Think good thoughts about P's platelet and blood numbers - we need them to be high enough to get admitted this afternoon for chemo!

In rough terms, we'll be halfway through the chemo regimen after this next stay. Feels like a HUGE accomplishment.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bingle Today, Blood Tomorrow

Almost bedtime....and we're finishing up our xmas decorating. After 42 hours of procrastination, I dug the holiday boxes out of the garage. Here's a family photo (Grady's with Jimmy tonight)—Mr. Bingle, Chili, Jo Ann and Pablo. Mr. Bingle is the Christmas mascot of the now-defunked New Orleans department store Maison Blanche. Another piece of Mommy's amazing childhood in the city we all wish we were from....

Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. we are due back at CHLA—this time for an ultrasound. Dr M wants to get a close look at the fluid in P's abdomen. He believes that it's secondary to the radiation. At noon we have a blood draw, and a 1 p.m. with Dr M. He will physically examine Pablo, and, based on his blood numbers, determine if he's OK to start chemo. As of Thursday, Pablo's platelets were at zero. Dr M said he'd have to be at 75,000 Monday in order to check into 4 West for the two night and three day Doxorubicin treatment. There's no way to know someone's platelet level from hanging out with them. But if Jo Ann and I had to guess, we think his numbers are up. He just looks good—full of color and energy. The CHLA blood lab will give us the real answer tomorrow at 1.

Hope you had a good weekend. We're out for the night.

Playroom Mayhem

The caption for this photo is: Harry and Pablo had fun today. Now who's gonna clean up that mess!?

Harry's Here!

Harry and his mommy Kristal came over for a 9 a.m. playdate. They arrived bearing pastries from Victor Bene—totally yumilicious. The playful sounds of P + H are filling our house. Nothing sounds better, believe me. Pablo adores Harry. Between 8:30-8:59, Pablo jumped up in excitement a dozen times—thinking that any little noise that emanated from the front of the house was his pal Harry walking up the front path. Funnily, when H finally did arrive, P didn't want to come off the sofa to greet him at the door. That's true love.....

I interrupted their play to snap a few pix. Here's the series. They're all cute. And if you scroll up and down really fast, it looks like animation.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Christmas Time With Pab-PTC

Yes yes yall....
It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens....
My name's P.T.C. with the mic in my hand
And I'm chilling and coolin just like a snowman
So open your eyes, lend me an ear
I want to say

Pab-PTC :

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

OK, sorry. I didn't even ask if you wanted to go for a trip down memory lane, to MTV xmas, 1987. That was 21 years ago. MTV played videos back then, and Run-DMC were having an extra helping of world domination. Wow. Just think about that.
Oddly, I was Grady's age back in the 8-7.

As you can see, our fake plastic tree is up. It's awesome. The lights are built-in, which means for the first time in seven years, Grady and I don't have to search for hours for the lone burned out bulb to get 3,000 feet of lights to work. The boyz decided to have ornaments this year, breaking our 10-year tradition of stringing red apples onto the tree—a Waldorf thang. Tomorrow, G and I are gonna dig the Christmas box out of the garage (we both loathe doing this, and put it off every year). Then we'll put hold Pablo up in the air so he can put the angel on top of the tree. And we'll hang our stockings on the mantel. Only 19 days to go!

Sweet Baby Jesus

Here's another light-hearted post. We need as many of these as we can get. While I was on my ride yesterday, I saw this GIANT nativity scene in someone's front yard in the Glendale hills. Seriously, those gold, frankincense, gold and myrrh-bearing homies were bigger than me!

Never one to resist a little dangerous photo-taking, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to slip my bike into the slot where sweet baby Jesus will take his rightful place in 19 days.
After all—I, too, am JC.

We are getting our house xmas-ready. Pics soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Merry Malo Berry Walnuts

We just returned home from a great dinner at Malo. Even though Pablo threw up, we had a fun time playing 'I Spy' and chomping on chips. We ran into Christopher from Silversun Pickups and his girlfriend Sammy. It was great to see them. Reminds me that Malo is one the clubhouses of Silverlake—we always run into friends there.

After dinner, we went to Target in Eagle Rock to get a Christmas tree. Because Pablo is on immunocompromised, we can't have a real tree. Jo Ann and I kind of into having a fake tree. Just for this year. Pablo and I fell in love with the white ones. Guess we were in the mood to have a
Chuck Berry xmas, or a Paulie Walnuts xmas. Somethin real off the hook, with gold ornaments and happy time lights. Our plans were short-lived though. Jo Ann and Grady said No.

We're about to build the facsimile tree (pix tomorrow). Pablo ran down and saw me typing and demanded that I allow him to type something to you. He tapped the keys, I gave him the letter instructions. Here you go:

merry christmas

We Have A Family Dinner Date Tonight!

We are having another great day. Pablo woke up happy and has been bouncing around the house ever since. Jo Ann and I had a meeting this morning. On the way home, she mentioned going out for dinner tonight. Haven't heard her say that in months! I immediately said Yes. She suggested my and Pablo's favorite spot, Malo. I said Hell yes. When we got home she asked P if he'd like to go out, and he immediately suggested Malo. Grady will be over the moon when he hears that we are going out—as a family—for dinner. I almost can't believe it.

Malo is where our journey began on May 17. You may recall (or you may have been there) that we left my birthday dinner at Malo to take P to CHLA.

We've been there many times since, so it's not like that crazy that we'll be there. The special part of going out tonight is that it's been at least two months since we went out for dinner with Pablo.

That's pretty much all there is for now. We hope you and your family and friends are having a great day, and are heading into a great weekend. We're awaiting Dr Mascarenhas' approval on getting a live Christmas tree. We'd like to get one this weekend. Mommy's got prezzies piling up already. A couple weeks ago, our dear friend Mary Collins brought a pile of Waldorf School Angel Room presents over, and Pablo picked out gifts for all of us. So, we've got a lot of stuff to arrange under die tannenbaum.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ding Dong and Dum-Dum

I picked up a pair of venerable American tasty treats—a Ding Dong and a cotton candy-flavored Dum-Dum—for Pablo this morning at Fix, a new coffee shop on Echo Park Boulevard. He can't eat them until later or tomorrow, but they made him happy today.

His blood test from this morning came back—platelets are zero again, but everything else is looking good. We just have to keep him from bleeding. We can handle that.

Dum Dum

Ding Dong

Meet Our Family

The world's smallest top hat

Yesterday morning, Pablo and I decided to play with Play-Doh. I had no idea how happy it would make us. How much fun we'd have. And that it would fuel the first truly happy, not-at-all-sad post I've written in a long time.

At first, we made stuff out of it—little blobby objects. Then Pablo started playing with fruit from the fruit tray on the dining room table. That sparked an idea for me—something to make him laugh—and I popped two Play-Doh eyeballs and a mouth on an orange. He busted a gut laughing. Mission accomplished.

Then he made a face on another orange. And then he lined up five apples (counting them one-two-three-four-five) and made faces on them. We laughed the whole time. I almost felt like I was on drugs. It was genuine fun. And the look in his eyes as he was laughing—real, pure, sweet. One of us referred to the Dohed-up fruits as 'our fam.' That brought on more laughter. When Polly arrived, we introduced her to the family.

When we'd faced all the fruit, we shared the duty on his juice bottle. The last member of our family to come to life was the fake loaf of bread. Pablo noted to Polly that we had Mommy, Papa, Grady and Pablo oranges, and that there was no Polly. Then he remembered the loaf, and bestowed loafdom on her. That's true love.

This morning, I drove Grady to school and Jo Ann took Pablo to the CHLA oncology clinic for another blood draw. Dr M is going to run specific tests to be sure his major abdominal organs are working properly.

Here's some pix of le familia:

This is our whole family—Polly is the loaf of fake bread, and we are the oranges.

Mommy and Papa

Grady and Pablo

Some of our early works—the whole gang.