December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays to all of you.

Christmas Day Lunch at Jomtien Beach Mark and I had a lovely Christmas day. We watched some exciting TV movie then we went to Lunch at a restaurant just three doors down from our beach guest house. Complimentary glass of champaign, turkey, roasted potatoes, gravy, carrots, broccoli, and brussel sprouts, dressing and some kind of sausage wrapped in bacon, and a special English pudding. Minced pie was available but we were full and needed to stop before the pie. We received boxed gifts of small christmas towels from the owner of the restaurant, who is an English Barrister. Other people from our guest house were there too.
After lunch Mark and I went to the beach for awhile and stayed until the sun went down.

December 19, 2007

Mark doing construction work Even though he still has cancer, Mark is doing all he can. Yesterday and today he worked a full day with Mr. George Richardson, who along with his wife Angel, owns the guest house where we are staying in Jomtien Beach Pattaya Thailand. It is one half block from the beach.
George has purchased the house next door and is remodeling it for a guest house, restaurant, and Kareoke bar. Yesterday Mark and George used a winch system to move a large pile of eucaleptus boards from the ground to the third floor roof. Today they are building some sort of shade wall on the third floor. For you guys, they have a power saw, a compressor, and power nail gun going full blast. Notice the tall condominium in the background. We are one half block from the beach. Mom will head to the beach this afternoon late and will stay to get somemore sunset pictures like this one taken yesterday, only better.
10,453 visitors to the blog from 77 countries now.

December 13, 2007

Group Trip to the Angkor Wat Ruins, Siem Reap, Cambodia - Our host and hostess Mr George Richardson and wife Angel organized a trip for guests to go to Seim Reap to see the ruins of many ancient Hindu and Budhist temples. These sites were in the running for one of the top 7 wonders of the world. Last time Mark and I (mom) visited Siem Reap, we flew in and had our own car and driver and tour guide. This time our group traveled 3 hours in a van to the border of Thailand and Cambodia, arranged a tour including transportation, hotel, food, driver, guide and then walked accross the border to a bus which took 5 hours to go 125 km as the road was so very bad. Riding on the bus was like riding the mechanical bull at Billy Bob's although the bus had more moves and you had to hold on tighter to avoid being thrown off your seat.
Immediately on crossing the border, the poor people of the country are highly visible. All our luggage was hand pushed accross the border in a wooden cart by a man. There were wooden carts everywhere pushed by manpower. Trucks were seriously overloaded with recycled metal or handwoven baskets. Eventually we got to our hotel the Angkor Hotel which is beautiful with hand carved wood everywhere, a wonderful dining hall, and a pool. We spent Wednesday touring ruins, eating fantastic Cambodian food, and seeing a show about the history of Cambodia in song and dance. On Thursday we went by van to take a boat on the 100 mile long Tonle Sap lake. This is the lake that connects with the Mekong River. You can go on this lake to Phenom Phen. There are floating villages on the lake. 70% of the people who live on the lake are Vietnamese. One interesting sight among many was a small girl on a boat with her mother. The girl who was about 3 years old had her baby doll and she had a large live snake around her neck. At one point some small child about five years old jumped off a passing boat onto our boat to sell us water, beer, or soda.

We arrived Tuesday and left Thursday to return to Jomtiem Beach, Pattaya, Thailand.

Note: there have now been over 10,000 visitors from 77 countries to this blog. Thank-you for visiting and telling friends.

December 05, 2007

Mark and Mom are in Thailand - Mark's mom left Austin, Texas on Sunday December 2. When she and friend Suzie arrived at the airport at 5:20 am, there was a long line and after an hour in line, mom learned that the plane was delayed four hours and this meant no connections could be made and she was told to go home and come back the next day. It was tempting to go home, but reservations had been made and plans were to leave Bangkok for the beach town of Pattaya on Tueday at noon to attend the birthday party of Mr. George Richardson Tuesday evening. Bangkok is half way around the world from Austin and there is 12 hours difference in time. Bangkok is 12 hours ahead of Austin. Mom and Suzie started to go home, then Mom tried calling the 800 number of the airlines and got an agent to schedule 4 flights with two tight connections (1 hour for one and 41 minutes the other). Back in the line for another hour to get the boarding passes. Mom made the first tight connection in Denver, but not the second one in San Francisco. Missed it by 5 minutes as the plane was 30 minutes late due to de-icing the wings in Denver. Back in line for another hour with a patient lady agent who tried all kinds of things to get mom to Bangkok including going to Korea first, but finally a simple solution; another flight to LA, a bus to international and out at 10:30 pm on Monday on Thai airlines. So five flight legs and mom finally made it to Bangkok at 6:30 am Tuesday with only one bag missing.

Mark and Jin met mom at the airport and headed to the house close to Soi 76 and Sukhumvit,the one where the large python climbs over the wall and slithers through the yard where we will later play croquet. An hour after we arrived at the house and Mark and Mom had gone to the Bank of Bangkok on motorcycle taxi's and back, we packed, ate lunch, and waited for Jerry to come in the van from where he was staying down by soi 23. By noon we were headed for Jomtien Beach Pattaya. We stopped at the tiger zoo on the way down. We checked into Angel's guest house in Jomtien Beach. By 7 we were at a birthday party for Mr. George Richardson our host at the guest house.

George's birthday party Tuesday- In the afternoon we were at the site of the birthday party watching the preparations. A truck drove up with big chunks of ice and two men started with saws and chisels working on the ice. Later we saw the finished products which was two swan ice sculptures. Happy birthday signs were hung along with many ballons. There were many floral displays with orchids and roses and mums and fruit. In the evening at the party there was kareoke, dancing, and many different dishes and drinks served. George was very happy and so was his wife Angel who threw the party for him.

The King's Birthday December 5- The left over food last night went to the poor or somewhere. Tonight Angel cooked a bar-b-que with all fresh dishes including whole fish in foil, huge shrimp on the grill, bar-b-que chicken, stir fry vegetables, soups and much more. Angel has a heart of gold or Jai Dee which means good heart in Thai.

We took a trip down the coast through costal villages and toured a Botanical Garden. We also went to what we call a temple but would technically be called a Wat It's name is Anek Kusala Sala (Viharasien).

Mr. George took us to a Budhist temple overlooking the bay of Pattaya. Near the temple on a hill above the city there is like a small park with a large statue of the son of Rama Five. This son was sent from Thailand to Dartmouth Sailing School. He returned and took charge of the Thai Navy turning it into one of the best in Asia. People who sail bring small replicas of boats here and have a blessing for their boat. Part of this ceremony is to shoot off firecrackers. There is a sign banning all fireworks except firecrackers.

Friday December 7 - Today is a lazy day. This morning early our hostess Angel went to the beach one block away and bought fresh fish, shrimp, and crabs out of boats that had come in from fishing. We took our daily walk along the beach and our other activities have been to drink iced tea, eat wonderful homemade light chicken soup, and nap.

"The happiest people are those who have harvested their time in others. The unhappiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy."~John C. Maxwell, Entrepreneur, Author and Leadership expert

November 22, 2007

Miss Betty the Mom is headed to Bangkok Dec. 2 on air miles earned in the past two years - Lots to do before leaving -James had knee surgery today and he is doing fine. The nurse gave him written instructions which said he had to have a responsible adult with him at all times for 24 hours after surgery. The mental health center where mom works canceled all therapy groups for the day as mom was the only nurse and therapist scheduled today. James rates his pain at a 0.01 this morning.

Thanksgiving 2007 - Mark had Thanksgiving in Bangkok 12 hours ahead of us in Austin Texas. Mark's sister Stephanie was in her home which is a restored school house in a village called Downham Market in England. She cooked and served turkey and trimmings to fellow DODs people and other friends six hours ahead of us. We spent Thanksgiving in New Braunfels Texas with James' brother and sister-in-law, family and friends and were extremely thankful to be able to enjoy this fellowship and food as there are people are special to us who are spending the holiday in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital or preparing to go into the hospital and there are people crossing our paths who have almost nothing in a material way.

A friend Richard fell somehow and ended up in Intensive Care and his wife Betty is at his side as much as she is allowed.

Thomas, young son of Mom's former editor at Austin Family Magazine Lisa Molina and her husband Gary, went five years without a sign of his leukemia and just before Thanksgiving his parents learned his leukemia is back and he goes into the hospital again and may need bone marrow transplant. Even though Thomas and Mark are both battling cancer, albeit different types of cancer, I am so thankful they are with us and still in the fight.

Mom was touched this week by a man who had lost nearly everything he had and had no food in his house and no money. Some sources of help were found for him and he has a glimmer of hope to keep him going. Had no help been found, that Thanksgiving dinner might have been hard to enjoy.

Let's not think about what we don't have, but what real treasures we have in our lives.

November 18, 2007

Large python comes over the fence of the compound in Bangkok - Mark sent an e-mail saying "the people next door woke me up early because they saw a python coming over our wall into our yard. They said it was 10-12 inches around and about 20ft long. We think it was headed to our other neighbor's house to try to eat a chicken or a goat. I asked them if they have seen snakes around before and they said " O yes, usually cobras" I will try to attatch a picture of me in front of the house. It is on about 100 st. or about 80 blocks from where we used to live at sukhumvit and Asoke (21st). Also found a new all you can eat bar-b-q place. Very clean with big shrimp for 79 b (about $3) all u can eat. Feeling pretty good, sleeping alot and just hanging around the house mostly. I am looking everywhere for dill pickles, no luck. do they have a powder or something you mix with vinegar to make your own? I will look on the internet for a recipe. I have to take a motercycle taxi to the mall to use the internet, but it is cheap. 10baht for the taxi and 10baht for 30min internet. OK enough for now miss u and hope to see u soon love Mark "
I will try to get Mark to get a picture of the python or at least the chickens and the goats next door.
8471 visitors to the blog as of today. Heading for 10,000 by Mark's birthday in April.
Cancer keeps us prisoners Lisa and Gary Molina's child Thomas was thought to have his leukemia under control after 5 years of no sign of it; however it is back. He heads to the hospital this Friday for further evaluation. If you like, you can send money or food to help out. I will give you a contat person
Mom is headed to Bangkok on Dec.2 using airmiles economy seat so mom could be sitting in the middle of a big row of non English speaking people doing self-flagellation. During most of one unforgettable trip some nervous looking Asian lady was beating herself harshly about the legs and arms. Not sure if it was to toughen herself or to keep herself awake or what....maybe some ritual.

November 05, 2007

After a year in Texas, Mark returned safely to Bangkok. "Why is Mark back in Bangkok?" people ask. The answer is complex and yet perhaps simple too. Mark feels safe, comfortable, and relaxed in Thailand. I am searching for another word to describe his feeling there which he has described for me. Perhaps the word is respected. People in Thailand are wonderfully respectful. In the states people grill Mark (or mom) with question after question usually beginning with "Why didn't you do this" or "Why don't you do something else" or a "You should or you shouldn't" do something. The Thai person is not aggressive or invasive, tending to respect other people's decisions for themselves. Mark's plan is to eat chicken soup for breakfast, walk on the beach and meditate daily. Mark is off on another adventure and this is the first news about that stay. Mark is living right now in the guest cottage of a lovely home in Bangkok and he claims his work is to mow the grass periodically. He has access to a cook and driver and is pretty much the only non Thai in the neighborhood. The plan is to go to the beach in a few days and return to Bangkok to meet with friend Jerry Barrett who is leaving Austin on Nov. 20 for Bangkok. Taxi cost from the city to the beach is about 30-35 dollars and it is about a 90 minute ride. More if you stop off at the Tiger Zoo on the way (see earlier blog on the tiger zoo in Thailand). The bus is just as comfortable and is 170 baht, about 4 dollars. Click on any picture to enlarge it.
Cancer Research you don't hear about: Role of enzyme IDO. There is a report of some interesting research findings written up in Today: The magazine of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) Fall 07. Recent research has found that tumors escape detection by the immune system by use of IDO which is an enzyme also used by fetuses to avoid rejection. The tumor first recruits IDO which then activates a protective barrier of regulatory T cells referred to as Tregs and Tregs may recruit more IDO. According to the article, "The food and Drug Administration has approved early clinical trials of the IDO inhibitor 1M1 in coming months. The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute will begin phase 1 trials of 1M1 in patients with lung and other tumors while MCG is seeking approval for trials using 1M1 and chemo for breast cancer patients.
Another Cancer Research Report : Today many women with breast cancer called ductal cancer in situ are faced with decision to have total mastectomy or a lumpectomy and just wait and watch carefully. Scientist in a pilot study reported by Carolyn Colwell, looked at a collection of biomarkers including molecules p 16 and Ki 67 interacting to precdict invasive vs non invasive breast tumors. Only about 12-15 % of women diagnosed with ductal cancer in situ have tumors that will go on to be invasive.
Summary for first time visitors to the blog: If you logged on for the first time, here is a summary of events: Amost three years ago, Mark was working on Saipan and was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Gven three months to live, he decided to go to Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok while he had the strength to get there. You can read the early blogs about his care and experiences (see archives to click in the right hand column) in the two years he was in Bangkok. After two years, we had spent a small fortune on care as Mark had no insurance since Saipan does not cobra insurance. Mark came back to the states to get care at the Veterans Administration in Houston, Texas and give us a break from paying cash for cancer care. Recently the VA doctor said that although he still had tumors in both lobes of his liver, the tumors were not larger comparing the last two CAT scans so they did not want to do any more chemo. Does he need chemo or not? If he goes to see his doctor in Thailand the answer will probably be yes, while at the VA it is no. Chemotherapy is very hard on a person and it is costly even if it is cheaper in Thailand, so Mark has faced and continues to face very hard decisions.
8403 people have viewed the blog since we put a counter on it. We were up to 72 countries when a few days ago someone from Bangledesh signed on and lit up the Bangledesh flag for the first time. We now have 73 country flags lit up. Send the blog link to people who have not seen it and to friends in other countries...Let's make the 10,000 mark on visitors by Mark's birthday in April.

October 27, 2007

Mark loves the big U of Texas drum

Mark and Mom went to the football game today to see the University of Texas play Nebraska and the weather was great unlike the last time we went (read about it below). The game was exciting and the score was close., but our team came from behind and won 28-26. Before the game, Mark was feeling tired and begged Mom to get someone else to go with her, but he finally gave in and went. He had a great time teaching Mom the fine points of football and quizzing her on football. In addition, Mark fell in love with a young lady who sat behind us. She was a beautiful little toddler. He also had his picture taken with some other pretty young

Mark cut his finger on the railing going down the steps at the stadium. It was a deep cut and it bled all over. He ended up having the EMTs treat it. Thanks Tom Riley and Zach Bevis for taking care of Mark's injury.
After the game there was a party at Jerry and Christine's house. They are the friends who are directing and producing the film that all of us had a part in. Mark was too tired to go to the party, but Mom went and friend Barry took Pinetop Perkins, the blues man who is in his 90's and who played with the Muddy Waters Band in the past. After Jerry's party Mark and Mom went home, but Pinetop and Barry were headed for another party and then downtown to a place where Pinetop sometimes plays and sings. Maybe when Mark and I get to be over 90 we can stay up later.
Addendum on Sunday October 28th. Yesterday's activities wore Mark out. When I got up at 7, Mark was standing up asleep leaned over the kitchen counter and said he must have been there about 3 hours. He is now asleep on the sofa; he was too exhausted to walk to bed.
On the 2nd of November Mark headed out Bangkok on his air miles and will stay awhile on the beach and will be perfecting his meditation. Mom and James left the airport shortly after Mark and headed out for Washington DC to meet Mark's sister, Stephanie. Stephanie got her trip to DC for being a teacher of the we are all over the world for very little money as Mark is on air miles and Steph traveling compliments of her school district and we are on a Northwest coupon reduced fare.
November 3 We are praying Mark made it to Bangkok alright. We are now in Washington DC but we have no idea if Mark made it to Bangkok or not. It is sarey to us to send him off knowing that he vascilates from looking healthier than the rest of us to looking and being very sick. We will post the news when we learn that he arrived in Thailand ok.
8261 People have looked at the blog. See the blog counter somewhere down the right hand column. Also see the country maps telling where readers came from. Do you know anyone who has not seen the blog? Give them the link of ; I hand it out to everyone I know, and most people I don't know.

Check this link for information about some research involving bubbles carrying drugs to fight cancer in mice

October 16, 2007

October 18: Mark is home. Came in last night and looked good after his trip. He said that when he got off the plane in Austin it was the first time he had been warm in a week. He reported that he and Allen went to over twenty state parks in California. They also went over Donner Pass and saw a lot of snow.
Cancer Treatment Update: Amazing story about some woman cured of bile duct and liver cancer by a surgeon. Sounds too good to be true but maybe it is true. Check out the video at this link Mom also read about some liver cancer research which her fuzzy mind recalls was at the University of Utah. It involved sending bubbles of medicine though the body to the cancer site and popping the bubbles with radiation. That is a simplistic explanation. We've learned a lot about cancer treatment since these adventures began; just a couple years ago Cyberknife surgery was new to us and recently we saw an advertisement for it on a DC metro train.
Picture of Mark's sister, Stephanie, while we wait for Mark's pictures of the Elk in Sinkyone Wilderness (some people would probably rather see Stephanie and some would rather see the Elk so where are those Elk pictures, Mark?)
Stephanie is in England working in her new job with plans to move into her house there soon- she's looking forward to enjoying life in the village she has decided to move to. The photo is in honor of her selection as Japan District Teacher of the Year, and she'll be in Washington DC on November 2 for conferences. and so will Mom. Mark, James and Mom head for the airport very early on the 2nd. Mark goes out for Bangkok
Today is the day Mark and Stephanie's dad died 18 years ago; in honor, we'd ask that you tell someone today that you love them.

Continued Tales of Mark's Adventures with pictures to come

Mark called last night at midnight to report he is doing fine on his trip with friend Alan and Allan's dog, Bully. Continuing from the trip log below, the expedition stayed a night in the town of Fort Bragg planing to go out tuna fishing. there were not enough people interested in tuna fishing so the trip was cancelled. It was too cold to go diving for abalone. The fellows headed on for the Sinkyone Wilderness Area and camped out. Mark said Elk were everywhere and he took lots of pictures. Next they went through Mendacino and camped south of there. Monday (yesterday) was Alan's birthday so they left the motorhome quarters and stayed in a condo in the middle of wine country. Mark was tired so Alan had his birthday supper by himself and let Mark sleep, but as Mark says it was ok since they have been celebrating Alan's birthday all week. Today the guys will be in Bodega Bay and will cruise on back, stay at a casino hotel one night and Mark will fly back home on Wednesday to rest and plan the next adventure .
8134 people have visited the blog since Stephanie put the counter on and they come from 72 countries now.

October 12, 2007

Link to the greatest lecture by the professor given three months to live? Scan down two more blogs.

Survive Cancer Your Way: Mine Suits Me Just Fine -
Ruth Penneybaker wrote this article which appeared in the Austin American Statesman Oct. 14, 07 Section G Insight page 3) Ruth describes the strong opinions people had about how she should handle herself and how she should fight cancer and even about being stalked by someone who thought she was "not perky enough to fight cancer. " Eventually she could say: "You know what, I no longer give a damn what they say." Another quote: No mater what 'they say', It's your disease, your life, your choice.

In contrast to the American tendency to offer opinions, advice, and what may seem like criticism about the way one is handling cancer treatment and life with cancer, Mark found when he was in Thailand for two years for cancer treatment, the Thai people were very gentle and respectful in what they said and did. Most of the time they seem to assume you know what is best for you.

Mark is right now in a motor home with friend Allen and a dog touring California.

What would you do if you had terminal cancer and had outlived your prognosis of three months to live by two and a half years, and were awake most of the night with severe pain and certain you would die before the morning?

Some of us might take a lot more pain medication, sleep night and day to blank out as much of the pain as possible, seek medical attention and stay in bed preparing to die. Not our Mark. After reassurance from Mom that he would not die before morning and the minimal effective pain management, he got some sleep and prepared for a flight to Reno, Nevada. Mom dropped him off at the Austin, Texas airport at 7 am for his 7:55 flight. Yes he was cutting it close but he made his flight.

Last night Mark called to report that he had lunch in Reno then went to Portolo California where he and Allen cleaned Alan's motor home, gassed it up, aired the tires, loaded up Allen's dog and hit the road through the American Valley in the middle of California, going by the Feather River and the smallest mountain range in the world (Sutter Butte) headed to Clear Lake where they will camp for the night and get in some fishing tomorrow and be in the Red Woods. Their eventual goal is a part of the California Coast and a state park that Mark has fond memories of and wants to see again. Mark sounded so happy on the phone. He is e-mailing pictures for the blog soon.

7992 people have visited the blog from 68 countries. Scroll down on the right hand side to see our counters and flag board.

October 05, 2007

For the Greatest Lecture ever given. Last lecture of a Prof. given 3 months to live - scroll down.

Picture on right: Mark and Mom on football day
University of Texas vs Kansas State

Update on Mark - On Sat. (9-29) Mark and Mom were given tickets to the University of Texas football game by generous neighbors, Laurie and Ben and what a time we had. It was great fun, but a test of our survival skills. The sun was very hot, then it rained at half time and soaked us. There were long lines for food and drink. In the second half the sun came out, then our team lost, and we got soaked by heavy rain on the way to the car.We had fun reminiscing about our lives when we lived close to the University and were students. A famous band called the Butt Hole Surfers practiced in a house across the street. Some of the neighbors looked like they were out of the film "Slackers" which is a film about hippies and other characters in Austin in the '90s and others were characters in their own right.
We paid ten dollars to the Rotary Club (and glad to do it) to park during the game just a half a block from where we used to live .

Our seats were wonderful, They had backs and were 10 rows up from the playing field. The cost of tickets has escalated incredibly and the crowd has changed since the 1980's when Mark, his sister Stephanie and Mom were all students in college at the same time ( Mark and Mom graduated in Dec. 85 and Steph in Spring of 86) . We lived close to the football stadium and every student could afford to go to the game and could get tickets. Poor people could go to the grocery store and get an end zone ticket for $6. Not anymore. Sports is big business. Our newspaper is full of information on how much money football at UT brings in, what they spend it on, and how unlike some other big schools, so far UT has not contributed any of it to the education side of the university.

Mark has been in bed resting through the nights and much of the day since we returned from the football game. Mom has not had to stay up at night in philosophical discussions with Mark this week. Yesterday (Thurs) he said: I am better now and on the right path. His thinking is positive and he is watching what he eats and drinks and does. Maybe football helped him get on the right path?


September 24, 2007

If you could leave just one speech behind when you are gone, what would you want your everlasting words to be? Mark's sister, Stephanie, called us about a news piece she had seen on ABC Nightly News over the weekend. Randy Pausch, a professor who recently was given a "3 months to live" prognosis, delivered his "lecture of a lifetime" and ABC News has posted it to their website (click here to go to the page with the video). I watched it with Mark and we both felt that it is absolutely wonderful - Dr. Pausch delivers the lecture with humor and provides some powerful life lessons for all of us. Stephanie and I both left the link to this blog on the ABC website, and we hope you are passing it along, as well. Click on "comments" below this entry to leave your "last lessons" with us... or just to say hello.
Your thoughts and prayers did it again -Dr Eppner at the VA told Mark that his CAT SCAN was no worse than the last one and Chemo right now would be a mistake in his opinion. Mark had awakened me off and on for several nights basically worrying about what the doctor would say today. Last night he awoke me to talk him down which I did until he fell asleep. Once again we learn that Worry is almost as bad an enemy as cancer. Mark did a little irish jig like dance in the VA parking lot in joy over his good news. He has been told that only a small percentage of people with his diagnosis make it 5 years. He wants badly to be in that percentage in spite of pain and frequent total bottoming out on energy. The good moments and fun with friends and family are enough to sustain him.
7818 people from 67 countries have visited the blog. You are counted only the first time you visit so this is 7818 individuals. You are logged onto the map and shown each time you visit on the daily log. You can click on the map with yellow dots indicating where visitors have come from. After a scan you can click at the top under visitors in the last 24 hours and you will see the location of visitors. Last night we showed visitors from Trinidad and Tabago, the Netherlands, Japan, England and other places in Europe, Quatar, and various places in the USA. This morning some of those went off as their 24 hours were up and on came Serbia, Northern Marianas Islands and other places.

September 18, 2007

Mark and his friend Alan who lives and works in Reno-Tahoe area
Kiril (star of Gun 4 Hire), his friend Ginger, and film director Jerry Barett (right)

Mark makes the most of the energy he has in spite of cancer:

Mark's friend Alan has been visiting Mark. He and Mark worked together as respiratory therapists in Reno. They shared many adventures such as frequent skiing and fishing trips in the Reno-Tahoe-California area along with other guys they worked with. Alan came to visit on Saturday. Our friend Jerry who is directing a film wrote in a part for Alan. The scene was shot at night. Alan walks by the hit man, they pass in front of a lamp. It is only a matter of time until Mark and Alan are discovered by Hollywood. Mark got tired during the filming since Alan's part was filmed several times from different camera perspectivies. We looked for Mark and he was asleep in the flowerbed.

7517 People from 66 countries have logged onto the blog - New flag - Bahamas When asked to get the word out about the blog, nephew Ronnie's wife Judy sent the link to a fellow who gave or sold them their dog. Have you given the link out? Put your story in the comments and I will pick the best ones to put in the blog itself.

Four Hollywood hopefuls out filming at night: Alan, Mark, Barry Nowlin, and Kiril

Thursday Sept 19 Alan is back in Reno at work. James is in New Braunfels a few days while his brother, Billy is in Methodist Hospital in San Antonio recovering from surgery on his cervical vertebrae. James' main task is to drive his brother and sister-in-law's grandson to school and pick him up and watch him. Mark and I are "batching it." Yesterday I worked at the mental health center from 9 am to 8 pm with an hour off from 4:30 to 5:30 to run home to check on things. Mark has been tired and complaining of no energy and is in more pain without anything much to focus on right now. After another busy day beginning at 4 am this morning I went grocery shopping at 9 pm. I had a strange urge to lie down in the grocery aisle and take a nap, but instead I came home with the groceries to watch a science fiction movie with Mark and make some stew.

Friday Sept 20 Previous footage of the night poker game for the film Gun 4 Hire shot at our house had to be reshot for various reasons. All the original cast of guys made it except for Arturo who was coming from the night ball game he was playing in and got involved in an accident on IH 35. This was the third actual reshooting and the fourth or so reschedule of it. Hopefully Arturo is ok and maybe Jerry can find a spot for him in the few scenes left to shoot.

Saturday September 21 We head to Houston tomorrow. Mark gets a CBC and hears the results of his CAT scan on Monday at the VA in Houston. Mark is up at 1 am in pain, but going back to bed to pray, meditate, and eat some red licorice.

September 09, 2007

Mark and James visit the museum at Washington on the Brazos - Birthplace of Texas

Update section: Mark went to the movies with friend Bruce. They both enjoyed it. Mark returned home drained of energy, no color, sat on the sofa not moving, no expression, but he can't give up his small outings. Seeing friends, having an adventure, reading the blog and seeing that people have visited the blog are the glue that holds Mark together. When he has a good day, Mark says it is because people have prayed for him, visited him, or visited the blog. or are thinking of him. You are part of the glue holding him together. Last night Friday the 14th he went for a snack with friends Dave and Frank. He reported that a girl at Walgreens gave him the eye and that excited him and reved his engine. He was so happy that he can still be attractive to the opposite gender even though he has cancer. Tonight (sat. the 15th) his friend Allen comes from Reno for a visit.

Mark's Lucky Day -On Saturday (9-8-07) we left Austin for Houston. We arrived in Houston at the Veteran's Administration Hospital at 12:30 pm the exact minute we were due for Mark to drink the liquid 2 hours before the actual CAT Scan. We got an early check-in at the motel. Mark got a rest and was back for the CAT scan at 2:30 pm. The CAT scan technician called Mark within minutes and got into a vein with one stick which is very unusual; this was a vein Mark says he had not seen for years. He thinks all his recent days of pumping iron have helped strengthen his veins. We were told that last Sat. there was a five hour wait for a CAT Scan due to vets with head injuries coming into the emergency room. We were lucky that Mark got a CAT Scan this week instead of last week. Mark found two lucky pennies. He also believes that all of you were thinking of him and praying for him and that is why he had a lucky day.

Mark catches another armadillo or it catches him.

The only unlucky event was a trip to Goode and Co. Bar-b-que. The place was packed which means lots of people in Houston love this bar-b-que, but the ribs and brisket were terrible: no where near as good as Artz or the Iron Works or Rudy's in Austin. The bar-b-que sauce was like marinara sauce and the meat was tough. The only good thing was that there was a giant armadillo at Goode and Co. (See earlier blog with picture and story about Mark catching an armadillo.)

Sunday we headed back to Austin, driving a few extra miles to Washington on the Brazos State Park which has an excellent Texas history museum with amazing artifacts. Washington on the Brazos is the birthplace of Texas.

Bicyclist line the street in Chappel Hill (click to enlarge picture)
On the way to Washington on the Brazos, we saw what seemed like thousands of bicyclists at Chappel Hill, a beautiful little historic town. All over the countryside as well as in town, we saw bicyclists.

Will wonders never cease? When we got home, we saw someone from the small town of Chandlerville, Illinois, close to the Sangamon River, had been on the blog. Years ago we had a cabin on a bay off the river here. We had fun with kayaks and a home-made raft from styrofoam and wood and a five horse motor. My great-great grandfather and his descendants farmed here. My great Uncle managed a duck club near here that Al Capone frequented. My mother's first cousin was pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church near here for over fifty years. How exciting to find that someone from Chandlerville was on the blog...we don't know who it was. So far 7329 people from 65 countries have visited the blog.Mark thanks you for visiting his blog.

August 31, 2007

Headed for Houston on Sat. Sept. 8 for Cat scan. Mark depressed for two days thinking about possible neg. results, slept around the clock and was getting depressed and dehydrated, but he snapped out of it today and is eating and drinking normally and up watching TV.

Mark's new glasses came in the mail and he is using the computer and reading again.
Mark is using his glasses mostly to see far away.. He is also having problems with his hearing which he blames on chemotherapy and radiation. He describes a tinnitus or ringing in the ears along with a super sensitivity to sound. Sound is greatly intensified for him. Have you or anyone you know with cancer experienced similar symptoms? (addendum: see the comment left by Ann who says she has the same symptoms which she believes are from taking Neurontin. She describes having a sound like crickets in her ears and some other interesting effects. Check the comments section)

We got a rental car ,a small Ford, because some thieves tried to steal our 97 Honda in the night in front of our house. They damaged the paint around the keyhole, popped the window out a ways on the driver's side and somehow managed to get into the locked car. They tried to hot wire it but were unsuccessful. Next they tore up the ignition then the steering column and finally left the car inoperable. It would not start so it had to be towed to the fix it shop. Mark took the rental car for a short errand and reported to James that its top end speed was 114 and he had spun it around and stopped on a dime and James believed him. I think Mark was trying to get a rise out of James. We live in a nice neighborhood but this is our third auto break-in right in front of our house. We may have to take to sleeping in the car to catch these varmints.

Mark has alternative transportation. In this picture he is going downhill at a pretty good speed.

Our work helping produce a movie and Mark playing a role is about over...Funny about someone trying to steal the car in light of Mark's sister, mom, and step-dads role in the film. We are filmed walking into the Taco Cabana restaurant while the hit man steals our 97 Honda from the parking lot. We had already filmed our car being stolen and only days later someone does try to steal it in real life. (addendum: James somehow got the rental car keys locked in the rental car with it running on Labor Day - had to have an emergency locksmith come.)

Mark has me up again tonight. He could not sleep and was waxing philosophical about his limited days and how he wanted to spend them, needing to do more volunteer work, and concerned his brain is not working well: he said he was not sure whether to blame it entirely on chemotherapy and radiation or the devil getting a hold of his mind and needing to go to church more. Mark has learned how to meditate better, so he meditated and went back to bed and guess who is still up.

Keep checking the blog and asking others to check it. We have a new flag lit up.
A visitor from Romania signed on. To date over 7200 people from 65 countries have visited the blog. We are shooting for 10,000 visitors.
check blogs in the archives on the right hand column to read about Mark's work in Saipan and his treatment in Bangkok.

August 21, 2007

Mark lifting weights to get in shape for chemo -Cat scan scheduled Sept 8 . August 29 Mark saw Harry Potter at the I-Max Theater and loved it.

Mark's thought for the day: "Chemo
therapy has made me a new man; a very poor one."

Managing pain and staying sharp is a balancing act. Mark cut back on his pain medicine so he can have the energy and be alert to do some things he wants to do and this means tolerating more pain. Mark was up and down all night tonight with liver pain and chest pain. He would watch TV a few minutes, try to read a few minutes, try to sleep in his bed for a few minutes, back downstairs and TV again. Mom stayed up with him and baked some banana-apricot-nut bread. Finally at 5:30 am Mark is back in bed and it looks like he might actually sleep this time. Those of you with cancer or taking care of people with cancer can probably identify with what Mark is experiencing. I met our neighbor "Bunny" out walking (Bunny is the brother of the famous Mr. Rooster Andrews) Bunny tells me that his wife has lung cancer and she talks about spurts of energy. Exhausted for some time and then spurts of energy.

The first time I encountered the up and down energy spurts and losses was one evening when I went to take my friend Audrey to her first cancer support group meeting. Her house was dark and she was lying in bed. She wanted to go. She got up and walked very slowly to the car, then said I just can't do this All the energy she had experienced when setting up her ride to the meeting was gone. She turned around and went back to bed.

Mark is thinking of taking some volunteer training this week end. He would be helping people learn how to work as volunteers with people who have cancer. Part of the work is around spirituality

Mark's long time friend Frank Sicuro (at the head of the table) plays the role of lawyer to the gang. Mark in right lower corner . Click on picture to enlarge it.

Mark and Mom are helping a producer friend shoot a movie here in Austin. Mark's movie scenes were finished...but then the producer decided Mark could have a couple more scenes. He is excited about this.

Mark's sister has arrived in England and has begun her new job. She is living temporarily on base in a room that requires walking up three flights of stairs. She was just in Austin a few days ago for an all too short but wonderful stay of six days. Her visit really perked Mark up. Stephanie and Mom took Mark to Houston to the VA and now he waits for an appointment for a CAT scan before he can get chemo again. Mark wants chemo. He worries that his tumors have grown. Mom reminds him that he has worried before and then the scan has shown the tumors shrinking. Worry does not help. In Houston Stephanie stopped by E-Z Optical to order contacts. She shows up there every year or two and the staff always remember her. Mark claimed he was too tired to go in and look at glasses. When Mom started taking 6 and 8 pair of frames at a time out to the car for Mark to look at, he gave up and went in and picked out a new pair of glasses.

Stephanie's birthday celebrated three weeks early

While Stephanie was in Austin, she, Mark, and Mom dressed up and went out to a nice place to eat to celebrate Stephanie's upcoming birthday (Sept. 1). She picked out Jeans and a shirt for Mark without knowing his size and they fit perfectly. Stephanie was in a scene for the movie while she was home.

Two new flags on the blog. Someone from Latvia and someone from Denmark have checked the blog. I think that is 64 countries; people from 64 countries have logged on. See below for a list of the countries.

August 08, 2007

Sylvester Becker, the German Cowboy is ready to shoot a scene for the film Gun 4 Hire produced by Jerry Barrett (in orange shirt).

Mark got out of bed after 38 hours in bed feeling ill and no energy, eating nothing and drinking little, pulled himself together in about 6 hours and did two scenes in two locations for a 100 minute film which is now in the process of being shot in Austin and San Antonio . Mom and James made sure Mark was driven to the shoots, drank lots of cold water, and rested between shoots. Mark took Mom and James to eat at Cain and Ables, a University of Texas area student hangout that has delicious hamburgers and homemade potato chips. It was hard for Mark to hold up but he did it. He is now reading again. He is reading a book called "Latitudes." Reading is a sign he is feeling better.

The young man in the foreground plays the hit man. Mark, second from left will shoot the hit man (Kiril kane who came in from New York for the film) on this bridge. Later Mark plays a dying scene after being shot. The poker scenes for the film will be shot this Friday at our house. Stephanie comes from Japan on Friday and will be in a scene where the family car gets stolen by the hit man at the Tacco Cabana. A big scene needing lots of good looking folks will be on September 2 in a club downtown.

Before the poker scene is filmed, Mark teaches his friend Bruce to play poker as Bruce is the boss of the poker game and he does not know how to play or maybe he does after some lessons from Mark.
Our neighbor Laurie says; "I love living next to you because something interesting and exciting is always happening." The feeling is mutual.
Note: Addendum The poker scenes became a rehersal and will be shot for real on the 17th. The police line up scenes will be toward the end of the month. The night club scenes will be September 2nd and we need a crowd outside and a fair number of people inside. Let me know if you would like to be part of this film.

July 29, 2007

Mark Smoked a brisket for 10 hours and it was excellent.
Some days Mark has no appetite and has trouble eating. He often does well when cooking for other people which leads to eating more himself.

"Self-Selective Diet Theory of Gaining Weight in Cancer Stuffed Feeling Syndrome"
Mark has often used the word "stuffed"after eating one bite of food. In non appetitie periods he eats more when he eats what he wants no matter what other people think he should eat,however sometimes the small bite of this and that works well for him.
Note: Cancer stuffed syndrome: a phrase coined by the author of this blog. Mark thinks mom should come up with a more technical term for this experience but the idea is that people use the words: "I'm stuffed."

Jim, a physicist, friend from Sunday School , described having this stuffed feeling when he was battling cancer and going through chemotherapy. He started me thinking about food strategies for the person with cancer who is not eating enough to maintain or gain weight. He said "Everything to eat in the restaurant or at home looked good to me, but after one bite, I felt stuffed." He went on to say that he discovered if he ate one small bite of a food then of another food and kept on with the small solitary bites of each food available, that he could collectively get enough food down during the day.

Let me know if you or someone you care for has experienced with this stuffed feeling in battling cancer and how you dealt with it. Not every one with Cancer and chemo or radiation experiences this problem.

People from 61 countries have now visited the blog with Paraguay and Egypt being the latest. See below for list of other countries and see flag board on right to see the flags of countries people have signed on from. Keep telling friends, family, and strangers about the blog. Mark feels that people care about him when he sees the numbers on the blog going up.

July 20, 2007

Mark gives a lesson on chalking the sidewalk.

Marlin and his brother, Bryce, visited us this past week and helped to decorate the sidewalk with chalk. You will remember Marlin and Mark have been mentoring one another this summer. The day after their visit, Marlin's mom gave birth to a baby girl who is now named Monet (pronounced like the name of the French Renaissance painter ).

If you are new to this blog - The cast of characters are ordinary people leading extraordinary lives due to Mark's cancer, his quest for treatment, attempts to live life as fully as he can, and his love of adventure which is often "catching." We search for adventures that are easy on the pocketbook and energy; adventures that keep us enjoying our town Austin, Texas and the world. We look for opportunities to do good deeds, meet new people and things to put a smile on our face and yours. Thanks for dropping in and don't hesitate to contact us and tell us who you are.

People from 59 countries have visited the blog - The newest country to log on is Viet Nam. See flags of countries of visitors in the right hand column.

July 13, 2007

Music at the Texas State History Museum every Friday in July: Picture Taken July 13 by Betty Richardson
Mark and some of Mom's friends

Mark served wine, soft drinks, gormet cheese, etc. to 20 of Mom's friends, some who have known Mark for years and some who have tasted his gormet cooking in the past. Mark is the cook you want cooking for you. Memorable meals come to mind like those he cooked when we sailed in the San Juan Islands and had fresh seafood; oysters we harvested and fresh crabs we trapped (see early bologs in archives found in the right column). Even sick he adds an extra punch to the party food offerings. While Mom prepared some finger sandwiches and James prepared nachos, Mark served guests cheeses from - a Malagon with Rosemary, a second cheese with mustard and ale and a fig/nut cake all produced in Spain; cheeses he ordered on line. A party really perks Mark up.

The Flying Balalaika Brothers Band from Russia played on the plaza in front of the Texas State History Museum. There is free music every friday night in July at the museum and that is where you may find Mark and James, and Mom. Some young fans (see picture)enjoyed the music. On July 20 Stingers ATX play and on July 27 it will be Ghandaia. Music Under the Stars also includes free admission to the special space exhibit and exhibits on the three floors of the museum.

Lady Bird Johnson laid in state at the LBJ Library on the University of Texas Campus. There were people coming and going but amazingly no line when we went about 8:00 pm. We managed to get into the library quickly. sign the remembrance book, and go upstairs to pay our respects and see the closed, draped coffin. Lady Bird's two daughters and their husbands stood to each side of the coffin. National and international dignitaries were in Austin for the services. Lady Bird's coffin was taken to the Johnson ranch cemetery. People lined up all along the route, even in rural highway sections, to see the cortege in passing.

June 29, 2007

Past Rotary District Governor Clift and the ladies do back-up for Elvis, Elvis Sighted Again Standing next to Mom, Pretty Ladies and Elvis, and Pinetop Perkins the Blues Great (Click on any picture to enlarge it)

Mark was too ill to go to the Rotary Installation of Officers at Ralph and Penny Dellana's home and wouldn't you know it, Pinetop Perkins was a surprise guest and played the piano and Elvis sang. Past District Governor of Rotary Clift Price and the ladies gave the crowd a thrill with their back-up dance for Elvis.

Mark missed it all but he is now feeling much better and hopes to catch the next exciting sighting of Elvis or Pinetop. Mark is now taking pictures of wildlife, birds, deer and whatever he can sight off the deck, in the greenbelt behind the house. Will publish some of those pictures soon. He is thinking of doing some nature paintings in oils. Our neighbor accross the street is an artist and has offered to help Mark.

People have logged onto the blog from 58 countries now. Do you know that if you mouse over a flag, on the flag board in the right hand column on the blog, the name of the country of that flag will appear. The same is true of the circles below the flag board. The latest flags of counties where people logged on from are Haiti, Nigeria, Nepal and Iraq. People have logged on from: Austria, Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, China, Cote D'Ivoire, Czech republic, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Hungary, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Guam, Haiti, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, India, Italy, Israel, Japan, So Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Madagascar,Morocco, Myanmar, Northern Marianas Islands, Mexico, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Singapore, El Salvador, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Serbia, and So. Africa.

Thanks for telling friends and family to visit the blog - Please pass the URL out to anyone and everyone! We are working on getting 10,000 hits on it Where else can you get such exciting news as well as updates on Mark?

June 18, 2007

Pictures: Mark on Saturday at a viewing of friend Jerry's new film, Mark, Jerry, Dave, and Dorie (click on any picture to enlarge it)

Mark was feeling ill on Saturday, but he took a handsome picture. It was taken after a spaghetti diner with an excellent wine brought by Jerry followed by a showing of Jerry's cultural film about the pouring of a concrete roof on the three story house he and his wife are building in Pharping, Nepal overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. check this link to read about the film : a must see for engineers, architects, anthropologists,nuclear physicists, and curious minded people

Dave and Dorie came to the second or third running of the film this same night and brought a pie party (five different pies). Today (Monday) Mark has gotten his Mojo back and has downloaded songs onto an MP3 Player sent by his sister to challenge our technological skills.

Kitten in the neighborhood. A kitten appeared and hung around our neighborhood meowing like it was looking for its mother. One whole morning the kitty watched James work then neighbor Keith came home and took it into his spare bedroom so it would not be a snack for coyotes. This kitten may be the reincarnation of his recently deceased cat. Keith got very attached to the kitten but he could not keep it because he is moving. Our other neighbor Laurie found the kitty a good home with her friend Meghan and her children. They gave the kitty a flea bath and found out it is a boy. Later I learned the kitty's new name: "Tank." because the cat's new family predicts he will be a really big cat when he grows up.

June 13, 2007

Steph (middle) and Houston teachers at the Great Wall of China.

Big News From Mark's Sister Stephanie Mom paid a dollar at the University Rotary Club of Austin meeting to share that Stephanie was named Department of Defense District Teacher of the Year. She has taught first year Japanese and Honors English at Kinnick High School on the Yokosuka Navy Base in Japan for several years. A couple of years ago, she selected a young student to work with. and created with him and other students, the successful school improvement program "CSIjuniors" which is now being duplicated in a number of DoDs schools. And as if District Teacher of the Year was not enough excitement.....
Today Stephanie called to say she has taken a new job Those of you who bet money she would never leave Japan, have lost your money. Stephanie will living and working about an hour from London. If I understood her correctly, she will be working on school improvement for England and three other countries (Belgim, Behrain, Netherlands) and will travel a good bit.

Stephanie started a love affair with Japan as a Rotary exchange student to Japan. She was sponsored by the Jacksonville, Ilinois Rotary Club. Stephanie continued this love affair with Japan later as a participant in the Japanese Embassy Teacher (JET) program, then with the Department of Defense.

A Little Chuckle

Stephanie is a little concerned about my mother's antique and rare furniture making another sea voyage. although the Japanese will pack it for shipping far better than the bizarre crew who came in Houston to pack it up for the sea voyage to Japan. We had a good laugh when we stopped to think about the fact that this furniture has seen far more of the world than mother. My mother had agoraphobia and in her later years refused to leave her house except to see doctors or go to the hospital. In her younger years a big trip for her was the annual trip to the Ozarks in Missouri to go fishing with Dad. My mother was the best cook when it came to fish or wild game. We miss her a lot, not only for her cooking, but she was one of a kind; a real character and so was Dad.

June 09, 2007

Saturday June 9, 07 Mark and I went to the cancer center at the Houston veteran's hospital June 5th for his second day of chemo and learned the doctor only ordered one day of chemo instead of the three he has always had. Yesterday Mark insisted in meeting with the doctor alone. He could not remember the doctor saying anything about changing to one day chemo and in fact can not recall what the doctor said. He thinks the doctor said he could have some oral chemo pills, but he is not sure and does not know if that was after the one day of chemo or on June 25 when we go back to Houston for apparently another one day of chemo. After going to the VA in Houston I always think of the Apollo 13 message to mission control: "Houston, we have a problem."

June 04, 2007

Monday June 4, 2007 Mark is in Houston at the VA getting chemotherapy as this is being typed.After chemotherapy three days in a row we will go back to Austin, Tx. on Wednesday. His doctor Dr. Xu (pronounced Shoe) who is from China, reported that Mark's liver tumors have shrank slightly between the recent Cat Scan and the prior one. His kidney function is slightly improved. Dr.Xu suggested getting two rounds of chemo and then get another Cat Scan. Mark is somewhat exhausted and looked very depressed today after talking to Dr. Xu. He told the doctor he was doing great but the reality is that he has not been eating or sleeping well. He will probably bounce back again soon.He has seen Dr. Xu twice but this is his last visit with Dr. Xu because Dr is leaving for New York at the end of the month.

Mark's treatment at the VA is not free. Mark pays co-payments for medications, which is not a problem. Almost everyone in America pays co-payments for medication. The problem is that the VA Benefits department wants Mark to retroactively co-pay on all doctor visits and chemotherapy and procedures back to August 2006 based on 2005 income which was already long ago spent for treatment in Thailand. After diagnosis of cancer in early Feb 2005 Mark never worked again. Social Security Disability began April 2005. Co-workers on Saipan donated sick time Feb to June 05, money that paid for treatment at the hospital in Thailand. He spent it all on treatment and ran out of money. He has had no income except social security disability since mid 2005, but his co-payments for 2006-7 August to August are based on his income in 2005 and his health care costs. Mom sent an official letter from the hospital in Thailand stating Mark's cash payments in all of 2005. That did not satisfy the VA so Mom is now copying a pile of receipts for each and every service in 2005. Nothing is free, sometimes it is less free, and sometimes it is not even reasonable.

Mark is growing a beautiful garden in flower pots on our decks
Mark has been quite sick off and on during the last two weeks, but he is still faithfully watering and fertilizing his tomato plants which consist of regular sized tomato plants, one tomatillo plant and one cherry tomato plant. They are in great shape and we are harvesting some cherry tomatoes.

Mark helped James build a stairway from a porch to the deck today.

May 31, 2007
Mark was up and working around the house inside and out. Yesterday he was vomiting and had to postpone a visit to the eye doctor. He wants new glasses to help him read better and a check up since he had some major eye problem in Bangkok last year that had him temporarily blind and required some painful procedures and being grounded from flying and having to sit and lie a certain way. At first the docs thought his cancer had spread to the eye, but it turned out to be something different.
People from 53 countries have now seen the blog. See below for list of 52 or check the flag board on the right. The new country signed on is Cote D'Ivorie. Do you know someone in another country that you could ask to click onto the blog? Let's add some more flags for Mark.

Mark and Jerry Barrett discuss books and films and a possible part for Mark in Jerry's next film. They are at our neighbor's retirement party. The retiree Keith got several lovely retirement presents; he tried on a gift retirement hat. Click on any picture to make it bigger.

Saturday June 2, 2007
Tonight our British neighbor Keith, who became an American citizen sometime ago, had a retirement party He is taking early retirment from Hewlit Packard and had a big party. Mark helped him with just a few party details as did his friends Valorie, Rachel, Jessie, and others. It may have been the social event of the year. He sets a new standard for the neighborhood parties.