These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

did i say brewsky?

friday night while at work i took out a dollar bill and went over to jim h. to let him know i was headed downstairs to get a drink. i usually make some joke "like i'm going downstairs for a drink." but friday i ended up saying, "i'm going to go get a brewsky."

it took jim. h. by surprise and he laughed, saying that he'd not heard that reference to "beer" since high school. i, too, have not heard or used thatword sinc then. but i used it for the first time friday night.

i walked away down the hall and down the stairs to get the pop. and i began thinking why i would use the word.

the only reason i can attribute is that i've been thinking of my classmates from high school lately and have been in touch with one of them both through e-mail and messaging. she's back in texas and i met up with her at my niece's folklorico dance practice.

issabelle and i caught up on life and what's up with our work, kids, wife/husband and so forth. she let me know wht was up with other classmates and when i returned home she e-mailed me some e-mail addresses for some of them. i have been in touch with one of them already.

the other night issabelle e-mailed me pictures of some mini reunions some of them have had at restaurants back home in san diego or alice.

i looked at the pictures and i recognized many of them. some of them it took me a little longer to recognize. most have changed. some have certain features that still stand out, like bel's smile, or homero's eyes or sonia's facial structure and hair.

issabelle asked me to let her know the next time dawn and i are back in texas so that maybe she could set up a get together with some classmates. i think that would be neat.

so i guess my interest in renewing ties with classmates has caused me to use antiquated words like brewsky. what's next? going for a beer run and parking somewhere in rural allegan co. and drinking it down while it's still cold.

who knows.

'life is a circle and eventually we all return to our past to create a new future..."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

a return to the doctor

dad had blood work done last week and a CT scan monday. he went back to the oncologist yesterday for an appointment.

the news was optimistic, at least a little anyway. his cancer marker is at 1, which is lower than it was the last time he had blood taken, which was right when he stopped the chemo. however, the scan showed he still has a tumor or mass in his liver. the way i understood it, other tumors have dissipated.

he's going for a pet scan next week, which will present a more clear view of
his liver and torso area. based on that, the doctor said he is considering going in
with a needle and burning the tumor, then do some chemo again to see if it stamps it out.

again, ridding him of this will not mean he's out of the woods, since he was diagnosed at stage 4, but if it works, it could mean prolonging life. that's fine.

both my mother and father seemed upbeat yesterday when i spoke with them. it was good to hear them that way. i got scared because i called and left a message on the machine. no one returned my call. i had to call back some time during the evening to find out what happened. i was expecting bad news.

so let's see where this path takes the garcia family now that there is a possibility of burning the wretched tumor.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

big sky country trip part 2

god, why do i do this to myself. i set up this mini-series of blogs to detail my trip. it becomes futile. the same thing happened when i tried to break down the beatles albums. futile.

so here's the plan... i'm not going to break down the entire trip, just detail a few things.

as expected, my friends and coworkers at the office were surprised by my new, short hair. i've gotten everything from "you could be dan's younger brother" to "i didn't know your head was so small" to "you're slipped into an army base for a haircut." but that's ok. yes, it's short.

on tuesday, the hair went. i told the woman a "3" would be cool. i didn't know how much that would cut off. then i saw the long strands flying onto the sheet and had a minor freak out. oh well, it's done. and so i was ready and not looking like a hoodlum or homeless man for the family picture the following day. i guess i surprised everyone.

we met up with my friend lillian, who i hadn't seen since before we moved to mich., my uncle who had a stroke a year and a half ago, aunts, cousins, second cousins and other uncles. oh, any my grandparents. we stopped in to see my grandmother, who was at this place she goes to during the day to chill with other elder people. she was playing bingo.

it was funny with her. she wanted to talk to me but was concerned about missing out on bingo numbers and kept looked worriedly at the boards. so i gave her a kiss and left. it was funny.

we left friday afternoon with the temperature at 102. i'm a wuss. can't take the heat. it was coming in fiercely through the wind shield. it was the only hot day, though. it was on that last day that i was able to smell the orange blossoms on a tree that's outside the yard. i miss that scent.

we ended up in cypress (near houston) friday night and stayed with friends jessica and todd. we got to see their now two-year-old son aiden. cute kid. we hadn't seen jess since 2002 and tod for even longer. great to just sit and chat with them.

then we were off again. we went up highway 59 toward texarkana. christ, that was bad. the road is stop and go since it cuts through towns and the speed limit varies from 60 down to 30. we were going nuts. that stretch of highway, wich lasts about five or so hours, is tough to get through. we finally decided to cut through louisianaon an nterstate and go into jackson, miss. there we caught 555 north to memphis and headed up our usual way. dawn drove 13 1/2 hours that day. but we did get all the way into missouri. we went through six states that day. not bad.

we pulled into holland around mid-afternoon sunday. it felt so good to get back to our house, see the cats and just chill out. we caught up on our recorded tv shows, courtesy of krista v. and saw the last three episodes of homicide: life on the streets.

then it was back to work on monday.

Monday, April 10, 2006

big sky country trip part 1

we returned from a week-long trip to texas yesterday afternoon. it was an exhausting road trip, but it was good to get back to my family and roots for a short time.

we left early saturday and were on our way after a stop at a doughnut shop on michigan ave. the trip was uneventful, heading toward chicago, then south on I-57 to missouri. that's where we missed 55 south and headed west. we ended up taking some route through central arkansas and stoped just north of little rock for the night. we left early sunday, our brains still reeling from the hour daylights savings time hour change that night. we arrived about 6:30 sunday evening.

it's funny, the further south you go, the bigger the sky gets. i forget the way it is since up here the tall trees cover the sky and you don't see any blue sky (unless you look out at the lake or tilt your head up). but there, it was blue sky for miles. the trees look like shrubs, compared to these here, so it's easy to see far.

my parents had a little BBQ going sunday and invited some relatives. we got to see my grandma, some aunts and uncles, cousincs and my niece and nephew. my sister linda was unable to make it taht day, so we didn't get to see my new niece emma grace until the following day at her house.

my dad looked great. he's been off the chemo for more than a month and a half and he looked as he always has. i'm glad we visited at this time when he's beenoff the chemo, seeing him as he was before. he's still thin (as always) and his hair'a a little whiter, his hands worse, since he can't make a fist with one of them, but he's still dad. it was great seeing everyone that night and eating some BBQ. lots of meat. a vegetarian's nightmare.

monday: i made up my mind to drop by the old workplace in alice and visit old coworkers. i felt apprehensive and didn't know how i'd be received. i really hadn't written to any of them in more than a year and hadn't talked to them for even longer. but they were receptive and saw old friends there. got the hugs and stuff. lois and nicole even made me act out the dancing scene from "young frankenstein" and do parts of "silence of the lambs." i was a little rusty, but they got laughs.

we then headed to see my sister and niece. she's a cutie. i got to hold emma grace, but quickly gave her over to dawn when she started crying. still, it was odd. the last time we saw linda, she wasn't pregnant and there was no one but her and arnold. it's strange to see my sister in this capacity as a mom. but, hey, she's doing good. so we sat around, talked, saw a little maury povich on the tube, and caught up. by friday when we saw emma again, she looked differnet. even a week made a difference. she'd filled out some.

i was impressed by emma's alert eyes. they're always staring and taking in. i know, some of you are going, that's the way they all are. but i don't know. there was a difference there.

after the visit, we headed to see my nephew ricardo practice some coach pitch baseball. we gave him the thunbs up. then it was off to see lorena, my niece, practice ballet folkorico. she's really good. she enjoys the dancing so much.

while there, i ran into a classmate, isabelle. we caught up on old times and the usual stuff about classmates and what they're doing now. we exchanged info and hopefully keep in contact.

later that night, we stopped to see our friend b.j. at the library. i got to know her from my days at the newspaper. she was a source and then we became friends. we've kept in contact since. we spent a couple of hours there after the library closed. good to catch up. we hadn't seen her since we left texas.