19 Nov 2012

Home Sweet Home

Ouf! That was a crazy-scary-stressful-intense week and I am SO glad it is over!

My dad's operation went beautifully (according to the surgeons). Triple bypass using a long vein from his leg for two parts and the third, the big one, with an artery from the breast (apparently we have an artery back there we don't really need!). Doctors did it in just over 3h and my mom and I were there to see him enter the ICU right after. Was really weird seeing him all plugged in and asleep. Good thing he was asleep 'cause he had a tube sticking out of his throat and connected to a ventilator! Very freaky to see your dad in a scene straight out of House or Grey's Anatomy... He ended up spending 2 1/2 days in the ICU, drifting in and out of sleep and bored out of his mind when he was awake. We were only allowed to visit from 12h-12h30 and 18h-18h30. Not much. The first day he kind of kicked us out after 20' by saying "good night", but on the second he was cracking jokes and sharing some crazy dream about being a spy (I knew I shouldn't have taken him to see Skyfall and Argo just before all this!).

happy to be out of the ICU

Friday at noon we finally managed to break him out of the ICU (ok, we had the doctor's permission) and get him to his regular hospital room. Exciting since a) he got his glasses back, b) there was a TV -just in time for the Davis Cup final!-, c) he wasn't "plugged in" to anything anymore so could get up and move around (carefully) and d) there was an extra bed for my mom to sleep in and keep him company! :o)

His recovery has gone so well the doctors even discharged him a day early, today! Now we just need to keep an eye on him so he doesn't over-exert himself this week. His sternum needs time to knit back together after being sawed in half... Problem is he's not the most patient of patients! :p He already plans on heading off to choir practice tomorrow morning with his guitar!!! pfffffft!!!

showing my sister (via Facetime) that his guitar skills are intact

Thanks everyone for your well wishes! :o)

And in case I don't have time to stop by again (this will be another insane week running errands for my parents and cooking the main meals -including Thanksgiving dinner, a challenge!- since my dad's not allowed to), I hope everyone has a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! My family definitely has something BIG to be thankful for this year. :o)

13 Nov 2012

Two VERY scary words: B----- S------

As in Bypass Surgery.

Anyone know anything about it? Someone who's been through it? How they did after?

My dad's going in for it today... and I've been kind of silently freaking out about it for days.

Good points: it's preventative (as in "let's fix this before it causes a problem" and "how on earth have you not had a problem yet with those coronary arteries so full of lesions?") and his heart is super strong (anybody who knows him could have told you that doc!) and everyone says (starting with him) he'll be tearing up the tennis courts again in no time.

Bad points: they're going to frakking stop his heart!!! And plug him into a machine!!! And grab some piece of vein from the leg and stick it in place of two (or three) of his coronary arteries!!! But before all that they're going to cut through his sternum with a saw and crack open his chest... NOT GOOD!!! >:(

Like I said. Freaking out.

10 Nov 2012

Windy hike up the Sierra Ventos

Rainy day Sunday today. Which hereabouts translates into cancelled hikes! Yes I know, in other parts of the world people hike rain or shine or snow or wind... but it rains so rarely here the locals are a bit allergic to atmospheric water! Add to that hiking trails involving bare-faced (so slippery when wet) rocks and "dry" riverbeds and hiking in the rain becomes a teensy bit dangerous...

Oh well, if I can't hike at least I can write about it! I'm behind with my posting again (yeah, I know... no comment!). This hike was two weeks ago and I hadn't even gotten around to selecting and editing the photos for my Facebook album! I've got people impatiently asking me about them since I'm kind of the CEA's unofficial photographer! Woops!

I don't think I've ever been as happy to put the clocks back an hour as I was two weeks ago because it meant being able to sleep an extra hour on a day when I had to leave the house at 7h30 to go hiking! We all met up looking a lot more awake than usual and ready to hit to trail and enjoy the sunshine, albeit a bit surprised by the cold wind that was blowing something fierce! Thank god for layers! I had a long-sleeve on over a short-sleeve merino shirt, originally planning on hiking in short sleeves once we got going, but instead I eventually put on my polar fleece on top of it all and was wishing I had taken my windbreaker! Stupid me for not looking more carefully at the weather forecast (I just noticed sun and 14ÂșC, ignored the wind info). I've learnt my lesson, next time windbreaker gets stuffed into the pack!

7 Nov 2012

Random Movie Ramblings

On Sunday I went back to the movies with my Dad.  And I realised that was 3 times in 8 days (with The Impossible a week before)... how obvious is it that we're big cinema fans? :p

Anyhow, we went for Argo (directed by and starring Ben Affleck). It's about the hostage crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Something I have no memory of whatsoever (I was 3), but my dad remembers quite well. This movie is about the 6 hostages who escaped the Embassy when it was overrun and found refuge in the Canadian Ambassador's house (spy daddy Victor Garber, yay!). It's about the CIA guy (Affleck) who was crazy enough to go and get them out by pretending to be making a Hollywood Sci-Fi film that needed to film on location in Iran. I thought it was an excellent film! Very well made and acted, and very tense even though we know the final outcome (history and all that). Both my dad and I really enjoyed it! As usual I'm sure they played with and stretched the actual timeline and historical facts to fit the storytelling needs, but I'm fine with that (I'll go digging around online later to do some fact-checking).

Argo was definitely MUCH better than the movie we went to see on Thursday: Skyfall, the latest 007. Boy was that... bland! Basically a transition film to introduce a new set of Bond people/actors for the next films. I was kind of bored during the first half of the film. It just seemed to move from set piece to set piece with no purpose, no guideline... An interesting villain but uninteresting Bond girls. Then it got better when M (the ever fabulous Judi Dench) got much more to do than her usual arguing with Bond. In fact the element that most surprised me was the fact that I was in a packed cinema (like during The Impossible the previous week), with kids/teens seated on either side of us plus behind and in front! The film itself I pretty much predicted everything way ahead of time. Even if you're a big Bond fan, you might want to wait to rent the dvd...

Just before Skyfall we got the trailer for Lincoln... looks really good! Plus a friend in Missouri who got to go to an advance screening said it's excellent, she even called Daniel Day Lewis for the Best Actor Oscar! So I'll definitely be there when that shows up on screen! Although we won't get it in Spain 'till mid-January. Fingers crossed I get a chance to see it in English!
Question: is there a Lincoln anniversary coming up? Or has there been one? That's 3 movies in a couple of years... ok one he was the victim (The Conspirator) and another was a loopy Vampire hunting one (better than I expected), but still...

But what really got my adrenaline pumping was the trailer preceding Argo: The Hobbit!!! Can't wait!!! If possible we're going to watch that all together after a family lunch on Christmas Day in Valencia (in English, yay!). We know they've filmed the whole thing... are they really going to spread it out over 3 years like Lord of the Rings?! *sigh* Apparently the titles of the three will be The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (1); The Desolation of Smaug (2) and There and Back Again (3). Time for me to re-read the book (plus the appendices of The Lord of the Rings for the extra stuff) and try and guess where they'll be splitting the story...

Question: has anyone seen a movie called The Words? Starring Bradley Cooper. It's playing here and caught my interest. I'm hesistating on wether taking my dad (or having him take me) to see that one or Looper this weekend. It will be his last visit to the movie theatre in a month probably (more on that another day)....

4 Nov 2012

Halloween and Todos Santos

Most years I don't do anything around Oct 31st - Nov 1st, but this year both my American and Spanish sides got to enjoy some of the "traditional" Halloween / All Saints' Day (Todos Santos) action! 
A friend of mine decided to do a big Halloween dinner on Wednesday (Nov 1st being a holiday we have no worries about staying out late on Halloween!) and I offered to bake a cake:

Yummy pumpkin Jack'o'Lantern cake with pumpkin icing!

While I was baking it groups of kids from my apartment complex kept showing up trick'or'treating (globalisation!), and they got me in the mood for putting together some kind of costume for the dinner so I went digging around in my closet and came up with this:

When I got to my friend's house I discovered that her boyfriend (who loves cooking) had outdone himself! He went online looking for ideas of Halloween food...

Care for a severed hand or some slightly burnt intestines? No? Well how about a delicious bat, ghost, mummy or spider? ;o)

The pumpkin cake went along very well with these chocolate spiders:

Not only did it all look disgusting amazing, it was delicious! :o)  

 We definitely had a blast!

Then the next morning I got together with my parents and Grandmother (she's visiting from Valencia) to visit my great-grandmother's grave in Altea (where my mom was born) and leave some flowers.

three generations

Then we walked along the beach at la Olla a bit and had lunch nearby.

It had been very windy so the waves were fun to watch:

That structure behind me is what's left of an old machine gun bunker from the Spanish Civil War (in case of attack by sea). Here's a closer look:

All in all a great 24h! :o)