Dear family and friends,

Welcome to the Burger Abode! We have created this site for a multitude of reasons, all of which you will be informed of in a few minutes, hoping we retain your attention long enough to get you to that magical point!

We hope you find this blog informative. At this point we have a real need to dispurse large amounts of information to a vast number of people in an accurate and timely manner. Rita and I have recently discovered that this is a daunting task! What began as 5 outgoing cell phone calls quickly erupted to literally hundreds of unmanageable incoming calls, texts, and e-mails. We began questioning our correct relay of information - to who and when - and did I forget to tell this and that, and do I need to call back and etc... to the near pinnacle of insanity! Again, welcome to the Burger Abode! Where there is "no tellin' what's next!

Just a couple of quick notes: We realize that that we are unintentionally going to miss some folks on the first couple of publications of this blog. PLEASE DO NOT forward to them, but let us know via e-mail so we can add them to our distribution list. We just kinda want to know who all (if anyone) is keeping up with the Burger Abode! Also, there is a place at the bottom of this blog for comments and questions. Rita and I ask that you not utilize this function but address such issues to our email account burgerabodeupdate@sbcglobal.net
so they will be included in the next blog posting! Thank you in advance for your understanding in these matters!
Rita and John

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13, 2009

Dateline: Houston, TX

Headline: ELECTRIC SHAVERS SUCK!!! Details to follow.

Sorry it's been so long and I have been anything but prompt in our publications. We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We did! The pictures above somewhat depict our "Thanksgiving Buffet". We put everything on a steam table so it stays hot through out the meal; all the way down to the last person that serves them self (always Rita). I don't play the "Can you Pass the..." game. I'm busy eating. I apologize for not allowing you to have the opportunity to ensure the fact that, with proper timing and lack of interruptions, I can eat more than you! If you want more of something or something else, go get it...I'm busy!

Speaking of cornbread dressing, I received an e-mail from one of our blog followers that asked a question I am unable to answer other than "No". I thought I would post this out for your input so possibly we can help this meandering and worrisome soul. Have any of you ever seen frozen cornbread? Either pre-baked or ready to bake (similar to the frozen roll dough that is located in the freezer case at your local grocery store). If you have seen it, please respond to our e-mail so I can relay said information. Thanks in advance!

Rita has still been working her fingers to the bone trying to get the last new store of the year open. I think since last week I really haven't seen her! Pooped is an understatement.

Before I started chemo I tried to get the lights on the house. I did the normal get them out, plug them in to make sure they work, and hang 'em up. I got them all up with a lot of help. I anxiously set the timer and turned on my masterpiece so we could step back and enjoy their majesty. Although the lights had been inspected previous to their installation, about 50% failed to produce their beautiful illumination. What's a guy to do? Easy enough solved! Say to yourself "******* ****** !!!!!!!". That translates to "leave them up, pull them down when the holiday is over, and place them in a receptacle for the sanitation department to enjoy! Fresh start next year!

My first chemo went well. No nausea at all. I got my treatment on a Tuesday and was fine. I took a nap late Saturday afternoon and (with a few interruptions) woke up Tuesday morning.
He is leaving out something here he worked Thursday, Friday and 1/2 of Saturday then the nap and all the rest happened.

The biggest thing now is I must be careful of my surroundings as my immune system is low. I must avoid crowded places, sick people, and children. Next chemo - Dec. 22.
This session they are changing one of the chemos out for another to try to alleviate some of the effects that happened last time around.

NOW, TO THE HEADLINES... Along with the previously mentioned taboos, I can no longer wet shave and I am required to use an electric shaver. THEY SUCK! Who ever invented this modern day breakthrough? I want to know so I can track him down like a rabid dog. It takes 3 times longer and as far as a close shave, "bull butter"I say!
Just in case we get lazy again, Rita and I wish you a wonderful, joyous, and blessed Holiday Season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Noverber 23, 2009

Hey Gang! Sorry it's been awhile. Everything around here is fine. Rita has been busier that a 1 legged man in a butt kicking contest, and I have too! Rita has been in town for the last 2 weeks and I have been working (yes, like on the job).

Rita finished the new store in San Antonio and she says it is doing great. She was real stressed during this store and we are glad it is completed. I have been telecommuting from the house and laboring as many hours as I can fit in. Much to my chagrin; appointments and tests require a majority of my days. I have also been going to weekday Mass anytime my schedule allows.

If you have not physically visited the Burger Abode lately, Ike along with 40 years of age, changed our backyard dramaticly. Along with destroying 4 trees, he demolished our fence. I did not insert the photos in any particular order, so let's play "Can You Guess The New From The Old" game. Rita and I are very happy with the results.

We have also been cooking for 2 weekends to prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. I believe we are ready. I tried to get out of frying turkeys this year. Rita explained in the most loving, calm voiced, life threatening manner possible that not frying turkeys WAS NOT AN OPTION I WANTED TO DEAL WITH. Of course, since I only have 1/2 of a brain, I explained to Rita that I must have not been thinking with the other 1/2. Regardless, this weekend I fried 5 turkeys. I had help and thank you for your generosity. Dad helped too. I have to mention him because at 90 years old he hasn't quite gripped the whole Internet thing much less following a blog.

We also had help with the "Broccoli, Rice and Cheese", "My Mom's Dressing", "Rita's Mom's Dressing". "Turnips", "Rita's Mom's Meatballs", and all the prep work required for all of the afore mentioned. Again thanks for all the help. I know I am forgetting something but... I only got 1/2 a brain! That's my excuse and I'm going to ride that pony till it peters out!

Rita has to work Friday and will not get a chance to play cheerleader for U.T. Justin is coming in from FL and I hope to get his help with a few things around here.

Thanks to all for the greens recipes and your responses! I got the recipes but I ain't got the greens. I think I'll eat the recipes and ask the dietitian if that counts.

I'm sure I am missing something I wanted to share, but that 1/2 brain thing is kicking in. If I remember something It will give you something to loose sleep over for the next week!

From the Burger Abode to your Home, Castle, Cave, Manson, House, or whatever you call it; we pray that everyone has a safe, happy, and blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 9, 2009

November 9, 2009

Wow, what an exciting week! NO, I really mean it!!!

Monday I had a full body PET scan. It's some kind of scan that makes cancer show up bright yellow. I had several spots throughout my body that the oncologist was concerned about other than the one on my lung they already know about. ALL of the suspected spots results came back NEGATIVE!!! I think that's good news! I also had an appointment with my oncologist the same day. She already had the report of the scan and relayed the findings to me. This outcome has also made her reconsider my future treatments. She is going to correspond with some of her cronies at the M. D. Anderson "Main Campus" to determine whether she can get more aggressive with the one spot in question.

Wednesday evening my neurologist's nurse called and awarded me with the return of my driving privileges! WOW!

Thursday I was put back on the payroll of the greatest coffee company in the world, Community Coffee! I am on a part time to as much as I can work-from-home basis which I am THRILLED about! I started work that day. Do you realize how much time is required to go through almost 2 months of "Inbox"? That was pretty much Thursday. I began meaningful labor Friday. Please show your thank you to the company by purchasing vast amounts of Community Coffee. DON'T DO IT YET. I will let you know when I get back on the bonus program, and you can make your abnormal purchases then!

Friday I got a surprise present of a new cap from a friend of 20 or so years. Unfortunately I was not home but out at a "soon to open" Kroger store. We did get together for a lengthy telephone visit. Thanks Lynn! Please see the attached photo.

Rita's childhood friend (since 3rd grade) and her significant other from Oklahoma City came to town and spent the weekend with us. It was great! We sat around, told lies, picked on each other, played Wii, and just played "catch up" on our lives. That's our photo attached sitting under our soon to be (probably 20 years or so) shade tree. Pictured are Nanette & Ty, and Rita & some goofy guy. As most of you know we used to have parties under 3 shade trees in the backyard until "Ike" came through and decided 1 of 2 things. Either "Ike" was upset about us having parties or "Ike" didn't like our shade. Anyway we are going to have our parties back under our new shade tree. Please mark your calendar for this date 20 years from now!!!
The result of the "Greens" cookoff really suprised me. I got a response from Cousin Shirley last week and one from Cousin Patty today. I figured with all the Hillbilly friends we've got, the response would be greater! I guess you feel the same way about them that I do! I did get questioned if squash (including zucchinni) or other types of geen vegetables were considered "greens". Unfortunately no as they are not green enough. I think I will use that line next time I run into a Martian! "Hey Dude, you can't be a Martian. you're not green enough!" I'll look for more recipies before the next posting of the Burger Abode!
Rita was out of town all week and is going back to San Antonio tomorrow. I guess I need to re-schedule the dancing girls! I miss her a lot, but at least now I have work to help me through the long days.
Until next time, remember Paul Harvey and...Good Day!

Friday, October 30, 2009

October 31,2009

Happy Halloween!

Rita has been out of town since Wednesday. The ole Burger Abode gets pretty quiet when you're hanging out looking forward to nothing but your next treatment. However, after 2 days of torrential downpours, being cooped up in the house, and completeing my 2 weeks of radiation treatment, God sent me a "Good job John!" sunset message Friday. Please see the first photo attachment. I hope you enjoy.

Today is Halloween! I bought a bunch of candy. Some of which I hope to hand out to the children that come "Trick or Treating". I also bought a bunch of candy for the children that I hope do not come "Trick or Treating"! Ain't leftovers great?

The second photo is not a photo! It is a very special video message from the Burger Abode to your household. You may and/or may not have to turn your volume way up for this. Press on the arrow button and see what happens! I hope it works but if not, blame Rita. It's all her fault!!! I know a lot of people have a lot of differing opinions about Holloween, but I just look at it as a fun day to dress up silly and hand out treats to kids that also dress silly. One day when they become doctors and lawyers they will have an excuse to cuss me out because of the total of their dental bills. That'll serve them right! What goes around comes around! Do kids that want to grow up to be dentists go "Trick or Treating"? Hmmmmm.....

Tim and Elaine stopped by this evening. They were all fancied up and came to wish us a Happy Trick or Treat. I asked them where they were going wearing their Sunday-go-to-Meeting duds. Tim said they were going to Papa's Steakhouse and ordering some BEEF! They made me chuckle. I am sure they had a costume party to go to that was not serving beef, but probably beer. Most likely plenty of it...but just a guess. If you click on the pictures, they should open up and enlarge. I don't know if you want to subject yourself to such, but if you do remember to not shoot the messenger! Rita and I handed out candy, and yes, I have leftovers!!!

Rita got in from San Antonio this afternoon not feeling well and she went directly to bed. She has to go back Monday. I miss her being around but I know the little get-aways do her good. If she could only relax a little and not labor the entire time she is away. She needs a break in the action. I get mine...I close my eyes and go to sleep!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009

Rita successfuly escaped going out of town this week, but I never would have known it. She has been laboring so many hours it was like she wasn't here. I went to work with her at a store Saturday and I had a ball. I got out of the house, performed multiple necessary tasks, and got to utilize the half a brain (figuratively, gang) I have left. Afterward we went to Mass and to dinner. We didn't get home until 10 PM!!! An all day outing away from the house! I was like a canary liberated from the confines of the 3' X 3' cage where you captively sit and view outside, you just can't travel to the great beyond.

Above you will notice the "Emporer's New Hats". My little sister Elaine picked them up for me Friday. They are dancing chili peppers, Charlie Brown and Snoopy with autumn leaves, multi colored peace signs, flags, and pumpkins with spider webs. I have been wearing the pumpkins constantly since the shelf life is relatively short at this time.

One week of radiation down and one to go! The treatments are really no big deal. I walk in, Lisa and Tanya strap me to the bed, 15 seconds worth of "zapping" on each side, and I'm done! The total proceedure takes about 5 minutes. I feel nothing. It is comperable to getting an x-ray. Many thanks to the volunteers that took time out of their busy schedule to haul me to the hospital. I appreciate you all! I may be able to start driving myself Thursday and Friday (depending on the results of my EEG on Wednesday).

It appears Rita will be going to San Antonio this week to set up a new store. Details are still sketchy as of now.
I talked to a dietician Friday. She said I should not have any more than 18 oz of red meat (beef and pork) a week! How is that possible? Does beef come in anything less than 18oz? I guess I have to learn how to make a rib eye last 3 meals!?! Unheard of and proposterous!

That there food lady 'splained ta me that I should be eatin' lotsa greens. I 'spect she means collard, turnip, mustard, and spinach. I ain't never much been one with a hankerin' fer greens. Mom used ta make em, but me, I never paid her no 'tention ta fixen um 'cause I never et um. If"n some one out there can give me some 'structions on the cookin' of greens I'd be deeply appreciative! Send the simple 'structions to the same ole address: burgeradodeupdate@sbcglobal.net If'n I gets enough recipies we may jest have to have us a good ole genuine "Greens Cook-Off"! Now that would be somethin' 'xcitin"!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 21, 2009

Damn, Another dish to wash!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20, 2009

Wow!!! Lookie at what I got! Sunday. Krystle delived a homemade, from scratch, constructed with TLC, "Tres Leches" cake! Its all due to my clean living, folks. It does not look like this anymore. Rita decided that the strawberry in the middle had her name written all over it! Yep, that was the first thing that terribly defaced this masterpiece. And the cosmetic regression has continued...

Tiffany and Krystle (and Scott, too) have been visiting and keeping me occupied on a regular basis. Tiffany always makes me take off my hat so she can see the progression of the healing process on the back of my head. She always is complimentary. I don't know because can't see the back of my head. It's all good with me! Tiff made me go walking with her Sunday night. It was great! It gets pretty boring walking with yourself because you always know what the other person is going to say!

I would also like for you to meet my radiology team. Shown in the photo are Lisa and
Tanya. I get to see them every day (Monday thru Friday) for the next 2 weeks. In case there is any confusion, I am the one in the middle. I am holding my mask that is placed over my face and secured to the table to keep me immobile during the radiation treatment. The machine we are standing under is what I refer to as "The Zapper". It rotates around to predetermined coorinates to aim the business where it belongs.
I found a place that makes "scrub hats". Monday, before my first "zapping", Elaine took me to Joanne's where I bought fabric for 5 new hats. Then we delivered the material to the seamstress for Friday pick-up. I'm so excited! For the first time in my life I can express my inner feelings, clash with my attire, and get Rita's approval all at the same time. I really want to get my Halloween hat! Boo! Did I scare YOU!
Rita is tollerating me and my antics. And as hard as I try to catch her off guard she just rolls with the flow as usual. She has to go out of town Thursday. She needs the break but I know all she will do is worry for nought. I'll be fine and there are plenty of folks that will be checking up on me. I want her to get away, get a couple of good night's sleep, and return refreshed only to find I am OK and she doesn't need to worry constantly.
Rita Wrote: But I promise, it won't happen. I will worry no matter what. It just doesn't matter. I think he really does understand!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009

Well friends, my intention was to attempt to give a brief "play by play" chronologically so you could follow our journey over the last month or so. The deeper I get into this task the deeper I get into this task! I feel as though I'm making no forward progress on our little excursion through the unknown. Hence I have decided to put it all into this posting and every one will be up to date - or "Johnny on the spot!"

After many tests, an ER visit, and hospitalization, it was determined that I (John) had a "mass" in my brain the size of a ping-pong ball. It was surgically removed on Friday, 9/25/09. This seems to be the culprit of not only all of my "left side" occurrences but my heart condition also. There is nothing wrong with my heart but my brain had so much pressure being applied it was sending either false or no signals. The car wreck was a direct effect of this pressure and swelling. The left side of my brain saw the car parked but it could not communicate with the right side to "do something about it, Stupid!" The tests also revealed I have a growth about the size of a marble on my lung. Boy, I'm full of great news, huh?

I was released from the hospital Sunday, 9/27 around 3:00 PM. This is 2 days earlier than expected. The doctors and nurses were absolutely amazed with my rapid recovery and you could hear them talking up and down the halls about how remarkable I was doing! Made me want to get up, beat my chest and do the Tarzan scream!

I had to be kept under 24 hour surveillance at home as I was considered a "Fall Risk" for 1 week. Many friends and family members made huge sacrifices and helped watch me sit in the recliner and do nothing. Thanks to all!

Anyway, I am fine. I am finally off the steroids which help reduce swelling in the brain, keep one from sleeping, drive your appetite wild, and henceforth makes ones ass get huge! I never eat sweets, and boys and girls let me tell you, if it ain't nailed down - it's gettin' et.

Rita and I have met with an oncologist and are in the midst of determining a regimen to deal with the future.

I get the 33 staples out of the top of my head today and I'm thrilled! No, honestly! Baby shampoo is OK but it's like trying to paint a house with one of those paint brushes you get in a paint-by-numbers set.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, 10/14 and I am set to meet with a radiologist to plan treatment to my brain (or what's left of it) to ensure any "floating" cells are destroyed. This process should begin next week.

Work is treating me great! My oncologist wants me back on the job ASAP. I probably will start working from the house in a telecommute position to begin with. Then we will take it day by day.

I am very concerned about my lovely Rita. She is taking all of this well ,but I know it's getting to her. She's working a lot of hours and taking care of me while getting little to no sleep and we all know she eats like a bird. What a trooper! When this is all said and done, I need to do something really special for her...maybe like sending her out of town to Victoria!

I think this should bring everybody up to date. Again, please allow me to stress that this blog is not intended to replace good ole communication and conversation. Feel free to call or stop by anytime. The intention of this blog is to make sure everyone has access to the same info at the same time. I appreciate your calls, well wishes, and prayers. Please keep them ALL coming! I also ask that you remember that I have a great support system in place. God bless Rita for her constant love and care. Thank all of you for your support during these times! I could go through the vast list of people and their contribution to the Burger Abode over the last couple of weeks, but I would miss someone and they would get pissed and I don't need anyone pissed at me right now.

Lord willing, there will be nothing but great news coming from the next Burger Abode blog posting. I'm getting real tired of all this bummer stuff!

I almost forgot a few things...#1 - If you think of someone that might want to recieve notice of the Burger Abode, please e-mail their address to burgerabodeupdate@sbcglobal.net and we will get them on the distribution list. #2 - If you want off the distribution list, let us know that also at the same address. We do own a "delete" key and will not be offended. #3 - Questions, comments, and subjects of interest are welcome for future postings on the Burger Abode.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

September 18, 2009

Rita forced the Cardiologist into an appointment today ASAP! We explained the collision with the Doctor and that I had also noticed that I had become somewhat clumsy. I have started bumping into things, you know "small" stuff like door frames, coffee tables, and other heavy stationary object that one usually takes precautions to avoid lest incur bodily injury. All of these bumps and bruises were all on my left side. When I had the vehicle collision, it also was on the left side. The good doctor went over all of the cardio tests with us. After determining there was absolutely nothing wrong with my heart, but being concerned about this "left side" occurances, referred us to a neurologist and obtained us an appointment on Monday 9/21/09.

Friday, October 9, 2009

June 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to Rita....Happy Birthday to YOU!!!

Rita wanted to celebrate her birthday out of town this year and since her company loves and respects her so highly as a genuine asset and team player, they sponsored her (all expenses paid) on an out-of-town trip!!! They are opening a store in Victoria, TX and she had to work there for a week. I didn't get to see her on her birthday but I sent my love via cell phone signal. I think she ended up having cheese enchiladas with her work partners for dinner. Just goes to show you, be careful what you wish for!

Early September, 2009

Rita and I have started discussing our wedding. I did not remember how little negotiation room there is when dealing with women on this topic. There has been lively discussions regarding criteria surrounding our blessed event. None the less, some common ground between us is starting to take form. Now that's just between Rita and I. John and I have been really clear on the main part of the ceremony which is strictly being married in the Catholic Church. After that most important factor, every thing else is optional. Rita's girls (Tiffany and Krystle) totally understand our wishes, prayers, and concerns, and are 100% on board with our decisions.

September 17, 2009

I was driving on my home from work and got 1 block from the house. It was a great day! I accomplished several gratifying tasks that propelled business forward. I did not realize at that point what the difference a split second makes in changing things and not always for the better. I was jolted violently and looked out the windshield of my company vehicle only to discover, much to my dismay, that I had ran into a minivan that was parked on the side of the road. Now please understand, I can see my house from this vantage point! The police eventually showed up. No citation was issued. Neither vehicle was drivable. No one was hurt. My airbag never went off. I just crashed a perfectly fine vehicle into another perfectly fine vehicle for no apparent reason what so ever. Kinda makes you scratch your head and say "Huh?" don't it?

Well, of course this type of activity creates a little nervous tension within the ranks of one's employer. Especially when they pose the question "How did this happen?" and your best answer after completing a deep mind, soul, and gut inquiry is "I don't know!" You probably know the next question from the voice on the other side of the cell phone. Yep, your right! "What do you mean you don't know?" And again the deeply pondered response from me was..."I don't know!" and lastly for the day I leave you with this...Yes I made it in time to take my breathalyzer and P-test before the clinic closed at 5:00.

But another pending problem was we had a Cardiologist appointment scheduled that afternoon. We had to cancel due to the accident. This cardiologist appointment was to give us the results of the monitor and the other tests that had been completed previously. There were some other little incidents to report to the DR. that day that we had kinda questioned due to possible side effects to medicine they had him on.

So, I called to cancel and reschedule for Friday 1st thing. The Cardiologist's receptionist said sorry the Dr. doesn't see patients on Friday. Well that was JUST NOT acceptable. I told them the events that had taken place and we had to see the Dr. either late Thursday or on Friday! We needed immediate answers!!! So it happened!

July and August 2009

John started having some strange things start occurring. After taking Dad to the V.A. hospital, I had some very strange heart beats. I thought I was having a heart attack. I got to the emergency room at The Methodist Hospital in Sugarland. They hooked me up to monitors and ran blood tests. They could not find anything conclusive, released me, and referred me to a cardiologist for an immediate appointment. The Cardiologist was just across the street and the ER folks wanted me to get there by the famous closing time of 4:30. Here we go, Dad and I, doing the O.J. Simpson run (as through the airport) to get across the street. By the time I got to their office, filled out the reams of paperwork, and gave them my insurance stuff, it was too late for the cardiologist to verify anything. I swear, if you don't have a heart attack getting to them, they will give you one while you're there! I got an appointment for the next day.

Anyway, after working with the cardiologist for around 7 weeks of testing, EKG, nuclear stress tests, blood work, poking, prodding, and anything else they could think of (oh yeah, wearing a heart monitor for 30 days 24 hrs/day) my heart is in great shape and extremely healthy! Great news! Well then what is wrong? I've had 5 of these weird heartbeat episodes and nothing shows up? I guess that's why they call it "practicing medicine".

Monday, October 5, 2009

May 15, 2009

Well, Rita and I decided that an 11 year courtship was probably adequate, so we started shopping for "THE Ring!" Well, after weeks of grueling shopping (not buying, mind you , shopping! Guys you know what I mean) the precious momento spoke to us in a voice. Of course there is the sizing, polishing, tightening, tune up and etc... that needs to be performed previous to pick up. Guys relate this process to a "new car make ready". When we recieved the highly anticipated news that Rita's ring was ready to be picked up, I knew there was not a snowball's chance in hell that it would be going to the house in a box. What's a guy to do?...Of course, I'm genious, propose in the jewelry store! What a romantic!!! Romeo ain't got crap on me! I'm the geniune Cassanova! (Just ask Rita!!!!)