Healing “The Big Reveal”

Hey All,Just a quick update on my health. So far since my Friday’s nose revision surgery, the healing process seems to be going pretty well. Always a challenge for me is to get the bandages on my face to look a bit less noticeable as time goes on and as the healing process moves forward. When I got out of my operation I looked likethis (see below).

Then on Saturday I changed my bandages to make it look a bit less noticeable. Also used tan paper tape instead of the bright white tape used by the medical staff at the VA.

Then on Sunday morning got my dressings to be even a bit smaller while still being able to protect my wounds.

Now the initial big reveal. Of course with stiches in for the moment until next Mon, Aug 5th. The most important changes done during the surgery was getting the seem down my nose to become a bit tighter so the skin would heal better and their wouldn’t be a noticeable gap. Also, there was an issue on the skin fold where the corner of my nose meets my cheek tissue. The surgeon did some manipulation there as well. Also some fatty tissue was removed under the skin flap of my nose where the grafting was done so the new skin would be a bit smoother and level with the rest of my nose.

Photo directly above shows a more close up version of the operative work done.

As for activities while I am in the healing process:Friday evening just rested.Saturday afternoon I helped Marco and Rosaria with moving their stuff from one house to another. Just boxes and bikes, no big things to move but quicker to do with my truck.On Sunday morning I went to the gym in the morning and did my late afternoon 25 mile bike ride as well.For now…I plan however to keep my social activities to a bare minimum for awile… at least until my stiches get removed and then will see from there how things progress.Ok..have a great week!

Back to Back Events on This Past Saturday.

Hey All,

Had a fun day this Saturday attending 3 back to back impromptu events.

Got a call on Friday from my good friend Jonathon inviting me to the beach in Treasure Island on Saturday morning. There were a bunch of guys meeting there at about 9 Am from a group called Krewe of the Caviliers. They do alot of good things in the community and also usually have a float in many of the local parades in the Tampa/St Pete area (to include Gasparilla). Thought it would be good to meet some of the guys and maybe get involved in this group as another opportunity to do something different.

Jonathan is to the left in the above photo. A real nice guy.

Also got a message from Marco on Friday evening that the French Coalition group was having a party on Saturday afternoon. So…it being so hot at the beach…I decided to leave there about 1 PM and was off to the coalition party back in Tampa.

Really enjoyed meeting Margarita the girl shown to the right in the above picture. She is from Spain and grew up in Malaga (in the Costa del Sol area) in Southern Spain where I have visited several times so we had a lot in common. The guy in the photo directly accross from me is a Army officer from Belgium. A nice guy.

The guy in the above photo with the baby is from Albania. He is also such I good guy and I’ve got to know him and his family recently as they have attended several events that I’ve gone to.

Three good friends from France above. I’ve know them for several months now.

The guy above “Lionel” is a Army Major from France. He, his wife and 15 year old son will be stationed here for the next 3 years. They just arrived a couple of weeks ago. We hit if off immediately and I’ve been helping him and his family with getting acquainted to the area. We are already building a great frienship.

Ok… so while I was at this party…got an impromptu message from another friend of mine “Paul” from one of my meetup groups. A bunch of guys were planning to meet for dinner that evening in St Pete. Told him that I would get back with him later and confirm if I’d join them. Well after a few beers (ok many!) while at the coalition party…decided to forego driving to meet the guys in St Pete and instead went with Marco (as my designated driver) his wife Rosaria and Emilia to a very nice restaurant that evening in St Pete Beach with a rotating circular floor with wonderful views of the beach and sunset. It was a great evening.

Picture taken at the restaurant.

Above 2 pictures show St Beach Beach at Sunset.

Ending this post with a picture sent to me from our good blogger friend “Dolly” from South Beach.

Dolly was doing the Flamingo after one of he classes. Oh what fun…go girl!

Ok, after a full day and evening Saturday just chose to rest up on Sunday!

Have a great rest of your week!

Two Thumbs Up!

Hey Everyone,

No….contrary to what you might be thinking based on the tile of my blog, I am not doing a critical review of new movie release!

The “two thumbs up” title has to do with my actual thumbs!

One of the chronic health conditions that I have is psoriatic arthritis. It can severely affect my joints and can cause a lot of inflammation resulting in significant pain and discomfort. You will also note in the photos that it can affect my nails as well, causing them to become brittle and crack.

This recent disformaty of my left thumb and joint is a bit concerning and has made it difficult lately to hold things securely, especially since this is my dominant hand.

I will admit…it was even difficult to hold my beer bottle and wine glass on my recent adventures to Miami !

I saw my rheumatogist just before departing on my recent trip and he is trying a new regimin of medications on me. One of which requires regular blood work to be taken to monitor my kidney functionality.

My fear is that my arthritic condition will continue to get worse over time. I am hoping that the new medication will be effective in alleviating the discomfort. You all know how active I like to be and how much I enjoy doing my daily workouts at the gym. These workouts keep me fit both physically and mentally. Doing just little things these days are becoming a bit problematic such as tying my shoes or trying to open up a new jar.

This arthritis is also beginning to be felt as of late in my big toes as well, but worse right now in my left thumb.

As a side note…I will be going to the Veterans hospital this morning to have my pre-operative tests done. I am scheduled for the revision surgery on my nose on next Friday, July 26th.

Also today I will be dropping off a copy of my radiology x-rays of my left knee that were taken after my left knee revision surgery was done back in Dallas in 2006. I just received in the mail a copy of those images. My orthopedic surgeon here in Tampa was a bit concerned that the metal shaft in my left leg seems to have shifted considerably from the center and is getting very close to my outer skin layer in my left leg. He wants to compare current x-rays to what the images looked like afrer my 2006 surgery. I have so much metal in that left leg right now that there is little bone structure left to have a 3rd knee revision operation if it becomes problematic. Unfortunately (although it feels okay to me right now) if it eventually becomes an issue..the only way to fix it is to amputate that leg and learn to live with a prosthetic one. Time will tell…

I will taken one health issue at a time as I continue to live my life positively one day at a time !

Have a great weekend.


Got this WhatsApp message from Marco early this afternoon…

Hi Gary
Car crash with the Nissan this afternoon.
3 cars broken
No body injured!

No…the above pic is not one of Marco! I was just returning from the gym when I got his message. I wasn’t paying attention (as I was reading his message) as I was simultaneously entering my RV. I slipped on my RV steps and scraped my knee…Stupid me…clumsy as usual! Some things never change!

Just heard from Marco…all is okay. Will turn in the leased car to Nissan tomorrow and get a temporary replacement while it gets repaired.

Could have been worse!

South Beach Bound and a Surprise for My Fellow Bloggers!

Hey Everyone,

On Sunday morning after our pleasant visit and delicious brunch at the home of Emilia’s son, we were off to South Beach (just about a 20 minutes drive) to check into our upscale hotel on Collins Avenue in the Art Deco district.

Upon entering the hotel we were offered a complementary glass of champagne and provided a nice bottle of wine as a welcome gift since I am an premium IHG member. I was also able to get a room upgrade ….a corner penthouse that was totally private with a jacuzzi on the large balcony, a European kitchen with an expreso machine and a separate master bedroom with king size bed (for Marco and Rosaria) and also a living room with a pull out sofa-sleeper for me!

I am including below a video of the boutique hotel we stayed at.

Marco just relaxing!

Private jacuzzi on our balcony.

Hotel guests who take the one minute walk over to the beach are provided with an umbrella, 2 lounge chairs and 2 beach towels to use… while there, compliments of the hotel! The normal charge for this is $35 per day. We did have to pay a separate fee of $ 39 although for parking our car in the hotel garage as it is near to impossible to find any free parking in the area. Besides, everything we would do for the rest of the day was within walking distance as we were right in the most popular area of South Beach!

Marco and Rosaria doing a little shopping late afternoon after spending some time at the beach.

Me taking a selfie! So what’s new?

Marco and Rosaria walking down Ocean Drive.

A must photo for first timers to Miami Beach!

Okay….so here’s the surprize.

Let’s start it off with a little song by Louie Armstrong in honor of the person were were meeting for dinner and drinks that evening.

I think you my fellow bloggers figured it out…I got to say “Hello Dolly” to one of our fellow bloggers from “koolkosherkitchen” and her husband who live just a short walking distance to where we were staying in South Beach!

A photo taken at the entrance to Espanola where we went for dinner and for some drinks. It was a lively place. Unfortunately my cell phone malfunctioned and some of the videos I tried to take didn’t save. So below there is one I got off you tube to let you know what the Espanola area of South Beach is all about and then there is one short video that I was able to take at our outdoor table at the Italian restaurant.

Although the Espanola area was a lively and a fun place which I like and Dolly thought would be a good place to go for a unique experience of South Beach, unfortunately Marco and Rosaria didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.

I completely forgot about 2 things…

Marco has a problem with his hearing and he generally doesn’t like to go to a place where music is very loud, especially when trying to carry on a conversation with new people he is meeting for the first time as it is near to impossible to hear each other.

As for Rosaria…she is a culinary expert and when she goes to an Italian restaurant, she is almost always critical of the food the restaurant prepares when comparing it to her own cooking.

So despite being a fun place to see, I probably should have suggested to Dolly earlier that we go to a quieter non-Italian place as it would have been more enjoyable to my friends. Oh well..I enjoyed it! Also, Rosaria was a bit irritable on Sunday evening (and didn’t seem herself) as I completely forgot that Sunday was the 13th anniversay of the death of one of her children who died from cancer at the age of 15 years old, so I think she was a bit down. Also, since we would be leaving very early the next morning as Marco had to be back to work on MacDill AFB by noon and since we had a full say…I think my International friends did not want to stay out too late…totally understandable. Still was nice to meet Dolly and her husband in person!

I’ll end this blog with Dolly enjoying her favorite drink …A mojito! Too bad we had to make it an early night as we would have gone out dancing which is one of Dolly’s favorite things to do!

Have a good rest of your evening!

Sunday Morning Visit and Brunch

On Sunday morning, the day after our Bastille Day event at the Port of Miami, Marcu, Rosaria and I packed up our belongings in preparation to check out of our current hotel and to move into another hotel that I arranged in south Beach situated right in the heart of the Art Deco district and only a 1 minute walk to the beach.

However, before driving to our new hotel, we stopped by the home of Emilia’s son which was just 5 minutes away from out first hotel.

Brad (Emilia’s son) is a doctor (general practioner) and his wife (who is a traveling emergency room physician) was currently out of town working in Tallahassee. They have two beautiful daughters who are only only 4 and 6 years old. They also have a very nice nanny (from Naples, Italy) who resides directly on the property in a seperate cottage.

Two daughters above.

Live in Nanny from Naples, Italy

Brad was the nicest guy you could ever meet…so level-headed who listens to you with keen interest when you speak and who was so gracious and well mannered.

Their home just minutes from down town Miami was beautiful, with a back yard and pool to die for. Attached is the Zillow link which shows you more detailed pictures of their home which is currently valued at over 2.1 million dollars and which was built about 5 years ago.


For you culinary folks…be sure to check out their fabulous kitchen with a huge industrial refrigerator, great counter space, top of the line appliances and all kinds of built ins.

Emilia and her son prepared a beautiful and authentic Neapolitan breakfast for us all, with all food prepared from scratch and so beautifully displayed on the table. I was impressed!

Overall a wonderful visit and delicious meal with friends. A perfect way to start out our day!

Visit to the ‘O-Munaciello” Neapolitan Restaurant in Miami, Fl

The Neapolitan Chef and me.

My wonderful late night “snack” as recommended by Rosaria.

Emilia and Rosaria with the Chef.

Hey all,

After the wonderful Bastille Day event on Saturday evening at The Port of Miami, the four of us went out to a great Neapolitan Restaurant in Miami at the recommendation of Emilia that knows this area well.

What a fantastic place. The food was out of this world and the service was excellent!

I learned this evening that there is a distinct difference in the kinds of food between an Italian Restaurant and an authentic “Neapolitan” restaurant. Apparently (according to Emilia) the dough is lighter and thinner in the dishes prepared in Naples Italy as compared to the rest of Italy and there are distinct taste differences as well.

Enjoy the videos below..!