Volunteer Park Conservatory

Volunteer Park Conservatory, Oil on linen, 16x20, $800
November 10, 2015

It’s been an interesting month or more since finishing my last painting.

First, I had a wonderful visit with family and friends in Seattle and Los Angeles. Hiking with Cole, seeing Connor’s girlfriend Aimee, long talks with my daughters, a trip to the Santa Barbara wine country, and happy hours with friends. I took a lot of reference photos which will become paintings at some point.

After returning, things were no less quiet in my neighborhood. Eventually, the festival of the Virgin del Santo Rosario and Dia de los Muertos ended and things seem pretty tranquil again in the hood. But jeez, before it all ended there were two nights with a big fireworks tower erected in the plaza of the church. During the parades windows nearly broke in the apartment with the explosions in the streets. One night some mofos were launching one rocket every thirty seconds or so until FOUR IN THE MORNING! Occasionally there would be a break of about 20 minutes then just as I was about to fall asleep, they started up again. Knowing the worst is behind me, I’m sleeping well enough, though aided by the blessed herb.

On a Thursday a couple of weeks ago I was getting ready to work on this painting. Rocío was giving a lesson to our friend Hester Seargent. I usually join them at the end of the class around 6pm enjoying the over the top reaction of their dog Luna, who seems to love me more than anybody not in her family. Pretty quickly a most debilitating pain completely disabled me. I was pretty sure it was a kidney stone so I called Rocío to ask her brother, a urologist in Mexico City, for a referral for a urologist in Oaxaca. Rocío came over right away and barely left my side for the next three days. She was amazing! She drove me as I agonized at every bump in the road, to the doctor’s office in the city center.

An injection of pain meds didn’t result in much, so I was admitted to a small private hospital called Carmen. Friday I was transported to an imaging center for a CAT scan. The stone was too low to be blasted by lithotripsy so the doc scheduled surgery for Saturday morning. The surgery showed that the entrance to the bladder was too narrow to reduce the stone by mechanical means. But he did push it up to where it could be broken up by sound waves.

On Sunday I went home in time to watch Seattle beat Dallas. I had Rocío watch a Spanish language tutorial in football basics so she could enjoy the game a bit more. I was also joined by a visiting friend and co-worker, Ted Loomis. The lithotripsy was scheduled for Monday, yesterday.

While recovering and awaiting the procedure, tragedy struck an already tragic life. Tobias, the neglected and sometimes abused Belgian Shepherd drowned in the “swimming pool,” (more accurately described as a mosquito nursery). I was home when it happened. He didn’t howl like he did when he fell in as a puppy. I looked down from my balcony and saw him floating feet down. I pulled him out and held him upside down trying to empty his lungs and massage his chest. He was gone. I informed my landlady’s sister who owns a small eatery next door. She was distraught though I have to say was part of the problem in Tobias’ short and miserable life. Damn!

Yesterday I went to the lithotripter in another urologist’s office. This was quite different than my experience 17 years ago or so. I was sedated in the first one, immersed in a tank of warm water and barely felt a thing. This time it was a smaller machine but it was 50 minutes of torture. Eventually they injected me with a local pain killer and I could tolerate the last ten minutes.

So, good times overall!

4 thoughts on “Volunteer Park Conservatory

  1. Oh, geez! I hope that painting is cathartic for you. You’ve been through some stressful events…to say the least. I hope you heal quickly.

    I’m terribly sorry for ol’ Tobias. I have no basis for my belief, but I DO believe that ‘all dogs go to heaven.’ At the bare minimum, I’m thankful he is out of his misery. I am sorry for his miserable existence here, and empathetic for the tender feelings you had for him. Poor thing.

    1. Thanks Garaleen! I feel bad because I was home when it happened. Yes his suffering is over and I hope to heck that his former owner doesn’t get another dog.

  2. What a story Brian. Sorry to hear about Tobias. It does look like you are enjoying the creative life! Me too. Don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.



    1. Thank you Pam! Coming from a creative type like you, that’s high praise. Yep, I don’t miss very much about the big B except working with quality people like you. The last couple of years were slightly hellish. Anyway, take care and keep creating!

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