Sunday, December 04, 2016

My Dear Husband & Best Friend, Ed, Loses His Brave Battle with Cancer

EDWIN BRENT JONES
1958-2016
After an incredibly brave seven-year battle with colorectal cancer, Edwin (Ed) Brent Jones peacefully succumbed November 20, 2016 at the too-young age of 58, holding the hand of his loving husband, Eddie. Throughout the long struggle, Ed continued to live every day to the fullest. Before his Stage 4 diagnosis in 2014 but after his initial six-months of surgeries in 2009, he hiked two-plus weeks in Scotland and in Canada, spending a month in each country as well as a month in Scandinavia. He biked in Provence; explored its every, historic town inch-by-inch; and walked almost every street (it seemed) in Paris. Since the devastating Stage 4 movement of the cancer to his lungs and three years of almost continuous chemo, he toured all throughout the Mediterranean; walked every part of Rome; visited Cuba on the first LGBT cruise ever to go there; and, most recently this August, saw 34 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before visiting Prague, Vienna, and Budapest as well as many towns in between. Since his November 2009 initial operation, he has attended over 925 live theatre and opera productions (not including many full seasons of ballet), including a whopping 195 in 2016 – including 24 plays and 3 operas while in his final ten weeks of hospice care. And then there are the many scores of museums he avidly visited in the Bay Area, Philadelphia, LA, New York, London, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, etc. – all while fighting silently the pains, embarrassments, and indignities of colorectal cancer.
Throughout his cancer years, Ed continued until this summer to walk back and forth each day the two miles from his home in downtown Palo Alto to his position managing computer support for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of Stanford University. Having held that position since 2000, he continued going to work two weeks into his hospice care – adamant to finish or transfer to others all of his current projects. Prior to Stanford, Ed held operations, box office, and systems/facilities management positions at California Performance Group/The Theatre Group, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and the American Musical Theatre for a total of 20 years. Ed graduated from the University of California, Davis in 1983 with a BA in Dramatic Arts, where he was a radio DJ at KDVS, playing classical and jazz.
Prior to his onset of cancer, Ed was an avid runner, completing several marathons, running five miles daily the Stanford Dish with his husband and friends, and showing up every Saturday morning to run with the Baylands Frontrunners – an organization for whom he was webmaster all through his cancer years. Ed created a popular blog read by thousands called Guydads, where “two gay, Jewish dads ... share their adventures, travels, thoughts and opinions” (www.guydads.blogspot.com). With his husband, he hosted an annual, house-filling, Passover Seder for gay men, for which he researched and created over many years a booklet detailing the accomplishments of gay, Jewish heroes in the fields of the arts, politics, social action, and gay freedom.
Ed was born in Johnson City, NY and moved with his family to Los Gatos at the age of eleven, where he graduated from Los Gatoa High School in 1976. In school, he was a trombonist in the marching band, features editor for the newspaper, and member of Boy Scouts and Key Club. His most memorable, growing-up memory was a cross-country camping trip with his parents, two siblings, and a car-sick poodle.
Besides his husband, Eddie Reynolds of Palo Alto, Ed is survived by six adoring children and step-children: Shannon Jones, Joshua Reynolds, and Jonathan Reynolds of San Francisco; Brenton Jones, Lindsay Jones, and Eli Reynolds of Aptos. He is also survived by his loving parents, Robert and Patricia Jones of Los Gatos, two siblings, and many cousins. 
A memorial and celebration-of-life service open to all friends and family will be held Sunday, December 4, 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. Rabbi Janet Marder, who married Ed and Eddie twice (once in 2005, strictly religious, and then in 2008, finally legally) will officiate. There will be a social gathering at the synagogue following the service for everyone to tell stories and remember with smiles and tears this brave hero.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests at Ed’s suggestion that those who want to honor Ed do so with contributions to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (www.theatreworks.org), San Francisco Playhouse (www.sfplayhouse.org), or New Conservatory Theatre Center (www.nctcsf.org). 
And from a dear friend, Bill Yule, comes these parting words in a poem he wrote upon hearing Ed had moved into hospice care:
Never saw your face without its smile
And always hear the echo of your laugh.
Complaints always the things that stayed away --
They knew too well they were unwelcome
Anytime or anyplace you were.
You are the sunshine in the darkest day,
The song the heart forever sings.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Throwback: 1970 Costume Party

The only time I ever dressed in drag.
I was in Jr High School then.

Pose with Mom

Off to a party with younger brother and sister.
Bonus Picture. Halloween 2003 with Eddie.


Friday, October 28, 2016

End Chemotherapy, Start Hospice

It has been many months since my last update. For most of the time the news was mostly good.  My oncologist said the cancer in my lungs was mostly stable. It wasn't growing or moving until this summer when my health turned a pivotal corner.

Many of you have been fellow journeyers and avid supporters from near and far over the past seven years (as of this coming Nov. 8) of Ed's cancer story.  There was the initial discovery, the surgery to remove his rectum, the months of recovery and several major bouts of infection, the aftermath of effects that never went away, the discovery in January 2014 that the cancer had metastasized in his lungs and had become Stage 4, and then the 2.5+ years of chemotherapy and many often-horrible side effects.

Throughout it all, as you know, he has continued to live every day to the fullest.  Before the Stage 4 diagnosis, he hiked 2+ weeks in Scotland and in Canada, spending a month in each country as well as a month in Scandinavia.  He biked in Provence and walked almost every street (it seemed) in Paris.  Since the shocking Stage 4 announcement and all the subsequent, almost continuous chemo, he toured all throughout the Mediterranean, walked all over Rome, visited Cuba on the first LGBT cruise to go there, and most recently, saw 34 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and visited Prague, Vienna & Budapest and many towns in between.  Since his November 2009 initial operation, he has attended over 800 live theatre and opera productions, including a whopping 162 to-date in 2016 (not including many full seasons of ballet).  And shall I mention how many scores of museums he has avidly visited in the Bay Area, Philadelphia, LA, New York, London, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, etc., etc.?

But now we enter a new and sadly final chapter in this incredible journey.  On  Friday, September 9th we were told that Ed's metastasized colorectal cancer is now spread to the point of causing his lungs to start shutting down.  This condition, brought on by the cancer and called lymphangitic carcinomatosis (or lymphangitis spread), is non-reversible and non-curable.  Chemotherapy of any type will no longer help.  His capacity to survive is now limited to some unknown number of weeks-to-months.  He will start getting more and more tired and will slowly drift into an eternal sleep.
With this diagnosis, Ed will be entering this week into in-home hospice care, with the team of physicians, nurses, and social worker fortunately including his current, much-beloved oncologist and palliative doctors from Kaiser.  All medical needs to make him comfortable will now be provided by this team at our home.

In the meantime, life continues as close to normal as possible, as long as possible.  (We have not cancelled any theatre dates for the rest of the month!)  He has transitioned out of his position at Stanford, helping others to pick up his duties there.  We are hosting an open-table Shabbat dinner every Friday night as well as weekend brunches for our kids and close friends in the area to drop by to schmooze and eat.

Even though there is a defined outcome, the timing and process between here and there is uncertain.   However, your continued support, messages, online chats, physical and/or online visits are all welcomed and very much appreciated.  This network has meant so much to us during the past seven years, and Ed has received much strength and encouragement from all of you to surge ever forward even when the going was extremely rough.

Love to each and every one of you,
Eddie (& Ed)

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Toys in the Attic

I recently came across a Pinterest collection of old toys. It made me nostalgic for my old play things. Here are some of things that occupied my youth. They are from the 60s and early 70s.
Creepy Crawlers. My favorite. 
Wikipedia describes Creepy Crawlers as: "a series of die-cast metal molds resembling various bug-like creatures, into which is poured a liquid chemical substance called "Plastigoop", which comes in assorted colors (including glow-in-the-dark). The mold is then heated to about 390 °F (199 °C) on an open-face electric hot plate oven. The Plastigoop is cured by the heat, and when cooled forms semi-solid, rubbery replicas which can be removed from the mold."

Hot Wheels cars and track. I spent many hours with track set up around the house.
I also had the Hot Wheels Supercharger.

Matchbox cars. Same size as Hot Wheels but without the fast wheels.

A Barrel of Monkeys was always useful for decorating.

Clackers, an obnoxious toy. Taken off the market as a safety hazard. 

Loved my Crayons

The board game I played the most. I liked it better than Monopoly. 

Gum cards
I didn't collect baseball cards. Was never interested in them. However, I loved collecting Batman cards and a host of others. The above photo shows a sample of some of them. TV shows Alf, Dark Shadows, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Batman and crazy cars.

My first real bike was a Huffy lime green.

Our family enjoyed playing lawn Jarts in the backyard. Nobody died or were impaled.

Legos. Hours of fun.
A small glass bowl sat on my dresser for years.

I loved taking left over model car parts and creating my own vehicles.

Turn upside down and back: "Mooooooooo"

I could have been a doctor.

A great way to drive one's younger brother to tears.


I had a passion for collecting small, plastic men and animals.

Loved the smell of Play-Doh. I also had a Play-Doh Fun Factory.

Home Pong, only video game I learned to play.

Didn't play with the gun so much. Enjoyed unrolling the caps and hitting them with a rock.

My collection of Sinclair Dinoland Waxy-Plastic Dinosaurs from 1964 Worlds Fair in NYC.
Sinclair Dinoland Mold-a-Rama dinosaurs were available in seven different dinosaur designs and came in many different colors. They cost 25c to make and were a popular and affordable souvenir of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. Somehow mine have survived all these years.
Sparklers were a 4th of July tradition.


I must have had dozens of Superballs of all sizes.


Always bought View-Master reels of vacation sites.

My pocket water gun.
Always watched the TV show too.
Pollywogs, also known as tadpoles. I would collect them in a pail when I was in first and second grade.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Bread or It's a Dog's Life

For the last couple years, I posted two blog posts about the similarity between men and bread. Check them out here and here. Today they would be memes.

There are a series of bread products and dogs memes that I find amusing and I have posted them here.

A Bagel or Sleeping Puppy?


A tired Pug or loaf of bread?

Croissant or Shar Pei?

Is it a Chihuahua or Blueberry Muffin?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Remembrance: Lori

Today would have been my first wife’s 58th birthday. Unfortunately Lori died way to soon from Multiple Sclerosis when she was only 32.

The picture is from 1985 and it was taken in my parents’ back yard when we were both 27 years old. The picture is amusing to me because Lori was the real swimmer in the family. She could swim laps for hours in the pool. She also played water polo in high school and college. I, on the other hand, could only swim the length of the pool and stop and rest.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Beginning My Third Year of Chemotherapy

Ed visiting Greece last summer
My husband, Eddie, posted on Facebook:
“So the journey continues for Ed. A recent PET Scan has shown the “chemo lite” he has been on for the past few months is not working as it should. The cancer nodes are advancing again in his lungs. Fortunately, the metastasized colorectal cancer has not spread yet beyond the lungs. However, Thursday he will be back on the more virulent chemo he was on for 24 weeks each of the last two years, this time the same combination as in 2015, to see if it works again to reduce the growths. The doctors will monitor closely to see if the advancement is curtailed. If not (and the treatments may not work again even if they did last year), then we will be on to the next stage of treatments. Ed also now has mounting fluid in the lining of his lungs (common for this type of cancer) that is beginning to cause some breathing and coughing issues at times. BUT, the energizer bunny keeps marching forward. He is still working at Stanford, walking 2 miles each way to work, and seeing theatre like a mad man (14 shows and a ballet in JANUARY)! We are hoping he can continue at a close or similar pace for a long time. Keep your good thoughts pumping his way! Thanks for all your continued support!!”

More details: I am about to start my third year and another round of FOLFIRI chemo. I did FOLFOX 2 years ago and I’m dealing with the debilitating side effects of chemo induced peripheral neuropathy. I then went on Panitumumab for a couple of months. That was a mistake; it had no positive effect in preventing tumor growth. Then last year, the chemo combination was changed to FOLFIRI. Meanwhile, complications are starting to pile up. Last summer I had to deal with an anal fissure that I think was caused by constipation. (That’s not counting the anal fistula I had to deal with prior the starting chemotherapy.) This past fall I developed a blood clot in my leg. I was on Coumadin for a couple of months but I couldn’t stabilize the dosage. I am now on Pradaxa. Last week I was told that the coughing and chest pain I was caused by malignant pleural effusion (fluid in the lining of my lungs).

Friday, January 08, 2016

Elvis, Nixon and Ed

January 8th is Elvis’ birthday. He would be 71 today if he hadn’t died in 1977 at 42 years old. Earlier this week I noticed a new Elvis album was release this year. Who knew? The new album is called “If I Can Dream” and it features archival vocal recordings of Elvis accompanied by new orchestral arrangements by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I have listened to several tracks and found them to be very good. Here’s “Steamroller Blues” on Youtube.
Link: https://youtu.be/AN7rzzy8DlQ 

Also out today was a official movie trailer for “Elvis & Nixon” staring Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon. The movie is described as: The untold true story behind the meeting between the King of Rock 'n Roll and President Nixon, resulting in this revealing, yet humorous moment immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.
Link: https://youtu.be/IPz28nKmxf0

Tomorrow is Richard Nixon’s birthday. It is also my birthday too. Yeah, the big 58.

Here is the most requested photo from the National Archives:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Year 2015 in Review

2015 was a challenge for me health wise. It is my second year of trying to manage the return of my cancer. Six years ago I had colorectal cancer that was treated with surgery. It has now spread to my lungs and I am on constant chemotherapy. The chemo treatments are hard and exhausting. The side effects can be debilitating. Just a couple of the side effects I have had are an acne/hive-like spots all over my body, an anal fissure caused by constipation, on going neuropathy (numbness) in my hands and feet, and blood clot in my leg. Despite all these challenges, I have kept busy and active.

I am still working nearly full time at Stanford doing computer support. I walk to and from the university campus when I can, a 2-mile trip.

My husband Eddie and I have had an active social calendar. Here’s a brief recap of the trips we took:
January: Return from a 2-week holiday visit in Fort Lauderdale, FL;
A getaway weekend in San Francisco;
A wine weekend in Healdsburg, CA with friends.
February: A week long LGBT cruise around Cuba.
April: Another getaway weekend in San Francisco.
May: Long weekend in Dallas, TX visiting friends;
Eddie travels to Nashville & Paris, TN for a wedding;
Ed spends the weekend in Santa Cruz, CA with 2 of his kids.
June: Pride weekend in San Francisco.
August: European vacation. Week in Rome, Atlantis Mediterranean cruise: Naples, Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, Bodrum, and Ephesus, 3-days in Istanbul and 4-days in London.
October: long weekend in Sacramento, CA with a visiting friend.
November: Thanksgiving week at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Mendocino, CA.
December: back to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a 2-week holiday.

Throughout the year we visited 34 museums both locally and abroad. While in Italy, Greece and Turkey we trekked around countless archeological sites. We also attended the ballet, SF Giants baseball games and several benefits and fundraisers. We hosted several large diner parties and visiting friends. However, our biggest accomplishment is seeing 144 live theatre and opera productions in 2015. 
While we usually see 80 to 100 shows a year, this has been a record for us. For 131 of the shows, Eddie has written a full review which he posted on Theatre Eddys.  Of those 144, we rated 53 as “5 E” (our top rating), representing 21 different theatre companies.  This year, the most “5 E” ratings went to American Conservatory Theatre and TheatreWorks (5 each), followed closely by San Francisco Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Company (4 each).


Choosing “Top Lists of the Year” is made complicated by so many outstanding productions in a region blessed with so many phenomenal companies of all sizes (over 300 stages in the SF Bay Area).  Skip over to Theatre Eddys for a take on the best of the best for 2015.
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