Tuesday, June 14, 2016

6/14/16-Santa Barbara (4/15/16-4/18/16)

Dawn Patrol Bistro

We finally made it to see my long-time friend, Tracy. It is not an exaggeration for me to say that this was one of the best weekends of my life. Can you tell by the smile on my face in that first pic?

Here’s my beautiful friend, Tracy, at her front gate. She is holding Johnny’s dog, Buster, and you can see her dog, Annabelle, behind the gate as well as my Nonni and Bentley.

Colvin and Johnny, Tracy’s boyfriend, got along famously. Tracy and I joked that they were brothers of a different mother.

Tracy and I talked and talked and talked – even at the Farmer’s Market. We had a lot of years to catch up on, and just couldn’t get enough.

I had my first wheat grass shooter with an orange chaser.

And everywhere you look there is something interesting to see in Santa Barbara.

You really need to zoom in to appreciate the art work on this next house. Wow. Can you find the mailbox?

I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk when I saw the house in this next pic because the cat in the window looks just like Miss Hope!

Even the dogs had fun!

Here’s Annabelle trying to prove she’s just your normal, typical lap dog. Love, love, love!

Tracy took us for a drive on Saturday after we went to the Farmers Market. It was a great day.

We toured Coast Village Road and the lower village of Montecito which is sophisticated and charming. We took a beautiful road that passed an entrance to Miss Winfrey’s place, and we barely missed the hours for LotusLand, a non-profit botanical garden on the historic estate of Madame Ganna Walska.

We drove more beautiful roads that led to an amazing view of the Channel Islands which are known as the Galapagos Islands of North America with some of the best whale-watching in the world. In the pic I took (3rd in the next trio) I think you can see 2 of the 8 islands, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa.

We ate at one of Tracy’s favorite taco stands, La Super Rica Taqueria. It is a fav of many, including the late, great Julia Child.

Food - handmade and organic. Check - shorthand.

We went out on the town that night and had a GREAT time. We went to The Palms in Carpenteria. I can practically taste the steak just writing about it! It was fun because you get to cook the steak yourself. Johnny and Colvin did a great job. Here’s a pic of them at the spice bar waiting in line for the grill. I think Tracy added a pinch or two of her own spice. ;))

The next day Colvin and I chilled at the beach for awhile.

In the pic above we’re standing below Stearns Wharf. According to stearnswharf.org, “it was completed in 1872 and was the longest deep-water Wharf between San Pedro and San Francisco. It was named for its builder and local lumberman, John P. Stearns. It served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California’s South Coast for over a quarter century.” You can click (here) to read more history. Today the pier is SB’s main tourist attraction with many shops and restaurants. We walked it one evening. That was quite an experience – the moon, the docked boats, the ocean breeze and waves, the people, the stores and the aromas made for a very memorable and wonderful time. I was mesmerized. And I was amazed at all the cars driving and parking on this pier! Kudos Mr. Stearns!

Johnny, chef extraordinaire, cooked dinner for us one night at his house. According to the next pic, we wore him, Buster and Bella out! LOL.

Our time in SB ended much too quickly. Here’s Colvin planning the next leg of our trip. Tracy, always the perfect hostess, served him cold coconut water in a fresh coconut.

We love you Tracy and Johnny!! I miss you more than words can say.


I was embarrassed that on our last night there, at Johnny’s, in the middle of his exquisite dinner, I had a seizure. There was nothing I could do about it. Try as I may, when I do too much, or subject myself to too much noise for too long, I seem to always have symptoms.  And, evidently, it doesn’t matter how great of a time I’m having because I couldn’t have been happier or have had more fun. Yet, I still found myself on Johnny’s couch writhing in pain. I was blessed to be with loving, wonderful friends that were so patient and caring with me. I remember it felt good when Colvin held my head and Tracy tended to me and covered me up, but that’s all I remember after leaving the table. I don’t remember how long I was on the couch, or leaving the couch, or them taking me back to my van. But I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and I felt better, and Colvin was holding me. I looked up and saw the batch of fresh lavender that Tracy had hung over my bed and I was wearing a fabulous necklace that Colvin told me she had given me. I wear it pretty much all the time now. Thank you, Tracy. I love you guys. Thank you – for everything. XOXO

I’ve been told before by people that mean well that I don’t look like I have a brain injury. I suppose, in many ways, I have what is known as an “invisible disability.” So, with some insecurity, I share the following pic. I share it because I’ve met several people out here on the road with brain injuries and I’ve noticed that we tend to hide when we’re not doing well. You might recall that I’m trying to be authentic – all of me, not just the shiny pieces. So, I share. I think it shows in this picture, better than I can explain with words, just how hard the seizures are on me. This one was taken the morning after a seizure. Evidently, after that seizure, I have now lost vision in the lower left quadrant of my left eye.

Within hours or sometimes a few days, all apparent evidence is gone of my struggles. That may change some day, and my faculties may not fully return, but today, as is always true - all my needs are met. KOKO!


Also attending Johnny’s dinner party that night was our friend, Jennifer Vasilakos. I share her story here to raise awareness. Jenny had complete kidney failure 5 years ago and undergoes dialysis EVERY day, 11-12 hours a day. She needs a kidney! Now!

If you are reading this, please look at her website and share it on your social media pages. Or, if you can't do that - give her a kidney - whichever you prefer. Thank you.

Jen’s website: “Share theSearch

FB Profile Pic


  1. You are so right about the "invisible disability" issue with brain injury. You have been such an inspiration to me these past few days. It was worth the trip here just to meet you :)

  2. I am humbled by you, Robert. Thank you. And thank you too for sharing your TBI story with me. It helps to know that I'm not crazy or alone in the changes I am going through. Folks, if you want to read an informative, interesting and helpful blog, written by a great writer, go here: http://robertwitham.com


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