the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Before Surgery

Last night, we went to the pier to watch the sunset.  It was very calming for Sophia.  The water.  The sky.  The smell in the air.  My mind was playing tricks on me because everything normal was infused with meaning, even the kids who were fishing off the end of the pier.  I was rooting for the fish not to be fooled by the lure.  Why should they be put into unnecessary danger?  I wanted them to swim away.. safely. 

I told Sophia about a new restaurant that opened, a real dive, but with excellent homemade Lebanese/Pakistani food (the female cook is Lebanese and the male owner is Pakistani), so we went there for dinner.   The owners were clearly Muslim, which didn’t stop Sophia from telling them how she lived in Israel and was Jewish, and loved this type of food.    The owners didn’t seem to care what we were, and kept on bringing us free samples to try.  Sophia told the woman that she had surgery tomorrow, and the information brought out the mother in this female cook.  She put some extra spices into the food, saying they are healing, and then promised to pray to Allah for her health.

It is now five in the morning.  I am in the living room.  I slept on the couch.  Sophia is upstairs.  She sleeps better by herself.  I hope she got a good night sleep.  She needs it.  I wish I was upstairs with her.  I’d like to be able to calm her.  Hell, I could use some calming myself. 

Maybe I’ll go back to sleep for another hour.  We don’t have to leave until nine o’clock, but I wanted to clean out the car before we left and do another wash in the laundry.  I have to remember that Sophia can’t drink anything today, even water.  I’m not sure why.  It is very hot in Los Angeles, which sucks, since we don’t have air-conditioning.  Even Griffith Park is burning.

I wish I was upstairs, listening to Sophia breath as she soundly sleeps.  I wish I was upstairs, kissing her, tasting her sweetness. 


  1. Pearl

    Let’s hope that even Allah is listening…

    As that license plate I told you about said: “Abi gezundt”!

  2. RD

    You’ll both be in my thoughts today. I’ll be hoping for good news by day’s end. I imagine it’s got to be a scary day, but you’ve got a lot of people pulling for you in this amazing little cyber community you’ve created! All that positive energy can only do good.

  3. MichelleV

    Blessings to both of you.

  4. Dagny

    That’s great about the cook and the endless samples. I’ll be thinking of y’all throughout the day. I’m sure that everything will turn out fine.

  5. amanda

    good luck. thinking of you with love and sending you all my positive thoughts.

  6. Hilly

    Many calming thoughts and prayers to you both.

  7. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    Dear Neil … having gone through surgery a few months ago I know how hard this is on you as well as Sophia. My poor Footpad was an absolute wreck (especially when the surgery took almost twice as long as predicted). I know it’s going to be a long day for you both and I send my love to each of you. I also had a chat with the big guy upstairs and told him to surround each of you with his loving spirit (and some special healing for Sophia). xx, JP

  8. Margaret

    be of good cheer, you and sophia will be in my thoughts today

  9. V-Grrrl

    Wish you were upstairs with Sophia too.I never sleep alone anymore, even if I just have the cat.


  10. Finn

    Big hug to you, sweetheart, and warm, healing thoughts to Sophia. Hang in there. xoxoxoxox

  11. psychomom

    what v-grrrl said, minus the cat

  12. Kyra

    My thought will be with you!

  13. Sizzle

    thinking of you. i love you guys.

  14. Marilyn

    Considering all the different kinds of folks that are doing the praying… God ought to be listening.

  15. alissa

    You are both in my prayers today.

  16. Rhea

    Sounds like you gave Sophia a very good evening-before-surgery. I will be thinking of both of you.

  17. justrun

    My thoughts are with Sophia and you today. Take care.

    Frequent visitor but infrequent commenter,

  18. Jocelyn

    I am holding you both close in my heart and thoughts.

  19. whoorl

    Praying for you all today.

  20. Non-Highlighted Heather

    My heart is with you.

  21. Noel

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the revitalizing free samples were made from fish freshly-caught near that pier?


  22. Karl

    My thoughts and prayers are with Sophia. And you, too, Neil. Hoping for great news to come out of this.

  23. sarah g

    prayers for both of you. remember, big deep breaths to you Neil!
    if only love were enough to make everyon well, uh?

  24. Atomic Bombshell

    You’re both in my prayers… As always.

  25. Tuck

    Our thoughts and good wishes are with you both.

  26. Abigail

    Thinking of you guys a lot today. This weather is awful and I pray it’s the worst part of today.

  27. Churlita

    This post just broke my heart. Do you know how many women would want the kind of support you provide Sophia? You guys are amazing.

    I’m praying to every deity I can think of for you.

  28. MsMamma

    This is so tender. Thanks for sharing these words. Sending healing thoughts your way.

  29. Alison

    What a sweet post. Thinking of you both today.

  30. nelumbo

    Thinking of you both today. Hope you will keep us updated.

  31. Irina

    Hope the surgery went well!

  32. Danny

    Very moving. Love to both of you today.

  33. Ash

    Hope it went well Neil. Looking forward to reading good news!

  34. N

    You’re both in my thoughts and prayers today… take good care!

  35. Sue

    Neil, Here is a Jewish Healing Blessing…
    A Blessing
    Mi-sheberakh avoteinu v’imoteinu, Avraham v’Sarah, Yitzhak v’Rivkah, Ya’akov, Rachel v’Leah hu y’varekh et (insert names here) v’yavi aleihem refuat hanefesh u’refuat haguf yachad im kol cholei amo Yisrael. Barukh atah Hashem, rofeh ha’cholim.

    May the One who was a source of blessing for our ancestors, bring blessings of healing upon Sophia and Neil, a healing of body and a healing of spirit. May those in whose care they are entrusted be gifted with wisdom and skill, and those who surround them be gifted with love and trust, openness and support in their care. And may they be healed along with all those who are in need. Blessed are You, Source of healing.

  36. shauna

    Y’all are on my mind today. I hope everything goes smoothly.

  37. sandra

    All the best thoughts to you and Sophia today.

  38. Chantel

    Neil & Sophia,
    You are both in my thoughts today. When I first woke up I thought of you two. I remembered meeting you and how excited I was that you and Sophia were so wonderful and fun.

    I’m sending you warm fuzzies from Portland.


  39. Bre

    Oh Neil, this is a really lovely post.

    All my thoughts and prayers are with Sophia while she goes through all of this, I hope they help!

  40. Ariel

    You both were the first thought that popped into my head today, and then I remembered it was my mum’s birthday too!

  41. brettdl

    Good luck.

  42. echo

    I hope it all went well for you and Sophia.

  43. Laurel

    The power of prayer is an amazing thing. God is always listening and His blessings will be with you both. Many many prayers for Sophia’s speedy recovery and good outcome.
    And you, my friend, have been added to the attributes of the what-I-want-my-perfect-guy-to-be list…

  44. Mo

    I’m sending love and gentle, sweet hugs to you and your honey.

  45. Two Roads

    Positive thougths, positive energy, positive results! Hoping all is well.

  46. melanie

    positive thoughts for Sophia. I am glad you two have worked things out.

    yea as to the weather, i am in Santa B. I am worried for So Cal this summer. its gonna be a long one. Don’t lite up anything you don’t have to.

  47. gorillabuns

    praying for everything to work out and that everyone is well emotionally as well as physically.

  48. Mr. Fabulous

    I am ashamed to say I am just now finding out about this. I hope all went well today. Please let us know what is going on as soon as possible…

  49. paintergirl

    you both are in my thoughts today.
    peace and love

  50. Otir

    (recording from Beged Kefet)

  51. Neil

    We just got back and Sophia is sleeping downstairs. Things seemed to go well. We’ll know more soon. Sophia even took photos of the surgeon and nurses with her cellphone and told them they’re going to be on my blog. Now that’s a good PR agent. More hits!

    She couldn’t wear Tamar’s bracelet during surgery, so I attached it to my belt while I waited.

  52. Long Story Longer

    So glad for an update, and still sending lots of good thoughts.

  53. plain jane

    You are a lovely person. I am glad Sophia is back home. Through your post I can feel the love…you are both blessed.

  54. Erin

    * sending good thoughts *

    (and pacing worriedly)

    I hope you guys are doing okay. *hugs*

  55. CiCi

    Many thoughts & good wishes from here in the South. Don’t let Sophia try to do too much too soon when she gets home. Stock up on the comfort food, magazines, and puzzle books. You both will benefit.

  56. Caron

    I bet it’s good to be home. Here’s to restful, healing sleep with all your favorite dream characters.

  57. Lisa

    Hope it’s not too late to send my well wishes and positive vibes.

  58. femme d'espoir

    thinking of you both.

  59. Sarah

    This made me cry…such sweet and loving words.
    Glad to see an update from you in the comments…been checking and checking for a post-surgery report.
    You are both in my thoughts and prayers, still.

  60. dan-E

    hey neil, hang in there. my happiest thought out to you and sophia. i’m fully expecting you to write some amusing anecdote about the waiting room and the odd smells from there once this is over.

    just don’t be knockin’ fish tacos.

  61. mckay

    poignant. heartfelt.


    you should get twin beds, pushed together so you can be together yet on separate beds. it really works. take it from someone who’s been a part of a cancer journey.

    neil, anytime you need to talk about having a loved one go through this cancer thing, give a shout.

    sophia, my prayers are with you…i pray God grants you healing and a peaceful heart.


  62. Sleepydog


    To you and especially your beloved Sophia. My thoughts and prayers.
    Be well, both of you, and my most fervent wishes for Sophia to to be well.
    All in all is all we are.
    All in all is all we are.
    All in all is all we are.
    Sophia, may angel’s wings guide you to safety.

  63. Brandon

    The whole Down With Pants! crew is rooting and thinking of you guys.

  64. susannah

    thinking of you both today and sending love xxo

  65. better safe than sorry

    i’m praying that everything went well and that god (whoevers is listening) hears what all of us are saying.

  66. Geeky Tai-Tai

    Karl sent me over here. I’m glad that the surgery went ok. You and Sophia are in my thoughts and prayers. Much love to you both.

  67. Geeky Tai-Tai

    Karl “sent” me over here (he’s an angel in disguise). I’m glad that the surgery went ok. Both of you are in my thoughts and prayers. Much love to you.

  68. Ariel

    Glad it went well. Love you to both from old Europe…

  69. Elizabeth

    The love you feel for Sophia is tangible…I can feel it even through the page on the computer. The surgery will go well, and will heal more than just her body.

  70. Not Fainthearted

    prayers (and tears) for you both. I’m glad things are looking good so far.

    May you find peace in the midst of this.

  71. sue

    I came by way of Sizzle… Prayers go with you today.

  72. Jocelyn

    I’m so happy to hear that the surgery went well and Sophia is home.

    {{big hugs to you both}}

  73. mrsatroxi

    I am sending the very best wishes and good thoughts for Sophia and also for you.

    (I’ve been on vacation, and on a self-imposed site-reading hiatus, so I missed everything you’ve posted recently.
    I know you don’t care about that. I’m just trying to say I’m sorry.)

    Hugs for you both.

  74. Jennifer

    This post made me cry, but in a really good way. I’m adding all my good vibes to the vast goodness of the internet’s good vibes coming toward Sophia and yourself. Take good care.

  75. Dustin

    Sophia is in my thoughts and so are you.

    Prayers for quick healing.

  76. Roberta

    I’ll light a candle.

  77. Sara

    I hope it was benign. If it wasn’t benign, I hope they got it all, and that it doesn’t come back.

    Either way, I wish Sophia good drugs and an easy healing process.

  78. Pearl

    Neil, Sophia should not only be your “Blog Crush of the Day,” but should be listed as your “Blog Crush of Every Day of Every Year!”

  79. stepping over the junk

    A sweet sweet post. My thoughts are with you both!

  80. Scarlet

    I am confident things are fine. This was beyond sweet. It said a lot:)

  81. Irina

    Hey, hope everything’s ok. Waiting impatiently for an update!

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