A blog is like a garden, a beautiful thing as long it is properly tended, a disaster if you let it get out of hand. Mine is so overgrown with weeds that it’s hard to find the flowers. An update is in order.

Tabla For Two, recorded live in late August.

In May, I had both knees replaced. I had been suffering from arthritis for over a decade, making it hard to walk very far or stand for extended periods. Since a lot of what I do involves hauling equipment around and standing on a stage or behind a tripod, it was high time. I turned 65 in April and scheduled the surgery as soon as the Medicare paperwork went through — much better coverage than the skimpy health plan I had before.

I went through the surgery and the weeks of physical therapy that follows (the success or failure of this surgery depends a lot on how aggressively you follow up). Sometime during the therapy, I noticed a pain in my lower abdomen. It felt like a cracked rib, but in an area where there aren’t any ribs. I thought, maybe a pulled muscle; I thought, maybe a hernia. Finally my doctor ordered a CT scan, and it found a solid mass on my right kidney.

Right there is a lesson. When you get to my age, you have to pay attention to aches and pains that won’t go away. Having already quit smoking (1996) and drinking (2008), I thought I was on the path of righteousness, but arthritis pain gradually killed off my interest in physical activity, and I gained a lot of weight.

Anyway, long story short, I will be going into the hospital Oct. 20 to have a kidney removed. Kidney tumors don’t respond to medication and mine is just big enough to warrant removal of the whole organ. Some 80% of solid masses on kidneys are malignant, so we’re assuming that this one is. After this I will have to pay a lot more attention to diet and exercise, since people with one kidney have a propensity for diabetes that has to be brought under control. But I have a closet full of nice clothes that used to fit, so my reward is built in.

I have continued to work on some exciting projects. My documentary Don’t Give Up Your Day Job has been on the back burner, though I’ve been collecting some great material and intend to begin editing over the long Erie, PA, winter. A program on visual artists for public broadcaster WQLN-TV, funded in part by Erie Arts and Culture, is on track for completion by the end of the year. I’m also working on a documentary/art film called 1000 with poet and community activist Abdullah “Bigg Wash” Washington, and I’m starting to collect footage for my next full-length music documentary about improvisational and experimental musicians.

So, God willing and the creeks don’t rise, you should be seeing some new and exciting work from Tom Weber Films in 2017. Thanks for your support!