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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year or Not!

Photographer: jscreationzs

2010 was not a good year for me and perhaps that’s why I’m hesitant to celebrate 2011. I was invited to go out tonight but decided not to go. And to be honest, I have no energy left in me from the running around I do all day, everyday. Tonight, I just want to sit next to my heater, drink my hot Chamomile tea and do absolutely nothing. I know I sound like an old lady but life threw me too many curves this year and truly wore me out.

Nothing turned out the way I wanted and many events took place which were beyond my control. Every time something happened, someone would say, “sorry but it’s not my fault.” And my answer was, "yes, it was not your fault, but somehow I’m always the one paying for all the mistakes others make." At times, I want to pack up and take off without leaving a trace behind – somewhere where no one knows me so that I can do what I want without all the constant interruptions.

The phone in my house rings often and I know that my friends and family mean well and want to see how I’m doing, but there are times when I just don’t feel like talking. I want to go to bed, pull the covers over my head and never wake up. But I can’t do that; can I? I have endless responsibilities and as one ends, another begins. Does life ever get easier? What’s the purpose to all this? What lessons am I to learn? Are some of the questions I ask myself and have not yet found the answers. So, with that note, I will leave 2010 tonight and wake up in an uncertain 2011. I just hope that it will be better than 2010.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thank goodness for dreams because without them, life would be boring

Photographer: Simon Howden

I haven’t written anything in a longtime. I feel completely blocked and unmotivated. Although I do like cooler temperatures, this time of year isn’t one of my favorites. The days are shorter and the nights long. At 5:00 p.m. it feels like it’s time for bed. Perhaps I’m spoiled because I grew up in L.A – mild temperatures and lots of sunshine. In college, I used to take my accounting book to the beach; my roommate would bring along her business law book. We’d sip on ice tea and get a tan while doing our homework.

Why am I babbling away about this? I don’t know. I’m just in a weird space. It’s been dark and cloudy for the past three days. It finally rained a bit today and I feel nostalgic. I try not to think about the past because I cannot change it and I try not to think about the future because it hasn’t yet arrived. All I have is the present but sometimes when I’m not content with the present, my mind starts to travel back or leap forward.

Today for some odd reason or another, I feel a deep emptiness. I try hard to shake it but it doesn’t want to go away. I can’t really explain it. It’s just how I feel. I guess I need a vacation – at least a week away from everything where I can visit museums, inhale a new city and culture and have no responsibilities. Ahhh…that would be so great. Okay, so I just leaped to the future, thinking about all the possibilities of where I’d go and who I would go with…

Thank goodness for dreams because without them, life would be boring.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Taking care of Mom

Photography by: Simon Howden

It’s cool and dreary outside. I have a perfect view of a green shrubbery and the breeze that rocks the ferns. My mom just spilled carrot juice all over the walls and the beige carpet in her bedroom. I can hear her talking to the housekeeper from my home office. She keeps apologizing to Aide – Sorry, I don’t know what happened. Aide says, “It’s okay,” but the expression on her face earlier as she passed by my office with a bucket of soap and water, brush and towels, told me otherwise. You see, carrot juice is nearly impossible to get out. I should know. My white shirts have many orange spots from all the juices I have made my mother since I’ve been back from the hospital.

After weeks of coming back from the Gerson Institute and spending many sleepless nights, I was finally able to find part-time help. Taking care of a cancer patient is really tough. Sometimes I want to give-up but I know that I can’t. My family has been helping me a little. You’d be amazed how much that little bit helps. If I didn’t have that, I would for sure go completely crazy. And my friends have been great. They have been calling me just to chat and to keep me sane. We’ve been out a few times for dinner.

Ever since my mom has gotten sick, my days have become monotonous. I get up before Dawn, prepare her coffee and tea enema, make her apple juice, fix an oatmeal breakfast, wake my mom up and go take a shower. I would give anything for a day when I could just sleep in or for a day when I have absolutely nothing to do except to take a day trip to San Diego or Santa Barbara. For now those days are gone. So I try to look at things from a positive angle in order to prevent myself from falling into depression.

On the positive side, after all the efforts that I have put in, my mom’s health has improved tremendously. We’re both eating healthier and I have gained knowledge about how to prevent diseases. In fact, the information I have learned is going to help me with my third book.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Gerson Institute

Photograph by: jscreationzs

I spent three weeks with my mom at The Gerson Institute in Mexico. Our experiences have been amazing and hard to explain in one blog post. But because all that I have learned will be helpful to many with cancer and other diseases, I'll give a short version for now. We learned that cancer is curable without drugs, chemo or surgery. In fact, the majority of diseases are curable without putting unnecessary chemicals in your body. My mom’s cancer therapy has been intense physically, psychologically and emotionally. Before agreeing to accompany my mother there, I had no idea about the many difficulties and obstacles I would face. I just thought it’s simply a nutritional therapy. How difficult can that possibly be? Boy, was I wrong!

Saying that the Gerson therapy is labor intensive would be an understatement. On the positive side, they have a 100% success rate as long you follow their program, never modify it and do exactly as they tell you. Before going to Gerson, my brother did a lot of research regarding their program and forwarded his findings to me. After watching documentary after documentary of recovering patients, I soon became convinced that their program works. Up to date, I have seen slow and steady improvements in my mom’s health.

The toughest part about coming back home has been dealing with doctors who don’t understand the Gerson program and make every possible effort to force you to do things their way. Even some friends and family members criticize you. I just tell them to do their own research about Gerson, and then come and talk to me. But they continue to offer their unwanted advice because they’re either too lazy to learn, or because they have been brain washed by the faulty information fed to them their entire lives.

If any of you are interested in learning more about how to survive cancer and other diseases without chemicals and surgery, you may visit I’m planning to continue blogging when possible. As most of you know, I’m still taking care of my mom and my time is very limited. So, Please be patient with me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Terminal Cancer

My mom has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I hope that the doctors are wrong. I’m going to be spending the majority of my time with my mother and my family. So I will not be posting anything on my website, blog, twitter or facebook. I’m eventually planning to come back, but as of right now I do not know when. Thank you everyone for your support and friendship. All my best to all of you for good health and happiness.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Mom and Me

One of the hardest things in life is to watch parents turn into children as they age. My Mom’s health is deteriorating and there’s no one in my family who wants to take care of her except me. Oh, there are one or two friends and family who offer their few hours of temporary help but they have no idea what it takes to take care of my mom. If they knew, they would run like hell. You see, my mother doesn’t like anybody except me which is a curse at times. She is one of the most impossible people I have ever known but I cannot give-up on her because she was always there for me, because I do not abandon my responsibilities and because I love her – after all, she is my mom. Unfortunately though, I cannot plan anything. I just go from moment to moment. My days turn into nights and my nights into days as my life moves forward toward no direction.

And I wouldn’t mind all this so much if she didn’t complain 24/7, cooperated and did what the doctors told her. But she fights everything and at times, I’m truly too exhausted to do much else. I do not know for how long this will continue. Everyday I hope that things would get better so that I could get some normalcy in my life.

Outsiders do not understand as they ask why aren’t you on twitter or facebook, why aren’t you working on a new book or why did you get back to me so late? It’s difficult to explain my mom to anyone. Only those who have known her for years such as my father who is also extremely difficult in a different way than mom knows what she’ like. I’m not trying to make excuses but this is my reality. I haven’t the foggiest clue about how things will turn out. For now, I’m just doing the best that I can. And if you ask what is one of the most important things to me this very minute, I’d have to say, please life, do not let me turn out like mom and dad when I get old. But you know what they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And perhaps that’s one of the biggest fears I have – picking up all the bad habits of my parents once I reach their age. Although I have told all my friends, if I ever pick up my parents’ insufferable behaviors, just shoot me :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Review of The Sitting Swing

This weekend I finished reading The Sitting Swing which I liked very much. Here are some thoughts and reflection on the book:

Each one of us is shaped by our past – our strengths and our weaknesses, our likes and dislikes, our attitudes and our indifference toward life. This in turn impacts our present and future. Of course, there is a way to rewrite it all and to reprogram ourselves. In Irene Watson’s Memoir, The Sitting Swing, Irene searches for her identity and her purpose in life.

Her journey starts at a center for people with addiction and co-dependence and as she evolves for the next 28 days, the reader learns about her difficult childhood years, her strange controlling mother, her cool indifferent father and her extended family and cousins who mistreat her. Along the way, Irene makes a great friend named Margie who looks out for her, is supportive and helps her survive a life in a small community where everyone is in everyone’s business. Years later, as she loses touch with Margie, Irene meets yet another wonderful friend named Jean who helps her in her search to find herself. Ms. Watson learns that there is an entire world out there, different than the world she has known and different than the world she has envisioned.

What I enjoyed most about The Sitting Swing was that the writer wants to help readers see that they too can change their lives by asking the hard questions, who am I? What is it that I want? How has negative past events influenced me? And how can I make the small everyday changes in order to live a more fulfilled life. And although the story ends with references to “God” and “The Higher Power” which may not be palatable to those who are not religious, I still do believe that even they can benefit from this book by learning how to analyze their situation in life, by looking within and by being honest with their answers in order to figure out their own path.

I highly recommend The Sitting Swing. The story moves along smoothly, the characters are vivid and the plot interesting. Irene weaves her past and her present in a tale that is sure to touch everyone.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Malware: Trojans and virus and why I love them

Photography by: Salvatore Vuono

Yesterday morning after I turned on my PC and waited patiently for my files to load, you sent me a present – colorful lines vibrating up and down my monitor, making me think I had lost all my files and that my system had crashed. Now had you done this to me five years ago, I may have panicked and rushed to the idiots who work for large computer chains who don’t know their left hand from their right but oooopsssss you didn’t do this to me five years ago, you did this yesterday and in fact you have been doing this to me consistently ever since I signed up for twitter.

What’s the matter with you cowards? Are you afraid that I seek the truth and post it online? You and I both know major news is controlled by big $$$$$ and the amount of misinformation fed to the unassuming public is horrendous. Luckily, I know when you’re trying to feed me junky bias information. And every time, you try to break me, I come out that much stronger. So baby, you’re wasting your time.

Once I learn all the ways to protect myself while online, I will pass it on to all my friends. So, thanks. Thank you so much. Because you see, I am a procrastinator by nature and often let things slip by but I love it when you aggravate me and light up the fire that pushes me to crush all your lies. In fact, I’ve been procrastinating about posting on my blog for some time and you dear friend, inspired me to write about this. Much love and thanks to you. Kiss Kiss :)))

And to anyone reading this, here is a few suggestions until I can think up of more ways to beat these hackers whose brains are smaller than a green pea!

  1. Don’t be lazy like me and back up your files everyday.
  2. Make sure you have several copies of your files stashed in various places and not just in your home, especially if you’re an activist.
  3. Save your money to purchase more PC/Laptops. It sounds like a waste but it’s not. Even if you buy extra used ones, it’s good to have them around, especially if your work depends on it.
  4. Change your passwords frequently. And put passwords on your important documents. Sure they can hack it anyway, but why let them get by so easily. Make them sweat and work for it.
  5. Have a bunch of anti-virus, Trojan and spyware detectors because if one program misses the problem, the other one will catch it.
  6. Have lots of friends so that you can all help each other out. Because there’s always a friend who knows someone who knows someone who can help.
  7. Never ever panic. Be like a hacker when your system doesn’t work. Think and don’t be afraid to try different things. Remember, a hacker was never born a hacker. He/she kept playing around with their PC to learn the ropes.
  8. Oh and once you proudly fix the problem, give your hacker the finger because it feels so mmmm good!

Am I a computer expert? Absolutely not. I’m just like the rest of you but I never ever give-up and I be dammed if I’m going to let the idiots who hack me, beat me. I always ask a lot of questions, watch to see how others do it, read anything I can get my hands on and never let anyone tell me what I’m capable or not capable of doing. Trust me, hackers are not that smart, they’re just malicious. Always stay calm in any situation and your brain will figure out a way to beat them at their own game.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Farewell to Jorge Mester

My friend and I had dinner at a great café in Echo Park before attending a Symphony at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The surprise of the evening came when Jorge Mester announced that he was retiring and the performance we were attending was his last. It saddened me to see such a talented man retire. I must admit that I don’t know much about music, and basically listen to what I like. I don’t really care if something is popular or not, and I have never been one to follow trends. But to me, Jorge Mester has always been an amazing man. The first time I listened to him conduct a piano concerto, I knew how lucky I was to be in the presence of such a wonderful, energetic person with a great sense of humor and a deep passion for his work. As his orchestra followed his leadership, the music created touched me to the core.

On his last night, Jennifer Frautschi played the violin flawlessly, and later came back out after an standing ovation to talk to the crowd about her wonderful experiences as a child and how Mr. Mester had never given up on her and had kept inviting her back as she improved after each performance.

For me, it was tough to see Jorge Mester go as his colleagues showered him with flowers, champagne and gifts. But it was even tougher for his orchestra to say farewell as one of the performers read a letter addressed to him out loud with teary eyes and a lump in her voice. Yes, indeed the Pasadena Symphony will never be the same without him. The next conductor who replaces Jorge Mester will have to fill up a pretty big pair of shoes. I do not envy him or her. Here are some pictures of the memorable night.

We started at Masa, a bakery and café in Echo Park with great panini sandwiches and pizzas and a warm ambiance.

It’s still early and not all tables are filled. If you plan to go there, get there early or expect to wait a long time!

Their speciality: chocolate Bread pudding not to be missed because no other place makes it like here. Sorry, this picture doesn’t do it justice. The taste is absolutely extraordinary.

We left stuffed. This is the pix of the outside – low key but absolutely one of my favorite places.

We arrived at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a beautiful piece of architecture with many intricate details which my old cell phone fails to capture.

Inside the auditorium, doors open, inviting the guests in. A raffle was going on for a Harry Winston watch. I almost bought a ticket but the cost of the raffle, a whopping $100 bucks, stopped me. I’m not a gambler nor do I need a $27,000 watch. If the ticket was $20, I may have bought one. And if I had won, I would've sold the watch and used a portion of the money to help out a friend of mine whose been having some bad luck and has been in a really terrible mood lately.

A blurry photo of the ceiling. You would think I would be able to take a good picture of something that’s not moving but then again I never said I was good at photography :)

Inside the Auditorium, getting ready to perform

The spunky Jorge Mester conducting

Flowers and gifts for Jorge Mester

Hugs and farewells…ahhh…so sad…

The Crowd leaving. There were young people there as well, even though my camera manages to capture mostly the mature audience.

People hanging in the lobby and a long bathroom line for the ladies at the end of the hall.

We’re outside and off to our car.

No limo for us! But they were picking up a group. I think there was a prom going on in the building behind the limo because when we first arrived, girls were dressed in sexy gowns and boys in their suits. So cute!

And the end...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Me Generation

Photographer: Salvatore Vuono

If you’re going to have a heart attack, don’t do it while walking in LA. Of course this is a ridiculous statement because no one “plans” on having a heart attack. But the reality of it is that Angelenos living on the Westside don’t give a s--- about anyone except themselves, their looks, money, clothes and their cars.

So, why am I so cynical? May be because I’m upset about what happened on Mother’s day. Unlike the importance of Mother’s Day to so many, for me it’s meaningless because I have to take care of my mom everyday and I have to put in 100 times more of an effort caring for her than the average person. Nevertheless, I did take out my mom to a brunch and bought her gifts. Unfortunately on the way back, my car went dead on a busy street. I put on my hazard lights and tried to call AAA but all I got was a recording that said wait. Cars passed by and went around me but no one offered to help. One man offered his help but the cars behind him all started honking their loud horns, so he gave up and left.

I put my car in neutral and started pushing it to get it out of the way, but wasn’t successful because I needed someone to steer. My mom couldn’t help because she’s not in the best of health. The Police finally arrived. He wasn’t all that bright. He was tall and bony. I was staring at him thinking if I can easily punch this guy and knock him down, what would a criminal do to him? Honestly, why would the police department hire someone so inept?

Anyhow, he wanted to impound my car. I wanted to yell, “you idiot” but knew very well that I couldn’t. “My car is a stick shift and I just need help to get it out of the way.”

He says, “It doesn’t matter. I have to have it towed to one of our places. You’re blocking traffic on a busy street.”

Daahhh…you think? I wanted to say. “I just need someone to steer or push my car so that I can move it out of the way of traffic.

He looks at me dumfounded and says, “You want me to push your car?”

I wanted to be sarcastic and say, “Yes, that’s the idea you moron!!” But instead I just nodded and he starts pushing my car before I had a chance to sit in it and steer. I run after the car, jump in and the idiot yelled brake…brake. I ignored his stupid comment as I steered my car onto a side street and park in a 2 hour parking zone.

The idiot came by and said, “Oh, I see what you were doing. You wanted to park here?” All I could manage was a simple “yes,” because what do you say to a scarecrow? I mean if you were blocking traffic and had a stick shift, what would be the first thing that come to your mind? Get the f---- out of the way; right?

Anyway, to make a very long day short, I was never able to get ahold of AAA who has no problem charging me their yearly dues but fails to provide a service. Luckily, I was near a hotel and ended up abandoning my car and taking a taxi home. The police department threatened to impound my car if I didn’t move it come morning. Helpful; aren’t they?

By midnight I had managed to take care of everything myself, but I was so stressed out that the next day I woke up with a migraine and was sick all day, not because of all the car problems but because of lack of compassion in people. I have always been very independent, and where most people disappear at the first hint of problems, I have taken on many responsibilities. So, I’m not one of those damsels in stress, but I can’t help but compare the way I treat strangers and the way they treat me. Granted, there are good people in this world but they are a rare breed. As each day passes us by, we are moving toward a more callous and unfeeling society.

I was reading an article the other day about this Good Samaritan in New York who noticed a man attacking a woman. He went to her rescue. The attacker stabbed him in the torso with a knife and took off. After chasing his assailant, the man collapses to the ground as pedestrians walked on by, watching him lay in a pool of blood. The woman he had helped save had abandoned him as well. An hour passed by and no one lifted a finger to help until someone decided to call 911. By the time the Good Samaritan got help, he was dead. So, are people just “indifferent” or is that thought process too simplified?

I believe that we are all trapped in The Me Generation. What’s in it for me…me…me…me. There’s no sense of responsibility whatsoever. I mean the younger generation yells, save the environment, go green or save the economy or help change politics but the bottom line is many are only worried about their own pockets and futures. And it is true that people are all busy running around and don’t have a lot of time to assist everybody but there are many times when they do have the time but they don’t help.

My car broke down on a Sunday – a day when the sun was shinning brightly and people were more relaxed and had the time to help. They all saw me pushing my car by myself and not one pedestrian or one driver came by to say, “here, let me help push it with you or at least say “here, I will steer and you push.” Lucky for me, the incident wasn’t that grave and I was able to take care of it myself. But what if something much more serious had happened like what happened to that Good Samaritan from New York? Would anyone reach out to help? I doubt it. I have helped many on the streets of Los Angeles and during my travels while others casually looked over and passed on by. Which brings me to my first point: If you’re going to have a heart attack, don’t do it while walking in LA or perhaps anywhere else in a big city because nobody gives a s---.