Saturday, December 31, 2011


My neurotic self seems to fully activate at the end of the year when I frantically ensure that nothing from the current year rolls over into the new one. For example, I spent most of last night editing photos from my December portrait sessions and cramming them onto my photography blog. I HAD to get them posted before 2012. This morning I got the haircut I sorely needed after three months of growth. I've always cut my "old" hair before the new year. 

But after pausing in my neurotic whirlwind of busyness I remembered to inhale then exhale. The practice of breathing is something I need to incorporate in 2012 since I tend to hold my breath when I'm stressed, agitated, frustrated, depressed, anxious, and tense. For most of 2011 I was all of the above and more. My lack of oxygen perpetuated my unremitting striving, longing, and restlessness always looking for more of what life offered. When I took the photo above it resonated so loudly within me because I related to that woman. I felt the constraints around her and the yearning in her body language spoke to my own. The yearning for whatever it is I sense that there has to be more than what this world can give me. I've felt like a caged bird with clipped wings having no freedom to be herself. Because of my restlessness I turned bitter and sour speaking words of negativity on every aspect of my life. But that was the old me. In less than two hours the world will herald the arrival of the new year and I will discard the muted version of myself that permeated 2011. 

In 2012, I will cease in "functioning in my dysfunction" and "I will believe that my time is yet to come and the Creator of the universe is lining things up in my favor: the right people, the right breaks, the right opportunities. (Thanks Joel Osteen for that valuable nugget.) I will choose faith over fear and stop seeking, striving, longing, and yearning when I know HE has my back. Instead of sour patch candy type words pursing my lips I will boldly speak faith-filled and positive words over every facet of my life. I will simply trust in God's plan for me. 

Out with the old and in with the new. Happy New Year to all of you! May we all OWN 2012! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Rylee Speak | Part 1


I've kept a journal for Rylee ever since she was born and it's where I write the things she's done, her progress, how she makes me laugh, what I've learned from her, etc. I plan on giving it to her on her 16th birthday but the journal is never accessible when I need it and time robs me of completing a journal entry. So I have decided to document the things that come out of her mouth on my blog to preserve her innocence forever. I, of all people, know too well how quickly those teenage years taint the purity of childhood and with Rylee I try to savor every moment of being a grandmother.

Yesterday she accompanied me to my doctor appointment because we lacked babysitters. Before we left for my doctor appointment we had a conversation.

 Rylee: I will call Mama "grandma" because she's a grandma.
Me: Right, but she's not YOUR grandma, I'm your grandma. She's your great-grandma.
Rylee: (indignant) I know that but she's an old lady so she's a grandma!
Me: But I'm an old lady too.
Rylee: (exasperated and rolling her eyes) You're not an old lady! Mama's an old lady. You're a real lady! You're not pickly! (giggles)

On the drive to my appointment I made her promise to keep quiet when we were in the room and not to interrupt my doctor, run around, or speak loudly. Things were going smoothly. She was whispering when she spoke and sat patiently. But I knew it was going to be short-lived.

Dr. P: So what's up with your shoulder, why the pain? Did you lift something very heavy that you weren't supposed to?
Me: (shaking my head) Ummm...nooooo. Nope.
Rylee: (whispering loudly) Uhhh-huuhhh Gramma Nette, remember when you were carrying me and you fell and we were at Papa Romie's house and you were wearing your high heels?!
Me: (Bug-eyed) (Gritting my teeth) Shhh!
Dr. P: (smiling knowingly)

After my doctor appointment she was in her carseat talking a mile a minute. She proceeded to tell me what she wanted for her birthday.

 Rylee: I want Miracle Socks for my birthday, Gramma.
Me: Huh?! Miracle Socks? What's that?
Rylee: (Caressing her legs) They're socks that massage my feet. I want them.
Me: (dumbfounded)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Focus On Blessings

Last week I exchanged e-mails with my good friend and lamented on my mental and emotional state. "Bean! How could I love God so much and be so unhappy and miserable!?" That night I went to bible study and knew I was done for when the pastor said, "Tonight we are going to talk about how to be happy." It was then that I realized I've been focusing on what I DON'T have, what I can't afford, the gifts I can't buy for my family, how my aunt had a massive stroke and our annual family Christmas party was canceled, how utterly despondent I am at my job, how lame it is that I'm still living with my parents, and my woe-is-me list goes on. 

Why is it so difficult for me to be positive and acknowledge my blessings? Why does it have to take a monumental effort on my part to wake up every morning and be grateful for: 

  • the fact that my dad is still alive when we were so sure he wasn't going to make it this Christmas. 
  • my parents' house that is providing a roof over my head. 
  • my aunt's progress and recovery despite the massive stroke she had. 
  • my kids' and grandchild's health.
  • Ray, who seriously needs an award for having the courage to do life with ME.
  • a job that's paying my bills.
On Christmas eve I looked around at my family and was simply grateful for their presence. With my brother, his wife and 5 kids, my sister, my kids, Rylee, Ray, and John it was a full house replete with joyful noise. We had a tough year but we are resilient. Although times were difficult there were many golden moments in our lives and I NEED TO FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS on them. It really isn't about the amount of presents that surround the Christmas tree but the love of family that surrounds US. And I am grateful for the crazy people I call "family". 

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Mother's Pride

When I had kids I vowed never to impose the standard Filipino expectations on them to follow a career in the medical field. In the deep recesses of my heart I knew I didn't have it in me to be a nurse so I compromised with my parents and ventured into the pharmacy field. It wasn't my calling; nor was it a passion. It was a necessity.

Imagine my surprise five years ago when my oldest daughter, Maricelle, announced that she was accepted into San Diego State University and was pursuing a career in nursing. More power to her, I thought. I looked forward to her leaving home for college because it would give us a much-awaited respite from each other. Her four years in high school were tumultuous ones with each of us viewing the other as an annoyance. But I was secretly shocked when I felt the gnawing pain of impending loss after we dropped her off at her first apartment adjacent to the SDSU campus. For two weeks afterward I was a depressed, miserable mess and it was a revealing time for me as a mom: I wasn't the hard a$$ I thought I was and missed her terribly.

Last week, Maricelle graduated from the SDSU nursing program and the magnitude of my pride in her is inexpressible. The last 5 years have consisted of many tear-filled, anxiety-ridden, emotionally-charged phone calls from her at any time of day (or night). I've watched her maturity slowly unfold like the delicate petals of a rosebud. She would describe her experiences during nursing rotations and internships while I made sure my impulse to gag/vomit wasn't blatantly obvious. I received many requests to proofread essays, letters, and speeches. We familiarized ourselves with the Amtrak schedules, looked forward to picking her up when she came home to visit, and battled melancholy when we dropped her off to head back to college. Through my daughter I was able to experience the college life I shunned and scorned. 

It was only a few days after her graduation when Maricelle's true mettle as a nurse was put on display. We received news that my aunt in San Diego suffered a massive stroke with internal bleeding. After a flurry of phone calls and text messages I found myself playing chauffer as I drove my parents, aunt, and uncle to San Diego late Friday night. I watched as Maricelle asked the nurses questions about the type of stroke my aunt suffered and the words "subarachnoid" and "intercranial" scrambled my brain. She truly is gifted and meant to live life as a nurse which is obviously her calling. In between my desperate prayers of healing for my aunt, I sent a prayer of gratitude for my daughter who wouldn't have to live a life of mediocrity working a job she isn't passionate about. Maricelle possesses the courage to take the leap of faith necessary to pursue her dreams. It is a solid bravery that I never had at her age. 

The night of Maricelle's graduation my sister reminded me about the time 24 years ago when I discovered I was pregnant  at 19-years-old and decided to keep the baby despite the hailstorm of opposition I faced from my family. For all the parents, especially the single mothers, I would like to encourage you to NEVER give up on your children and to cover them with a quilt woven of prayers, love, and blessings. Even when times are dark and both of you view the other as nemeses I can assure you of the indomitable bond borne out of that darkness. And I can guarantee that at the end of that tunnel of blackness is a radiant, piercingly bright light and we, my daughter and I, are living proof of its glory. 

I am giving my parents, Sally and Eddie, and Maricelle's other grandma, Fe, public recognition and bottomless gratitude for their unconditional love and selfless sacrifices. Maricelle wouldn't be where she is today without them. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I bought a birthday card for my daughter Maricelle who will officially turn 24 years old at midnight. It wasn't until I was driving home that I realized I always write a birthday blog so why the heck did I buy that card? I was immediately taken with the words "What I learned from my daughter" and the sentiments along with it. So this birthday blog will elaborate on the sentiments excluded on the card. 


that forgiveness doesn't have to be long and drawn out. It could be instantaneous, releasing oneself from a self-imposed prison of hatred, resentment, and bitterness. 

that having a confrontation with a friend, loved one, or relative doesn't require banishing them from your life. There are ways of resolving conflicts in a mature manner and moving forward in the relationship. 

that mother doesn't always know what's best when her own daughter has to knock her upside her head with some good ol' common sense. 

that it's okay to display emotion and cry your eyes out. It's not indicative of weakness in someone's character. 

that someone describing her as my "mini-me" is actually a compliment to me. 

that an adult daughter is the walking equivalent of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. Despite my past mistakes as a mom she still loves me. 

that I can admire her for her passion in nursing. While she helped my dad on the porta potty during his stint in the hospital I was in the corner of the hospital room trying not to pass out and vomit simultaneously. 

that your own daughter could take your dreams, breathe life into them, and make them soar better than you can imagine. 

Dearest Maricelle, 

Thank you for growing into the strong female that you are. I am constantly surprised by my children and you continue to teach me lessons every day. Today, on your 24th birthday, I want you to reflect on the value of your life. It is the gift God and I gave you 24 years ago when people tried to convince me otherwise. I'm proud of you for not treating this gift lightly and for living the purpose that you were meant to live. I can't wait to see what this year will bring and I will be the diligent pupil always learning from you. 

Happy Birthday!!!

Love, Mom

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Sunday, November 6, 2011


I wasn't going to let something so banal as a rainstorm deter me from fully enjoying my Sunday. I was going to troll the streets of L.A. alone even if thunder and lightning crashed overhead. Fortunately for me my sister, daughter, and granddaughter are afflicted with the adventure bug so off we went to the City of Lost Angels unencumbered by bad mojo, time constraints, and umbrellas. Destination? Ummm...somewhere in L.A. My sister suggested a tea room and Yelp gave me The Chado Tea Room which was ironic because I've driven past it the last 2 weekends. So there was our starting point and our day unfolded pleasantly, seamlessly, and positively. No hating on people, no anger toward anyone, no stress about the time. 

Which was actually good for me because I got us lost, as usual, and we ended up in what my sister called "the ghetto" which I begged to differ. But they promptly kicked me out of the driver's seat and banished me to the back. I didn't know the Chado Tea Room required reservations so after putting our name down on the list we headed across the street to Little Tokyo to kill time. Rylee was ecstatic to be with her mommy and surrounded by Hello Kitty paraphernalia. I was double-fisting it with my iPhone in the left hand and the Canon on the right taking photos of anything, everything, and my offspring. I love watching them fall in love with L.A. and we were shocked to discover the hidden gems Little Tokyo offered. 

I was going to leave them in Little Tokyo and walk to Occupy L.A. which was only a few blocks away but my sister was down to broaden her horizons. You gotta love my sis. A few weeks ago she sent me a text: BTW, who is Gaddafi? So I knew she had absolutely NO idea what Occupy L.A. entailed. In our family, I'm the "activist" and advocate for social justice. Over the years I've somehow corralled my sister into joining me in my "demonstrations" and a few years ago she participated in The Freeze Project at Hollywood/Highland. Even if she didn't fully comprehend the cause she was fighting for she came to support me.Today was no different. 

I was able to take photos to my heart's content while walking in the midst of Occupy L.A. I was proud of Chloe for making the decision to remain behind with Rylee at Starbucks. It was evident of her maturity as a mom and although I would have taken Rylee to the site it probably wouldn't have been a good idea. When we drove past it she cried out, "ooohhh, look at all the pretty tents! I wanna go there!" While my sis and I walked the perimeter of Occupy L.A. I heard a voice from within a tent call out "Whose team are you on?!" My sister said she would have replied, "TEAM EDWARD!" LOL! I wasn't able to meet or speak to anyone but overall the atmosphere was somewhat orderly. We witnessed one African-American male being escorted by police with his hysterical girlfriend running after them. It was at this point that it finally dawned on my sister that if a riot ensued we could be inadvertently arrested. That was my cue to exit Occupy L.A. It is one thing to be involved but something entirely different if I jeopardize my sister's welfare. 

We ended our adventure at The Chado Tea Room and I highly recommend this place. The Brendan's Chai tea was like liquid comfort pooling in my belly and the food was delicious and not too pricey. It was the perfect ending to a fun-filled Sunday that was not marred by rain or bad mojo. 


Monday, October 31, 2011


I had another surreal moment tonight when my role as a grandma superimposed itself against the mother role. The sensation is similar to what I would imagine an out-of-body experience is like. I have patiently waited for Rylee's Halloween as a three-year-old because I believe it's the age when a child fully comprehends trick-or-treating for the first time while enjoying it with pure innocence. After a long and excruciating Monday at work and an even more excruciating commute home I had absolutely no desire to walk around the neighborhood. But I am no stranger to the hyper speed passage of time especially in regards to children so I bucked up and shut up. I couldn't miss my only granddaughter's first real Halloween. 

We had a mini photo shoot before she went out to collect her Halloween bounty and I tried to ask, then ordered, her to wear a jacket but she was adamant about not wearing one. Her bottom lip quivered and tears pooled in her eyes, "But I want to look beautiful in my costummmmmmmme!" Oh brother! She also insisted on wearing her pink plastic princess heels instead of tennis shoes but Chloe and I were exhausted from work and gave in. We're suckers, I know. 

It wasn't until we hit the neighborhood and walked up to the first house that I had my surreal moment. When she held my hand and followed me up the walkway I looked down at her and a memory of my children at her age trick-or-treating in the same neighborhood materialized in front of me. The familiar sting of nostalgia and melancholy pierced my gut while I shook my head in disbelief. How did I get here so darn fast? With my camera slung across my body I walked behind my daughter and granddaughter documenting their own memories of trick-or-treating. I wondered when these moments would cease being surreal and if my heart's age will ever catch up to my numbered one. 

Flying Fairy
Popcorn is her favorite!


Saturday, October 29, 2011


I recently read a book where a character expounded on his belief that heaven and hell are states of consciousness deep within us. It was one sentence in a book that I vaguely paid attention to but in recent weeks the words have badgered my brain. I immerse myself in prayer because it is the only thing that sustains me twenty-four hours a day. Even in slumber I know my spirit is deep in prayer because I cannot disconnect myself from the circuitry that keeps me sane and human. Lately, most of my prayers consist of cries of anguish, despair, and torment. Sometimes I wonder if God has both hands covering his ears and thinking, "Oh stop! Stop it already! ENOUGH!" It is only in my waking moments that I am consciously aware to praise God for my blessings. I force myself to enumerate those blessings to swing my focus away from the negative. 

I told my friend that I didn't mature and grow up when I had children or when I became a grandmother. I reluctantly grew up when my dad's health deteriorated this year and the indomitable father I once had became a frail, old, sickly man. Every day I feel like I'm juggling a bowling pin, an apple, and a golf ball while standing on one leg with my eyes blindfolded and one arm tied behind my back. I could deal with my grown kids and their needs or my granddaughter and her needs or my sister and her needs or my boyfriend and his needs but I am helpless under the weight of my parents' dependency on me. My parents have never asked me for anything but when they ask that I accompany them to my dad's doctor appointments or trips to the emergency room I know their requests aren't made in vain. 

On the days that I am in the office at work I have many moments of panic and anxiety. I remember the innumerable nights I've spent in the emergency room with my sick kids and the recent hospitalization of my dad holds much more desperation than the latter. Insensitive people have reminded me that this is the cycle of life. Yeah, no sh*t. Those same people have graciously added that health care just plain sucks. Really? You mean the words "health" joined with "care" is an oxymoron? I often wonder what their reaction would be when THEIR turn comes to care for aging parents? 

Thus, the hell I live daily.

To combat my hell I've learned to seek my heaven. In Joel Osteen's book, It's Your Time, he talks about staying away from negative people. "You shouldn't go to lunch every day with somebody who is always crying the blues and talking about how bad the economy is. You can't do that without it affecting you." Those words were like musical notes to my deprived eyes. On the days I work in the office I've decided to take advantage of my close proximity to the beach and utilize my lunch break to run/jog/walk there. Alone. It is as close to heaven as I can get. And for the rest of the day my spirit is at peace unfettered by negativity, anxiety, and fear. I am reminded to choose Faith over fear.

I use my Nike+ application on my iPhone to track the miles during my runs and to snap photos for my Year of the Instagram Photo A Day project.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Last Sunday, on October 23rd, Ray and I stole an afternoon for ourselves to commemorate the 3rd year of our "reconnection." I'm not big on anniversaries of the unwed kind but October 23 is as significant as my children's and Rylee's birth dates. It marks the beginning of something that was meant to be. And I say "stole an afternoon" because between Ray taking care of his mom and my being available for my parents we hardly have time for each other AND ourselves these days.

We headed toward L.A. because 1) I <3 L.A., 2) we wanted to go to Chinatown, 3) we wanted to check out Occupy L.A., and 4) I itched to do my street photography. For a few hours we abandoned our troubles, worries, and stress to enjoy the day and our togetherness. It might have been the carefree attitude that ignited my impulsive nature to purchase two baby turtles for Rylee. We walked past an Asian man selling two baby turtles for $5 and I thought I would gain cool grandma points with Rylee if we gave her a pet. She's been asking for a dog, a hamster, and a rabbit. Two turtles? Nooooooo problemo! Easy-peasy! As usual, I was wrong! Oh, SO VERY wrong! 

There was no denying her excitement when we brought home the turtles...
or her wonderment...she named them Summer and Leah...
and the turtles looked pretty keen on their new home...
She couldn't stop watching them...

It wasn't until I noticed that they weren't eating the food we bought that I decided to research on the Internet on how to care for turtles. What I discovered made my stomach burn with acid. This is what I found on turtle care
  • It is often thought that turtles do not require much care because it looks like they just lie around or swim all day. However this is far from the truth. Turtles like most reptiles require a specific diet and living environment depending upon their age and species type. This is why it is not good to give a turtle as a novelty pet. 
  • The buyer should be aware that pet turtles can spread salmonella which is common for pet turtles to have. It is very crucial for you to wash your hands after every time you pick up a turtle. This is a reason why pet turtles should not be kept around an expecting family, one with small children, elderly adults, or anyone with an immune system problems.
  • You should also plan a visit with a reptile specialist sometime within the first year and every year after that. Keeping your turtle in check with a vet is your new friend’s best defense against possible diseases. A reptile vet specialist will be able to recommend any changes in diet as well as things to look out for. 
When the words "vet", "salmonella", "reptile specialist", and "specific diet' assaulted my eyes I knew I was doomed and was going to break my granddaughter's heart! The word "vet" flashed these signs at me ---->>>> $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. I could barely afford my monthly prescriptions so how could I afford to take two turtles to the vet, buy an aquarium tank, and provide mealworms and other turtle dietary needs? Who knew?!  I also read that I wasn't supposed to pick up the turtles or change their water when you brought them home but Ray did exactly that before we presented them to Rylee. 

It is now Day 3 and I had to separate the turtles since one was dominating the other and both are lethargic and obviously sick. When I explained to Rylee that Summer and Leah were sick, she looked up at me with those huge limpid eyes and asked, "Turtle medicine?" I apologized for not having any turtle medicine and in her three-year-old baby voice I hear, "I have medicine I take when I'm sick so I can give it to them." I didn't think it was possible for my heart to splinter in a million sharp slivers. If I could beat myself up I would for putting Rylee through this.

In conclusion...heck, I have no conclusion, except the fact that I continue to learn a lesson in curbing my impulsive nature. I just didn't think it would come in the form of two baby turtles!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


It’s been  a year since I began the tradition of writing a birthday blog for my kids, Ray, and Rylee. I started with Chloe’s 22nd birthday and my brain is incapable of wrapping itself around the fact that she has reached another milestone. At 23 I was a wife and mother of three rugrats under five-years-old. I've prayed with fervor that my children wouldn’t perpetuate my actions that my knees have worn out. I thank God every day that Chloe is Rylee’s mom and Rylee’s mom ONLY.

Dear Chloe,

In the past year I’ve watched you with bated breath, surprise, and admiration interspersed with a few twinges of disappointment. Watching you mothering Rylee is like watching a daily movie reel of my own triumphs and failures of parenting. It's like a daily reminder of what I could have, should have, would have, done! I can honestly say that I am proud to see you doing it better. I know that being a young single mom isn’t easy and the road you’ve chosen isn’t paved with gold. The rewards aren’t forthcoming and accolades aren’t doled out like ecstasy at a rave. As your Mom I always want to fix things but I also know you must Live and Learn. I don't expect you to walk the walk sans mistakes but I DO expect you to learn from them, move forward, and elevate yourself to the next level.

For your 23rd year I bestow these prayers on you. They are powerful and invaluable so they can't be squandered.

  • I pray that you will continue to do your best to be Rylee’s mommy. She loves you so much and you’re both blessed to have each other. 
  • I pray that you grow, mature, and rise above the broken pieces of your heart; for when those pieces are rebuilt a stronger one emerges with more resilience and wisdom.

  • I pray that you will always strive to excel in ALL your endeavors, challenging yourself to become a better version of yourself.

  • I pray that you will find the balance of being a responsible Mom with enjoying Life. I don’t expect you to play it safe all the time or not take risks. 
  • I pray that Fear has no hold on you and that it doesn’t asphyxiate the boldness of your dreams. It’s okay to take the unconventional path as long as you don’t get mired in complacency.

  • I pray that your mind will open to the truth of this world and that your eyes see clearly the lies you’ve been told. Freedom is not of this world.  
  • I pray that you don't lost your sense of humor during those moments of insanity, frustration, and hopelessness. 
  • I pray that you will see and listen to Rylee’s love, spirit, character, insecurities, voice, and tears with a discerning heart so that you will speak blessings over her and build her up. Protect and guide her always.
  • And lastly, I pray that yours and Rylee’s hearts will always align with the Father who knew and created you. If you seek Him always, your darkness will always have sunlight, the storms will eventually turn to tranquil waters, and despair will transform to hope. 


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


One night last week in the midst of my season of uncertainty I received a text from my friend. The words on my phone flashed like a neon sign in the darkness illuminating the secret fear glowing inside me. She was listening to the song Friends by Band of Skulls while driving from Chicago and missed me. I love that song and the sentiment she extended temporarily dissipated the dense fog occupying my brain space. She had no idea of the runaway roller coaster I've been riding in. I needed that abstraction of nostalgia to remind me of the present; to saturate myself in it instead of projecting into the what-ifs of the future.

My other friend, M, loves to share music on her blog and is always posting music videos  so in honor of her, my friend Michen who was driving from Chicago, and the lovely others who have extended their love, thoughts, and prayers during this season of uncertainty (you all know who you are), I salute you with Friends! I don't deserve any of you but I'm blessed to call you "friend."

'Friends' by Band Of Skulls - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Ray is always right and I HATE it. It chafes my sensibilities. And no, I did NOT lose a bet that prompted me to write this entry.  But I DID almost lose my sanity and a $2,000 lens if my "voice of reason" didn't penetrate my wall built of stubbornness and pride. I am posting this entry and divulging my idiocy to help those victimized by fraud.

Earlier this week I put my beloved Canon 85mm 1:2L lens for sale on Amazon. By the time I woke up the next morning I had received an e-mail, supposedly from Amazon, inquiring on the lens. The e-mail looked legit and I didn't question the validity of it because it came from "Amazon Marketplace". I wish I could blame my idiocy and lack of wisdom on the fatigue I experienced from having to take my dad into the emergency room that same morning but who am I fooling, really? This is the e-mail I received:

I responded to this "Rita Bean" in good faith telling her that my lens was in excellent condition and was barely used. Her response was this: 

And in a matter of a few hours I received the following two e-mails after I responded that I would not send the lens until payment was confirmed:

Nothing in these e-mails indicated that the transaction was bogus. When I received these e-mails I had already spent almost half a day in the emergency room waiting for my dad's test results. Desperation from selling my lens mingled with the frustration of healthcare that I was operating on minimal brain cells. But that is NO excuse. 
Ray called and texted me repeatedly with his concerns and warnings. True to form I was highly irritated and indignant with him and his lack of faith in my intelligence. "Look, I KNOW you know. But I'm just saying it doesn't sound right. Please be careful. Do NOT send the lens until you make sure!" He didn't see the rolling of my eyes and the exasperated tugging of my hair as he expressed his concerns and warnings on the phone. I told him that the e-mails looked legit and that I'd have to get my lens packaged by the end of the day to send to Nigeria. 

Okay, the word "Nigeria" should have rung alarm bells in my head so loudly it would have deafened me. But oh no. Noooooo. I couldn't get past my EGO! I was more offended that my own boyfriend didn't trust in my judgment. I was more focused on the fact that I hated a man telling me what to do so how dare he, Mr. Know-IT-ALL, harp on me so relentlessly knowing full well that I was dealing with my dad in the emergency room. And this--my headstrong, pigheaded, obstinate self-has always been my problem. I know, I'm working on it. But as I sat there in that miserable and freezing cold emergency room lobby in Kaiser Permanente I kept thinking about Ray's track record of being right. I sat there remembering how he  has ALWAYS told me that I tend to move forward so fast when I want things done that I don't stop to think about the ramifications. I sat there telling myself to stop being so stupid and listen to him. Ugh! He sent me the following text: 
"...please listen to me. I know u know everything. Please triple check. Nigeria is the country that most of the mail fraud originates. Can u at least call Amazon to get a verbal? Get Verbal. Sounds like a scam to me. Love you!"

So just to shut him up I called Amazon and then I really shut up! Here is what I learned:

  • Amazon does NOT deliver to Nigeria.
  • Amazon order #s do NOT begin with "7001".
  • Nannette IS a stubborn a$$ fool!
I promptly reported this incident to Amazon and never responded to the additional e-mails I received today from this "Rita Bean" who was requesting a tracking number because payment has been made. It sickens me to know that I was so desperate for the extra money that it overrode my common sense. Why did it have to take my boyfriend to knock me upside my head? I know most of you possess an abundance of common sense, street smarts, and functioning brain cells but I urge you not to emulate MY loss of intelligence. Beware, be careful, and be vigilant on the internet.

***To Ray, thank you for being my voice of reason and I...I...ap..apolo...apologize for being so stubborn. Yes, you DID save me from peril.***

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In memory of 9/11

Mt. Soledad, San Diego, CA
I don't know anyone who doesn't have a memory of where they were or what they were doing that fateful morning on September 11, 2001. Images of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers burning from 2 airplanes used as weapons of terror are forever seared into our minds. I won't waste words on the obvious. Ten years haven't diluted the horror from watching so many lives lost and wasted that morning. Today I join our nation in remembering and honoring the lost and the fallen. God bless America.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I saw this on my friend, M's, blog and wanted to pass it on as a reminder that stalwart soldiers come in small forms. I encourage you to do your part in the fight against Cancer. 
Nursing classes that are online are an option for those who want to help children with cancer.

 M also included the following letter from our President, Barack Obama. 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 01, 2011
Proclamation for Release - National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, 2011

Across America, thousands of courageous children fight pediatric cancer each year, facing life‑threatening battles that would challenge men and women of any age. They are cared for by loving families, friends, and communities who band together to support children in times of great need. From raising money for research and hospital stays to offering compassionate assistance to families who have lost loved ones, Americans are working every day to combat childhood cancer.

Today, research advances have made pediatric cancer more treatable than ever before. The five‑year survival rate for young patients has risen to 80 percent in the past half century, but serious challenges remain. Children who survive cancer frequently struggle with significant complications later in life and researchers are working to develop treatments specifically for pediatric cancer. We still know too little about the causes in young people, and cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for children in America under the age of 15.

As we work to better understand and combat these destructive diseases, my Administration is working to lift some of the burden on families affected by them. Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer deny insurance to children because of pre‑existing conditions, meaning that children who are currently suffering from or have survived cancer must be covered. Insurance companies are also banned from rejecting insurance for children participating in clinical studies, in which the vast majority of children with cancer take part. And the Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits ‑‑ freeing cancer patients and their families from worry of long‑term treatment affordability. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute continues to conduct and fund research on the causes of these diseases, linking research on genetics and adult cancers to more effective treatments for children.

Too many children and their families have faced the harmful effects of cancer. In memory of the young lives taken from us far too soon, and in honor of the families who stood beside them, we continue to support researchers, doctors, and advocates working to improve treatments, find cures, and reach a tomorrow where all our children can lead full and healthy lives.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2011 as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I also encourage all Americans to join me in reaffirming our commitment to fighting childhood cancer.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.


Monday, September 5, 2011


 I DID IT! 13.1 = Victory!
Running and finishing the Disney Half Marathon yesterday morning was more than just an accomplishment it was a sweet conquest. In the spring of 2010, I joined Team In Training to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma while training for the Nike Women's San Francisco Half Marathon. Unfortunately, I didn't raise the amount required to run the race and I couldn't pay the rest out of pocket which resulted in a forfeit. But raising money was a personal thing for me and for those who made donations. My friend Melissa had learned that her friend, Michelle Carranza, a mother of young children, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Another friend of mine, Sheryl, gave a donation in memory of her cousin, Jennifer Rongduen Villanueva, who passed away from Leukemia. There was also my own list of people who have fallen victim to the choking tentacles of cancer, one of them being my sister-in-law, Elna Flores Cea, who was only thirty-four years old when she passed away from Ovarian cancer in 2008. 

Nursing masters programs are what some people look into to learn how to help people with

I took these stories and the people who gave donations very seriously. I couldn't take "no" for an answer and not raising enough money to run my race with Team In Training shouldn't hinder me from running for my friends who donated money. So I registered for the Long Beach Half Marathon and continued my training for the next couple of months. A week before the race in October, I went running, then paddle boarded with my sister. The next day I could barely walk from throwing out my back and pleaded with my doctor to fix me because I had a race to run in less than 5 days! The pity I saw from my doctor's eyes spoke volumes and I barely heard her placating tone, "OH honey, honeyyy, nooooo. You won't be running for a while." I felt like I let my friends down. Although, I did stop running for many months I secretly harbored a plan to run another half marathon, determined to honor my friends and their stories. I was going to make it happen, somehow, someway. I pity the fool who tells me I can't do something!

Three weeks ago, my cousins told me about their friend, Rachel, who registered for the Disney Half Marathon but was looking for someone to take her place since she had a prior engagement. There was my golden ticket! I haven't actually been training for a half marathon but was running/walking with Ray almost every day for the last 2 months. On the days when I needed to run longer than 2 miles I'd head off by myself running different routes I've planned out in the city. I knew I could run the Disney Half Marathon and run it I did! 

I cried when I ran over the finish line and again when that medal was placed around my neck. I know my body's limitations so my goal wasn't to run the race in the fastest time, it was to cross that finish line. After the 10th mile I was worried because my knees were giving out on me. I had a support around my right knee but not the left. From Mile 11 to the finish line I was doing some weird side-shift-hobble-limp-run-walk. I wasn't fatigued but my knees were protesting with a vengeance and I had to force myself to walk. By Mile 12, doubt crept in my head about whether or not I could finish but I thought about Michelle's fight with Leukemia and the myriad of cancer patients I've known. My knee pain was only a minor irritant in comparison to what they've experienced in the gruesome face of cancer. So I kept moving forward until I saw the Disney characters cheering us on under the banner that said, "FINISH". I didn't walk or hobble toward them, I RAN, with my hands raised high in victory!

Those 13.1 miles through the city of Anaheim represented honor for Michelle Carranza who received a bone marrow transplant last December and is now cancer free (praise God!); for Sheryl's cousin, Jennifer Rongduen Villanueva, who passed away from Leukemia, and for the people who believed in me and donated to my cause last year: James Lee, the Hirota family, Radhany Tap, Nelyn Ricaforte, Jenny Scruggs, Janice Simon, Sheryl Magbual, DM&K Baron, Darrin O'Brien, and Russ & Megumi Bermejo. Your generosity was never forgotten and I am eternally grateful for you. 

And a very special thanks to those who helped me check off the Disney Half Marathon from my "to-run" bucket list: Jesyl/Jeff Rodrigo, Rachel De La Cruz, and Ernie Trinidad! Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me do this! I thought it was HILARIOUS that I was wearing Rachel's race bib and couldn't figure out why people would yell, "Go Rachel!  You can do it!" when I ran by. HAAAA! It was THE FUNNEST race I have participated in and the beautiful medal made the pain completely worth it! 

My heartfelt gratitude to my boyfriend, Ray, who cheered and encouraged me through his texts along the way and for indulging me when I refused to take off my awesome medal later that day.

When I ran my first half marathon, Surf City Huntington Beach, in 2009, I was dying after mile 10. An older woman ran past me with a bright yellow shirt. On the back was printed Philippians 4:13. It was exactly what I needed to finish that race. This man happened to be standing in front of me in Corral D while we waited for the Disney Half Marathon to begin and it was a reminder that I was not alone. I soon lost sight of him after half a mile putting me to shame! 
The beauty of running the Disney Half Marathon is getting to take photos with the Disney characters. I took this for my granddaughter, Rylee, who LOVES Phineas and Ferb!
I <3 Russell!
I'm a sucker for bad boys!
Because the first mile is always the hardest.
Mile 10-my nemesis!

From Disneyland to the Honda Center through Angel Stadium and back! 13.1!

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