Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HOMAGE TO THE HOMIES

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

JUST CALL ME IDIOT

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

CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH





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.

BARACK OBAMA 


Monday, September 5, 2011

THIRTEEN POINT ONE! DISNEY HALF MARATHON!

 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
leukemia.

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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