Friday, December 31, 2010
Happy New Year or Not!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thank goodness for dreams because without them, life would be boring
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Taking care of Mom
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Gerson Institute
Monday, August 2, 2010
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!
- Don’t be lazy like me and back up your files everyday.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Have a bunch of anti-virus, Trojan and spyware detectors because if one program misses the problem, the other one will catch it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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
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
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