Sunday, January 30, 2011

Accurate. Not Helpful.

Let me preface this by saying I don't do book reviews. With that said, I just have to give my opinion on this book I bought recently. Haha!

Some of you already know that my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer three weeks ago. Once the initial shock of this news wore off I was out buying the Jack Lalanne juicer and books to go along with it. Once I found myself looking up juicing books I found myself clicking on all the recommended cancer books. I strongly urge anyone who has just discovered that they or a loved one has cancer to use caution when purchasing any of the detox books. I'm just throwing that out there.

In my sudden search for a way to extend my mother's life despite her terminal illness, I came across this book:


That's what I was asking myself when I started reading it while I was there helping her through her first week of chemo. Luckily, the book arrived while I was there and I intercepted it before she got a hold of it.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure this is a very good book for anyone WHO DOESN'T HAVE CANCER! Or, for anyone who has NEVER:
  • Used a microwave or been anywhere near a microwave when it's been on.
  • Eaten meat.
  • Eaten any type of refined sugars.
  • Breathed pure oxygen on a regular basis.
  • Had a negative thought.
  • I'll just stop here because by the time I got to the regular enemas I was done.
IF you already HAVE cancer you might FEEL like YOU are the reason you HAVE cancer, should you buy this book.

Is it true, one person gets cancer because they use a microwave and eat refined sugars while a seemingly less healthy person should get to live cancer free for eighty years or more? Seemingly healthy athletes aren't impervious to cancer either, so how did they get it? Why some and not others? NOBODY KNOWS. IT'S NOT BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T DETOXED, THAT'S FOR SURE! (however, perhaps avoiding some of the bigger carcinogens could be of help like not smoking for instance.)

Could a detox here and there help us all out, maybe. Perhaps this book is accurate, but it's not helpful. And it's not a good idea to tell cancer patients and their families that if you had just skipped that last bowl of ice cream for a trip to an oxygen bar then maybe, just maybe you wouldn't have cancer.

Another bad idea is to suggest a chemo patient start worrying about their diet. Again, maybe accurate, not at all helpful. Chemo patients have a lot more to worry about than detox. What the hell was I thinking? I think I was focusing on the mind and spirit part of the title over the detox part.

So, all in all, a good rule of thumb here is to incorporate not eliminate during chemo. Juicing - YES! Full detox - NO! Hard to justify a detox with toxic chemicals running through your system. Kind of a funny thought actually.


(P.S. I must thank my friend, Fred, for the, "Accurate, not helpful" line.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

All Time Greatest Hits

It's time for the Top Ten Music Blogfest. What!? You haven't heard? That's okay. But now that your here you should check out mine and then check out everyone else's over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

My list far exceeds my age, especially since I was only born in 1978, but I'm the youngest and I have four older sisters with three being ten or more years older than me.

Besides exceeding my age, it doesn't quite match what I listen to on a daily basis either, but then this is an all-time greatest list. By the list you wouldn't know I currently listen to artists like Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Pink!, Bruno Mars, Flo Rida, and on and on. However, those artists keep me young, they don't remind me of my first boyfriend, my wedding day, rollerskating rinks in the '80's, or the part of my early twenties when I experimented with drugs (shhhh!). That's why they don't make my list. Check this out though, you might recognize and relate to some of these:

  1. Somebody - Depeche Mode
    (This hits my list in 1992)
    My list starts here for a reason. Although the majority of my listening pleasure came from my parent's record/8-track player or any of my sister's stereos, I didn't really start loving music until I met my first boyfriend. Yep, this is the song I lost my. . .you get it. Good starting place, I think.
  2. Purple Rain - Prince
    (For me, 1993)
    First real introduction to writing poetry. I went from writing in a journal to writing my feelings in code, otherwise known as poetry. With first loves come Purple Rain, at least in my experience.
  3. Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Simon & Garfunkel(1994)My mom still has this record. In 1994 Dad came home from being away for business and announced he wanted a divorce. This song played a lot. I think I'm the one who played it over and over. In 2003, my husband took me to see them in concert. Definitely one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Probably the only audience member crying during this song. Oops!
  4. Ironic - Alanis Morissette (1995)Thank you Alanis for inspiring me to open my mind and gain a spine. I was seventeen this year. It was a refreshing year. I had spent a good three years with the first love and now I was branching out as a whole new kind of person. I was always kind of an introvert who incidentally had a family who moved a lot (2 elementaries, 2 junior highs, 3 high schools). I was tired of being the new kid in school and vowed not to be that introverted, shy girl this year. It worked out for the best.
  5. I Am the Walrus - The Beatles(1995)My introverted self found me a great new bunch of friends, well, kinda. Hmmm. They weren't the best type of friends, but we managed to have a pretty good time with each other for the short summer we spent together. I learned about The Beatles in a whole new kind of way. I Am the Walrus was actually a song playing on the radio on the way back from a busted party where the cops came and broke us up due to a neighbor's complaint that marijuana smoke was seeping into the hallway from the condo we rented in Park City, Utah. This isn't where my drug experiences begin. It is however, the year I vow to NEVER try and see Pearl Jam in concert again (no show, effing freak. I hate that guy! Love his music--hate him. Bitter party of one here.) Beatles won't show up again on this list only because the list is too short. I take great comfort in The Beatles and especially John Lennon, however.
  6. Casey Jones - Grateful Dead (1995)My sister, Anna, had been playing The Grateful Dead in her car for years trying to get me to catch on. She toured around and saw them in concert and brought stickers back for my sticker collection way before I started listening. Finally, the year I get into Casey Jones, Truckin', Sugar Magnolia, among others happens to be the year he dies and I have tickets to see them play. That sucked. I stuck to his music for years after. I even found a guy who followed The Dead around and tapped into their system to make recordings. I listened to those tapes for awhile in 1997. Good times had by all. (Still not my drug era.) I listened while I wrote poetry and screenplays.
  7. Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin (1998)My mom used to call me a throwback even as a small child. She pegged me for child of the sixties or even as far back as a beatnik. When I latched onto Janis Joplin and didn't let go my mom just kept saying, "I've always said you're a throwback." Maybe I was reincarnated, who knows. It's great to listen to this song but even better to watch her sing it. I have a huge framed drawing of Janis singing on my bedroom wall. I don't know why but she inspires me more than any other female singer. (Still not my drug era.)
  8. Into Dust - Mazzy Star(1999)I was fresh out of an abusive relationship and living a crazy lifestyle in West Hollywood, California. I was ready for a do-over. Unfortunately, I had never heard of Mazzy Star until I was high on acid. My writing took an interestingly dark and introspective turn but for the better. I was climbing out of a hole and onto a fresh new page. I was stepping away from years of raw poetry to short stories. I don't have an addictive personality and I was broke so I got bored with the drug scene pretty quick and focused entirely on sharpening my story telling skills. Mazzy Star gives me the incredible urge to play guitar. This is the year I get a guitar and meet my husband. The beginning and ending of a weirdly short drug stint into the rest of my blissful life.
  9. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Brother IZ(2001)My then soon-to-be husband and I heard this song and just knew it was our song. My husband's mother and her family are from Hawaii and we were planning to get married in Hawaii so it just seemed perfect. Every time we hear this song we pause and reflect on how we once pictured our lives would be together and are happy to discover we are right on track. This was the song we danced to at our wedding. By this time in my life I really believed there were lights at the end of tunnels, pots of gold at the end of rainbows, better times ahead. . .I wasn't wrong. I'm not disappointed so far.
  10. Mad World - Tears for Fears (2002)Lots of things happened this year. I got married, plus I had my first child. My first child had kidney problems and faced surgery at 5 months old. My world had gone mad. I was falling apart and for some odd reason really latched onto this song. Sure, Donnie Darko was something else, but this song just understood exactly what was going on in my life at the time.
Now you've been through the deepest parts of my journey in music, hope you enjoyed. I can't wait to go around and read everyone else's. I would have put together some links but I'm typing this out in a hotel room in Utah and it's Sunday night. My husband and kids are begging me to close up shop and go to bed. We have a flight out of here Monday afternoon after I spent a good week caring for my mom during her first week of chemo. It's back to life in warm Southern California. Happy writing writers!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest

I have to really, REALLY, thank my husband for putting this together even though he's been home alone with our three kids for a week while I've been in Utah caring my mother. Thanks Babe, Love ya!

The following post is written by my husband for the Significant Other Blogfest. Check out mine and then go check out everyone else's.

When my wife asked me to put together a “blog posting” I thought she was losing her mind. Didn’t she know that I was a financial advisor, whose written skills were next to non-existent? Didn’t she remember that I scored a 330 on the verbal portion of the SAT, twice! (For the younger people out there, it used to be scored on a 1600 point scale) . Anyways, here we go!

You writers are amazing to me. You able to come up with elaborate stories starting with a blank sheet of paper, a pen and your thoughts. I remember watching my wife write her first book wondering where did she come up with this stuff? I on the other hand, enjoy doing complex mathematic calculations in my head while I work out. To each their own.

Outside of work and workout I do enjoy cooking! The question was asked, “What food or drink is guaranteed to return your loved one to a good mood, even after a bad day writing?” For those of you that don’t cook often, the answer is simple. Just include the 3 main food groups, Butter, Salt, Sugar. To be specific, the dish I would cook is a Risotto with asparagus tips, topped with butter shavings and fresh parmesan. The side dishes would include a mozzarella caprese. Some homemade garlic bread with fresh chopped garlic and real butter spread prior to baking is a must. For you wine drinkers a nice bottle of Cain 5 (great blend). Lastly, some Gelato for dessert. Heck if this didn’t put her in a good mood, I would be in such a great mood I could just entertain! OK…I’m getting hungry. No seriously.

My wife is introspective and is at home with herself writing with only her thoughts and her computer. It’s really remarkable to hear the key strokes mimicking the sound of a machine gun. When she asked me, What one thing would you change about your significant others writing habits? I had to reflect on the question. She is dedicated, self-motivated, disciplined and she is able to create stories/situations/dialog that grab and hold my attention. So, where do we go from here? I can honestly say that I would not change her writing habits, I would change her self-marketing habits. The query process is a tough one. I watched my wife get her hopes up with a partial request and then have them crushed with the form letter rejection. There is no easy way to get rejected 99% of the time. The one word of advice is to put it into perspective and realize that the rejections are part of the process. She had 2 partial request out of 12 queries sent. In my head that is a pretty good percentage, to be exact 16.66667%. And…the most importantly is that constantly put yourself out there. If there are no outstanding query’s there is no potential for a partial or full manuscript request.

The last question, “How hard is it to sit by and watch someone you care for struggle to attain a dream...knowing there's very little you can do to help?” To be very pragmatic about it, it’s not difficult to watch as long as they continue down the path. During my Ironman triathlon, our neighbor put a sign together for me. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts!”. The only time I will be concerned is if my wonderful wife loses the passion to write. The happiness, success and failure are all worth it as long as you continue to do what you love. Good luck everyone and keep writing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finding Good in Bad

Oddly, this post comes right after my Life IS Good, Isn't It, post. (God's a crafty guy, filled with all kinds of irony)

At the end of last week I found out my mom is suffering from Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Needless to say, this is CRAP NEWS. There is NOTHING at all good about this news no matter how we look at it.

My family is no stranger to cancer. I've seen my dad go into remission with his throat cancer, and I've watched other members of my family die from this heinous disease.

If I may, I would like to add to my New Year's Resolutions by finding the good in the bad. I don't just mean with my mom's prognosis, I mean in every aspect of my life. I have no choice. I'm about to get a lot of training on the subject.

Let's take an example from my mom's awful news:

THE BAD (an incomplete list)
  • Pancreatic cancer is incurable. She will die from this disease at some point.
  • Stage 4 untreated = 3-6 months of life.
  • She's only 66.
  • She's my mom, I don't want my mom to die.
  • Chemotherapy
  • and on, and on, and on. . .
THE GOOD (A list to add to)
  • Stage 4 with treatment = 3 months up to 2 years
  • She's a healthy 66-year-old presenting with only mid-section pain; hope increases for treatment
  • The rotten, no good, horrible, Chemotherapy is a light dose (nausea and hairloss are unlikely)
  • Mom is up and at it, willing to fight.
  • I get to live with her for one week per month in Utah during treatments
  • My mom isn't being taken from me suddenly
  • We get to slow down and take time for a bittersweet ending.
  • Who knows? Two years might be a very real possibility.
I encourge all of you to find the good in the bad during your writing and query process; your journey.




Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life IS Good, Isn't It?

I’m surprised I even get awards because I’m so terrible about passing them along. I do appreciate them, and they really do make my day, but I’m falling short on passing them on. But today is different; I’m passing this one on RIGHT NOW. . .or, right after I answer 10 questions about myself.

The requirements for the Life is Good Award:
1. First, thank and link back to the person that gave the award. (Thank you Quinn!)
2. Answer the 10 survey questions.
3. Pass the award along to other bloggers whom you think are fantastic.
4. Contact the bloggers you have chosen to let them know about the award.

10 Questions:

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you are not anonymous, do you wish that you had started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now?

I don’t wish I was anonymous because I’m not controversial. I was over at Nathan Bransford’s blog the other day and noticed that the anonymous comments were really distasteful and meant to get a rise out of other bloggers. That’s not really me. However, I would like to think that if I were controversial I would have the balls to use my real name, figuratively speaking of course.

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.

I’m a Taurus so stubborn just comes with the territory. Let’s see. It’s hard to pick and choose on this one. Let me call my sister. . .Here’s what she had to say, “Can I just pick a moment where you weren’t stubborn. That would be a lot easier.” Thanks, sis.

However, she did remind me of my childhood. I don’t remember this because I was too young (or I lost some pertinent brain cells) but this is the way my family likes to describe it: I, apparently, was so stubborn that around 18 months old until I was about 3 years old, if I didn’t get what I wanted from my older sisters, I would hold my breath and pass out. My mom says she knew it was coming because I would start off with a cry that sounded like a siren and then nothing, no sound. Afterwards she would find me passed out on the ground somewhere. I won’t even go into detail about how my legs were too short to walk down the stairs so I rolled down them. I’m like the Bucket-Head kid from the movie, Parenthood.

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

A 17-year-old girl who can’t believe she’s actually 32 and has 3 kids. Sure, there are those days I'm too tired to do anything because I have 3 kids, but in the mirror I’m only tired because I was out late with my friends the night before. I still feel very young and because I’m short (4’11-1/2”) I'm often mistaken for a teenager. Salesmen who come to my house have asked for the owner or my parents. When I had my first child people thought I was her babysitter and not just because she’s darker than me because she’s ¼ Filipino. And just a couple of months ago during the kindergarten field trip to Norco High School to learn about farms, I was mistaken as one of the high school students.

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

Coca-Cola is my year-round beverage, however, I love the Tastefully Simple brand of Sangria Slush Mix. (I don't sell this. I'm only linking to it because it's just that good.)

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

Time for myself? That’s a new concept. I should try that and find out.

No, I’m kidding. I rarely get time for myself so when I do I end up writing.

6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?

I’m going to put publishing on that list because it is the last thing I haven’t done that I have always wanted to do. If you asked me this 6 years ago, I would have said learn to ride a motorcycle. But then I did learn. I even own a dirt bike that my husband and I take trail riding. If you asked me 2 years ago, I would have said write a book. I would start my ideas and then never have time to finish or focus because I had babies in diapers running around me. I’ve done a lot in my life and wouldn’t give up a thing.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?

I’m definitely an overachiever. In 10th grade I lettered in academics. When my parents divorced and we moved from California back to Utah where I had grown up, I dropped down to a 2.7 GPA. However, I was determined and managed to letter in Theater Arts and graduate with Honors. Still, to this day, I keep strict schedules for myself. I’m excellent at coming up with ideas, breaking them down into steps, and then accomplishing the task, like building a haunted house in my cul-de-sac every October. I’m terrible about delegating though.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?

I have several poignant moments in my life. It’s hard to choose. I’ll just give it a try right now and tell you what I come up with. . .Okay, I saw the day I auditioned for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts West. I was standing in a hotel conference room with the woman sent to audition me and a few others from Utah. I was halfway through the piece I rehearsed for a month from Children of a Lesser God. I played the part of Sarah Norman, a deaf former student of her love interest, James Leeds. I had to use sign language and speak with a voice that sounded like a deaf person speaking. The most poignant part of that audition was starting it. I’ll never forget the look on the auditioner’s face when I started signing and speaking like a deaf woman. It was a proud moment. I managed to get accepted for class of 1997. They auditioned over 2,000 people that year and accepted only 500.

It’s those kinds of moments that remind me that if I want something bad enough and I’m willing to work for it I can most certainly achieve it.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

I don’t mind sharing my true self. I’m a goof. Either I’m just highly alert about my surroundings or my life is truly stranger than fiction. However, I find it a struggle to write about things that aren’t about writing. I’m not sure what everyone wants to read.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

I don’t really enjoy talking on the phone so I’m going to pick reading a book. I love to read. I hate the phone. The only person I talk to on the phone regularly is my sister and that’s because we both have 3 kids around the same age and so if our kids are crazy in the background or if we have to yell at our kids while on the phone it’s no big deal. I wouldn’t put anyone else through that. However, send me a text message, I’ll get back to you for sure.


I’ve comprised a list of awesome bloggers that I think more than deserve this award. Some are new to follow me but all have supported me and my craziness in one way or another. Thank you for that. Life IS good, isn’t it? Don't fret if you don't have time to pass this on, I understand.

(Okay, Blogger isn't showing my links the right way so I'm going to just put your names next to your link. Blogger will not get me down today.)

  1. (Michael & In Time. . .)
  2. (Regina @ Middle Distance Runners)
  3. Erica & Christy @ erica & christy (erica & christy @ erica & christy)
  4. Kelly Polark @ Kelly Polark (Kelly @ Kelly Polark)
  5. (Margo @ Margo Kelly)
  6. L'Aussie @ L'Aussie Writing (L'Aussie @ L'Aussie Writing)
  7. (Dan @ Sanguine Musings)
  8. (Nicole @ Heaven on Earth)
  9. Alex @ Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex @ Alex J. Cavanaugh)
  10. (Ivy @ The Happy Whisk)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I'm Completely Resolved - Happy New Year!

Yesterday, I couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted my resolutions to be. Check out my conundrum HERE.

I really enjoyed the comments I got yesterday, thank you! I especially liked the one from Jenny Beattie who said she wants to be a better Crusader. I'm with her. I'm terrible. There are so many of us and so little time to read each and everyone's. That's why I wish you all had an Email Subscription box. I know most of you put an RSS Feed but that goes to an area that I don't check often and doesn't appear on my phone. The Email Subscription goes right into my inbox and onto my phone, so I can read your posts anywhere.

However, I too, will try to be a better crusader.

I was seriously stumped. I didn't know exactly what to choose for myself this year. Mainly because I know what my goals are regarding writing, and I understand my commitment to my family's needs and couldn't find a way out of my tight schedule for at least another year and a half.

I would have loved to choose working on bringing the NaNo Youth Program to my kids' elementary, but I don't have the time because I have my youngest child in preschool through this year and next year. Our preschool is 20 miles away so it eats up a lot of my time.

I thought about making it about my writing group, Write-A-Tat-Tat, and helping them polish their NaNo books, but I can't force them. A resolution is really about what I'm capable of doing. Sure, it can be about helping others. I could have made it about helping my writing group, but I already do that, we work as a team. I needed a resolution that I could focus on in my spare time--a fail-safe.

Now why a fail-safe? Because the far-fetched resolution relies on things outside of my control. Which takes more time and patience. I may never achieve my far-fetched resolution of landing an agent this year. I'll consider it a successful resolution if I give it my all in the query process, but I still want the agent. The fail-safe resolution keeps me challenged in a way that I can do it by myself.

A fail-safe resolution can be as easy or as challenging as I want it to be. I can set a limit on a fail-safe resolution. For example: When I set my fail-safe for 2010 it was to cook a new meal from a recipe book at least once per month. I failed this one. But I was okay with it. If I wasn't absorbed in my far-fetched resolution then I would have easily completed the recipe task. If it wasn't challenging enough I could have up the ante to 2 new recipes per month. See what I mean?

At 10:00pm last night I was over at my sister's house playing Trivial Pursuit the Bet You Know It edition, when I realized I was going to need some help choosing the fail-safe resolution.

I decided the resolution should involve learning a new skill and practicing it. Then I asked my husband, my brother-in-law, and my sister to each come up with a new skill for me to learn. I added one to the list as well.

Here's what we came up with for me:
  • LEARN TO SEW (This one came from my sister. Yep, I know a little bit about sewing. I could probably stitch something together but I hate the sewing machine. I have never been able to get that thing to work for me the right way.)
  • LEARN TO PLAY GUITAR (This one is from my husband. Okay, back when I was in college I got a guitar for Xmas because I wanted to learn how to play Mazzie Star songs. I quickly found I needed help with the chords and dropped the hobby altogether.)
  • LEARN TO PAINT FROM BOB ROSS, THE HAPPY PAINTER FROM THE JOY OF PAINTING (This comes from my brother-in-law. Love this guy, Bob Ross. He paints, "Happy little trees." I could learn from buying his kit HERE or from watching his YouTube videos like the one HERE.)
  • LEARN TO CAN 6 FOODS IN 12 MONTHS: JAM, JELLY, PICKLES, KIM CHEE, CARROTS & JALAPENOS (I threw this one into the mix. I want to make orange marmalade.)
All of the above were put onto strips of paper, folded up, and thrown into a dish for me to choose from. It took us until 11:45pm last night to make this list. Here I am all hopeful and excited, getting read to draw my fate, so to speak, ha, ha.





Tell me what you have planned for the year, especially if it involves adding an Email Subscription to your sidebar so I can get over there and sign up for it.