Free eBook

Hello followers and visitors of this blog, the ebook version of my novel, The Bigger Pictureis free on Amazon today until 11:59 Pacific Standard Time (PST). 

The Bigger Picture

If you do get it and actually read it, I'd kindly ask that you please write an honest review on it (good or bad) in your blog (if you have one) and on Amazon. This newbie author needs all the help she can get. Thank you so much in advance.  


Wyoming Welcomes You

I was going through my picture files for photos to use for my new novel post when I came upon these pictures. I’ve always liked these signs, so, when my daughter and I were returning home from Colorado, we stopped by the highway so I could take these photos. I think they depict the true picture of a real western frontier that is Wyoming.

This sign is located on I-25 on the border of Wyoming and Colorado.

In my bestest cowgirl speakin’ voice…
So, here you go pards (and pardettes), come on over and visit us here in our beloved state of Wyoming, y’hear? Y’all ‘r welcome anytime. If y’ur comin’ from the north or south direction, mosey on up or down I-25. If y’ur comin’ from the east or west direction, mosey on across I-80. Sounds simple, don’t it? It’s cuz it’s jus' that simple. It sure is.

If y’all decide to come this way, jus' wanna warn ya gents to keep a tight rein on yer sweethearts. It’s not uncommon for ladies meetin’ some real handsome cowboys and jus' fall in love with them, right there on the spot. And ladies, jus’ wanna warn ya also that there are some real good-lookin’ cowgirls, too. So If I wuz you, I’d be holdin’ tight onto my sweetheart’s arm the whole time. Jus' kiddin’ y’all ‘bout the last stuff. I’m jus’ tryin’ to infuse a li’l bit of romanticism into this post. I don’t want none of ya to feel scared or anythin’. All in all, we’re jus’ as normal as y’all, or is it jus’ as crazy?
But, don’t take my word for it. Come and experience the wild west yerselves?


$300K Nest Egg

Okay, so I realize that a one million dollar nest egg is impossible for most people to save for, unless you’ve started saving at the age of 20. Therefore, here’s a more reasonable goal that I know most of you wi ll be able to achieve. As in the one million dollar nest egg blog post, the data here is broken down for easy reading. These numbers are based on a zero dollar amount at the beginning of investing, an 8% rate of return, and you working till the age of 65.

  1. For 20-year-olds:  $32.00 biweekly or $64.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $307,569.09.  
  2. For 25-year-olds:  $47.00 biweekly or $94.00 monthly. Your account will amount to  $302,781.46
  3. For 30-year-olds:  $71.00 biweekly or $142.00 monthly Your account will amount to $304,244.60.
  4. For 35-year-olds:  $107.00 biweekly or $214.00 monthly Your account will amount to $301,429.83
  5. For 40-year-olds:  $166.00 biweekly or $332.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $301,785.00. 
  6. For 45-year-olds:  $264.00 biweekly or $528.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $300,431.51
  7. For 50-year-olds:  $445.00 biweekly or $890.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $300,469.61
  8. For 55-year-olds:  $833.00 biweekly or $1666.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $300,087.04.
  9. For 60-year-olds:  $2057.00 biweekly or $4114.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $300,094.29. 
As you can see, the younger you are when you start saving, the easier and more affordable it is to save. I’m not a financial guru.  I’m just a regular person, who wants to encourage everyone, especially you young ones who are reading this post, to start saving as soon as possible.  For you older folks, I hope that you already have some amount invested already so you don’t have to add as much as the amounts listed above. 
The best place to invest, of course, is into your 401K, especially one where your employer will match a portion of your investment. Matchings are anywhere from 4% to 8%, depending on the company you’re working for. Take advantage of those matchings. Even if you don’t aim for the $300K or $1M nest eggs, at least invest the amount that your employer matches. This way, you’re not losing out on this great benefit that is afforded to you. 
If a 401K is not offered to you through your employer, you can always use a private financial investment firm in your area or online to set up a savings/retirement account for you. 

Well, folks, that’s all for now. I hope you all succeed in building your retirement nest egg.


Want To Be A Millionaire At The Retirement Age of 65?

 Here are steps to follow in order to achieve this goal.  The examples below are based on an investment you put into your 401K or into any personal investment account with a 6% rate of return. 

1. For 20-year-olds:  Invest $190.00 biweekly or $380.00 monthly.  Your investment will amount to $1,001,358.

2. For 25-year-olds:  Invest $262.50 biweekly or $525.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $1,006,406.

3. For 30-year-olds:  Invest $362.50 biweekly or $725.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $1,000,710.

4. For 35-year-olds:  Invest $511.00 biweekly or $1022.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $1,000,800.

5. For 40-year-olds:  Invest $736.00 biweekly or $1472.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $1,000,343.

6. For 45-year-olds:  Invest $1100.00 biweekly or $2200.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $1,002,421.

7. For 50-year-olds:  Invest $1735.00 biweekly or $3470.00 monthly. Your account will amount to $1,000,430.

     These are the minimum investment amounts to reach your million dollar nest egg goal, however, you could obviously add additional money to reach your goal even faster. Conversely, you could invest less but would need to work additional years to get to that million dollar mark.  The least controllable factor is the rate of return - so, if it goes higher than 6%, you’ll reach your goal sooner - if it goes lower than 6%, then you’re back at investing more or doing it longer.

     There you have it, folks. On a personal note, I wish I had this information given to me when I was 20! 


The Age of Disbelief


A pretty, young woman was seated on a bench, waiting for a friend, who was shopping at Bath and Body Works.  At the same time, a tall, lean, and handsome young man was walking laps in the mall with his two friends.  Each time he and his friends walked by her, he smiled at her and she at him.  On the third lap, he went to sit next to her on the bench. 

“That’s a pretty jacket to go with your pretty smile,” he said. 

She looked down at her pale-green North Face winter jacket and then at him. “Thanks,” she said.  She has a smiling, friendly face. 

“I haven’t seen you at Central. What high school do you go to?” He said, his voice confident.

She was quickly disappointed to learn that he was only a kid. A high school kid! “East, ten years ago,” she said. 

Surprised, he looked at her more closely. “No way! Are you just saying that because you want me to leave?”

“No…Really…I’m old,” she said.  It was only relative, of course.  She was only 28 years old, but compared to that 18-year-old, she felt old.  If looks, alone, were considered in gauging someone’s age, she could easily pass for 18 or, perhaps, even 16.  

He smiled at her. His eyes, glinting.  “I can dig older girls.” His voice, playful.

She felt amused by his comment, but she didn’t feel right continuing the conversation either.  “I think you should go back to join your friends,” she said, smiling kindly. 

Even though her voice was gentle and non-threatening, he still felt dejected but was respectful.  “Nice talking to you and have a great day.”

“Same to you,” she said with a smile.  If only he were her age or older, she would have welcomed their conversation. And, would have even considered a date if asked.

After that incident, she wondered if her young look had been the reason that men her own age or those even older than she were discouraged from approaching her because they thought she was just a kid?  The thought was sadly depressing her, if true. 


Chapter One

On Monday, April 12, 1999, Sandy and her husband, Steve, were having lunch at the Officers Club at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. Sandy looked outside through the glass window, while she sipped some of her sweetened iced tea. She noticed how perfect and ideal the weather appeared—sunny, clear blue skies, and a gentle breeze rustling the leaves of the trees outside. Inside where she was, however, she thought the atmosphere was cold, gloomy, and stormy. 
  Even though there was plenty of activity around them—people walking past, others talking at their tables, silverware and plates clanking together—neither of them was talking. There was a palpable tension between them. Not even the delicious aroma of the different dishes mingling in the air could soothe nor defuse the tension.
  After a major argument a month ago, Sandy was determined to spend more time with Steve. She hoped that by joining him for lunch, at least once a month would help get them better connected again.
  At the moment, the painful, prolonged silence between them was just too much for Sandy to bear. So, she started talking. “Our lab’s new chemistry analyzers were delivered at work today.” She was forcing a smile and infusing some enthusiasm in her voice, trying to engage Steve in some form of conversation. “They look more streamlined than the ones we have now. They can do BMPs in fifteen minutes and CMPs in twenty-two minutes, which the E.R. doctors will definitely like.”
     Sandy thought the topic would interest him, since he was a doctor. “The best thing about them is that they require very little maintenance,” she continued, all the while observing him for any signs of being the least bit receptive to her. What Sandy saw, instead, were Steve’s openly unresponsive and expressionless face and a general stiffness in his overall posture. He grudgingly uttered the absolute minimum of words in response to her statements, until they had finished with their lunch and were getting up to leave the club.
  “By the way,” he said, “I’ll be a little late coming home today. The hospital commander has scheduled a meeting at seventeen hundred hours.”
  “Don’t know. It’s probably our usual monthly meeting, except that we’re doing it today rather than on Friday.”
  Sandy was suspicious, but she brushed it off. She was all too familiar with the unpredictable nature of military life.
     Since Steve was going to be getting home a bit late, Sandy and the children went ahead and ate their dinner. It was almost 7 p.m. when she recognized the sound of Steve’s Toyota SR5 pickup in the carport outside, followed by the sudden silence of the engine. She heard the vehicle’s door open and close. As she looked toward the kitchen door, she saw the doorknob turn. The door opened slowly and Steve walked in.
  “How did the meeting go?” Sandy said as she met him at the door. Steve didn’t answer right away. He looks distraught, Sandy thought. She hugged him. Steve didn’t hug her back, but he gave her his usual casual peck on the lips. Sandy had to be satisfied with those casual pecks on the lips nowadays. It seemed to Sandy that Steve was only going through the motions with her lately. Gone were the warm hugs and wet kisses he used to give her in the past. Oh, how I miss those loving and passionate moments we used to share with each other, she told herself. 
  Steve went to their bedroom without saying anything. Sandy followed him. Still waiting for his response, she faced him with a questioning look and demanded, “Well, are you just gonna ignore me?”
  Steve heaved a sigh—the kind of sigh that told her he'd like to say something, but was finding it difficult to get it out. “You’re not gonna like what I’m gonna say,’’ he finally said, and then paused. More pause created a rigid pressure in the air. He removed his shoes and socks, and tossed his socks in the hamper. Sandy’s feelings changed from questioning to worrisome. “I hate to tell you this,” he said, and then stopped talking while making a swift change out of his uniform into his shorts and t-shirt.
  Sandy’s heart jumped to her throat. She wasn’t sure she wanted to hear the rest of it. With the way Steve had been acting toward her within the last three years—becoming more aloof, unloving, and less caring, she was afraid the day had finally arrived for him to say they were through. She tried to prepare herself for the worst, but it wasn’t helping.
  “But I’ve got orders to go to Kosovo this Saturday. That’s what the meeting was about. It’s not all a secret, but it’s not something we want to be advertising or necessarily be telling people about, either. NATO has agreed to get involved in Kosovo. My group and I’ll be assigned there for medical support.”
  What?” Sandy clasped her heart—even though she was relieved to know Steve wasn’t asking for a divorce. Panic soon followed with the realization Steve was going off to another country and would be leaving her and the children behind. She would die if something bad were to happen to him in Kosovo—or anywhere else in the world. “How long will you be gone,” she asked, when her nerves finally settled a bit.
  “Don’t know for sure. I was told to get all my personal affairs in order before shipping out. One thing they assured me was that this deployment would be for at least twelve months.”
  Hearing the news, Sandy didn’t know if she could survive without Steve that long. It would mean she had to do everything while he was away. They’d been married almost ten years and had never been apart for any length of time. After dinner, she cleared the table and started the dishwasher.
  She took a shower, then sat on the sofa next to Steve and started massaging his neck and back. It was a routine she was always glad to do. Steve was more talkative and social this time, which made her elated. They talked and wondered how the kids would handle the news and whether she could manage work and the whole household by herself. She’d never asked her family for help before, but she decided to ask her sister, Carrie, and her mom for help this time.
  “I’m sure Carrie doesn’t mind moving from the dorm to come live with us for a while until you come back,” Sandy said. “I’ll call her tonight, and also call Mom to see if she could come over to stay with us until Carrie comes back from Florida.” 
  “What’s Carrie doing in Florida again,” Steve asked.
     “She and her class went to attend a two-week study of the Florida Everglades ecosystem.” After the massage, she scratched Steve’s back. His pleasant groaning expressed his appreciation to her. 
“Oh, yeah, I remember now … thanks for the massage and scratch.” 
“You’re welcome.” 
She said goodnight to Steve and then to the children who were playing with their toys in Sheyenne’s bedroom. In bed, after she set her alarm clock, she made her calls to Carrie and to her mom. The news earlier had been as stunning and devastating as stepping on a land mine. She had a difficult time falling asleep, so she tossed and turned. Sleep finally came, but it was seemingly just in time for the alarm clock to sound off.
  Taking her lunch break that night, she ordered a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich with a large-sized Coke. No matter what time of day or night it was, all shift workers at the hospital called their meal in the middle of their shifts, ‘lunch’. She took a seat and started to eat. Besides her, there were only two other people sitting and eating in the entire cafeteria. The three of them were seated alone, each to their own table. The other two were busy reading paperback books while they ate.
I wish the lighting here was brighter. Don’t like it being so dim like this, Sandy thought. 
There was a spooky, ghostly feeling she experienced each time she ate there, but tonight she didn’t feel it. Her mind was preoccupied with thoughts of Steve going to Kosovo and about her and the kids getting by without him. 
I’m thankful Carrie has agreed to move in with us until Steve comes back, she thought, and for Mom to come over for a short while. Otherwise, I don’t know what I would do. 


My First Solo Road Trip!

I’m inspired to write this post after reading my friend, Lilly’s post. I encourage everyone who reads this to visit her blog because she’s one funny lady. Her posts always make me laugh.

When my husband and I lived in Bellevue, Nebraska, I learned how to drive there and got my driver's license a couple months before my husband left for Officer's Training School in Texas. On Memorial Day, a few months after my husband left, I had a three-day weekend off. I decided to go on a road trip. I didn't plan for it. It’s just that when I woke up in the morning and saw that the weather was nice, I told myself that I didn't want to just stay at home. I called my sister here in Cheyenne and told her I was going to visit them. She was worried about me making the long trip alone, but I assured her that I’d be okay. I packed a small suitcase, packed a few snacks and drinks, stopped at a gas station to fill up my gas tank, bought a map, and off I went.

The drive from Omaha to Cheyenne is the most boring ever. Okay, that’s not entirely true because from Omaha to Lincoln and a few miles past Lincoln is scenic. But, definitely, after that it's the most boring ever. The landscape is very flat and the highway is very straight. Straight is, however, good for this newbie driver. I don’t think I would have been able to follow so many twists and turns of diversionary roads. Unfortunately, the flat and straight highway was very hypnotic, to the point that I became very sleepy. At one point, I caught myself dozing off momentarily. I knew this because I was driving on the right side of the 2-way, four- lane interstate 80. When I opened my eyes, my car was about to go into the grass median grass, left of the passing lane. Fortunately, in those days, the traffic on that highway was pretty sparse. I got quite startled and was alert after that. My fear was that if I didn’t wake up in time, I could have easily driven into the oncoming traffic on the other side of the interstate. God had to have been watching me that day.

I stopped once for gas in Pine Bluff, at the Nebraska/Wyoming border, about an hour’s drive away from Cheyenne. In 1983, the highway speed limit was still 55 miles per hour. So, to drive 495 miles, it took 9 hrs. Now that the speed limit is 75 miles per hour, it only takes 7.5 hrs. Come to think of it now, my little 1968 Honda car was very fuel efficient. I think my car could only hold 6 or 7 gallons of gas?

I arrived at my sister’s around dinner time. My sister was in awe that I had made the trip alone after getting my driver’s license only a few months before. We had a really good visit that evening. The next day, we went hiking and picnicking up in Vedauwoo.

                                                      Courtesy of skipharper.com

                                                      Courtesy of pumpfactoryroad.com

Kentucky Fried Chicken was our choice of picnic food at that time. I still love Kentucky Fried Chicken. This is why I can never lose weight. I love greasy, fried foods. But, lets not talk too much about my weight right now. That will be for another post.

On Monday, when I had to leave, my car wouldn’t start. My brother-in-law checked my car over and found my oil dipstick reading empty. He was amazed that I made it all the way to Cheyenne with little or no oil at all! He shook his head at the situation and at my ignorance. All I can say was that God knew I was naïve and ignorant; he had watched over me.

My car didn’t have the lights that came on when the oil level was low, you know? Unlike nowadays, there’s a light to alert you about almost everything. When your tires are low on air, there’s even an alert light for that. Every so often your engine light comes on and you think that something is wrong with the engine, right? So, you take it to the shop, only to be told that you needed a scheduled oil change after 30,000 miles of driving. I guess that’s a lot better news that actually having an engine problem.

Car technologies have come a long way. I’m thankful that the car makers had taken into account for ignorant drivers like me when they made the improvements.

I made it back to Omaha safe and sound. I’ve made solo trips since then, from North Dakota and back, when I was still living there while my husband was stationed here in Cheyenne. The drive in that part of the country is more interesting and much more scenic.


Journey Band Update

For those of you, Journey fans, in and around Cheyenne, Wyoming, have I got great news for you!

My hottest blog post, according to Google Statistics is "My Life and Times as a Nudist." My next hottest blog post is "Journey Band." People don't leave comments, which is very sad to me because I really would like to know what they have to say about my posts, you know?

No, this is not my great news that I've mentioned in the opening sentence. I just merely wanted to share a bit about my two hottest blog posts.

This is my great news. The two opening acts for Journey on July 16 at Cheyenne Frontier Days are: Lover Boy and Pat Benatar! I haven't seen all three groups on live concert in their days of glory, but now I'm going to see all of them in one concert. I'm pretty stoked about this and can't wait.

From what I've seen from Journey's concerts in Manila and in MGM Las Vegas, even though I've only watched them on blue-ray, they're awesome. Arnel Pineda has (okay, almost) Steve Perry's legendary voice and has lots of energy on stage. Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, and Deen Castronovo are also amazing at what they can do with their musical instruments. Lots of feeling, emotion, and energy from them as well.  

Yes, Lover Boy and Pat Benatar might not be what they used to be in their latest concerts when I checked them out on You Tube, but that's okay. I'm sure I'll still enjoy their concerts.

Hey, if anybody reading this and know how I can get in contact personally with Journey and the other two bands, let me know. Our Filipino community would really like to give them a welcome party the day before their concert.  

By the way, Lover Boy and Pat Benatar will not only be opening for Journey on this particular concert, they'll be  opening for the entire 2012 Journey Concert Tour. So, even if you can't be at the Cheyenne Frontier Days concert, you'll still have a chance to see them at their concerts near you.

I'm sure I'll be writing a review on Journey, Pat Benatar, and Love Boy after the concert.

That's all folks,


Journey Band

Journey is one of my favorite rock bands. However, I haven't kept up with the band since we moved to Wyoming. Wyoming turned me into a country music fan! Needless to say, the last I’ve heard of Journey was that Steve Perry, the lead singer, had left the band. Then, the band hired another lead singer named Steve Augeri.

It was only three weeks ago that I learned of the band’s fate when Cheyenne Frontier Days, the largest outdoor rodeo event in the world (and located here, in Cheyenne, Wyoming), announced that one of the upcoming night shows will be Journey. I told my husband that I’d like to see a Journey concert. I was shocked to learn from him that the current lead singer for Journey is Filipino, straight from the Philippines. Perhaps, this is old news to all of you, but for me, it was quite a surprise!

Anyway, the skeptic in me told me to check Journey and their new front man out on YouTube. I have to say, the lead vocalist amazed me. When I closed my eyes and listened, all I could see was Steve Perry singing. My heart melted when I watched the video of one of the band’s newer songs, After All These Years. The song is so beautiful and powerful; it gave me goose bumps the first few times I listened to it.

While reading an article on YouTube about the band, I found out that there was another front man for Journey after Steve Augeri left and before the current lead singer came along. His name is Jeff Sotto. According to the article, he didn’t stay with the band for very long.

Neal Schon, the band's lead guitarist, recruited Arnel Pineda, the current lead singer, based on performances he saw on YouTtube! How cool is that? Neal said in an interview that in his desperation to find a lead singer for Journey, he checked out YouTube. After two days of watching YouTtube videos, he was about to give up when he clicked on a Survivor video. That was when he discovered Arnel Pineda. This guy blew him away. He blew me away, too. Here he is. Check him out for yourselves.

Posted by Superjoster on YouTube

Posted by Nocturnalism on YouTube



Cancer is such an ugly word to me. It connotes everything that’s bad. It devastates a person’s life and devours his or her financial assets. The family is also adversely impacted and suffers right along with the afflicted one. With all the modern treatments available these days, we are given hope to combat this terrible disease. We become even more hopeful when we see people surviving after receiving treatment.

I mourn the loss of one of my friends, whose funeral service I attended yesterday. As much as I tried hard to convince myself that it was better for him to go than to live and suffer through all the different treatments, I didn’t succeed. I still felt so very sad and cried uncontrollably anyway. Seeing him resting peacefully in his coffin comforted me somewhat. That, of course, didn’t take away the great sense of sadness in losing him. I’d so much rather see him still alive and well, enjoying life and doing the things he loved doing.

He battled Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cancer since January of last year. His doctors gave him six months to live, but with aggressive experimental drugs they had given him, he lived for another year. I’m glad that our coworkers and I were able to recently visit and spend some time with him several times while he was still alive. Since he couldn’t drive anymore, I’d pick him up and drop him off at his place when our coworkers and I took him out to lunch or dinner.

I’ve met his beautiful and amazing mother. I’ve often thought about her since I met her. It must have been absolute torture for her to watch her son, even though he’s a grown man, go through the ups and downs of battling cancer. When I gave her a hug after the service yesterday, she thanked me very much for attending. She thanked me again for the times I took her son out of the house to socialize with the others.

Four years ago, I lost another friend to cancer. It started out as a melanoma. She received treatment for it and was in remission for three years. Then she started noticing unusual things happening to her. She’d stop and stare blankly at things. When she came to, she’d feel very disoriented and would feel her right hand losing its grip on things. An MRI soon revealed a huge cyst in her brain.

A biopsy confirmed it to be cancerous. She had surgery soon after, along with radiation treatments. She recovered well enough to go back to work after regaining the proper use of her right hand. Everyone in her many circles was ecstatic to hear her play piano again during a concert she gave at her church. Unfortunately, the flicker of hope that we held onto was just that—a flicker.

Three months after her concert, she was right back to square one again. Only, this time, there were more masses and they appeared to have been growing more rapidly. She opted not to receive any more treatment after that.

I was awestruck to learn from her husband after the service that she was the one who planned her own funeral service. She planned it exactly the way she wanted it to be. It was the most elaborate service I’ve ever witnessed. She even planned to have two services to accommodate everyone—one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Just fifteen months before that, another friend died of cancer, as well. I befriended her when she came to the clinic where I used to work. Moving from New York, she was only in our city eight months when she felt lumps in her breast. She took the most aggressive treatment. She had both her breasts removed. She also received both radiation and chemotherapy. She felt well for four months after her treatment. Then she started having debilitating headaches, had difficulty standing up, and often times was talking nonsense.

Since her only son lived in Boston and she had no family around, I took it upon myself to keep an eye on her. When she couldn’t drive anymore, I’d take her to her appointments, bought her groceries, and helped keep her apartment clean and tidy. Because she was unemployed and depended solely on what her son sent her every month, I went ahead and paid for her groceries. Another friend and I helped her get Social Security benefits. It took a while but she eventually received them. Unfortunately, she didn’t live very long after that to really benefit from it.

One day, she called me to take her to the emergency room. Even though I’m not her relative, but was the only one the doctor could discuss her illness with, he showed me the MRI of my friend’s brain. He and I counted seven masses. With the MRI, her history with cancer, and the presented symptoms, the doctor was sure she had brain cancer.

I notified my friend’s son and told him about the findings and what was suggested for her. After a few days at the hospital, she was moved to a nursing home. She was not at all happy with this. It just so happened that I was going on a vacation to the Philippines, so I told her that she would get the help and care she needed at the nursing home while I was away. Her son was okay with it when I talked to him again on the phone.

When I came back from vacation, I found her at another nursing home. In just the two weeks I was away, she had lost a lot of weight—she was nothing but skin and bones. I felt a tremendous guilt for leaving her and was sick to my stomach to see this once beautiful, lively lady in a diaper. She must have kicked off her blanket while squirming incessantly to get comfortable from the pain. She didn’t even recognize me anymore. I immediately put the blanket back on her. I also tried to feed her the food that had been delivered, but she resisted my every attempt. Instead, she wailed like a hyena because of the pain. I’m very sure it was pain because each time I asked what was wrong, she pointed to the back of her head. Her son arrived the next day, just in time to visit with her before she passed away a few hours later.

I hope that one day soon, a for-sure-cure for cancer will be discovered. I hope it’s soon enough to save the lives of those who are suffering right now.

Thanks, everyone, for your time.


The Last Song

Have I ever told you that I’m a big fan of Nicholas Sparks' books?

Okay, so I just finished reading one of his novels titled The Last Song. It took me a month to read the first half and took me just two days to read the second half. I find his books start out very slow and don’t pick up any steam until the second half. And, then, voila, things get quite interesting and emotional. And, inevitably, I find myself crying because someone always dies in his novels, you see. Even though I know that the dying person is going to die, I’d be like, please don’t let him or her die. I’d be praying for miracles, along with the other character(s) in the novel. I’d be praying that the author would prove me wrong in my expectation and, for once, let the dying person live. How crazy is that, huh? It’s just a novel after all. I have to laugh at myself sometimes.

By the way, there’s a movie made from it, but I didn’t get to see it. I don’t think it did too well in the theaters, though. But, I sure cried a river when I was reading the last quarter of the book. I’m such a sucker for novels and movies that make me cry or laugh like that. That’s probably why I always wanted to write sad or happy stories.

Th-th-th-th-that’s all folks!


Driving Aimlessly

Yesterday, Wednesday, June 16, 2010, was a gorgeous day here in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Even though I had just gotten off work in the morning from working the night shift, I couldn’t allow myself to go to sleep and let another beautiful day slip by. Hubby was at work. I asked my niece (who had worked the shift with me) if she would go sightseeing with me. She said she had to go to sleep. She’s been sleep deprived. I asked friends who were not at work. They all had things to do. I would normally ask my daughter to do things with me when she happens to be off, but her husband was off also. They’re newlyweds and have conflicting work schedules so, when both of them are off at the same time, it’s a real treat for both of them…which was why I didn’t even bother asking her.

A little voice inside told me, You don’t have to depend on other people to accomplish what you want to do. Just do it. That was exactly what I did. I packed some snacks and some bottled water. I packed my laptop in case I decided to do some writing wherever I was going. At 9 a.m., I got into my car, made a bee-line to a nearby ATM, and then got on I-80 west, not knowing where I was going. All I knew was that I had to go somewhere, away from town, where I could enjoy nature and the glorious day.

First, I thought of going to Crystal Lake or Granite Reservoir to relax while I write my novel, or to Vedauwoo to do some hiking. That’s only a 35 minute drive from town. Then I remembered my bad experience with a stranger in Vedauwoo three years ago. I axed the thought immediately. I then redirected my car’s path south on I-25. I called my husband. “Hon, it’s a beautiful day and I felt like I’ve been cooped up all year long, I’m going out for a drive.” There was silence. Then he said, “Okay, keep in touch.” His voice was flat and controlled. Even though we’ve done a couple of weekend trips outside of Cheyenne during the winter months, it was not enough for my adventurous, spontaneous, and restless spirit. Also, the weather on those days was not anything like yesterday’s—warm and sunny.

There I was going almost 80 miles an hour on the interstate and at the same time brainstorming where to go. I thought of going to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It’s too far, I told myself. Besides, I dreaded going through the Denver traffic. I’d be late for a 5 p.m. dinner with some friends back in Cheyenne. I was getting close to Fort Collins, Colorado. Think fast, I told myself. I decided to go to Loveland and park my car by the lake there, underneath some tall oak trees. The lake is neither desolate nor isolated. There’s no reason for me to be scared. It would be a nice place to write.

I passed the first exit to Fort Collins and immediately got hung up in bumper-to-bumper one-lane traffic that crawled along foot by foot. Oh, how I wished I’d taken that first exit. Too late. I had to suffer along with the rest of the crazies who decided to be on the road yesterday. I wonder if they had the same intention as me.

There was road construction everywhere. It was already 10 a.m. Instead of enjoying myself with nature somewhere, away from civilization, I was stuck in the middle of highway traffic with suburban noises, activities, and sights. I had to change my destination yet again. So, I got off at the next Fort Collins exit. I could have taken College Avenue and headed south to Loveland. Instead, I drove past College Avenue and drove all the way to the end of Prospect Road. I didn’t find anything exciting there…just housing subdivisions. I turned around until I hit a major road that runs north/south. I headed south. My bladder was very full; I had to go to the restroom with great urgency. Thank goodness, I came upon a gas station with a convenience store. My, oh, my, what a relief that was. I bought a small bag of chips. I didn’t really need it. It was just my way of thanking the establishment for saving me from my personal crisis. I asked the sales clerk if there are any scenic places to visit in the area.

“Absolutely,” she said with a smile. “Horsetooth Reservoir is just up on the mountain.” She pointed to the west. “Just turn right on that road there.” She pointed out the road to me. “There are places you can park and picnic. And lots of hiking and biking trails, too,” she added. I thanked her and followed her directions.

I drove a mile before the road zig-zags up to the top. When I reached the top, I looked down below. The view was magnificent. I drove further around the lake, stopping every so often to take some pictures and enjoy the view. The woman was right. The reservoir is beautiful. It’s also huge. It is much longer than it is wide. I couldn’t see where its length ends. The water was clear blue. So blue that it was hypnotizing.

The sun was already way up in the sky by the time I arrived there, but the temperature was still comfortable. There was a light breeze, just enough to move the air. For the most part, the sky was blue. Only a few clouds could be seen. I drove further still and came upon some vacation homes and a small marina.

It was the middle of the week, so most of the boats were tied up there. Only a handful of boats were racing across the water. A colorful sailboat was sailing on by, as well. I watched it until it disappeared from my sight.
I had only driven a third of the way around the lake, but I wanted to have lunch with hubby.

I looked at the time on my dashboard. It showed 11:11 a.m. I called hubby and asked if he’d eaten lunch already. He hadn’t yet. I asked if he could wait until noon. He said he would and asked where I was. His voice was still flat and controlled. As usual, I miscalculated the time. I was 38 minutes late picking him up from work. But hubby was understanding.


Water Filtration System—The Native Way

Hello, everyone. As promised at the end of my “My Life and Times as a Nudist” post, here’s another story about my life as a Native.

One of my chores while living in the barrio with my oldest sister and her family was to fetch water. It was also one of my niece’s chores. So, every day, the two of us would go to the river to fetch water in the morning after we woke up and then again in the afternoon after school.

We carried large earthen pots over our heads to transport the water. I attribute this practice to be the cause for my stunted 5’ 1” height. Judging by the size of my feet, I should be 5’9” (I’ve always wanted to be this height.). Just think what I might be able to see over the fence that now goes unseen - or be able to reach at that height without having to ask someone to get it for me. Alas, the damage was done. Now, I can only imagine what life would be like at that height. I think I’ll sue my sister for child abuse. Perhaps my niece will join me in my lawsuit. After all, her growth was stunted, too.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Anyhow, at the river, we’d pick a sandy area about twenty or so yards from the river and then we’d dig us a water well. We’d dig the dirt out until we hit water. We’d keep digging still until there was a sufficient level of water to be scooped out. The deeper the well, the more water there was to be had. Of course, the water would come out brown and dirty-looking at first. So, we’d keep scooping the water out, removing the fine sand and the brown water.

Eventually, the new water that would seep into the well would be crystal-clear. So, even if the water in the river was the color of milk chocolate after a heavy rain, the water from the well would eventually be crystal-clear. That, my friends, was our version of a water filtration system. Many times, there’d be wells made already; so, we didn’t have to dig a new one. We just had to remove the old, standing water from the existing one until newly filtered water filled the well again.

Each armed with a coconut bowl in one hand, my niece and I’d take turns scooping water into our own large earthen pots until they were full. To be a great water scooper, you have to follow the techniques of the natives. You have to scoop the water ever so slowly, trying not to stir up the fine sand at the bottom of the well. Otherwise, you end up with a sandy and cloudy pot-full of water, which is not the result you’re looking for.

Well, folks, that’s all for now. See ya’ll here next time to read more about my life as a Native.

Thank you for your time.


My Life and Times as a Nudist

Shocked, are you? Sorry to disappoint you about my goody-two-shoes image that some of you may have about me. Can you forgive me? It was all in my past, you see, and it was so long ago. I was the same person then as you’ve come to know now, only younger, naïve, and oh so innocent back then.

Without further ado, here’s my story.

For almost three years, I was a nudist. But before I became a nudist, I was this spoiled city girl—a daddy’s girl—who lived in a house with modern amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity. You have to understand that in the Philippines at that time, some 40-odd years ago, this was living well above the poverty level.

Unfortunately, all that changed when my father died. My mother had married my father when she was only fourteen years old. (They had to lie about her age, saying that she was sixteen, so the Catholic Church would marry them.) Other than owning her own businesses, that my father had financed, my mother never worked for anyone during her entire married life. Unfortunately, due to her being illiterate, every single one of her businesses had shortly gone bankrupt within a year or two. Therefore, when my father died, she had no marketable skills. In short, she had no means of supporting us, her three youngest children. (There were nine of us, and I was the youngest.) My much older, married siblings offered to take us into their homes.

I had just turned seven years old when my father died. Six months after his passing, I went to live with my oldest sister and her family in one of the most remote mountain regions of the Philippines, where my sister and her husband taught school.

When I first arrived there, I was shocked to see people naked, bathing and swimming in the river. I’d never seen naked people before, aside from seeing my own body when I was showering in privacy. I’d never gone swimming before either, so I didn’t know how to swim. I also didn’t have a bathing suit. In the beginning, I just observed everyone. Then I went wading in the river with a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Kids there thought I must be crazy or something. All eyes were on me each time they saw me in the water fully clothed. When I eventually learned how to swim, I found out that wearing my t-shirt and shorts made swimming much more difficult. They were dragging me down. My niece, who is two years older than I, went swimming naked, and so did all the other kids our age. I decided to become one with the natives; I had to adapt to their lifestyle.

Even at my young age, I felt embarrassed to be naked, even, amongst the throngs of other naked people. I felt so self-conscious and uncomfortable. However, the feelings didn’t last for very long, because then, the other kids didn’t pay much attention to me anymore. To them, I was just another nude body. I didn’t stand out in the crowd anymore. So, for the almost three years that I lived there, I was a nudist.

You’re probably asking yourselves what the adults did, eh?. Well, from what I recall, the native adult, married women would normally be dressed in their woven wrap-around skirts with no tops on. I don’t think that they wore underwear, either. I know what you men out there are thinking and imagining. But go ahead, it’s a free country. Just don’t be blaming me for any ill/good effects of your thoughts and wild imagination. You’re on your own on that one.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was talking about the women. Anyway, when the women took their baths, they’d go to one of the more secluded areas where there were a lot less people. They’d unwrap their skirts, being careful not to show their pubic hairs to anyone, especially to adult males, by repositioning one leg. (Just in case there were any adult males out there in the bushes, peeping…I wouldn’t know.) Once they put their skirts neatly on the ground, they then put their hands over their pubic area as they walked to the river until they submerged their bodies in the water waist deep.

Come to think of it, I don’t recall seeing adult males taking baths where we bathed. Perhaps they took their baths somewhere else. I’ve never seen my sister go swimming or taking a bath in the river, either. I remember her taking baths in the makeshift bathroom outside of their house, using the water that we fetched from the river well. I suppose she was too proper and modest to be one of us nudists.

My life as a nudist had to end though when I went to live with my other sister and her family in a province where nudity of any kind was considered a taboo. Also, as I became a young adult, I became aware of all the changes that my body had undergone. With that, I became overly self-conscious again, to the point that, for a short time into my marriage, I didn’t even allow my husband to see me naked! Poor man. He had to use a lot of his imagination, I suppose.

Well, that’s all folks!

If you’ve enjoyed this one, be sure to check in every now and then for more stories about my life as a native.


Owen Fiddler

Hello, everyone. This is my first time ever to review a book. I hope to be fair, objective, and non-biased.

This past Christmas, I’ve received a dozen or so books as gifts from my family. Eight of the books were written by other bloggers. I tell you, these bloggers are just as talented as those mentioned on the New York Times best-sellers list.

Today, I’m going to review Owen Fiddler, written by my blog friend, Marvin D. Wilson.

Owen Fiddler takes you along on his life’s journey - a journey filled with trials and tribulations that he must confront and conquer along the way. He could never seem to get it right in his life up until the very end. But man, oh, man, the journey he takes you on is just one adventure after the next. I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in bed, in the bathroom, during my lunch break at work, and while waiting in the car for my husband to meet me for lunch.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone. I know that I won’t be going into much detail, but I don’t want to give the story away, either. You’ll just have to read this book to appreciate Marvin’s creative writing and story-telling skills. He did such a wonderful job in writing it. He writes in a common, everyday language. He describes sex and fighting scenes without sugar coating them. (some of the language -and the sex - and fighting scenes might actually be a bit too raw, harsh, and graphic for some readers. I know they are for me. Tee, hee.). But by doing so, Marvin captures the true essence of each of his characters’ dialects, speech patterns, and lifestyle, lending a high degree of credence and authenticity to his characters.

The story is fast moving, heart thumping, and full of adventure - a page-turner. I can promise you’ll not be bored or disappointed. You’ll be saying “Whoa” or “Wow” when you finish reading it. It’s just that good. The story gives you a satisfying ending, which to me is very important whenever I’m reading a book or watching a movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the dialogue between the two young women in the car (near the beginning of the story) and what is almost a monologue by Jewel’s nurse when Jewel had her doctor’s appointment. I could really relate to these scenarios.

There you have it—my very first book review!

Marvin D. Wilson claims this about himself: I am an old Hippie rock and roller, a non-religious, dogma free, Maverick spiritualist Christian. I am an author, with the audacity to write novels. I also am an editor. I’m on the editors staff at All Things That Matter Press and also do freelance. For a rate quote, contact me at marvwilson2020@gmail.com

You may also visit Marvin at The Old Silly’s Free Spirit Blog where you’ll read his daily postings that inspires, informs, educates, humors, rants, and whatever else he comes up with on a whim for that day. All is worth reading. If only I have all the time in the world to read every single one of them...