Monday, January 22, 2007



In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy. --Albert Clarke

And so I am, grateful that is. I am grateful to all of you who have stood by me during these last few months of change. I am thankful to those of you who thought enough of me to be with me on my road to recovery from this “double whammy” of diabetes and cancer. I wrap my arms about those of you who went “the extra mile” and bore me on your shoulders for a time, handing me off to those that had strength anew for the next mile and then the next mile. You know who you are. To single you out would be something not necessarily what you would want so I will keep silent about what you did for me during these tremulous times. There are, however, some things you must all know and so, I begin with the happiness I feel for being grateful to all of you.

I need not repeat the circumstances from which I write. I do want to speak of some things that brought us together and that may well keep us bonded in the future. These are things of “release,” things that paved my road to where I am now and if the universe be kind, are a view to smooth surface forward. Should the past be prologue, then what I write here may well have us—well, some of us—joined in an adventure, great or small, but an escapade, nonetheless.

I thank you for accepting me as I am, warts and all. You have blessed me with friendship and loving unknown to me in recent times. It is not so much that is has not been there, but that I have been blind to these two angels—friendship and love. The blindness came as I focused totally inward, staring at my “bellybutton” and hoping good feelings would emanate and envelope me. Always, I saw what was wrong with me, rather than the good that had, from time to time, spread out among many of you, known to each other and not. That you were unaware of these shortcomings I so vividly saw was either out of acceptance of my “warts” along with the silken voice or that you chose to ignore those faults; bless you for that. So bidden was I to chastise myself for what I did or did not do that the dark cloak I drew around me was the only comfort I had from the cold winds of criticism that blew into me, albeit from me.

It was you that brought me the warmth of the sun, living as I was as a character in Aesop’s Fables, causing me to drop that cloak. It was you that encouraged me to stride out of this self-imposed dislocation from a different reality, you who said, “…you have hundreds of friends, who all love you…” It was you who told me that “…many were waiting to give back to you after you had served so many, way back when.” It was you that held my hand as I wept, begging forgiveness for my silently leaving you so long ago, not a word forthcoming about my departure, just turning on my heels and heading off “…into the sunset.”

I am back among you, now, and I am grateful that you welcomed my return, if indeed quietly. I am happy because I am grateful to all of you.

What brought all this on started with the word from my immediate former wife who said one Thursday night that she was moving out on Saturday, laying down a 20 year marriage, much like laying down a tool whose usefulness was complete. Naturally, I was stunned. I’d seen no signs of disturbance. I was aware of no petulant behavior on my part, for sure. The bills were being paid on time. “Baby Girl,” my daughter, was advancing well in school both in classes and socially, being popular and articulate as she was overwhelmingly elected to class office. What could be so wrong that a break-up was in the offing? My carousing habits were long gone. Diabetes had surfaced making me a “cripple” of sorts. I did not drink anymore. I dropped any extracurricular activities long ago to concentrate on my work to come straight home every night. While we may have eaten lunch and dinner in separate rooms in front of separate TV’s, that didn’t appear strange; after all we had done that for years. Yet, all of a sudden, I was to be alone, without the accompaniment of family for the first time in 20 years.

“We’re too much like roommates,” she said. “I don’t want to live like that for the rest of my life. And there are those ‘transgressions’ for which I will not forget or forgive. You’re on your own, Buddy.” To say my jaw dropped to my knees would be an understatement; more like dropped to my ankles. I thought I had made improvements over my previous life. I thought I was now an upstanding guy. I thought I was respected by friends and family alike for my posture, poise and confidence. I thought my integrity showed through, that what I thought, said and did were all the same thing. I thought I could be counted upon to “deliver the goods.” I thought I was good enough to keep around for the next 30 or 40 years. I thought the phrase, ‘…’til death do us part” was the watchword in this relationship. Here I was, though, being told that I was lacking in the most basic ways, that I was no longer interesting or funny or attractive in any way. I was unacceptable as I was, improved version or not.

Interestingly, as I was confronted with this new level of nonconformity, I felt two things. One was rejection, of course, of the grandest kind. After all these years, I was no longer adequate to stand within this family’s limits. I was being pushed out much like the adolescent male wolf is shunted aside from the core family, never again to participate in family things, forever on his own, hunting alone. The loneliness was immediate and breath-taking. I was to be a “no-name,” never again associated with family celebrations of birthdays, holidays, even funerals. I would have to make appointments to see my daughter. I would never again sit at the head of a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table; not that we did anything different from regular meals on these days, anyway. I would never again hear, “Hi, Daddy” from either of them. I would never again hear, “Mom told me to ask you if I could…” I would never again have my daughter reaching over the front seat to change the radio station from mine to her favorite one as we drove to and from work and school. I would never again watch her walk from apartment to dumpster and back, ensuring her safe travel. I was rejected even as that lowly watchdog.

The other feeling was one of relief. It was done, the marriage, I mean. I lauded her courage in declaring it over and moving on. I wanted out years ago but, never had the nerve to say this was not for me, child within the marriage or not. I didn’t think I should be the one to end it, leaving them to fend for themselves as I sought other pastures. That she did meant I was released. That she did was a result of a long path of thought and planning that brought us to this end. I lauded that, too. She was able to keep me completely in the dark about her campaign to cut me loose. Her patience was extraordinary; she might have been planning this for years. The proof was she waited until my daughter’s 18th birthday to spring this on me; now she wouldn’t have to grant me any special privileges because my daughter was underage. That she required nothing special from me was testament to her kindness and graciousness through all this divorce stuff.

Still, I was relieved and grateful that she had “pulled the trigger.” Among other reasons, I could now pursue my art without any recriminations from her or any guilt from me. Before this, if I so much as bought an art pad and some colored pencils, I was branded as taking food out of our mouths. If I tried to discuss what I really wanted to do—create art—I faced rolled eyes. I had come into the marriage an artist yet, as I went along, I saw that having a “job” was the only way to create happiness within the union. I ”laid down” thoughts of a successful artistic career and worked in customer service for most of the marriage. As my wife and daughter left and moved into their new “digs,” I turned the now-spare bedroom into a studio and began creating designs for a new subject matter: erotic stained glass windows.

My designs were accepted by a number of important glass artists and I went forward to construct them. Eventually, I staged a one-man show in early 2004--downtown at a local restaurant—which lasted a month. I thought myself an artist, at last. Although I kept my full-time job at a national long-distance telephone company, I dressed colorfully as befitting an artist and doodled between incoming calls. After the show, I made a few stained glass panels, preferring to try my hand at other things artistic. I made ribbon weavings that I attached to “Dickies™” work shirts and showed them to various retail stores, who weren’t interested. I created some thick copper-wire sculptures for my own amusement. I went to art shows and museums and looked at others’ works. I marveled at what passed for art on one hand and stood speechless in front of masterpieces not needing to be told they were. I was disgruntled at my stuff when I compared it to others yet, I persevered. I would be good, eventually.

Not much later in 2004 two things happened that changed my life: I got fired and my mother passed away, leaving me a sum of money (enough to live on for about 18 months). Losing the job was a happy circumstance as I hated it anyway. Gaining the inheritance allowed me to pay off my car and some debts but I was ill-prepared for this “sudden money” and ended up spending it on fast cars, fast women and fast times. The rest I just frittered away… I’m kidding, of course, about frittering it all away. I didn’t realize just how much expenses went out each month in general—food, rent and gas to name a few items. I did try a few businesses along the way but, my heart was still in creating art which I continued to do during all this. Eventually, despite the constant urging and encouraging of business friends, I laid these down, working on art 10 to 14 hours a day.

As life would have it, I needed to support myself and went to work for a couple temporary hire firms during 2006. I stayed with them until I was fired—again—just as I entered the hospital for this most recent round of unpleasantness because of calling in sick once too often. Since then, many of you have come forward to offer support of various kinds, for which I am eternally grateful. Social Security handed me a portion of what I’ve contributed in a lifetime of work. The State gave me food stamps and health insurance. So far, I have the basics, like bagels and cream cheese with coffee in the morning at home. I can buy gas though I don’t travel much. I have the internet, email, basic cable (paid for by what I charge two housemates to share it) and a cell phone. I am happy because of being grateful for all this and more.

I am also grateful for you, my viewing public. You allowed me into your homes and places of work. You may have said, “Goodie! Another piece from Dick; I’ll view it now!!” Then again, you may have simply clicked “delete.” Some of you have responded; most have not. No matter; that you even opened something from me or visited my sites is indeed a blessing. You allowed me to ensconce myself in a small corner of you, if only for a moment. You may or may not like what I do or say but, again, I am grateful for your glance. I’ve learned one thing during all of what I’ve gone through: for me, creativity is my driving force, my raison d’etré. If I can create artistically, I am incredibly happy to reflect what is in me through brush and paint, l albeit through a PC. If I can join sentences together in some order and be understood, I am grateful beyond any words I can find. I am eternally grateful that I can communicate—so far as I can tell—in art and words, spoken or written. I’ve discovered talents, though not lying fallow, were dormant until recent events sharpened them. And though I am grateful as hell that you read or look at what I do, I leave you with anticipation.

You are but a small enclave of people directly addressed by me. I’ve gleaned that your intelligence is above average. I’ve discovered your tolerance and acceptance levels as none of you (so far) have said, “Enough! Drop me from your mailing list!” You have a good sense of humor, collectively. And you are special to me from a very significant point of view: you are the first to read what I write and see what I produce. You may not like either but still you are the first. You may agree or disagree but nothing changes your prominence as first. You may or may not own any of my art which doesn’t really matter--someone else outside of this special circle may be the first to do that. Still, what is unchanging is that you saw or read it here first. I am grateful that you were first. You allowed me to experiment before you in words or visually. I practiced my various crafts in front of you, first, before going out to a larger audience thoroughly prepared. For now, I listen to whatever feedback you offer. Later, I may not be as approachable simply because of engagements on my time. I anticipate that what I do now, with you, will expand not only here, within the Islands, “…from sea to shining sea…” but to a world-wide appreciation. You may think me arrogant to say this from a 14’ by 14’ room in a house on the desolate, dry and dusty west coat of Oahu. I said I would leave you with “anticipation.”

Mark my words. You will always be able to say you were the first to know of my body of work, literary and artistic. Others may propel me to prominence and wealth, but it is on your shoulders I stand. It is to you I will point when asked how I got my start, from where I came.

So far, it has been a great privilege to share my thoughts and feelings with you.

I can tell you, I am happy because I am grateful.

More to come in the next edition of Brittleliquid’s Journey…

Friday, January 19, 2007

Where I Am Now

About three months ago, as many of you know, I was diagnosed and began treatment for prostate cancer (PC). I have been virtually pain-free since that time, suffering only occasional cramps in my penile region which I’ll explain later. I’m basically inactive now though I have begun a walking and diet program to handle my weight gain since hospitalization.

My emotional life soars presently as I feel the tenderness of love newly embracing me. All this and more in this edition of Brittleliquid’s Journey.

Let me first explain why I use the term, “Brittleliquid” in the title of this blog. I invented the word about 25 years ago to describe what glass is. I was working heavily in stained glass at the time and wanted to name my newly formed small business. I new that when glass is made it is in a liquid form, albeit at about 1200° Fahrenheit. When glass cools to room temperature it is brittle, requiring thoughtful handling to keep it intact. Hence, I put the two words together and came up with “Brittleliquid.” Fairly rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

When I was first tagged with the label “Prostate Cancer Sufferer” I admit I was devastated. I spent a lot of time “woe is me’ing” and crying uncontrollably. I felt so sorry for myself. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, that I would end my days eroded by cancer, slipping away in a painful or woeful demise, tubed-up and incapacitated. At least that was the way I perceived this illness. I had not paid much attention to my prostate even though in my 50’s; the proclivity toward the cancer is remorselessly high in men my age. I had some signs of the disease over the past few years—frequent urination, slow spill and even some erectile dysfunction. Yet, I attributed this to the damage my Type II diabetes inflicted and left things at that.

As my urinary troubles intensified—I going five or six times a night—I got to a point where I was so tired from working all day and sleeping so badly at night that I stopped eating regular meals. I came home at 5:30pm and went straight to bed. My weight dropped and my belt was getting more notches as my waist size decreased. Gee, a happy coincidence but, I was paying a heavy price. As my date with destiny and hospitalization neared, I ate less and less, maybe yoghurt in the morning and a saimin soup at night. I just didn’t have the strength to prepare anything more than that. I had little taste for much, not even fast foods.

I landed a job a few weeks before all this at Hawaiian Telcom, the local phone company. There, I worked in the business customer service section which was floundering under poor performance. I was assigned to collect data on customers’ missing invoices and made a few suggestions as to how to do it better. I was immediately placed in charge of the duty and had two people working for me in a matter of a couple weeks. The pay was good--$20 per hour—and the people very accepting of me as a “newbie.”

About three weeks into this assignment, I began the suffering stage of the combined effects of diabetes and PC and started calling in sick. I just couldn’t get out of bed; I was so tired and weak. I slept most of the day and by night time, I was wide awake and couldn’t fall asleep, though I was very much fatigued. I might make it in to work the following day but, by the end of the day, I was so whipped I didn’t know if I would make it from the bus stop to home, a mere 200 yards away. The routine would engage itself again and I might make it in the next day or I might not.

By the time I signed myself into medical care, I even went to a Chinese doctor to see if he could figure out what was wrong with me. He took my pulse and said something in half-Chinese and half-English which my friend, Miss Chinatown (really, Sonja Wong) translated as, “Your cholesterol is very high.” He took my pulse again Sonja translated his next statement as, “You have arthritis in your left hip.” I could be sure of pain in my left hip; it came and went over time. He told me to pay him $7.00 cash for his consultation and to get my prescription in the front of his store. I did both, leaving with two packages of twigs, bark, roots, bugs and seeds and the directions to boil each one in 5 ½ cups of water down to one. The bus ride home took almost 2 hours in the evening rush hour and I was woozy most of the way.

At home, I told my landlord of the boiling directions and he went ballistic. “That’ll take two hours or more of electricity!” As his electric bill had been increasing monthly, largely due to the company’s fuel costs, he was beside himself with a deliberate increase in kilowatt hours. Nothing about whether this “tea” might be any good for me, just concern for more money to be spent on utilities. So, I paid him what I thought two hours was worth and started boiling. I drank this incredible-tasting mix later and I can say it settled my stomach somewhat allowing me to eat some of my landlord’s local cooking, which was always fabulous. The next day, he boiled the second package for me, perhaps embarrassed that he was unreasonably upset at the prescription’s requirements. Strange that he would challenge me on this as he was local, even had some Chinese in his background and knew what was needed to use this medicine.

All that was moot as the very next morning I made my to Emergency at the local hospital.

During my three week stay at the hospital, I endured five medical procedures; three involving my prostate and two involving my kidneys, which were operating at about 50 percent when I was admitted. Two of the PC operations were to obtain specimens for the lab to determine the depth of my cancer; one was to reduce my body’s testosterone levels—thought to feed the PC. My urologist came in to talk to me and said what I remembered as “Gobbledegook, gobbledegook, gobbledegook and sign here.” I tried very hard to concentrate on what he was telling me but the administered drugs affected my concentration. I had three Playboys’ at my bedside and I couldn’t turn the pages, much less lift them to my bed tray. I barely understood what he was saying now that I recall and had no one to sit with me as these procedures were described. I signed the releases and headed off to surgery or x-ray.

There was one release, however that really punched me hard. The medical term for this was “orchidectomy.” It was necessary in order to drastically reduce the effects of testosterone which was thought to feed the PC. I found out later that testosterone, if indeed it was the guilty party, was also produced by the adrenal glands. I wondered later whether this particular operation was really necessary but, my urologist spoke to me again in “gobbledegook” and I signed where indicated. I was not totally unaware of the central effects of this orchidectomy and, at my age, I figured baby-making days were over. You see, the word breaks down like this: “orchid” is the substitute word for testicles and –ectomy means removal. You understand I’m sure. By “cutting my nuts, the family jewels” I was now on hormone therapy. No more testosterone, no more cancer was the thinking. It was either the “snip” or chemical castration costing $900 per month for pills, ingested for months. My urologist’s way was “quick and dirty” and results would likely be immediate as measured by my PSA blood levels; high is bad, low is good. Mine measured at 48.5 just before I went in for my first operation. Two months later it was at a 5 though best is less than .1. Maybe these “medico’s” were on to something here.

I did find the side effects of lowering my testosterone rather deep and challenging. Since my female hormones were now running rampant in my system, unchecked by a balancing male hormone, I underwent some interesting changes. I cried at the slightest whiff of an emotional scene—weddings, children smiling and hugging each other or flowers offered to someone for no reason at all. Suddenly, I started watching soap operas and didn’t miss an episode of “All My Children.” I watched and wondered why men couldn’t be more like the ones on daytime TV. Oprah Winfrey was my heroine. I started shopping for shoes, did my nails incessantly and asked my housemates if my jeans made me look fat. I cleaned the bathroom twice a day and hung curtains everywhere. I fussed at the others if they didn’t come home in time for dinner… In short, my feminine side was coming on strong from the lack of testosterone.

When I told that story to a group of PC sufferers at a recent support group meeting, the men shifted nervously in their seats, looking down at their hands and one actually asked me, “Dick, did all that really happen?” He was visibly relieved when some others assured him I was joking.

Presently, I’m feeling fine with no pain anywhere. I pee normally, better than normal really, more like a five year old. My urine exits with such force I can write my name in letters 6 feet high on blank walls and not use my hands to direct the stream…

Other than a mild weight gain since I came out of the hospital and my primary care doctor’s admonitions about that what is coming up is another check with the urologist. He says that the two plastic tubes in my back that deliver urine from the kidneys to the bladder need changing in about two months. These get “crudded up” (another medical term) with waste material and slowly restrict urine flow. Apparently this procedure will be a challenge as he has to go through my penis and the bladder to replace these tubes with new ones. Get this: he says I won’t actually be in the hospital; we can do it at Burger King since they have wide tables. What he means is that I’ll be an outpatient; you know, drive myself to surgery and back home all in the same day. Yeah, right…

There’s been little talk of a cancer doctor visit, so far. Prior to this upcoming plumbing job, I’ll get a full body scan to see how far the cancer has progressed into my bones—ribs, pubic and spine. If the results of that are scary, then I’ll see this third doctor and talk about the favored treatment, radiation, either in rays or in imbedded pellets. Chemo is not in much favor as it tends to kill living things like people as it does its work.

Along the way, I’m researching PC as best I can on the internet and in books. I’ve attended two PC support group meetings, called “USTwo,” since November (none were open during December) and have come away with some perceptions that won’t go away. The first is that most of the men in these groups are in their 70’s and 80’s. The second impression is that most of these patients know more about PC than their doctors do. Comments from these attendees lead me to believe that PC is not “sexy” enough for most oncologists—at least in Hawaii—to spend a lot of time working in this arena. The big bucks go to leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer possibly because typically younger people get this stuff. Too, since urologists are the first to be consulted about PC, and their expertise is the urinary tract, few understand the treatment methods that could kill this thing off once and for all.

I’m still new at this thing but I am looking for other methods of treatment, including what is called “clinical trials.” In these, new methods or medications are tried out on a select group of people to see if they will work. Typically there are several criteria that must be met or one cannot enter these trials. For a Honolulu clinical trial, I must have failed to respond to other treatments before consideration.

Additionally, diet and exercise are being touted as of some real use. The diet part is total vegetarianism including lots of juicing, particularly with spinach leaves. I’m juicing several times a week, adding carrots, fresh ginger and an apple for sweetness. I’m eating more salads, too. For exercise, I walk and jog for a half-hour at a time. I drink loads of water and take an occasional multi-vitamin. We’ll see how this works out.

When I was first diagnosed, I was given six months to live. My urologist said that whoever told me that was lying. In his opinion, I had a whole year…! As I’ve mentioned before, people associated with healing told me I had least 20 years. I decided to live as if I had those 20 years and did two things: I went to an awards ceremony honoring me with the “Fickle Finger of Fate” prize (for those who fate intervened into an otherwise normal life) and told the audience of my plans. Many had young children, even babies with them. I said, “on the anniversary of my 20th year of survival, my goal is to be in bed with a 20 year old woman who is hot, wet, satisfied and happy to be with me. I’m looking around for a candidate and she may well be here in the audience tonight!

The second thing I did, with my new-found confidence, was to make my girlfriend into my fiancée. I asked her to marry me just before New Years and she said yes. My friends were ecstatic and supportive and full of gladness for me. My family, on the other hand, said, “Marriage? In your condition?”

You can probably guess my response.

Until next time,

This has been another episode of Brittleliquid‘s Journey.

Monday, January 8, 2007


Wednesday dawned quietly, cloudless and windless. I stared at blue skies with morning coffee alongside, sitting outside the house, watching others get into cars and drive off to work. For me, it would be a day at the PC, designing more artwork for upcoming projects.

Or so I thought…

About 10:00am, my best friend Steve called asking if I was available to help deliver Angel Fish, a 42 foot wood fishing boat from the boat yard to her berth at Kewalo Basin, about an hour’s trip by sea. I would need to be pier-side by noon if I agreed to go. Would I! I worked on Angel Fish for almost three weeks straight for this day and I wasn’t going to miss it. I rang off with Steve and thought over what this day meant to me.

I would be back at sea, again, almost 20 years after I hung up my sails to live ashore. Marriage had separated me from the ocean as my second wife abhorred the beach and anything having to do with water. I missed the ocean. In Hawaii, the water is warm and clear and of a deep blue that no camera or artist ever captured. The winds are generally steady, blowing from the northeast most of the year at 10-15 miles per hour. The other times of the year, like the fall and winter, winds come from any direction and any speed. Today was like that—from the south, little puffs blowing onshore. This made for warm, muggy days but with little wind and a flat calm ocean to travel over. This was going to be a pleasant and short, surely no more than an hour or so.

Back on October 13th—six weeks ago from today—Angel Fish came out of the water for repairs after spending several years working various fishing areas around Hawaii and a few more just tied up to her dock. Angel Fish required extensive work. She leaked both below and above decks. Her steering was frozen; unmovable. Her military-surplus diesel engine needed a major tune up and her tanks held water-contaminated fuel. Her decks were rotten, needing replacement. Her topsides were badly marred by black rubber from the tires used as fenders at the harbor. Her hull above the waterline was laced with holes from dry rot and occasional bumps against the pier. Her interior was moldy, oily and dirty. The lowest parts of the boat were wet and in some areas at least six inches deep in water. She would be expensive and time-consuming to fix up.

I came into this scene about three weeks into the project to prepare Angel Fish for a return to sea. Steve asked if I could help out based on my own experiences as a former boat-owner and as a favor to him and his cousin, Angel Fish’s owner. I agreed since I had some time available from my own business project and headed down to the boat yard.

For someone whose exercise consists mainly in picking up a pencil and a sketch pad or using my PC’s mouse to design for various art projects , I certainly wasn’t prepared for this kind of work. In the end, I was under the boat, inside her, on top--scraping, sanding, grinding, cleaning, pumping, caulking, lifting, carrying, cleaning and painting. I came away sore and hurting in places I didn’t know existed. Daily, I cleaned paint and dirt off me with chemicals and scrubbing pads. I threw away shirts, shorts, socks and underwear that could never be cleaned of oil and paint enough to wear in public. I woke up more tired than when I went to sleep. I lost weight. But, in spite off this, I really looked forward to the day when Angel Fish would be back in the water, motoring on her own freshly repaired and painted bottom, gleaming with new hull paint; proud again.

And now, that day arrived and I was on my way shortly after Steve and I talked. I took my camera and my cell phone along just in case I could use either or both. Turns out now, both came in handy…

Came 12noon, the appointed departure hour, and I looked down at Angel Fish, bobbing gently against her mooring lines at the temporary dock. She sparkled with new paint. She even floated higher in the water because of her repaired bottom, half of one side having had its wood replaced. Her seams were tight and not leaking. She was clean inside and out.

Bobby, her owner, came up with some supplies in one hand and a borrowed anchor in the other. He swung aboard for a moment and left in search of a diesel mechanic as for some reason, the motor wouldn’t start. While a tune-up was in order, due to the vast amount of work required just to get her afloat, this one thing didn’t happen. She had been towed into dry dock when her steering wouldn’t work and now it looked like she would have to be towed back to her pier because of a uncooperative engine.

The diesel mechanic arrived, took a deep breath, removed the deck boards over the engine compartment and lowered himself down. He asked how long the new batteries had been charging and Bobby told him. Not long enough, the mechanic declared. So long as the battery charger was running, at least the starter would get enough electricity to get the motor turning. After that, the batteries would get their charge from the generator but first, the motor needed to start. Several attempts later, the motor caught and fired up. The mechanic took a sample of what fuel was still aboard and told Bobby he still had water mixed in it. She should be okay for your short run, he said, but get that water out soonest.

Bobbie sent me to the boat yard’s mini-mart to get a gallon of motor oil and there, I ran into the mechanic and struck up a conversation. He said that Angel Fish’s motor was an old military surplus one in bad need of complete overhaul or replacement, which would be the cheaper way to go. Then, he said something that would come back starkly: That motor will probably get you “from here to there” but don’t go planning any trips to Maui.

Angel Fish used to work the hottest fish spots all over the state and had a solid reputation for profitable trips. She always made money and always took her crew “there and back,” confidently rumbling along hour after hour. Now, we were having trouble getting her started and keeping her running for a one hour trip. Water in diesel fuel is deadly to a motor causing it to quit as would be expected. Yet, not only did we have water in the fuel but the mechanic found water in the lubricating oil, also highly damaging to a motor. Tell Bobby to make sure to add that gallon of oil, the mechanic said, but get that oil and water out soonest—a favorite expression of his.

At 2 o’clock, we finally pushed off and backed away from the dock. Bobby signaled to call him during the trip as we left. We waved. The engine room covers were off and oily, white smoke spewed from the motor and into the cabin. Walter, the skipper, just shrugged his shoulders and applied power as we nosed out into the harbor and headed for the channel leading to the ocean. I shrugged, too, and drew out my camera.

Angel Fish moved easily in the water, throwing spray off to either side, leaving a burbling trail behind her. We “turned the corner” at the outer buoys of the Keehi Channel and headed east towards Kewalo Basin, the commercial harbor which was her home. Higher motor revolutions, however, produced a screeching noise from the engine compartment, which both Walter and I figured was just a loose rubber belt slipping in its pulley, probably the generator. Smoke still issued from below but was quickly blown out of the cabin by the wind created by our moving over the water. The motor continued to rumble on—as well as could be expected.

I took pictures—of the coast passing by our port side, of the far west end of the island receding behind us, of ships coming by. I wasn’t at all seasick but that was partly because I was determined not to be, partly because the sea was so flat and partly because Angel Fish rode so smoothly through the water. The day was bright and clear. What clouds appeared, billowed up behind the Koolau Mountains like giant piles of un-baled cotton. What a perfect day to make this homeward bound journey.

Honolulu Harbor came up on our port side and I could see all the business buildings rising up behind it. What a shame people were working in them instead of enjoying this peaceful—but noisy—ride out on the water. Next, maybe a mile away, would be a turn into Kewalo Basin as soon as we reached the outermost green and red marker buoys.

Walter kept looking over his shoulder from his perch in the captain’s chair at the motor still smoking away as its six cylinders pounded away. He looked concerned. I wasn’t sure what he was worried about; we were moving along smartly edging ever closer to our destination, seemingly just minutes away. I popped open a beer and continued snapping pictures of Honolulu and Diamond Head.

And we were there—the outer markers. Onshore, I could see the park right next to the Kewalo Basin entrance. Waves broke against the breakwater, white foam spraying up and over its black rocks. The water below us turned green as the bottom rose up from the depths, the deep blue ocean water exchanging places with it. I could even see patches of reef below us the water was so clear. In an instant, it seemed, the calm and peace we enjoyed up to now changed. The trust we had in Angel Fish to get us to her home port evaporated as Walter motioned me to come forward from my seat in the stern.

He pointed to the throttle which was all the way forward--meaning the motor should have been operating at its highest RPM’s—and yet, the sound from the engine was the same as it was at idle; no change. He looked at me with eyes widening as he threw the throttle back and forth, slow to fast, with no response from the motor except one: it quit. It slowly backed off from any rotations and went quiet. It wouldn’t restart either, probably because the batteries didn’t have enough charge to do that. Things got very quiet aboard Angel Fish.

We had no radio to call for help. Earlier, during the time the mechanic was ministering to the motor, I tried to install a replacement radio but it didn’t work. All we had were cell phones to call anybody. There wasn’t time to make any calls, anyway. That breakwater with waves crashing on to it was getting closer as the onshore wind of 5-10 miles per hour had control of Angel Fish, pushing her towards it. The clear water below us was almost white as the sand on the rising bottom was also getting closer to us. We were abut 20 minutes away from grinding a perfectly good, fresh-from-dry dock, 59 year old fishing boat into splinters.

So, we sprang into action.

I went up forward with Walter to the anchor hatch and pulled it open, looking for anchor rope. It was there alright, in bunches of coils that had no end that I could see. It looked like rope used to tow water skiers—polypropylene, a kind of plastic rope, certainly not the strong, expensive nylon line I was used to. I grabbed handfuls of what was there dragging it out on to the springy deck which sagged under my weight due to its being rotten away. Walter called for me to hand him the anchor, now buried under yards of this rope. I dug it out from under the pile and at the same time, found the bitter end of the line, also giving it to him. He tossed a fast knot through the anchor’s stem, secured it, and threw the anchor into the water. I looked back at the breakwater, so close now I could see people picnicking in the park it protected. A wave of relief came over me as I knew now we would only have to call Bobby and have him send some one out to tow us in. We would be safe and secure so long as the anchor dug in and the line held.

I looked at Walter just as his eyes really went wide this time. In his hands was the parted remnants of the anchor line we had trusted just minutes ago. The anchor had cut through the knot as if it was sewing thread. We had no motor, no radio to call the coast Guard and now no anchor and now we were starting to roll as the swells moved us ever closer onshore. I reached for my cell phone and called Bobby.


I repeated myself as Bobby couldn’t understand me, perhaps because my voice was not that of an airline pilot reassuring his passengers during an emergency situation but rather that of somebody who just saw a ghost and wanted out of there. Just then I looked up to see a boat coming out of the harbor, the kind used to haul tourists around for parasailing. I hung up from Bobby and asked Walter if I should flag it down and he said no, he has customers aboard; we shouldn’t bother him. Shouldn’t bother him because he has customers aboard? There is an ancient sea tradition that sailors drop what they are doing to go to the aid of a stricken vessel. If we weren’t “stricken” right now, we surely would be in about 15 minutes amid the wreckage of a surf-tossed vessel pounded into pieces on those evil, black rocks of that breakwater. By then, it would be too late to ask for help except from those picnickers in order to get ourselves ashore in one piece.

My heart sank as I watched the parasailing tow boat glide away from us with his customers. We were out of options and running out of depth quick. We had maybe 15 feet of water beneath us and when that came down to 4 or 5, we would be aground and at the mercy of an onshore wind and crashing waves. There was not a single boat around us until…

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Coming out of the harbor was another parasailing tow boat, this time with only the operator aboard—no customers! I stood up on the rickety forward deck and flashed the international distress signal: arms straight out, alternately lifting and lowering them as I faced him. He saw me and turned his boat toward us in response. Angel Fish was rolling pretty strongly from side to side by now and I fell onto my backside on the forward cabin top as I watched him close the distance on us. When he was within earshot, I told him of our predicament and asked for a tow in. He tossed line to me, which I fixed to the forward bollard as he took up the slack and began our tow.

I needed a beer badly; several of them. We were finally headed in the right direction although silently. I looked out to the breakwater as we passed it. The waves, which had been so menacing just a few minutes before, seemed serene and beautiful: white, soft and foamy. The rocks glistened in the afternoon sun, sparkling with spray just tossed on them. In the distance, picnickers frolicked on wide swaths of deep green grass, unmindful of how close they might have come to the tragedy of a run-aground boat. A temporary pier was open before us and we tied up, thanking the saving captain as he motored off.

As luck would have it, the only spot open on the concrete pier was protected by old tires, the same tires that left so many rubber marks on Angel Fish before she went to dry dock. All that fresh, beautiful, expensive white topside paint now had long black streaks imbedded in it.

Angel Fish brought us home from dry dock, for sure, a little worse for wear, but home. May she sail on for a long time to come…

Sunday, January 7, 2007

I Feel All Alone


Today, in spite of the assurances of countless others, I feel all alone. Tears are streaming from my eyes, my lips are stretched tightly across my teeth and I sob quietly. I’ve been here before so, it’s not new. It’s just that I realize how lonely I am and don’t really know what to do about it.

That’s not quite true. I do know what to do and that is to reach out to other people. I have to stop thinking that I’m bothering them if I call. I have to write those emails or letters, hoping for a response. I need to attend support group meetings for my cancer. I may even need to volunteer for various things like learning how to become a docent (of all things) at the local Academy of Arts. I need to be among people, to care for their needs and to get away from myself and my problems.


I find such comfort in creating my art right now in spite of these momentary bouts of low feelings. I find that each work is better than the last one. I’m using more imagination and taking more chances. Each piece is a story now instead of just a portrait. Of immense help is my model who transformed herself of late. She now poses pretty much any way I ask and adds a few twists of her own.

Before my diagnosis (BMD), she was shy and posed like it. We sent emails back and forth and we learned about each other. I encouraged her in any number of ways to become more courageous in her posing. In doing so, that courage would pay off in other areas of her life. She changed—a little bit at a time—and her posing relaxed and was freer. I didn’t realize it at the time but, I was building a relationship with her in friendship and love. I thought that I was merely using the powers of written persuasion to see more of her.

BMD, I just wanted pictures so I could produce something, anything. If the pictures were dark or out of focus, I fixed them best I could. If the model wasn’t sure, I sent pose suggestions. When the pictures came in with approximations of what I wanted, I simply accepted what I got and did what I could. I even paid for model time thinking that as long as I was fronting money I got what I asked for. I could have simply bought some magazines or downloaded pictures from the web but, those were fraught with stumbling blocks like copyright infringement and the like. Besides, I liked my model and her family, so much so that I supported them for a while and gifted cameras, a PC, clothing and support for various business ventures. That we could comfortably converse and she would take her clothes off for me was delightful, indeed.

She read a journal of my hospital experience and contacted me right away to see if there was anything she could do. I suggested another pictorial, as soon as possible, because I honestly didn’t know how long I had left to live. I told her the doctors said six months and then they said a year. In any case, a pictorial of her would be soothing to my frame of mind, I said. She told me pictures would arrive the next day—and they did; all nudes! This was an overnight, radical change for her. When I queried her about the transformation she said that I had done so much for her and her family when I was well that, now that I was sick, I deserved whatever she could give me and nude poses was a start.

It’s been the start of much more than just her body in front of me. I’ve fallen in love with her. For a year and a half I’ve harbored deep feelings toward her which I’ve tried to ignore. As we corresponded, I answered her doubts and fears with uplifting messages of hope, courage and building confidence. Motivational, to be sure, but I was also attempting to ingratiate myself. I wanted her to accept and like me. I spent long periods composing and editing those messages so that every word fit its meaning, all with an eye to being memorable. She reached out more often, not necessarily asking for any particular advice, just saying hello or thanking me for a contribution of some kind. I usually responded quickly, acknowledging her words and offering encouragement of some kind for school, for the future and for posing—always the posing suggestions.

One time, she decided to accept an invitation to enter a fund-raising beauty contest for her town. I was delighted at her decision this time as she had refused the call before and only stepped forward this time after I wrote her about it. I wrote that she would be the winner if only because of her beauty and brains; I mean, what else is there? Well, in this case, the object was to raise money for the town library and the contest winner would be the one who raised the most money. The result was the ugliest girl was first and my beauty was fourth--$5,000 to her $500.

She so impressed the crowd and dignitaries with her beauty, poise, confidence, posture and speech (which included a specific reference to an American by name—yours truly) that the town mayor changed the rules about who could ride on the parade floats the next day. Before this event only the top three—the Queen and two Princesses--were presented to the parade route. Immediately after my beauty ended her presentation, the mayor announced that all seven contestants would be on the parade floats the next day. My girl made an impact far beyond placing fourth; she changed the contest rules just by showing up. She was also offered a job as an account in her sponsor’s business as soon as she graduated from CPA classes and a position in Hizzoner’s office with the same proviso.

Later, McDonald’s invited her to be sponsored in another contest, this one truly a beauty and brains event. Even the mayor’s wife came by the house in her limousine recommending she join this one. Initially, my girl said no. She wasn’t interested in anything that would take her away from her studies. I stepped in by reasoning with her about accepting the invitation. Should she win, I said, there was a scholarship and a chance to move forward to some real money winnings in more prestigious events. Still, she hesitated, even though would mean financial reward heretofore unknown to her family. I pulled out the stops by researching the name of a heroine in her country and then compared that war-time effort with my girl’s own rising from her current situation to--at least--lead her town to fame.

Apparently, that did the trick, for she was out the door with a good friend to complete an application within minutes of my email arriving. She made the deadline and McD0onald’s was thrilled. I congratulated her on her wise decision. I wrote about she would overcome her innate shyness over time and through engagement with life. I was very proud of her actions and quite glad that I seemed to have something to do with them. She didn’t tell her Mom about my email although I did, in a roundabout way, so that I did not betray the confidences my girl and I exchanged up until now. I found out later that my girl was at her Mom’s hospital bedside during the opening phases of the new contest and missed it.

Now, in the present I was deep into thoughts of her. Someone asked me how I know I’m in love with someone else. I replied, “I know I’m in love with her because when I’m alone, I am thinking about her. When I’m with others, I am thinking about her. And, when I’m with her, I am thinking about her.” I wondered what it was like to fall in love--again. It had been so long since anything stirred in my chest, any emotion enveloped my heart that I wasn’t so sure I wasn’t experiencing acid reflux. I wasn’t in pain; don’t get me wrong but, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside whenever I thought of her. My imagination carried me across the miles and time zones to emerge from an arriving airline flight and seeing her live, for the first time. I pictured us holding each other so tightly a crow bar couldn’t pry us a part. I envisioned us quietly talking, laughing softly at each others’ gentle teasing, holding hands at the dinner table and so easily loving each other. I saw us in long moments’ just looking at each other, smiling then giggling over who knows what. The years between us disappeared as love took over, embracing us in kindness, consideration, gentleness, caring and hopefulness. I am a man in full. I need nothing else so long as she is alongside me. My potential is released with her breathing the same air as me. I am content and peaceful, at last.

And at this moment I am alone, waiting for her beckon and gesture to join her, if only through the exchange of emails. I gaze at her fresh pictures and shake my head in incredulity; she’s provided total exposure of that which makes her most a woman. I stare for long moments enjoying the view. I run thru stories that might match each picture to visualize the finished piece and calculate the production time. Her eyes invite me into her world. I read “Come hither” in each photo. I take solace in the knowledge that I am the only man in the world privileged to see these. So, whatever she does in front of the camera is for me only. Such a beauty she is and, with sex oozing from every pore and every inch of skin, she dominates any scene. She said that her purpose in life is to serve others but in these pictures and in my imagination all is reversed; we are serving her.

Would that that be the case. I want to serve and she wants to serve. She wants to serve in duality; I’m for the singular version. She wants to be “of service” to her loved ones--like her family. I’m more of the state of mind to serve one other person—there’s not enough room in my ego for a lot of others. The duality she seeks is to “repay” the support her family gave her while she studied to be a CPA and to be “in service” to at least one other person as she explores her “dark side” in a safe way. Although my journey involves many other people, I’ve thanked them by just being around them as they went through the experience of me. I’m looking to serve someone else, solely in gratitude that I can.

While our outward definitions of service differ, it is this inward journey of service that is the same. The “service to loved ones/others” vary in candidate number and reasons for us. Fortunately, I see her with arms extended to a world of others and I embrace that. I think my role in serving her is to lead the applause and to introduce her to the people that will serve her, too, as she goes about her life making things better for her family and loved ones. I think she sees my art of her not as my serving her but, as she serving me with rich pictorials. Here, we bond. She provides me a plethora of poses saying, “…i am just here for you, appreciates your whole individuality.. you’re an amazing person, you just deserve to receive a great appreciation.. I will always support you.. Maybe later after i'll do the house chores ill ask mom to take me some pictures for you, [so you] could persist [to] do your work as an artist. Remember that we’re just here for you, always...”

I weep again as I consider these words of “betrothal,” written with such kindness and tenderness, from the very person I fix my eyes on in these photos. I ask myself if she could ever love me as a lover and companion, really considering myself unworthy. Yet, I am the only one who knows her secrets; she’s not felt safe until me. I can reflect those secrets in my art of her while she provides the tapestries. I send those “secret life” works back to her alone for her perusal. She writes wonderful things about the art and about me. I respond in words and in ever-better art. By better, I mean artistically. I amaze myself with how much better I am yet, I know I am creating this improved art because her responses. I understand that my art pleases her and for that I am in gratitude. I see that I have served her well and she is very pleased. On her side, she has served me by providing fresh displays of herself, responding to my request to “reveal all.” In her eyes, I am worthy and for me, that is my payment.

I recover from my loneliness bout and carry on with my art. In fact, whenever I am verbally blocked, I work on a piece. I lose myself in solving the many architectural problems of depicting the 3Dhuman form in two dimensions. She is such a beauty that I work hard, with perspiration dripping from my nose on to the keyboard (okay, I lied about the sweat). I do work at reflecting her concisely, especially her eyes. I am so fully connected to creation that time goes by without notice. When I get blocked at the easel, I return to this writing and find words I hadn’t seen before, picking up effortlessly from where I left off earlier.

In the background is XMRadio, coming through my PC’s hi-fi speaker system. I’m tuned to the New Age channel which is very stimulating and yet peaceful. Yanni’s been on there, Kitaro and others too numerous to mention. I used to listen to Classical exclusively, well, maybe some old rock music came through once in a while.

I sign off today and promise more later…

Friday, January 5, 2007

A View Away

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How could I but love you if only just for those?


Hello, My Darling Che-Che,

I think you may wonder at why I love you like I do. Look at our situation from my point of view towards understanding.

You are young and beautiful. You are warm and enthusiastic. You have accepted my wisdom and thoughts and even worked with some of them. You have revealed yourself both physically and emotionally to me over some two years. I get to spend hour after hour just looking at you, studying your form and shape and working out a design that reflects you. You helped me make breakthroughs in my art like getting your eyes perfect and learning how to make your skin color consistent throughout. And, what a lovely skin color it is!

How could I but love you if only just for those?

As time went by, I was always excited when your emails came in and I would stop everything I was doing to read them, sometimes many times over. Your words reached across the miles and time zones and spoke clearly about how you cared about me and you provided prayers of goodness and joy.

How could I but love you if only just for those?

When I became ill, you stepped forward and came to my side. You spoke to me with words of encouragement wrapped in love. You became my support as I had been for you over the months we knew each other. You were kind and gentle toward me during a most difficult time in my life. You held me in your arms—though far away—and I was at peace. You gave me hope wrapped in love, a gift like no other. You gave me courage to fight on and to rise above my physical state and to conquer it. You gave me the most blessed gift of all; you gave me you.

How could I but love you if only just for those?

Then, as time wore on, you told me more about the deeper parts of you. You explained some of your needs and desires and even showed me what they looked like. You offered thoughts and feelings about yourself to me that no one had heard from you, ever. Your words and pictures struck a musical chord inside of me as what you said and what you showed me was exactly who I had been looking for all my life. You selected me as the storehouse of all you said and allowed me to be the one to understand and appreciate you.

How could I but love you if only just for those?

And now, when you accepted my offer to live with me for the rest of our lives, you did so willingly and seemingly without doubts or fears. You have dreamed of living in America all your life and I am the one who may well make that possible. That you agreed so easily and quickly is a testament to your trust and faith in me, some things few people ever enjoy with someone else. That you were searching for someone like me and I for someone like you for such along time and that the search was over surely brought a flood of relief for both of us. I know I sleep better, now, how about you? A new chapter opened in my life when you came along and if truth be known, you allowed me to spend time with you, after sitting on your doorstep until you invited me in. I tell you, I was not going away until you either said “yes or no.” You allowed me to quietly pursue you. You watched how I responded to you. You read my words, tried them out, found them workable and welcomed me to offer more.

How could I but love you if only just for those?

You see, CC, you gained respect for me and reflected that in all you said and did. You showed me I was worthy of your glance and of a place next to you at the banquet of life. You waved me over and spoke in low tones of how you felt about me. You placed your warm hand in mine. You caressed my cheek, smoothed my brow and looked deeply into my eyes and said, “I love you.”

How could I but love you if only just for those?

I love you, My Precious CC…

Thursday, January 4, 2007

I Am Helplessly, Hopelessly In Love


I’m helplessly and hopelessly in love, by the way, and when I asked her to marry me, she said Yes…
Oh, happy happy, joy joy!
My heart, my soul and my mind are hers, forever.
To think that I might find love at this stage of life and in my situation was unimaginable just a Short while ago.
She changed all that with a smile, a beckoning, a look and a word, “yes.”
When I am alone, I think about her.
When I’m with others, I think about her.
And, when I am with her, I think about her.
I am completely immersed in thoughts about her.
My feelings dangle from my sleeve for all to see.
My silly grin arrives before I do.
I float from place to place, never touching the ground for very long.
Beauty is everywhere, surrounding me and leaving me breathless.
To be touched by her is a gift of heavenly proportions and as all-encompassing.
I miss her the moment we part and live in hope and praise of her until we meet again.
“Hello” from her is a “Welcome Home.”
I shall love Che-Che forever…

May I Have This Dance...?

From: CC

Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2006 1:20 PM
To: Dick Hoyer
Subject: Re: FW: The Bear Blessing

Hahah..cute bears.. its better to be a bear for me could do those things , no hassles, no pressures.. bear's life is filled with adventures, relaxation, happiness..and real love. Now, i wish to be a bear..Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.wish the same things to you, more relaxation, good sleep, good health with exercise, someone to dance with (hope it could be me) , a bit of adventure, good looks, and of course most of all-- the comforts of real love. May you have more blessings toO, more happiness in life..

My Dearest Princess CC,

I am filled with joy by your thoughts and words.

“May I have this dance…for the rest of my life?”

For the first time in my life, I understand what is meant by “real love.” Unusual that it would be in this way, isn’t it? We’ve both been seeking that one person that fits like a glove over our spirit and soul. Someone that understands and appreciates and leads the applause for us… I’m sure we each wonder if this is really happening, that “real love” could be within reach despite the distance and the years.

You speak to a part of me that has never been spoken to before, the part that wants to be free, to sing and dance and to reflect thoughts and feelings openly through arts or letters. You say the things that I think about. You see what I portray in my art that others only wonder about. You reveal yourself like peeling an orange; a little at a time, knowing when to speed up and when to slow down. You know how to involve others in cheering me on, keeping me going and encouraging success habits.

You are beyond sweetness and provide a serious but light personality, strengthened by your confidence to face almost anything. I see who you are and breathe to the Universe “…thanks, even if for only just a little while, thanks for letting me spend some time with her, this one, this CC.”

You are incredibly special CC; everybody wants to be your friend. We all want to say something nice about you to others to show them we are special, too, just because we know you. You are different from anyone I’ve ever known. You combine the graciousness of royalty with the earthy desires of a dark side. To most others, it is the Princess they see. To a very fortunate few (right now maybe just one other person--me) your posture speaks louder than anything you could ever say. When you revealed an appreciation for the “other side,” the final piece of your personality puzzle came to light. I knew there was something you held deep inside. I couldn’t understand how you could just study and have no outside interests. I could understand your motivation to become an accountant. There had to be something that interested you and kept your complex mind satisfied. When you told me and showed me and discussed with me those interests, I knew that peace and happiness were very close by for a “soulmate” appeared.

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.

About courtship with Leslie Parrish by Richard Bach

I found that quote by Richard Bach, one of my favorite authors, when I was searching for a good definition of a soulmate to share with you. Before you landed on my window-sill like a tiny bird, I thought that finding a soulmate was for other people or the movies. I changed my thinking in February, 2005, when I made an art of you. For me, you revealed yourself to me. You were saying to me, “Stay with me for you will have the adventure of a lifetime.” If I can count that day as when I fell in love--whilst for a long time I was silent-- I now celebrate.

Please don’t be afraid of anything you feel. You have a right to those feelings; they are yours alone. It’s okay to be joyous or sad. It’s totally okay to feel anger and despair. It’s absolutely okay to feel a need for pain and to feel sexy at the same time.

What you do with those feelings, how you act them out, calls for careful thought, of course. Here, you showed me the thinker part of you. In that portrait, you said there was more to you than just a pretty voice. I waited and you were true to your message.

The best is yet to come…

Mr. Big Right

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

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What To Do...


My Dearest Princess CC,

I’m so glad PLDT finally figured out that you needed internet access to complete your studies and fixed the lines! I wonder how long they took to understand that.

Anyway, it was wonderful to see you live and in color on the cam. What a delightful beauty you are…

I hope things are going well for you, that your studies are completed easily that life in general is treating you well. I know that you work so hard right now at achieving all you can be.

You remind me of the story of Tandang Sora, the Filipina heroine, honored from the time of the revolution back in the 1800’s. The similarity is from her rising up from a simple background becoming famous through-out the land. When she realized she could be of service to others—soldiers, freedom fighters—she simply went to work. She may have been shy or quiet but, when her time came, she rose up and did what needed to be done.

In much the same way, you come from a simple background, are shy and quiet (ok, shy most of the time (lol)), yet understand how it is to work quietly in the service of others. You are studying accounting for a variety of reasons I’m sure, but in the end, it will be to serve others with the value of your education and skills. The rewards from that service we both know will be considerable: There will be money, of course, relaxation time, a nice home, a car--as a result of your studies and hard work. I admire you for fixing your eyes on the goal of becoming an accountant and never wavering. That takes a dedication and a commitment that few people have and I salute you for having them.

Which brings me to suggest something for your consideration: It’s always “okay” to look for ways to make your journey easier, even faster. There is a saying that goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” What that means, in your case, is that going to school and relying only on Mom for school financial support means that both you and she (indeed, the whole family) will have this burden for the next two years. With that financial burden comes a mental one, as well. All of you are thinking about where the tuition will come from next month or next semester. Even now, you all are thinking about who—you or AA—will get to continue on in education. Or, you have to struggle with what kind of job you will have to take in order to help pay for school and other expenses. All that thinking about finances can wear a person down, I can tell you…

But, Dearest Princess CC, there may be an easier way to get through all this. At first glance this idea may seem a tremendous burden for a shy--(Shy? Who says you’re shy? Lol!)--woman like you or that it would divert you from your goal of becoming an accountant. You’ve been working hard in the same way for some time yet, maybe there is something you can do that may well be a good thing in terms of making things easier for you, Mom and AA.

If there was a way that you thought would assure you an easier path, ease the financial burden on the family and provide you with an opportunity for a secure future, would you consider it? I thought so…

Here it is: Accept the McDonald’s invitation and complete the application. Win their contest. Go on to Miss Ozamiz and win that.

I’m sure you can see that all it takes to go through this process of being honored by the community and ultimately rewarded (scholarships for school, future job offers) by that same community is one thing: Overcome your shyness. This is strictly your personal decision; only you can make it and live with it.

Along with this decision to go forward come more responsibilities and more decisions... But one thing is clear: The sooner you complete the application, the sooner the rewards will come, the sooner the financial concerns will ease. Ask yourself, “If I don’t take advantage of this opportunity, what will happen?” I can answer that for you: More of the same life you have right now. Then ask yourself: “What happens if I do?” You may win and reap the promised rewards. You may not win. You didn’t win the last pageant and yet you did, in a way. You attracted the attention of a lot of people. You’ve been approached by companies who want you to be a part of them. They see you as an asset; as a way of making them looking good and smart because you look good and you are smart.

In the end, only you can make this happen. We are all in support of you, no matter what you decide. We all love you without reservations, whatever you decide. Keep this in mind: You have an opportunity to be like Tandang Sora of Ozamiz City, rising from humble beginnings to be of service to others in ways you may not have thought of.

If you give it a try, you may be surprised at what will happen…

My love to you, Dearest CC…