Monday, June 24, 2013

Olinda Organic Farms - Coffee

My dear friend and fellow Los Lonely Boys La Onda Street Team member owns Olinda Organic Farms on Maui, Hawaii with her husband. She provided me a sample late last month on her NorCal visit. And today I am sharing it with my office and asked for their feedback.

It is 100% Maui coffee, medium/dark roast, 20% organically grown and 80% Maui estate grown.

For more info, call 808-572-8306. Of course, tell Martha and Rob that Bernadette sent you!

I was sent some packets for the goodie bags Onda By The Bay usually give to the Los Lonely Boys to show our appreciation for always coming to the Bay Area with a handful of shows. Due to Henry's fall, he is still in pain and had to cancel the show in Carmel. I gave out the samples to a couple of the owners of my dog walking clients. Here's one feedback.

I'm glad I can help get the word out for my friends.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My 13th AIDS Walk San Francisco

Greetings! This will be my 13th consecutive AIDS Walk San Francisco. I walk in a continued effort to keep my friends and loved ones AIDS-FREE!

Please sponsor me in any amount, plus it is tax-deductible. However, your participation and walking with me will make a bigger impact. Get some exercise, take a couple hours out of your weekend, show you care and help spread the word. If you cannot donate, walk with me or hit Share, Like, or ReTweet my link, please promise me that you'll BE SAFE! Practice safe sex and get tested. It's not worth it.

Please make your donation via this webpage, or send me a check made payable to "AWSF". Contact me for my mailing address.

It's not much, but for every $10 you donate, you'll be entered to win a $25 Stella & Dot gift certificate. Possibly other prizes as well.

Current # of Entries: 2

Thank you for supporting AIDS Walk San Francisco. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

My friend, Crystal, and I at AWSF 2012

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kauai - Day 3

Thursday. I slept in til about 8 am and was able to see my nephew and my cousin before they both started their day.  I was looking thru her many Kauai travel books she has left for me in Sol's room the night before and thought I'd do some exploring: hiking, shopping or event planning research. I decided to go with a hike. The views from the boat of the Na Pali coastline the day before were so amazing that I wanted to get a closer look and touch them. We got pretty close against the wall of cliffs in the boat but the captain had completely control even with the strong winds.

I decided on the Nu'alolo trail that was 3.8 miles one way. The book also pointed out that there was a Lolo Vista for an additional half of mile out. It said that it was mostly downhill on the way out and you can cut across another path for a much less strenuous incline on the way back. I didn't have time to do the four different trails so I decided to go to Lolo Vista and turnaround.  Shanti asked that I returned to the house by 4:45 pm so there was someone home when Pablo dropped him off before he want to paddling practice. Absolutely! I can do that. Anything for my nephew and to help out the family. After all they were letting me use their car that day and staying in their home. 

I also picked Lolo Vista in honor of my new angel, my grandfather, my Lolo, that passed in February. In fact, that was the last time I saw the Herrera family, for the funeral in California.

The hike was a total of 8.6 miles. I believe it is longer the Alamere Falls hike I did in February with a bunch of friends. And I was planning on doing it alone, without a back pack, with my Stella & Dot 'How Does She Do It' bag ($89), my white Skechers and my 750 ml Camelbak. I definitely did not pack to go on a hike.

My cousin lent me the 4Runner and I can't remember the last time I drove a vehicle without power steering. It was a stick and definitely got me from point A to point B. I first stopped off to get gas and when I popped off the gas tank top, a little gecko came running down. Oh, little creatures. They're everywhere! Gas is sooo expensive out there at $4.69 a gallon at least.

Then I made my way to Kokee State Park. I have a pretty good sense of direction and my cousin is a great guide so I was familiar with where to go, which road her celebrity friend lived on, where to go to pick up my nephew from day care, which way to every direction. I passed Hanapepe where we got smoothies, by Port Allen where we took the Holo Holo trip from, and was on my way to Waimea where I had to turn right to go up the hill and windy road. The 4Runner rose up over those hills like a champ and I used my arms' strength to take those tight turns at of course a higher speed than advised.  

I eventually made it to something that looked quite touristy. It was the lookout for the Waimea Canyon. Tour busses and many cars were parked, with incoming cars trying to dodge the chickens and roosters around. They are everywhere! I hear the roosters at every time of day! I take a look and I know this isn't where I need to stop. I took a look at my cousin's travel booked and it was confirmed. Keep climbing, rusty 4Runner.

I did absolutely no research on the island before I came so I had no idea what I was going to see. When I looked over to my right for a rare peek at the canyon because it was just a wall of rock lining the road, all I could say was 'Holy shit!' The canyon was definitely a canyon. It appeared to be so deep and the other side was soooo far away! If I had time on my way back, I'd stop at the lookout. After all, I was right there. Why not?

But I kept on trekking to my destination and eventually came up to the lodge and visitor's station. I parked and left the car unlocked as my cousin usually does.  I was unsure of the start of the hike and purchased a trail map at the visitor's station for $2. I eventually found it after asking some older locals in yellow construction vests, and they didn't know what I was talking about.  And so I started my hike!

There are a 3-4 parking spot where the trail starts so don't rely on parking there unless you arrive extremely early. The hike started off steep from the get go and I already had to take a break. I had a snack or two of Nature’s Valley bars and my 750 ml Camelpak of water in my Stella & Dot ‘How Does She Do It’ bag. How was I going to do it? It’s just putting one foot in front of the other over and over again, right? I’ve done Mission Peak in Fremont, CA and hiked to Alamere Falls on the coast. I can do this. Even if I was doing it alone.

Eventually the trail was headed on a decline. The trail was wide and covered by trees and the park laid down logs to make steps. And this decline just continued for a bit until I heard two sets of voices. They eventually caught up with me and they were older couples much more readily equipped for this hike than I was. They had their long brimmed hats, hiking boots and poles and back packs. I let them pass me. This wasn’t a race for me. Yet. After their voices trailed off in front of me, I could hear rustling of leaves on the ground to my left. It must be some sort of small creature but I couldn’t spot it. Every so often I would hear movement all around me. It was pointless to pinpoint where it was coming from because I had to keep moving. My mind also wandered. Jurassic Park came to mind as my cousin mentioned that we passed an open field on her way to her house and told me that was where the stampede scene was filmed. Fabulous. I was going to get eaten by a raptor. No, no, no. That’s impossible. My roommate got me into The Walking Dead. Being a zombie’s lunch was much more likely, right? Keep moving, Bernadette.

I made it to an open area with no trees to block out the blue gray sky and the trail narrowed to allow one person to walk this path. The grass went above my waist and I couldn’t see more than five feet of the trail in front of me as is turned to the left and right. A wild boar can come and charge at me at any second! And no one will find me! No one knows exactly where I am. I checked my cell phone and service was non-existent. Figures. I’m doomed. There were very tall and thick stalks of greenery with thin thorns and I’m glad I wore my Celebrity Cruises zipper up with long sleeves. I pulled my sleeves over my hands and put them up on both sides of my face to shield getting scratched. My large bag also helped one side of me from these thorns or from bugs and insects hijacking a ride on me.

I made it to my first huge fallen tree. The width of its core was taller than myself and the tangled twists of its roots were interesting to look at. I think I could have gone left of this tree but went right instead to a more defined route but into more of a shadowy path again. I was alone most of the trail and enjoyed seeing the markers on the ground indicating how far I’ve come. I was half way at this point. I did bring my ear phones to listen to music if I wanted to on this trail but I opted not to. I really wanted to take in everything around me and be alone with my thoughts, as crazy and irrational they might be at some points. But this gave me time to think about where I am, where I have been and where I’m going. This trail is something I have never done before and I’m doing it alone. Back home, I’m alone as well. It’s just Bevo and I. No family of my own, no distinguished relationship. And I have to be OK with that. I have to be OK with my current situation and make the best of it and keep moving forward.

I began to hear helicopters in the distance and I knew I was getting closer to the coast. I made my way out of the shadows of the tall trees and the terrain of the path changed to narrow ridges that could take you down, down, down into the unknown. No one would look for me down there if I slipped. The sun shined so bright in the clear blue sky and all around you can see hills, greenery, he helicopters and the beautiful and misleadingly calm Pacific Ocean. It felt like I just got out of a tunnel and I needed my Pradas. I definitely brought those babies. I saw the second person on this trail and the first dog. She was in shorts and had a back pack. I was jelly. I asked her, ‘How was it?’ and she said to be careful because it gets incredibly steep soon. Oh boy. Not a great thing to hear when you’re looking over the edge with now railing to keep you from falling. Grreeeaaatttt. And then she was gone.

I looked at my cell phone to check the time and I was OK on time. If I can make it back in the same amount of time it took me to get out here, I’ll be OK. However, with the steep slopes ahead of me, that means I’d have to climb them. So I stopped taking in all the beauty and wasted no time moving to the end of the trail. That girl was NOT joking. There were parts that I really wish I had hiking boots instead of my flat, old Skechers. It was slippery and I had to put my hands on the walls on either side of me or reachable branches just in case I fell. Falling on my tailbone would not be a good move right now. I even had to sit down sometimes and then keep moving down. It was that steep. Occasionally, I looked back from where I came from and I just sighed. I am not going to look forward going up that. But I continued to go deeper into this hole I am eventually going to have to climb out of.

Then I saw my first glimpse of this massive valley. It was incredibly breathtaking. I still had more to go but the view so far was incredible. To think, this beauty was earth made. No man made object can beat something so natural. I continued on because I remembered that I had a hard climb back and I’m not done yet. I reached another point and some folks were coming back from Nualolo Point and stopped here. I let them have their time there and when they were gone, I stood at the edge and looked at this valley below me. I looked at the top of the valley and thought I came from around there. I looked directly across from me and wondered how far I was from touching the other wall. I looked down to wonder what animals, life or people (?) inhabited this secluded area. It was gorgeous. I had half a mile to go to the point and very end.

Approaching the point is where I saw the next four people. It was a family and was sitting along the trail taking their lunch with such an amazing view. I didn’t pack a lunch and I had no time for a break. I reached the end and the marker was two high rails with a small brown sign with yellow letters saying “END”.  I took a moment to acknowledge that I did it. I reached the end of this trail. I thought of my Lolo at Nualolo Point and how much I missed him. I wondered if he was looking down upon me and keeping from going down one of those slippery slopes. I was over 2000 feet up, the ocean goes on until the horizon and below, the day before, I was at the base of this beautiful spot. I took a photo of my Stella & Dot bag with the coastline in the background. It was going to be submitted for a contest and to show my Facebook followers how I’ve used my bag. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay long and took what photos I could. I briefly said hello to the few folks that were there and they were from the Sacramento area. What are the chances?

Then I had to start my way back because I had to be back at the house to receive Sol so Pablo can go to paddling practice. And what a trek it was. Clouds came and went. Drizzle did too. I was thankful for the shade and the dampness. I had a really hard time going up that steep part of the trail just before I entered the forest again. I had to stop so many times and actually sit on my bottom because my legs were on FIRE. I had to ration my snacks and my water. I only took a bite of my granola bar when my stomach made it loud and clear that it was infuriated with me. When I’d stop and be out of breath and can feel my legs turn to jelly, I prayed to the Hawaiian Gods for shade and rain because the heat was killing me. I also made getting to Sol my motivation.

“Gotta get to Sol.
Gotta get to Sol.
Gotta get to Sol.”

There was no way that I was going to let him down by not being there for him. I kept climbing. But not before I took one last look at the ocean before the trees and shadows engulfed me. When the light rain made it thru the trees, I felt like the Hawaiian Gods heard me and answered my cries. I had to take more breaks than I wanted. I’m not in that bad of shape. I do incline walking on the treadmill at the gym and go often enough. I was struggling with the fact that I was struggling. But I guess it’s true, Miley, it’s about The Climb.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain,
I’m always gonna wanna make it move,
Always gonna be an uphill battle,
Somebody’s gonna have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side,
It’s the climb”

I finally made it back to the beginning of the trail and I couldn’t be more happy. I did it! Goal accomplished. BUT! I still have to make it to my nephew. I hopped in their 4Runner and made my way to Sol just in the nick of time. Success. But boy was I tired.

We played with his toys, took photos with his toy digital camera and my camera to show Mama and Papa when they got home. He is so smart. He talks a lot and has such an extensive vocabulary for being only two. He tells me what he likes, what he doesn’t like, what he wants, what he doesn’t want and in full sentences. It’s quite impressive.

Shanti arrived and we caught up a bit. She made a great pizza out of Costco’s alright pizza for such a steal. I volunteered to help of course but played with Sol instead. They received a delivery and it was a bunch of items from TraderJoe’s. There are so many things that you take for granted on the mainland because you can’t get certain things on the garden island in the middle of the ocean. I made it a game with Sol to unpack, name and gently place down each item. Shanti was excited as each product name that was recited. After all the contents were out, we attacked the bubble wrap and I had to show Sol how to pop it, then we turned the box into a toy. We treated it as a ride and even a turtle shell.

At dinner, Shanti wanted me to tell Pablo of my adventure that day and he was surprised I did it. Later Shanti told me that he said something along the lines of  “You Manzano women are so independent.” Yes, we are. After dinner, they invited me to go with them to watch the sunset and to take Oso, their dog, out for a walk. I said I would stay behind and work on the wedding that was going to be taking place the following week in Carmel Valley. And, I completely understand that as hosts, you still want to have some alone time, family time and not feel you have to entertain your guests. Some family and guests expect to be entertained all the time. I do not. I wanted them to have some intimate family time together. They receive so many guests throughout the year. After all, it is Hawaii. I hope to go back next year.

I did what I could with the wedding. There was a lot to do and follow up on emails, touch base with vendors, nail down the timeline, etc. But I was feeling very confident about the event even though I was half an ocean and time zones away. I then spent more time with the family in the living room and just relaxed. Besides the wedding, I really didn’t touch base with things at home except for the Mystery Man. I was in desperate need of this relaxation, to be around people I love and love me, to be surrounded by beauty and serenity and focus on everything that’s good in my life. The windows remained open throughout the day and you can hear it when it rains and the breeze thru the trees in the darkness. I had to wake up at 3 AM for a secret something so I turned in for the night. Yes, 3 AM.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kauai - Day 2

Today started off pretty early. My body woke up at 2 AM, thinking it was time to go to the gym. I permanently snoozed that today.  I went back to bed until I was awoken by a wonderful text at about 6:10 am here, but 9:10 in the morning at home. Well, no use in going back to bed if I had 20 minutes left to sleep. I also woke to find I was bitten in my sleep near my rear. Oh, that's going to be sexy. The bite I received the afternoon before was getting worse. I swell up to have an ugly raised section when bit by a bug. It's not pretty.

My cousin and I were planning on going on a boat tour with Holo Holo Charters for an 8 am departure. But we had to eat breakfast and take my nephew to daycare too. I was excited to have waffles with blueberries this morning. I have been craving it and had not-so-great versions since the start of this new addiction with my nephew. And then we were on our way. It was breezy today and I'm glad my cousin lent me a sweater that matched a white Express dress I have had for probably over 10 years. We checked in, shopped a little and chatted. The lady at the counter, named Megan, commented on my cousin Shanti's name. "Oh, I have a cousin named Shanti!" "So do it!" I replied. And it's pretty funny that Shanti ended up knowing Megan's cousin, Shanti. Small world. Shanti was also stating that when she was on Oahu, there were tons of Manzanos there. I thought about our growing Family Tree at Research!

We were escorted by Mike to our boat, the Leila, at the very end of the dock. It was much warmer in the sun and you can feel it penetrating your skin. Someone pointed out to me the one man that was fishing at the beginning of the dock on a pier made of rocks. She said that his wife was sleeping with one of the rich millionaires on the island while their 3-year-old son was swimming in the pool or on the beach. Because the wife was 'busy', the son drowned. I don't know what this man looks like or even know his name, but it's a reminder to yourself to be compassionate towards other human beings. You just never know what they are or have been thru.

After passing boats of Captain Andy's and Blue Dolphin, our group arrived at the Leila and we were asked to put our flip flops in a rolling cart with cubby holes. No shoes on the boat. We were all barefoot. We were greeted onto the boat and we met a former paddling teammate of Shanti's, Leila. She was Hawaiian and greeted me with some Aloha love. I immediately noticed the way she spoke and wanted to hear her speak some more. We went thru more instructions by the Captain and we were about head out. I took one chewable Dramamine this am, took another one before we departed as the guy next to me said he took two. Ah hell, better safe than sorry. I took another one. And we cruised out.

I couldn't believe what we saw out there. A huge pod of dolphins! I have never seen them in the wild before and it was so exciting to see. They did flips, swam around us and came so close. Shanti said she wanted to see turtle and manta rays.  We got to our destination where the road accessible beaches end and we snorkeled. The water could have been a bit warmer but if you continued to swim, it was just fine. Immediately in the water, there were fish all around us of so many different colors. Leila was on the water as well sitting on a surfboard patrolling us all. She said there was a turtle! I want to see! So we swam in that direction and looking down, there it was. HUGE! It made me think of Crush from Finding Nemo. And I spotted one on my own a little bit later. It was awesome. Seeing that, the beautiful fish, the corral, the way the sun's rays turned into a disco ball under the water on the sea floor and complete silence was serenity. If I had the patience for an aquarium, I would have one because it's so relaxing.

Then we got out of the water because I was working up an appetite. I had half a glass of wine and thought that that may not be good idea as we rocked on the water while other folks were making their way back to the boat. We decided to sit on top and it was so much fun. No one was obstructing our view and we were the only ones on that side. As we patrolled a bit more further down the Na Pali Coastline, Leila gave us more information. She's well-educated on the island and the formation of the rocks. It's beautiful. You can tell she's very passionate and proud of her heritage and her home.

We came up to beaches you can only access via hikes or some sort of floating mode of transportation. We saw beaches with the Conch where 6 Days, 7 Nights was filmed with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche, where Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp and one of the latest James Bond flicks where a helicopter went thru the opening. Shanti says on her first visit here with Pablo almost 10 years ago, they just camped out on the beach and hiked around here. So amazing.

Leila pointed out an old fishing village that the state or an organization is trying to restore. There's a big X on the cliffs and it's said that it was marked as the most beautiful spot on the island. Moving on, tall cliffs and green valleys and sharp ridges could be seen. The cliffs were 4000 feet tall. Could you imagine the drop? Yikes. I love geology and the way the earth creates such beautiful and natural formations. The word "Amazing" just continued to come out of my mouth.

Then we stopped and were putting up the sail to head back. Oh boy. We were rockin! And I was not liking it. After awhile of sailing, I was not feeling good. Shanti did me a favor and grabbed me another Dramamine. That's three for the day! And Leila gave me ice chips to suck on. Oh man...I didn't want to move at first because Mike said it'd be better if I went to the back of the boat. I thought I could stick it out but I clumsily climbed back there trying to not let my towel fall off. And so there I was, at the end of the back of the boat for the remainder of the boat ride with my feet hanging off the edge. The cool splashes of the ocean on my legs felt good but could still feel the sun browning my skin even more. So I wrapped myself in the other towel and had my hat on. I actually fell asleep on and off while back there and sitting up, but it was better to be unconscious than thinking about how rocky this boat is. At one point, Shanti said 14 more miles. When we finally got to the dock, "that was the longest 14 miles of my life."

We arrived, I finally used the potty, and we chatted with her friend at Holo Holo. They were talking about this Buti Class and she showed me a YouTube video. Shanti explained the very sexual moves that she had to do during the class and it sounds like so much fun! I'll look into a Buti class at home.

Then we went to the town of Hanapepe where it's lined with art galleries. Shanti said it was the town that Lilo & Stitch was based off of. How cool! And it reminded me of Elvis. Big Elvis fan here! Coco Palms is where they filed Blue Hawaii and it is apparently closed with no reopening date. So sad. Her friend Kate owns The Bright Side Gallery that just opened up in town and there are some beautiful pieces there. There's a purple one of the ocean and surfers that I really liked. The smaller version was $250. So they chatted and then we went to go get smoothies next door. Yum!

Then we went off to pick up Sol! Came home, showered to remove the salt off of us, had dinner, I worked on the wedding for next week, uploaded some pics on Facebook of our excursion and looked up some hiking options for Thursday.

And I here I go to hike to Lolo Vista, in honor of my Lolo. I miss him so much.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kauai - Day 1

It was tough to go to sleep last night without my pup, and to wake up in the middle of the morning knowing he's not there. He's staying with a friend and I'm hoping he's behaving.

I did some last minute packing, put on my traveling outfit consisting of my 49ers hat and a shirt, then my roommate took me to the airport.  That outfit was the same thing I wore to Miami and folks were lovin' it. As soon as I got into the security line, an employee asked, "You do know you're in Raider country right?" "I know but I gotta represent!" After getting scanned, the female agent asked if that was my hat coming out of x-ray. Yes. "Nice." Women know what's up! NINERS!

The flight was long and it was rough landing in Miami. Sitting next to a larger than seat man was frustrating with his arm rest takeover, coughing and itching himself. It reminded me of being on tour busses while in Europe. But I landed in Maui and recalled that I haven't been there since 2006 with my grandparents and cousins. Aww, memories. It was defintiely warm but the scenery is to die for. I ate, did some event planning work and headed to Kauai.

I landed on the Garden Island, got my bag, and it wasn't long before my cousin greeted me with a beautiful and fragrant lei she made herself. I had nothing planned that day except working a little bit so we went to go grab a drink and some bites on the water at Duke's. Evan the bartender gave me shit about my Niners gear. But if you're going to dish it out, you better handle receiving it as well. Oh, Evan.  

Then we did a Cosco run, went to the house, then a Hydration Margarita at Tortilla Republic, checked out the ocean where my cousin-in-law launches their outrigger boats for practice, played with my nephew and had an amazing homemade dinner. My cousins' neighbors caught a 150-lb Ahi Tuna so we had sashimi and ahi tacos. Everything was delicious and the fish was so fresh!

Then had more work to do for next week's wedding. And here I am, trying to recap a wonderful day with beautiful and loving people on the island of Kauai while roosters are crowing, the warmth lingers all night and the rain falls.  Tomorrow we will be on a boat ride. 

Good night! Until tomorrow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hawaii Bound

Tomorrow morning, I will be on my first Hawaiian Airlines flight to the beautiful island of Kauai. It was planned to be a celebratory event but friends convinced me that it still is. I am putting distance between me and a part of my past. Hell, I'm putting a large part of the Pacific Ocean in between. When all is said and done, another celebratory event will need to take place. Oh the Planner's mind doesn't stop planning...

I'm here with my pup at the Berkeley Marina listening to the mild waves, having the sun glisten off the Bay water and taking in the view of the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and San Francisco skyline.

I love home and will miss my pup, seeing my hilarious friend, Megan, almost everyday and my loved ones of course, but I look forward to being surrounded with serenity, beauty and family, the Herreras. I'll be with my first cousin, Shanti, and my bright and beautiful nephew, Sol. 

My very good friend, Christy, says that everything that is happening to me and everything I am doing for myself needs to happen before I truly settle down. My biological clock is ticking loud and clear but all that is meant to be will be and she thinks I need these experiences. This, coming from a woman pregnant with her second child and always has my best interest in mind. I should and I do trust in her. Again, she is my rock.

And so I go. Leaving. On a jet plane...
With jewelry and bikinis ready to go.

Stay tuned for more on this Hawaiian adventure to moving on.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Love With All Your Heart Today

Today, at 11:32 AM, a good guy passed away at such a young age, leaving behind his wife, loved ones and friends. I met him within a year's time thru one of my best friends. He was around while having a fun night of drinking and an interesting cab ride with a detour to a Jack in the Box, a 49ers Super Bowl and have been to his house for Halloween and football games. He always made me feel welcome in his home, had an incredible sense of humor that was right up my alley and was called my friend's favorite of her boyfriend's friends. He just made you smile.

My friend told me of his illness on Tuesday. Today is Sunday. I don't know exact details but it is so crazy how quickly someone's world can abruptly change and end. It reminded me of my grandfather's last days. The day before he passed, I left him in the hospital in good spirits, had witnessed him eating his biggest meal in over a week and smiling. I arrived the next day to see him weaker and breathing heavy. He was being given a medication as he was propped up a bit in his bed when I walked in. I stood next to my Papa, smiled at him and said "Hi, Lolo." His eyes got big when he saw me and he lifted his eyebrows in acknowledging my presence, but he couldn't speak. At 1:45 AM the next morning, he became my new angel.

I could only imagine how his wife must feel right now, to sleep in the home she shared with her husband without him for the first time. I witnessed my grandparents' final moment together and witnessed my father calling my Lola saying "Pop is gone." I wanted to go be with her but Papa advised me to go home. I was the last one in the room with my Lolo before he was alone. I will never forget the feeling of not wanting to leave him all by himself.

Life can change in the blink of an eye.

In a couple of hours from now, in the middle of the night, a year ago I have had enough and finally had the courage to make a change. I acknowledged I deserved better. I was without a home, was unsure if I would ever have a family of my own, was unsure of my future and was definitely unsure of what parts of my life were based on truth and love versus deceit and lies. However, I was absolutely positive I had friends and loved ones that knew my worth all along and two in particular helped me that very night. One of those friends was one that lost her favorite today.

"Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Love with all your heart today."
I posted.

I did express my love for a friend today by supporting her efforts in improving her  life and career at her fundraising event, which therefore benefits the life of her young son. When saying my farewells, her boyfriend was so sweet in saying I was the most supportive friend she had. I did express my love to a very dear and long-time friend and her family, including her daughter whom I call my niece, by driving up to Davis for dinner and to catch up. There's nothing I wouldn't do for that little girl. I even put on a bib she gave me as she knew dinner time was coming and she fed me part of her PB&J. It reminded me of the time Baby Nate fed me bananas and I made a face. His mother said, "Auntie must love you if she'd eat bananas for you."

I received news of the sudden and newly deceased about 3pm. A rush of sadness came over me and posted on FB my sympathies in support of the friends that knew him. I say 'Love with all your heart today." I had to resist doing exactly that with one particular person that I wanted to practice what I say with. As of a week ago tomorrow, life took another turn. Perhaps it's just a detour. Perhaps all is as it should be. Perhaps my silence is indeed showing and expressing love. But I don't feel it with all my heart, not the way I know I can show, express and feel it. Call the day a total failure? I don't think so. I touched quite a few people's lives today. And it was all out of love. I just wish I didn't have to hold back with some people.

Tomorrow: Repeat.