It Was The Best of Times… It Was The Worst of Times… It’s Life.

As 2017 comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect back to the last few years of my life and how far I have come from the worst of times to the best of times. Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, have witnessed my struggles and celebrations. Thank you for your support and kindness.

The Best of Times…

Four years ago, just when I thought life would give me a break, I fractured my left ankle during the first day of my 7 day Hawaiian vacation. It wasn’t exactly the break I was looking for. At the time, all I could see were regrets and pain. If only, I wasn’t so eager to chase after that turtle! If only I wasn’t so clumsy… if only I didn’t take that step… If only… Oh the regrets that occupied my mind…

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That step took me down a hole so deep that I thought I would never be able to climb out. But somehow, I did. As terrible as that step was for me, I realized; I would not be where I am today had I not taken that slippery step. The broken and painful step took me on the path of living a purposeful life — where I can use my life experience to help other people who are still stuck in their own deep holes to see a way out. The job affords me the opportunity to live the independent life I had lost so many year ago.

For my 52nd birthday last month, I went back to Hawaii to celebrate my independence.

IMG_3426_resizedI finally fulfilled my dream to swim with the turtle after three years of waiting.

DSC_8226I rediscovered love with me, myself and I.  And found myself at the end of the rainbow.

IMG_1508Life Lessons learned: Things happen for a reason, good or bad. No regrets. Learn from it and move on. Have faith. The right opportunity will show up when you are ready to receive it. You never know where that next step will take you.

The Worst of Times…

After I got back from Hawaii, a very difficult decision was waiting for me to make. My beloved Max was having hard time walking. I took him to the vet and was given the bad news that cancerous tumors have invaded his entire body. I could prolong his life for a few months with surgery and chemo. Given the fact, Max was 12 years old; I decided to help him live the rest of his life as comfortably as possible. And hoping, maybe… by some miracle that he would get better on his own. Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks; I knew I was only being selfish keeping him. I did the inevitable and took him to the vet for his final check-up.

Now that he’s gone, I realized I took him for granted. Maximus Minumus, a true friend and companion who never complained, never hurt me or anyone, was always ready to play and most of all give unconditional love.

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DSC_8238This photo was taken two hours before I took him to the vet. Even to the end, he was ready to play; even if all he could do was to sit there and enjoy the the moment.

Life lessons I learned from Max:  Live life in the moment. Accept the good and the bad. Enjoy what you have. Give love and kindness even if the person doesn’t deserve it. Smile even when you hurt. Don’t complain. It’s Life.

May All Beings Be Happy and Peaceful… Happy New Year.

 

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Wishing…

Wishing you a million…

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May you have a million moments of joy,
A million moments of love,
A million moments of pure happiness,
A million moments of good health and wealth.
In short…
May All Beings Be Happy and Peaceful!!

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The Unlucky Bamboo

I bought this lucky bamboo over a year ago for its beauty and name but also, hoping it would bring me some luck. 😉 Well… if there ever was a time when a name is misleading, this poor lucky bamboo got it. First, my cat decided to do a taste test on it and plucked all of its leaves. The lucky bamboo must have gone into shock because it took almost a year before I saw a new leaf. And just when it finally start to flourish, yesterday; Evie knocked it off the table while we were sleeping. Unfortunately, she plucked some of the leaves and ingested a few of the crystal gel fertilizer pieces. To make the long story short, a few hours later I had to rush Evie to the vet. Thankgoodness, she recovered but the lucky bamboo cost me $125.00 in vet bill. Gee… looks like I should call it the unlucky bamboo or perhaps, I should just throw it in the trash. 😦

Snow in June

I might be a dog… but even I know when to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Absolutely breathtaking…

Woof! Life is good…

Living In a Suitcase

 My life as a beggar… 

Go away, I wanted to say… can’t you see I rather play?

Oh well… such as life; another day, another dollar to buy me a bone.

Ms. Frisette

Decided to do some B&W today…

Rainy Day Fun

I had so much fun on my date with Macro yesterday, I was hoping for a second date… unfortunately, the rain came back. Not wanting to risk getting my camera wet, I decided to shoot whatever I could find around the house.  I bought a studio light box last week, so I thought today would be good to experiment with light and exposure. I started with my dog, Frisette. She was a great model… no attitude problems and only cost me a chicken jerky.

The next subject was my breakfast… when I first sat down to eat it, I thought it looked pretty enough for a picture and maybe I could shoot a few frames before eating it. Right… those few shots turned into a couple of hours. It was afternoon by the time I was done with it. 

Okay… I did sneak in a little Marco time with this shot.

Woman’s Best Friend

Pudge

 

It was a rainy October afternoon… I couldn’t tell what was falling harder, the rain pouring down on me or my own tears as I kneeled next to the lifeless body of my beloved Pudge. Only five minutes ago he was looking at me with those golden brown eyes, pleading with me to let him stay outside. Since, I was only going to be a few minutes I gave in with an uneasy feeling. It was a decision I would come to regret.

I felt my heart stopped the moment I heard the frantic knocks on the front door. Only strangers would use the front door. I yanked open the door and without speaking to the panic looking woman, I ran past her and out to the road. There lay my beautiful Pudge on the side of the road with his golden eyes open. “Don’t leave me Pudge…” I cried. “Please, don’t leave me… you can’t die… we still have a lot of Frisbee time… we have many more mountains to climb… and walks to do…” I continued crying out to him hysterically. “Oh God, this can’t be happening! Pudge, wake up… please wake up… don’t die on me… we need to play Frisbee…” I cried into his ear. Frisbee was one of his most favorite games. Whenever I needed a good picture of him with perky ears, or to get his attention, all I had to say was the word Frisbee. I kept telling him we would play Frisbee hoping he would hang on. For a moment I could see his reaction to the word Frisbee and I felt some hope. But, I was lying to myself… he was hurt badly. By the time my friend came with the car, Pudge took his last breath. I knew I had lost him. When I looked up, I saw the woman who hit him… her panic face replaced with guilt and tears. I’m sure my being a hysterical mad woman might have something to do with that. I wanted to tell her it was okay… it wasn’t her fault. It was my own irresponsibility. Unfortunately, I never saw her again…

It only took a few minutes for the doctor to come out and informed me what I had already knew. To say my heart was broken was an understatement. Never in my life have I ever felt the kind of pain I had experienced with Pudge’s death… not even when my favorite aunt had died or when I got a divorce after 8 years of marriage. I was totally inconsolable… my friend just held me and didn’t say a word. A few days later, Pudge was cremated. He was killed on October 17th, 2005 and was only 3 years old.

When we got back to my friend’s house, I told him I wanted to go see the couple who we bought Pudge from. I didn’t know why but I had this urge to see Pudge’s parents. It had been three years since we bought Pudge from the couple. We didn’t know if they still lived there. But I was insistent… I just had this urge that wouldn’t go away. My friend told me he would take me first thing in the morning.

The next morning, it was rainy and gray. I was glad for it because I was all out of tears and yet still wanted to cry. The ride seemed too long… and when we got there, a Spanish speaking woman told us in broken English the couple had moved away a year ago. We asked if she knew where they moved to but she didn’t understand what we were trying to say. Disappointed, I felt it was hopeless. But my friend didn’t give up… using what few Spanish words he knew, he was able to convey to the woman what we wanted. Luck was with us that day. She knew where the couple had moved to and told us to follow her.

The couple remembered us. I asked them if pudge’s parents will have puppies soon and once again was disappointed to learn his parents were too old to breed. However, they told me someone who had purchased a puppy from the same litter as Pudge and she just had a litter of puppies. It wasn’t my intention to replace Pudge so soon… no one could ever replace him. I guess I was just in such pain and wanted to stop hurting. When I called… I was told they had just sold the last puppy. Tears ran down my cheeks as I realized my hope of having a part of Pudge was gone forever.

Well… I always believe miracles have a way of presenting itself when the time is right. On Christmas Eve, I received a call from the couple who told me they gave me the wrong information. The litter of puppies that was sold out was not a descendant of Pudge and the litter from Pudge’s sister was still available. To make the long story short, my friend and I went to get a puppy the next day… which was Christmas Day. I had bought Pudge on Christmas Day 3 years ago. I knew this had to be a good sign. My friend had asked me how would I know which puppy to pick. I told him “I will know somehow.” When we got there, I was taken to the garage where 6 cute puppies were playing in a kid’s play pen. I walked up to them and only one came over to me. He had a little white star on his head and those golden brown eyes… well, I had seen them before. I picked him up and he just snuggled into my arms as if he had been there before. I asked the woman when the puppies were born and she answered “October 20th” Needless to say, I was amazed and stunned to say the least. The puppies were born on the day I had Pudge cremated. I know some people will think I am crazy for feeling this way but it doesn’t really matter to me. I could tell the puppy I held in my arms was going to be another rare and special gift for me. Now 4 years later, I was right… Max is a rare and special gift. This time I know not to take him for granted…

Maximus