Binvenidos! Bienvenue! Benvenuto! Willkommen! Aloha! Irashaimasu! ようこそ! Welkom! Selamat datang! ברוכים הבאים! Velkomen! Witajcie! वेलकम Bemvindo! Dobro pozhalovat'! Ласкаво просимо! Mabuhay! أهلا وسهلا! Maeva! Yin dee! Isibingelelo! Croeso! Bine ai venit! Witamy! 歡迎!Maligayang pagdating! Vítejte! ยินดีต้อนรับ Fáilte!
For first time readers...my journey begins here: THE VERY FIRST BLOG POST (CC1)

Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finding Strength to Survive Illness

A Journey Into Positive Energy
(Part 1)

Recently, I was reading another cancer survivors blog on the topic of energy. I began to think about the first time I recognized this energy surging within me.

Many years ago I was in Hawaii on the beach. I came upon several people washing their "crystals" in the ocean, energizing them. Cleansing them to remove the negative energy. They believed energized crystals gave them strength. At the time I just thought they were nuts!

One year before being diagnosed with my first life threatening illness I went back to Hawaii, but this time it was different. The experiences I encountered were more robust, more energizing. Each day was like being reborn, new, fresh, and amazing! But why?

I flew first class from San Francisco to Hawaii on American Airlines. My best friend Herb, gave me a pass on Aloha Airlines that allowed me to island hop at will during my stay. Just like a bus, except you went to the airport to get on. No frills...you're up, have some POG (passion fruit, orange, and guava juice), you're down...now get out!!! Alo-hahaha!

I began on the island of Oahu, staying with a dear friend. Patsy, a fellow Little Caesars Franchisee, was busy running her four restaurants with boyfriend Joshua. But, Patsy still found time to show me around. From North Shore to Diamond Head, from pineapple plantation to the Holona Blow Hole, I saw it all. What better guide could you ask for than your very own nani kama`aina? (beautiful native/long time resident)

Holona Blow Hole, Oahu Hawaii

On a warm tropical evening we set out for a walk along Kailua Beach. This beach has been rated as one of the best beaches in all the world. It was a mystical night. As Patsy and Joshua held hands in the moonlight, I lagged behind to give them their privacy. I enjoyed the warm waters caressing my bare feet as I briefly sunk into the sand with each step. The wet sand before us was alive. It danced with light. At first I thought it was the reflection of the almost full moon, but no...the sand was indeed alive and bursting with light!

Bioluminescent organisms danced upon the wet sands that surrounded us. As the water washed the shore, it went dark, but when the water receded the sand came alive. It glowed as if millions of diamonds were deposited upon the shore line. I was so entranced with the spectacle, I dumped out my bottled water and took some of the creatures back to the house for further inspection. By morning they glowed no more, they were dead.

Pasty took me snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. I found such color and grandeur beneath the tranquil waters. Schools of fish, vibrant yellows and blues hurried by. Then a green sea turtle appeared. He passed within a foot of me, gently gliding along. He looked me right in the eye and I felt as though he smiled at me as he passed. He swam away then turned back, circled me closely, then sailed away again as if to say, "Tag, you're it!"

I swam after him, grabbed onto the back of his shell and for a brief moment felt as if I were flying. It was as though he was trying to teach me something. I was a young boy again, invincible! I'm flying!

Then his head turned and I heard a loud "snap" as I noticed a very sharp pointed beak like appearance to his face. With that I let go, understanding my lesson was over.

After catching up with me, Patsy remarked she had never witnessed anything like that before, out of all the years she lived in Hawaii. It was a once in a life time experience. There would be many more of those to come for me on this journey.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu Hawaii

From Oahu I flew to Maui to spend the Christmas holiday in exile. I had a wonderful ocean view suite booked at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua. I would home base there and make a side trip to Hana for 3 days.

I took the road less traveled. I challenged the southern route and not the Hana Highway as suggested. I've never been one to follow a common path. I was told nobody takes the southern route and even the rental car company did not allow cars to be driven this route. I found this out AFTER I made the trek.

There was nothing out there. Dry, deserted, surrounded by tall grassy fields, I drove across the lonely landscape. Nothing more than two tire tracks in the bumpy road..well I don't even think it qualified as a road. I should have been driving a jeep, but the convertible Mustang would have to suffice.

While driving I was stopped by a huge white horse blocking the road. A misty rain began and a rainbow appeared before me framing the majestic beast. It was a spectacular site! I marveled in the splendor, as if the horse were there for a reason. Another lesson perhaps? The mist subsided, the horse stepped off the path, and on I drove.

My Little Pony

The terrain was growing more lush and green as I approached Hana. I almost ran off the road when I spotted a Brahma bull on his back upon a grassy knoll. I pulled off the road to watch in amazement. His legs were in the air as he wiggled his body to scratch his back. He seemed enchanted. I felt as if he were trying to teach me something, as the turtle and the horse were. Another once in a life time event.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow!(It took 3 shots to capture the full magnificence of the rainbow pointing my way to Hana - sorry for the poor quality)

Upon my arrival at the Hotel Hana-Maui, the bellhop remarked, "You must have taken the southern route." "How would you know that?" I asked. Was he clairvoyant? This was a bit spooky. He then replied, "Judging by the palm fronds, tall grass, and other debris trailing behind your car, you couldn't have taken the highway." I just grinned as he showed me to my private cottage.

I was surprised to find no TV, radio, or phone in my bungalow. I went stir crazy the first day. I spent the afternoon on a red sand beach enjoying the endless beauty. There wasn't much to do but relax, something I wasn't used to. So, what to do when you get back to a room with no entertainment? Yup, get drunk!

Kaihlulu Beach (Red Sand Beach) Maui

I went to the general store. This was more like a primitive market, but it had what I needed, a very large bottle of Bailey's! I grabbed my prize and headed back to my cottage bungalow, fired up the jacuzzi on my private deck, and proceeded to indulge in the creamy elixir.

It was another warm night. The stars were bountiful and bright, as a full moon hung over head in the clear sky. The air was still and only the gentle sound of waves crashing upon the rocks in the distance could be heard. I finally felt myself giving into the splendor of it all, or maybe it was just the booze! I fell asleep in the rippling water. I awoke at 4 AM with the biggest, brightest moon smiling down upon my waterlogged body. I staggered to the comfort of my king size bed for a proper nights rest. Well, what was left of the night anyway!

My Heavenly Hana Hot Tub

When I awoke this time, there was something staring down at me from above. It was a gecko clinging onto the tip of the ceiling fan blade as it slowly circled above my bed. Not a good thing to witness with a hangover. I wondered, "Did this little guy get into my liqueur? Was he too hung over from his own night of partying?"

As I watched my new found friend go round I thought, he's either going to throw up or risk it all and jump into bed with me. Either way I wasn't going to wait for him to decide. I remember hunting down a maid and asking her to find someone to remove the little varmint, before we became intimate bedfellows! As a native Hawaiian, she explained with exuberance that the little creature that had invaded my private space was a sign of good luck and he should be welcomed! Not where I come from honey!

I left my room to enjoy the afternoon upon a beautiful black sand beach. Something about it seemed odd. I equated black sand with dirt. I didn't want to spend my day basking in the sunlight on dirt! Upon further inspection it wasn't like dirt at all, but more like fine pebbles of black glass. This was what was left of the volcanic rock as it was pummeled by the sea. It was as spectacular as the red sand beach I lounged upon the day before.

Honokalani Beach (Black Sand Beach) Maui

On Christmas Eve the local children were to perform a holiday extravaganza in the hotel's restaurant. I was seated next to the stage at a small table covered in crisp white linen. Placed before me were Taro Chips. Taro is a root used by Hawaiians. Since taro's arrival in 450 A.D. from Polynesia, it has provided nourishment and spirituality to Hawaiians. Thin slices of taro are kettle cooked and gently seasoned to create these chips.

Mine were of the mobile variety. By this I mean, THEY WERE MOVING! My table was placed next to a large support column. Down the column ran hundreds, if not thousands, of microscopic ants attempting to haul off my appetizer! Without trying to make a big commotion, I flagged down my waiter and pointed to the rush hour traffic upon my table. He smiled, gently pulled the table from the column, brushed away the population, and replaced my Taro Chips with a fresh, less mobile variety.

Though the table was now ant free, the rest of the tribe was still running up and down the column. When I quietly asked the waiter if he was going to spray something to kill the pests, he explained. "We learn to co-exist with nature here in the jungle." The children put on a very cute show. My dinner was delicious despite the unwelcome guests, but "co-existing" in a jungle environment is not my style!

That night the maid left an industrial strength can of bug spray in my room and instructed me to spray the interior perimeter before bed. My gecko friend was no where to be found. He must be hungover in a corner somewhere, already tucked away. That night I slept better than I had in years.

Christmas morning arrived and it was time to check out. I opened the door of the bungalow and noticed the outline of a small lizard. My "good luck" gecko had been squashed between the door and frame of the entrance. I wondered if that was the gecko equivalent to drinking and driving? He might have been good luck for me, but I obviously wasn't his good luck charm! Mele Kalikimaka my friend!(Merry Christmas!)

I wanted to stay a few extra nights, but sadly they were booked for the holiday season. On my way back to the Ritz, taking the Hana Highway this time, I took a side trip to a beach that was recommended by some locals.

While lounging on this pristine, sugary white sand, crescent shaped beach, I watched dozens of people climbing up the side of a mountain with lawn chairs, beach umbrellas, and guitars! This was no easy trek. Something really enticing must be on the other side of that rock. I had to inspect it further!

I gathered my things and hiked up the jagged volcanic mountain, following the trail blazed before me. It was exhausting...this better be good!

Peace B

Tune in next time, when someone steals my helicopter , I end up the only single person on the beach, and I learn the carpet doesn't always match the drapes! The journey into positive energy continues!

A Journey into Positive Energy - PART 2

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Cancer Chronicles 28

Let Your Spirit Shine!

Sometimes cancer can make you feel down right ugly. During treatment your hair falls out, you lose a lot of weight, you're exhausted! You might even be a bit disfigured after surgery, but through it all you MUST maintain your sense of humor if you're going to survive.

You quickly learn that people often treat you different. Though you don't want to be treated different, your outside appearance can change peoples perception of you. You have to try harder to get them to see past your current state. Lighten up, you're no different than you used to be. You're still LIVING, so stop dying and be your old self with a new look and a new attitude. Everyday that you sulk, and cry, and put on the "why me" act, you're waisting precious moments. You should be spending that time doing something memorable.

I hesitate to mention that your family and loved ones will long remember the hospital visits before the good times, if YOU don't do something about that now. Your attitude and willingness to strive for a normal life is all you need.

Take a hint from Oscar, a female, who was given 6 months to live.....12 years ago! Some might say she is ugly.

Her Spirit Shines Through!

Peace B

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Just A Little Fish In A Big Pond

A curious little fellow came to greet me today. Just a babe, but very cute. His family is one of the longest lived on the planet today. They have been around since the Cretaceous period (80 million years ago.) He could grow to be 800 pounds and 13 feet long, but he has a long way to go. He's just over 3 feet head to tail now.

Alligators are cold blooded, so you will find them on the banks sunning themselves to warm their body during the day. They should NEVER be hand fed. You do not want to tame them to come looking for food. Just enjoy their grace and leave them to fend for themselves. The young are curious, but will grow to be more skittish as they get older.

One interesting fact about the reproduction of this animal is that it's sex depends on the ambient temperature. Once the eggs are laid, the sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature in the nest and is fixed within 7 to 21 days of the start of incubation. Incubation temperatures of 30°C (86°F) or lower produce a clutch of females; those of 34°C (93°F) or higher produce entirely males.

He needs a name, any ideas?


Peace B

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Annie Lennox ROCKS!

Last night on American Idol, Annie Lennox gave back. Watch for yourself...very moving!

You can find out all about the Idol Gives Back Foundation and the great causes that it benefits here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are You Afraid Of Dying?

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

The doorbell rings. It's Alex, a young boy from the neighborhood.

"Will you go fishing with me?" he asks.

"Sure, I think I can pull that off." I tell the young boy.

We sit on the bank of the pond casting into the luminous water, hoping something will snag our line...Nothing yet.

Alex breaks the silence of the warm afternoon. "Mom says you have cancer." He states so direct.

"Yes I do." I answer back.

"Are you going to die?" with that simple question he casts into the water.

I love kids, so direct, so honest, as life should be. But for some reason adults think it rude when children are so. I think it should be encouraged. It builds honesty and a realistic understanding of the world.

"Yes Alex, I will die someday and so will you, but now is not my time. 13 years ago I was given 3 months to live. I'm still here. So no matter what anyone tells you, they really don't know for sure." I explain.

"Are you afraid of dying?" He asks.

"No, I wasn't then and I'm not now. I have had a wonderful life. Maybe that gives me peace." I answer, as I cast out to the lady of the lake looking for a strike.

Then a long period of silence, as we stare upon the tranquil waters, with 100 year old oak trees reflecting in our gaze...

I was asked the same question 13 years ago by Bob Mazziotte, our Senior Vice President of Little Caesars. I remember that clearly. Very ill, barely 100 pounds, snuggled in bed, the phone rang, it was Bob. "Are you afraid of dying?" he asked with great compassion. Without hesitation I told him I was ready, with no regrets. I think it surprised him.

Sure, there are still things I want to do, places I want to go, and people I want to meet. But if it all ended today, I can say it's been a great ride.

Alex breaks the silence, "If you die, I'd miss you."

"I'd miss you too," I tell him.

"But I'm not dying," he says with a giggle.

"Neither am I," I answer back with a warm smile.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Simply Amazing!


There is too much competition in the art world today!

Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi