Sunday, November 13, 2016

Project 365: One Photo A Day #019

Happy to call this quaint town our home! I've never heard of it but instantly fell in love when we made our fateful Hazel Street turn last Memorial Weekend. Then we left Los Angeles and moved here a few weeks later. My dream for Gridley is for human greed to not discover it. But because I love this city, let me share with you why we moved here when it was clear that this town has nothing to offer except fresh air (one of the best in the US, according to City Data), as-far-as-you-can-see orchards and farms (almond, walnuts, kiwi, peaches, pomegranates, watermelon, nectarines, apples, pistachios), charming lakes and rivers, very humble and peace-loving police officers and firemen, friendly locals, quiet (almost-dead) downtown, and before I forget--affordable commercial spaces for small businesses. We don't have good restaurants here. No good coffee shops either. Just some faux places that pretend they make drinkable coffee. No malls, which is great.

Its nothingness is what makes it beautiful. 

The famous (yet challenging to photograph) Historic Downtown Gridley sign in Gridley, CA. 
It is what inspired our decision to move. We can focus on our goals. We are not in the thick of things anymore, unlike when we were in LA. We have a chance to grow the business while at the same time being a major part of the Gridley community's re-building efforts. We're a Highway 99 city so trucking and other logistics won't be a problem. We're 45 minutes away from Sacramento and about 3 hours away from Sacramento. Internet connection for business is reasonable. Water, Electric and Gas companies are reliable. No clogged traffic to deal with around here. Best of all, we have very supportive folks at the Town Hall. So if you're like us and you have huge business dreams but you're on a limited budget, this place is just the perfect area for you to get started. Come and help us stimulate the business atmosphere in Gridley. Or probably encourage your children to start one while they're young. If you're opening a coffee shop, please serve drinkable black coffee.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Life so far

First, I apologize for the long silence. I know that I have to do a better job at updating this site. It's been quite a long time. So much had happened, a lot has changed. First and foremost, we received some positive news when we were in Thailand last December. John went through an extensive health check over there and albeit he's not 100% out of the woods, he is okay. John's doctors said that although the tests revealed an almost 4-inch size cyst growing on his kidney, his Mantle B-Cell Cancer is "still sleeping," no relapse in the picture yet. So I feel grateful and appreciative of the fact that we still have plenty of time to create memories together. That for me is the best gift. I couldn't ask for more.

Another thing that I am happy to share is that the business is growing so I am focusing on it more now. Yes, full-time. One major perk of staying at home for this job is that I get to spend each day with John. We can stop for coffee anytime, bake or cook, do chores together and what not. I am also having fun updating our website, taking more photos and connecting with other small business owners.

I will be sharing some pics from our recent trip to Asia but here's one of the MAIN reasons why we were in Chiang Mai, Thailand--to enjoy the best pizza in the world at La Lanterna de Genova.

If I could name one reason that makes #ChiangMai #Thailand extra special or one reason why #ilovechiangmai, it is the fact that the best pizza in the world can be found here. Luca and Ariya at La Lanterna de Genova makes the kind that melts in your mouth, that's very light and filling at the same time, and one that doesn't make you thirsty. This #italianrestaurant only uses homemade sauces (Luca makes them) and also offers other dishes. I've always disliked pizza but now I know why. It is because I never had a real one! #pizza #foodphotography #steak #reviewchiangmai #ChiangMaiThailand #ChiangMaiCafe #chiangmai_instagram #chiangmaitrip #thailandphotography #thailand_instagram #wheretoeat #experiencechiangmai #explorethailand #amazingthailand #homemade #discoverthailand #igersthailand #instatravels #travelthailand #travel #traveldiaries #iphone6splus #igers #salad #lostinthailand #lifeinthailand
A photo posted by knowstiv (@knowstiv) on

I see myself allocating more time for this blog soon so if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Project 365: One Photo A Day #018

We love the Central Coast so much. It gives us time and space--to stay away from the thick of things in Los Angeles. On November 7th, we can't believe that we explored this little known beach 30-40 miles north of Santa Barbara. We had the beach to ourselves all day. 


Friday, August 28, 2015

My heart is unprepared for this

Pulled up this site on my browser this morning. I have to admit that it's a somewhat sentiment-driven move. In a few weeks, John and I will be having our 5th wedding anniversary. October 5, 2015 is the exact date. Time flew swiftly and we didn't notice that together, we've been through so much. We've conquered millions of "daily adventures."

We've been busy being happy that we lost track of time.

Almost two years ago, a rare form of cancer almost stole him from me. But John succeeded in fighting it. I was the happiest soul when his oncologist declared that his last chemotherapy session offered a definitive and happy picture of where they'd want his battle to be -- the end of it and the start of John's nth chance at life. From there, we've charted our next plans and made them happen. We learned to live one day at a time. We moved to California from Oregon. We poured more effort into our business, developed new ideas and products and still working on our business growth.

But the past seems to be re-surfacing lately and it's been giving me sleepless nights. There are strange lumps or growth near John's diaphragm, some pains near his spleen and a weird feeling of discomfort near the prostate area. I hope the relapse isn't here yet. I just want John to have a happy, pain-free, uninterrupted life.

I swear, my heart is unprepared for this.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Breaking the silence

Life is beautiful. It's been nothing but beautiful. Even though we're still trying to recover from everything that tried to stuff hope and faith out of our systems, I can still say that in the grand scheme of things, we've been more than fortunate to keep our heads above water. Very proud of J who fought cancer with all his might.

So much has changed since I last posted an article here. I am sure that you'd understand if I was unable to find a minute to squeeze in even a one-liner. Reality consumed me whole but I liked it that way. The move from Portland to Los Angeles was in all aspects energy-draining. My new daytime job's been making me busy yet very happy. And yes, the business. We finally pushed the idea into production and everything's been nothing but challenging -- in a good way!

Amid the tangled daily realities, I still wake up each morning reaching for the man next to me, the one I am so in love with. Every breathing moment makes my heart brim with gratefulness and happiness. One year ago, J was given three weeks to live. If not the most gut-wrenching moment, that very moment was akin to being sent to hell via an express ticket. I can't describe it enough. Somehow, my confessions here should be able to paint some parts of it.

CALIFORNIA. We wake up to this view every day. 

But anyway, I will post a long one soon. This one is really just a quick update. John is doing great and heaven knows how much I'd want for him to enjoy this second or third chance at life. Sometimes, there'd be a little headache here and there but nothing that love and coffee can't fix. ;-)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Last chemotherapy session

John and his oncologist at Compass Oncology determined that the fifth chemotherapy session he went through would be his last. The results that the therapy generated are definitive of the direction that they wanted to take. John is so much better now compared to where he was in the health scale last August 2013. No more fluid in his lungs, his spleen's size went back to normal (it ballooned,  220% of the normal size), he's been gaining his lost weight back, etc.

The next question is, so what now? To be honest, we are clueless. We can only guess what tomorrow has. One thing is sure though, there'd been a lot of progress. The medical scare is still in the picture. He is not 100% okay. We are still not sure. The relapse will happen but nobody knows when. The doctor puts it in a year or two but as he had mentioned, "no one can tell." Aside from trying to stay fit and healthy, a positive state of mind and heart will help. I will try my best to help him in those aspects.

I promised him a few months ago that if things improved, I will take him to Chiang Mai Thailand, our favorite place. His birthday wish is to take me to Thailand while he still can. With the realities at work and with my employer deciding to take away all the employees' earned paid time off after a spat with a key employee, I am not sure if that will still happen. For someone who's used to vacation days and multi-purpose leaves back home, it is going to be a huge adjustment phase. I can't go on vacation and once I do that, things just get crazy when you come back as though you're a machine. There is also the reality of finances, a huge chunk went to the medical bills. Then the business that we started. It will take some time before we can recover our investment.

The best way I know is to just try to shake joie de vivre into John's system, make him happy each day. Give him a reason to enjoy. Once the business starts to generate real income, maybe we can have more time together. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

At the risk of being called by John as "dramatic"

... I published the beginning of my confessions. He's always on the web so I am not sure if he will discover my blog one day. Man, I felt so much better after I wrote that post. I actually started writing it on my phone last Friday on my way home. I had my Talkboard app capture my thoughts as they crossed my mind. Inside the car, at the photo studio at work, during break times--during those "in-between moments." Just needed to deal with the mental torture.

However, if there's any bright side to this, this situation revealed the fibers of our relationship. How strong each strand is and how it can be strengthened. How profound our bond is and how meaningless everything around us is actually. All that matters is that for each breathing moment, you feel alive. I want John to experience that. To feel loved, to feel happy and to feel that he has a strong grip on life.

I wonder how many wives my age go through something like this?

Truth is, I have been trying to repress things. John dislikes it when I am being a softee. He wants me tough. Like a man! He abhors drama. For him, you recognize the bleeding pain then move forward from there. While I tend to be like that 99% of the time, being threatened by cancer is something that I have no control of and it just shook the boat in the most horrible way you can imagine. Then unknowingly, this whole thing was eating me. Tried to not be dramatic with last night's post but maybe there's a little tinge to it. Just a little. ;-)

I am beginning to see how difficult it can be to not have a support system around you. Probably, it's more apt to say that I have to admit that I can't go through it alone anymore. I go to work every day like a machine, with no trace of brokenness or pain. Just functioning. Same daily programming. I am experience-free when it comes to being a wife to a patient with cancer. That part John doesn't realized. But I've been tested by various circumstances and I only know one way of facing battles--confront them.

The crux of this situation we're confronted with is straight and simple. Life and health are not a given. The only given is that we are all on this journey.

John and I intend to go through it together.