I wasn't expecting it, but I actually cried when I read that former Philippine President Corazon Aquino passed away. She had been battling colon cancer. She was a very spiritual and religious person. May God now hold her in the palm of His hand for all eternity.

(photo from Reuters)

Before heading to the city for my doctor's appointment this week, my sister Cecile and I went to get gas for the car. I almost always pay conveniently at the pump, and I've become used to the ones in my area. They have me swipe my card, wants to know if it's debit or credit, then asks for my zip code before they tell me to start filling. (The Mobil stations also ask if I want a car wash.) At the end, they inquire if I want a receipt or not.

The gas pump we stopped at seemed hyper and impatient. After I swiped my card, it immediately asked me: credit or debit? After I made a selection:Receipt yes or no? Then I was told to pump the gas. It said thank you and at that point, I was more than happy to go on my merry way, before the machine told me to get lost or something. GEEZ! Stop and smell the gasoline, Sunoco station!

I've watched Henry Louis Gates Jr. on PBS, The Daily Show, Oprah and The Colbert Report and I couldn't believe it was the same venerable Harvard Professor that I saw arrested at his own home in Cambridge last week. The charges of disorderly conduct were eventually dropped.

There's always two sides to a story. Perhaps either party might have been guilty of saying or doing something to worsen an already bad situation. But it does make you think if such a thing could have happened if a white gentleman was involved. Racial profiling is alive and well in America, even in the age of Obama.

In my 39 years of existence, I never knew there are such things as breast petals. Not until this past 4th of July weekend when my traveling companions wanted to look for some in the mall.

The things one learns each day...

Instead of skinny-dipping, how about chunky-dunking?

Ever since I've known her, a friend of mine has been having problems with her oldest daughter. A child of divorce, the 13 year old daughter has been threatening to live with her father for many years. (She tried to stay there for summer vacation last year---didn't even last 2 days.) The dad doesn't even live up to his visitation and custody responsibilities, a lot of times pawning his 2 kids off to his mother while he hangs out with his girlfriend.

As far as I can tell, my friend has been a great mom to her children (she's remarried and has another child). She has a history of mental illness, and it seems her daughter has inherited the gene. Puberty and hormones: probably aggravating the situation. My pal is doing everything she can so her daughter can avoid her fate of medications and therapy, even trying alternative treatments but the daughter has been so resistant. Last week, something set the daughter off and she started calling her mother ugly names, was being mean to her youngest sibling and even the poor family pet. My friend genuinely felt fearful for her life, and the safety of the rest of the family. So this weekend, my friend had to do what every parent probably hopes they would never have to do: she packed up her daughter's things, drove to her ex-husband's house, and told her daughter to get out.

Of course now, my friend is guilt-ridden, head full of doubts and what-ifs. Everyone's been telling her she did the right thing. If her daughter thinks she has it so bad at her house, then a little reality check, a little time with the (presumably) dead beat father will knock some sense into her. If she calls her asking to be picked up, tell her NO. Of course this is easy for us to say. I do not presume to know what having a mental illness is like, and I'm hoping for a happy ending to all this.

I'm writing about this because it strangely brought to mind all the drama we had last year, with the roles reversed. My brother-in-law ended up bringing our father to his siblings' house after a blow-up where our dad felt we weren't taking good enough care of him. He is actually back here again, staying with his sisters once more. Although I've had moments when I've felt bad or sorry for him and his malicious sisters, ill will continues to linger in my heart and mind. I see no end in sight, no resolution. I hope by now he has realized how much his children have done for him, not that we expect any payback. That wasn't why we did it. We did it because he is our father. But we are only human, and want some appreciation. I can only selfishly pray that he did have a better time at our homes than he is having at his sisters'. Our poor mother in the meantime has been angrily watching from the sidelines, probably wondering what went wrong, most likely blaming herself unnecessarily. If only people will get it in their heads that anytime you live with someone else, there will be problems. We're bound to make each other miserable at some point. But not to the extent where one feels physically threatened by someone's presence.

So while I say Kudos to my friend for her actions, I myself am torn by my thoughts and actions in the past year. I don't expect any big changes in my situation, but I do hope for some peace.

I saw this sign at a deli: One loyal friend is worth a thousand relatives.

I finally got the chance to go to Boston for their Fireworks Spectacular! It was well worth the trip (and the wait). We got there early to get good parking and to get our wristbands. Once we saved our spot, we'd go for walkabouts in Boston for some sightseeing and meals (and the all-important bathroom trips) Here's a shot of the Storrow Lagoon while waiting in line to get into the Hatch Shell. This was before 9 AM so most of the spectators haven't arrived yet. It was estimated that half a million people were in attendance.
Happy crowd
The Hatch Shell
Boston Pops
John Lewis during the tribute to President Abraham Lincoln

One last look at the stage as we exited

Neil Diamond sang 3 songs, but the song nearest and dearest to Bostonians is the ultimate sing-along song 'Sweet Caroline'. We even did an encore during the commercial break.
Craig Ferguson before the national telecast
Maestro Keith Lockhart


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