Saturday, October 05, 2013



Please, join us on team Tyler for this year's L.A. Cancer Challenge. Please, follow the link below to register on Team Tyler. Like every year, your options are the 10K, the 5K, or, should your ambitious heart so desire, you can do even both. You can run, walk, hobble (that's usually my MO), frolick, jumping jack, flik-flak, cruise, ride piggyback (you need to secure your own carrier though, not supplied), hopscotch...  Anything goes!

Direct link for registration on Team Tyler:

Day: Sunday, October 27th, 2013
Registration opens: 6 AM
Start 10K: 7:30 AM
Start 5K: 9 AM
Team Tyler Gathering Location: The large tree, close to the start line

Link for logistics (location, course, etc...):

The earlier you sign up, the better we can allocate our forces. Yes, this might be a fun event, but in carrying on Team Tyler's legacy, we do have ambitions in continuing our winning streak. Team Tyler has taken home first place in the 5K for the past six years, potentially marking year number seven this year (being cautiously optimistic). 

Two years ago, we also placed first in the 10K. Last year, we came in second for the 10K, still a great feat, but clearly, there is room for improvement. 

I hear that the pre-work and rigorous training routines have been put in place- ferocious stroller pushing, stocking up on tubs of tiger balm and muscle rub, and growing beards and mustaches. All great preparations! Keep up the good work!!!

Dennis, Yvonne, and I are looking forward to seeing all and everyone in a couple of weeks, ready to rumble and to have some fun while remembering our beloved and wonderful Tyler.

With Love,


Team Tyler Picture 2012

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

50 Years Later, Resurrection of Memories

Just when you think you knew someone, that's when they surprise you anew and you learn to appreciate yet another dimension in a person's life. This was most definitely true when Dennis informed me (the day of) that he and Yvonne would be on the national news that evening as part of CBS' broadcast in remembrance of Martin Luther King. It is a very moving and touching story about a friendship that has begun 35 years ago and that has grown ever since. Here, I will say no more but let you see for yourself. Unless you would like to watch the entire episode, fast forward to minute 11:

Apparently, the way this came together was that Dr. Hancock was approached by CBS to be part of the Martin Luther King episode and to share some of his experiences. And when they asked him to put it bluntly 'whether he had any white friends', he mentioned Dennis. One thing lead to the other, and before the Noesen's knew, camera crews were filming their house, Dennis taking out the boat, Dennis and Dr. Hancock at work, Yvonne coming home from the gym, Dennis' office... From what I understood, this all was very exciting and fun, until the realization sunk in that none would see the final version until it actually aired that night. As we all know, editing and clever cuts, can alter and misconstrue entire story lines. No wonder we were all a little anxious before that night's evening news.

Though, there was most definitely nothing to be worried about. To me, not only was it a beautiful story about friendship, but I also learned another amazing aspect about Dennis that I hadn't known before. I am so very proud of you, Dennis and Yvonne, and the entire rest of the cast to be so brave to share your story on a national stage.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chicago 2013


April 16th, Midway Airport, ETA 12:30pm. 

With great anticipation did I await the arrival of Yvonne and Dennis. Monday seemed long, Tuesday morning didn't seem to pass... Soon, the three activity buddies would be united. Not only was I looking forward to being around them, but also, I was looking forward to falling into bed, exhausted from a full day of random and fun activities.

I love how this trip came together- the Noesen way. One month prior to their arrival, we had discussed possible dates. Then, shortly after I got a copy from Southwest with their itinerary. The apple clearly didn't fall far from the tree- Tyler's spirit, love for adventures and activity-packed days, and his keen sense for immediate execution didn't come from just anywhere. Dennis and Yvonne obviously had something to do with it.

Replay (with some liberties- I can only imagine Dennis' and Yvonne's discussion)

On the phone:
Yvonne: 'Dennis has some days off during April 15th. Would you be around or are you traveling that week?'

Eva: 'Let me check my calendar. No, not traveling. I'm around. Would work great. I can take some days off.'

Later that day:
Yvonne: 'The week of April 15th should work. You have a couple of days off (Yvonne keeps Dennis organized, he's a very lucky man! I wished I had someone to help me out... :). What do you think?'

Dennis: 'Sounds great. Let's do it!'

Yvonne: 'Which days were you thinking? Monday, you're scheduled for work.'

Dennis: 'Let's fly out Tuesday morning. But then, I have soccer on the weekend- Saturday and Sunday.' [ponder, ponder- weighing options, scenarios- 'It'll be nice to have three full days. That would mean returning on Saturday. Well, I do have a game that day. It is soccer after all. I never miss a game. Oh, maybe there will even be a little brawl at the field like the other day. I wouldn't want to miss out on that one either. Otherwise, I'll be completely out of the loop in the email chain that ensues, analyzing the chain of events. I really like to chime in on those. I think my comments are pretty witty. Aah, this is a tough one. Maybe there will be a rain out. Unlikely. This isn't Chicago, it's LA...']

Abrupt interrupation:

Yvvone: '?'

Dennis: 'Oh? Ah, yes. I was just thinking (Yvonne keeping Dennis focused). You know what, let's fly back Saturday. This will give us more time and we might even be able to visit with our relatives.'

Yvonne: 'Perfect. I think we have a plan.'

A couple of hours later: Ba-baaam! Itinerary: Done. 

Meanwhile in Chicago

Eva: HUGE SMILE. 'Wait a second. They're flying back on Saturday? Doesn't Dennis usually play soccer on Saturdays? I don't think he has missed too many games in the past- if any at all. Hmm, that is sooooooooooooooo sweet!! Thank you Dennis, thank you!  I better make their time worth-while now. Pressure's on.'

[I really, really appreciated it. I know from personal experience: My Dad belongs to the village Men's Choir. He has been with the Choir for over 30 years. For as long as I can remember singing rehearsals have been held on Tuesday evenings at 8pm. Now, if I think about it, that day has never changed. That's actually pretty remarkable- so Swiss- just thinking out loud here. 
So it has become a fixed item on the family calendar. One nice thing about it is that I know exactly where my Dad is on any given Tuesday evening. He would not miss a single rehearsal, only under the most pressing circumstances- and even then he would try to somehow schedule around the rehearsal. Dennis- sounds familiar?
I'm not sure whether the motivation came from the incentive that the Men's Choir had put out. If a member of the Choir didn't miss a single rehearsal, concert, or event  in any given year (they put up Bingo, they organize the festivities for the village's Independence Day...), then a tin cup with the name engraved would commemorate this.  Yep- we have numerous tin cups... 

Yes, there might be some sarcasm in the above paragraphs, but only because it makes it sound funnier. In reality though, I highly respect the attitude of both Dads. How easy is it to just cancel, right? Especially, on today's age, where one text takes care of it. Too tired, something else came up, not feeling like it... There is something to be said about discipline and a sense of responsibility. I won't go on another snow and love tangent on here (though I am seriously tempted), but I sometimes wished people would take a pause, reconsider, before canceling last minute on an obligation or promise only because something doesn't seem as appealing or as convenient as it sounded at the time it was scheduled. I remember that I had a phase where I found myself being easy on the canceling trigger. I realized it and made a conscious decision not to cancel but to make the effort. And you know what? Usually, when I didn't feel like doing something but ended up going anyways, those days usually turned out to be the best times that I had. In any case, I salute both of you Dads! Chapeau! I'm proud of you for using your car as your changing room- either because you need to go into the office right after the game or because you just came out of surgery. I'm proud of your tin cup collection and the honorary member placard on the wall in your office. And you both put a smile on my face, because it's endearing and it's great writing material to draw from :). Okay, I admit- I went on a mini-tangent. I just can't help myself. Back to the actual topic...]

So here it goes:

Tuesday, April 16th: I picked them up at the airport. Actually, we were lucky that we managed to have Dennis with us. Granted, they had a very early morning, so there is an excuse for Dennis almost getting lost. Yvonne lost track of him for a second, and he was gone. [keeping Dennis focused- seeing the pattern? ;)] Apparently, that morning they had taken the shuttle to the airport. It was a busy day, as the shuttle was packed to the rim with people. During the reshuffeling of people entering and disembarking, Dennis and Yvonne got separated inside the shuttle- with visual contact remaining intact. Right before their terminal, Yvonne looks at Dennis, thinking that he had seen her. Yvonne grabs her bag, gets off, and waits outside on the curb for Dennis to come out. People are exiting the shuttle. Last person leaves. But, no Dennis. Shuttle moves on. Dennis stayed inside and drove off. From Dennis' perspective he looked where Yvonne was sitting and found her seat empty. He thought to himself, why would she change seats? Then he looked at their luggage. Her suitcase was gone. Oopses. Luckily, the shuttle made another stop before returning to the loop, so Dennis didn't have to walk too far back. It just made for a fun story upon their arrival that made us laugh pretty hard. And of course, it became the theme of the next days to always double-check with Dennis and to keep him close and never leave him alone.

After picking them up at the airport and quickly stowing away their bags, we went for lunch at a diner close by- The Little Goat. I had tried to get reservations at the original restaurant- The Girl and the Goat. So many friends had recommended that place and I had even read about it on one of my flights. Turns out though, that we were clearly not the only person wanting to go there. The tables are booked out for months out. To be precise, there usually is no open table for the next four months, no matter what time of the day. I hope I'll eventually make it there during my time in Chicago. In any case, we went to the sister restaurant- the diner. It was amazing! That was probably the best diner food I have eaten so far. I went lightly on the food because Dennis and I had plans to go running in the afternoon.

We also made sure to save space for the upcoming dessert- chocolate. The Blommer chocolate factory is right next to my building. It's quite amazing because there is always chocolate in the air. I can smell it from my window. And when I'm on my way back home from work, I can tell that I'm getting closer, as the sweet smell of chocolate announces that home is around the corner. It's like having dessert without the calories. They also have a store inside. On our way back from lunch we stopped and stacked up on a variety of delicious treats- peanut pokies (M&Ms knock-offs), the biggest cashew caramel cluster turtles I've seen (eating one of those, and the rest of the day it's salad and water), chocolate covered almonds, blocks of chocolate made from a variety of different types of milk- probably depending on the pasture that the cows had grazed on, the degree of happiness of the cows...), and other delicious chocolate varieties.

Dennis and I took off for our first run going South along the Lake Shore, passing the Planetarium, Soldier Field, and Shedd's Aquarium.

Actually, the week prior I had visited the Aquarium and had been lucky to get this shot of a starfish.  I named him Oscar. I saw Oscar in the tank and couldn't but help thinking that Oscar must have had a rough night out as he looked completely hung-over. So I took some creative liberties to help out making him look more authentic:

Impressions from Shedd Aquarium

After: I love the little "feet". It's so cute the way they're pointed upwards.

Dennis was a trooper! We were out for a run for over an hour and that after an already long day for Dennis. We were lucky that day as the weather was surprisingly pleasant and sunny. Well, that was about to change.

In the evening we went to a comedy Club "Second City", training ground for a host of famous alumni including John Belushi, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and over 500 more. The show was called "What the Tour Guide Didn't Tell You". I had made reservations at their restaurant prior to the show and somehow that turned out to qualify us for the VIP treatment. We were taken out of the line, escorted to the venue, and seated at the center table right in front of the stage. Though silly, but we liked it: "We are special, watch out!" The show was really fun and we just had the best time.

Second City: What the Tour Guide Didn't Tell You.
Of course, we had a healthy Chicago dinner: How couldn't we not get tator tots nacho style and fried cheese curds. What are fried cheese curds you're asking? Good question. I'm still unsure on it, but they sure tasted yummy. Apparently, it's a Wisconsin specialty, comparable to mozzarella sticks. Cheese, battered, and deep fried per default equals a party in your mouth. What follows after in the stomach is better not thought of at the time of eating (especially not in combination with beer).

Tator Tots Nacho Style

The next day the weather turned and would remain that way for the remainder of the week. The temperature dropped significantly, the wind picked up, and became wet. The perfect conditions for a boat tour on the Chicago river. I had done the Architectural boat tour before and it is one of my favorite tourist activities I have done. While gliding along the edges of the river bank, the tour guide provides anecdotes and history tidbits about the various buildings. It's absolutely fascinating. Most of the buildings are older, but they have been built in such a contemporary style that they still look modern.
Oh, and did you know that the city had reversed the flow of the river back in the 1900's? The Chicago River used to flow sluggishly into Lake Michigan from Chicago's flat plain. As Chicago grew, this allowed sewage and other pollution into the clean-water source for the city, contributing to several
public health problems, like typhoid fever. The Chicago River was known by many local residents of Chicago as "the stinking river". The most apparent solution was to revert the flow. I loved my parents' reaction when I told them about it. They're Swiss. Both of them were a little perplexed and laughingly responded, 'well, clearly, instead of cleaning the river, reversing the flow of an entire river seems the better option.'
In any case, when I had done the boat tour in high Summer with sunshine and 90 degrees. This was not necessarily the case this time around. The weather somehow held up for the first 60 minutes, with a 'light' drizzle, but for the last 15 minutes we gave up and abandoned the deck to find shelter inside, as it was pouring buckets of water along with lightnings. But Dennis and Yvonne were such good sports. Even under these rather sub-optimal conditions they still enjoyed it and maintained a wonderful and pleasant disposition.

Beginning of the Tour: Grey, but somewhat dry.

They were so nice to towel off the seats prior to the start.

We're ready! Let's get this show started!
About to abandon the deck: It only got worse from here on.
It made for nice pictures though.

After the boat tour we went back home to warm up before we left for the movie theater to watch "The play beyond the pines." I enjoyed it a lot, but there clearly were several what I would call 'circles' in terms of the story-telling. And the final circle left me thinking that the circle wasn't quite complete. I'll leave it at that.

Before heading back to the apartment we stopped at a local bar close by. It was a Wednesday evening and accordingly empty. We sat down at the bar for a night cap and dessert. One of a sudden I feel someting touching me from the left side. I turn around and there is this guy sitting next to me (or rather almost on top of me) who had just pulled up a chair. Did I mention that the bar was pretty much empty? I turn around and told him that if he wanted a better view at the TV screen that there were many empty seats on Dennis' side that were also closer to the screen. His response was that he just wanted to introduce himself. It turned out that he was a 'teeny bit' inebriated. He took a great liking to Dennis, asking all kinds of questions. The best question was when he guessed where we were from: "Are you guys from Canada?" The reason why he had thought we were from Canada was quote: "Because you're so nice." We had to laugh really hard. Turns out that (apparently) he was a stock broker, earning millions a year, unhappy in Chicago, looking to relocated to California. So that's when he asked about life in Los Angeles. At the point where he was literally almost sitting on me, we got the check and left. It did make for an entertaining little encounter though.

The next day Dennis and I did our usual running routine. This time we ran up to Lincoln Park where we ran through Lincoln Zoo. It's free to the public, which is absolutely amazing. We saw some random animals and headed back home to get ready for the afternoon Cubs game.

We kept checking the weather in the Internet to see whether it would be canceled due to rain-out. We got lucky and the game took place. We had great seats right behind the dug out where the Cubs were warming up the pitchers. Hey, we were not going to move under the awning, no matter what- whether it was pouring cats and dogs. I knew that. In anticipation, I had brought my rain-proof pants. It was a really fun game. AND, the Cubs won. As they had said about the Cubs during the Comedy Show: There is always hope in the beginning of the season.
I had mentioned that I was going to get a Cubs hat to commemorate this day. Aah, Dennis took it up as his immediate mission. He scouted out the various booths during his beer and hot dogs runs. In the end, I found THE perfect hat. Thank you Dennis and Yvonne!!!

Great seats, right? Great times!
"There is always hope."

Go Cubs! Go!
We didn't have any plans for the evening. After the game finished we did our routine huddle and discussed various options. I absolutely love their attitude. At any given time either of us would throw out ideas, the other two would respond: 'Sure. That sounds fun. Let's do it. What would be the next steps to make it happen?' So easy! No questioning of the time, the reviews, the logistics, the story...

I had seen banners for the new musical that had just started in Chicago: Big Fish. I vaguely remembered the story from when I had seen the movie years ago. I just knew that there was a father telling stories to his son and that there were giants, large fish, and witches. I thought it would make for a great visual. Still in the parking lot next to Wrigley Field, we decided to try to get tickets for the evening. We drove downtown, Dennis jumped out of the car, and minutes later he was back with three tickets for the 8pm show. We quickly stopped back home, had some snacks and left for the muscial.
Snack/Dinner before Big Fish
Here we are, seated in this beautiful theater, waiting for the show to start. The first half was great, as I had remembered: Giants, witches, big fish, father telling stories to his son. Great visuals, great music- all in all very entertaining. Come second half, the plot took an abrupt turn. It reminded me a little of when I had first seen Quentin Tarantino's "From Dusk Til Dawn" years ago. My friend and I had plans to watch another movie, but we were late. By the time we made it to the movie theater, the only option we had was this movie called "From Dusk Til Dawn". I hadn't heard about it prior. While we were already there, we just went for it. Why not? Right? Contrary to the US, in Switzerland there is an intermission half-way through the movie. Here we are watching a movie that looks everything like a police-chase thriller. Intermission comes around, we get some ice cream, return to our seats and one of a sudden there are vampires crawling everywhere. I have to say that the intermission actually underscored the effect. Honestly, we thought we had returned to the wrong theater. Anyways, second half of Big Fish rolls around and the father gets diagnosed with cancer. The remainder of the musical is pretty much about the dying of the father with the most beautiful- yet gut-wrenching songs, sang by his wife, his son, and his friends. When I realized what was happening I started to feel so bad. I couldn't believe that I had dragged Dennis and Yvonne to this play. I had had no idea! I wished to disappear into my seat. I felt horrible. Fortunately, Dennis and Yvonne are their wonderful selves and kept it on the light side. Dennis' comment once the curtains drew close was the gem of the night. He turned to us, saying: ''Cancer- The Musical' They should rename this." [and yes Dennis, your comments are pretty witty!! Hands-down.] In the end though, if I had seen this play anyways, who else better to watch it with then with the two of them? Here's the other part that made me think. Apparently, this musical was only playing in Chicago for five weeks before moving on to Broadway. What were the odds that Dennis and Yvonne would be in town during this time, that we actually decided on short-notice to go watch a play, and that from all the offerings that we picked just this one? Just saying... Things are meant to be a certain way.

On our way home we wanted to have another night cap. Strategically, we decided against the previous bar as we didn't feel like running into the guy from the other night. I knew this other place, Jefferson's Tap, where I hadn't been. Funny thing- we enter, sit down. I turn around and out of the corner of my eye I catch a familiar person. I turn to Yvonne and Dennis:"I think that's him!?" Yep, our little investor was at the same place. We couldn't believe the coincidence. He noticed us as well and after a while came over. We chatted for a while and left it at that.

I had to work on Friday, so Dennis and Yvonne checked out the Art Institute of Chicago. I think that day was the coldest so far. Poor Dennis and Yvonne wore all layers that they had brought along for the trip. In the afternoon we drove out to Shaumburg to visit with Dennis' relatives. It was such a nice time. We had lovely dinner, while stories from the past were revisited. A book should be written just about that. Doesn't life just write the best stories?

Saying Good-Bye the next day was hard. It was so amazing to have you around! Thank you, thank you so much for a wonderful and unforgettable time, for your care, and for your love. It means the world to me. 
And yes, I definitely got my wish fulfilled- I would be asleep before my head even hit the pillow...  :)

One week after I did the Pancan 5K race up in Lincoln Park. Below are some impressions. The event was absolutely wonderful. The organizers did a fabulous job in putting it together.
A sea of purple.
After the race, fot me purple ribbon, and was cooling down on the beach.
Missing you, Tyler
Everything happens for a reason, right? I have to think that way, otherwise, I would go crazy. It's hard to accept. I am where I am because of you, Tyler. You have changed my life in so many ways. You have helped me shape becoming the person I am today. You have enriched my life beyond description. Because of you I have been blessed with Dennis and Yvonne, who have taken me on as I was their own daughter. You're always be my little hubbily, always. I carry you in my heart forever. You, the memories of you, your heart are in a safe place with me, forever.

Dennis and Yvonne- I love you two so much! Thank you for everything. Thank you for you. I'll be sure to make my way over to SP as soon as possible...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An eclectic entry:

B) Snow and Love
C) Exciting News
D) House-keeping item


APRIL 23rd 2013

Yes, it is your birthday today…

When Tyler was at the ICU end of year 2011 he was on a vent to help him with the respiration. Basically, they put a rather large tube down the trachea to artificially help with the breathing and oxygenation. To counteract the natural gag reflex and to put the patient at ease, the patient is put under a slight yet constant sedative.  Not only is the tube extremely bothersome, but it also makes it impossible to talk. Thus, we would communicate with Tyler on either a white board or on a note pad. Because of the sedation, Tyler would fade in and out. Sometimes, he was almost fully there, and at other times, he was drowsy and very, very sleepy.  

After awaking from one of his naps, albeit being still very drowsy, he was in a writing mood. One of the first things he wrote was the above sentence. It still chokes me up thinking about it. It was so endearing. Even in being in one of the most desolate places, hooked up to cables and tubes, surrounded by all kinds of humming, buzzing, and beeping machines, Tyler was celebrating a little party in his dreams.

Though you’re not with us physically today, we’re all thinking of you with loving memories. I wished with all my heart we could partake in your little birthday bash and celebrate with you this special day of yours.

Memories never fade…
They keep our loved ones
in our hearts forever.

Thanks to Dennis and Yvonne’s miracle work, today 32 years ago, little Tyler was born. As a result, my life as well as the lives of others would be touched in so many beautiful ways, changing our paths- us- forever.

We all meet people in our daily lives. Most of them become fleeting encounters, some develop into deeper friendships, and then there are the few happenstances where strangers become more than friends but part of family. We never know nor can we control whom we’ll meet today or tomorrow. Pragmatically speaking, it’s all luck and influenced by statistics (I love statistics). The more I’m grateful that life somehow arranged for Tyler and I to meet. What were the odds that we should have met, for me being from Switzerland and for Tyler being from the US? Somehow, stars aligned for us to be at the same place at the same time and actually talking to each other. Hadn’t Tyler ran after me that day at the Haas Pool, my life, our lives, would have been completely different. Serendipity.

I consider myself very, very fortunate. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of Tyler. Often, Tyler’s loss swells into an unbearable pain, making me go into a tailspin that takes all of my energy and determination to regain control. And yes, there were definitely incredibly difficult periods in the past beyond what I could have ever imagined. But, if I could to go back in time, I’ll do it all over again. In the nine and a half years that we had been together, Tyler has brought more to my life than words could ever describe. I had a good life prior to meeting Tyler. But if I had to compare my life without him to my life with Tyler, it’s like comparing a stick figure picture to an HD-3D-colored action movie with all the mind-blowing special effects that one can think of with the bonus of the most handsome special agent in the world. Through Tyler I was blessed with knowing what true happiness felt like. Knowing what it feels to unconditionally love and care for and being loved and cared for is one of the greatest gifts Tyler has given me. When I think of Tyler, I think of the purest heart I’ve ever known. I miss you today and every day.

B) Snow and Love

I might be going out on a limb here, but the other day I was pondering the idea of the word ‘love’. Yes, I ponder here and there- something Tyler and I used to do quite a lot. For example, the Inuit have twenty different names for the various colors of snow. Snow isn’t just white. Depending on the shape of the crystals, the thawing and freezing process, the impurity, and other factors the color will have different shades. For the untrained eye, snow is snow, but for the snow expert, there’s a wide range of snow.

How is it then, that there is only one word to describe the feeling of love? Love has defined human history ever since its inception. Entire wars have been waged on behalf of love. Volumes of books have been filled with poetry and stories of love and feelings. Hollywood can’t last without bringing out at least one special romantic movie for Valentine’s Day in addition to all the other dramas and romantic reels that come out in a year’s time. How is it then, that there is only one word to describe love? Snow might have twenty something different colors, but in comparison to the different types and degrees of love, snow definitely pales (zinger!).

There’s the love we feel for our family, our siblings, our parents, our grandparents, cousins… a feeling of affection, nurtured by time and the bond of blood. Then there is the love we have for our friends, a feeling of personal attachment. Of course, some of us have pets. We love our pets and we tend to develop strong compassions towards our four-legged or feathered companions. Oh, and very importantly, most of us love food, a feeling of pleasure, indulgence, and a social activity.

And then there is the love that we feel for our special One in our life, defined by physical and emotional attraction that fills the air with sparks, putting us on cloud nine. And most likely, there will be more than one special One within the period of one’s life. But never will the feeling be the same. In kindergarten, we might hold hands, not really grasping why, but we just do. As a teenager, with hormones raging, every aspect of emotional life seems amplified. Later, with hormones being more in balance, the mind dominates over emotions. In any case, the feeling that we call love will be different depending on the relationship and on the point in time. So why can it be that there is only one word to express love? This phenomenon is not unique to the English language. Interestingly, in the five languages that I speak, there’s only one word that describes love. The next best is ‘like’. I do understand that there are always qualifiers that can be added, as in ‘teenage love’, ‘super-crazy-intense love’, ‘rational love’, ‘mature love’…

You might be wondering why I’m going on this tangent. When I look back at some of the moments I’ve had with Tyler, so many times I felt that the word ‘love’ even when combined with a qualifier, just didn’t do the feelings that I felt for Tyler any justice. There were moments when we were lying next to each other, holding each other tight, all snuggled up. And even in being absolutely close to each other, it wasn’t enough. We wanted to melt into each other. And to be honest, I have never in my life felt such a deep and intense feeling as what I had for Tyler. Yes, this might be self-serving, but I think this feeling is deserving of its own word that stretches the meaning of ‘love’ into new dimensions.

Tyler put it beautifully: "There are some people who seek the big firework, the butterflies that people experience usually at the beginning of a relationship when they first meet. Unfortunately, big fireworks don’t last too long and before you know, they have vanished. And the quest for the next firework begins. Then there are other people, who understand the preciousness of the small, smoldering flame that endures and keeps the two warm and close. And as time goes by, the flame grows stronger and fills every inch of the body, heart, and soul with warmth and joy." Tyler would say that it takes true maturity to realize the opportunity right in front and to understand the treasure of the small but resilient flame, foregoing the hunt for big fireworks forever. We had found our flame.

Tyler left an imprint on my life that will last forever. I’m eternally grateful that Tyler has walked this world and that I got so lucky to have been his special One.

C) Exciting News

1. This is Paradise: Short Stories by Tiana Kahakauwila

Tyler would have definitely wanted to have this amazing and wonderful news spread to all of you. Here it goes: We all always knew that she was brilliant, smart, accomplished AND beautiful to boot (I can say that- I'm not the President of the United States :). Tiana is the author of This is Paradise: Short Stories, which will be available June 9th of this year. I can speak for all of who know Tiana, we are so proud of you! This is an amazing accomplishment. I'm so happy for you!

What others are saying:


Elegant, brutal, and profound- this magnificent debut captures the grit and glory of modern Hawai'i with breathtaking force and accuracy.

In a stunning collection that announces the arrival of an incredible talent, Kristiana Kahakauwila travels the islands of Hawai'i, making the fabled place her own. Exploring the deep tensions between local and tourist, tradition and expectation, facade and authentic self, This is Paradise provides an unforgettable portrait of life as it's truly being lived on Maui, Oahu, Kaua'i and the Big Island.

In the gut-punch of "Wanle", a beautiful tough young woman wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps as a legendary cockfighter. With striking versatility, the title story employs a chorus of voices- the women of Waikiki- to tell the tale of a young tourist drawn to the darker side of the city's nightlife. "The Old Paniolo Way" limns the difficult nature of legacy and inheritance when a patriarch tries to settle the affairs of his farm before is death.

Exquisitely written and bursting with sharply observed detail, Kahakauwila's stories remind us of the powerful desire to belong, to put down roots, and to have a place to call home.

- Barnes and Noble

From the Publisher

"Vividly imagined, beautifully written, at times almost unbearable suspenseful- the stories in Kristiana Kahakauwila's debut collection This is Paradise are boldly inventive in their exploration of the tenuous nature of human relations. These are poignant stories of "paradise' - Hawai'i- with all that "paradise" entails of the transience of sensuous beauty. Never could I have imagined that I might read with such sympathy a story narrated by a young woman who trains roosters to fight- but 'Wanle' is that story."

- Joyce Carol Oates

To secure your copy of this pearl, go to:

2. Inside Combat Rescue- John Collin

John Collin shot, edited, and produced Inside Combat Rescue for National Geographic Channel. It's a 6-episode series that just recently aired. It got great reviews and ratings. The camera work, the editing, and the story telling is extremely well done. This is another amazing feat from one of our very close friends. In case you have missed the episodes, some of them can be found on You tube:

D) House-keeping item

1. PANCAN Advocacy Days: June 17th and 18th 2013

In case any of you would like to join us on Capital Hill, please go to this site for further information:



Tuesday, January 08, 2013

January 8th 2013: One Year...

“There's this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your kisses still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It's the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me.”

― Gretchen Kemp

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First off, Happy Belated Thanksgiving to everyone! And thank you for all the kind wishes that I had received in turn. Over the past seven years that I had lived in Los Angeles, Thanksgiving had become one of my favorite holidays- next to Christmas. I fondly look back on last year’s Thanksgiving and feel immense gratitude that we were able to celebrate that day together with Tyler at home in San Pedro. By that time, we had transferred Tyler out of the hospital down to his parents’ place.

Dennis and I went into our usual routine: Prepping the Turduck. We’d get up in the morning and with scalpels in our hands, both of us would start deboning one bird each. Last year I had climbed up the food chain in the Turduck prepping hierarchy; from being the novice- working the small bird- to being allowed to tackle the big bird. One has to celebrate the small achievements. Here’s a thanks to you Dennis! In parallel, we started on the stuffing, which was hilarious on its own. Dennis’ attitude is “the more the merrier”, whereas I am more selective. In the end, we found a healthy middle ground (i.e. a “no” on orange juice, but a definite “yes” on beer). Armed with yarn and needle we then assembled and sewed the two-bird concoction into a tight bundle with stuffing leaking left and right (we like stuffing) and put it into the oven. At that point, the kitchen looked like a battlefield (according to a neighbor who had come over to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving. They opted for Mary Calendar’s. It’s amazing the feast you can get delivered. Again, one has to love the US- and no I’m not being sarcastic here). We tidied up the worst and went for our traditional pre-feast run along the San Pedro cliffs.

Throughout all this cooking action, Tyler was in the living room, nestled on the couch, watching us, listening to our chitchat and negotiations around the stuffing. He then told me that he loved hearing us laugh and having a good time. It was balm in my heart. Though precarious, the world was still whole, as he was still with us. Though Tyler couldn’t really eat, we made sure to have the Thanksgiving party tray of ice-treats ready for him as well.

At any given point in time, either one of the three of us would be on ice treat patrol. As most of you know, at that point, Tyler had trouble eating solid food and keeping it down. Instead, to get him his calories and nutrition, we’d help him hook up a liquid IV nutrition over night. Nonetheless, one of his favorite treats became the so-called ice-treats; little cubes of frozen sodas or fruit juices or a mix thereof. Tyler didn’t ask for much. Maybe we all wished he had asked for more, as all of us wanted to help and make things- life- better for Tyler. So here was something that would make Tyler happy- and we all jumped into action. In the process, our ice treat manufacturing skills improved, so did the material, and with it the client’s reviews. We found the perfect little ice cube tray, which in combination with a mini funnel produced just the right treats- accordingly to Tyler’s expert opinion. His taste for different flavors tended to change, so we had to adjust on the fly (not that easy, as it takes a while to become frozen). We diversified the offering, and came up with completely new cocktails to satisfy Tyler’s palate. Amongst his favorites were Cranberry juice mixed with Sprite, plain Coke- that was a staple, and plain Sprite. Plain Cranberry juice tasted good, but didn’t give the right texture because of the lack of CO2. Ginger Ale was a favorite for a period of time to change up things a bit, Cherry Coke- didn’t last too long, Fanta and other orange-flavored beverages weren’t the hit and were dismissed accordingly. We had a little conveyer belt production going- we’d pour several variety trays during the day and store the treats in a container in the freezer. So that when Tyler had a craving for a certain flavor we’d have it on hand. It was too cute and we all cherished that Tyler gave us something to do for him to make his eyes light up. He was very particular about the amount and type of treats. It was either five or seven, but never four or six treats. With the most adorable puppy eyes he’d ask, ‘can I have seven more?’ Of course you can, you can have as many as you want…

And then of course, dinner was lovely and very special. The Turduck was cooked to perfection, the stuffing yummy (the final negotiations paid off), sides were great, and ice treats were well done. Well, this year’s Thanksgiving was rather different: I was at work and had Muesli and oatmeal for dinner. Nonetheless, I had wonderful conversations with friends and family on the phone and felt very lucky that so many of you shared your Thanksgiving experiences and feasts with me. So here’s to Thanksgiving and to family!

Here's to you Tyler!

Abrupt change in topic: It has been a while since my last blog entry. A lot has happened and I wanted to take the opportunity to provide a little update, starting with the recent one first. (Disclaimer: For all of you who may not know me that well, there will be sarcasm in some of the passages below and thus, not to be taken literally).:

Los Angeles Cancer Challenge 2012

Unbelievable, so many of you turned out to join us again on this year’s team Tyler. Dennis, Yvonne, and I were incredibly touched and very happy to see so many of our friends and family come together to walk and run in memory and remembrance of Tyler. We had participants travel from as far as Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, even the UK, and greater Los Angeles (not to be dismissed- one never knows what can take longer, the 405 or a cross-country flight). Thank you. Thank you all.

As in past years, Nate brought the Long Beach Polly Girls Cross-Country Team up for the day. They had to rest as they had an important race coming up the following Thursday. But thank you for the moral support! I got to chitchat with some of them and in turn, they invited me to join them for the upcoming Moor League Finals at Heartwell Park in Long Beach (I’ve probably butchered this- my apologies, Natan and Becky ☺). I actually managed to make my way over the next Thursday to watch them in action and to rock the 5K: Jessica Gonzales broke the record from 2009 and racing as a team (Jessica, Sara, Mari, Georgia, and Maddy) they broke the 2009 team-record (and that with a half-broken finger…). What a performance! Well done, girls!! And then of course, Becky brought heaps of her marvelous and delicious granola bars to this year’s LACC 2012 race. Given that so many people by now look forward to this annual treat, maybe we can post the recipe on this blog (unless it’s an old family secret).

It was amazing to see all of you together and to get the chance to catch up. I think I speak for both, Dennis and Yvonne, when I say that we tried to talk to everyone of you. I felt like a puppy at times, not knowing where to turn next. And trust me that was a good thing. I was thrilled and super happy to be surrounded by such a wonderful circle of people.

Okay, that’s enough of the soft talk; let’s get down to business. We did incredibly well in the 5K- easily sweeping first place as team Tyler. Spence, Ross, Nate, and Alex came in the top 10, closely followed by Gardner, Tom and Amy (go Amy- amazing!!!). Real solid performance!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t repeat our double-victory from last year. We ended up coming in second in the 10K. We had two strong front-runners, John- flown in from the UK- and his friend Daniel, who clocked in 14th and 3rd overall. Then, there was none for a long time until Tiana and myself. I can’t speak for Tiana, but I can’t seriously be relied on to play an integral part in the overall group time. I’m happy if I come hobbling over the finish line.

Assessing our running potential, we could have taken first in the 10K as well. For next year, I see room for improvement and a definite optimization of our forces. Tom, I leave this responsibility with you. I’ll admit, I’m only good at trash talking and giving advice, but I will hand over the strategy and the tactical execution to you. If you want, I can make a PowerPoint slide deck…

Again, thank you all for coming out and join us that day. It was so great spending time with you. We appreciate that you took the time to be with us, we really, really do. Tyler would have been extremely proud and touched, seeing all this love and care.

I think pictures can tell more than a hundred words. So here are some impressions of the day:

Tyler- during the LACC 2010:

This year's group picture:

Left close ups of the group picture:

Middle close up of group picture:

Right close up of group picture:

Dennis, on to round 2:

Ross and Natan approaching finish line:

Natan and Ross, strong finish:

Tom LA:


Polly Cross Country Girls:

I miss you hubbily...

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012: Thinking of you on your birthday, little hubbily

You have the key to my inner story. You hear my songs and sing them with me... Thinking of you today, my love.

What an amazing man, what a handsome fellow, what a smile... A smile that brightened all of my days, no matter how dim and desperate situations appeared. It instilled comfort, and it was the best medicine for any ailment. I will never forget the moments where we would burst into laughter, usually over little things. You know, the little things that spring up during the course of a relationship and that are only understood and special to the two of you. I treasured these moments, as they would fill my heart with warmth as well as with a modest feeling of pride and inner satisfaction that I somehow, unintentionally, managed to trigger the right spots that would make Tyler laugh out loud. Many things were out of my control, but knowing that I made him happy in these moments, making us forget about the worries and uncertainties that were with us at all times, meant the world to me.

I miss that smile, and I miss that wonderful sound of his laughter.

These pictures were taken exactly one year ago. Looking at them, who would have ever thought that Tyler wouldn’t be with us today. It was his 30th birthday and in true Tyler fashion he rose above his disease to celebrate it with the due activities. (I was tempted to use the word “due respect”, but “activities” is clearly a better word to be used together with Tyler in the same sentence ;).

I had offered to organize the day, but he wouldn’t have any of that. He had a plan, and what a plan it was. He just told me to pack for any occasion- I had to chuckle, as I was very familiar with this expression of his. And I knew, that he wasn’t just making empty promises, but that he would fully come through on them. Many of you know the story, so I will only provide a summary of the events of that day:
When I stepped out of the apartment, there was a gorgeous Porsche waiting for me and in it was this handsome young man, wearing a baby-blue collared shirt and sexy jeans. He knew how much I liked baby blue one him… The dark hair, the green eyes- a perfect contrast against the light blue. He was such a considered husband and so very loving. Again, it’s the little things…
It turned out that Tyler had rented the Porsche for that day- fulfilling one of his dreams. The first stop was the Wildlife station in Irvine, where they take care of exotic animals that have been found, rescued, or taken away from their owners. The fun part of this tour was not so much to look at the various animals (clearly, the L.A. zoo has a leg up), but more to hear about the stories behind it. I think my favorite story came with the 4-foot lizard. Apparently, it had been the house pet of a lady, who treated this reptile like a dog. It was even allowed to sleep in the bed with her. When she was faced with financial hardship, she decided to apply for a roommate. And guess what, surprisingly, the roommate was not sharing any of her warm feelings for this cold-blooded animal. Frankly, a gecko is cute. A free-roaming 4-foot lizard? Not so much. The police ended up taking the lizard away. And there were more of these stories of similar nature. It was just a great idea and these memories will stay with me forever.
After the Wildlife habitat we were off to Universal Studios to go “sky-diving” in the glass tube. I first was worried that Tyler wouldn’t be able to do it as he had trouble walking and was wearing his braces. It was just amazing to see how well he did. I was so proud of him for so many reasons. You know how many people tend to give up on them and put a mental block up in their heads when faced with much smaller handicaps and negative life events than what Tyler had to deal with, preventing them from living life? Even in his impaired state, Tyler managed to find an exciting and thrilling experience that he could do. He wasn’t waiting for someone else to encourage him nor did he dwell in self-pity or let depression get the better of him. It just comes to show that there are so many fantastic opportunities in this world, one just has to be willing to open the eyes, continue to nurture the passion for life, and be grateful and appreciative for all that lies right in front of you. From all the people that I know, Tyler was able to see and feel these opportunities and the beauty that are abound in the world more than anyone else. Enjoying the little things in life is definitely one of the many things that I have learned from him, and that I will always be grateful for. Being able to experience joy in the most inconspicuous aspects of life can put a smile on your face, brighten up your day, and provide you with the positive energy to make it through a tough day. In a sense, when people ask me how I am doing and how I am coping, I think it's exactly this attitude that gets me through the day. Tyler would have given anything to be with us today, as his love for life was palpable and unending.

After the skydiving we drove down to Long Beach to meet up with Dennis and Yvonne for a boat tour through the Venice canals followed by a dinner at the Crab Pot. I remember as it was yesterday; the sunset was stunning and when we took the pictures of the four of us kicking back on the boat, the light lit up our faces with a golden hue, making our smiles glow. I had brought "funny" glasses to celebrate the occasion in true Venice Beach style. Dennis was literally blinded by his fashionable eye-wear, at times we were a bit worried that he wasn't quite sure where he was steering the boat toward. So for the sake of the safety of the passengers, he didn't wear them too long. Luckily, we got some decent shots of him. Of course, Tyler got the birthday-candle glasses, while Yvonne transformed into a bright sea star, and well, I opted for the laid-back chill out glasses. (In a way, I guess it was a good pick for me. 4 days before his passing, while I was "tornadoing" [Tyler's expression of me hovering] around him, he called me the cutest nickname: Tinkerbell on crack. I love it, own it, and proudly wear it. So if you ever happen to see it as a username, you now know who it is]. It was such a lovely evening, laughing and enjoying each others company, cherishing this precious moment of joy and beauty. What else can you ask for? My heart goes out to you, Dennis and Yvonne. There are no words capabable of soothing the loss of our loved Tyler. Fortunately, we share dear moments like these, that will forever remain vivid in our lives, bring us together, and lift our hearts. I am incredibly grateful for the two of you and for the love and care that you have and that you continue to so graciously show me.

I digress, back to the day: We didn’t have too much time to linger as Tyler had reserved a room in downtown L.A. at the Bonaventure Hotel. I couldn't but comment on the route that he had chosen that day. He really optimized the amount of road we covered in the Porsche that day. And boy can I tell you how much fun it was to drive into the sunset, feeling light and worry-free in his little race care. It was just wonderful to watch him truly enjoy his gadget for the day. At the hotel, I think Tyler got the biggest kick when the valet guy winked at him, saying: “Nice car, son.” He would refer to this moment as feeling a sense of pride that he was getting the respect from the valet guy. He was so cute. Thank you Tyler for an unforgettable day, that will remain etched into my mind.

Yes, these are boob-glasses with lace ;) It's okay, he's an Ob/Gyn. Have you seen the poster in the guest bathroom? This is harmless!

It is incredibly difficult to grasp that all this was only one year ago. There were so many instances where Tyler’s condition was precarious, but somehow, miraculously, he always bounced back- amazing us, as well as the physicians. I truly believed that this would go on for many more years. I believed that this incredibly strong heart of his would continue to beat and carry him forward as it had done so reliably throughout all these taxing times.

Remember when Dennis wrote in the obituary about the rich and full life that Tyler was living? I knew that we had a very active lifestyle and this sentiment is being underscored on a daily basis. Since Tyler’s passing, there hasn’t been a day where there hasn’t been a reminder- a place, an event, a show, a book, an article- that didn’t remind me somehow of a experience that we had shared together. Just the other day I had traveled for business to Croatia. While having dinner at this beautiful restaurant nestled within the little harbor village, we saw sail boats go by, the smell of the ocean breeze, the moisture in the air, the seagulls circling high above in the sky- reminding me of our many sail and boating trips to Catalina and Angel Island. Now that Spring is announcing itself and the first flowers are showing their pretty colors, reaching their petals out to the sun after a long and cold winter, I can’t but help to stop and admire, seeing Tyler’s smile in front of me. He loved smelling flowers… Or the squirrel that frisked by me the other day. It was orange with a big bushy tail, the most adorably plush adorned little ears, and the curious eyes that quickly graced me with attention before disappearing in the crown of the tree. Tyler and I had a thing for squirrels. Somehow, it had become our little invisible scoundrel. No worries, I dont' think we were crazy. Hmmm, maybe just a little- but in a cute way. If I couldn't find my keys, or if the remote control was misplaced, or if one of us happened to make digestive sounds, either of us would look up and say: Arrrrg, The squirrel- that little mischievous thingy! or "The Veverka (squirrel in Czech), again!" And then we would just laugh. It’s amazing how such events can trigger an instant replay of past memories. Tyler, you have given me one of the most precious gifts. Though you are not with us physically, I can feel your presence and see your smile everywhere in the world around me. It is remarkable to have flashbacks on a daily basis, eternalizing our shared memories and our live together.

Tyler, you are missed so dearly, especially today. I love you, and always will.

I'll never forget your bright smile and I can hear you laugh wherever I may be.

[...]"And at night you will look up at the stars. Where I live everything is so small that I cannot show you where my star is to be found. It is better, like that. My star will just be one of the stars, for you. And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens... they will all be your friends. And, besides, I am going to make you a present..."
He laughed again.
"Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!"
"That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water..."
"What are you trying to say?"
"All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You-- you alone-- will have the stars as no one else has them--"
"What are you trying to say?"
"In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night... you-- only you-- will have stars that can laugh!"
And he laughed again.
"And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... and your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!' And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you..."
And he laughed again.
"It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh..."
And he laughed again. [...]

The Little Prince