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Freedom and Jeff 
Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer.
She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.
Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places.
She’s my baby.When Freedom came in she could not stand and both wings were broken. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet’s office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it
was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes.
We also had to tube feed her for weeks.This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn’t stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn’t stand in a week. You know you don’t want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn’t want to go to the center that Thursday, because I ouldn’t
bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle.She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington .
We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair – the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000

The day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone. So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn’t said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her peak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don’t know how long . That was a magic moment.

We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body. I have so many stories like that..

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom.

Hope you enjoyed this!

Cancer is a strange cell.
You can go along for years in remission and then one day it pops its head up again.
If you ever have it you will never be free of it.


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Bless me Father, for I have sinnedpastor.jpg

I have been with a loose girl’.
The priest asks, ‘Is that you, little Joey Pagano?’
‘Yes, Father, it is.’
‘And who was the girl you were with?’
‘I can’t tell you, Father. I don’t want to ruin her reputation.’
‘Well, Joey, I’m sure to find out her name sooner or later so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?’
‘I cannot say.’
‘Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?’
‘I’ll never tell.’
‘Was it Nina Capelli?’
‘I’m sorry, but I cannot name her.’
‘Was it Cathy Piriano?’
‘My lips are sealed.’
‘Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?’
‘Please, Father, I cannot tell you.’
The priest sighs in frustration.
‘You’re very tight lipped, and I admire that. But you’ve sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months.
Now you go and say 10 Hail Mary prayers and 10 Our Father prayers… and Joey, behave yourself!’
Joey walks back to his pew, and his friend Franco slides over and whispers, ‘What’d you get?’
’10 Hail Mary’s, 10 Our Father’s, 4 months vacation and 5 good leads for this weekend!’
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Seal of the White House Office of Homeland Sec...

 My trip to the store……
There was a bit of confusion at the store this morning.When I was ready to pay for my groceries, the cashier said, “Strip down facing me.”
Making a mental note to complain to my congressman about Homeland Security running amok, I did just as she had instructed. When the hysterical shrieking and alarms finally subsided, I found out that she was referring to my credit card. I have been asked to shop elsewhere in the future.
They need to make their instructions to us seniors a little clearer!

C’est la vie … or … life’s a “beach” !

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It has been now 7 month since I found out. So far I have told only a few select people about it and I found out quickly who are my real friends.

In October 2011 I was feeling not to well and I first thought I had a bad case of a stomach flu. I even considered food poisoning but I never was prepared for what came next and I don’t know whether anybody ever can be prepared for anything like this. As I mentioned I did not fee well but also not too bad, but eventually I decided to see my doctor. She checked me out, did some tests and eventually told me that I should have an abdominal CT scan, which she scheduled for the same day. The next day she called me to tell me that I need to see a gastroentrologist. She scheduled me to see one that same week, which was already a little worrying to me that she was in such a hurry with everything. When I saw the gastroentrologist he said I need to have a colonoscopy as soon as possible. I got even more worried after I learned that he scheduled me to have one performed the very next day. Now all alarm bells went off. Nobody wanted to tell me what was wrong.

To make a long story short … I had the colonoscopy performed a couple of days later and was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I could not believe my ears when I heard the news. The gastroentrologist advised me to have the cancer surgically removed as soon as possible. When I met my GP again the next day she also advised me to see an oncologist to discuss possible treatment after seeing a gastrointestinal surgeon first, who by the way recommended radiation first to shrink  the tumor.

Cancer !!! It was like somebody hit me with a baseball bat, but the thought that it could be treated and removed was  somewhat of a relief. Never expecting for what came next.

“Today begins the rest of your life!” This were the exact word of my oncologist after he had sent me for a full body or PET scan. The cancer was not isolated to the colon, but had metastasized to the liver and it was not only one lesion, but both sides of the liver are completely covered with cancer lesions. I was told to forget about the colon cancer but to concentrate on the treatment for the liver, since this could eventually kill me within the next 6 month if not taken care of.

Remember this was 7 month ago.

Today I feel better than I have in a very long time. I am in partial remission and after now 8 chemo treatments both, colon cancer and the lesions continue to shrink. The CEA value (cancer counter in the blood) which should never be higher than 4.6 was at 597 when everything started. Two weeks ago I was down to 5.2 and I am continuing to feel great, except for some chemo side effects. 2 month ago my chemo, which was a drug called Oxaliplatin and another drug called Avastin, was reduced to maintenance chemo therapy. The full chemo treatment used to last around 5 to 6 hours every 3 weeks plus taking a chemotherapy drug called Xeloda, which I had to take for 2 weeks with 2 week off before the next round started. Now I am down to “only” Avastin which only takes about 30 minutes to administer, plus the Xeloda pill.

My oncologist is amazed how well I have been responding to the treatment and how much better I am feeling. Sometimes I cannot even believe it myself. One day you are told your life is almost over and to prepare for the worst and now I feel like there is nothimg wrong with me. But I know that it can all change again in a heartbeat and that my life has changed forever. It will never be the same, even if I hopefully one day will go into complete remission.

The last half year has taught me to see and value life in a new way. I knew from the second or third day after I was confronted with the news about this terminal disease that I will do anything and everything to fight it. I never made a big secret out of it.

I  am working as an independent contractor in IT Consulting and since March of 2011 I have been working through an agency as Project Manager at American Honda Motors, Inc. I did tell Honda before I even had told my agency. For me it was clear in my mind that this contract would be over and times to come would not only be tough health wise but also financially. Loss of job, loss of insurance, unable to pay for the treatment, not knowing how life will go on … all this were thoughts going through my mind at this time. I could not believe it when my boss at Honda told me not to worry and that they will stand behind me all the way and to take all the time I need to fight the fight. Next I told my agency and they told me the same. It felt like a dream. This was such a relief.

Then I started to tell my parents, sister and friends. This was the time when I learned who my real friends were. Most of them were very understanding and supporting. Then there were a few who acknowledged the news and I never heard from them again.

As I said earlier. It has been a life changing experience and I know now no matter how bad things may get, it is important to always have a positive outlook and to have confidence in yourself and your family and friends, who are basically your support group.

I would like to thank all my friends and my family for everything. Everything counts. Every encouraging word, every listening ear, every supporting hug, every piece of help and support. THANK YOU.

The Magic Green Hat

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The Magic Green Hat

The other day I needed to go to the emergency room.
Not wanting to sit there for 4 hours, I put on my MAGIC GREEN HAT.
When I went into the E.R., I noticed that 3/4 of the people got up and left.

I guess they decided that they weren’t that sick after all.
Cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time.

Here’s the hat.

The Green hat

The Green Hat

It also works at DMV. It saved me 5 hours.

At the Laundromat, three minutes after entering, I had my choice of any machine, most still running.

But…don’t try it at McDonald’s. The whole crew got up and left and l never got my order!

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

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Have You Ever Worked With Recruiters?

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A segment of a social network

Image via Wikipedia

Over the last 3 years I have learned more about recruiters than I ever wanted to know.

During my search for Director of IT position I have dealt with many different type of recruiters and there are almost as many as sand on the beach. The lessons I have learned are as followed:

1.) Often they contact you when you post or update your resume on one of the many job boards. First line of contact is email. If their name sounds Indian or something foreign that is hard to pronounce often they know nothing about the job except what is written in the job description. They use the shot gun or fish trawler approach. Try to get as many candidates as possible that fit some or most of the keywords on the job description

2.) If contacted by phone and there English is worse than that of a newborn baby same as above applies. They most likely found the job posted somewhere else and don’t know more about it than you would after reading the job description. Often you probably would know more since you might be more familiar with specific job/position related terms.

3.) If told to send your resume immediately, basically right now (why haven’t you sent it already? you should have anticipated my call.), because it is an urgent requirement in 99.999% of the time they have know connection with the hiring company and they want to be the first to present a number of candidates.

4.) Ask questions about the position and its requirement. If the recruiter cannot answer your questions he has no affiliation with the hiring company and does not know more about it than you do.

5.) Try to stay with a retained recruiter. This means they are the sole firm trying to find the right candidate and you won’t compete against hundreds of other applicants that have been screened rather poorly. Usually a retained recruiter has met with HR or the hiring manager for this position and knows a lot about the position and the organization and what candidate fits the best. Not only based on skills but also based on personality and cultural fit.

My advice is and it has so far been my best experience:

  • Establish a personal relationship with a recruiter. If at all possible meet the recruiter in person. Only this way they get to know you and can tell whether you are not only a skill fit for a potential position but also a personal and cultural fit for the hiring organization.
  • Maintain and grow your network.
  • Do not neglect your network.
  • Brand yourself and demonstrate your skills through social media like Twitter, Facebook or through blogging or a combination of the fore mentioned.
  • Stay in touch with people you worked with in the past, like peers, colleagues, superiors or supervisors, alumnis, old friends you have not heard of in years.
  • Attend Social Media Events, like Meetups or Tweetups



I have had some great experience with recruiters but also some bad and frustrating ones. Don’t let the bad ones discourage you. There are some excellent recruiters and recruiting firms out there.

I encourage you to share the experience you have made with recruiters in the Comments Section below.