Thursday, May 28, 2009

My first pie-in-the-sky-tweet-tweet-in-your-facebook-myspace kind of experience.

Welcome to my first hike on the trail of virtual exploration.

We all read blogs. Sometimes we write them. Sometimes we scratch our head and look over our shoulder to see if we have anyone witness our inability to interact with a dialogue because we are not sure how to use the tools.

But here it is. I took the plunge.

My name is Dina Pielaet. I was born and raised for the first third of my life in new Jersey. My mom and dad moved us all out to California in the 70's and we landed in Simi Valley. I went to Royal High. Graduated in 1977. I have 12 brothers and sisters.

I have a great life partner. Her name is Amy Jones. We settled in Ventura, California. (there is another is in Spain) We own a small, full-service print and web design agency called 451 Media. We also started Ventura Magazine (around 9 years ago), Ventura Life & Style magazine (around 8 years ago), VC life & Style magazine and Ventura Life magazine. That's because we really love our town. Producing those mags was a constant dedication. We never made a dime. We did spent a lot of money on it...though...a true labor-of-love.

My father found out he had cancer around the same time we started Ventura Life & Style magazine.
He fought the disease as best he could. 8 years of many doctors and specialists and their bad advice. 8 years of a lot of toxic chemicals being pumped through his body. 8 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars. He passed away in December. 2008.

My mom misses him every moment of every day. 56 years together. I guess it must feel like losing your legs. At first it hurts a lot. Then it feels like they are still there...but they do not work. Then you look down and see they are gone. "oh yeah...their gone". But, you still feel them. Kind of. You just cannot see them...and they do not hold your body up anymore. She needs to learn how to walk all over again.

I recently found out my mom and dad have really high IQ's. I mean...really high. Mom's IQ is 165. My dad's is (was), believe it or not...204. Now, a lot of people told me the tests only go up to 200. But that is not true. Some tests rate up to 230. Crazy...huh? With a mind like that...I know he has figured out a way to still be with us. I feel him all the time. "A beautiful mind". He had a big heart...and really blue eyes too. He was gruff. But very, very real. Big hank. Always knew what was on his mind.

My mom is a concert Pianist. Up until dad got really really sick, she had 40 piano students. Then she had to give up her practice to take care of him.

My dad died in a hospital bed in my parents living room. It was his island for 91 days. I moved back home for that time and I guess you could say that the living room became my planet for 91 days. I slept, worked and did everything I could for mom and dad. I was his caregiver. I was also his counselor. And his buddy. It was a very precious time for me.

We had some beautiful people associated with the Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurses Association guiding us and tending to my father as well. I love those people for that. He adored 2 of them especially well. Teresa his nurse. Alma his attendant. They taught me how to be his caregiver along with my sister, Maria. She is the doctor in the family. She was my lifeline too. She taught me how to be dads right hand. She taught me how to manage his chemistry in way that really gave him quality of life. She helped us all to give dad clarity of thought and comfort of body so he could have more time with his wife and kids. She is a pretty amazing person. My big sister. I only have one big sis. The rest are younger than me. All my sisters, and brothers, were there. Everyday. Even now. Coming and going and making the air around them vibrate with happiness. Life. God. Love.

Amy, my partner was my counselor during all of this. And she was totally supportive of my choices. Even though I know she was lonely and really missed me a lot. I missed her a lot too. It was hard...but "bittersweet". Hard to explain. I will try in a later blog.

I am a photographer. I took pictures of the whole experience. I also kept a diary. very soon, I will post some links to some very sepcial photo galleries. I will also post my diary. I call it "91 days".

I guess it seems weird to spend so much time on this subject matter instead of the "all-about-me" stuff people who create their own blogs usually write...but this has been what has changed my life recently. Has changed me forever.

My dad lay on his island, and looked over my shoulder as I produced the last "Ventura Life" magazine. At the time, I did not know it was the last issue. Only my underwriter (yes- we had someone help underwrite the magazine this past year because we simply ran out of money) knew it was the last one. But our financial partner did not tell amy and I until after we produced, printed and distributed 18,000 magazines. Amy and I will do whatever it takes to dig out. We always find a way.

She left a note on our door that said she was pulling out because we were not profitable enoough for her investment. We were very sad. She left the note on our door right around my 50th birthday. In february. The ultimate gift? Maybe. I cried. So did amy. Not so much because of the note... but because of the timing. I felt the loss all the more dad just died. But I always say "timing has no conscience". Well...time does heal wounds...right?

People keep calling me and emailing me and asking me "why?". You see...she really wanted to give her money to concert events (like the Ventura Music Festival) and playhouses (like the Rubicon) instead. She also gives lots of money to politicians. Not Obama, though. She does not like him. It seems...archiving life about our ventura, in photo and word, is just not a priority to the people of means in our town right now. Oh well. Politics is politics. Business is business. And it was her money...right?

You can log onto: to check out past issues, and see some cool photo galleries and so forth, to get a feel for what Amy and I have poured our soul into for the past 8 years. You can see what Ann Deal has decided was not worth her "salt"...

But who knows. Never question fate. Maybe my dad reached out across the vapor between here and "THERE" and intervened. Maybe he gave us all a virtual slap in the head. "Move on dina-beans...time for something REALLY special..." He always said I worked too hard. Too many hours...days... weeks... months at a time on that publication. He said that what Amy and I did with that magazine was just never really appreciated enough. He said that from his deathbed.

Maybe....but....I do not think we are done with it. I think we just need to come up with a new that does not depend upon our local business owners. A plan that moves beyond "small minds in powerful positions"...mamybe we can turn the magazine into a non-profit. A celebration of life, folk, ocean, land, ventura. Perhaps a teaching tool. Never question fate.

So for now my life is filled with my family, my partner and her family, our funky property on the hillside, re-building 451 media and our client base, photography and community of loved ones. I would like to encourage everyone reading this blog to think about the people in YOUR life and how your relationships with your family, friends, partners can be enriched. I would also encourage you to find out if there are people in your world that need your love. People that need your commitment.

As Dickens said "Mankind IS our business". Maybe somene needs your help. Maybe someone needs YOUR shoulder to lean on.

I would also encourage you to find out more about the Livingston Memorial hospice care program before it is perhaps a service you may need to rely on. You will be better empowered to make decisions on behalf of your loved ones when the time comes. They are a wonderful resource. All are welcome in their eyes. A beautiful community of caring professionals during our most intense time of transition. caring for loved ones in the final transition from this life to the next.

So that's it for now. I have a lot more to say. About a lot of stuff...
I have a lot more to show you too. But it will take time. Thanks for sharing my thoughts with your busy day...and please tell me whats on your mind at this very intstant...before it passes and feels like the faintest tingle of a phantom limb. xod


  1. i am now following your blog dinapie. can't wait to chew on your kernels of widsom. xoaj

  2. Thank you Amy leader...follower...and everything in between!

  3. "salt"

    That whole bit derives anger and sadness for me.

    I loved that magazine. In fact, I was just in Crowne Plaza the other night, my buddy had a suite there, pull out the drawer, and what do you know, VLife. I boasted all about you guys.

  4. That was a good read Dina!

  5. you both are f-ing dike-bitches who SCREWED your friends who helped you start your first issues.

    Remember Cheryl and Marc Brown????

    f-ing ungrateful lesbo's!!!

  6. WOW. Love you guys!

  7. wow. the creations by coyle clan sounds like a bitter group for sure. Sounds like a bit of homo-phobic hysteria at work. I have never screwed anyone in business. But when bigotry and hatred are the driving force to the "clan"...nothing I could possibly say would ever do more justice than the comment the "clan" posted...truly poetice in hatred.