Author: afullerlife51

The thoughts, journeys and experience of a guy who is about to travel on. A life with a musical soundtrack believes stories are often expressed best with songs. By not defining musical expression by any one genre or style, I tell my stories and often quote great songwriters/poets. Age 66, diagnosed with stage 4 bladder cancer, few side-effects just returned from Europe and looking forward to continued travels as long as possible!

Thanks to Uptown Normal, I’ve always appreciated the towns efforts to revitalize our downtown to an uptown community. Very surprised to have Normal host a nice private tent party for the small contribution Barbie and I made in this great community rebuilding project.  An upcoming Rock The Block Party is happening on Saturday April 22nd.  The town hosted event is granting complimentary entry for guests stopping to visit and have some refreshments with me!  Shoot me an rsvp and we will tell you how to gain access for this VIP event!  Grateful for Normal and happy the feelings are mutual!

VIP Event Time To Take a Minute and share an appetizer, a few stories and rock out!

Amsterdam, funny sh*t

This particular trip included a first stop in Munich to pick up a BMW with my wife Barbie and my  sister in law Joanie Gabrielli.  Our journey included numerous small villages in Germany, Austria,  with a final destination of Amsterdam to get the vehicle loaded on a ship headed home.

After we dropped off the vehicle our happy trip headed to the epicenter of the sins of Amsterdam and also of arts, architecture, hookers,  dutch apple pancakes, cheese and incidentally Heineken and weed.  (My wife and her sister are avowed beer drinkers.  I myself lean towards the weed.)

Ater a quick check in at The Golden Tulip Babizon Palace, we began a day/evening walking tour thru central Amsterdam, the red light district and more than a few local pubs/ coffeehouses.  After hiking and  walking around central Amsterdam we stopped at a quaint coffee shop Stones Cafe, a very small friendly kind of place for a coffee, latte and some marijuana.

During the recap of our days travels the front door swung open and a very handsome, well built Slavic man walked up to the bar and stood next to Joanie.  Barbie and I made a comment to each other as watched to see Joanie up close in action.  Again this guy visually way at least a 9.5 on a scale to ten.  Thought maybe the hookup was on, but it was not to be.

As their conversation got started  Joanie proceeded to explain that she was missing her daughter Laura’s homecoming or prom experience and she wouldn’t even see her date to the affair.  After just a few sentences the guy abruptly interrupted Joanie and, The handsome man asked, ” with your daughters date, did you f*ck him?”  Joanie shot back, “excuse me I’m talking about my daughters date!”  She again proceeded to explain herself when the guy stopped her again ask her, “Did you bl*w him?”  Joanie said, emphatically, sir I’m talking about my daughters date!”

His answer was epic.  The handsome model-like man said, “Lady, if you didn’t f*ck him and you did not bl*w him, your story is just not interesting.”  He then spun on his heel and walked to a table on the other side of the very small coffeehouse.

Barbie, Joanie and I stood in silence for a minute and then I told Joanie, “he was right you know we are in Amsterdam and your story really wasn’t that interesting.”

To this date, in appropriate company and always with Joanie  I have often stopped boringly uninteresting stories with, “Did you f*ck him?  Did you bl*w him?”  Your story is not that interesting.  It has been used repeatedly around this small planet and then repeated by many who have heard it.  #Believe it!  Barbie also utilizes this little quip when  my story’ssdll

We all sat there and didn’t say a word, until my comment.  Joanie, your story wasn’t really that interesting!  I recall we all agreed and told to sharpen up her tavern talk.

The first time I visited Holland was with my oldest daughter April Rain (Fuller, Adams, LeFever) during  her ISU foreign exchange student experience  in Canterbury, England.

That first trip  turned into numerous journeys to Amsterdam over  nearly 20 years!  I’ve traveled alone, with friends and now with my wife and several different adult children.

I say go to Holland for the paintings/art, history, canal boats, Heineken, flower market, cheese and a few coffee houses along the way.  They are kinda like a Starbucks, only they have better coffee and weed.  More than a few more stories from Amsterdam, trying to figure out a way to share in a way appropriate for younger readers, aka my grandchildren.   

How to be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree….


  • How do you define happiness?  For years I felt happiness would come with the accumulation of money and wealth.  While that concept drove me to work not harder,  but really smarter,  I kept coming up a little short on the bliss part until around 15 years ago.  
  • Earlier in life I also got my house repossessed, got divorced, went bankrupt, gave up and decided that I needed to return to one of the first job I ever had, a magazine salesman.  Of all the places I thought I could make it big, this was not on the top of my list.  I was mistaken.
  • Don’t get me wrong, the money provided me with what I understood as happiness.…first the ability to provide shelter and food for my family, then by buying up a little bit, of a then decrepit downtown Normal, traveling to Europe on a pretty regular basis to pickup a few German cars and cruising around normally ending in Amsterdam was el mucho fun.
  • The real fun started to happen when I met this girl pictured above and below.  The trips to Spain, France, Italy, Monte Carlo, Germany and all over the USA started to become an almost insatiable desire to experience new places together.  Funny thing is neither of us really have any demands on the other, I know we both enjoy each other’s company.  While we have opened and started a few companies, one big thing came out!  Neither of us had any desire to outdo or control the other one.  The main goal was,  let’s get thid job done and keep the fun coming along the way.  Laughing everyday at our success and our failures is what bound us together.  Have faith in your partner, or find someone you can trust and love.  You might even be able to find yourself and keep the same one!
  • Must’ve been love when I signed over the controlling interests for all of my properties,investments and my health  directives a short while ago.  (Also note I had kept everything in my name, had a prenuptial agreement and now realize that this alone might have cost me the most important person in my life). She didn’t care about the prenuptial, says more about Barbie than me!
  • More than a few friends have told me they are amazed how a guy with such a bleak medical prognosis  can be in such a good mood?  I’ve told most of you that I used up all my tears, along with Barbie’s tears, on a seemingly endless drive from USC in Los Angeles to our home in Las Vegas.  (A 4-4.5 hour drive, depending on your radar and radar jamming equipment built into your car.  (best $2500 option to put on any Porsche product that will fullfill your need for speed)
  • Then I woke up the next morning in our own bed in Las Vegas.  As I looked at my sleeping wife and walked out to grab a cup of coffee to watch the sun hit the mountain tops I felt an odd sense of relief.  I was glad I was lucky enough to have a few nice homes, a few nice cars, a lot of global exploration travel, a wonderful, loving wife and one other thing that the doctors gave me the day before in Los Angeles, an expiration date for my milk carton of life!  More than a few of my friends have dropped like rocks with massive heart failure or a stroke that left them disabled.  They never had a chance to say goodbye to their families, all their feelings and concerns were left on the table and possibly unsaid. Some had made plans for their loved ones, most had not.  I can remember a time that I had to sell my wedding band at Sears to get enough money for baby formula, not bitching here just sayying I understand desperation and what it does to a soul.
  • This is about the time I punched up a little Lucky Man from a favorite ELP tune.  It just about summed up my feelings and from that moment forward I determined that I would continue to do what needs to be done.  I’m certainly concerned with my medical future; however, the 2nd massive 8 hour chemo treatment has left me with no side effects.  I still feel great physically.  I appreciate everyone’s prayers and I think they might be working!  I’ve got my second interview at MDAnderson in Houston, Texas April 19th, 2017.  Not sure how the genetic modification of my genes will work out.  I’m hoping for a 50/50 chance of gaining an additional 24-60 months of symptom free living because as the song says, “what a lucky man he was”.  (the other 50% not such a positive result, that’s where prayer comes in)
  • Here is one takeaway for all of my friends, if you don’t have a ton of cash and equities, purchase enough term life insurance to protect your spouse and loved ones in the event of hour untimely departure from this world we live in.  As I have spoken with a few more people who are knocking on death’s door, their fear of leaving their family unprepared to carry on financially is more devastating mentally than death itself.  (I.e. Breaking Bad)
  • Next blog about some memories of one thing I do love-different cultures, travel and why my wife and I love to explore this wonderful world.  Later and have a great day, it could be your, or my, last.  Imagine it is your last day on earth and you are ready to let your loved ones hear what you already know, tell them you love them.
  • Michael Godard, Barbie and me

Time to drink the koolaide again

Medical update:  So far, so good.  No pain, round 2 chemotherapeutic treatment going on now.  Thanks Neil Young for taking this trip with me today March 27th. The following sums it up

  1. I will do a followup after the April MDAnderson meetings to let you know if I have been accepted into this radically different type of cancer treatment. Experimental gene modification research!  Gene modification study.
  2. You might not have heard or read about this actual gene splicing!  Some people’s results have been both very encouraging (45-50 % of participating patients experience a symptom-free life between lasting between 24 and 60 months.  The remaining patients don’t fare too well.  Planning for the worst, hoping for the best.
  3. It might be time for a funny Amsterdam story next time?

Got some homemade brownies for lunch and to jog my Amsterdam memories.



The long and winding road……Paul McCartney

Thanks for clicking on this blog.   We have communicated on Facebook and that’s o.k., but I thought this might be an easier way to communicate on a two-way basis.

I love a good story, I love a good song and I really love exchanging ideas on a plethora of issues and subjects.  Quite a few of these stories are very funny, on more than a few of them the participant might even prefer their name was not used.  We may leave that up to them if they want to comment.  

Travels to Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, Holland & Amsterdam and around the old USA have made for a realatively complete life with some funny and some not so funny experiences.

Hopefully, you will learn a little more about me and I can learn a little more about you.  Taking a horrible situation and relating it to humor has left me laughing and crying at the same time.

This blog is designed to make it easy to respond with an opposing view or an agreement.  I will still post on Facebook and Instagram.  There is no plan to edit or block your response to whatever you find funny or otherwise.  As long we agree to also disagree and respect each other opinions I’m all in for this two-way conversation.

Some people have attempt to value ones life work based on second homes, Porsches, jewelry, cash and other material things. Others have identified that there is much more to measure success other than being wealthy and other than simple finances or personal possessions.  The truth about my personal success is quite different than just some expensive things.  (Don’t get me wrong all the material stuff is fun!)

Laughter and smiles are what make’s my life go round.  If you don’t already know, the world is open for a friendly smile and a real interest in your story as well as theirs.

I’ve been up and I’ve been down and pretty much everywhere in-between.  By planning for the worst and hoping for the best I typically have been able to handle most of life’s tribulations for over 65 years.

I was going to write a few tearstained letters, but that my friend has already been covered  by Johhny Cash.  You might notice that I will often open a this blog quoting some words from the many songs that have been the soundtrack of my life.  If you aren’t familiar with a particular song I would suggest Youtube or some other open music source you can enjoy for free!

I hope you will enjoy this simple trip thru my life, some very positive and some no so much.  If nothing else I think you can discover something about yourself, as well as something about me.  Travel, family, love, dislikes, cancer and yes even a little bit about death and our exit from this world are all a common path everyone must travel.

Speaking of traveling down a path I’ve got some pretty funny stories from Amsterdam which became my Thanksgiving Mecca for a number of years.  On more than a few European and American road trips one thing was common, laughter.  My partner Barbie have laughed so hard that we pee’d ourselves, just a little.  I’ve rambled around this planet seeking out 5-star restaurants, scenic vistas, twisted mountain roads and some of the most talented musicians doing what they know best.

Anyway, if you subscribe I promise you at least two things:

1.  The truth as I know it

2.  Some pretty funny stories

One other thing for sure, I am not a preacher that is best left to the clergy.  Every picture tells a story, even without “a picture”.

I’m a guy born in 1951 from Peoria, Illinois who has traveled a bit, moved a bit, landed in Normal, Illinois and then I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.  From my first home, a trailer in tornado alley to a house with the concrete pond inside.  I have made some incredible friends whose more interesting stories I will also share.