Tuesday, April 30, 2013


We had a really heavy appointment in regard to Aviana today, of which I will tell you about sometime. But for now, in order to counteract such weightiness, I have been trying my best to keep the remainder of the day light and airy. Part of that includes: wandering somewhat aimlessly around the grocery store and apparently throwing bits and pieces of recipes into my cart only to discover I don't have one whole meal, starting emails to various friends and then deciding I didn't want to finish them, oooohhh...new music Tuesday!! Wooooo Hooooo! Silver Lining!! Download! Download! Download...eh, nothing good today : / And then, flipping mindlessly through magazines, and seeing one of my very favorite parts...the 25 Things You Don't Know About Me section! What a great distraction, so I hope if I play, you will play too...all in the name of diverting the mind, thank you...

1. I am a grammar geek. I love it, love it, love it. I can sit and talk about punctuation rules, and such for hours...and have. I am so sad that my grammar has gone down the tubes in the past, almost four years. Something has sucked my brains right out of my head. What could it be...I do not know?

2. I love natural light. When people come over, they tend to turn our lights on for us. I guess it's too dark for them.

3. I love seeing people reunite with each other at the airport. It makes me happy. I could watch them all day long.

4. I have 11 piercings. 10 in my ears and one in my bellybutton. I was 18 when I got the one in my bellybutton. As the guy was piercing it, I found out he was from one of my favorite bands at the time - My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.

5. I think closed storefronts look peaceful.

6. I got my hair caught in a Mixmaster at the age of about 7, which resulted in a huge bald spot. I was stuck to the machine for what seemed like forever, and the beaters were bent like crazy. My mom freaked out. She still thinks it's one of the worst things that's ever happened. I think that's funny. I still don't own one of those mixers, but my cousin sent me a picture last year of the very one I got my hair caught in!

7. My favorite day of the week is Thursday.

8. I finally taught myself (with Dave's help) to spell the word restaurant 2 nights ago. I am so proud of myself. You just witnessed the first time ever!! In my WHOLE LIFE!!!! See, it's true...you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it!

9. I have become somewhat of a commitment phob ever since the accident. I thought it was just me, but after reading other peoples' blogs who have had tragic events happen in their lives, I have seen a pattern...and I'm not the only one! YES! I'm not a freak show!

10. Along those same lines, I used to be a planner and now I prefer when things just happen spontaneously!

11. I can't remember anything. Who are you? Where am I?

12. Lately, I realized I'm breaking down from carrying Aviana incorrectly for the past 4 years. That's sobering.

13. My favorite thing to say in spanish is, Como se dice? It means - how do you say? When I go to Mexico, or if I'm speaking to anyone who speaks spanish I ask them how do you say just about everything. I think they get tired of me...

14. We are almost finished with the medical appointments to get Aviana going in Ride to Walk. I think she will like the horses? I love their eyes...

15. I stop the microwave on 4 seconds. If I'm across the kitchen, and notice...I'll hop countertops to stop it, as it's my favorite number.

16. I was so scared to go past the accident site early on. Sgt. Merenda told me I could do it. He was right, I went by soon after. It gets easier with time and desensitization. We go by to Trader Joe's all the time. I have slowly, but surely been ticking off all the things I didn't think I could do. Some are harder than others. I was telling Dave as the life flight helicopter was leaving the top of Sutter last month and heading for Davis, "See I'm fine, I can handle this one now too!" and then lost my breath and started crying. Through tears I said, "okay maybe not quite." Some take longer than others...but that Sgt. Merenda - he's a wise one : )

17. I love how we can learn from each other. We all may not be where each other are on this journey of life, some may be at different life lessons, but we can all at some point and time learn something from one another. The key being...if we are opened to it.

18. For some reason lately, I feel afflicted by every ailment - even though I've had many blood draws, and my doctor visits are in check, etc. I suppose it's because of #12? I better go talk to My Maggy. It ebbs and flows since the accident, and it's usually because I feel I don't have the energy to fight one more battle!

19. I think this list is not what they had in mind when they made it up for the people in the magazine : )

20. I surround myself with very few really good friends. Not on purpose, it just happens that way. Especially after you know what (I get tired of saying it). It's not that I'm anti-social, it's just that I connect with fewer on a deep level.

21. My old favorite chip was Late July Dude Ranch, but it was recently overtaken by Real McCoy's Sweet and Spicy. If you haven't tasted them, run out and get a bag...you won't be sorry. I promise. But really, I hardly eat chips...

22. I think you know, but music has saved my life - literally. Especially in the last 4 years. This is one of my newest favorite songs. I'm wishing Rainey or Avi (wait, Avi was asleep, so Rainey) was videoing Dave, Amy and me last pie night to that song, because I would have been able to share the funniest video ever! But since Rainey was asleep in the makeshift passenger seat of our car of virtual insanity...I've got nothing : ( Sorry...

23. We have to keep a crazy sense of humor about all of this, which (borders - not borders) is sick and sometimes really twisted. I hear firefighters and hospice workers, etc. also do this in order to keep sane and continue on. It's a must, but I swear if you were a fly on the wall you might doubt our sanity. We don't do it in front of Aviana though.

24. In looking around the Internet and other places, I have seen how quick to judge people are. So snappy and snarky. I've been cringing lately at what I have seen. In actuality do we really know the plight of another? Is it really our place to say? I don't think so. People haven't a clue, but they sure like to think they do. Even after our CPS stuff, some suggested I shut my blog down. Yes, I thought about it for one brief moment the day it happened. I thought someone maybe used my own words against me. Then, the very next thought was, "no way! Forget it." Everyone gets a snapshot of what goes on here. Yes I write, sometimes vent, but how can I possibly say all that goes on? No one has a clue of what we have been through in the past 4 years. People of course can do whatever they want, but seriously...what I see all over the Internet and everywhere is sometimes some extreme judgment. I am thankful for my little therapy space and that I have good people here and nothing negative has ever been said to my face. I just wish it wasn't behind my back though either, as I think that is the worst kind....an adult conversation sure would have been nice now wouldn't it?

25. Yes! This served as a great distraction! It's time for dinner with my b*tches. That sounds so rude, but that's what we, ever so affectionately, call ourselves ; )

Your turn!!

25 Baby!!

It's not easy.     

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Last night,

I was waiting.





April 24th,


I whispered to you.

Happy Birthday my love.

My life.

Today you are 3.

And everyday,

You are everything to me.

Why do I put everything into a 49 pound, black and white, 4 legged, low to the ground, sharp whisker girl? Because I was lost and alone like never before and she saved me, and continues to save me every.single.day of my life.

If I look back over the course of these last years, there has been a whole lot of rough. When the accident happened, I knew I could handle it, at least that's what I kept telling myself. From day 1, I had it in my head that I was going to fight for everyone, and with every fiber of my being - for my Mom and Gary, for my marriage and especially for Aviana.

I don't know if you know this about me, but in my family I have been known to be the glue that holds everyone together. Well, when everything went sideways, someone needed to hold me together, so when Dave was at work, Kama was by my side - doing just that. She was my rock while he was away. When things were beyond comprehension and nothing made one bit of sense, I had Kama as a welcomed escape. When no one was around to provide any answers about the mysterious brain, as there are none...Kama was there doing something goofy to break the seriousness of our situation. She was there for me to cuddle up to, to laugh at, to cry on. She was there for every ounce of everything, and I always felt I couldn't survive this...without her.

So when she got sick and died. I died too. Grief on top of grief is no place to be. I always felt strong enough to barely handle one. I thought losing another would surely break me in two. I didn't want to be here without her. The house was too silent. I was much too alone with my thoughts. I had to face this very difficult reality without any distraction. I didn't know how I was going to care for Aviana through the good and bad without Kama. And worse, I didn't think I was capable of loving another dog the way I loved her...ever!

You might remember we left for Pennsylvania right after though. I was dead set against another dog, but when we returned, I almost immediately realized - I couldn't be without. We called about a sibling set we had been looking at as a 2nd dog for Kama, and due to a case of kennel cough, one was being released that day for adoption at the SPCA, 3 hours away. We were on our way.

A little unnamed sweetheart came tottling out, licked Aviana's feet and calmly sat down next to us. We could immediately tell she had a gentle, loving spirit. Within minutes, I told the woman we would take her. I had to tell her 3 times before she believed me.

Rainey fills every imaginable space within me. While my heart breaks repeatedly for Kama, I love Rainey just as much as I love Kama. Had you told me prior this would happen, I would have said, "with all due respect - you lie."

Rainey is pure joy, love, happiness, and life. I say this with a strangely heavy heart - she is able to fill us with everything I suppose we are missing in a well child. She is able to provide all of the silliness, goofiness, and laughs we so desperately need. Again with a heaviness - I must say, the love we share is also devoid of any conflicted feelings. I feel somewhat guilty at times, because as much as we play musical everything with Aviana - by moving her all around the house with us, Rainey - by default - gets more attention as she follows us all over and is able to run, jump, and interact as most of us can. As always, it's all part of accepting the way it is, the realities of this life. That we can, and Aviana can't. We know we try to make the most and best for Aviana every step of her life. As hard as it sometimes feels, we have to find peace in that...

I'm thankful to Rainey for creating a balance and harmony within our home, which makes caring for a severely brain injured child a lot easier and more enjoyable. She brings an ease and life to everything. She lightens the mood. We don't have any other children, but I suppose I would venture to guess that's what well children do in other households with severely disabled children? Lighten the mood? Break the seriousness of the tough parts? Make the happy parts, even happier?

I am beyond grateful that we took a chance on another dog and so soon after. I can't imagine living one day without Rainey. I tell her all the time. Today, and everyday...we celebrate her!

I have the best friends and neighbors ever. They have been calling and delivering cards and presents for Rainey today. I butchered some homemade dog treats (in a bad way), and my friend Jen delivered some perfectly baked beautiful ones for her ; )

We are so lucky.

I was given one of the greatest gifts at a time when I needed her most in my life. I know there are no coincidences. 

The FedEx man came today and dropped a box by. I had no idea what it was. I looked at the return label, still nothing jarred my memory. I opened the box and it was then the tears spilled over. I had completely forgotten. My two cross similar, unexplainable paths all the time. I could.not.believe my eyes, and could not believe that on this day, Rainey's birthday - this had arrived...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston and Beyond

As sad as it is,
Tragedies will continue to happen.

People will be injured,
Lives will be lost.

Families will be shattered,
Unrecognizable from...ever.

Sense in the insensible,
Sadly, there is none.

Beyond measure.


Brings out the brightest in those around.

Seek the ones who helped,
Not destroyed.

Find the LOVE,
As hate only hardens.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Both Sides Now

I once wrote about the dichotomy of grieving a child who sits before me and how complex it can be.  There are no two ways about how strange a concept it is. Any attempt to wrap my mind around it ends with all arrows pointing nowhere. Yes, that's how stark and startling this sort of guillotine type drop can feel. One girl - here, then gone...yet not.  

How does one mind comprehend? In one split second - one was lost, yet another gained? Yet, to some degree, there are also various shades of grey in between? In many ways, it gets easier with time, but maybe in some...it never will. Some facts will always remain. A life was lost. Every hope went poof and every carefully woven dream vanished into thin air, but so what. It happens every day, to so many. We were never promised a perfect life. We were given a life, and what we do with that life is our choice. And there lies the beauty.

The beauty of this life is we have choices, and so we choose, and we work vehemently as a family to siphon through and fill those deep, dark, voids to the very best of our ability. It's a process, and it takes time. Sometimes we slide, but that's okay, because somehow, someway - and through the grace of something or someone larger than us...we are always, and I mean always, moving forward!

One of my absolute favorite sayings is, 'there's beauty in the breakdown.' I fully believe this. So even when it appears as though you are moving backward, you are actually always moving forward! As all of  you know, I use writing as my greatest outlet, and in my writing I have had some serious breakdowns, but in those - I have made some of my best and biggest strides forward. To me, there's some true hidden beauty within the cracks, breaks and wreckage.

My friend in brain injury, Trina, left a comment after my previous Stuff and Nonsense post. I thought I was being clear about how even though we have accepted Aviana for who she is, we still grieve, but I guess clear as mud might have been a better way of putting it ; )  I wanted to clarifying my thoughts on the two, which will take longer than this one post. For now though...

For Trina, it has been 16 years since her daughter's accident and she said, "Sometimes I really wonder if I've ever reached that place with Audriana. Sometimes I think I must have, since life is so happy for me...but then there are other times when the accident memories and all that goes with her brain injury hits me like a freight train, and just takes me OUT completely. Luckily, those moments don't happen as often as they used to."

I have a lot more to say about the acceptance aspect of this journey, but I'd like to save it for another time. As for the grief part, as much as we have come to terms with loving Aviana for who she now is...to some degree, we will always grieve for the one we lost that day, and the one who will never be. We try hard to not spend much time in either of those two places - past and especially future, but sometimes - they have their way with you, whether you like it or not. Freight train, up-side the head, down moments, days? My question is...how could we not? Look at what we lost. Look at her now. I think we do an incredible job, considering.

So when grief calls, I answer. For the most part, I know what the phone call is all about. I now know these calls don't come as frequently or last as long, so I talk. I let it flow. I get it all out. Then, I can move forward...better, and until the next time, as I know there will always be a next time. And you know, I guess I'm okay with that.

I will always carry this dichotomy, this push-pull. A constant stir of conflicting emotions...this disunion will forever live within me. I used to fight it. I have finally given in, because as many times as I've asked for it to leave - it has not. So...I have accepted it as something I must learn to live with, to make peace with, and find a place for. 

What I'm going to say might sound strange to those who are not in our situation, or even who are - I don't know...it doesn't matter. This is how I feel. I tell you, this situation is tough, when you had a healthy child, and then your child was in an accident but didn't die, but is now like Aviana....

I've learned a few things - there's a fine line in loving and honoring the child you had before. In sometimes talking about the cute, sweet things she used to do. In having some pictures of her up around the house. In posting her pictures every once in a while. In writing a funny story about her. In keeping her memory alive, because she is gone. For those who have lived and are gone - those who remain, never want anyone to forget they were here, as they were so special!! And boy was she! 

I've also learned there's a fine line in not talking about her, or thinking of the old her, and to keep all those old pictures and videos stashed away as they only stab like daggers! And there you have it; push-pull, happy, sad, up, down, the constant conflict which rages on...at its finest. It can make you feel a little loopy if you let it, so it's best not to.

We've learned though how important it is to place our focus on our new girl. But if I'm being honest, that can be a challenge in itself, because the present reality isn't so rosy at times. But, we try to stay focused on the positives, or at least only pay attention to the negatives when we have to, like when they require something. Otherwise, it's best to ignore or numb them out. As time has passed it's gotten much easier. It's hard to believe sometimes, but we've had her 'like this' a lot longer than 'like that.'

Not too long ago, I looked around and realized our pictures were - for the most part - the old her. Not on purpose, just because we hadn't gotten around to changing them. They were also from way before Aviana arrived! Something suddenly needed to change, and fast!

I had no idea the amount of work (physically, mentally, and emotionally) this would involve. Thankfully it's all done.

It's amazing how much the energy of one house can change by merely painting some walls, and changing out some pictures!

Here's a snapshot of a few from around the house.



In Memory

The Deftones are a band from Sacramento. The bassist was involved in a car accident in 2008, which resulted in a serious brain injury. Chi Cheng died on April 13th. My heart is with his family, and all of those who loved him, in the most indescribable way.

Peace be with you Chi...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

400 Down

My uncle and aunt just crossed over the magical 400 mile mark of their 500 mile walk. They have been sending us pictures and updates all along the way. They have both climbed and walked down some steep and rough terrains. They've travelled through rain, snow, heavy winds, and also through every degree and kind of mud. They are certainly some of the most amazing, determined and inspiring people I have ever known!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hello Again

We've been in a high speed whirlwind of just about everything since I last posted a picture of my office companion. This cyclone has included, but is certainly not limited to;

projects we've been meaning to complete around the house, 
and some we had not 
an overnight trip we had not planned to take (damn Groupon, and their expiration dates ; )
an eskimo girl on an exceptionally rainy day
 some of what it's all about - being surrounded in family and friends, 
friends and family, family and did I say... 

Since I've been away so long, and we've been going full speed ahead since my last post -
I may have to break this into more manageable pieces.

I've learned a lot while going through these various motions : )

I learned I can no longer handle Groupon or Living Social. I'm just not capable. I used to be, but not anymore. I have officially fired myself. I used to buy them, thinking they were a good idea at the time, and then, junk just sneaks up and starts expiring! Then, whatever I bought sure has lost its luster, and is suddenly pressure!! Am I the only one? Maybe. 

For example, I had a hotel in Squaw Valley that expired and so now, yes...we are left with face value, and while I understand, you know how that goes...

We used this particular Napa one 1 day before it expired, so we barely crunched it in. I'm on a Groupon/Living Social strike...that is, unless it's Icing on the Cupcake ; )

I learned that Do Not Disturb translates to something very different in another language. 

The restaurant (I learned I may never be able to spell that word!!!!) we went to was so beautiful...

I learned I shouldn't ask my mom, or anyone else to organize my Tupperware cabinet. I came to the realization that I should do it myself, because if I do, I have a much better chance of keeping it in order. 

Do you think what I said to Dave was rude when I showed him? "Hi honey, look what I did today. If you mess it up, I will CUT you!"

Too much? I didn't think so either ; )


Once upon a time, I said we were going to paint our office some shade of yellow. I was serious. I wanted it to be brighter, as I spend a decent amount of my day in here writing, and such. I plan on spending more time, and I want it to be uplifting as this is where my mood has been for a long time!

Well it all started a long time ago and with one simple picture...

I've looked at this picture at least 55 times, studying every detail of how, when, what, etc. All we needed was execution. So once our walls were finally painted, we pulled the trigger. Dave stayed in the car with Avi and Ray Girl and I went into the yard of a billion different kinds with my phone in hand and showed pallet man the picture. We weaved our way through and found the perfect ones. 

Our plan was to make 2 for the office walls. We brought them home, I was grinning stupidly as my wood stained dreams were about to become a reality - when all of a sudden I saw this comment...

"Just curious how you removed all the fungicides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals before you worked on this and then hung it in a residential setting? There's a reason professional wood workers don't reclaim this wood (very often mahogany), that's because it's too toxic and deadly to work with. Long term exposure causes nerve damage and eventually can kill. But if you don't mind those side effects I think it looks great in your house."

This sent us into research, research, research about pallets, and WOW is all I have to say about all these cute, oh so crafty projects I've seen all over Pinterest and everywhere else. Yes, I'm sure many will still create, but it was a red light for us. We dumped the pallets as we decided it wasn't worth taking a chance. 

So when you see the pictures of our office below...it looks pretty empty so far, as my dad is bringing down some spruce for us to build our own pallet. Yeah, it sucks that it won't look all old, reclaimed and rustic in that way, but that's okay - I think it will be beauty anyway. 

I just had no idea about all those pallet projects, but it makes perfect sense! It was nice to know and learn about!

I learned it's more important to have our family all together for a project and open a window, than to worry about the small amount of painting we were doing that night, and keep Aviana in a separate room : )

So much more to come...

☆ Night ☆

So...above says 'night' because I was going to publish late last night. Well, I forgot and went to bed. At about 2:30 am I was in bed and remembered, but was too tired to come back out and proof. I am so happy I didn't, because I got the funniest comment this morning...

"Maybe you could put a cute pic of Avi so that when I check your blog everyday, I don't see that spider? You don't even have to write....just a cute pic! Dixie"