Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stan and Dan

At school yesterday Stan was on campus. Who is Stan, you ask? 
If Stan was an action figure, this is who he would be :)
He is the dad that went with Daniel to the ER when he broke his arm. I thank God that Stan was there when he fell from the tree because not only is he a firefighter/paramedic, (he drives the hook-and-ladder fire truck, among other things), but Daniel has know him for nine years. Stan is this tall husky guy with a bushy mustache like the Rescue Heroes my son used to play. His heart is as big and light as a hot air balloon. Stan's son is Daniel's friend and he has spent a lot of time with him over the years. Stan who's EXTREMELY playful, like a Funcle, was surely  (My name's not Shirley) a comfort to Daniel that night his bones were reset. 
 I  snapped a photo of Daniel and him as he admired the scrawled on cast. Speaking of scrawling (I like that word), Dan can't do any of that with his right arm all incapacitated. He is bringing my iPad to school for his class and so far so good!


Yesterday,  I took Daniel to the beautiful City of Oxnard, also known around here as "The Nard", for an Xray. His Doctor is linked in with Grossman Imaging so we were spared a trip up to SB ... that will be next week. Anyways, I know the bones don't look straight, but because of his age, his body will fully repair over time. Isn't it amazing! 
I mean, look at it! 
Todays X-ray
Lucas has his first day of his senior year today. I got up at 5AM with him and am sure to nap after work and before I deliver a meal for the Hospice Supper Club tonight.
Stan and Dan feeling the love
 Lots of exciting stuff is happening around here and I thank God for the good health and togetherness this family is enjoying right now. I recognize that life can "change on a dime" (what does that mean? I use it here, but am not sure what it means. It makes no sense. I  will do some research and get back to you). 
Anyways, back to that dime that can change everything in an instant. Life  situations are temporary, and the truth is, if you are in the pit of despair/heartache right now... just know that bad times don't last forever. And, if you are on that amazing green mountain-top of life with your hands raised, be thankful for that season too. 
No matter where you are in this temporary time of life embrace peace, love and keep the balance:)

FOLLOW UP: I found what  the "change on a dime" term means. If you didn't know either, here ya go:
Since a dime is the smallest U.S. coin, the ability to "turn on it" is a figure of speech meaning you can change direction very quickly in a very small space. In this case, it means that life can change course very quickly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Los Dias Grandes

After school today, I rode my unicycle four miles and it felt free, but  was challenging. Huff and puff - but I did it! While cruising I was thinking all about "Los Dias Grandes" (The Big Days) in our life right now. 
Gorgeous SB Sunset brought to by God
Today was "El Dia Grande." Yes... the first day of school. Eighth grade for Daniel has officially started. Unbelievable! Since he can't write due to that big-honkin cast, he will borrow my iPad and peck out what he can in class. A challenge, I am sure.

"El Dia Grande"  in my Fourth Grade class went swell. Lots of reviewing  rules and class procedures. Now the cycle starts all over again.  I'm not physically or mentally ready to have summer end. Getting up early scares me, I fear I will push "snooze" so many times, I will be late. This scenario has played out in real life, more than once.
Day One
 Last night I made lunches and covered the details so I could get as much beauty sleep as possible. Surely, every mom starts the school year off organized, right? It lasts maybe three weeks and then I am  back to pushing "snooze" and rushing to get out the door with a bagel in my mouth and hair in a pony-tail.
  
Today I could NOT be late!

 I had morning yard duty at 8AM sharp. This is when all the parents stand around enjoying their kids playing from afar while chit-chatting/hovering. My co-worker said he felt like we were in the zoo, being watched. I agreed. The parental energy on this "Dia Grande" is way high. 
I recommend The Beachouse restaurant if you are ever in the Santa Barbara area. Great fresh fish and you can't beat the location.
Did I mention that this weekend included "Los Dia Grandes" also? We were celebrating my parents 49th anniversary at an amazing restaurant ON the beach in Santa Barbara; The Beachouse. Walking from the parking lot, I dropped my phone, shattering the screen. I tried not to let it bother me as there was no room to be morose among all that love and levity. 
Anniversary cupcakes
We all spent the night at Miss Piggy's place. One big family sleep over.  Daniel stayed all day Sunday to make his final beach trip before school started. 
Daniel with his Mini-Me

 Meanwhile, Teckie and I headed home, stopping to buy a new phone. An unexpected treat, and I honestly have no idea how to load and transfer everything off the old one. So I have Teckie helping ... no actually, confession, he is doing it all.

I would be lost without this guy!
There is another "Dia Grande" this week. Daniel's 14th Birthday. He invited the class over for a party Friday night. Creating a scavenger hunt,  monster-ice cream cake (probably a ten pounder) and other fun jobs top my agenda. This middle school age is rather interesting and it should be entertaining to sit back and watch the Live Teen Show.

And, the final piece of this "El Dia Grande" post was Lucas returning from Camp Del Corazon today. Overboard saved the day again, going down to the Port of Los Angeles to pick him and Jenny up. My amazing Overboard fed them lunch at Islands then dropped Jenny off at LAX for the flight back to Arizona. That is alot of driving in stinky L.A.! She is a priceless trooper and exceptional Grandma :)
These two are the best of friends and more :)
This collection of "Los Dias Grandes" was filled with lots of action and blessings. Many of them. Maybe that is why I'm so tired.
Ole! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

49!

This was written in 2009 on my parent's 44th wedding anniversary. I thought it fitting to post again, updating the years and a few other details, as little has changed in five years.

49!

Forty-nine years of marriage. That is what my parents celebrate today.

Engagement Party, 1965
These two are a great fit because they are alike in many ways. They both come from Italian immigrant families who remained married regardless of how miserable they may have been. Both agree on a traditional marital agreement. Dad works. Mom spends the money. Both enjoy gambling, so they get away to Las Vegas and The Chumash Casino, in the name of love. Neither of these two can handle mastering any kind of technology. From HDTV’s, cell phones, laptop computers and IPOD’s,  they insist that they just don’t "get it." They're right. 
My father has owned a successful company for 45 years, but that old dinosaur refuses to buy a business computer. Technology scares him, as does reading any sort of 
directions to figure things out. Mom is the same way.
Their first casa
 Both are most comfortable with their generation’s simple ways and they detest change. Both love being around immediate family and adore their three grandsons. These two love the movies. Neither loves to travel or read, but both love to eat out. Well, just eat, in or out. 
Differences are a good thing and these two have plenty. Mom loves to shop and spend money; Dad refuses to shop and likes to save. Mom is a devoted Catholic; I don’t know what Dad is. Mom loves to attend funerals and weddings. My dad, not so much. Mother lives to entertain, my Dad lives for sports, Scrabble and playing cards. Mom is patient, Dad has been a patient; having two heart attacks and knee replacement. He is always in a rush; he walks, eats and gets angry faster than Mom. Mom loves to share anything with anybody while Dad is more cautious, but generous just the same.
Primitive Love
 My Mother can spend days to weeks with her only sister. My dad could never do that with Mom’s sister or his own, for that matter, may she rest in peace. Dad tends to wear a uniform of sorts; shorts and a T-shirt, every day. Really. Every day. Mom spices her wardrobe up, but never, ever wears shorts and a T-shirt.
  They share some common interests, but can still do their own thing. They share friends, yet both have their own buddies. They share the occasional hug, kiss and argument. They still share a bed and bank account. They are comfortable doing things separately and it always results in one missing the other. They still share some sort of connection after 49 years. Although, I don’t always understand it.
 I am thankful that in a world of divorce and quick splits these two have managed to stay together and drive each other crazy. 
Keep it up Mom and Dad - 
Next year is the big 5-0! 
You got this!
Happy 49th Anniversary!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Cast and Last Camp

Daniel was casted on Tuesday and it's a BIG blue one! Never watching a cast custom fit before, I was fascinated by the process. Once they took off his temporary cast one  the Emergency Room, they held his arm by the tip of his fingers to keep his bones in place. Interesting.
 Hand on head, Daniel is thinking "Ai Yi Yi!"
 He chose light blue which is much better than his other choice, screaming-loud-yellow. He is anxious to have his friends sign it and wants to be sure it's easy to read. The doctor was able to talk him out of yellow because after three weeks, this thing is going to be nasty. And, the darker the color the less the dirt and gunk will show. So, he went with light blue and wears it well.
"High Five" for three weeks
After the appointment, we visited Miss Piggy's house, as his orthopedic doctor is in Santa Barbara. She took Daniel on a beach walk and ice cream run. Miss Piggy is a Super Aunt and should consider wearing a cape. Daniel LOVED their time together. Driving home he said,
"Mom, she is so cool, I can hang out with her all the time."
Happy to see each other again :)
Today... 
started early, picking Arizona Jenny up from LAX at 8AM. We headed to the Port of Los Angeles to deliver these two to The Catalina Express.  It's Camp Del Corazon (CDC) time again.... 
For the LAST time, at least for Lucas.  
2005
Fast forward a decade ...
2014
"Tags" was his very first  counselor and they have bonded over the years.
 I doubt he could hold Lucas on his shoulders NOW.
I will suggest that he, at least, try :) 
  It's unbelievable ten years have passed since he first attend this amazing camp for kids with congenital heart defects. In 2005, we dropped him off in Marina Del Rey to catch the boat. He was so little and his teeth looked so big. 
I was totally anxious and wary to turn our seven-year old  to these "men"/strangers (AKA Camp Counselors --- LOL). We nervously milled around until all the luggage was loaded. Little Daniel and I cried as the boat pulled away. We had no idea what adventure we sent him off to on an island in the Pacific with a group of doctors, nurses and 100 kids with heart problems. 

Saying ADIOS to him has definitely become MUCH easier over the years. He pretty much "shews me away" like a fly on food once I deliver him to the dock.
Lucas brought his guitar and learned some new songs for camp.
(Now, shew mom)
Ya know ... It felt bittersweet to drop him off for the last time, as a camper. It's sweet because he LOVES this camp and, better yet, he's healthier than I would've ever dreamed of seventeen years ago. 
I mean. He grew up ... he REALLY grew up!
I wasn't sure it would happen, but IT DID 
and I get all EMO when I think about it. 
What can I say? I have a mother's heart.
Tommy's mom and I have been friends for thirty years,
and now our sons attend CDC together!
They will hold a special "graduation" at the end of this camp session and we were asked to secretly write him a letter of congratulations. Overboard sent one also, and I'm sure he will love the encouragement. As I always say, 
"Who doesn't love encouragement?"

Lucas and Jenny with Dee Dee, a nurse they know and love! .
Last year at "the dance" she is the one who told them they were dancing to close and
to step back. LOL!
It's Lucas goal to be a CDC camp counselor when he's nineteen. It's something I can't wait to see him achieve! He will be so good at it.

Lucas always refers to CDC as "the best week of the year" and I'm a bit sad to see his "camper" years end. On the other (unbroken) hand,
 I can't wait to see what God has planned for him when he returns.
Bon Voyage Campers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An Unexpected Gift

Leaving Silver Strand beach a couple weeks ago, I told Daniel that we were going to drive by the "old beach house" that I grew up in every summer from 1972-1980. My parents, aunt and uncle owned this triplex on Cahuenga Drive, blocks from the beach. Nothing fancy then, and quite dumpy now, I was surprised to see it was "For Rent." I pulled in the driveway. 
"C'mon, let's check if any of the units are open."
Our apartment was top left
 Daniel hesitated, but there was this magnetic pull of my heartstrings walking up the old stairs. This place was the home base for water balloon fights, long beach days, boat trips to the Channel Islands, bike riding, dancing, fishing, summer birthdays, candy runs, grunion hunting, boogie boarding, Fourth of July parties, sandcastles, and sunburns. It defined the summer months of my childhood from the time I was 2-10. 
 Daniel said "This is crazy, Mom what are you doing?"
I kept going up the stairs. Hopeful.
Definitely upgraded
Lo and Behold!
 My family's old apartment door was wide open! There was a young couple just moving in. I explained my history and asked if we could nose around and explore the old place. They were very gracious and let us peak in. 
  Cutie-Pie's 2nd  Mickey Mouse themed birthday; 1976.
That's Overboard in the background. 
This place was upgraded since the 70's; gold shag carpet replaced with laminate floors, the wood paneling painted over white and the groovy  bar stools were long gone, along with the nautical themed decor. But over all, it was how I remembered. Except the yellow-metal-spiral staircase my dad built that connected the upstairs to the garage was no longer there. I'm sure that construction project was not "up to code." 
Love 
We visited the bedroom that my hamster died in and many an Easter baskets were dropped off. This same bedroom I shared with Miss Piggy was the room my dad stacked our bunk beds three high. Every kids dream come true - a triple-decker bunk bed!
We loved to play games ... still do!
The bathroom where my mom shared "the menstruation talk" with me hadn't changed. Other than the classic black-and-white "Old Time" wallpaper --like Farrells, that my parents hung, was replaced with white paint. 
A girl never forgets where she was given "the talk."
 An embarrassing moment I will never forget it. No matter how hard I try :)
It was  a special visit... more like an unexpected gift.
I left feeling "amped"  and couldn't wait to share this present with my family -- who like me, treasure this apartment that housed some of the best summers ever. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Time for a Fill-Up


 Only time heals broken bones. Daniel's broken arm is a big obstacle, keeping him blocked from doing his "summer-thang." He is a 100% outdoor kid and sitting around is NO bueno, es muy grumpy!
 No skateboard, surfboard, or bicycle. No Xbox --
No happy.

We explained he has six weeks with a cast and he can CHOOSE his attitude ... as an optimist or pessimist, negative or positive, upper or downer... you get the idea.

 He picked out a book, but doesn't want to read 12 hours a day. 
By day five of no activity the kid was wilting.
 He told us it's his choice ---
 to be negative and see the glass as half-empty. 
Then, tears in eyes. 
Clearly, he's frustrated
 (AND ... Out of Balance - had to slip that in there :)

However, we have totally got this. A bone break is "NOT open-heart surgery." It stinks, yes, but it's not fret with deep worry, suffering and heartache. I try to always keep perspective, right?
Friday night, after dinner, Teckie and I took our droopy kid to the healing waters of the Pacific Ocean. We live in Southern California and there are many awesome seaside choices. He requested a beach that he has never been to. 
No problem.

We landed at Oxnard Shores ... 
The heavy-sea air smelled and tasted lovely, and the wind blew our hair as we walked through the sand to the shore ... only to find hundreds, maybe thousands, of washed up baby jelly fish.
 Ewww.
 Be careful where you step, they're everywhere.
Thank you Lord for the natural beauty in the world you made.
We weren't there ten minutes when Daniel smiled at me and said
 "I'm starting to fill up." 
 Those were his words. 
Remember the club that Fred Flintsone carried around? It's like that.
 This beach trip ended with an amazing sunset by God! It's beauty was quenching to this dried-out kid. Daniel left the beach with a new attitude  and tar on his feet. 

Gotta run...
I am watching my one-and-only nephew and "little love" in my life.
Benson is all energy and I admit by hour three I'm pooped out!
A rarely seen photo:
 Benson SITTING.
Peace and Keep the Balance

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The day AFTER the fall....

By "the fall" I am not referring to Adam and Eve!
Below is THE tree that Daniel was playing in when he descended and landed "wrong" on his right hand. 
Now, anyway you slice it, he is sitting out of the teenage-boy-game for at least six weeks. What went wrong?  He was playing Frisbee with friends (yes, while up in a tree) and when  time to climb down he miscalculated, swinging down and KER-PLUNK!
 The painful result was showcased in my previous post; a VERY broken wrist in two places.
So, Teckie skipped work and we drove 2.5 hours to the campground at Lake Lopez near Arroyo Grande. I knew camp breakfast would start at 8AM and figured we could eat some grub before we headed south to an orthopedic doctor. 

Not so.

 Daniel had just woken up and was sitting at a picnic table with a bunch of friends. His face was red and puffy and I could tell he was "hanging on." It had been a tough night. The two of us walked behind a camper for a tearful BIG hug and he said, 
"Can we get out of here?"
 This was not easy, especially for Daniel, who was running on a Vicodin fueled night, little sleep and exhaustion. My heart was sad, and knew it was time for us to pack him up and split.
We  asked our friend and teen leader, Matt, to help pack his belongings.  All the kids were eager to help us and wanted badly to talk/connect with Daniel.  They had all seen the crazy x-rays from the ER trip the night before.
 But, Daniel wanted ONLY to ....
 Just leave. Go home. Pronto.
 Exit, Stage Right. 

We acted swift as possible, but still had to thank the two dads, John and Stan, that had helped through the hospital experience and especially the one, whom he spent the  night with in his large motor home.  
 I was thankful that we sacrificed sleep to arrive early, and scoop him out what was supposed to be the "church-buddy camping trip of the summer."  My Mommy-heart just wanted to pick up my sweet boy and do anything needed to help him through this
extremely OFF BALANCE situation.
 Anything.
Leaving the campground, we made an appointment with the pediatric orthopedist in Santa Barbara who has cared for brother, Lucas, and his many broken collar bones.
 Actually, the good doctors were  booked solid, but would work us in first thing when they arrived at noon. 
Praise the Lord! 
We drove to Miss Piggy's house and collapsed until the appointment. She gave Daniel an extra dose of TLC; even letting him eat on her beloved couch that she just had cleaned. Hawaiian cousin, Lilia, was still visiting, and it gave Daniel a chance to say hello. 
Then he fell fast asleep ... AGAIN
That was pretty much his day.
 Recovering.

Much to our liking the doctor said that Daniel did NOT need surgery and complimented the emergency room physician, Dr. Slaughter, for resetting the bones so well. 
That was a huge relief to ALL of us
but the swelling was so great that his  
Puffy-baseball-mitt-of-a-hand could not be casted. 
Yet.

 We will return to Santa Barbara next Tuesday for a
 "somewhere-over-the-elbow" 
cast that he will sport for three weeks. In the meantime, he will miss an air soft battle, a visit to the MB2 Raceway AND a trip to Hurricane Harbor! 
However, there is NADA disappointment over this loss (at least from us parent-folk). We are  100% thankful that he did not  land on his melon climbing  out of that tree. Plus, in perspective, this was not "open heart surgery"  
--- our measuring stick for unexpected childhood "Owies."

For now,  Daniel will chill out and NOT go to the beach, NOT skateboard  and NOT play video games. There's  MUCHO concentrated down time to praise thanks on our heavenly Father who keeps his eyes upon us  and arms around us ... even through the bad stuff.
Amen.

Don't climb trees!

We were just about to walk into our show at The Groundlings in L.A. when we started to receive calls from leaders from our Church's Youth Camp where Dan is staying. Of course, Teckie and I missed the calls. I knew something was wrong....It took a while, but we finally made contact with the two dads that were in the ER with Daniel. Yes, E.R., as in an Emergency Room somewhere in Arroyo Grande, over two hours away.

Long story short, we are headed up to Lake Lopez  -- after a solid four hours of sleep-- to pick him up. My son fell out a tree and landed on his wrist (THANKFULLY NOT HIS HEAD). And, when I say "landed" I don't mean the gentle flutter of a butterfly descending on a spring flower. This was more like a VIOLENT crash. See what I mean? 
I always tell my boys to NOT climb in the trees, but no one ever listens to Mom.
He broke both bones in his wrist. You might say that the 
"arm bone's not connected to the hand bone." 
Singing that makes is sound much better. Try it.
I talked to Daniel and could tell he was hurting. I requested they give him pain meds STAT. He was put on an IV morphine drip.

 Half  way through the improv comedy show (which was hilarious, but a hurting Daniel was in the back of my head the entire time) the  hospital called.  I spoke with E.R. physician, Dr. Slaughter (Yes. Slaughter, as in slaughter a pig) to give consent  for a "procedure." They would sedate him and do their best to reset the bones. This is what it looked like after Dr. Slaughter "readjusted" his wrist....
There is improvement, but the "OUCH factor" is still glaring in this mother's face. He will need some sort of surgery to fix it and is in a temporary cast right now. A huge cast! No more beach for his this summer. Oh, and it's his right hand, so school should be interesting.
He is thinking ....What the ****? 
Dr. Slaughter was amazing,... TEXTING me xrays and pictures throughout the ordeal. He must have been young and hip, plus  a slow night in  the emergency room. Great service that I appreciated MUCHO!

We returned home at midnight, grabbed a tad of sleep and are now on our way to pick Daniel up. He needs to get to an Orthopedic doctor.  All the technical names escape me now, as I was NOT there to ask a million questions. Details to follow.
I cant wait to wrap my arms around this little guy whose summer has just been cut short. So,  friends with sons.... please share this post and xrays to your monkey-like kids with a reminder to "Stay out of the trees!"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bye Mork :( and Cheers Teckie :)

Are you also deeply saddened by the just announced death of Robin Williams?  It's  shocking that a person can have it all ... money, talent, family, physical health and "worldly stuff" galore, yet have nothing because of deep depression and an addiction battle, leaving one completely 
OUT OF BALANCE. 
Mental illness steals everything. 
So tragic.
Robing Williams was my favorite as Mork from Ork with his rainbow socks! We never missed an episode. Not to mention some of his movies I will never forget ...  Mrs. Doubfire, Patch Adams and Popeye. His work was always fantastic and  he was especially mind blowing as a comedian . I have always been a big fan of comedy and this huge loss of talent leaves me anything but laughing.
Ironically enough ... 
We are leaving shortly to watch a comedy show at The Groundlings in Los Angeles. I am so excited, I love LIVE COMEDY :)
He is 47! Another year to celebrate!
 The Groundlings is an improvisation and sketch comedy theatre that has been entertaining LA audiences for over 36 years.  It's a non-profit organization founded by Gary Austin in 1974.  A “Groundling” is one of the 30 company members who write and perform in the theatre’s shows and teach classes at the Groundling’s School. This school has been the foremost comedy training ground in Hollywood and the springboard for countless careers like ...  Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Phil Hartman, Lisa Kudrow, Paul Reubens, Cheryl Hines, Jon Lovitz, Larraine Newman, and Kathy Griffin ... just to name drop a few.

Will The Groundlings recognize his death tonight? I'll let you know. 
On a lighter note ... enjoy some photos from celebrating my Teckie's birthday over the weekend.
Happy Birthday!
This young lady, Lindsey is our "connection" to The Groundlings.
Witty, funny young lady!
Teckie and the kids. Most of our friends have boys!
He requested a white cake with pralines and cream ice cream. It was so good, I reqret not making a bigger cake. All the kids wanted seconds. 
Birthday boy and some buddies
And then,  on Sunday, there was a last minute gathering. Our cousin from Hawaii,  Lilia, is visiting and Miss Piggy and Lui brought her over. She has never tasted avocado or tried a s'more ... until last night!! 
Time to share some California with her!

Aloha and Please pass the guacamole
We got to use the Concentration game AGAIN, which
made me happy. Daniel left  Sunday morning to camp at Lake Lopez
until Wednesday. We missed him!
 Lucas and Lilia like the same music
so they bonded over tunes :)
Baggo anyone?
Miss Piggy with a birthday selfie ...
Make another wish Teckie :)

Thanking God for my dear hubby and the

many blessings he brings to this family.
Happy Birthday, and cheers to you honey, CLINK!
(Sadly, Rest in Peace Robin Williams).